Summer sanity

Durring the school year, weather you homeschool or not, there is a schedule simply made by what time your kids start and end school, what activities are going on, and any activities you are doing.  Summer starts and that all goes out the window.  In some families there is even more going on (swim lessons, gymnastics, sports, vacation, and others) in some families, it’s a chance to take a break from a lot of things and have more relaxed days.  For me, either way, things seem to get more chaotic.  Either we are running all over the place doing all sorts of stuff, or we are home several days in a row and Inara starts bouncing off the walls with cabin fever.  It’s too stinkin’ hot here to just send her out to play all day like I did growing up, and without structure she ends up watching TV all day getting more and more antsy.

Enter the summer schedule.  When we are doing homeschool, I use a schedule strip to keep us on track.  A few months back I expanded that and made a second schedule board for Inara to use all day because she is a girl who loves routine, structure, and to know whats happening all the time (so NOT her momma).  It’s been great, but I have found both through general use, and especially now that we are in “summer mode” some changes needed to be made, so today I took our regular schedule strip/board set up and revamped it to be more summer friendly as well as to include a few more things that were missing before.

I also have a place in the center of our board where I keep the current bible verse we are working on memorizing.

The way our board works is that I print all the activity cards out as well as two blank grids (I’ve included a download below of our cards) and then laminate them.  You can do this at home using clear contact paper, peal and stick laminate, or a home laminator.  My preferred method is actually to take them to my local lakeshore learning and use their self laminator it’s only .29 cents per linear foot so you can do a few pages for under a dollar and the results are fantastic.  Then I cut apart all the little activity cards leaving the blank grid whole.  I attached my two blank grids to a peice of poster board but do whatever you want, I’ve seen them in binders, on clip boards, tacked right to the wall, hung on a magnetic surface you name it.  You just want to make sure that they are firmly attached because of the next step.  Using self sticking velcro (either dots, or long strips you cut to size) put the same side of velcro into the center of all your blank grid squares and the opposite side onto the center back of all your activity squares.

I keep our extra squares in a tupperware container on a shelf next to our board near Inara’s chore sticks (post coming soon on those)

As we go through the day, she takes off the card she just finished and puts it into the container.  Be wise though parents in letting your kids have this accountability with their schedule, I’ve caught Inara more than once, taking off two cards at once if she doesn’t like/want to do the next activity in the list (namely chores) so be aware of whats coming up so you notice if something doesn’t happen.

TA-DA you are all set to make a fully customizable daily schedule.  This is perfect for kids who don’t read yet since it’s all graphics, and it allows every day to be different (something I find to be true year round, not just in the summer), and I love that there isn’t a time associated with it, so if Inara want’s to play with her dolls for two hours awesome, if she only stays occupied for five minutes, great onto the next thing.  I do limit TV shows to one (or maybe two depending on what’s happening) episodes at a time, but otherwise it’s however the day goes and if she’s done everything and is at bedtime at 6pm great, if it takes till 9pm thats OK too.  Also, because of the free flow of the day, things can easily be added, removed, or rearranged depending on what’s going on, behavior rewards or punishments, etc.

Download our schedule set in PDF form here: SummerSchedual

Like I said, it’s our set so most of the figures are girls, and the shows featured are our favorites (mostly the educational ones) if there’s something you want let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with. 😀

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