last day/first day

Thursday was the last day of school--and by the looks of Catcher's handmade sign, he could use a little summer "scoolh" to work on his spelling--which made yesterday the first day of summer break. By 10:00am I had changed all the beds and washed the sheets, the kids had eaten breakfast and a morning snack, we had played (but not finished) a game of Monopoly, the girls had played two rounds of dress up and three rounds of Go Fish and Catcher had started and finished the [chapter] book his second grade teachers gave him as an end-of-year gift.

By 2:00pm, after an hour trip out and back to the school where I teach along with a rambunctious lunch at Whole Foods, I had come up with what might be my greatest idea to date. We'll wait and see how the summer shakes out to confirm and/or deny this bold statement, but let me share a bit of my genius with you...

After the 12 zillion activities we got ourselves into and out of the morning of our first day of summer break, I realized that 1) I can't live like this and 2) I really can't live like this. I was thinking of all the "enrichment" we need to keep up with over the summer--reading, math, piano, etc.--and how we could work this into our regular day. Our "regular" day also has to included outdoor recreation and plenty of swimming because these kids need to learn how to swim this summer. Before I knew it, I was mapping out a schedule in my head, so I called in my bossy-rule-maker-organizer guy and asked him if he could help me make a summer schedule. [Hint: kids love to do stuff like this; it gives them ownership, and they think they're the ones who came up with the idea in the first place, which makes them much more likely to actually follow the schedule.]

Now...I'm not totally crazy and regimented (says the woman who came up with the idea of a planned summer schedule), so what we came up with has large blocks of time and plenty of wiggle room for improvising on the spot. It's also a M-F calendar like school because that's something the little ones can understand. Just to give you an idea of what our day looks like, in the morning there is breakfast followed by quiet reflection--i.e. Mom's coffee time--and then morning recreation. There's a weekly rotation of cooking, art, board games and errands. There are math, reading and music blocks every day and afternoon outdoor recess. We even made time for "entertainment" every day, which sounds fun and exciting but could simply mean turning on the TV.

More than anything, I think this plan will serve as a weapon when the kids come to me with a resounding chorus of "I'm bored!" I can simply point to the schedule and say, "Oh. It's 1:00 and you're bored? According to our schedule you should be practicing piano right now." There's no flaw in this, right? It's totally going to be smooth sailing this summer. And hopefully by the end of it all Catcher will be able to spell school.

The last day of school 2015-2016 (or "dress like your sibling day). It isn't really dress like your sibling day, but it is rainbow day. And it turns out that these siblings have matching tie dyed shirts, which they acquired during their respective stints in kindergarten. I'm hoping Catcher's will fit him all the way through the fifth grade.

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