I have a love/hate relationship with summer. I love the warm days, cool evenings, green grass and fireflies buzzing around our yard. What I don’t like about summer is the trouble my children get into when their days are not structured by our school work. Many homeschoolers school through the summer, we do too, but not full time. I need a break and I always think that I am going to get so much done in my free time, then September rolls around and I wonder, where did the time go? This summer is going to be different (I hope). I think I have come up with a way to keep the kids occupied as well as get things accomplished around the house.
First make a list (aren’t lists the best). The list should include all the goals/ projects you would like to accomplish this summer. Then cross off about half the things on your list, let’s be realistic about this.
Have your kids make a list of things they would like to do this summer. Be prepared for things like; motor cross through the desert, go to Disney, sky dive, etc… Then go through their list(s) and make it more realistic.
After you have written down your summer goals and figured out which ones can be accomplished come up with a plan. If your kids want to swim at the neighborhood pool, then tell them how many times they can expect to be taken to the pool each week. Then make it your priority to take them. There are probably many tasks on your list that can be done by your kids, let them know what is expected of them and give them a time frame in which to complete their jobs. What I have realized about my kids and many others, is that they don’t like to be surprised with work. My kids do pretty well with their known responsibilities. It is when I pile task after task on them with no end in sight that they get discouraged and attitudes take a turn for the worse very quickly.
Here is a practical example. One of my summer goals is to go through all of our videos/dvds and get rid of the ones we don’t watch or like anymore. That is a job I can assign to my children, since almost all of our movies are animated! I will let them know that this has become their responsibility and give them a date for completion. What I won’t do is walk into the room while they are watching a movie, step in front of the television and say, “I need you guys to sort through all our movies, now.” Obviously there are times when tasks need to be taken care of immediately, but that is not one of them.
If when you ask your kids what they want to do this summer they come up with either completely unrealistic expectations or they can’t think of anything, here are a few ideas to help them along.
- Join the summer reading club at the library. My kids love this, especially because there is almost always prizes involved.
- Visit a nursing home. Many of the residents are very lonely and would love to see the smiling faces of children.
- If you are going on vacation, have your kids research the area you are going to and find something interesting they would like to see or do there.
- If you are not going on vacation have your kids take a virtual vacation. Have them find a place they would like to visit and research it.
- All those games in the back of your hall closet… play them.
- Let your kids plan and cook a few meals a week.
- Get a pen pal for your child.
- Research movies that are also books, have your kids read the book and then watch the movie to compare.
- Find unique places in your area and visit them.
- Have your kids start a wildlife journal.
- Find an elderly person your neighborhood and have your (older) child help them for a few hours a week. They could mow their yard, clean house, or just visit.
- With supervision, kids can go around the neighborhood and pick up trash.
- Get a membership to a local museum, zoo, aquarium.
- Teach your child a life skill this summer, you can read about it here.
What do you plan to do with your kids this summer? Please share your ideas so we can all have a great summer!