It’s here! It’s here! Wait…it’s here. I’m not done planning.
I love summer. LOVE it!! Work time and kid time through the year is just a perfect balance (usually). Some say that summer is for no schedule, no list, no clock, no school – just be. I used to say that I think. A large part of me is very creative and random and resists routine. But…(and this is a big but) there is the rest of me that is, was, and always will be a teacher. What I have realized is that at least one of my children REALLY needs a schedule. Truth be told, everyone does better when we have some sort of routine.
I also know the challenge of fitting in authentic child centered learning amidst testing schedules and system mandates. I would like to think that keeping them on track in the summer could be an opportunity for learning their way at their pace…sort of.
I have thought a lot about it. I have made so many lists. I have had great intentions many summers in a row. This summer, we have begun. I feel great about it. I’m glad to share what we are up to and you are welcome to follow our lead or be glad your summer is nothing like that or somewhere in between those two opinions. I am sharing just in case you do want to keep things going and do happen to have a child that really needs a schedule but are just not certain how/where to begin. I am not worried that I am doing it wrong because I am responding to the human beings in front of me and when that is your focus you are right on track. I know that with great certainty and I am certain about few things in this big wide world.
First, I made a list of summer goals. Then, I thought about how to ease into a routine. Finally, I knew there would be no buy in if we didn’t create our plan together. The cool thing is, by laying everything out they were able to see the bigger picture as well as the small steps to get us there. We started with a family meeting yesterday morning. Our list was Summer bucket list (always start with the fun), list chores (sneak in the work), list schedule, plan today, plan week, room lists. I know my air time/their capacity to focus is limited, so we will be following up in days to come talking more about food choices, screen time, and what allowance looks like in the summer.
They made their list of everything they would like to do this summer. I have a feeling we will add to that as time passes. Next, we listed all the chores that need to be done, who will do them, and how often they need to be done. Then we started on the daily schedule. I told them there were just a few non-negotiable items as well as many choices. We are starting the day(after breakfast) with 15 minute activities to practice reading, writing, and problem solving. After that we take care of chores for 30 minutes, snacks and meals, end the day with reading together and reading in bed, and beyond that the world is their oyster! We have a chill out time after lunch and a project time for cool stuff we want to play around with as well. We are starting slow. Today we did the morning routine and just one 15 minute activity – journaling. It wasn’t beautiful, but you know what? They were able to maintain writing stamina for 15 minutes and that is a fine starting point. They rocked their chores and we really didn’t have a lot of arguing about it. That in itself was awesome! I also hope to do an author study together but we will see what comes to pass. The cool thing is that they totally realized that when we take care of business, we still have about 9 hours for whatever we care to do.
That rocks! That rocks for ALL of us:)
Stay tuned if you like and I will share what is working and what was a crazy idea.