Summer is almost upon us, which means it’s time to
start running around screaming like a turkey making a plan for what we will do all day. My planning started out by asking myself a few questions, which took into account vacations, exercise and grocery shopping, but now it’s time to figure out how to fill those long hours between breakfast and dinner when we don’t have a scheduled activity. One way to embrace those free hours is to set and work on goals.
Summer is a great time for many to work on goals. Without school, there tends to be more freedom and time. It is also a really good opportunity to instill in your children a commitment to lifelong learning and to see from your example the fun and fulfillment in doing so.
I still don’t advocate spending all day teaching your kids, but I do know that if you don’t have a plan for them there will be much more arguing, requests for shows and/or treats and whining. All of which will lead you to not enjoy this time with your kids and require time and attention anyway.
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So to combat some of those negative side effects of summer, I sat down with all my kids sans the toddler for about 10 minutes and had a short interview about what they wanted to learn this summer. We started by reviewing very briefly the concept of goals and what makes a good goal-S.M.A.R.T. Here’s a video that explains a little bit more about that:
Then I asked them to think about goals they would like to set in the following categories:
Goals in this category needed to address a subject or concept they struggled with in school for the last year or one that would help them in the next year. Examples of this kind of goal are: memorizing multiplication/addition/subtraction/division facts, learning sight words, practicing handwriting or typing skills.
Talent or Hobby
The next goal was for something they do as a hobby or talent currently or could become a hobby or talent if they learned about it. Examples of this kind of goal would be: learning to draw, do magic tricks, ride a bike, do gymnastics moves, sing or write a story.
This last goal was for something that could help them increase in their understanding of our religion. Examples of this goal would be: read scriptures or inspirational text daily, pray, serve others or memorize important quotes from your set of inspirational texts.
In addition to these 3 categories, we all picked 1 or 2 additional goals we wanted to work on just for fun.
That’s right, did you hear that “we” in the last sentence? Don’t forget to pick goals for yourself as well from these 3 categories, and some that just sound fun, too.
I know this method of filling your free time takes a bit of extra work, a few resources and a game face from moms who are already pretty busy, but I truly believe that setting goals with your kids is one of the best ways to spend your summer not only for your kids, but for you as well.
What goals have you found success in working on with your kids over the summer? Or would you like to work on this summer?
Write it down in a journal, talk it over with a friend or leave a comment below or on Facebook
Here are a few resources I’ve found helpful in addition to the resources I already have on hand for helping my kids achieve their goals without me actually being there with them all the time.
Workbooks: We’ve been using the summer bridge workbooks for years. I especially love these for the elementary school crowd. They seem to do a good job of filling the gap between what they did learn and what they will learn. In addition, they have a few extra activities in there the whole family could try if you want, but for the most part they complete these independently.
Challenges: These are when you give them a task to fulfill with loose rules about how to fulfill it. In the past we’ve tried cooking, reading and art challenges. This year, I’m hoping to throw in some S.T.E.M. and Lego challenges.
Games: I love games for reviewing math concepts especially. I don’t have to figure out anything before hand, it puts the responsibility for learning on the kids and they generally only take about 10 minutes. I’m getting a number recognition game for my preschooler this year. In the past, we’ve had a lot of success with online math games as well, like this one.
Journals: We love blank art journals for encouraging the kids to draw. There’s something special about having your very own art journal that always seems to get the kids excited.
And two podcasts I enjoyed listening to for figuring out how to plan my summer.
Design your Summer from Happier with Gretchen Rubin
Navigating Online Learning from Power of Moms