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Monday, May 21, 2012

Surviving Summer Vacation with Kids

kids in garden - smiling
this is an update from a post first published last year (2011)

Eek! How am I going to survive Summer vacation with my kids? It is hard to believe that summer vacation is upon us. In FACT it is HERE!  My kids are home today. So what’s a mom to do?

Have plans. (and back up plans)

Don’t wait for things to happen. (I will be giving my kids a free week where nothing is going on). They have an extended day at school so they hardly get the down time. Now does that mean they will be watching TV next week? , not at all.  But will  they have no schedule? Not at all. it means they will have no activities or camps schedule for this time.  It will be a time for them to relax and unwind from a year of learning.

Have a Schedule – but be flexible it is Summer after all

This is as important as having a plan. I find it gives me freedom knowing what I will be doing without waiting to see what will happen.  Now depending on your activities your schedule can be more or less lose. I like to keep my kids on a basic daily schedule as well as a larger weekly one. A typical schedule for us would look something like this for us.
Daily Skeleton Schedule
  • 9am    Everyone must have breakfast by this time- the kitchen will close for maintenance(read cleaning)
  • morning chores
  • 12 –1 lunch time
  • 1pm  book time
  • 3pm snack, mom tea time
  • 3:30  afternoon chore time
  • 7pm dinner
  • 9pm all kids to bed, yes all even the teenage ones (Mom needs time to be with Dad and to work)
Weekly Schedule would look something like this unless it is a camp week.
  • MondayArts and Crafts at home day
  • TuesdaySwim day – home or out and about
  • Wednesday – is a Free day for the kids
  • Thursday Library Day- They have free programs and a summer reading programming where the kids free vouchers for local attractions and restaurants
  • FridayFamily Field Trip Day
  • Saturday – Family time
  • Sunday – Church time  
Plan Some fun activities
Family Pictures - 11-09 073
We like to plan some fun activities to do as a family and with our friends. I like to have a yearly Tie Dye party, We will plan an outing to the lake or creek with friends, or the drive in movie theater. Activities don’t have to cost a lot and it allows us to get together with friends and connect over the summer.  It started out as just something that I did with my kids and grew to include about a dozen families.  
Don’t let learning go out the window during summer breaks.
While we don’t usually do structure school during the summer we continue to learn. We do the summer reading program at the Library and my older children will be picking a summer project to work on this summer. Pi would like to study French  this year. I will be starting Pumpkin (8) on chapter books this summer. We will be doing a summer book challenge. In years past I have gotten work books for the kids for the next grade up, I am not sure if I will do this with Pumpkin this year. You may be asking why if my children have been in school all year do we do summer learning?  It is important for me that my children know that learning is a life long pursuit and does not stop once you leave school.
 Try new things
summer 2010 035
 A few summers ago the girls tried a triathlon  for the first time. They absolutely loved it. This year they want to do a “Mud Run”.  Last year we let Pumpkin do his first triathlon
Visit with Friends
Family Pictures - 11-09 015

This should be self explanatory but so often we get busy in our lives and don’t leave time for socialization. Plan time with friends.. Pack a picnic dinner and attend a free concert. Go to the drive-in (if you still have one) with some other families. It is great fun for everyone. Hold a block party or a barb-b-que,

Get away as a Family
You don’t have to go far, and it doesn’t have to be a long trip. Perhaps a weekend away. Camping counts if you like to camp. The idea is to spend time together as a family. Just with the ones who live in your house. Sometimes we just go camping in our back 5 (acres). When the kids were little it was far enough away from the house that it was special. We “hiked” there and set up the tents, cooked outside. Last year we took a quick weekend away and stayed at a monastery(very cost effective and family friendly - think youth hostel)
Visit Far Flung Family

Summer is the perfect time to spend time with family who live further away. Take a road trip or if you are lucky find some cheap summer fares. Last year we sent our 13 year old on the “tour de family” . She visited all the cousins and grandma, each for about a week at a time.
Have a theme week
Pick a theme around something that is happening. In the past we have had Olympic weeks, and with the Olympics coming up this summer it would be a fun one to do again.
Set aside rest time
Everyone needs rest time. Remember it is called R & R – “Rest and Relaxation”. I try to build down time into our schedule on a daily and weekly basis. Even big kids need time to just kick back and relax. When the kids were little it was a daily break time now that they are older we keep one day a week as an at home day.  I make it a point to take the last two weeks before school starts as a time to slow down all the activities and get ready for school.

Take Advantage of  free and low cost events in the community
One of my favorites. On bad weather days we are sure to take advantage of the free movies or $1 movies that are at local theaters.   We absolutely love to attend the free summer concert series around town. I can’t think of a better way to expose your kids to a variety of music styles for next to nothing
Consider Day and Residential Camps for the Kids
Many communities have low cost day camps at community centers and churches. My kids love being able to go these camps. Social creatures that they are. They love the classes and silly songs that come along with camp. As they have gotten older they enjoy going away to residential camps. These camps don’t have to cost a lot of money and often they do have scholarships or camperships as they are called. I know of one young lady who has gone to horse back riding camp each year by simply selling girl scout cookies.
Consider Hosting an Exchange Student or Camp Counselors.
Growing up my family hosted French Students almost every summer from the time I was 14. It was a great experience for our family. Last summer we hosted 1/2 of the teaching team from Totus Tuus at our home. These college students spend their summer teaching the Catholic Faith to children in a fun faith filled curriculum. I have had friends sponsor soccer coaches from England who teach at summer soccer camps.  Nothing makes summer go by faster than increasing your family for a short period.

Summer always seems like a long span of time for us, until we start doing all sorts of things. Just be careful it is very easy for your summer to get overbooked and not be the relaxation you were looking for. What are your plans for surviving summer vacation with the kids this year? 


Anonymous said...

I definitely need to make a schedule like yours! LOL :)

Thanks so much for stopping by Chubby Cheeks Thinks! I'm following you back! :)

Chubby Cheeks Thinks

granola catholic said...

Kim, Now if I can only get my kids to follow the schedule- lol. They are just a little wound up today - excited for summer. Oh to be a kid again

Nancy StylenDecorDeals said...

Hi! I'm a new follower on GFC from the hop!

Great post! My teens always volunteer to help at the bible camp at our church. They love it!

Hope you can hop by and visit my blog too!
Have a great weekend!

Mudrunning said...

That was one cool family bonding.

granola catholic said...

With a limited budget we don't always get to get away on a big vacation. For that reason I try to do as much fun & frugal stuff as we can fit in.

Mizzreviewlady said...

Sounds like your children have a very busy but fun schedule!

granola catholic said...

At mizzreviewlady, I build in plenty of down time and we definitely don't do everything every week. I plan these activities to take place over the course of the summer.

Nance Mommy said...

Oh I like the idea of the tie dye party! Fun! My kids and I use Kool-Aid to dye our stuff. We also use it to paint.

New follower!

granola catholic said...

Nancy Mommy - how does that work using Kool Aid to dye clothes? I have always used Rit Dye. But I can see getting some cool colors from Kook Aid

Turning the Clock Back said...

Love it! I love my summer with the kids...all day every day. We have a schedule of swimming, outside time, snacks, schoolwork, quiet time in room, etc. Have to have a schedule or would go crazy!

Just stopping by to check out your blog from the Sunday blog hop! Hope you can stop by and follow back! Have a great week!


granola catholic said...

Diane, I agree with the schedule my kids a "older" but I have had a schedule since they were young. It helps all of us. Even if the schedule was as simple as today is swim lessons tomorrow is library. My kids would look forward to the different days.

Mama said...

Hi there, Your newest follower from CF monday blog hop, Hope you can hop on over and return the follow. Thanks so much

Callista said...

Great post!! I plan on continuing the learning through the summer. Visiting from make your rank lower monday alexa hop but also now a follower.

Jill said...

Hi from Cairns Australia!!

Can I ask an aside question- what is granola, is it like grits?
We don't have these in Australia.

I am following from the Monday bloghop.

Feel free to drop by our blog when you have a minute.
Check out the optical illusion girl and let us know what you think!

Crunchy Frugalista said...

This is a great article! I always love meeting other "crunchy" moms! Thanks so much for joining our Alexa blog hop. I can't wait to read more!


Marie Anne said...

Popping in after finding you through the Alexa ranking blog hop. What is it they say about best laid plans?

granola catholic said...

Marie Anne, I believe they often go awry. But they also say that we don't plan to fail we fail to plan. So it is probably better to have some sort of plan. I notice that the days we don't have a plan we get nothing done.

Danielle said...

I wish we had a schedule like this. No matter how much time and effort I put into making something like this, it never stays put. I defiantly want to get out this summer and do something though. That pool sure looks nice!

I'm visiting from the Alexa Hop and a new follower!

I have a blog hop on my page too if you'd like to link up! I just reset it today.

granola catholic said...

Danielle, I have been following a loose schedule since my 2 oldest were babies. Now that they are older it just makes life easier. I also let the teenager know ahead of time that I will be going places the next day so she can get up in time and not stay up all night -like teenagers do.

Michelle said...

Great schedule and tips!

Also, thanks for linking up to our Alexa Blog hop at Have a great week and hope to see you back next week!

Shelley G said...

Hi... love your blog. I too, am a crunchy, granola Catholic mom. Wish there were more of us... :o) Can I ask which workbooks you've used for your kids. I planned on doing the same thing this summer... Thanks.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Shelly, I don't fret too much about which workbook to use with my kids. I typically pick them up at a big box store, sometimes a discount store. However, I do make sure I pick up a workbook for the grade they are going into. That way they are ready for the level of work they will be doing. Also if for some reason, my child has a problem with the grade level work at school, I already have some reinforcement work for them at home.

playmobil said...

One way of enjoying the summer season is to be with your family. Travel or even a simple get together will be a better and great idea I guess.

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