Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Summer Fun!

I think one of the biggest challenges for parents during the summer months, regardless of your schooling status, it trying to keep the kids occupied.  Some homeschoolers school year round and don't have this problem, but I would say that would not be true for the majority.

So, I thought I would share some of the things that we are doing and some tips to help you brave the summer months :)

1. Keep the summer a bit structured.  You don't have to go all out here.  After all, one of the biggest advantages to taking a summer break is that you don't have to watch any kind of clock.  But, you would do well to loosely schedule your days at home.   We do not sleep in all summer.  I know that works for some people, but I don't like sleeping (I know, I'm weird) so I just try to get the sleep I need to function well and then I get up.
Our summer routine looks a bit like this:
  • Wake up at 6:30 (me) and 7:30 (kids) - these times are flexible and not set in stone
  • Eat breakfast by 9 and clean up kitchen
  • Go outside and check on garden, feed fish, and feed dogs
  • Morning chores - the kids have certain rooms they are assigned to
  • Play outside while it is cool enough to (their other choice is to come inside and clean more)
  • Eat lunch by 12:30 or so and then clean kitchen
  • Do chores again, because they have an amazing ability to mess things up
  • Do a reading lesson and a math lesson (we will do this all summer to stay fresh)
  • Go back outside and play in the sprinkler, play with toys in the house
  • Prepare for dinner and do chores again
  • Eat supper around 5:30 and clean up kitchen
  • Watch TV 
  • Bedtime at 9:00 to 9:30
2.  Buy a zoo membership if your zoo offers one or if your zoo is free then make use of it.
3. Check museums within an hour or two of you and see if they offer free days or free summer passes.
4. Picnic at local parks - ours has a grill and everything!
5. Check in with your local homeschool group to see what gatherings they are offering, if they don't have any, schedule one!
6. Arts and Crafts - I used to scrapbook, but then I had more than one kid. But, I have all this scrapbook stuff that the kids love to play with!
7. Do a unit study on or about things related to the summer time - here are some interesting links from Homeschool Share: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/connections__summer.php

Obstacles to fun:

Money:  Some things cost money, and I know that a lot of people, myself included, do not have a lot of this particular resource. But, I took a good hard look at my budget and I found money that we were spending on fast trips to McDonalds and the like. By not spending $25 a trip on fast food, I saved enough money to get the zoo membership ($100) and now we can go to the zoo whenever we like. In reality, nothing is really 100% free and some sacrifices have to be made in order to fully participate in life.

Time:  It is summer, if you take care of things promptly instead of putting them off for later in the summer, then you will have time to drive places.  Our zoo is a little over an hour away.  It is a little bit daunting to think of dragging the kids out and drive a total of 3 hours with them, but if I pack a cooler with luncheon mean, bread, and water bottles, then it seems a bit less overwhelming because I can just spend the day in the city.

Location: You are one that lives in the backside of nowhere, where they are piping in daylight - That can make things more difficult. But if you live that far out, my guess is that you are on some kind of farm and have plenty to do anyway.  :)  But, if you find yourself bored, then I would check out places around you to take a long nature walk with a rolling cooler and explore your countryside.  I would also plan a couple days a month that I was going into town and take advantage of the local city parks and other offerings.

Now it is your turn! How do you plan on keeping the little ones occupied this summer?

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