So you have finished exams, set aside the curriculum, and taken the last day of school photos complete with book stacks as tall as your kids - well done! Whether you are a year round homeschool family like us, or you like to keep Summer break truly a break, summer rhythms matter. For years, I have created checklists for my children to help them take ownership of their learning. These checklists have served us well and even encouraged my budding readers to recognize familiar words and learn to be self guided in some of their routines.
Our family enjoys a summer with lighter academics, but we still like having our kids work on some skills and remain independently responsible for some things. There is an atmosphere in our home we like to continue creating regardless of the season. Sound like something you'd like in your home too?
What should be on this checklist?
In truth, I can't answer that, but I can tell you how I make mine. I consider and even pray over the following:
- Academic areas to strengthen
- Family values
- Habit training
- Ability level
In our family, we value teamwork and diligence. We do not pay our kids for household chores, but instead teach that everyone pitches in together. On our checklists you will see each child has a chore they are assigned that doesn't change. We do the chore with them for a long while at ages 4-6 years and then release them to do it independently once they show they have mastered it. Same goes for their Blessing Time each day. They have accomplished these tasks with a parent many times over before being released to do them entirely independently.
Habit training is often a challenge during the school year when our kids have heavier academic loads. Each summer I focus on a habit with my children. This is built into our checklist. Furthermore, I assess where my children may need to maintain or strengthen academic skills and keep those rolling during the summer.
Writing during the summer months.
Cindy Rollins once shared that she included writing in her young children's lives from early on. When she explained that she had them write the amount of sentences as their grade level, I admired her even more than before. What a simple and clever way to have our children writing daily. In the summer, my kids don't have to write everyday, but I sneak in their grade leveled sentences through nature journaling and/or a book journal.
In their nature journal, they always are expected to make notes along the lines of I noticed/I wondered/It reminded me of. My second grader will write 2 or more sentences in his journal weekly, and my fourth grader will write 4 in his book journal and 4 in his nature journal. They choose when they write and which day of the week. It just must get done.
Leaving room for fun.
Cooking is fun - well, in our home it is. I read aloud to my kids 2-3 times a day year round. We often find recipes to bake or try that go hand in hand with our stories. Furthermore, as your children grow, they can begin cooking meals entirely independently! We have used Rooted Childhood guides and The Peaceful Press materials for a lot of this type of learning. I highly recommend both for families with children ages 3-12 years.
Also, I suggest not adding so much into your summer rhythm that children don't have time for boredom. Boredom breeds amazing creativity. My kids have made up games complete with rules and even words of their own, worlds and stories that continue just between the three of them, and so much more when I let them be bored.
Here is an easy way to create your summer rhthyms checklists.
We have made this easy for you! The template we used to create our checklists is easily editable with your own colors, fonts, and lists. Once you make yours, you can save it as a PDF and print it. We insert our checklists into a menu like these and the boys check theirs off daily with dry erase markers. This simple method gives them ownership while giving mama peace of mind that she hasn't let the kids go buck wild all summer without any semblance of a routine.
I hope you find the template is helpful and that you can guide your family in creating the summer rhthyms you want to cultivate with these tools!