Monday, June 18, 2012

Our Summer "Schedule"

I have been very absent here lately. My son finished kindergarten almost 2 weeks ago and we are just getting into the swing of "summer." It has been a different transition for me to have a day where I think of summer starting vs. the weather just naturally dictating it. I was going to make up some grandiose list like last year, but since I never actually did all those things, plus not knowing our travel plans (still!), I decided against it. I have a mental list of places to visit. We've already checked off the zoo, a pow-wow, a chalk festival, and tomorrow an aviary. Instead my focus this summer is roughly based after this fantastic list from The Power of Moms.
We've been starting the mornings with each kid making his bed, getting dressed and then doing a morning job. (For one boy it is to feed the cats, the other to water my flowers in pots, which would certainly die if they depended on me.) After breakfast we've mostly gone on morning walks, but I also tried out letting them exercise with me inside for a short bit and then going outside to ride bikes, but that failed (they just played and got out almost every outside toy we own.) Today it is a dance party, complete with them choosing the playlist (which is you are curious, has included "Sweet Home Alabama," "Superstitious," "Firework," and "Party in the USA" among others).
Throughout the morning they do some reading, computer learning games (one son is still participating in the Waterford Institute UPSTART preschool program online), workbooks (I picked out the Mead ones the grade level above them), and then the boys' favorite - their writing journals.
My 5 year old literally spent hours working on his one day. He doesn't like me telling him a theme to write about and I am completely fine with free writing. My 6 year old likes to pick out a card with theme on it sort of like the options you can see here at Teaching with Love & Laughter. (You can buy her cards here, but I just made my own and added other topics too.)

We've been a little lax at our reading despite my 6 year old's kindergarten teacher sending home a list of books at his reading level (plus a wonderful packet with activities for every day M-F during the whole summer to do!). We joined a reading program at the library and I told them today is the day we get it in gear. We'll see how it goes. I want both boys to read 15-20 minutes a day (at least during the week, I may give them weekends off). My younger son is more of a beginner reader, so I plan on making a chart for him with pictures of our beginner books so that he can cross them off as he moves on to harder books. And similar to last year, we may have a reward chart after so many minutes or books.
Two more things I am trying to incorporate into our summers are learning about art/different artists and some nature stuff. Reading about different artists will be a learning experience for me too since I know so little about art history that I found the MET in NYC dull. I have this great book, Art Treasury, that has an artist and famous painting of theirs and then a technique to make it ourselves. I also got some general art history books from the library and one specifically about Picasso, since that is who I decided we will learn about first.
As for "nature stuff," we got on a lot of hikes as a family and spend a lot of time outdoors. My kids have already summited a mountain peak (the almost 2 year old in a backpack, the 5 & 6 did the whole 6 miles round trip with their own legs). 
We made some little yarn bags for birds (I will post soon, I promise) and we have been noticing new birds arrive at our feeder, so I've found a list of local birds and we are going to keep track of what we see.
 And that's it for my plans for now. We already do all the general summery things like sidewalk chalk, sprinklers, riding bikes, and so on. I do have a few projects from last year's list and a couple of news ones that I will post as we go. Hope you are having a great summer and see you soon!

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