I have to say I'm quite pleased with our Learning Adventures Camp this year. We've been going for a couple weeks now and the kids are really getting into the summer routine nicely.
Here's our summer camp binder. Inside, there's a chart where the kids check off their "must-do's" for each day (they're supposed to do six things a day - reading, writing, working on a goal, physical activity, household jobs and doing one "extra" activity they can choose from a list of learning/growing activities). There's also a list of everything the things they can choose from to accomplish each of those six things.
It did take a few days to get everyone into the routine, but since they helped form the program, they were pretty bought-in and they seem to really like this whole "camp" routine. They can do their "must-do's" in the order they choose but they have to do them right after breakfast and their "must-do's" need to be done before they can do anything else for the day (well, sometimes we switch things around because we've got a field trip or a special activity in the morning and the kids do their must-do's in the afternoon...)
A week or so ago, we went on a trip to St George for a week (to enjoy a Power of Moms planning weekend with April and her family, see old friends, and get our house ready for the renters - yeah! we finally found some great renters!). I was really happy to see that all the "must-do's" were pretty darn portable. The kids each brought a book and the composition book where they're doing all their summer writing. I brought the binder. We did lots of swimming and biking and tennis on our trip which helped the kids towards some of their summer goals so it was easy for them to accomplish their goal-work point each day as well as their physical activity point each day.
Most days, the kids just get up and get going on their must-do's without me reminding them much which is heavenly. And I'm getting Power of Moms work done while they get useful stuff of their own done. Plus we're also having SO much fun with our "weekly adventures" (explained below).
We've promised the kids a trip to Lagoon (an amusement park near us) when they reach a collective total of 440 points (they can each get 30 a week so if they get a perfect score, in one week, the 5 kids can get 150 points. In three weeks they can earn 450 but there's some wiggle room there by setting the goal at 440 so a few points can be missed here and there). I'm loving seeing the kids encourage each other along so that they can reach their much-anticipated goal together.
Here's Liza helping Oliver with his writing. Eliza's the best at her must-do's, I've got to say. She's so into this.
Here's a page from Silas's summer writing book. We have all these writing prompts kids can choose from or they can just write about what they've been doing or write a descriptive paragraph about a family member or a place. I love having them just pour out their thoughts on paper, no worries about spelling or punctuation. We'll worry about that stuff later. This summer I just want them to learn to enjoy capturing their thoughts on paper.
For their "extra" point one day, Eliza and the twins put together a great rendition of a favorite song - Eliza on vocals, Oliver playing the "cymbals" (a metal chair) and Silas playing the "drums" a trash can. Love how creative they get...
The house is staying quite clean (and the kids are really liking the new system of everyone doing 2 5-minute cleaning tasks each day from my long list of bite-sized tasks instead of doing big jobs on Saturdays). I'm not sure if they always look THIS happy about cleaning. But this new method involves a lot of quick wins instead of long drawn-out 1/2 done jobs and lots of complaining.
|the wildflowers in the mountains 5 minutes from our house are so pretty right now|
|we hiked to this beautiful waterfall|
In addition to their "must-do's" each day, we've got a weekly schedule of fun adventures that give a little shape to our brainstormed "bucket list" of activities we all want to do this summer. We've got "Make-it-Monday" where we do creative building and art projects, "Take-a-Trip Tuesday" where we go on field trips, "Wet Wednesday" where we do sprinklers or swimming or that sort of thing, "Thinking Thursday" where we learn about something new that we've been wondering about via YouTube or Wikipedia or a field trip, then we do "Friend Friday" where we get together with friends (and sometimes we have friends join us for other adventures...).
Here we are at Great Harvest learning all about how bread is made. The huge machines were fascinating and the big hunk of hot bread they gave us at the end wasn't half bad. Free.
The hair nets made us all look beautiful, huh?
We headed to the new City Creek Mall for one Take-A-Trip Tuesday and had a great time exploring downtown SLC. Free, fun, easy.
great blog post all about her recent trip to Thailand and that combined with the Thai food we've been making so much lately (see recipe in my last post) made for a fun afternoon of finding answers to our questions about Thailand (and swimming with elephants is now on my kids' lifetime bucket list...). Then we "went" to France by reading my mom's post about her recent time in Paris with my dad and sister Saydi and family (they're living in London) and asking and finding answers to the questions that arose. We learned all about the way Notre Dame was built and explored the Pompidou Center's modern art and had a french crepes for dinner. Plus my brother send me a link to the trailer for the new movie of Les Miserables and that prompted me to tell the kids the whole classic story of the book to the kids as a bedtime story (a very long one that had to be broken up into two parts - they LOVED the story and I loved remembering it as I told it - what lessons about justice and mercy and goodness and second chances...).
I love teaching my kids and being with them. Sure, there are times they're excited about showing me something when I'm busy with something else and it's frustrating for both parties - and there are times I'd really like to have a little more quiet and personal space. Yes, there are surly, less-than-excited moments from a certain pre-teen (but actually, things are a lot better there lately...). Yep, there are times when plans don't turn out right and everyone's disappointed (but flexible plans sure minimize a lot of that). And sure, there are squabbles (today Silas came to me crying that Oliver had attacked him and jumped on his back. Oliver responded, "well, Silas attacked my FEELINGS and that's just as bad!"). But all in all, I'm loving this summer so much.
So anyway, there's my report so far. We are having a really really great summer. Sure there are squabbles and hard moments. But really, things are turning out quite beautifully so far.
After putting all this "summer camp program" together for my own family, I figured I might as well "gussy it up" a bit more and offer it to the whole Power of Moms community (and YOU, my blog readers, of course). If you want all the materials you need to get your own Learning Adventures Camp set up, check out the info HERE.