Looking Forward to Summer?

I am too.  We "officially" take summers off from school. We swim on swim team and spend a lot of time playing at the pool. But for the kids and me too, summer can be sooooo lonnnnnng and hot! Seven kids hanging around the house with nothing to do can really get on my nerves, quick. So I have learned to plan ahead for summer recreation and education. Actually I like summer time lesson planning the best.

First I decide what general skills I would like the children to learn. This summer there will be piano, guitar, singing, how to mend clothes, and improve their cooking.

Next, I determine what school skills need improving: multiplication, handwriting, creative writing, spelling.

Then, I think about Christmas and what gifts the children might be able to hand make. It’s fun to make gifts in the summer when you aren't pressed for time.  It also helps the children to learn to plan ahead and they gain gift giving confidence from having a few early presents tucked away for the holidays. Usually these are handmade wood or fabric gifts. This year we also added pressed flowers to our handicraft repertoire.

Last, I look at the video store for movies that are historical or literary. My children have no desire to watch these unless I make them. But I know they will thank me for it when they are older. This summer we'll be watching Shakespeare's MacBeth and Romeo and Juliet. I also plan to do a World War I and II theme including:  the PBS series, Sergeant York, the flying ace Barron Von Richtoffen, the Sullivan Brothers movie, D-Day and Pearl Harbor movies, with The Bridge Over the River Kwai, Breaker Morant, South Pacific thrown in for fun.

If you are not familiar with movies that would be appropriate for the your child's age or what he is learning, there are books in the library that have lists. The libraries usually have excellent selections. Our Roswell Library not only has the video boxes on the shelves, but they also have a big black book with many more videos that they keep in the back room.

Speaking of libraries, we also sign up for the summer book club. The kids always beg to do the book club.

We often sign up for short term activities at the recreation center too. We have to pre-plan most  of our family activities. If we don't, there is always someone who will have a scheduling conflict. So we plan trips out of town, and field trips too. When the children were younger than third grade, we could pick up and go out of town on a moment's notice. But now that they are teenagers they have their own schedules that we have to consider too.

Picnics are our family's tradition.  We do a lot of picnics, in fact we eat most of our summer meals outside, on our back porch or deck. And we try to invite friends over at least once or twice a week to eat either at the park, pool or in the back yard.  Mostly I have the children get everything ready so that I'm not worn out.  I count on them for all the paper supplies, blankets, drinks in the cooler (we usually make lemonade, lemon juice, sugar, water), condiments, fruit and desserts. I get the meat and salad.

Other than the video movies, we don't watch TV or play on the computer very much. This gives us time to be outside and do all the extra things we want to do.  I actually unplug the TV and put it away, and erase the games off the computer.  If your children are turning on the TV every time your back is turned and your TV is too big to put away, then you might ask your husband or TV repairman to make a disconnecting plug for it. Then you can remove the plug when you don't want the TV on.

Concentrating on only one or two school skills or art activities for a day or a week works best. Each day we work on a project as long as we need to. Then we'll just leave the sewing machine or the woodworking things out on the table for the next day.  That's the beauty of summer.  We don't always have to put things away, and we don't have to overwork projects either.  Sewing, woodworking or creative writing for a week or two is usually enough.  We don't have to overdo our pass time activities. Little amounts of work are good enough. After all it is summer, a great time to relax, enjoy, and get a tan.  Have a great summer!

Randi St. Denis is an educator, popular homeschool speaker, and a seasoned homeschooling mom. Randi works as a consultant to public, private, and homeschool families; providing teaching expertise and assistance for all types of children. You can visit her website at ChicagoHomeschoolExpo.com.

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One Response to “Looking Forward to Summer?”

  1. avatar Pat Fenner says:

    Thanks, Randi! We included this article in the last-before-the-summer edition of our local support group’s newsletter!

    Great job!

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