Let us start by addressing my kids ages and grade levels so you can have a general idea of what I am up to my knees in.
Eldest is 11, she just finished 6th grade and is in the gifted and talented program. I only say this not to boast but so you know what kind of smart ass kid I have. Snarky is how someone I hardly knew described her. We will be working on that in the summer.
Sprite is 9 and finished 3rd grade. She is an over achiever and she can flip a switch (any switch....she has like several dashboards of switches and once you think she has switched every switch, there is a crazy underground space ship full of bunnies and cats. And more switches.)
Han is 6 and finished 1st grade. He is really into not doing school, and looking in mirrors and making faces. He is really funny, somewhat shy. He is a teeny bit behind in reading skills, but is a math whiz. Thanks Modern Warfare.
Moo is 4 and needs to prepare for preschool. I won't even say more about her, because I could write a novel.
Jedi will be 1 soon, but he is more like an 8 month old. He just learned to crawl. He might have a hard adjustment to kids being at home all the time now, but mostly because they are his favorite toys and he hates missing the action.
Is that everyone? Yep I checked, it is. First thing I do in the summer time is find out when the heck all the library story times are, and also anything free or low cost that my city is having or doing. Farmers market times, craft days at the library (I have several in my area so we usually go to 2 libraries a week free loading off the activities and magic shows), also my city does free lunches at certain parks. Check and see if your city offers this, because FREE is totally worth looking into.
Then after I write that all in my planner (don't have a planner? GET ONE), I put it onto my big white board monthly calendar that is attached to my fridge. (I highly recommend a white board calendar instead of the paper variety fyi)
ON TO THE NITTY GRITTY
It can change from week to week, but every day has a theme or certain activity.
Monday is stay home day (playing outside, watching movies whateva)
Tuesday is park day/friends house day
Wednsday is sprinkler or pool day
Thursday is super special day (this is the day we actually do something, like the zoo, the beach, etc. Or it can be something smaller, like a kids museum, a city water park, the library)
Friday is craft/science day
Obviously, this is just a guide. Like I said it can change week to week and you can add other kinds of days or activities. The point is, to have a plan to share with the children so they aren't constantly asking "when are we swimming?" " can we go to the park on tuesday?" Because you will then be able to say, "we will try to go swimming today, but we were going to do xyz, and if we can't we are for sure swimming on wednsday" and "yes we are going to the park tuesday, its on the planner and the calender" See how that works?
HELPFUL TIP WITH PLANNERS: You have one (you sure do, because I told you to get one), and it is fucking useless to children if they themselves can't use it or it's not theirs. That's why it is important you put this shit up in several places for them to see. I have the white board calender that is on the fridge, and I also have this:
This mini white board was about 6.00 at Target. I will use it to write our daily schedule. There will be no questions of "what are we doing today?" because I will have this bad boy filled out the night before.
WAIT YOU SAID DAILY WHAT?
Yes, I said Daily Schedule.
Early morning is my time. I drink coffee and review the plan for the day while I troll facebook and bother all of you people. I also tell little children to lay back down if its before 8 a.m.
Breakfast time soon follows, and they are in charge of making sure everyone else eats and picks up their dishes. I only monitor (a.k.a. remind so and so to tell so and so to pick up their bowl) They can pour cereal, make waffles, etc. themselves. I make sure food and clean dishes are there. That's my job.
Yes I am a little bit of a Duggar when it comes to kids working towards the greater good of the family, but the Duggars didn't invent this shit, it is just how it goes in every family with more than 2 kids. My other focus is the baby, who needs to be changed, fed and happy. I certainly cannot do that, if everyone doesn't pull their weight.
After breakfast clean up, they can get dressed if they like, if they don't, they can do it later. It is summer ya'll.
Next thing is morning chores. These are jobs (small jobs) that need to be done regularly. I say small you might say its a lot. Doesn't matter. It needs to be done, if we are going to continue living here without maid service.
Making sure the floor is cleared of anything small and also vacuumed. Jedi can crawl remember?
Trash in kitchen and bathroom is emptied if it is full
Start a new load of laundry/separate laundry/put clothes away etc.
These are just examples, but keep in mind that this clean up will last 30 minutes. Any longer and we stop where we are and finish it later.
Next to do is work in their activity books. I bought one for both Sprite and Han and they both happened to choose the same "Kumon" brand. Basically its a refresher in math and reading skills, but I especially like this "Kumon" kind because the layout is simple and colorful. They are to do 2 pages a day.
Eldest has an Algebra book from school that she will be working on, and Moo has a few generic preK books that she can work on with me.
This should only take maybe 20 minutes at the longest.
Next up is writing journals!!! The kids are excited! (No seriously, they are)
Anywho, kids each have a writing journal (even Moo) to write in every day, or several times a day if they so choose. Moo will mostly be copying words and letters for practice, and Han's is with a much wider school style ruling, so that he can see what he is writing, since he is a new writer and all. I will either be giving them prompts or if they just want to write their own story, or whatever they like, that's fine too.
Writing Journal Prompt ideas (the crazier the better, this isn't meant to be torture)
Tell me everything you know about dogs
Tell me a story about a clown named Scabby and his dog named Goulash
How do trees grow?
What is the best job in the world and why?
If you were a cloud today, what would you do? Where would you go?
What is the best book you ever read? Why?
If you were a super spy, who would you spy on?
Write a letter to your sister
Write a letter to your brother
What is the coolest thing about being a kid?
Write a letter to a magician. What would you want to ask?
Another good idea, is if the kids are having an argument or are feeling emotional about something, they can write it down and share it with me, or the person they are pissed at. Nothing mean though.
You get the idea.
Another fun thing to do if they want to take a break from journal writing or add to it is a drawing pad. Everyone got one (super cheap, less than 2 dollars at Target) and I also bought the biggest box of crayons and the biggest box of colored pencils I could find.
The drawing journals are for them to fill up however they please but like with the writing journals, if they need new ideas, I can give them prompts.Also, the drawing journals would be a good way to end the day or to use during rest time.
The main goal with this, was to show them that all that stuff they learned in school could be fun with the right mind set. So often, these kids are tested tested and tested, that its hard for them to see the point in daily journals that are given at school. I wanted to show them that writing is fun. And they won't be graded on it, so they can leave their perfectionism at the door. No one is going to hover over it with a red pen, this is truly for them. And what a wonderful keepsake, amirite?
After that's all done with, we can do whatever it is that we had planned for the day. Obviously, some activities will take place in the morning and then we will do this in the afternoon or skip it completely for the day. Its summer ya'll.
Lunch will be served at a regular time every day, followed by a resting time.
The baby will need to nap. They can watch a movie, read a book, play quietly, color. WHATEVER. As long as the baby is napping. This is also the time, that I can exercise and troll facebook bothering you people.
As for the afternoon/evening after dinnerish, that will be devoted mostly, to baths and chores. But we will again be instituting our summer read aloud. I will be taking turns with both older girls to read a book out loud, every night, until we finish it. We try to pick something I have read in school (because I love sharing books I have read with the kids) and easy enough for a 9 year old to read, interesting enough for a 6 year old boy and a sleepy 4 year old girl. This year we picked this.
I also recommend these:
Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher
The Phantom Tollbooth
Because they are really fun to read and listen to. For Moo, since she will be starting preK soon, and since Han needs a little more reading practice, he will be reading to her during rest time. Sprite reads to Jedi every night after dinner from his baby books and whatever book it is that she is reading. Reading is the single most important thing we do in this family, yet during the school year, the kids really dislike it. They are tested on everything for comprehension and it sickens me that they set a timer for 20 minutes because they are so tired and just need to level up in class so they can get an ice cream party or whatever.
Summer is the one time we ENJOY reading, because there are no timers and no tests. Fuck you, public school.
That's about it. Here are some links to activities and summer ideas that we will also be doing:
Summer Bucket List This is a great way to prioritize your absolute "we gotta do that!" ideas and it doesn't need to be all fancy. Just write it down on a note pad and stick it up on the fridge.
75 Kids Activities A lot of these are very easy and cheap. YAY!
8 Recipes for disaster these are fun science tricks that can be messy, so we will be taking it outside. They are easy and cheap as well.
GLOW JAR!! Enough said.
Baby Discovery Bottles A neat thing for us all to make for the baby. Because we like him.
A "little things" jar- Got a pickle jar? I have several. This summer we will be labeling an empty clean (you knew that right?) pickle jar and calling it our "little things" jar. The concept is to notice all the nice things someone does for us, or the things we are happy about, write them down on a strip of paper and put them in the jar. I will read one aloud at dinner time and if its a personal one, the person its written for, gets to keep it.
In example: "xyz helped me make my bed. thank you"
"today I ate ice cream. yay!"
And there you have it. Our Humble Summer. And my first and last attempt at writing a "how to" post.
Have fun you bozos.