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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's Summertime!

Recently I've had several questions about how we 'do' summer.  You know, do I just hang out or do I keep the kids busy in camps and what-not?  That sort of thing.

 Honestly, I have to assess that every year based on the ages of my kids.  I almost always end up leaning heavily toward the just hanging out side.  Summer {to me} is a time to relax and clear the calendar from all the 'have to's' of life.   I want the freedom and flexibility to be spontaneous during the summer that we just can't have during the school year.

I find my kids are happier if they are not scheduled from early to late as well.  They enjoy being home with time to read, play with neighbors, or just... play.  Whatever it may be - house, school, playing at the pool with cousins or hanging out at the tree house.  Seldom do I hear, "I'm bored."  In the rare case that I do hear that, it has much more to do with needing a nap or an attitude adjustment.  :0)

Near the end of the school year I assess each kiddo and what they might need reinforced throughout the summer so there is little to no regression.  I am a huge advocate of reading and we all spend one morning a week at the library checking out books and magazines.  We also get a book or two on disc to listen to as we drive.  This a great way for them to receive the same  benefits as me reading aloud to them {it is also a great way to keep bickering to a minimum! :0)}  We listen to a variety of books as I have both genders and an age range from 7-13.  I try to get Newberry Award winners as they have a higher vocabulary level and a greater depth of story.  The main character also changes in some way during the story and it is fun to discuss that with the kids as we drive.

Back to my point of each child working on something... maybe they need a little bump in math or spelling over the summer or, as is the case with my very nearly 13 year old, mastering some life skills such as cooking and laundry.  If I have them involved in too many camps, etc., I have no time to teach these things.  Not to mention teaching character!  Who can teach character on the fly or in the car???

The other added bonus to having them around more than gone is growing our relationship bond.  We can't connect if they aren't home.  Call me crazy, but I'd rather have my kids more connected with me and their dad and our family, than their friends.  Oh, I'm not naive enough to think that they won't want to spend time with friends while they play sports or develop hobbies, I know that time will come.  I just want as much of my kids as I can have - they won't be here forever.

Don't take this post to mean that we don't do anything during the summer.  My oldest will attend a two week Boy Scout camp next month and my younger ones usually attend VBS for a week or so and  occasionally they will attend a sports camp, but on the whole, I prefer to have a relaxed, easy unscheduled summer.  I know it can't be like this forever and as my kids grow up my relaxed, easy pace may change, but for now, this is how we will roll.

How about you?  What is your summer like?


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