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.

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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

Cats Unit Study ~ 1st Grade

My son, Krash, requested his summer learning to be focused on one of his favorites ~ CATS!  He collects little stuffed cats and has them with him almost all of the time!

Krash and his cats

Krash just completed 1st grade and since I know what I want him working on this summer, I created this unit study with my goals for him in mind.  I hope some of your cat loving kids might be able to use these printables also! 

{disclaimer: there are affiliate links in this post}Why Do Cats Meow

I created daily work for him based on the book, Why Do Cats Meow? which is at a good reading level for him to read aloud to me.  He will read the portion and we will work on the printable together each day. There are 17 different sections and printables to go along.

You can see some of the printables that go along with this book below.  Krash is learning cursive formation, which is why the tracing titles are on each page.  I added a print set at the end of the file for those of you who want to use these but have kids not working on cursive yet.  The little activities after the fill in the blanks and tracing are just quick ways to get in some skills.

{Download Printables Here}

Cat Unit Study Printables

I have the printables in a small 1/2” notebook for us to work through with the book.Cat Unit Study -5132


He is interested in different breeds of cats too, so I made him a set of 3-part cards to learn with. I got lots of my information from the Cats DK Pocket book.

{Download Here}

Cat Breed 3 Part Cards

I have these in our mini pocket chart on display, the kids love looking at them and especially giggling at the Cornish Rex and the Sphinx!Cat Unit Study -5128


Finally, I thought it would be fun to introduce him to classification by discussing the classification of a domestic cat.

{download here}

Classification of Cats


We have lots of cat books also, some are pictured below and in the widget…Cat Unit Study -5130


We will also be using a few resources I found while searching online! I love this cat study from Sandra’s Savvy Teaching Tips. The Cats Lapbook from Homeschool Share is great!  I will also be pulling out our Cats Preschool Pack in case Ladybug wants to join Krash!

9500ba3b2f3ca22053b689c77ca3550a cats_lapbook_complete Cats Preschool Pack

 

Looking for more Cat Fun?

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