Summer Challenge & Routine 2013

Summer Challenge 2013

We have been doing Summer Challenge for several years now! You can see more details and explanations in these past posts if this is new to you!

    Each year I adapt the challenge for the current ages and needs of the kids.  This is the first year Ladybug {age 4} has participated and she is loving it!  One addition this year is the What To Do chart! The basic concept is that the kids follow a loose routine with me and a lot of free time is built into our summer days.  During this free time they are not allowed to plug in at all {no iPad, iPod, computer, video games, or TV}. With the goal of assisting them in their creative thinking, we created categories to choose from during the day. Reading, outside play, creative expression {art, play dough, drawing, etc.}, exercise, school work {summer options are listed later in this post}, or building {blocks or any creative building toy we have}.  The little clips are for them to move over as we complete an activity.  We aren’t tied to the clips, but they are there in case they somehow get “bored” and can’t remember things they haven’t done yet that day!

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{download here}

Our daily routine for now is one without strict time constraints, but with what I call “anchors” throughout the day.  These anchors are the same whenever we are at home during those times. I even have alarms set on my phone to go off at these times to remind us.


Contribute time is where we all stop for 15 minutes and contribute to the upkeep of our home together.  We pick up junk, vacuum, wipe chairs/tables, clean a bathroom, clean bedrooms, and do a quick clean of the schoolroom.  As you can see, we do this twice a day, as the main areas can get out of hand if we don’t.  Daddy comes home at 4, which is the main reason we have one at 3:15, so we can pick up the living room, kitchen and schoolroom before he arrives.

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Snack/Plug In time is 30 minutes each time for the kids to use a device or watch a 30 minute show while they have a snack.

Be Still and Alone is for the sanity of our home {and me}.  At 1:00 each day we all divide for an hour and a half.  One boy stays in the schoolroom, Ladybug goes to her bedroom and the other boy to their bedroom.  During this time they can do whatever they want that is unplugged and quiet!  Often Pac chooses to earn summer challenge points!  This is also a wind down time for me to get anything done online or in the house that I need to do.


During the free time in between these anchors they can do just about anything that isn’t plugged in. Mostly the choose to create, build, play outside, or earn points through summer learning. The BIG favorite right now is the Straws and Connectors shown below!

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Each child knows what school work s/he can do to earn points, and the little 2 have these boxes to remind them.  Each child has a notebook with sheet protectors filled with summer work, mostly from the summer learning packs from Royal Baloo and 3 Dinosaurs. They also have some other workbooks and things.

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When work is completed and needs to be assigned points, they use the blue bin which is right under our point charts. I grade it, write in the points and transfer it to the done box {red}.  I clean out the done box when I get to it.

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We do not use our regular curriculum {Calvert} in the summer, although near the end of the summer the boys will have the option to begin early and earn points while working ahead.  We use our supplemental stuff and each boy chose a delight-directed learning theme.  Krash chose cats and Pac chose gardening.

Although the kids have a lot of free choice and the ability to earn points with school work, I do have required school time with Mom too.  They DO get points for any summer school work, which they love, but I do have some required lessons planned. They wouldn’t always choose what I want them to do without this requirement.  The bonus is that any school work done before Labor Day earns summer challenge points!


Summer School Subjects

Krash {age 7, going into 2nd}

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PacMan {age 11, going into 6th}

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Ladybug {age 4, preschool}

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We use a similar format for prizes as we always have {you can see links to past posts in the beginning of the post} but this year the boys have decided to put in 75 points each to earn a gymnastics mushroom for our house {it is a pommel horse trainer for young gymnasts}. Usually the prizes are smaller but this was an opportunity for them to work together for something we want them to have anyway.  Ladybug will be earning something small for every 25 points, her first prize is a $1 set of bath capsules {turn into animals}.

Summer Challenge honestly has been a lifesaver for me.  Our new anchor routine has been a HUGE help this summer as well. We have a lot going on outside of our home {VBS &  Reading Rocks with our church, gymnastics 3x per week, and our seasonal campsite that we try to go to one night per week} but this plan really helps for the many hours we do spend at home!

Looking for the original Summer Challenge Printables

They are in this post…Summer Challenge

Summer Challenge 2012

It’s that time again!  Time to give the kids something productive to do, so they don’t drive me nuts with their boredom!

Summer Challenge

We have been doing the Summer Challenge for years and it has really helped us!  I adapt the challenge each year for the current ages/stages of my boys, here I will share this year’s version!

The forms are the same as they were last year, I just updated the cards outlining what the boys can choose to earn points, and I also added in a couple of new checklists for the boys to fill out.


Keeping Track…

Each boy has a graph, these hang up on our dry erase board this year. I keep a pencil and a highlighter nearby for recording points, they are in the little silver things {from Ikea}.

Summer Challenge Set Up

To record points, I write in the box what the point was earned for {so we don’t forget if it was marked} and color with a highlighter.  Krash is blue, Pac is green. I offer these for you to download, and there are 2 forms for girls too {link is at the bottom of post}!

Summer Challenge Graphs  


Let’s Earn Some Points!

Each boy also has a set of cards, they can flip through to choose point earning tasks.  These cards include the following…

Summer Challenge Krash 

Summer Challenge Pac

Their cards are printed on cardstock, laminated, cut apart, and hung up using a metal ring.

For extra schoolwork, PacMan is using the Summer Bridge workbook for 4th-5th grade.

Once his 5th Grade box from Calvert arrives, and I have time to plan out his first 20 lessons, he will also have the option to get a jump start on school work.   Krash has already begun his 1st grade curriculum, so he can get points for any schoolwork he completes.  I am probably going to get him a review workbook too, for more independence, since he needs to work with me for much of his 1st grade work.


Contribution Checklists

This year I also added in morning/evening contribution checklists.  If the boys check these off, and turn them into a parent BEFORE doing anything “fun” {tv, video games, playing, etc.}  they get a point. In the evening, they have to put it on my desk before going to bed.  The kicker is filling the sheet out and remembering to turn it in.  This is SO difficult for them to remember, but we do it to help them learn responsibility.Summer Challenge Krash Checklist

I do not offer a printable to download for these, but you could make your own using the table feature in Word or another program.  I use Publisher and PowerPoint to work in to make most of my printables. Summer Challenge Pac Checklist


What About the Prizes?

Daddy and I are still editing the prize list, I just didn’t want to wait to post this, since school is out or getting out soon for most of you!  You can see the prize sheets from last year, we are just adjusting based on each boy’s interests. I provide blank prize sheets in the printable set, you can write your info in, or use the idea to create your own!


~>~>~> Download Summer Challenge Printables Here <~<~<~

Summer Challenge 2011

I don’t know about you but I can’t stand the phrase, “I’m Bored.” I also strongly dislike seeing laziness seem to ooze from the depths of my children. We are done with official school. I love to school year round-I just do it differently in the summer time. I need a break, they need a break, we all need a more relaxed routine-but we still need a routine!

Enter-the Summer Challenge.

I debuted the Summer Challenge in 2008 for PacMan and it has been redone this year to include Krash now that he is old enough. You can see the forms we used then here. You can even still use those, I just upgraded our version this year!

Here is what it looks like for us this year…


Their cards are laminated and hung on a 3M hook with a metal ring so they can easily flip through to see their choices.


Here is a screenshot of the actual prizes and point values we have in place this year.

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We also may be adding in prizes, but all rewards will come in increments of 25 to make it easier on everyone!

How do they earn points? Here’s their cards, green is PacMan, blue is Krash…

Summer Challenge k Summer Challenge p

Currently they get 1 point per task, unless the task is marked separately {for example a really difficult worksheet might be marked with more points}.

Both boys will have a summer workbook filled with extra work…all their choice to do or not to do. Although I will be strongly encouraging a few specific things! I haven’t made these notebooks yet, they are on the to-do list this week!

You can easily recreate these by using the table tool in Publisher or PowerPoint, I made these in PowerPoint. If you want to write in your stuff and use my forms, I am providing blank copies you can download here! I also included 2 recording pages with girls on them!

Summer Challenge Success!

P is moving along with his summer challenge, although not at the pace I expected. :) If it were me, I think I would earn all of the points I could to rack up the prizes quickly!!! He is taking his sweet time! Fine by me though, he’s keeping himself busy and entertained–having a fun summer! Today was a big points day for him as he told me he was bored this morning. Of course I kicked him into gear, challenging him to earn the rest of his 25 points to earn the privilege of opening the Webkinz that Nanee and Baba had sent as one of his prizes. It’s been hanging in a gift bag on the schoolroom door for over a week now! I think it’s been torturing me more than him, since I knew it was the ONE he wanted so badly!

Finally holding the bag, after reading me 3 books in a row ( and challenging books for him), to earn his last 6 points!Moments after opening it, the WEBKINZ – Reindeer he has wanted for months!

He did already earn the Webkinz accessory (Webkinz Camo Pet Carrier) for his first 25 points, so he has earned a total of 50 points since we began. Now he is onto his next 25 for his next prize!

Summer Challenge…

This happened yesterday…

He is completing his lesson 80 (1/2 way done) assessments. That was our goal for this spring and now it is time for a break!!! Last summer we filled our summer with Lapbooking since it was brand new to us. This summer we will be completing a few lapbooks, all based around Sea World since we will be traveling to FL in September.
In addition to our summer lapbooking fun, I have created a Summer Challenge for P! The idea came to me while driving yesterday and I immediately got to work and implemented it today. I presented it to him today and he was thrilled.
Imagine how thrilled I was when I walked downstairs and saw this…He is busy drawing (with no prompting from me) :)

And here he is recording a book he read on his reading list…

I created a little station for him, so it’s easier for him to find the items he might need for his challenges (worksheets, drawing books, writing paper, etc.)We are recording his points in each category on a spreadsheet, and here is what has him motivated…the prize sheet! I am not into bribery but I do believe in working hard to earn something you’d like to have. Not all of the things are material, but some are. He gets to choose a prize from the list for each 25 points he earns.
Here’s how he earns his points (the sheet on the left):

For each book you read, you get 2 points.
You must write the name of the book on the form.

For each review worksheet you complete you will get 1 point

For each complete story you write (brainstorm, rough draft, final copy), you get 10 points.

For each math review worksheet you do, you get 1 point (per side)

For each Your Big Backyard article you READ, you get 1 point.
You must tell Mom what it was about, so I will know you actually read it.

For each Bible story on your Bible bookmarks (these are from his Bible lapbook) that you find and learn about (by reading and watching your DVD), you get 3 points.
You have to tell me about it to get your points and sticker.

You need to study using your dvd and cd. (you can see the dvd and cd here)
Body Parts and other new categories-1 point for each word correct on a weekly test.
Colors, numbers-you get 1 point if you spell it correctly on the weekly test.

Lapbook Review
For each lapbook you review, the WHOLE thing, you get 1 point.
You must answer my questions to get your point!

Letter Writing
You get 2 points for every letter you write to family/friends in NC.

1 point every time you make your bed nicely.
2 points when you clean the playroom entirely by YOURSELF.
2 points when you clean up the backyard entirely by YOURSELF.

For each drawing you complete from your drawing books (Draw Write Now, Book 1-8 (Draw Write Now)) you get 2 points.

For each journal entry you complete, you get 1 point.

I will let you know how it goes! Today he has 7 points so far. He made his bed (beautifully), cleaned the backyard, read a book, and drew a picture). He has balanced that with much play, a bit of tv, computer, XBox, and outside time. The great news…I am getting started on MY summer challenge…the basement!!