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?