As the weather heats up, the days get longer and Memorial Day is behind us, it’s hard to deny that summer has nearly arrived. Along with the change in seasons, many of us may be feeling the heavy weight of winter leave and a feeling of optimism and lightness return. But even with the change in weather, there’s no denying that this year is different. Even if your city or state is starting to reopen, it’s hard to know if it’s safe to go out to restaurants, to go to parks or to gather with friends. We are asking all of these very same questions. But there are still many ways to safely enjoy the season. In the following blog, we share a few of our ideas to help bring more sunshine to your day and lightness to your life (even in these unusual times). 1) Maximize outdoor spaces. Now that we are spending so much time at home, it’s worth exploring how to best use outdoor spaces. Maybe there is an opportunity to create an outdoor office or study area for your student. Or you could spruce up your outdoor patio with decorative lighting, or even create a comfortable backyard reading nook to while away warm summer afternoons. 2) Plant a garden. Maybe this is the time to invest in vegetable starts and grow some of your own food. This could be a fun project to get the entire family involved. Getting buy-in on what you plant and creating a watering and maintenance schedule could help build on the team spirit of the garden. The best part is you don’t have to wear gloves and a mask when you harvest the fruits of your labor! Need some inspiration? Check out ALVS Science Department Chair, Shirley Sklavos, pictured above in her “healthy greens” bed of red and green butter lettuce, flowering chives, parsley, young snap peas, and squash. Shirley plants a sustainable garden every year at her home in the Midwest. 3) Pursue a new interest. If there ever was a time to pursue a new hobby or take a course on something you’re interested in, this is it! Whether its bird watching, studying geology, or taking a virtual cooking class, this summer is a great time to explore a new hobby or foster a passion that you’ve been thinking about, but never had the opportunity to pursue. 4) Set up an outdoor movie theater. Enjoying a movie from the comfort of your own backyard could be a relaxing way to spend an evening. Set up a projector and don’t forget the popcorn and comfy chairs. Maybe this could even be an opportunity to spend time with friends or neighbors if you place chairs a healthy distance apart. 5) Take summer school. With the strange and abrupt conclusion of the school year, many of you may be concerned that your student is falling behind. This summer could be a good opportunity to catch up on any learning loss before the fall. They could make up a full course or even just take supplemental content, such as Tutorials, to help master the material of a course they’ve already taken. Regardless of how you spend your summer, we are trying to focus on the positive and think about the all unique and creative ways we can enjoy the change of seasons. Let us know how you plan to enjoy your summer!