How to Thrive with Your Kids in Summer

I’m excited it’s summertime.  I couldn’t be happier.  I mean, we welcome spring because it means newness, a fresh start – but it doesn’t mean we switch much more than our time outside planting.  But with summer, lots changes!

What Makes Summer So Different?

Summer means travel, AND it means kids’ schooling changes for both homeschoolers and “building” schoolers.   And any different schooling pace means a HUGE change.

Instead of dreading the change in schedule, this year, I decided to thrive with my kids in summer.

I took a look at what they love most about school.  They LOVE centers.  They love the focused time, they love the single activity, and they love what they learn through them.

How We Do It

So to start, we set up centers in our home.  I’m excited to share this with you so that perhaps it will help your family, too!

My kids are located among 5 locations in my own home (and outside), in rotation.  This makes sure there is less interaction between them.

Don’t worry, we have group activities, too.  They LOVE being together, don’t worry – I just want to ensure they have time when they are not being interrupted by a sibling.  We love to learn – I want to create an environment where they can learn themselves, and from each other.

I’m also an introvert and need quiet time.  This will ensure I don’t burn out this summer.  I’m just calling it like it is: I’m no hero.

Without Further Ado

Here are our centers!

1- The Independent Reading Center

independent reading center

From early on, I’ve had to resist the TV.  We watch about 30 min to an hour one day a week, and we have movie night on Fridays.  So we fill our media cup up through reading.  We participate in three summer reading programs:
– Barnes & Noble
– our local library
– our post/base library and
– my own geographically-unbound summer reading challenge (find out more here).

Having this independent reading nook is going to make excelling at all of these challenges possible!
I’ve been asked if one book counts for two or more programs.  I will tell you I’ve moved away from doing that.  Why?  Once they’ve completed a reading program, starting a new reading program keeps things fresh, and my kids feel the blessing of achievement more than once during the summer.

2 – The Activity Book Center
fingerprint book art

We decided on this center because as a result of being Book Boss kiddos, my kids have a ton of activity books!  I am able to buy brand new activity books at 33% cash back as a leader with Usborne Books & More, and earn even more free, so we have quite a few they didn’t get to during the school year.

The purpose of this is twofold: one, to be sure we stay within our budget this summer, and two, to allow my kids free space to work on things they’d already picked out! Here, my son is working on one of his Fingerprint Activity Books!  There are examples on each page of how to transform fingerprints into certain animals or objects.

3 – The Arts and Science Center

fairy garden magic painting art

I love to combine these two disciplines because at school they rarely get to combine them.  We did this a lot when I homeschooled my kiddos because I think wonder is implicit in both.
At this center, they get to choose from arts and science books to create something of beauty.  Again, we have a lot of art books because of my work with Usborne Books & More, so here, my daughter is using water to create color in her Fairy Gardens Magic Painting Book. 

My other daughter is enjoying exploring balance and gravity through craft popsicle sticks.  She isn’t finished yet 🙂
science craft

4 – The Baking Center

baking center summer

My kids love to bake, and that’s taken me some getting used to.  This summer, I’m embracing it and have created the baking center.  They can rotate through if they like for a portion of the day and create some goodness for the family to enjoy.

YESSSSSS!

5 – The Outside “Center”

water plants in garden

Now, I really wish I had a better picture to show you, but I’m just being real here! 🙂 We had such a busy May our poor flowers are just hanging on.  Hopefully with dedicated time we can help these babies thrive, or enjoy replacing them.  Obviously, we need focus on the outside daily!

Don’t worry, there are thriving plants on the back porch.

This is when we also bike around outside (this is a place we love to be together – there is enough space for everyone!).  We will also go to our local swimming pool.

BONUS #6 – The Snack Center

snacks

My son got really into this system.  He figured out what I was going for.  When he asked if we could therefore have a snack center, I nearly lost my mind laughing.  Then, actually, I decided it was a great idea!

So yes, we call it a center – that, and lunch, and chores, and laundry…. I also added a computer center where they can choose an educational game or coding practice using one of our coding books.

So you see, there is hope for your summer!  If you’re balancing a lot, you can work when the kiddos are doing independent work.

If you are in the season when they need you a lot, perhaps you can make yourself some centers.  That might help bring focus to YOUR life.

Either way, if this blessed you let me know.  I’d love for you to feel free to pass this along and share!

Heading off to my COFFEE CENTER now! 😉