In my day (way back in the 1980s), there was a class called Home Economics. All the girls - and a handful of boys...grrrr - learned how to sew, cook, and do other assorted domestic chores.
Home Ec was virtually useless. I failed the sewing part, which put me out of the running for junior high Valedictorian. I already knew how to cook. Also, I resented the boys, who got to slack off in musical instruments class.
I want my kids to learn how to cook, sew on a button, peel potatoes, clean a room, organize art supplies, and balance a checkbook.
Even if they take the modern version of Home Ec (called Family and Consumer Sciences), they just won't learn all the living skills that they need at school.
So, this summer, instead of doing math practice in the formal workbook the school suggests that we use, they will be helping calculate the family budget, adding and subtracting hours and minutes of earned electronics time, and doing real-life PE - walking, running, and biking with mom. They will be reading novels that they enjoy and working as a family to serve each other.
This summer, we are on a schedule.
There are 3 main reasons why I schedule summer days.
1. Fewer Freak Outs
Honestly, our schedule is very loose and subject to change, but it's a good skeleton outline of our day.
My kids complain about the schedule, but the reality is that, when they know what is coming, they are calmer and less stressed out.
For example, my kids are always hungry. Knowing that lunch is "in ten minutes" keeps them from screaming about how they are "STARVING" and how I "NEVER" feed them. (I feed them five times a day. Last night, two minutes after eating half a ribeye steak, oven fries, a salad, and dessert, my 9 year old skinny child announced that he was faint from hunger.)
It's also nice knowing that, if chores are done quickly, you have tons of free time.
Notice that the schedule has a lot of free time. It's summer, after all!
2. Teaching Opportunities
By scheduling the day, I can make sure that I have time to teach my kids life skills.
Today, I taught them to clean one corner of the room each day.
"Oh, that's easy," The Loki, age 6, announced proudly. If he had the clean the whole room, he would get overwhelmed, freak out, and throw a tantrum. Instead, he now knows how to divide a big job into small, attainable pieces.
3. Sanity for Mom Means Sanity for All
Mostly, the schedule means I am not hit with "I'm bored" or fighting several times a day.
I do work during their free time (which they love) and during "Reading Hour" (because 6 year olds no longer take naps, or so The Loki claims right before he falls asleep every day).
I do chores when they do chores.
It feels more than fair to them, since Mommy does "even more work than us!"
By 3 p.m., I am done except for supper (which is already planned, defrosted, and prepped).
Summer is still lazy, but the kids are learning lessons that will make life easier. I love that.
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