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Looking Forward to Summer Break

March 26, 2009

Although I had not planned to take a spring break from homeschooling, after a week of listening to every kid in the neighborhood play outside, I decided to give the girls this week off of school.   The kids in our district still have another week off, so for the last couple days, we’ve been playing outside for hours at a time.

I asked the girls, “What do you want to do that we never seem to have time for during school?”  So, we are: walking to our park, painting, watching movies, and sleeping a little later than usual. 

All this makes me look forward to our summer break.  Every summer, I plan some sort of activity each day during the week for summer.  These are just simple, fun things for the girls to look forward to and to keep me from becoming a lazy slug.

Here are some of the ways I’ve made it fun:

Calendars:  For each day of summer break, I list one fun thing to do, and cover it with a small square of paper with a sticker on it. The kids loved it, and looked forward to peeling the sticker off each day to reveal a fun activity.

Idea jars:  Here, I let the kids fill out little slips of paper with things they want to do and each day, they get to pull one out and do it.  I kept two jars, one for at-home fun and one for local outings.  That way, when I could afford an outing, we would pull one from that jar.

Lists:  One year, we just made a huge list of fun things to do and every day we decided what we wanted to do.  We did not come close to doing it all, but I drew from that list of ideas for years!

A weekly basic schedule:  One year, we did a craft each Monday, a game each Tuesday, cooking on Wednesdays, outings on Thursday, and some sort of themed little party each Friday. 

Theme Twists:

Themes are perfect for unifying art projects, outings, cooking, movies, parties, books, music, and more.  The idea is definitely from my preschool teacher days, and the kids love this.  I probably won’t do it this year, though, since I am unit-study fatigued from school at home!  Here are some ideas to find themes:

Country studies:  One summer, we picked different countries and all our activities had to do with that country’s culture.  We had a party at the end like a Mexican fiesta or an English tea.  Very fun!

Food themes are also fun to weave into the weeks.  We’ve done chocolate, apples, bread, and more. 

Books:  Certain books have rich themes you can pull ideas from for a week or more.  We love the American Girl books and classics like Little Women.  Books of the Bible like Esther are nice to explore as well.

Movies:  We love movies around here, and certain ones can inspire many theme-based ideas.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Bee Movie, the Little Mermaid, and historical movies like Gone With the Wind are some ideas. 

Animals and other critters: Animals and insects are fun to read about, draw, observe, and even cook treats for.  Movies for movie parties are plentiful!

Famous people:  Coco studied Billy Graham one week and wrote him a letter.  He sent her a letter in return that she still has.  She also learned about Beverly Cleary as we read the beloved Ramona books.  Good role model celebrities are fun to learn about, too and their biographies are interesting to read, and don’t feel at all like school work! 

Tomorrow, I will list some of the simple ideas that appeared on our calendars and in our idea jars. 

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