By Shari McMinn
Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth.
(Proverbs 5:18 ESV)
Remaining happily married is a challenge for most couples. It is even more difficult when you are raising unique learners, but is crucial to successfully homeschooling them. I encourage you to make time this summer to “date” your spouse, remembering how you met, fell in love, then decided to marry. Those remembrances are important to a vital, life-long, blessed marriage by maintaining a connected relationship. These “walk down memory lane” conversations and laughter seem to help stay the course.
During my childhood in the 1960–70s, I learned to play the piano. Not just any piano, but a mid-1900s “player piano” that my parents purchased for our family’s enjoyment. It came with about 60 music rolls that were to be individually inserted into the piano, then you could “pump” the pedals and the hole punches would somehow produce piano music for a particular tune. One of my favorites was, “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer.” We played and sang along to it over and over again. I loved the tune and the lyrics, made popular by Englebert Humperdink (yes, that was his real name!), originally having been recorded by Nat King Cole. The refrain, repeated between each verse, was the most memorable part:
“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You’ll wish that summer could always be here”
Of course, in our child-like innocence, we thought “beer” meant root beer! The remaining lyrics were not so G-rated, but who cared? The thought of summer being endless was the important part for us.
Fast-forward to adulthood and endless summer days that can exhaust parents, particularly with children who are needy, require constant supervision, and can’t seem to stay out of trouble. I know on our farm, even though there was a lot to do and enjoy, the days seemed longer and more wearing the hotter the temperature got! Everyone did their chores in the morning but crowded inside all afternoon to find a cooler spot. My children’s squabbling increased with the rise in heat as they followed me around, asking for snack food more often than offering to help me with chores.
So to help me maintain a glad heart, I devised a plan to at least enjoy summer romance at home with my husband, Cary. Once a week, we let the kids fall asleep in the living room watching a movie (or two!) that we had pre-approved, so we could savor “couple time” together. We enjoyed in-home dates and even snuck special snacks the kids didn’t know I had hidden in the deep-freezer — can you say Dairy Queen Buster Bars? Here are a few stay-at-home dates (no babysitter nor money needed), and hopefully, you can find time weekly to enjoy a few with your spouse before summer melts into a new school year:
- Binge watch your favorite movie or streaming series — we both liked the BBC Pride and Prejudice
- Cook-up gourmet snacks together — I even taught my husband to make home-made tortillas
- Dance on hard surface flooring like you were teenagers — “making out” is acceptable
- Enjoy drawing, painting, or creating with your own choice of media — be sure to sign and date your work
- Play cards — betting coins and small bills is optional
- Work on a puzzle while listening to your favorite music — Spoiler: it might lead to dancing!
- Enjoy a picnic — candlelight after dark makes it memorable
- Gaze at the stars — try to identify a few constellations
- Jump on a trampoline or with a rope — hilarity is sure to erupt
- Play flashlight tag — it works best after dark
- Play hide and seek — it is more challenging at dusk
- Wash and clean out your vehicle then sit in the back seat listening to music — this was a favorite of ours
- Take a walk around your property or neighborhood — notice the beauty of God’s world around you
- Watch a movie on your laptop — cuddling up on a lawn blanket goes well with a romantic comedy!
If you haven’t been dating your spouse in recent years, this will likely take some effort and nudging to get started. The kids will likely act out and cause problems, but stick with it. Reconnecting regularly with your husband or wife shores up the foundation of your marriage. Consider it an investment in your homelife for future marital happiness once the nest is empty. Trust me, the day does come!
Need specific homeschooling guidance or encouragement? Check out these online resources when your time permits:
CHEC Unique Learners landing page.
HSLDA’s Homeschooling With Special Needs landing page.
SPED Homeschool landing page.
Finally, do you have friends considering homeschooling? Please share this link with them about our next Homeschool Introductory Seminar, Saturday, August 5, 2023 in Castle Rock.
My next blog, “Back-to-School: Resetting Routines,” which involves not just tasks but vision casting for the homeschool year ahead, will be posted on August 23, 2023 (the 4th Wednesday).
P.S. If you have a topic I should write about, please email me with your suggestion(s). This blog is for you!
Shari McMinn, your trusted homeschooling friend