I am certain that my love of summer has been dramatically enhanced since moving up to snowland. Summer is a time to be treasured. Embraced. Enjoyed. Lived. Relished. Savored. I could go on but I'm limited not only with my vocabulary (I don't have my thesaurus on this lap top right now) BUT my two year old is being entertained by Veggie Tales, "God is Bigger Than the Boogie Man" and it's only a half hour show so I MUST type quickly!!!!
Back to summer.
I LOVE summer. Right now, there are 11 1/2 more days of school. Technically my older two are finished with classes a week from today, but the younger ones have school until June 23rd.
I can't wait. No more homework. No more early wake ups (oh, who am I kidding, I have a two year old AND a nursing baby....) No more rushed mornings and lunches packed every.single.day.
Disclaimer here, i don't pack my kids lunches. I have taught them how to pack their lunches and they've been doing it since Kindergarten. Seriously, I don't have time to pack five lunches.....
But not to say schedules are flying out the door this summer..... One thing my blessed children have that many do not is a teacher for a mom....
My kids love the fact that I'm a former teacher. (eye roll here...)
Ok, maybe not.
I tend to make sure the learning doesn't end on the last day of school....but in my defense, studies show that children do tend to forget quite a bit during the two months they are off. Hence why most schools spend an entire quarter on review the first nine weeks of school!!
So I'm here today to share my standard summer vacation. I don't by any means, want to project that we stick with this schedule (minus the camps/band activities that we paid for, of course)but it's a general idea of what we do to not only enjoy summer, but keep to a little bit of schedule so that we don't turn to complete mushpots..... Not that mushpots are a bad thing....
Each one of my children (school age of course, which is five kiddos-the two year old will have something similar, but mostly geared to just free draw) will have a folder and journal similar to this. They will also have a handwriting book.
This is the 5th grade version I have, but I also will have the second grade version (my now first grader is desperate to learn cursive and this book introduces it nicely), the seventh grade version, and two copies of the eighth grade version. My older two will both be in high school next school year, but they spend zero time writing in cursive during school, so this is how they will refresh their memory!
If you want to see where I got these amazing books, click here
I would go into detail about why writing in cursive is very important in our children's development, but remember, I'm on a time crunch and I can save that one for another blog. Common core has basically wiped the idea of even needing cursive since we are fastly becoming a tech only world. I digress, but be assured, there is nothing more important than encouraging both sides of our brain during adolescence and cursive handwriting is a GREAT way to use our brains productively that NO electronic device or keyboard can replicate.
Back to summer time fun.
So in my children's folders will be those handwriting books. There will also be a reading log! Now my oldest has to read Jane Eyre for 10th grade Honors English, so her log may just be to note how often she spends reading that particular novel and then we will re-evaluate another "mom choice" novel she will do after. Reading logs are so easy to find. Seriously- google free reading logs. You'll be amazed....
Here is just one example of one I currently have on file. There are so many out there, but here is one website I "borrow" from often. (hey, it's FREE!!) Click here
For each child, I evaluate what reading level they're in to determine how many books I expect by the end of summer. My future second grader is just getting into chapter books, but still enjoys picture books, so I will encourage her to choose a few chapter books, but will expect her to read about 15-20 books. (this is not a lot when you think about how many millions of fun books are at the library!)
My future 5th and 7th graders I will encourage and expect about 10-12 chapter books, and of course, depending on the books, will re-evaluate if they choose long novels.
My future 9th grader will of course depend on what is assigned for summer, if anything. He is an AVID reader, so I imagine I can assign him at least 5-10 big novels and he'll have zero problem completing that challenge.
For a list of age appropriate books, check your local library first. Our library always has a GREAT list of books for each grade level. Not to mention, teachers are more than willing to share great books their kiddos would probably enjoy reading for the summer. If you're still at a loss, click here
That is a GREAT list with all kinds of genres of fun!
Now, also in these folders, will be a fun, pretty, attractive, nice looking, handsome, (whatever else adjective to describe for your child's fun summer journal) will be a notebook, AKA, journal for writing prompts.
Writing prompts are so very easy. Seriously. Once a week I will encourage (don't you love my vocabulary? Encourage can also be traded for the word, expect...) my children to write a paragraph or more using a writing prompt list I will include in their folders. If you can't find any prompts online, make up your own. I'll post the list I "borrowed" off the internet. (again, Handsfreemomma blog- love this lady!!!)
20 writing prompts to do with your children...
Click on that link because suddenly, my computer has decided to stop copying and pasting and I'm running out of minutes!!!!
So that's the folder for summer. There will also be a great challenge to remain technology free as much as possible this summer. Now, along with the folder of fun (ha!) I also will register them for a math program (either IXL or another I find that would be more appropriate for older grades) for them to complete a few days a week to keep their math skills sharp. Most of these are just basic math fact practices which are essential for keeping up with the enormous math challenges for the younger grades (don't get me started on common core again...). This will be completed with a time chart for each child. I haven't found one I like yet, so I may have to post that at a later date-but it goes along with my "tech free as much as can be" summer challenge I plan to implement.
There is nothing sadder than seeing my kids walking around with electronic devices glued to their hands. I don't want this for numerous reasons, but the biggest reason is missing the present moment. I have a feeling (me seriously included in this) if we took a long hard look at how much "tech" time we spend on our devices, whether phone, computer, ipad, ipod, etc, we'd be terribly surprised at how much time we spend on these things. Spending some time isn't bad in and of itself, but there have been times where I started looking for meals on Pinterest and before I knew it, 1 1/2 hours had passed and no recipes were printed off..... I was sucked in to the WWW and couldn't get out....Kinda reminds me of that scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory???
So this summer, my children will not be able to be on their devices or the computer (which BTW- as a little advertisement from my awesome law enforcement husband- keep those devices, all of them, out of their bedrooms, ok? Even the ipod touches are literally, little computers with access to the WWW and access to all the dangers of the WWW, so for Pete's sake, keep them in a high traffic area....)-until they have completed a few tasks prior.
1. Made their bed. (this is much harder than most would think. You would think I was asking for a kidney or blood draw...)
2. Cleaned up their rooms (get this, if they go to bed with it straightened up, this won't be that difficult)
3. Eaten breakfast and loaded their bowl/plate in dishwasher. (remember, I don't make lunches, so guess what else I don't do????)
4. Helped unload dishwasher and put up dishes from prior night (not too much to ask since most of these are from them anyway!!)
5. Completed their assignments from their summer fun folders.
6. Completed their camp/band lesson/swim lesson. Four of my kids are doing summer band on Tuesday and Thursday from 10-12. One is doing swim lessons on Monday and Wednesday (literally 30 minutes) and three have basketball and volleyball camps. My son starts high school marching band in July, but that is in the evening, so we'll evaluate his tech time when we get there....
So that's it! Just a snippit from a crazy momma of crazy kids and how we'll spend our summer. It's not concrete, written in stone, and it's completely open to days that we decide to pack a picnic and head to a great spot, visit friends and swim, or anything else that pops up for us to explore.
This summer- try to enjoy every moment you can. It's so important to be "present" for your children. You won't get this moment back ever again. Make it the best moment you can.
To God be the Glory!!