There are a few weeks in summer when we make a point of deliberately staying close to home, because there are important things to do here that simply require time.
For instance, I am usually tutoring a Foundations, Essentials, or Challenge class for our Classical Conversations group, so I need to get my academic orientation done and organize and plan for the next homeschool year.
These summer days where we stay close to home start with silent reading like just about every other day at home starts.
I call the girls down from where they are reading in their beds to eat breakfast. They eat and play with our parrot and share bits of their meals with him.
Then they do chores and shower and dress. This chores/ shower/ dressing routine takes at least an hour. They have a lot of daily chores including feeding the bird, watering plants, taking out trashes and recycling, unloading dishes, folding, drying, washing one load of laundry, etc. The work they do is a real part of the required work for our household.
Next, one of the girls reads silently for an hour while the other practices piano.
Then they switch and the one who was playing piano reads silently while the other practices piano.
They eventually make lunch and clean up after lunch. They may play a game of chess or cards while they eat; they always do a lot of chatting.
Then they do some handwriting or copy work and paint with watercolor or acrylics.
Most afternoons, they do something physical.
They pick berries from the yard or we go swimming in our neighbors pool for an hour or two.
Today, they have to walk down the street to gather fresh milkweed leaves beside the pond to feed our monarch caterpillars.
We also happen to have an orthodontist appointment before dinner today. I strategically schedule all the necessary appointments in this season for these summer weeks when we are staying home.
We always eat dinner as a family, read a chapter from our read aloud, and clean up the kitchen and do another load of laundry together, if needed.
As soon as the girls finish all official, required summer homeschool activities which include one hour of reading, one hour of piano, and a page of handwriting, they are free to do any number of activities like are reading aloud to one another, more silent reading, cross stitching, etc.
They do have tablets, and once all required activities are done, they can play or read on them at that point in the day.
Sometimes they do.
But in general, screens are mostly just non-existent for our family most of the time.
This is very deliberate.
I have found through a lot of trial and error that if I want my kids to be healthy, and by healthy I mean interesting, sociable humans who enjoy engaging with the real world and with other, real people face-to-face and who are willing to do any other things besides playing video games without complaint, screens can't be a "go-to" activity and they just can't have constant, ongoing access to them.
And this is true even in summer. maybe especially in summer. I don't even let the kids nurse a screen addiction in summer when it might be easier to justify, because screen addictions always make the transition to a school routine during the school year much, much harder, even nearly impossible.
And I have lived this and I've also noticed a pattern with other families we know. The parents who give their kids unlimited access to tv, cell phones, videos, and video games in summer eventually have to make drastic compromises with their screen-addicted children and teens, allowing them to do much less school work and all of it only half-heartedly, because the kids are just too difficult to pull away from their screens.
Or these families actually have to stop homeschooling altogether, eventually choosing to put their kids in public or private schools simply so their kids will actually have to do enough school work to have an adequate education.
Without screens in our home, we are just much, much healthier, happier people who actually enjoy learning and working and taking interest in lots of varied activities.