Homeschoolers and history enthusiasts—but perhaps I repeat myself—will know full well about “The Year Without A Summer,” that time when a volcanic eruption released so much ash into the atmosphere that global temperatures dropped, crops were affected, and widespread famine resulted. Our family jokingly wondered if this might be our year without a summer, since last year we experienced at least two summers, but there was no such luck. In fact it seems that 2020 is offering us no luck at all, as this year is turning out to have kind of a bummer summer.

 “Bummer Summer”—the very phrase is practically an oxymoron, as summer should be a time for fun, parties, and other adventures. Complaining about the weather is such a passé sport that I thought we might have a bit of fun complaining about the whether—as in, whether we’d be going anywhere this fall, whether anything worth doing would be open to any consequence, whether anyone had any good ideas for alliterative or rhyming notions to do with summer, and so forth. When I propounded this idea one morning at breakfast and solicited recommendations, I was not disappointed. My family is a veritable fount of the best and worst of times:

Bummer Summer: This one is kind of obvious. Summer camps and family camp were canceled. Bible Studies, Youth Group, library specials, VBS, and all other events have been canceled. All our fun has been makeshift and homespun. It’s been dragging on for a while. We’re all pretty bummed.

Dumber Summer: This suggestion provoked much mirth, possibly at the ironic notion that students might grow—get this—dumber from a summer-long hiatus from learning. NOT! We’re homeschoolers. We school all year round. If we come out of this season dumber than when we entered it, that’s on us.

Number Summer: A helpful contribution from the six-year-old, soon to be seven. He’s very conscious of counting and likes to display his math skills with such whiz-bangs as, “The secret code is my favorite page in the math book” and “Multiplication and division are just the same, except the opposite.”

Plummer Summer: When we first moved here, I ordered dwarf plum trees from a mail-order catalog. The much-vaunted “root-stock” trees, suggested but not guaranteed to be capable of bearing fruit the second year, turned up as mere sticks. I planted them anyway, watered and tended them in faith for six years, and now, in the seventh year, they appear to be bearing fruit. We’ll see if any plums survive the various pests and blights this summer still has to throw at us.

There were quite a few Honorable Mentions, such as The Summer Of Our Discontent, Summer Salts, and Summer Sad And Summer Glad And Summer Very Very Bad. We agreed that being able to face our misfortunes and laugh about them is the first step to overcoming them.

What about you? Have you had a glummer summer than usual this year? If so, what did you do about it to cheer your family up?


Photo credit: First graphic, iStock. Following images courtesy of author.