On the other hand, 11 weeks of unstructured time is very daunting. Kids get bored, they fight. They terrorize each other and trash the house. But the summer is when I have more time. This summer, I'm going in with a plan. I'm pretty sure it will last about 2 weeks before it is totally abandoned, but here goes:
- Chores. Every day, something will get done. I'm working with each kid on a list of chores that they will do. Some are daily. Some are every other day, and some are once a week. I reserve the right to add more chores at any time, and successful completion by the kids will result in a financial reimbursement. We're all going to do our chores together, and something will get cleaned every day. I'm tired of my house never being all cleaned at once, and I, myself, want to keep more on top of things.
- Reading. The kids are really going to read every day, I swear. Sophia's reading is not where I think it needs to be for her to be successful in 1st grade, so we need to improve it. Jake is an excellent reader, but lacks fluency. Also, I'd like him to read for enjoyment, as a hobby. Books are a wonderful bridge for discussion with other people. I have a list I want to read as well.
- Responsibility. This kind of goes with the chores, but I really want to instill in the kids a sense of responsibility for their own belongings. This will mean picking up after themselves, including dishes. My hope is that with constant reminders, by the end of the summer and into next school year, it will be more habit.
- Peaceful co-existence. I know they're going to fight. I would like it to be kept at a minimum. That being said, I don't want to be yelling and nagging all the time either. I would like us all to have a personal respect for each other and our boundaries that keeps bloodshed and screaming to a minimum.
- Summer milestones. Jake will ride a bike without training wheels. (In his defense, while the training wheels are on the bike, they are so far off the ground that they really don't do anything) Sophia will go under the water. Both kids will improve swimming. I will exercise at least twice a week and hopefully fit into some shorts that are a bit snug.
- Sweat, but not the small stuff. We need to spend lots of outdoor time to achieve #5, but I want for myself to be a little (ok, lot) more laid back, which may help with #4 as well.
- Have fun!! The kids have some camps scheduled, but I want to do fun things too, like go to Howe Caverns, the Great
ExpenseEscape and other various things. We don't have our vacation scheduled yet, as I'm still trying to figure out my work schedule, with summer school and per diem work.
I know the homeschool moms, the true veterans of having kids at home, are laughing at my plans right now, just waiting for my colossal failure, but this seems reasonable, right? I know this may not work, and by Labor Day (or August 1st), I may be looking to sell my children to the lowest bidder. I hope not. I love not having to set an alarm. I love not having to rush everyday to get out of the house. I love that the lunch boxes do not occupy space on the counter and the backpacks are hung up and put away. I love that we don't have homework or tests. I love that Jake can be off his medication.
I hope with the extra time, I can also work on getting my book in print form, selling it (both online and in bookstores), and on writing the next one. I wrote the bulk of Good Intentions two summers ago, so I'd like to try and repeat that. I'm about 20-25% of the way in, so hopefully I can run with it.
Preserving my sanity starts with a plan. T-9 days and counting...