June 7, 2012

Summer plans

The last two summers at our house have been, well....frustrating. Prior to these summers, June, July and August were just like every other month since I've always been home with the kids, so summer never really changed anything. But since our oldest started school, and now we have two in school, summers take on a different meaning.

I started each one with good intentions. Reading programs, crafts, pool and play time, slow-paced days. But what I ended up with was feeling like I spent the whole summer trying to entertain my children and answering for the 10 millionth time "NO! You cannot play Wii! Or watch TV! Or do anything else with a SCREEN!"

So this year, I have a bit of a plan. And I'm blogging about it for the sole purpose of accountability, because I'm not sure how it's going to go. Hopefully a friend occasionally asking "How's it going?" will keep me from quitting the whole thing.

We're attempting somewhat of a summer home school curriculum this summer. I even made a schedule (a pretty rough one, but still, a schedule - right?). I think that makes it somewhat official :)

I have a several different reasons for doing this:
• There's a lot of things I want to teach my kids before they leave my house. This is an opportunity to purposefully incorporate some of those things that may otherwise get left out.

• I have one child who new concepts come very easily to. School is "boring" because "I know everything". I doubt this is true, but I do believe this child is capable of greater challenges.

• I have another child who is equally bright, but slightly less, shall we say..."motivated." This child will benefit from not being "out-of-practice" come September.

• This provides some structure for their day that will hopefully help eliminate boredom.

• Since I like to be sort of outside-the-box-ish, I don't feel right sitting idly by while the government decides what my kids will learn. I want to have some say in the matter and the best way to do that is to do it myself.

We're keeping it pretty simple, and starting with a few things that are important to us as a family.

First order of business is Bible study. For this we're using the D6 curriculum's Adventure Guide magazine for kids.

 I love that these lessons actually get kids into the Bible. It's not just stories or worksheets; they're actually digging into the Word to find the answers. 

Daily lessons all focusing on the same chapter in the Bible are followed by discussion questions and an activity.

They also include a weekly memory verse, which my kids are writing on an index card at the beginning of the week. Hopefully at the end of the summer we'll have a pile of verses we've memorized and a set of cards to work from.

Those who can't write draw pictures instead :)

Next, we do a lesson on manners. I've discovered that polite, well-mannered children are often few and far between in our culture. Not that my kids are any better...this is why we're working on manners! There's definitely room for improvement.

I found this book in our church library. It's totally old-school! I'm even learning a LOT from it. I actually checked it out several weeks ago when I first decided we needed to work on manners. We did one lesson about napkins during a meal and the kids loved it....I mean REALLY loved it! Oddly enough, this has continued with the lessons about introductions this week. They are really into learning about this stuff! Now, hopefully they will practice away from home.

Of course, we have to do some reading, writing and math. These books were suggested to me by one of my many friends who home school ALL the time and do it well. They're for gifted & talented kids, and while I don't necessarily know if that describes my kids, they do take concepts they've already learned to the next level to present more of challenge. And that's exactly what I was looking for.

And we're going to learn about great artists. Because art is fun, and I like it. And that's really the only reason! I hope one of them might follow in my footsteps, just a little.

So far, I'm loving that I can incorporate other things into our schedule too - like chores. We call them "morning jobs" or "afternoon jobs" or whatever, and we attempted to do them before, but for some reason, having them on the schedule as part of a morning routine seems to increase the odds that they'll actually get done.

And that's it! Since we were gone last week, the last few days have been our first attempt. So far it's going well.

I hope I can say the same thing a week or two from now!


  1. How is this going?! I am interested to hear!!

    1. Well....it goes really well when we do it! July was a blur of swimming lessons, holidays, family get-togethers, etc...so we didn't do it much then. I'm hoping to be a little more consistent this month!