Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Setting up for the Summer Holidays

Summer vacation starts in just one week, and my boys can't wait. But being on a budget, and me working from home, leads to a new set of issues during the summer.

It's a challenge to keep myself organized to keep writing through the summer months - I'm now working for three different publications - as well as keep the boys happy and occupied. On top of that, there's the added difficulty of preventing summer brain drain.

I've been looking at lots and lots of websites and blogs (Thanks Pinterest!), for ideas to not only get organized, but also things for the kids to do, including craft activities, science experiments and recipes.

Over my next few posts, I'll begin to show you some of the things I've done, so far, to prep for summer vacation.

While I have had inspiration from stacks of web pages, I must put in a plug for Susan Heid, aka The Confident Mom. She's put together a really awesome, visually enticing Summer Survival Guide, which has really inspired me. It includes lots and lots of ideas and web links, as well as sheets to print and help you plan everything from your daily schedule, meal planning and even establishing a Summer Standard Operating Procedure! The Summer Survival Calender & Action Guide can be purchased for $9.

Two other really good downloadable/printable guides are the "100 Days of Summertime" by Jennifer Tankersley from ListPlanit.com ($5), as well as the "Summer Survival Guide" from Life As Mom, $9.

Now on to my hard work!

After going through Susan's guide, I sat down with my kids and figured out some of the fun things they want to do, as well as some of the things they need to do every day. After all, even though it is summer vacation, everyone still needs to bathe, brush teeth and dress every day and summer doesn't mean the chores disappear, either. And of course, I want to make sure that my boys don't lose what they learned in school this year (especially math!), so we came up with our list of daily requirements.

Before anything fun can be done, my boys will have to 'earn' their fun time. They're daily list includes:
* Getting ready for the day
* 15 minutes of Math
* 20 minutes of Reading
* Chores

Of course, for my boys anyway, the reading is really easy, but getting them to do math every day is going to be a bit of a challenge. That's why I'm looking at signing up with an online math website that will generate quizzes and keep records of how your kids are doing - IXL.com.

You may want to find a way to reward your kids for doing the school stuff during the summer, as it will help motivate them when they really don't want to be doing school!

My boys will also be doing the Summer Reading Programme at the Bermuda National Youth Library, which themselves give out prizes for reading throughout the summer. It begins on July 2, and they keep the details a tight secret until launch day!

The other thing I've done is plan the different days of the week. I'm not saying I know exactly what we're going to be doing every day during the summer, but I've designated different days for different things.

I've even created this great little chart to print and put on the fridge ("Summer Splash" digi scrapping kit by Sweet Digi Scrap, currently a freebie on her Facebook page!)

Mange Mondays
My oldest is 10, and I think it's high time he at least started to learn his way around the kitchen. He's already excited about learning to plan meals and cook this summer. His younger brother likes to bake, too, so we're planning these fun in-house events for Monday afternoons.

Tour-Guide Tuesdays
Tuesdays are when we're planning on going out and pretend to be tourists. After all, we live in Bermuda - one of the most beautiful places in the world - and so we might as well take advantage of it. I'm sure we'll make lots of visits to the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo, where we have a family membership, but we're also looking to see if we can do tours of places like a local farm or even the printing presses at the newspaper where I publish.

Library Wednesday
Every Wednesday during the summer, they're showing kid's movies at the Youth Library. The cost is a mere $3 per child, to cover the cost of drinks and popcorn. At the same time, we can re-load our bag of books, and read our way through the Summer Reading Programme. On TOP of that, where I go to Zumba is around the corner, too!

Crafty Thursdays
My boys LOVE to make things, especially my 6 year old. Thursdays are when we'll make all kinds of fun things. We're even thinking about customizing our school supplies for September!

Lazy Day Fridays & Family Picnic
It is not summer holidays without a few lie-in days, so Fridays are for chillin' (and giving mom a chance to play catch up with the other stuff!) It'll also give us time to prepare for an evening family picnic when dad gets off work, whether at a park or the beach. Either way, we'll enjoy family time in the outdoors without quite the heat of mid-day.

Thanks so much for reading along! 
Next post? Boredom Busters!

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