School's Out For The Summer!!!!!

School's out for the summer!!!! Or is it???

Actually, school is NOT out for the summer! After watching what happens when we do take a full summer break, I realized that it is just too much time off. I do like giving them a break - and let's all be honest, as much as I love teaching them and get great joy watching them learn, I enjoy a break now and then as well.

So what I have decided is that we will be learning this summer, but at an even more relaxed pace than we are at. I tend to be a relaxed homeschool mama to a point anyway - somedays, we are just busy trying to get everything done that needs attention, and sometimes we just have 'one of those days' where we don't get to the classroom. And I think that's A-Ok! I don't try to make a habit of it, mind you, and I am always trying to be a little bit better about getting a good routine in, but life just happens whether you plan it or not, and you have to learn to roll with the punches. So that is what I try to do. 

This summer, we are going to be *hopefully* having a ton of fun, and getting some great learning in as well. I told my children yesterday that I had some great plans for this summer, and pretty much gave them a mild run down of what our summer will be like. So I thought I would share it, and maybe get some good input on what others are doing as well. 

I have some goals that I would like to see them meet this summer.

Little Mama - I would like to see her get through all the multiplication and division charts from Livable Learning and do some review of long division with remainders. These are things she already knows fairly well, especially the basic multiplication facts. However, I wanted to make sure that the memorization is VERY ingrained in her mind. I also hope to keep her enticed in some fun fraction work. We have these great command cards that My Boys Teacher made over at What Did We Do All Day  and we use them, along with our fraction circles (these are the ones we have). That is all I am setting for her. Easily accomplished, but not too much that it will be overwhelming, I hope.

Hoss - Like Little Mama, his goals are fairly the same. I am making him go through the addition and subtraction charts, although he is well past simple addition and subtraction, just to ensure memorization to help him. We  have done static addition with up to 4 digit numbers, as well as static subtraction with 4 digit numbers, but I have to admit to not reaching dynamic yet. This can wait if he isn't interested yet - I don't mind starting out his '3rd' grade year with it. However, he really does like math, so I'm hoping to squeeze some in here and there. He also is working through the fractions materials, so I'm sure we will see them being used quite often. He is really looking forward to multiplication, and has picked up on some of the more basic problems on his own, so we will probably already be started on that before the official school year starts in September. Other than that, whatever he wants to do in Math is up to him.

*Notice the trend - I am trying to keep their math going! I think too much time away from it is slightly dangerous and can often times leave you backtracking for a couple weeks at the beginning of the new year, trying to get their minds thinking about what they have already learned.

Miss Priss - Her goal is to get through the numbers from 1-100 and be very quick to identify them. I also want her to be deep into basic addition and subtraction. She is my worksheets girl - so I am trying to keep her as interested in the materials I have as possible. We are currently working A LOT with the hundred board, and with our unifix blocks/bars - you can see them in action here . I am also hoping to get in some good language and reading with her. This is about the time that Little Mama began to really read well, and although I know that every child takes their own pace, I feel like I have missed a lot of opportunites with her somehow, and I'd like to focus on teaching her to read this summer.

Bug - 

I want her to be able to easily identify 1-20 by the end of the summer. This may be too easy and too small a goal, and she may go farther, but I would much rather set a small goal and go beyond, than not reach it at all. I am doing many things to work on recognition of these numbers, and we are close to beginning the teen board (mine is not an actual board, but a replica printed out that I got *free* from the same link above to Livable Learning). I would also like to work a lot on pre-reading exercises and maybe even we will see her sounding on some small words *hopeful*. She knows the beginning sounds of all consonants and the short vowels, so that is not totally unreasonable. 

Buddy Boy - my goal is just to keep up with him!!! hahahaa - actually, as odd as it sounds, I would like to use this summer to establish a good tot school routine. I do think you can mix tot school and Montessori very easily. One of the points of Montessori is to have a prepared environment, where the child can work independently on whatever interests him/her. The point of tot school is to have undivided attention given to your toddler, to be able to follow their lead and teach through play. When meshing those two definitions together, it's quite simple. So what I am hoping to do is use our coffee table to create a space just for Buddy Boy, where I will have trays that the others CAN use if they choose, but the activities will be geared mostly to him, although Bug may find them appealing, and possibly even Miss Priss. I want to dedicate thirty minutes of my morning to working solely with hiim - the others can definitely be busy with school if they want, but if they want to do something else, they can - somewhere else, quietly. That way I can ensure he is learning all the things that were easier taught when I had fewer children to be keeping up with. I don't want him 'lost in the mix', so to speak, just because I am busier now than I was when I only had 1 or 2 children.

That is the individual goals I have. I am also going to give them an opportunity to try and set some goals for themselves, if they would like. 

NOW - on to the really fun stuff!
We have a great nature center here in town that we love to visit (you can see pictures from it in this post ) and I anticipate many trips there, and maybe even some canoeing on the lake that shares the property. 

I am sure there will be many trips to the park, and riding the small train that runs through one of the local parks in our town.

This was a picture of Buddy Boy last year, enjoying a snocone after one of our many train rides!

We also participate in the summer reading program every year! This picture below was all of the kiddos, plus their cousin Big 'Z', when they had completed the program. For every five books they read, they have to record them in their catalog, and then can turn it in for prizes. After they read 25 books, they will have completed the program, and my independent readers really like this part, because they get their names in a book, which will then be put back on the library shelves for everyone to be able to see that they completed the program.

 Normally, we go to the library every Tuesday (check out my post here to see what role the library plays in our routine). However, in the summer time, I have seen the story time crowd get up to 80 children and parents. So we tend to slow down on the normal Tuesday trip, and instead go at different, hopefully less crowded, times of the day. And usually we go two, or even three, times a week, instead of just one. We are also going to participate in another reading program for the first time this year, which is held by a church library in town that we have a membership to. It is carried out in the same fashion, with the exception of the name-in-the-book. I am looking forward to this time of the year, although it means A TON of reading on my part, because I have to read the books to the ones too small to read themselves, and this year I am going to let Buddy Boy have his own card and prizes, so that means for every FIVE books that one particular child has to have before getting the next level's prize, I will be reading 10-15! Whew! 

This is where I am going to sneak in a lot of writing! I have printed out book report forms and also some homemade 'chapter review' forms, and the oldest three will be filling these out all summer long. We have not done many book reports, so I created some simple 'chapter review' forms that they can fill out after each chapter, that way at the end, they can use them to help in filling out the book report form. I have hopes of making each a binder to keep them in, and that way we can watch progress from year to year. I will share more of that at a later date, along with where I got the book report forms from! 

Those are our grand and marvelous plans for this summer!

I hope you all are making great plans on enjoying the summer, and remember - half the fun is letting the fun happen on it's own. It may sounds like I have the whole summer planned out, but in reality, there is a lot of time in there for spontaneous fun things to happen!




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