So…are there any other moms out there who truly love and delight in their children but at some point mid-summer run out of steam and just want to run away??? Ok, I know that makes me sound like a horrible mother, but I can’t be the ONLY one! The truth is, I love my children and am a blessed and better person, wife, teacher, and daughter of the King BECAUSE they are in my life. But at the same time, I also love my full-time teaching career. So let’s just say that summer break gets a little “rough” for me. As organized and structured as I am on a daily basis when school is in session, I got caught last summer without a plan. The result? Bad. Bad. Summer. I mean, BAD. It’s probably a little ironic that the first poster that I hang in my classroom each fall reads: “If you don’t have a plan, then you’re planning to fail.” So this summer I refuse to let myself and my kids (and consequently, my sweet husband who came home every day and tried to pick up the pieces) go back to that dark place again! Taking inspiration from pretty much the only blog I follow on a regular basis–I Am Momma Hear Me Roar--(Yes, I am publicly admitting on a blog that I am not really into blogs! Not doggin’ them…just not enough margin in my life. I mean, it’s probably better to choose to feed my family dinner than to sit and read blogs for an hour, right?), I have put together seven weeks of lesson and activity plans to provide the structure and mental stimulation that I find myself needing when I’m home with my kids in the summer, but also that will hopefully keep Luke, my rising 1st grader, on top of his skills, introduce and hone basic skills with my preschooler, Noah, and just bond us and bring us together as a Mommy-Son Team.
For all you nuts and bolts people like me, here’s how I got it going:
1. My boys and I created a list of roughly 10 topics or themes that they would be interested in focusing on. From that list that we generated together, I selected one for each week and will base everything that we do around that theme. Since my boys have been starting off their summer with two weeks at “Grandparent Camp” with my in-laws in Delaware, I will be kicking this off on July 8, leaving us six weeks until I have to report back to school for teacher inservice. However, just in case something changes or doesn’t work out, I devised plans for a seventh week as “back-up”.
2. I began my planning by first listing seven to ten words that I would consider “sight words” (to use kindergarten terms), or essential vocabulary, for each theme. These words will go on index cards on a memo board that I have hung in my kids’ art corner where we will probably camp out for a large part of our lessons. One of the first things I will do at the beginning of each week is introduce the sight words for the week. This will provide an opportunity for me to talk about letter blends with Luke and build his vocabulary. By the end of the week, one of his tasks will be to draw a picture on the index card that coordinates with the word which will serve as a good assessment for me of whether or not he has made progress with recognizing the words.
3. On a Word document, I listed the dates of each week, each theme next to the dates, then the following “categories”, so to speak, that I will focus on each week. Those categories are: introduction activity, art, cooking, reading, writing, math, and an outing.
Disclaimer: I have not created everything originally. I have no qualms saying that I took lots of ideas from other mommy blogs, homeschooling websites, and teaching websites. As I post each week, I will be sure to cite where I took the original ideas and, of course, how I tweaked them. Lastly, pretty much the only reason that I am documenting all of this on the blog is because I have already had several friends ask me to share what I’ve put together which I am more than happy to do! I also know that there are many of you out there who are FAR more creative than I am and will have an abundance of fabulous feedback and ideas for me as well. I welcome it all, especially since I teach middle school so sometimes this elementary stuff is a real stretch for me!
Sitting on my childhood best friend’s couch in Indianapolis, Indiana, I now am holding up my glass of wine and mentally toasting: “Here’s to a summer full of sanity and a love of learning!” Cheers…