Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Strickland Summer

Ephesians 5:15-17 says "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." We try to emulate this in our household, but sometimes we find ourselves watching an entire season of Amazing Race within a few days time. ;) In general, we do take this admonishment to heart in our scheduling and daily grind. I find the more proactive we are in our planning the less reactive we have to be. 

I've always been a planner, but not so intentional about summertime until the spring our pastor introduced a new idea at a staff meeting. He challenged the staff and congregation to intentionally think and plan the summer. I am so thankful for his wisdom. He created a template to fill out to consider a few things. I have compiled his template, with a few of my tweaked versions, along with his teachings on this subject into a drop box file. 

Fast forward almost 7 years, I feel a bit rhetorical in our summer planning. SO much so that I have this desire to share the whats/hows of our summer planning and scheduling. Sometimes I fear judgment/criticism as I share. Please know I humbly submit these ideas. Please also know we are an average family trying to pursue the will of God and glorify Him in all we do. We do this imperfectly but nevertheless continue on that great mission for we know it will bear great fruit. 

With all that said, I'd like to share the ways we operate during the summer months. These methods and ideas have been adapted over time from others who have gone before me or have been alongside me in the trenches. Each family is different so take these ideas to use, not use, or adapt as you see fit.

As a homeschooling family, we divide our year by thirds. We have the spring segment (Jan-April), summer segment (May-Aug) and fall segment (Sept-Dec). We organize our home, activities, and academics by these thirds. This helps me stay sane. So, right now we have begun our summer schedule. Yes, May is considered summer in our house! YAHOO! 


FIRST: A few weeks before each segment, I sit my family down with these templates mentioned above. We list out goals, desires, and needs. I get a four month calendar ready and gather, write out, and list all of our commitments, trips, meetings, and such. 

I then plan out certain days to do certain things based off our needs.
--> We will continue to homeschool two days a week this summer. (We never stop reading, learning math and language. I also take this opportunity to help my kiddos with any weaknesses.)
--> We have the other days for fun summer activities. For instance, we have been swimming at a friends pools for 9 years now. They have been gracious to allow us to come every Monday. SO Mondays are swim days. 
--> We also like to have FUN FRIDAYS. This is a time to go do something fun. (Zoo, Nerf Gun Wars, bowling, laser tag, skating, museum, slipnslide, outside adventure of some sort)
In the past we would have SCIENCE DAYS, COOK DAYS, and all kinds of days that met needs and activities that stretched our family in a good way.

SECOND: Once the calendar is all organized, I create a weekly schedule so everyone knows what to expect each day. I print and laminate this weekly agenda and post it up by the calendar. 

NEXT: A valuable resource I found was the acronym BORED. How many times do you hear the kids say "I'm bored!" Or want to just veg out on media?? This BORED acronym has revolutionized my household. I tweaked the original I found to fit my family. I printed and posted it by the calendar. You will notice the weekly agenda has it listed too on each day of the week we are not schooling.

Ways we flesh out BORED.
B: This is the opportunity to let your kids create. Usually its something with Legos in our house. Sometimes I make them draw something. Or what a great way to get these kids cooking! Today DJ made cookies for a gathering tonight. 
O: Outside play is self explanatory. Early in the morning is a good time when its too hot. We also have a small pool for the boys to waste some energy on. 
R: I make the kiddos read AT LEAST 30 minutes each day. We usually do this in the afternoon. It makes for a nice quiet time. We have certain books we read over the summer, but the most of the reading is pleasure reading.
E: This is a double E. No one has complained thus far. One E is less gratifying than the other. The less gratifying, exercise, can be walking our dogs, using our step master, or doing rounds of pushups. I usually measure what exercise will look like each time. (ten pushups, 300 steps, two blocks of walking the dogs, etc) The more gratifying E is earning. I created an opportunity for the kiddos to earn money OR media time. Behind each card is either money or minutes for media. The kids sure do enjoying the fruits of their labor.

D: There is alot to do around here. I am always willing to accept any help I can get. Helpful things can include checking the mail, helping with a chore, or assisting with a meal or a project. The sky is the limit here. 

LASTLY: While I like order and structure, I've learned I need to allow room for spontaneity and life's curveballs, and more importantly, the Holy Spirit, who cannot flow in and through me if I remain rigid and closed. So we allow room for changes and adjustments to our schedule as needed. 

Here is to a fun, refreshing summer!

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