Summer fun

Languid Summer Learning, by Briana Elizabeth

Dear readers: we will be moving to a weekly schedule this summer, so expect to hear from us every Monday.  Happy summer!

I’ve mentioned a few times that I live in an 1880 Victorian home, but what I often fail to mention is that we’ve made the choice to live without air conditioning. Now, I think that’s only possible because I live in New Jersey, as I’m sure if I resided in Louisiana, I would live in the air conditioning.

I won’t lie – that first year was hard but made easier because we are blessed to have a gorgeous pool, and we were in it every single day. In the evening, we would have a salad al fresco for dinner, and at dusk I would make sure everyone was bathed and cool, crisp nightgowns would be slipped over tan shoulders. The window fans would help them sleep soundly.


What had slowly happened living like that was that we found this long rhythm to our days. Kind of like when we were kids, and the summer days lasted forever and ever. You learn to do things like make your macaroni for salad first thing in the morning, so the house isn’t hot at night, and that you really were too hot all day to eat anything of substance, so ‘cooking’ becomes an assembling of ingredients.

fishing with grandpa

A slowness took over our days which gave us time for the luxury of leisurely reading. Now knowing how slow and languid our summers are, I make stacks of books for each child to read and some schooling goals to accomplish. Nothing heavy, but things that are easier to do without the school year’s outside obligations. And, surprisingly, we get so much accomplished without having to have tried at all. You can read an awful lot floating around in a pool (this is not a Kindle friendly exercise).


So my suggestion to you: put everything aside and set out for some long, languid days of dipping your toes in the river or fishing off docks. Enjoy catching critters in the creeks. Fill a jar with fireflies to be a nightlight. Pick up a book, lie on a riverbank, and read for the day. Pack up a picnic, go to a lake, and skip rocks. Take a trip down the shore (<–that’s a New Jerseyism; we don’t go to the beach – we go down the shore) and jump waves.


Here are some favorites we’ve enjoyed over our summers.



Huck Finn

The Seaside Naturalist

The Penderwicks

Swallows and Amazons series (companion nonfiction Ships, Sailors and the Sea)

Five Children and It

The Wouldbegoods (I howled in laughter reading this one, I’ll admit)

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

Little Britches

My Family and Other Animals

For older children:

Horatio Hornblower series

Anything by PG Wodehouse

Anything by Jane Austen


So, what’s on your summer reading list?


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