Thursday, May 20, 2010

Loosli Learning Adventures Camp

Last year we had a really great June.  We always go up to Bear Lake for all of July (it's heavenly to hang out on the beach day after day with my sisters and all our kids) but before last year, June had typically ended up being either boring or stressful.  One year we tried just lounging at the pool and doing whatever came up. After a week or so, we were all pretty bored.  The next year,  I ran the kids around to a bunch of classes to keep them busy.  Then the following year, I actually conducted classes for the kids and all their friends because I found all the classes from the previous summer to be mediocre at best.  Doing our own tuition-based summer school with classes of 10-12 kids was so fun but SO much work!

So last year, I decided NOT to take the kids to classes all over town and NOT to invite the whole neighborhood over for classes.  Instead, the kids and I came up with our own plan.  We brainstormed all the things everyone really wanted to do for the summer and developed some great activities we'd do together each day (art, "wondering," working on Spanish, reading time, journal writing on fun themes, etc.).  They earned points for doing little activities (group and individual) as well as jobs around the house each day and were able to translate those points into money and save up for something they really wanted at the end of June.  You can read about last summer's plan here.  I loved really following the kids' interests and learning together in a semi-structured way.  Plus we threw in lots of activities just for fun.

Yesterday one our Power of Moms readers sent in a great idea and I think we just might have to steal it to help us with this year's plan.  We'll still do the points and stuff from last year, but I think our "Loosli Learning Adventures Camp" schedule will be based on this idea:
  • Movie Monday (or for us it'll probably be Masterpiece Monday since we love doing art together)
  • Take a trip Tuesday (the park, a museum, a bike ride, a picnic, a friend's house...)
  • Wet Wednesday (a swim/spash pad day/sprinklers)
  • anyThing goes Thursday (a chance to choose from a list of fun activities we'll all brainstorm together at the beginning of the summer)
  • Friend Friday (everyone can have a friend over - nice to do it all at once and protect our family time the rest of the week.  Plus we always have Family Movie Night on Fridays). 
I love being my kids' teacher.  I mean all moms are their kids' teachers in many ways - but it's great to do it in a little more formal way sometimes.  I so admire moms who home school.  While I don't know if I could do it longterm,  I feel like summer's the perfect time set up a "home school" where I can teach my kids about things I really value and love while we really enjoy each other's company.

What are your ideas for making summer fun, fulfilling, interesting and non-stressful?


Eyrealm said...

Fun! You have to see these kids in a picture to realize how fast they're growing up! What a terrific and wonderful bunch!

Sarah said...

Do NOTHING...we joined a pool and we are going to hang out there as much as possible. And visit the library weekly for stacks of books. And my kids are going to do chores chores chores...oh, I'm kidding on that part...well, not all the way. After a busy May I can't WAIT to relax!

Allyson said...

No way, Sarah! NOTHING backfires on me so bad. (Except the first day of summer which is a jammies and movie day - I like to let them get it out of their system.) I love the self-directed "fun" structure summer. It is a mini-homeschool experience and great for all the reasons you wrote about, Saren. For me, this year's challenge is going to be keeping both a two year old and a twelve year old happy. (Sarah?) I have done a summer point system of sorts in the past, but I feel like each year is a new challenge as ages and interests change so I'm needing to fine tune my game plan. (I would love a copy of your point plan!)

Jonah and Aja said...

your cabinets are looking so good!
summer is the best. we are going to take back to the road.

Rachelle said...

I have found a few things that work well and my kids LOVE! Last year on the last day of school they came home to this big sign across the front door, Welcome to Summer!! We had a little mini party that afternoon with treats and a movie. I think it helped set the tone that this is going to be fun and something to be excited about. Yes, there's extra jobs without homework responsibilities (I give my kids fewer chores during the school year), but lots of fun too!! Another thing I have done is had my kids make summer journals (super inexpensive notebooks they decorated - gotta love Mod Podge) where I'd print some 4x6's during the summer and we'd take time once a week to write down some of their favorite memories. It was great for them to do a little writing during the summer, but also to look back at the end of the summer to see what fun times we'd had. They have been asking all year to do these again. I also use the book Parenting Breakthrough by Merilee Boyack (super book!) to set goals with my kids and summer seems to be a great time for some training sessions.

Hilary said...

I have a pretty strict schedule in the summer. It keeps me sane. We can't realy stick to something like this as I work 2-4 days/week during the summer and we just plan one outing.
I do lessons though. We do music stuff and some artsy craft stuff.
These are great ideas!

shawni said...

I've still got my post ready to go on this stuff, except too much other stuff keeps coming up! But next week I"m on it. I loved those ideas on Power of Moms too. (the ideas for each day).
Love ya.

Kat said...

This is fabulous. I love the theme of what to do each weekday, so fun!!!


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