Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

By now the golden days of summer may have turned a little bit long. Perhaps you have taken all of your fabulous trips, the children have been to camp, and the grandparents are no longer offering respites for Mama and Papa. School looms around the corner, but it's just far enough away that the whines and daily doldrums are getting to you. We have our moments at Mama Henley's house, and they are not always pretty. I can't tell you how many times I have walked into a room that I had recently organized for the 100th time only to find it completely destroyed. That scenario often happens multiple times a day in the Hurricane/Nature Girl room. Those two are more than a little to contend with at times! :)

To combat summer fights and boredom, we have adapted a summer schedule. I encourage the children to sleep in the mornings. They are all awake by 8am, and we have breakfast and clean up our dishes. Then, I do math or reading with one child while the others read, do math problems, practice typing, or practice piano. Everyone has to brush teeth and hair and make their own bed and straighten their room. Some mornings we have a morning Bible story time but sometimes that happens in the evenings or even the afternoon. Our children are not perfect. The Dsis and tv are a constant battle. It never fails that some of the children are not doing what I asked. However, overall, we have been able to accomplish a lot this summer. Everyone has completed their summer reading so everything we read now is just gravy. We are reviewing an entire math curriculum with one of our children, and it has been going remarkably well. Piano keeps us disciplined as well.

In the afternoons, the children play or swim or sometimes we run errands. The children use their imagination all of the time and it is wonderful to hear. I have been trying to do most of my errands at night once they are going to bed. A trip to Publix or Target is much easier solo than with 5 children. Keeping our days fairly organized makes them more enjoyable. I have been able to work with the children individually but I have also taken the time to clean some closets and cut coupons, etc.

Another great advantage of summer is the time to teach life skills to your children. Since we try to eat most of our meals at home, I have been able to let the children help me cook. Today I taught Tiny how to peel and devein shrimp. She took off all of the tails and arranged them on a baking sheet so that we could roast them for our shrimp salad. I didn't plan to have her help me. Rather, she came in the room and asked. So I stopped trying to rush and I taught her what to do. My inclination was to not let her hands get stinky with the shrimp smell, but I am so glad I let her do it. She learned a lot. Then our Nature Girl asked to shuck the corn. Again, I slowed down and taught that baby some life skills. Summer should be slow and enjoyable. Children need time to play. It's also okay to help them keep up the skills they learned during the school year.

I have learned that our best days are the ones that are loosely organized and I am interacting with them and not just living near them. What about you?


Kristin said...

We don't adhere to much of a schedule other than our swim class dates...It's been fun to plan different things to keep le toddler busy this summer!

Casey said...

I'm finding this summer has been rough on all of us because we are lacking our usual summer schedule. It's ironic that I stumbled upon this post today when I "reinstated" our usual summer routine for this last month of vacation.