Have you been wondering how you’re going to survive the summer with your kids home? Check out these tips from a homeschool mom!
The other day I was at a party and overheard a few friends chatting.
“Girl, we need to get together in the summer. C. has camp for two weeks, and soccer for one week, and then I DON’T KNOW WHAT IN THE WORLD I’M GOING TO DO FOR THE REST.”
“GIRL. Me neither! I mean – what are we supposed to do with them HOME ALL DAY LONG?”
One of them caught my eye and we burst out laughing.
“Yeah,” I joked. “Are those homeschoolers crazy?! What do they do??”
But y’all. I’m going to tell you a secret. I’m not supposed to divulge this information, but we’re all friends, so what the heck.
Here is is.
Summer scares homeschool moms, too.
Yes! It’s true!
Summer is full of glorious / terrifying free time. And believe it or not, It is way easier to homeschool than to be home with your kids aimlessly.
The truth is, homeschool moms are normal people. We get frustrated, distracted, and pull-out-your-hair crazy like the rest of everyone. But the thing is, homeschool moms have a few tips and tricks up their sleeves. We aren’t super-human, or weird. (Well, maybe a little.)
We just do these four things.
How to survive and (even thrive) when all your kids are home in the summer:
- Realize that kids do best when they have some work to do. Work makes the play part fun. If you need proof, think about it: vacations are 1000% more glorious as a grownup than they were as a kid. The harder you work, the more you will love the break. Kids who have some work to do (in the morning, let’s say) will be way less
annoyingbored in the free times. I love this post on “No Screen Time Until…” that has a printable checklist for your kids to visually check.
- Realize that kids do best when they know who’s boss. The first few months of my Homeschooling Career were the hardest. Because at this point, neither Sam nor I, was really sure in the depths of our beings that I could make him do anything. There was a lot of fighting back, whining, weeping, dripping on the floor like a wet washcloth, etc. etc. But then one day, he realized that:
- He did have to do the work.
- He did have to listen to me.
And honestly it got so much better after that. The same uncomfortable testing period may still apply to you and your child if you try to implement any sort of summer work or routine. Especially if they’ve been used to Fun! Doing nothing! Playing video games all the live long day! And that sort of thing.
It did seem like forever to learn this, but it was probably about six days. Kids are very adaptable to new changes.
Once you both have realized that you are actually the boss (even in summer, glorious summer) everything will go so much better in your home.
- Next point: Realize that kids do better when they have a routine. Our homeschool days have a routine. (We sit on the couch and read our devotional, we do language and math, we have a snack, we take a break, we do reading, we have lunch.) They know what to expect. Obviously summer will look different, for you and for me. Here is one suggested summer routine:
- personal care – dress, brush teeth
- inside chores
- a school workbook or reading time
- play outside
- outside chores
- go somewhere – pool, park, play with friends
And I have one more suggestion. This year I instituted Friday Cleaning Day. We do minimal “school” but sort and fold laundry, dust, sweep, clean rooms and playrooms, etc. They also know they get a fun dinner on Friday as a reward. Friday Cleaning Day is a terrific way to implement some semblance of structure to a long monotonous summer. And then maybe you have Monday library day, or Tuesday picnic day, or Thursday art day…
- And finally, the final homeschool mom trick is this: You should have an arsenal of age-appropriate educational toys, and make them do it even if they say they don’t want to. When my kids need something productive to do, I make them sit at the table with _________ (some educational toy I know they like) for twenty minutes. I’ll say, “You don’t have to play with it, but you have to sit here.” I have yet to have a child think staring at smushed oatmeal on the floor was more fun than a toy. Here’s a great list of good educational toys, and here is a post about my “Mandatory Time” which answers more questions about this.
Also, I have to give a huge shout-out to Mary Ann’s Crate Expectations – a seasonal craft kit of goodies that are easy, ADORABLE and super fun. And easy. Did I mention easy? That is my favorite part. #notsponsored #ijustlove them 🙂
Ok, and one final word of advice for all of us mothers re: The Long Boring Summer Days.
The best time to implement a new routine is THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER. Remind them of something fun they’re going to do this summer, and then tell them what your new Routine is. Savor all those groans and whines so you can write a funny FB status later. And then stick with it.
Do you have any tips and tricks for summer break with kids? What helps you survive and thrive during summer?
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