Monday, July 23, 2012

Update on Summer "Schedule" & Our Summer Reading

I always like hearing updates or longer term reflection on all these great ideas people have online - whether it be discipline, shore charts, allowance, and so on. I figured someone might be interested in a little update on how my proposed summer "schedule" with the kiddos has gone.
First of all, despite all of my intentions to not make a "to do" list, we did. In order to not feel the pressue of getting it all done by school starts, I'm thinking of the term summer very loosely. We've had a few fails (one that is a double fail - once this year and once last. I will post about it though!), but we are slowly chugging along.

As for the morning routine I shared that we had started? Well, that has sort of died a little. They still have to make their beds and get dressed right away, but the morning exercise (preferably a walk) has all but vanished. I really liked that though, so I'm going to try and start again. 
 The morning jobs need adjusting as I think the cats were being overfed and the potted flowers died (between being over-watered and then not watered at all while we were out of town).

The learning segment of the day is less restricted to mornings, but still has been happening. We have done the very best with the writing journals. I can't tell you how much I love them! The workbooks we aren't doing as well on, but also still working on. The reading has changed from my original want of 15-20 minutes a day. Let me tell you how!
I decided to just focus on each boy passing off a book from their reading list to me. Like I said in my other post, my 6 year old got a list from his teacher of recommended books at his reading level. For my 5 year old, I just use our beginner books and found a chart of them online to check off as we go.
The boys know right on the where to find their book that are specifically for "reading time" versus just to look at and read if desired. The 5 year old's are in a basket.
The 6 year old's are next to that basket (and pretty much all from the library - we reserve 10 at a time and when they are done get 10 more).
After they have passed a book off with me, they write the title of the book down on a list, I date it and then check it off on the main list of books I have for each boy. The lists are on just the shelf right above the reading books.
Once a book is checked off, it goes in the return to library pile, or in a bag of completed books -ready to go back into storage until little sis is big enough to start  reading.
I have liked this system way better than a minute requirement each day because I figure - it's summer. I am having them do enough learning things that their brains won't turn to mush and this works really well for us. 
As for the other things I had planned for our routine (art and nature), they are also just sort of going so-so for us. We have a local bird chart and have been watching in the neighborhood, but haven't ventured out in real pursuit yet. We have hiked and been in the outdoors, so that is still great. And, when we went on a road trip earlier this month, we saw a bear along the highway, so that was a great nature sighting! 
 We also saw the drama unfold of a deer almost getting hit by a logger truck, then darting up a hill too steep to climb, then back out into the road and finally to safety in a field. (Not the greatest pictures, I know, but we were mostly watching with out eyes, not through the camera.)
We've only done the van Gogh project for art still, and I'm okay with that. It's another thing I don't mind stretching beyond summer.
One last thing I've added though is learning more about the US, but in a very brief format. I requested from friends and family all over the country to send us postcards (an idea I from Kids Activities Blog) and we're loving them showing up in the mailbox each day. What we do once we get them will be saved for another post! :)

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