Setting up a summer schedule can be a tricky. I had some important things I wanted to take into account when deciding how our days would flow. I also knew I wanted the girls to lean more on the relaxed and flexible side because our school weeks are much more structured and predictable. We all needed a big break and I wanted it to feel that way.
Set Some Goals
I had a few goals for our summer- strengthening some weaker academic skills, continued practice of some stronger skills, and learning some important life skills we ignored during the school year. I also had to think about making all of this work for our school age kids within the framework of my twice-a-day napping toddler.
Schedule is Key
We aren’t champs at following charts here, so I am not sure what makes this one work for us- maybe it’s the scribbled down look or the pretty blue paper or the fact that the girls are independent readers now and can go look at it for themselves- whatever it is, I need to figure it out and repeat it again later.
So, here is what I jotted down that first summer morning:
- Daily Chore- make bed/get dressed, do dishes & load of laundry (mom or dad)
- Summer school work
- lunch time
- rotating chore
- free time
- dinner & dishes
- reading and room inspection
Try a New Curriculum
In order to keep their brains sharp and to tighten up any loose areas of learning, I found a different curriculum company than we normally use. Having something different has been really neat because the girls are asked review questions in a slightly different wording than our usual curriculum. It is helping them to think through math problems and language arts questions is a new way. I like that they are being challenged like this.
As far as their rotating chores, I spent about 10 minutes each day during those first two weeks showing the girls how to do their chore for the day, verbalizing the chore as I did it. Chores have helped them to see that caring for our home requires a team effort. Honestly, it also helps me out with keeping the house a bit cleaner and they are learning valuable skills. I hope to be organized enough during the school year to keep the rotating chores going in addition to our regularly scheduled school work.
Our daily chore, summer school work and rotating chores take about 45 minutes to accomplish. And, if I time if perfectly, the school work happens while the baby rests and I get to check in online or assist with the girls’ school work. Even though I our list doesn’t include free time before lunch, it usually happens that way – or we jump in the car for a fun trip out of the house somewhere.
One of my goals for the girls this summer was to increase reading fluency and stamina. So, sometime in the afternoon or evening, I try to make sure we have mandatory reading time. They had a stack of fun and semi-challenging books from which to choose. We started out with them taking turns reading aloud to me, but have shifted to silent reading and they give me a summary of their chapters. I love that we are at that stage of reading!
Enjoy the Change of Pace
Now that we are several weeks into our summer, I am so glad I took those few minutes to structure our days a little. The familiarity with our schedule seems to keep us happy, my girls are learning some great life skills, and our weeks of traveling are even more special because we all have a break from our chores.
My advice for creating your schedule is to take into account what you’d like to get accomplished, the personalities of your kids and to make it seem very different from their regular school days – whether it be for a week or two for year-round schoolers or the entire summer stretch. We all need frequent, short breaks as well as deep, reviving downtime.
Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.oaksreplanted.blogspot.com