Friday, June 11, 2010

School's Out!

Well, almost out. In just a few short hours I will head over to pick up my six year old from his last day of first grade. My four year old still has a few more weeks of preschool but his attendance will be sporadic, as we will be out of town for a family wedding and celebrating my older son's birthday during those last weeks. Now that school is out I can breathe a little easier knowing that we don't have to be up and ready by a certain hour and that we don't have nightly homework hanging over our heads.

I enjoy the summers with my kids because it allows me to continue teaching them at home. I am the first to admit that homeschooling would never work for us, but I do like the idea of exploring the boys' interests--interests they don't necessarily get to explore in a traditional classroom setting. I also think it's important to keep their minds active during the break from school. I've purchased a couple of reading guides to use with the boys to help further develop their skills. I'll be using Week-by-week Homework For Building Reading Comprehension & Fluency (Grades 2-3) with my older son. This book was recommended by his first grade teacher. I purchased The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading to use with my four year old. It's an introduction to phonics-based reading, and came recommended by a friend who is using it with her son (my four year old's best friend). Right now the plan is spend a half hour of one-on-one time with each boy--while I'm working with one the other will be allowed to play (parent-approved) computer games. My boys love using the computer but don't spend a lot of time on it so I need to make a conscious effort to make sure they are learning the skills they'll soon need (typing, using the mouse, etc.). I still need to find some math workbooks so they can practice math skills.

No school means being able to devote more time to projects that will be featured here on the blog as well. My main focus here will always be the book/recipe combo but we now have time to do other projects that pertain to the books we're reading and the recipes we are making. So you can expect to see some of those on here as well.

We've picked out some new (to the boys) read alouds for the summer: The Indian in the Cupboard and By the Shores of Silver Lake. Our county library system and some local bookstores have some summer reading programs that they can participate in for prizes. I plan to enroll both of them in lessons of some sort--we'll continue with my older son's piano lessons and probably do swim lessons for both of them. My older son is interested in tennis and the younger in soccer but those may have to wait until fall. We don't have (or belong to) a pool but my parents do and we want them to be comfortable in the water when we visit them and when they go to the pool with friends.

Lest you think I am some hardcore dictator mom who must schedule every minute of the summer, let me assure you that is not the case. If anything, I tend to be a little on the flighty side and resist all forms of scheduling. The loose schedule and goals/projects are simply meant to ensure the days don't get away from us. (Writing it out here further holds me accountable.) There will be plenty of time for games and free play (the boys are at an age where they play well together unsupervised) and, yes, even video games and television. I love books, I do, but--true confession here--I also love TV (I love any good story, really) so I don't mind letting the boys watch it in moderation. I might start watching the (new) Doctor Who series with them. I think the six (almost seven) year old will enjoy it, anyway. My four year old got upset watching the first Harry Potter movie and How to Train Your Dragon so I'm not sure how he'll take to the monsters/Big Bads of Doctor Who. Mostly, I am tired of watching the same old kid shows (except Phineas and Ferb--that never gets old) and train documentaries they favor and want to get them started on something else. They really enjoyed the Back to the Future trilogy so Doctor Who seems like a good next step.

Of course, it being summer vacation and all, we do have a few trips planned: we will be spending a week on the coast with my husband's extended family and another week in our hometown using my parents' house as our home base (they have a pool--and central air!) The boys are looking forward to these trips because they enjoy their grandparents and the change of scenery.

What are your summer plans? Any new books you're looking forward to reading? Do you have any special projects planned with your kids? Please share in the comments!

*Disclosure: As an Amazon affiliate, I earn a small percentage of any purchase made through the product links in this post.


Deborah Graff said...

The reading homework book looks great. I might get that for Maggie. We're also planning to do the summer reading club at the library.

Audrey (my almost-5-year-old) has been going through the Bob phonics books, so I'll be getting the next set for her to work on this summer.

If you find math books you recommend, please do post about them.

Mary Ann Dames - Reading, Writing, and Recipes said...

Hi Katie: Enjoy your summer. I came across this blog where you might find interesting activities to challenge your boys.

Playing by the book said...

Wow, what an exciting summer you have ahead of you! Our summer holidays don't start till the very end of July but I'm starting to think about what we're going to get up to. In particular I'm looking for something to support M's reading - she started reading in school just before Christmas, but the books she's reading through school are all so dull! Because we read a lot of really excellent books at home with amazing illustrations all the books she's bringing home for beginner readers seem rather plain and flat. Boring pictures and unengaging stories...

Katie Fries said...

Zoe, I don't know where your daughter is at with her reading level but Matthew really loved Mo Willems' "Elephant and Piggie" books as easy readers. They were the first beginning readers that really interested him and they are humorous enough that my younger son enjoys them as well.

sandhya said...

Seems as though your boys are going to have a fun vacation. The recipe sounds good- a dollop of playing added to another of books with a dash of TV, garnished with outings and some work!