When faced with a month with my boys home, I started organizing a schedule right away. We’re all better off when we know what is happening and when to expect it. All three of us thrive with structure. So I printed out a schedule, with picture cues for Isaac, of what our weekday summer schedule would look like, and I hung it in the kitchen. And as soon as it was up the boys were reading it over, excited about the outline for our days…and excited about the part of the day set aside for Mommy School.
I’ve done Mommy School here and there for different reasons over the past four years. I did it with Andrew before sending him to preschool. I did it with Andrew when I pulled him out of school for a while. I did it with Andrew last summer when he was home and Isaac was in school. And the I realized! I’ve only done this with Andrew! I’ve never done it with Isaac! How can that BE? Then I became VERY curious how it would go with the littlest Rice.
Here’s the basics of what we do:
Weather: Andrew’s charting the weather in 5 locations around the world (Dallas, TX; London, England; Perth, Australia; Niamey, Niger and Lima, Peru). Isaac looks out the window draws a cloud, sun, or swirly windy marks on a little chart and circles the word on the chart that best describes the weather.
Journal Writing: Andrew cries and complains about the tortures of writing in his journal. I make him do it anyway. (so mean!) His handwriting is still VERY delayed and he needs all the practice he can get. He earns candy for doing a good job. ha! I had no idea how Isaac would respond to a journal. I wanted him to draw a picture and write a few words each day…but when I ask Isaac questions like “what did you do in Vermont?” a blank stare or repeating the question back to me, is a much more likely response than actually answering the question. Isaac is a in-the-moment kid. Retelling events is not his thing. But, he’s been surprising me. For the Vermont question he drew a picture of the wagon he played with. And when I help him write words (this time we wrote “wagon”, “wheel”, “handle” and “hill”), he is full of wonder that the letters he knows so well can come out of the tip of his pencil and make words. It’s really, really sweet to see…and makes up for all the whining and complaining going on at the other end of the table. Sigh.
Workbook: Andrew came home with a nice “For Kids Going Into Third Grade” workbook. So I bought the “kindergarten” version for Isaac and we aim at four pages a day. It’s a mix of math and spelling and reading and science. Heck, I even think they threw in some social studies activities in there too.
Science Experiment: The highlight for Andrew. We chose a topic each week and do several simple experiments based on that topic. Then each boy has a Science Journal to sketch and write what happened. The Science Journal is much easier for Andrew to complete than his regular journal. :)
Reading: I’ve been trying to get Andrew to read more fiction this summer and take a little break from his books on science. That’s been going really well. And I’ve been using little readers with Isaac. Isaac knows WAY more words than I thought he knew…plus his attempts at an unknown word are much better than I expected!
It takes a little over an hour to get it all in. And in the afternoons we often do a simple art project too. But, I’d say Mommy Summer School is going really well! We love having the structure and I feel really good about keeping them up with their academics.