This is the point in the summer where we are into a routine of swim lessons and gymnastics and Bible clubs, but there are also several hours where I need to work each day. That means the kiddies are left to their own entertainment. It works for a few days before they are bickering and grumpy and resorting to ONLY watching tv. I’m not about to let that kind of tv-only routine set in.

To counter this lazy trend, at the suggestion of a friend on FB we created a morning plan.


Simple. Task-oriented.

No yelling.

They don’t have to do it first thing, but they should be done by lunch unless we have to go somewhere. And Eat/Dress/Brush has to happen before anyone does anything. Otherwise in the summer they just don’t do them at all.

They choose the book. BookItSummer has helped motivate them. It’s the good old fashioned BookIt from my youth, from Pizza Hut. To dress their dragon they have to do certain reading tasks or worksheets and you can “unlock” new items for them. It’s very simple – they click an item, it tells them what to do (for instance “Read a magazine”), and after they do it they can click “unlock”. It would be super easy to cheat the system and click “unlock” on everything. My kids hold each other accountable to finishing the tasks.

They choose the writing topic. We’ve negotiated that it doesn’t have to be a story. Hope often writes in her journal, or a poem, etc. For Hope this is about her actual penmanship so I don’t care what she’s writing as long as it is neat. For Ben this is about the process, so his goal is complete sentences in a logical order.

They choose the website, within math-related-game limits. Here are a few of our favorites:
Cool Math – not every game actually makes them do math and they’ll figure out which ones are too easy right away! – It’s not just multiplication – also addition and subtraction. And you can tell it which numbers you want to work with. So when Ben picks multiplication games he just picks 2’s and 3’s.
IXL – this one takes some convincing. These are more like quizzes than games. The bonus for me is that you can choose a grade level and then choose which skill you want them to practice.

They choose the worksheet page. I’ve negotiated that they don’t have to do math everyday. They have several workbooks we’ve picked up that are grade-level appropriate. But there are plenty of free printable versions online too:
BookItSummer– again, several of the worksheets are phonics/word search/word scramble type pages.
Worksheet Place – LOTS of worksheets under LOTS of detailed categories. I’ve used math, writing prompts (including one with just word bubbles where they have to turn it into a comic strip – Ben loved this), venn diagrams, language, science – good stuff.
MathWorksheets4Kids – also really detailed categories, and a lot of options for varied levels.

Cleaning the rooms – yeah… that’s just because Mommy likes things neater than they are. And the “if needed” is at mommy’s discretion. We haven’t yet had a day where it wasn’t needed.

Fun time – had to be clarified… it does NOT mean electronics the rest of the day.

This buys me a couple of pre-lunch hours to get stuff done without interruption. I hope this helps some of the moms who are ready to pull out their hair by this time of the summer. Now we can carry on free of attitude and fights and yelling. My hopes are high.

A Simple Plan