Summer School

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Bus

Each Summer I put together “summer school” for my kids to keep their minds active. We feel it is so important to instill a love for learning at a young age, because a love for learning will help them be successful their entire life.  Summer is the perfect time to focus on their passions and give a little extra attention to those areas where they struggle to make the next school year run a little smoother. This year one of our kids asked to learn more about the human body. Another one needs a little extra help with math.

One summer we learned about the different states that we were going to visit over the summer. Another year we learned more about plants and animals. I always have some component of reading, English and math in our summer curriculum. Most of the time I just use the big workbooks that you can find anywhere that are grade specific. I rip the pages out or write page numbers on a paper telling the kids which page they will complete for the day. A few years ago I found 3 ring dividers that had pockets. I labeled the dividers Monday-Friday. Then I placed each day’s worksheets in the labeled pockets.

Most of our worksheets and assignments can be completed within 20 minutes. Some days I have a designated time that they do worksheets. On other days they can pick when they do them. Since summer can be unpredictable we didn’t stress if the day didn’t allow for them to get done. Since it wasn’t a heavy workload for each day, the missed worksheets were easily done another day or just let unfinished. The point it to make learning fun, not a chore. (If this is a daily battle, you may need to reevaluate what you are doing.  Maybe have your child pick out some things that would be interesting to them.)

This year the three oldest have subjects that I will help them during a 1-on-1 lessons. Then they will have worksheets and activities to complete while I am working with the other ones. The girls will also spend some time practicing the piano and reading books from their summer reading list! : )

Summer is a great opportunity to learn together!  We also have one nature walk activity to complete each week and will do one outing each week with friends. As a family we are going to do some craft projects that take a little more time, and also try some new recipes. Learning as a family will prove to your child the value of learning, no matter how old you are.

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We have found that in order to get any of these projects done, and in fact, in order to keep sane, we need to start out with a schedule.  (Kids in general do better with a routine that keeps them in rhythm.  Nate will talk sometime about how this rewires their brains and teaches them how to be self-disciplined.  I just know that it works.)  Of course we will often toss out the schedule and take the day as it comes, but we at least start out with a ‘normal’ plan.

Here is a sample of our summer schedule:

Morning Routine:

Wake up

Eat Breakfast

Do bathroom stuff (get dressed, brush teeth, go to the bathroom)

Spend time reading your Bible or doing a devotional.

 

At designated school time:

-Do 1-on-1 lesson with mom

-When mom is working with another child: practice piano, read, do math drills, practice spelling words (the girls have 3-5 words that they can learn each week if they want)

-Extra things they can do whenever: play money or time games, draw, creative writing or book reports. (These items either have games or workbooks to aid in their creativity)

 

At Designated Chore time:

Each child has their list of chores they will do each day according to their ability.

Monday: Laundry and Empty Trash

Tuesday: Put away Clothes (If not done on Monday)

Wednesday: Clean/Pick up Room completely

Thursday: Vacuum

Friday: Clean Bathrooms/ Wash towels

 

Each child is always responsible for their own dishes at all meals and keeping their room somewhat picked up.

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Summer is awesome because you have all kinds of time. Summer can be loooong because you have all kinds of time! It is so important to have a little bit of structure so that you and/or the kids do not lose your mind or patience. It is a good idea to think ahead of things that you would like to accomplish or do and start scheduling that into your summer plans. That way you are prepared with something on that unexpected rainy day, and so that you don’t find yourself in August with a full list of to-dos.

What do you do in the summers to keep your kid’s minds active and busy?

3 thoughts on “Summer School

  1. Leah Zanolla says:

    We found some neat workbooks on Amazon that we started using this week – Summer Fit. http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Fit-Second-Third-Grade/dp/0976280051/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402512219&sr=8-1&keywords=summer+fit+workbooks They are written by teachers and use Common Core standards, so they’re in line with what students are doing in their classrooms. Each focuses on getting your child ready for the coming grade by reviewing work that they would have done during the school year, discussing how to stay healthy (they have exercises to do each day) and discusses a core value like honesty, compassion, etc. The activities seem to be right in line with what our kids learned at school, so I thought about getting a grade higher for each of them, but decided to stick with the material they already knew, rather than moving ahead. Jacob likes getting to mark off on the checklist that he’s done his work each day so he can see his progress. He’s also looking forward to writing the book reports that are included with the book. Our kids read for an hour and a half each afternoon, so those will be great to use along with his reading. He said he wants to do them on Thursdays just like he did in school! 🙂 Now, these aren’t Christian books, but it should be pretty easy to pull out each week’s Value and come up with some Bible verses and other ways to work them into our week.

    1. Nate says:

      Thanks Leah, these look like a lot of fun. We’ll have to try them out next summer. Also, glad to hear that your kids are readers like ours. That reading time each day is so important for a lot of reasons, including a time to settle themselves down and be at rest. That is a necessary skill!

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