As I mentioned earlier, I have really bombed the last few summers. Now that we are settled, I really wanted to be a little more prepared.
Preparing for the summer-time helps me with that.
Here is a run-down of how I got prepared for the summer of 2014:
I started a few weeks before school was out by making my lists.
My lists consisted of:
*Projects that needed to be completed before summer
*Activities the kids would be involved in during the summer
*What I wanted the kids to accomplish
The first list I wanted crossed off before the kids got out of school were the projects. I have a really hard time doing what I have planned for kids when I have projects looming over my head.
Cleaning out our garage was one of the projects that needed completing.
I also wanted to move my older kids to the bedrooms downstairs.
With some determination and hard work, and the help of my husband and kiddos; we accomplished and
crossed off everything on our list.
We are finished with projects for the summer. Projects will have to resume when we aren’t having fun with all the kids.
The next list to cross-off was our activity list.
I started by enrolling the kids in summer activities, and making sure all the dates lined up for us.
Some of our activities included:
baseball, volleyball camp, a dance camp, piano, and swim lessons
I also mapped out all our summer vacations, and made sure our activities didn’t fall in to those vacation times.
Then to make sure I could keep track of it; I made a summer calendar to follow.
I gave each person a color so I could keep track of who was doing what:
We refer to this daily. I have it posted for everyone to look at. This is our lifesaver. Everyone in our family uses this calendar.
I wanted our kids to start learning to be responsible for their own activities. This is the deliberate side of mothering; having a purpose for what you do. This calendar allows them to keep track of what they are doing each day. Sometimes they even have to remind me.
This list included all the things we really wanted to do. This list was something we worked on as a family. This way the kids had input.
swim, have late-nights with friends, go to the library, go to the jump-zone, water activities in the yard, crafts, visit grandma and cousins
With this list, I arranged possible ways to make this work in our summer.
I found a local deal which allowed me to buy passes to the jump zone for the whole summer at such a reasonable price. Otherwise the jump zone would have been crossed off the list.
We live out of city limits so we have to pay to visit the library. I found out that we could buy a reasonable priced pass for the summer. I bought it before summer officially started and enrolled the kids in the summer reading program.
The gym I attend has a pool so that makes swimming so easy.
Then I included the activities into our days:
MONDAY: Make it clean Monday
(as you may notice cleaning was not on the fun list, however you will find it on the accomplish list below)
(extra chores day & laundry)
TUESDAY: Take a trip Tuesday
(we have lessons on this day, and will sometimes take a field trip to somewhere fun or go to the jump-zone)
WEDNESDAY: Water Wednesday
(we will play in the sprinklers, float the canal, go to the pool, or plan a water relay)
THURSDAY: Thinking Thursday
(this is the day we will go to the library, and have fun looking up stuff we want to know)
FRIDAY: Friend Friday
(we can have friends over to do something fun; this will require taking turns and can’t happen every Friday)
A few ideas: have friends over for lunch, night games, movie night or afternoon, or a late night
Accomplish list aka: the to-do list
The last and final list is our accomplish list. I made this list.
This is the list of the things I want my kids to accomplish, and what I want to accomplish. This is the deliberate side of me.
This list requires providing ways to accomplish what is on the list.
These are not the things the kids will ask to do. They may ask to go to the pool, but they won’t ask, “Hey mom, can I sit down and practice the piano for 30 minutes?”
This is where scheduling and preparing really come in to play.
Here is what is important to me as a mother:
I want them to continue to read and write during the summer.
They must continue to practice the piano
I want to continue with our family devotional each day.
I can’t keep up with this house by myself so we will have chores each day.
I want them to learn how to clean so we will have a morning of deep cleaning.
I want them to learn new skills.
I will find teaching moments in any opportunity I can.
With this list in mind, I made our summer schedule:
This morning schedule ensures that we do some important things too.
Once they have finished what’s on the schedule; they are free to play.
Many times we are done before 11am. They work quick because they want to play.
I also made a chore chart as an easy reminder of what needs to be done.
Kids do much better when they see it all laid out in front of them. When they know what is expected they can be successful.
When I don’t have to nag them, I am a happy mom.
Tessa’s chart has pictures:
They also have a chart for their Monday chores which is the day we deep clean.
I always type up our devotional info.
What do we do for devotional you ask?
We have done devotional each morning during the school year it takes 15 minutes and consists of:
reciting the primary theme and scripture from our church
reading a few verses or a chapter of scripture(we are reading the Book of Mormon right now)
Each person has a copy of all this information,
…and then all this info goes into their own binders.
It’s easy to access and makes our home run efficiently.
You may be thinking this sounds like a lot of stuff to do each day, but I am amazed how they actually get it done in much less time then I allotted.
I recently read a book about raising children. One chapter was devoted to teaching our children the value of hard-work. The author shares her story of working on the farm she grew up on. She told about how it made her feel to contribute to her family. She felt as though she was needed and they couldn’t do it without her. I want my children to feel that way about running our home. I really can’t do it without them, and I need their help. Each and every child in our home is needed, and I hope they feel that way. Not only because I need their help running our house, but they all contribute differently to our home.
I know it may sound crazy to write it all down and put it in a binder, but if it’s right there in front of them; they know how to help.
When I was sick laying in my bed our kids would handle devotional in the morning all by themselves. I am grateful for their example.
The other part of my list is teaching my children to learn new skills and find those little teaching moments. These skills might be teaching them how to take care of the yard, or how to clean out the car.
Sometimes teaching moments just come upon you and you have to jump right in and teach them something.
Most recently, I have had 4 girls in my kitchen baking. It has provided the opportunity for Stella to learn the skill of baking. I have set them FREE and let them do it all on their own, and I just direct them and answer questions.
I had my own learning moment the other night when I went down and saw the mess. I wanted to SCREAM.
I counted to ten and realized this was yet again another teaching moment.
This was an opportunity for me to teach them about the importance of cleaning while you cook, and how to clean up after you cook.
I am thankful for the opportunities I have to teach them, even if I do want to pull my hair out at times.
Sometimes I think we forget that there are things they don’t know unless we show them.
I also love all the moments of fun we get to share.
When you have a family of 6. Sometimes it takes planning to work in all fun, chores, and activities that everyone wants or needs to be a part of.
So I know you are thinking…
Are we ever spontaneous and forget the binders and lists?
All the time, but then when it’s time to get back on track. We can do that too.
We are completely flexible. I will let you in on a secret. This week we went to the pool on Tuesday instead of water Wednesday. Did I hear you let out an audible gasp? We are keeping it real, and doing what works. With the reminder that a schedule can also provide the opportunities we are looking for.
How do you make your summer more memorable and enjoyable?
Here are some other summer ideas from years past: