Organizing Summer Break


Photo by ‘smil, via Flickr

Summer break begins officially today. It feels like a watershed summer; in the fall Julianna starts kindergarten, and Nicholas starts preschool. When we contemplated the fourth child, I knew life would get more and more chaotic till the day three of them went to school, and then everything would ease off (at least during the day). Until then, I ought to take advantage of having them around.

Well, we’re there. From this vantage point, the days and weeks stretch into the distance–plenty of time for everything I’d like to do with them–but I know the next 11 weeks are going to race by. If I don’t go in with a plan, I’ll come to the end and be frustrated that I wasted the time I had.

Plans are made to be adjusted (and sometimes abandoned), but if you don’t make one, you spin your wheels. So here’s our plan for the summer:

1. Daily chores. We did this last year and it was good for the family. Chore time will be from 8-9 a.m. this year. The kids will work with me for one hour, or until the assigned task is done, whichever is shorter.

2. Late afternoon “chore” for Alex: piano practice at least 4 times a week.

3. Weekly field trip. Some will be local and low-key, others will be full-day undertakings. I’ve been compiling a list for months. The first week is already trying to sabotage me but I am determined to prevail!

4. Personal growth goals. Because I think every measurable season (Advent, Lent, summer break) offers a great opportunity to make oneself a better person. Example:

a) Begin a family gratitude journal. This is mostly for the sake of trying to get Alex to look at life from a glass-half-full standpoint–as we learned this weekend, he doesn’t even remember the good stuff, let alone allow it to offset the bad–but it will be an excellent exercise for me as well, and I might as well indoctrinate Nicholas before he follows big brother’s example. 😉

b) Nicholas will learn to do his “morning chores” by himself. i.e. he will pick his clothes, put them on, and brush his teeth without help.

c) Julianna: ditto. Only I doubt she’ll get all the way there. And we will work with her Sono/Flex on the iPad every day, in the hopes that by the time kindergarten starts in the fall, she’ll be talking semi-regularly, with semi-intelligibility.

There you have it: our family’s summer goals. (Notice I didn’t set any writing goals. I am learning to live in the moment and not let my own concerns overwhelm family life. 🙂 )

Now it’s your turn: How do you organize summer break?

6 thoughts on “Organizing Summer Break

  1. Nancy B.

    Kathleen, THANK YOU for this post! It’s something I’m starting to think about as my kids get out of school on 7 June. The long Memorial Day weekend kicked my butt—we had no schedule and we were going to a lot of parties and things, so we were in and out of the house. Yesterday was a “catch up” day for me—I HAD to get some laundry and cleaning done. This past weekend made me realize I need a plan for this summer—of course, it needs to be flexible since I will be having baby #4 in the middle of the summer! I love your “chore time” and “weekly field trip” ideas—I’m going to have to brain storm for some more ideas!

  2. What shocked me the most when I was on maternity leave with Michelle (mostly during summer vacation) and had a nine year old and a twelve year old, was how little time there was to actually DO anything, between the baby sleeping and the household chores I had put off until I had all that maternity leave time to do them, I finally ended up putting the big ones in camp a couple of days a week so that they could do something and go somewhere

  3. Paul is 10 so his routine is slightly different. He is required to do 4 or 5 small chores each morning and that includes 30 minutes of reading and some writing. Then he is allowed to do what he wants pretty much. We try to keep him busy enough outside in the garden or swimming with friends to avoid the tv/computer/video game thing. Looks like you have a good start.

  4. You have a great plan. I hope it goes smoothly for you. 🙂 Since I homeschool year round, our schedule won’t be too much different then it was before; however, for the summer I switch to a more “project-based” curriculum I put together. Other than than that, he will continue his karate lessons, and go to cub-scout day camp (for one week) for the first time this year.

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