July 8, 2016

A Summer Schedule and What We've Been Up To

I don't know about your kid, but mine can look at a clock and tell me exactly what they would be doing at school at that exact time. They can tell me what they do right before that time and what they will do right after that time. Within the schedule there are plenty of opportunities for surprises and choices and flexibility but there is still the structure that can guide the day. And I don't know about your kid, but mine love that. 

Now I don't know about in your house, but in mine if I don't have anything to do I end up doing nothing. Kids get fed popcorn for lunch... at 1:30. Dishes never get done. Copious amounts of fruit snacks are eaten. And around 3pm I realize we've been watching hours of horrible Ninjago episodies in our stinky pj's and I have no idea what's for dinner. 

For some people that would be a dream day but usually those days, especially too many of them, leave me falling behind and stressing out. I didn't want to spend my summer like that and I also knew that my kids, especially two of them, would need to keep up with handwriting, reading, and basic math concepts or they would struggle in the Fall. Enter: the Daily Schedule. It hangs on our fridge and guides our days.

I knew writing out the schedule would mean the kids and I would both have something to reference and keep us all on track. What I didn't know is the amount of authority it would carry in our home. You want to watch TV? Sorry, it's not TV time. You can go outside and play. And they go outside and play! BOOM! Just like that!

The keys to making this work in our home has been the following rules:
- The kitchen is closed at 8:30.
- Fresh fruit or veggies are the only snacks allowed between scheduled meals / snack time.
- iPad and computer games can only be played during TV time or Free time and only for a limited amount of time (10 minutes).
- Shoes must be left by the front door.
- Play outside first and for as long as possible. 

We don't do school every day and we've missed some reading but my kids are still reading more and getting more books read to them this summer than they have had in a very long time. All six kids are here all day long and still my house is relatively tidy and they are brushing their teeth twice a day. All because a piece of paper on the fridge tells them to! It's amazing!

Anyways, obviously I am a little in love with my schedule, but now I'll share some pictures of what else we've been doing this summer. We've been trying to do fun things for a low cost - like most of America, methinks - and so far, so good.

We introduced the kids to The Sandlot. There was a lot more language than we remembered and once JF said, "Oh shit!" and it wasn't because of me I knew I needed to remove it from the Netflix options. But we ate nachos, popcorn, and hotdogs (baseball food) for dinner and had s'mores at just the right time in the movie. ;) The kids loved it. 

Travis and I attended a Diocesan Institute day that was totally free! My mother-in-law babysat the five older kids and Travis and I had breakfast, lunch, and dinner in between a beautiful holy hour, lessons on Lectio Divina, Mass, and really great presentations by Dan Burke and Peter Howard. Baby Tee got some good tummy time in, too.

Travis introduced the kids to fishing. L ended up spending some of her birthday money on buying herself a pole and the kids like to practice casting in the backyard.

Most of our fishing has been done at a local lake. L and B can bait their hooks, cast, set the hook, reel in, and take the fish off the hook all by themselves. I'm pretty impressed since about all I can do is cast and reel.

I have had on and off success with my daily Bible reading and prayer time. My Scripture memorizing has pretty much fallen off the wayside, which is both bad and good. Doing one a week was too much - I wasn't retaining - and I've noticed that letting the passages come to me has been more impactful.

In the last few weeks JF has gone to the ER twice because of allergic reactions to food and when I was overcome with fear I thought back to my memory verse from a few weeks back: Do not be afraid; just have faith. Mark 6:36

Travis started the summer with sciatica pain so severe he was on all kinds of pain meds, sleeping most of the day, laying on the floor, crawling from room to room. Friends and neighbors helped us through that time, mowing the yard and bringing a couple meals and it was so appreciated. Now he is better and working on a couple of projects for family members. We're doing the summer reading program at the library, along with Lego Club, swim lessons, grilling out, eating popcicles, and tending our small garden. So far, ladies and gentlemen, so good.


  1. Thanks for sharing your schedule! I feel like we haven't been using our precious summer minutes wisely, and this sort of schedule would help us, too. :)

  2. I love this!!! I am all about schedules or regular routines. It's so much more fulfilling to have a solid game plan (which includes plenty of time for play and relaxation) than just mindnlessly slouching around day after day. For much of my childhood, I actually got really excited for the school year, because it meant a schedule-which I loved. I really like making a big ol' To Do list at the beginning of each summer, of cool things I want to accomplish (certain hefty books I want to read, projects I want to do, specific prayer routines like morning Mass, etc.) to help me stay on track and edify myself mentally, spiritually, and physically.

    1. I was the same way as a kid. I loved the first few weeks but then I really wanted a better rhythm to the day.

  3. I love low-cost summer fun posts. My husband works away from home every other week, so to save my sanity during summer, the kids go to our Park District Summer Fun Club Tuesday & Thursday mornings so I have 5 hours a week to myself. So far I've just been taking naps. We are also doing the library reading program, swimming & we plan to do some train watching soon. Our local train station has a shaded cafe so for the price of an ice cream cone we can sit in the shade and watch the trains go by (my kids love this). We are also going to hit up the $1 kids film series at our local theater.

    1. Oh my goodness! Your train cafe sounds like a DREAM! My boys would love that!

      And the naps! Oh the naps! Baby Tee is teething and we are not sleeping so well at night. I'm so happy someone is getting good sleep, even if it's not me!

  4. I like your schedule - my kids do MUCH better with one. But I noticed the lack of nap/quiet time. Is that the reading time? Our rest time is a shambles when my school kid is home - what do you do with the littles when the noisy bigs are about?