Mommy Summer School

Posted by Anne Yorks on Friday, June 10, 2011

I know this blog is mostly about COOKIES, but my primary career is MOM. So, this post is for the stay-at-home moms that are looking to enjoy (and survive) the summer schedule.

I hope after reading this brief blog post you'll share YOUR ideas in the comment section below. I'm always looking for fun new ideas to try with my little girl. What do you do at home with your kids during the summer????

Toward the end of the preschool year, I started to realize that I would no longer have my two mornings a week to do 'my stuff'. Not only that, I'd be back on the front line of providing excitement and entertainment all day long, every day of the week. I'm not complaining. That's my job as a mom and I love it. I just do it best when I have a plan.

After some thinking, I decided to launch Mommy Summer School. This idea is based very loosely on some of the ideas that my little girl was doing at her preschool.

Here is how it works...

1. We do Mommy Summer School every day in the morning. It lasts an hour to 75 minutes. We get dressed first, make our beds, and straighten up before we start our school day. I have found the time length to be perfect. After an hour of concentrating, my daughter is ready to get outside and play for the day.

2. I have picked one topic for each week. Last week we studied how our bodies work. This week we are learning about our town and state. Next week we will be learning about the ocean.

3. I try to mix up school time into three parts: a lesson, reading a book, and workbook time (abc,123, and logic/puzzle stuff)

4. Activities - not every day, but at least once a lesson I plan an activity or craft to get my daughter doing hands-on fun stuff. For example, last week when we were learning about our bodies I put a huge roll of paper on the floor. I traced my daughter and then she got to draw and color the different parts of her body ... she even remembered to include a skull and a brain. That made me laugh! 

5. Field Trips - a field trip may not be possible for every lesson, but I have planned a few excursions to help reinforce what we are learning. For example, this week we are learning about our town. We have made trips to the Library (we borrowed books), Post Office (we mailed two Pen Pal letters), Grocery Store, and Park. We also drove by the Fire Company and Police Station. Although not a field trip, we discussed the garbage collector and how important he is in keeping our neighborhood clean. We are planning to give him a special 'thank you' treat on trash day. 

6. Quizzes - No, we don't do a traditional paper quiz and keep score. But, we do bring a book to the dinner table and review what we learned that day. I ask questions and my daughter answers them and tells Topher the different things she learned about. It's really informal, but we have definitely gotten into the dinnertime quiz routine because it's fun (not work). 

Here is how week one 'Our Bodies' worked out (it was a 4-day week due to Memorial Day):

Day One: muscles, bones and blood

Day Two: the brain and nervous system

Day Three: sight, hearing, and touch

Day Five:  taste and smell, and emotions

We used the QEB Super Science book "The Human Body" by Richard Robinson from the most recent Scholastic Book Order Form as the source of the main lesson each day. It provided a great overview of each topic. 

We borrowed the following books from the library to read together:

You can't taste a pickle with your ear : a book about your 5 senses / Harriet Ziefert ; pictures by Amanda Haley.
Bend and stretch : learning about your bones and muscles / written by Pamela Hill Nettleton ; illustrated by Becky Shipe.
Think, think, think : learning about your brain / written by Pamela Hill Nettleton ; illustrated by Becky Shipe.

The non-fiction section of the library is a really fun space to explore. I have found it helpful in planning topics for the future weeks.

Each day we practice our letters (writing, sounds and basic words) and numbers. There are tons of great workbooks out there. We find them at Barnes & Noble, Ollies, Sam's Club, etc. The workbook we are using right now is a jumbo Scholastic workbook that covers writing letters and numbers, puzzles and activities, and setting the foundation for reading. We usually spend 20-30 minutes on the workbook each day. Some days the work is very easy for my daughter and other days prove to be a challenge. There is a lot of repetition - which makes it very fun to see progress in the different subject areas.

Then on the last day of Body Week we traced my daughter on paper and she added some of her features that we learned about. It was tons of fun.

Once our school day is done we head outside ... 

to the playground ...

or to our Olympic-sized pool ...

or the driveway ...

And if it's raining ... we stay inside and play games, do puzzles, color, play-doh, play with the babies, etc.

Rainy days (or super freaking hot days) are also great for visiting the library, book store, or coffee shop..

Here are a few of the topics that we'll be exploring in the coming weeks:

The Ocean
Outer space
Food Groups and Healthy Eating
Music Genres
Babies and Being a Big Sister (we'll do this lesson closer to my due date)
And much more...we have a whole summer to fill up!!

That is Mommy Summer School in a nutshell. The days already seem to fly by and I find I don't watch the clock (as much) if I have a mommy plan. I'll try to post a few school updates from time to time in case you're interested to know how and what we are doing!

So, I'll ask again...What do you do to make the most of summer with your kids???? I'd love to hear all your fun ideas. If you have a moment, leave a comment below and share.

Have a sweet day,