Tell me you’re torn too.

In less than 3 weeks, school is out.  Children will be home full-time for the summer.  I can’t figure out if I’m thrilled or terrified.

No more frantically getting children out the door to the bus in the morning.

No more papers to sign and return or send emails about when I lose them.

No more volunteering at the school and putting books in to ziploc bags for two and half hours straight.

No more packing lunches.

No more backpacks and their contents scattered on my kitchen floor.

versus:

No more one-on-one time with the kids when their staggered school schedules send them out and bring them home at different times.

No more quiet, alone time for 6 blessed hours a week when they were actually all in school and preschool at the same time.

No more leaving my children’s education and daily schedule up to some one else.

No more dealing with them in shifts.  It’s all three, all day, every day.

Yah, it’s a tough one.  I acknowledge this makes me a total mom wimp.  I had all three at home all day for several years and a few summers after that, but you know how it is.  Once you’ve tasted the sweet flavor of freedom, it’s hard to go back.  I admit there’s parts about it I enjoy, but I’m determined to have a plan.  I  need a routine in place or we will all drive each other absolutely nuts. “Mom, I’m bored. What can I do?” I’ll be able to face that first week they’re back home if I know how the summer will go.  Here are my ideas so far:

  • 30 minutes a day of summer reading
  • 30 minutes a day of workbook pages or writing exercises
  • daily chores
  • Some kind of scheduled activity each day of the week, probably mid-day, some spilling into the afternoon.  Ideas for now:  1.  Library and lunch (picnic or eating out),  2. Creative Projects (art, crafts, sewing, gardening, etc.), 3.  Meal planning and grocery shopping (I’m going to let each child choose one dinner recipe a week and buy all the ingredients for it at the store.  Then the day we eat it, they can help me make it.), 4.  Service (I’m looking for some kind of formal volunteer opportunity we can all do together.  Hoping for Meals on Wheels.),  and 5. Outings (preferably free.  Parks, canyons, walks, …. any suggestions here?)
  • Free time and play time in the afternoons.  Hopefully lots of sunny days for swimming and outside play.
  • Quiet time (ha! I’m really going to try) while I’m fixing dinner.  Kids in own rooms doing reading, listening to books or music, quiet play, etc.
  • I’ve been tossing around the idea of teaching them some Spanish this summer.  I was a darn good Spanish teacher in my pre-kids life and I’ve got all the materials I need.  I should do it.
  • We’ll do one family camping trip a month.  It’s hard work, but we love it.
  • I also thought about making a “bored box” with ideas in it that they have to pick out and do if they ever tell me they’re bored.

Some people will think all that’s just craziness, but it helps me a lot to have a blueprint to work with.  There will be lots of flexibility.  Plans will change on any given day due to weather, sickness, laziness, holidays, calendar events, or children spending half the day in time-out (I’m a realist.).

What are some of your summer plans and strategies?  I’d love to hear them.  Are you excited?  Worried?  Seriously, are you torn too?

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37 thoughts on “Tell me you’re torn too.

  1. My summers are always more successful when I have a daily and weekly schedule.

    I am also torn about having the kids home. At some level I am excited, but also terrified. My sister and I are getting together this week to finalize our weekly schedule and field trips.

  2. How old are your kids? Are they old enough to have input? Have you asked them what they want to do? Is your husband at work all day during the week? Evening/Twilight activities are fun especially when you can turn dinner into a picnic so he can be there to, that is if he is at work during the day. Where is it that you live again, I know it says on here but I forgot. When my children were young we lived in Utah and I would always sign them up for Summer classes at either BYU or The University of Utah they have all sorts of fun Summer classes for kids that are very hands on and they loved it. If there is a University near you they might have some fun options. My kids loved the drama and art workshops and they were always so excited to put on their final performance. Then there is always scouts, and girl scouts, depending on where you live though and the ages of your kids. Maybe you could volunteer to do Meals on Wheels for Spanish speaking individuals, that way you can kill two birds with one stone. You could work on Spanish at home with your kids and they could practice some of their words when you were doing the volunteer work. They could name the foods, or visit with someone that you deliver to. I’m not sure exactly how that works but that makes sense to me.

  3. I’m totally torn. I love having them home, but at the same time, they are all so loud! We’re doing swimteam this summer for my three oldest, so that should take up some time and wear them out pretty good, and then the library a bunch and lots of park playing too.

  4. Wow, that’s so soon! We don’t get out over here until the 22 (just before Corpus Christi). I love your plan. Great! I did something similar last summer and it worked out really well, except I planned on going swimming, to the library each once a week and I don’t think we ever did either thing. But we had jobs and reading and times they could be out with their friends (the summer before they were just out all day with friends. It was awful for me) and they had to be in the house for quite hours at the sunniest/hottest part of each day for lunch and journal writing/reading/sometimes TV. It was awesome. I think I may borrow some of your ideas this year too. I really wanted to do themed weeks last year with art projects, activities and outings on the subject, but I’m just not organized enough for that, I don’t think. We’ll see this year…

  5. Ha, nope, no such feelings over here. Being homeschoolers we’ve already got a routine in place that makes summer days just as easy as the rest of the year. Good for you on planning ahead, routines are great! We school all summer during those hours of the day when it is way too hot and humid to do anything else (we don’t have a pool or access to one, though we do use a sprinkler some).

    Honestly, I can’t imagine what life would be like with the children having a separate life for more than 40 hours a week during the school year from age 5 on up. I think that would be hard.

  6. I think teaching your kids Spanish would be great. Would you consider offering a class to neighborhood kids as well. I’d pay to have my kids in a class to learn another language. Let me know what you think.

  7. Each summer I read one of the Harry Potter books aloud to my kiddos, at the end of the summer we have a Harry Potter party and watch the movie together (which they aren’t allowed to see until after we read the book). This summer we will be reading the 5th book. It’s a great way to spend time together when kids start to get bored or the afternoons seems really long. After a day of swimming (which is all you can do in the summers where we live) we will pop some popcorn and snuggle on my bed to read.

    We also do academics every morning – reading, math, penmanship, recitation and world history (Susan Wise Bauer’s The Story of the World series is amazing!). Afternoons are reserved for outings and the pool. It also helps to have quiet time every day for everybody (including Mom) for reading, resting etc.

    One other book we really enjoy is Unplugged Fun. Full of great ideas for kids of all ages.

    I wish I knew a mom that was teaching a foreign language – what a great idea!

  8. I am with Tristan, I homeschool our littles and so for us it is different. I actually look forward to not doing the daily lesson plans and just rolling with it. :)

    I do have a summer fun chart that I made a few years ago. Cocoa posted it and I have been modifying it for a few years now. :) Each year I post my charts activities with links on my blog.

    Your plan looks great, hope it works for you and you can enjoy your littles while they are home with you.

  9. I love all of your ideas. Cinemark movie theaters have a thing called ‘summer movie clubhouse.’ Each week they play a kid’s movie (not new, but pretty recent). It is $5 per kid for ALL the movies. Or if you don’t want to go to all the movies you can just go to the ones you want and pay $1 each to get in.
    I try to do as many things that are air conditioned as I can in the summer! We have a pass to the Children’s Museum at the Gateway in downtown SLC and a pass to Kangaroo Zoo. Also, you can check your county rec for some fun outdoor classes/sports programs. We’ll be doing swimming lessons too this year. Good luck!

  10. I am looking forward to the summer, but by August I am always ready to send them off!
    Summer day camps are huge where we live, but I could never justify spending $150+ each week to send them when I was home perfectly capable of caring for them myself.
    So I got together with a friend and we put on our own day camp of sorts. I blogged about it last year on my now private blog, but did just post last years flyer that we made.
    We picked a weekly theme and read books, did crafts, and went to the free things like story time, sprinkler park, pool, etc. We threw in some cooking lessons for the big ones and always made time for quiet/nap time.
    The kids had a blast making teepees, camp shirts, and making chalk murals on the park sidewalk. It was fun to not have to do it all myself when we got together with other friends. So far I have scouted out free bowling passes, $1 summer movies, free concerts in the park, and free museum days. The local creamery gives free tours and lets you bottle feed the calves.
    We just moved to a new place and don’t yet have a mom friends network, we might strike out on our own or maybe make some new friends by inviting the neighbor kids along.I am pretty sure if I set up a slip n slide in the complex common area it will be an instant party.
    i love the idea of a pre-movie read aloud leading up to a party. my kids aren’t quite old enough for Harry Potter, any other suggestions?

  11. Oh Steph, you’re awesome! I am totally torn… and anyone who says otherwise is NUTS!

    But you’ve got a PLAN! and that always helps :)

    Good Luck… we would love to get together for a BBQ sometime this summer :)

  12. Yes, I am also torn. I love having them home, to have our schedule free, to be the one telling my children what to do and when to do it. However, I live for the moments of quiet freedom school offers me.

    I love the meal/menu planning idea. I am going to try this too.

  13. I love summer! We plan to go to the beach every second we can, some camping, and some work books in the morning.
    I do like your plan, and I should make up a little schedule to hopefully bring some order to the summer.

    • With only one is school right now, I am anxious to have him home to entertain his brother again! The days are so long for #2 — it’s really hard on him.

      Your ideas sound great!!!! I need to get workbooks for the summer. We bought the passes for Trafalga/Seven Peaks so we will be doing a lot there this summer, along with piano lessons I teach and park dates. And we will have to get together when all our boys can play!

  14. I’m torn (for me it’s EIGHT hours a day of quiet–I’ll miss that!) but I’m mostly excited. I love the non-routine hours of summer and being with the girls. I dread the fighting that is inevitable. We have to make our firm summer plans, which for us includes chores, reading goals, a little school work, and this year-a pool membership. Plus some little field trips and going out of town for a few days. (Am looking for a body double in which I can accomplish all of this…)

  15. I feel your pain. And I only have one kid in school. She was home yesterday and oh, my, the SQUABBLING.

    Becky at Pensievity did this awesome program where she had a theme and worked crafts and adventures around it. I think I’ll dig back into her blog and steal some ideas. =D

  16. We just moved so I pulled the kids out of school early. That’s an extra week and a half of 5 kids all the time! Definitely torn! Throw into the mix that we are trying to establish a new normal in a new place with a new baby and it should be an interesting summer!

  17. Ok, I guess I’m one of the nutty ones. I love having my kids home in the summer. Do they drive me crazy sometimes..yes! But I like to have them with me and not in someone elses hands 6-7 hours a day. I know what you are thinking, but no, I would not be a good homeschooler!
    Plus, it is most likely the last summer my 17 (almost 18) year old will be spending the summer with us. We are going to have fun!! We have a morning routine (bedrooms cleaned, chores done, scriptures etc, reading), I do like to have some quiet time during the day..but with 5 kids and broad age ranges (3-17)that doesn’t always happen. I want me kids to recharge, have fun, be kids! Stephanie you have great ideas. I take my kids out of all their normal “activities”. They do swim team in the summer (my son is on the high school team so he has practice all summer, 6:30a-8:30a, which I love because it means he’s early to bed). Other than that we do summer library, swim, boat and play. I think this summer we will go to the humanitarian center in AF on Wed for some service. I love summer!

  18. I’m in the {three at home all day every day} bracket…but my oldest goes to kindergarten in the fall and I cannot wait!!!

    Love the structure…but at the same time, we just wanted to play. After we got our piano practice, swim practice, journal writing and reading done in the mornings, our mom let us play…it helped that we had the whole farm to explore and play on, but we had SO MUCH FUN just playing. :) Good luck!

  19. I guess I’m one of the crazy ones. I love summer and having my kids home. I prefer the drama of having my kids underfoot and arguing some to the drama of homework, getting everyone ready and out the door and all the other school craziness. We do have a loose schedule. Mondays are reserved for working on scouts or Faith in God activities for the older kids. (Also keeps everyone around to help put the house back together after the weekend.) Then a library day, a read-a-thon afternoon (complete with treats picked just for that,) one day for a “field trip” activity when we often invite cousins or friends to go with us, and the other days left open for playing with friends, swimming or doing whatever. I do make my kids do swim team, practicing, workbooks and jobs every morning before we get to the fun stuff, though.

  20. I didn’t have time to read the other comments so I may be saying exactly what they did…But I can’t wait for school to be out!!!! I only have one though so that may be the difference…A couple of summers I was babysitting so I made “The Jake’s Summer Fun Box”. We decorated a Rubbermaid container and I got cheap little things (silly puddy, new markers, books, matchbox cars…) that when he just needed some attention and I couldn’t give it to him he could go and grab a treat. Your plan sounds great!

  21. I hear ya with the “free” time being swept away like it’s nobody’s business. I like your ideas!!! Keep ‘em coming!

  22. I love the idea of a bored box, but I’d have to be mighty sure I’m willing to also do whatever gets pulled out at the drop of a hat. Because that’s how things go around here.

  23. You should try theheadoftheclass.com . I LOVE it!!! It’s a fun way to continue learning – through worksheets and things online… And you can customize the whole thing for each child, if you want.

  24. I haven’t read all the comments yet, but one tip I got from a friend’s mom growing up was this: If you ask me for something to do, I will offer three suggestions. If you ask me again after that (ie, you don’t like my ideas), I will assign you extra work! Makes my kids find something to do really, really fast:)

    • fyi, school here is out next wednesday and we are moving to a state with very different school start/end dates. It will be the longest.summer.ever.

  25. Torn, yes. And terrified a little, because now that we’ve made the decision to homeschool, I won’t get to get rid of them come end of August! But, this summer is going to be a whirlwind of trips, parties and acitvities, and the girls won’t be home for more than a week until August. They’re spending three weeks in Kansas on a farm with Grandma and grandpa. It will be wonderful for them, but I think my two year old might have a meltdown without them!

  26. I couldn’t agree with you more! My kindergartner had this week off, and let’s just say I’m going to need A LOT more structure to make it through the summer (or a lot more chocolate). I’ve been trying to come up with a plan the last few weeks. I really like your meal plan idea, especially the shopping part. And I’m a former Spanish teacher as well. I’ve got big plans to have “Spanish time” this summer, but we’ll see how well it goes over with my 5, 3, and 1 year olds. I just came across your blog earlier this week and absolutely love it! Thanks for keeping it real—and so uplifting.

  27. This summer I am not going to make them do as much workbook work as I usually do. I am making them read more. I think they’ll enjoy that more, and it will still keep them occupied. The catch is that I have chosen what they will read and they get to write book reports for me. Plus practicing and daily activities. Last year we did a library day, a swimming day, a park day and an adventure day. The other days we just kind of stayed home and did whatever, or art projects or something.

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