Summer time means swimming at the pool and lake, riding bikes, playing in the sprinkler, and eating homemade ice cream. I want our family to relax and enjoy the hotness of the summer sun, but I’ve learned that a little bit of structure and good habits keep our days running smoothly.
I told my boys about this plan on the first day of summer break–and I also told them we would take the first week ‘off’ before starting it. I was thrilled that they genuinely seemed excited about the plan after I had gone over the details.
Here’s what we’re doing at our house this summer to keep our brains and bodies from turning to mush, and to keep instilling responsibility.
For the five weekdays, each boy will have 30 minutes of learning time, something different every day:
- Multiplication tables–I want my boys to know their multiplication tables upside down and inside out. When they feel confident in one set of numbers to be tested by me, they can earn 10 bonus minutes of video game time for each times table they have memorized. We’re using this book to help us:
- Cursive–our school currently doesn’t teach cursive (although that may be changing in the near future), and I think it’s a skill worth having
- Build something–they can use legos, magnatiles, zoobs, or k’nex to build whatever they want, using instructions or not
- Create something–any kind of art project they want–coloring, clay, paper airplanes, ect
- Explore–they’ll spend their 30 minutes researching a topic of interest on the internet, and give all of us a brief summary when they’re done. Topics might include: mummies, the Titanic, volcanoes, the Bremuda Triangle, a favorite baseball player’s life–whatever they’re interested in
This is for the older boys–my going-into-kindergartener will use his thirty minutes one-on-one with me on reading, writing, numbers, and other kindergarten skills
In addition, each day in order to get their 30 minutes of video game time, they must:
- Complete their chores and pass room inspection
- Complete 30 minutes of learning time, one item from the list above
- Play outside for 30 minutes
I know this neat and tidy check list won’t happen every single day: we’ll have play dates, VBS, camps, and times we spend all day at the pool. But if we can do these things 80% of the time, I’ll be happy.
You’ll notice that reading isn’t a requirement in their daily learning time. Our family summer reading program is going on all summer, and my hope is that they’re excited enough about it to spend plenty of their free time reading.
Lest you think that I have it all together, we have really dropped the ball on having our boys complete chores in the past. We’ve started various chore charts and methods numerous times, only to have them quietly fizzle out. I’m trying to keep it super simple this summer, in the hopes that this is the time that sticks. The boys have four daily chores that they will all share, plus passing room inspection.
- The dining room table must be clear–this is where I dump clean laundry, because it forces us to fold and put up laundry in order to eat meals. (If I’m being completely honest, this strategy also results in us eating some meals at our kitchen island.) So this chore also gives the boys laundry duty
- The kitchen island must be clear–we enter our house through the kitchen, and have no entryway, so the island is a clutter hotspot
- Dry swiffer the wood floors–this includes bedrooms, dining room and family room
- Sweep and wet mop kitchen and bathroom
It’s currently day three of summer vacation, and all of these routines (except the summer reading program) will launch next Tuesday. The boys have heard all the plans, know what to expect, and we have lists written up and posted in the kitchen. Here’s to a great summer!
How do you stay sane during the summer? Leave your tips and tricks in the comments!