Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Plans, Again

There are 12 weeks of summer vacation. Our children's ages range from 15 years old to 4 years old. Both of us are working parents and with no nanny at the moment, this could be a challenge...

This is how we will try to plan this summer - in no particular order after week 2:

Week 1: Re-learning to live all together in the same house without school. Sharing the TV, the favorite spot on the couch, organizing meal times, etc. Usually our schedules differ, so the 7 of us can be together only at dinner. We divide chores and responsibilities very roughly, like each one is in charge of fixing their room, making their own bed, while I fix meals and do laundry. If I have a work meeting, big ones should drop their personal plans and babysit until I come back. This routine will go on for the whole summer.

Week 2: Summer closet cleaning / social awareness. Check for clothes that don't fit or are damaged, so we can repair them or give them away. Get rid of papers, books and thing that they don't need or work anymore. It is great week to promote social awareness, visit homeless shelters, orphan homes and hospitals. Usually it gives better results if they invite one or two friends to do it together with us.

Week 3: Mom's camp for the little ones. Mom's camp is an idea that a friend of mine gave us. You group 5 other moms of your children friends and each one pick one day of the week to come pick your child up and plan the day as she sees fit. It could be from ice skating, to a beach day with a picnic, taking them to the movies, or a water park. The only rule is that each mom arranges what the 5 kids are going to do for that day according to their budget. Anything works. That way you have 1 day per kid. Usually I am in charge 3 days with 3 different groups and have 2 free days.

Week 4: Free time...no schedule, no rush, no planning, just free time to do whatever they want do and maybe get a jump start on their summer reading... Paint with chalk on the sidewalk, do a bake sale or lemonade stand, car wash, etc...

Week 5 and 6: Family trip for two weeks. Destination to be determined by the parents with input from the children and could be split into several shorter trips, budget permitting.

Week 7: Free week... rest. No big plans: play at the pool or ride bike, simple unplanned, fun things.

Week 8 and 9: My Cozy Cooking Camp. I run this "summer camp" at home. I invite 8 friends of my children. My children are the helpers and get paid for their work and their friends come and pay for materials. The sessions go from 10am to 1pm. I teach them good manners, menu planning, recipes, home matters and we do crafts and board games...It is fun!

Week 10: Focus on friends and family; trips to local parks, ride bike, go to the beach, go to see a family movie.

Week 11 and 12: Swimming summer camp for the little ones. Recharge batteries before school starts. For older ones they go to a two week warm-up math class at school in the mornings, free afternoons.

Week 13: BACK TO SCHOOL!

There is no particular science to this. Overall, try not to micro manage every waking moment and give them free time to play on their own and be creative!

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