Friday, May 11, 2012

Preparing for the Summer Invasion!!

The kids last summer with their Great Grampa @ Lake Tippecanoe
The time is drawing near, and I am full of conflicting emotions;  relief, excitement, anticipation, anxiousness and dread.  Yes, I’m talking about the kids being home for the summer.  This school year was the first that both of my babies children were both in school.  It has been awesome having all this time to myself!  I have loved it and also marveled at how darn fast it goes!  I have missed them and sometimes would secretly look forward to a sick day so I could have them all to myself. 
One of my main reasons for working part time from home is so that I do not miss my kids’ summers.  They are brief shining moments in kids lives and I want to be there.  However they are also, chaotic, messy, busy and sometimes slightly frustrating if your kids like to fight.  And really, what kid with siblings doesn’t like to fight??  So, I, being the perennial nerd, have been planning and researching our summer in hopes that it goes semi-smoothly. 

I’m all about unscheduling kids and letting them “run wild” in the woods during the summer.  But I don’t want them to totally forget everything they learned in school this year so I do plan to do some activities that will keep their little brains somewhat toned. 

Maintain learning
-Gratitude journals

This will not only keep them in the writing mode, which I think is the skill kids practice the least in the summer,  but will be a great spiritual/emotional practice for them. 

- Pen pals/writing letters to family

There really is no time for such things during the school year, this strengthens their connections       to friends and family while promoting writing skills. 

We have tons of these left over from gifts and homeschool preschool.  Brenna has already asked for 3rd grade level math books for the summer (my nerdiness is totally rubbing off on her!!)
-Summer Reading

Practically every public library out there has a summer reading program.  Take part!  The kids love it and there a great prizes and events.  There are even adult versions.  Be a good role model and participate.  Last year my summer reading project was Harry Potter, this year Lord of the Rings!  Catching up on my kid lit! 

New Skills
My kids are going to be doing many more chores this year than last.  They are ready, if not willing.  They are going to be learning more cooking, canning, cleaning, gardening  and crafting skills.  Brenna has already asked for her sewing lessons to resume. 
Brenna age 4, Spring 2009

I really want us to be a family that gives back.  We are looking into volunteering with various local groups.  Some of our ideas are helping at food banks, charity clothing/furniture stores, retirement homes and local nature preserves pulling invasive weeds and picking up trash. 

Learning things not taught at school

-Money / Finances

Most schools don’t teach the basics of money management.  We hope to start our kids on a basic budgeting system this summer.
-Nature study (very informal)

Mom and Dad have just a *little* expertise in this area.  We mostly do this on hikes and by casually telling them about any creature or object they are interested in.  If we don’t know we look it up. 
Swim lessons

This to me, is a necessity of summer until kids are accomplished swimmers. Our local park has a great 2 week session. 
Brayden 3, Summer 2009 @ Michigan City Beach on Lake Michigan

Of course we have lots of other fun things planned, a vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, camping around the state with family & friends, beach visits, fairs, lounging in the hammock with a book, picnics, playgrounds, playdates, soccer and VBS of course. 
Summer 2008, Brenna 3 Brayden 2 @ Brown County Fair.  My gosh, they are so little here!

I hope you are looking forward to summer with your children as much as I am!

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