Home » randomness » My ambitious summer survival plan. Emphasis on the word PLAN.

My ambitious summer survival plan. Emphasis on the word PLAN.

There’s really no good reason that I haven’t written anything in 10 11 12 days. (Simply getting this blog from Word to the internet was a veeeerrrry long ordeal.) No reason – other than the craziness that is the end of school. Between all the parties and field days, recitals and gift buying and award ceremonies and more pizza and hot dogs than any human should consume within a one week period – well, I haven’t had too many spare brain cells to devote to the art of putting all my snarky observations into words.

Oh, but have no fear. Mama is here. And I have snarky to spare.

So here we go. End of school. Beginning of summer vacation. Crazy. And in Texas? Crazy and freakin’ hot. Hello, summer. It’s been a while.

Left to my own devices during summer break, I would sleep ridiculously late or waste away every day on the computer or on my iPhone playing that evil, evil game known as Words With Friends – which is a blog post unto itself. WWF and I have a frenemy relationship. I love it, then I hate it. Stupid game. Huge eater of time.

Left to their own devices during summer break, my kids would sit drooling in front of the television all day long without moving. They would resort to grunting instead of talking as they absorb themselves in Scooby Doo or The History Channel (depending on who has wrested control of the remote).

Neither a healthy nor productive way to spend three months. We needed a plan.

Enter Griffin’s teacher, who is the cutest thing to ever grace a 2nd grade classroom – not to mention a phenomenal teacher and a great mom to two of her own GT kids. She shared with me her secret to a happy, productive, educational summer. She hands her son and daughter a sheet of paper and tells them to write a list of topics they want to study over the next three months. She assigns a topic for each week of the summer and then plans a weekly schedule that centers on that topic. For example, they will go to the library one day, do a cooking project another day, do a craft project another day, take a “field trip” another day – same schedule every week. The assignments only take up a couple of hours each day, so there is still plenty of time for carefree summer fun.


Now I know myself. I know that I often have grand ambitions and a weak will. I get off to a great start, then hobble to the sidelines and quit. But I’m determined to follow through. I am determined to be A Good Mom.


I presented the idea to my kids, and their cute little faces lit up as they ran to find a sheet of paper. Enthusiasm could definitely work in our favor.

Minutes later, the boys presented me with their list. Griffin: sharks, history of soccer, Vietnam, inventors, ancient Egypt, money from different countries. Nathan: the ocean, electricity, the body, plants, ants, how DVDs are made, magnets, Venezuela.



Where did you hear about Venezuela?

“My Leap-stuh game.”

Oh. OK. Venezuela it is.

Griffin keeps referring to this ambitious summer schedule as “summer home school” – to which I cringe. Hats off to all the home schooling moms out there, but nothankyou. Griffin has asked me a few times this year why he can’t be homeschooled, and I promptly reply, “Because I’d kill you.”

Michael swiftly and diplomatically steps in and explains that we believe homeschooling is not something God is calling us to do right now, and how we think he is receiving an excellent education at his public school.

Yeah, OK. That too. But mostly the killing thing.

So back to summer. Meghan came up with her list upon her return home from her increasingly demanding social calendar. Forensics, the Renaissance, WWII aircraft and war strategies, Russian royalty, Flu pandemic of 1918 – to name a few.

(I know. My kids are freakishly weird and so not normal. Normal kids would pick topics like horses and bugs and Kansas. Not my kids. But I love that about them.)

I’ve been working on a weekly schedule and planning all the activities – which would have been impossible ten years ago. Can you imagine planning twelve weeks of crafts and cooking and field trips without Google?!? But type “Venezuelan craft for kids,” or “Greek cooking for kids,” toss out the enormous stack of Family Fun magazines and cookbooks, and life is good.

I’m also hoping that having such a schedule will allow Mama the time to do the things that I want/need to do – like writing blog posts more often than every 12 days and working on that thing with all the photos and patterned papers…you know…with the big books? And all the little ribbons and brads and stuff? What is that called? It’s been so long since I’ve done it…I forget.

I’ll let you know next week how it’s going.

Here we go…


9 thoughts on “My ambitious summer survival plan. Emphasis on the word PLAN.

  1. Okay, so Alex was totally about to bust a gut laughing while she was reading your post over my shoulder! :)We started working on our summer plan today too. We are getting ready to go to the library. We are going to ambitiously try for the daily camp schedule. The kids like the idea and are trying to come up with the name of our at home summer camp. We don't have dream dinners so the kids are jazzed about the two nights a week they are in charge of dinner (with momma's help.) I bought a book of 5 ingredient 15 minute meals…I'll let you know how it goes. We are also rotating the maid duties (laundry) clean up after dinner, etc. Alex just had the idea that we should blog our summer. We'll see how it goes!To be continued…Gretch

  2. Elijah and I are also cracking up. Mostly about the killing part.Love your schedule idea. You know how I love anything with the word schedule in it. I bet it'll make for a very fun and memorable summer.

  3. Well, as a freakishly weird homeschooling mom (but it's over and he's going to Fort Worth Christian next year) I can give you a suggestion that will give you a craft, lesson, etc. all in one. Lapbooks! go to http://www.handsofachild.com and they'll have many of the topics your kids want to cover… you purchase, print out the kit and have some fun putting it together! 🙂

  4. Jen, I love your idea. I can't wait until Brennan's old enough to implement something like this. The big boys and I have a plan that's very loose. I'm teaching summer school to other people's children ;)Looking forward to hearing how things go.

  5. I enjoyed reading this! We had our family summer meeting over lunch. They started off a bit annoyed by the idea, but once they realized what it was about…they were enjoying it. Always amazed to hear about what they want to learn. This will be the summer of electricity!

  6. stumbled upon your blog somehow. dont know how now, dont know you. was drawn in by the summer survival plan. so sad that you dont want to train your children, think that if you did… you would "kill them". so sad that your child is asking for your time and love and you dont want to give it. so sad that you dont see the benefit of the investment and that sacrifice is what we are called to. so sad. im sure this comment will make you mad, but hopefully it will make you ponder as well. why is it that God gave YOU these children? does your school (govt) share you and your husbands worldview? if not, who is pouring more into them? after school, homework, practices, dinner in the car and bathtime, who is pouring more into their think tank? High school seniors now leave for college believing there is no absolute truth. Why? Because from an early age, they are taught there is not. Are you depending on sunday school teachers and public school teachers to train what the Lord has given you the ability to train? I dont know if you are or not…but its something to ponder. just give it a thought before deleting.

  7. Dear Anne Jankowsi in MN,I'm not going to delete your comment because you gave me a much-needed laugh this morning! And I'm not at all mad. I hope you'll stick around and hang out in The Couch for a while to see just how much I pour into my 3 special needs kiddos and that someone can love her family and love God and still send them to public school.

  8. dear ms. Anne j.get a freakin life.my mom LOVES her kids to death, and FYI, you haven't met my 8 yr old brother. other than that, your comment was TOTALLY HILARIOUS!!!!!Mysterio (Person U Don't Know)(no, it's not my real name)

  9. Anne,As someone who personally knows this family, I can attest that they pour their heart and soul into their children. They have the most amazing and gifted children I have ever met (besides mine, of course). They are a loving, sweet, and encouraging family whom I feel blessed to know.

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