Last week ended badly. At the current time of the month for me, I was a little grumpy if you know what I mean. We have a boy that we have been watching this summer. It has been very pleasurable to have an extra little guy around. He's one of my boys' best friends and the son of one of my best friends, so it's worked out well. Then, another friend came for a play day, which turned into two play days. Add into this that I did not have a vehicle because my husband's car was in the shop and he took our van to work each day. Work is 40 miles away, so it wasn't an option for me to drive him and drop him off. In other words, I was PMS-ing, with four rambunctious boys in the house, and NO vehicle! Oh, did I mention it was raining???????
Yeah, my head popped off and rolled across the floor.
Well, in the midst of my crisis, my logical-husband spoke rationally to me. Sometimes, this is not a good idea when I'm in a state, but his timing was pretty good this time. We began talking about having more structure in the boys' days. You see, part of why my head was popping was because I hadn't really planned any activities for the boys on these two days of four-boys-no-car-lots-of-rain-play-date. I had let them have lots of free play. We school the boys year-round, but I do give them days off when friends are at the house.
So, we started to brain storm about how to occupy the boys during these last several weeks of summer vacation. That's when it hit me...Summer Camp! I spent one-week a summer at Church Camp from the summer before fourth-grade until I graduated high school. I know how summer camp works. Each year we got a little more free time as we grew older. But most of our time was structured.
So, that's what I want the rest of our summer to be! I started my evil plan this morning. Since it's just our regular charge (plus my two boys) we did have lessons. Summer lessons are just bare-bones. We do a page of math (we use Saxon), a page from our language arts/grammar workbook, and a page from our geography (geo-challenge) which only takes a few minutes. Today, I peppered in one more activity. We began a writing project using an Evan-Moore book I found that will take us step-by-step through a fiction story-writing project. Since the boys got a late start, this took us right up to our 11:30 AM lunch-time. Our charge for the summer has Juvenille Diabetes so we have to eat on his schedule.
Over lunch, I read aloud to the boys. We are reading "The Phantom Tollbooth." After I finished the chapter, the boys worked on a poster each of them is making that maps out the trip our hero from the book takes throughout the book. And then we cleaned up from lunch and went for a walk. The road on which we live turns into a dirt-road dead-end. Walking to the end and back is a little over 1 mile. We took the dogs on their leashes and hoofed it to the end and back.
Upon returning and getting large glasses of water, each of us picked a book and I set the timer. We sat in the living room and read for 10 minutes. When the timer rang, the three boys scattered to the four winds!
So, as I type it's "free-time" at our summer camp. At 3:30 it's time for a snack and then we may work on a science experiment after that to occupy their time until our charge's mother arrives to take him home. The idea is to allow some free time but not a free-for-all, which leads to disaster! At summer camp, we had classes in the morning (i.e. bible, nature, crafts). We had to clean our rooms, after breakfast. After lunch, there was quiet time before free time. After supper, there was vespers, and an evening planned activity. There was free time, but it was not the majority of our day. I want our home this summer to be like summer-camp. Actually, I'm thinking this plan should be carried out for the rest of the year.
I don't want to add to my work-load, so these will not be high-maintenance activities. But here's my ideas:
-one day a week we should do a hands-on science experiment like the mentos in the soda-bottle or making goo from borax and glue.
-one afternoon a week we will go to the library. We have been going every Tuesday for summer reading time, so we will keep that tradition going. I've always utilized the library pretty heavily, but never on a regular day.
-one day a week we will have an outting, maybe someplace local, like the state park, or maybe someplace more grand like the science center in Harrisburg. This week we're going to the Rennaisance Faire!
-each afternoon we will take a walk or bike-ride after lunch.
-each afternoon we will have at least a 10-minute quiet time to read.
-we will cook together. My boys love to cook and we do it often during the traditional school year. I want to add our charge into the mix (pun intended) and give the boys cooking assignements in the afternoon occasionally.
-we will craft together. I have added some crafts into our days so far this summer, but now I will try to find one a week. This week, we are going to work on posters for the poster-contest at the county fair.
And so, our summer-camp has begun. Truthfully, I've "gone off" of the idea of summer camp for my boys, so this is as close to summer camp as they will get. We do tell them that they don't need summer camp because their LIFE is summer camp! Now, I'm really trying to make it that way!