Summer sort of crept upon us.
After our lovely trip to Maryland, where we visited my siblings and explored the beauty of Washington, DC, there was total chaos in our home. Fighting over games, tablets, toys, and personal space ensued. Our living room floor was full of Legos, art supplies, and Cheerios. Our kitchen sink housed every single dish from the cabinets by the end of the day. And I was close to losing it.
Enter our summer homeschool schedule. Aside from keeping our home from going up in shambles, there are three primary reasons we like to incorporate a solid routine into our summer days.
- To Help Our Kids Feel Secure: Like most children, our boys thrive on structure. It offers them a sense of security, which reduces the power struggle, anxiety, and frustration that often comes with not knowing what’s expected of them.
- To Get Some Work Done: My husband and I work from home. While our schedule is flexible, there are some things that must be done during regular business hours. Incorporating “quiet hours” ensures we have an allotted time to complete those daily tasks.
- To Keep Everyone’s Brain Sharp: Trust me when I say summer learning loss is real. Over the years, we’ve discovered making fluency practice a requirement decreased the amount of re-teaching we’d have to do in the Fall. Repetition is one of the keys to mastery for children.
So, what does the schedule entail?
I’ve divided the schedule into three parts: mornings, afternoons, and evenings. This method produces a flexible yet effective routine that our children can easily understand and follow.
Three things are required in the morning before my boys are allowed to enjoy afternoon screen time; reading fluency practice, math fluency practice, and their chore checklist. Putting requirements in place is a great way to monitor screen time without becoming the bad guy who barks orders. I also included a list of suggestions should they complete all their tasks early. Read below for more details on each requirement.
1. READING FLUENCY
First, our boys must read for thirty minutes. My five-year-old is still new at reading so we’ve worked it out where my oldest son does shared-reading with him. There are several studies that illustrate the significance of summer reading to prevent learning loss. However, our reason for ensuring our children hit the books is simply to encourage the lifestyle of reading.
2. MATH FLUENCY:
Next, our boys must do at least one math activity. I made each of them fun interactive activity binders that houses a plethora of activities for math fluency practice. You can read more about it here. These binders are a great alternative to worksheets because the Velcro attachments allow for repeated use until mastery. Additionally, these activities are perfect for kinesthetic learners who thrive with hands-on learning.
3. CHORE CHECKLIST
Lastly, our boys must complete their chore checklist. This checklist is basically a reminder for them to clean up after themselves, which is super helpful to me because I don’t have to repeat myself. Since they’ll either be on their computers or watching TV, completing their chores in the morning means the house is likely to stay tidy all afternoon. I laminated the checklist (and schedule) to make them reusable with dry-erase markers.
Summer screen time is a treat because my boys are only allowed screen time on weekends during the school year. During afternoon hours, they are free to play video games and enjoy what I like to call “mindless screen time.” I define mindless screen time as anything that isn’t labeled educational.
Of course, educational screen time is also welcome and is usually what my boys prefer next to video games. They are really into coding and programming, so they love to follow tutorials and create awesome games and graphics.
Anything they do on the computer must be run by me or my husband beforehand. We intalled all of the apps for the programs and courses they use onto their desktop to eliminate risks that often come with using browsers.
Evenings in our home are scheduled to help our boys get their minds off the screen. It’s also the perfect time of day to take advantage of the outdoors since the sun rays aren’t as harsh.
Since screen time is an easy default, we want to encourage our children to try new things and develop interests apart from television and video games. To reduce feelings of boredom, our summer schedule reminds our boys of some of the things they enjoy doing. Those activities include:
- Playing the keyboard
- Listening to audiobooks
- Telling jokes
- Making crafts
- Drawing pictures
- Playing sports
- Playing board games
- Playing outside
- Playing MadLibs
Not only are these activities fun, but they’re also a sneaky way to incorporate additional learning into our daily summer routine. Of course, most of these activities will hold the attention of older children. But if you have wee ones, visit my friends Zoe, Josephine, and Angela at ThinkBaby.org and read their post “FUN & EDUCATIONAL DIY CRAFT IDEAS FOR TODDLERS.” They’ve got an awesome website full of gems for new and veteran moms!
What happens when we’ve got somewhere to be?
Summer vacation is filled with camps, traveling, sports, swimming, fellowship, and much more! This week, my boys have Vacation Bible School in the mornings. Next week, they’ll have afternoon swimming at our local pool. We try as much as possible to keep them involved with outdoor activities. When we have somewhere to be, we just pick up the schedule where we left off.
For instance, after VBS, my boys complete all their morning requirements and enjoy screen time for the rest of the afternoon. Next week, morning requirements must be completed before afternoon swimming. The remainder of the schedule will commence when we return home in the evening.
Schedules are made to be broken in our home. Therefore, we invite spontaneity. We are known for taking impromptu trips out of town, fellowshipping with friends until the wee hours of the morning, and hopping in the car to attend that local event we just learned about an hour ago. It’s no big deal if we ditch the schedule for things we find more enriching to our lives.
I hope you enjoyed me sharing a glimpse of what our summer is looking like this year. If you’re looking for activities to do with your children this summer, I highly suggest connecting with your local library, homeschool group, or recreation center and check out their schedules. You’d be surprised how many free and low-cost activities these resources have to offer.
Tag, You’re It!
I want to hear from you: What are your summer plans? Let me know in the comments!