I have been homeschooling kids for a quarter of a century. Last week, I graduated my seventh and last high school student. Now what? What will I do with the time I once devoted to lesson plans, science experiments, and homeschool field trips?
I want to write more, and to write more consistently. I want to read more, too – not for school, but for fun.
I set myself a summer reading goal: one book a month just for fun, a book not required for school, church, or a writing assignment. This summer, I want to read fiction, a couple of biographies, and a few technical books. (I enjoy reading about the craft of writing, so technical books don’t fall in the “work” category for me.)
In the fiction category, I read Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See last month. Yesterday, I finished Bren McClain’s debut novel, One Good Mama Bone. It took me a while to get into McClain’s novel, but I persevered, and about a third of the way in, I was hooked. I’m an early-to-bed kind of girl, but last night I stayed up reading until midnight. I did not want to put One Good Mama Bone down until I knew how it ended.
When I was a kid, I would frequently curl up on the couch in front of a fire in winter, or I’d sprawl on the porch swing in summer, and I would read all day long. Mom had to make me take a break from reading to eat lunch and dinner. “Camille, come to the table NOW!” she insisted.
Once I had children of my own, reading became a hazard. There was the time I melted the bottom out of the rice cooker – lucky I didn’t catch the house on fire! – because I had to read “just one more chapter!” I burned countless biscuits and casseroles. Under the spell of a good book, I lost track of my children, missed appointments, and neglected the housework.
I simply could not read AND be the responsible adult at the same time, so I pretty much quit reading for pleasure. I read for school and for church and for work, but I could not afford to let myself get lost in a book like I did as a child.
Last night, I didn’t want to put One Good Mama Bone down. I did not want to stop reading. So I didn’t. I read until I finished the book, right up until midnight.
Sure, I knew I’d be tired the next day – today – but I also knew I wasn’t going to be chasing babies. My young adult children can fend pretty well for themselves.
After hugging my youngest goodbye at the front door and wishing her a good day at her summer job, I poured a second cup of coffee and pulled out my chore list for today: mop floors, clean the bathrooms, catch up on laundry…and drink lots of coffee. After my late-nighter, I am going to need lots of coffee.
Oh, also on my ToDo list: get a copy of the next book on my summer reading wish list. It’s a beautiful day, and the porch swing is calling my name!