Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Time to Talk About Summer! (Part One)

It seems like I have been planning this topic for weeks... just never getting around to sharing it with you. So today, the time has come! Time to talk about summer. And I am excited!

I know full well that all of us here today have lives that are similar and different from one another. This topic applies to all of us. If you have a family, it is a worthwhile thing to think about the upcoming 3+ months and what it can mean to your children. No kids? No problem. What can it mean to you?

When I was a teacher, I spent months each school year helping students to reconnect to things I knew they had learned the year before. And, imagine my discouragement when my first graders turned second graders spent months doing the same thing with their new teachers? I felt, even then, that it was a huge waste of time in the school year to have to reteach information that had already been taught and learned by these sweet students.

When I became a parent, I wanted to raise curious children. I wanted them to live in a home that fostered a love of education that was not so tightly tied to school as to their natural drive to discover. Sometimes, we do a pretty good job of that and sometimes not... but it is a goal for us. So, when I see months and months of free time coming, I want to have a plan. I know that school is ending and their time of formal education is transitioning... and now, (now!) I will have all the time in the world to continue to help them grow and develop as curious, little beings who see the world as a place of wonder and discovery.

So, what do we do? What am I planning? Well, there are many topics there on which to blog but let's just start with some goals I have for my children this summer.

1. I want them to relish listening to a story and am seeking read-alouds that I can share with them... a little at a time... over the months ahead.

2. I love how the Bible talks about God's words and His law being sweet... sweeter than honey! I am toying with ways to tie this to a time of Bible study in a very concrete way... possibly involving Jolly Ranchers!

3. I am always looking for ways to connect my children to each other... I am working on what this can look like this summer but am not fully decided on a direction.

4. I would love for my children to work on writing skills this summer. I am wondering if this might develop into something bloggy. Hmmm....

5. I have this big picture dream about how my children might come to understand the full scope of history. I am toying with ideas about what this might look like for us this summer and am really excited about starting this out.

6. I want my kids to help one another eat in a healthy way. Sometimes, we do a great job of this... sometimes we don't. I am hatching some ideas about what it might look like if I partner with a child to help meet this goal. As always, we will grow a huge garden... all doing our part to keep it growing well. I know this will help us in our effort to eat healthy.

7. Nature exploration is a big deal for my kids. I continue to harbor a dream of getting my kids off to see nature in new and amazing ways. This would likely include some travel for us... and will certainly involve a lot of camping which is high on my list of "to do" this summer.

8. DOWNTIME is so needed... so needed. I can feel how frustrated and tired I am with the craziness of May. I know it is harder on my kids. I am envisioning LOTS of time to play, hang-out with friends, jump through a sprinkler, stare at the sky.

9. Academic growth is easy to continue in small ways throughout the summer. This, we will do for sure. I have looked into some new ways to manage this since we have done workbooks for so long! Elizabeth is just starting to read and I want to encourage that with her and help her learn to just love the act of reading and see it all as fun!

10. I am looking for time WITH my children. I want to be with them and watch them and laugh with them and enjoy them every day. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed with the length of summer and I want to find a way to keep that at bay. Hold it off. I want to remind myself, every day, that Noah is 13 and I only have 5 summers with him left. It goes too fast. And it is so easy to wish it away.

So, there are some goals we are working on for the summer. This list is not complete but it is a pretty good start. For me, knowing there are goals helps me to craft a picture that is working toward something that will be meaningful for my children. What about you? What do you hope for your children this summer? What do you think is important for them to experience during these many months off? I would love to hear some of your ideas so feel free to leave a comment. I love comments more than you might guess! : )

Tomorrow, I will talk about some about ways I hope to maintain my sanity during those summer months. Little changes go a long way for me. I have never really worried about this aspect before but after a year of being home alone, it feels different to me this year. So, I want to be proactive. I want to guess a bit at what I will need and make a plan now while I have some time to think.

I have more ideas to share about summer so if you are working on making your plan, be sure to keep checking back. The goals above will be connected to actual activities that we will add to our summer months. I will let you know what those are and am eager to read your thoughts, too. Together, we can create a wonderful span of time that helps our children to stay connected to what they have already learned and to continue to seek growth in a whole new way.

Blessings on your day!

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Great ideas, Nad!!! Not sure what my summer will entail, but once the big transition happens, I will need to proactively make some plans to give a little structure to our days.