Keeping creativity & learning fresh over the summer

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"Frequency makes starting easier. Getting started is always a challenge. It's hard to start a project from scratch, and it's also hard each time you re-enter a project after a break. By working every day, you keep your momentum going. You never have time to feel detached from the process."~Gretchen Rubin

The essay by Gretchen Rubin in Manage Your Day-to-Day, Harnessing the Power of Frequency, was a little beacon of truth for me. In it, I was encouraged to really try to do something creative or writing-related every day to keep my momentum going.

I often come to place, after days off due to scheduling, getting sick, or traveling, where I feel so overwhelmed with the things I want to do, that I am paralyzed and unable to start. And this from someone who's naturally a good starter (and less of a finisher).

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I was sensing this about myself, and then upon reading Gretchen's essay, I was convinced. The wonderful thing about summer for me is that our laid-back days seem to provide me more time to work than I had during the school year. So I'm trying to be intentional about creating more than consuming (although I'm reading a ton, too, so maybe it's just less online consumption).

Here are the main ways frequency helps us, according to Gretchen Rubin:

  • keeps ideas fresh

  • keeps the pressure off

  • sparks creativity

  • nurtures frequency

  • fosters productivity

  • is a realistic approach

I can't recommend this book enough for practical ways to be more intentional with our creative work, and really, so many aspects of our lives... even educating our children!

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I distinctly remember that when Gigi started first grade last year, she had definitely lost some of what she had learned in kindergarten, simply due to "summer atrophy."

So this year I determined that I wasn't going to let learning slide as much over our summer break. I knew if she did a little each day it also would make the transition into fall easier, too.

I've only had a school-age kid for two years now, so I'm new to all this, but it turns out this is a pretty common practice. My friend Tsh calls what they do over the summer "homeschool light," and I know my friend Jessica is "doing school" somewhat this summer, too.

I actually first saw this in action with a friend whose kids (older than mine) go to public school. She's always had them do some kind of light homeschool work during the summer to keep things fresh.

I already shared our summer rhythm with you. Well, here's what our {flexible} weekly schedule for learning looks like. We're also hoping to add in some math, with dad, or on the computer, this summer. Some days we simply don't get to this, but when we do, I don't have to rack my brain for something- it's already laid out for us.

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She's reading a ton (more on the challenge I created for her soon), and I might get her going with some writing eventually, with Tsh's summer writing guide.

Summer's all about fun, right? I didn't want Gigi's learning activities to be a drag, so I created a little reward system for her. Some days I might give her an extra media ticket for doing her lesson/learning activity without complaining. But she also learns a "smart star" every day she completes that assignment.

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When she reaches twenty stars, she'll earn a reward -- this time we decided on getting a "professional manicure" (her term) with mom-- something we've never done.

As for me, I'm thinking some kind of schedule or rhythm would help me with my creative pursuits as well this summer. Maybe I work on blog posts one day and bigger writing projects another day?

Right now I'm sort of writing and blogging and social-media-ing on the fly. And it's working, because our days our more relaxed as it is, but I want to make the most of my productivity, so I'm definitely going to fiddle with this.

I'd love to hear from you. How do you keep learning and creativity-- both yours and your kids'-- fresh over the summer?

On food, community, and kids

Taking the plunge with homemade sunscreen {DIY recipe}

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