Yesterday, I shared our family’s summer theme verse, Colossians 3:17. It fits well with our summer schedule, now getting underway . . . at the end of June!
This summer, we are following a hybrid of two summer schedule ideas. I am using the model we implemented two summers ago from FlyLady; our camp is simply called Wiley Family Camp. We use camp terms like kapers (for chores), mess hall (for the kitchen/dining area), and bunks (for beds). FlyLady uses the camp concept to get kids on board with household work (cleaning, decluttering, etc.) In the past, we had a laundry folding competition as well as awards for best bunk areas, best attitude, best teamwork, and the like. I awarded daily stickers and ribbons for the winners. We will implement some of those ideas this year, too.
Last month, though, I was inspired by an article I read at Power of Moms, which I referenced a few weeks ago here. We have our scheduled morning “kapers” and lesson time first thing in the morning, taking us to snack time. From there, we share a family activity (taking a walk, playing in the back yard, playing board games, learning a foreign language, etc.) that takes us to lunch time. The afternoons are open for outings, time with friends, a trip to the pool, errands, etc. In this way, I am creating a routine for the summer, which includes ongoing learning and intentional family time.
More recently, I discovered a great resource that tied all of these ideas together. Lo and behold, it comes from Power of Moms, as well! The Do It Yourself Summer Camp Kit helps fill out all aspects of our schedule, from cleaning to learning to having fun. They graciously gave me a free copy of the kit to review, along with an extra free kit for one of my readers to try. (More on how to win that free copy in a little bit.)
But first, The Review: This kit has several helpful sheets which guide the learning process and create structure for the daily activity time. It starts with a Summer Daily Must-Do Chart, broken into categories of Reading, Writing, Physical, Practice, Home, and Extra. As the child completes each block, he checks it off, earning points toward an allowance or other reward. I am not using this particular form, although I may create my own version of it, since our learning time is divided into more blocks and we have a more complex Home dynamic.
The Physical block encourages children to be active, playing outside, getting involved in a sport, etc. The Practice block pertains to goals that the child sets for the summer. There is a corresponding Summer Goal Worksheet that gets kids thinking about what they would like to learn or a skill they would like to master by summer’s end; the child then lists 1-3 specific goals that he commits to working on for 15-20 minutes each day. For example, my six-year old’s goal is to ride a two-wheeled bicycle this summer. As they complete their practice time, they check off that block.
Home refers to housework. The accompanying resource page lists various cleaning jobs with instructions, which is great. However, some of the jobs don’t apply to our family, or we have them listed as part of the kids’ daily zone work on a different form. Also, I have the kids doing both individual and team jobs, so having just one block to account for their housework responsibilities is a little too simplistic for us.
Another aspect of the kit is themed days. For example, they have Make It Mondays, with an extensive list of building and craft ideas, or research options for famous architects and engineers. I had my kids fill out the brainstorming sheet for Thinking Thursdays, where they come up with questions they have about how things work, where things come from, etc.
The point system for this program creates incentive for the children to complete their tasks through the week. One parent arranged the allowance so that, if all of the children checked off 100% of the blocks each week for three weeks, they would have earned enough to go to an amusement park as a family. It was a team goal; everyone had to participate fully to make it happen, so it encouraged teamwork, as they helped each other to meet their weekly goals.
Since we have only just gotten started with our schedule, my children aren’t too enthusiastic about it yet, but that is to be expected. As they get into the routine and understand they are working toward something, anticipation and willing participation will grow (I hope!), leading to less nagging on my part, and more remembering on their part.
Although we are not implementing everything the kit has to offer, I have found enough within it to help me structure our days in a fun, yet organized, way. I keep everything in a binder: our theme verse, daily schedule, kapers assignments and team groupings for the summer, lesson time schedule, awards form, and places to go/things to do form. I also have dividers for each child, including their summer reading program sheets from the library, their goal sheets, and their Thinking Thursday sheets.
I really appreciate the time the creators took to come up with lots of ideas for each aspect of the kit; that in itself frees up my brain and my time, allowing us to jump right into our schedule. I will let you know at the end of summer how it worked for us in the long-term.
For now, though, I have one free kit to give away to one lucky reader. All you have to do is subscribe to my blog and comment below, letting me know 1) that you subscribed and 2) what your greatest summer challenge is. I will announce the winner on Monday, July 5th, on my Facebook page, so be sure to head on over and see if you won.
In review, here’s a quick overview of our summer schedule. Keep in mind, it is still a work in progress; we may never have a perfect day. Progress over perfection, right?
Wiley Family Camp 2015
Rise and Shine!
Report to Mess Hall (kitchen) for Breakfast, devotions, and kapers assignments
Get Dressed/Make Bunks/Brush Teeth (and hair, for the girls)
Daily Kapers– the children are divided into teams and assigned chores (kapers) for the morning, about 30 minutes worth of work (Kitchen: sweep, unload dishwasher, wipe down counters/table, start bread dough in machines or make salad or other meal prep; Living Room: clean picture window/mirror, sweep, straighten furniture and other items; Bathroom: sweep, wipe down counters/sink and around toilet, clean mirror, scrub out toilet; Outside: weeding and watering garden areas (as needed); Laundry: sort, wash, dry, fold one load a day.)
Kapers Inspection– I check their work and offer guidance to improve their efforts (hopefully without getting too impatient:/)
Lesson Time– We have 1 1/2 hours set aside in the following increments:
20 Writing- journal, copywork, book review
20 English/Creative Writing (I found two great resources: an Ocean Writing curriculum for the younger children from the Ultimate Homeschool Bundle and Summer of Stories for the older boys from the Art of Simple)
10 Transition between subjects
Snack Family Activity (exercise, games, foreign language, etc.)
Outing/Free Time/Friends Over/Errands
Pre-Dinner Cleanup (see my post on their daily chores here)
Dinner/ Clearing Dishes/ Kitchen Clean-up
Evening Activity (right now, it’s all baseball, all the time)
Bedtime Routine (which includes second dinner, since all the kids are hungry after baseball)
Are you keeping a summer schedule? What is working for you? What needs improvement? Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a comment to win a free Do It Yourself Summer Camp Kit.