Friday, July 17, 2009

The schedule

This week, we started a new "summer schedule" for Jennifer. Basically, it's a "back-up plan" to beat the summer vacation boredom that can likely ensue when there are not a whole lot of activities planned. And it's also my way to prevent Jennifer from spending her entire summer vacation lazing around the house doing nothing fun or educational and watching TV all the time. Things on the schedule include activities like playtime, cleaning up around the house, reading a book (or being read to), going for a walk, visiting the park, etc. It also includes a daily "special activity."

The special activity is assigned according to what day of the week it is. These are the special activities for the week:

Monday: Craft project

Tuesday: Talent show
Wednesday: Nature walk

Thursday: Science project
Friday: Write Something Day!
Saturday: Go on an outing
Sunday: Cooking day

I know you can't exactly "plan" fun, but Jen sometimes has a hard time figuring out what she wants to do. I have definitely had one or two occasions in which she'll get frustrated and say, "I'm bored!" So having the schedule is definitely a great way to beat the boredom. In fact, she keeps going on about how much she loves the schedule because it sort of helps give her a sense of direction on what to do with her day.
While it has been great for her to have new and fun summer-y experiences, it hasn't been so great for me. A lot of these things include me participating with the kids, which eats into my time to do housework and the writing. I am still managing to squeeze those tasks in somewhere or another. Still, the laundry ended up piling up this week, the trash can was overflowing and the floor in the living room hasn't been vacuumed for 3 days! (I am hoping I will be able to vacuum later tonight.) I have managed to get some housework done, though; dishes, beds made, floors swept and mopped, toys picked up, etc.

All the same, we've been having a great time using the schedule. We are not on track with it yet, much to Jen's chagrin. But I told her it takes time to get used to any schedule. We also have to work activities around Jesse's naptimes.

This week we went on a nature walk and it was just awesome. We enjoyed looking at the many gardens, and especially liked seeing a pumpkin patch in somebody's front yard! Jen collected a lot of leaves, rocks, pinecones and sticks that she thought were all interesting.

When we walked to the park, a funny thing happened. There was this yellow squiggly-shaped pipe on the street next to a curb. But when I saw it, my first thought was that it was a snake! I jumped then grabbed Jen and pulled her away, freaking out and going, "Aah! Snake!" I swear, it looked so much like a snake. But Jennifer laughed and said, "That's not a snake!" I almost fainted when she bent over to pick it up. It was then I noticed it was a pipe! LOL How embarrassing. A guy passing by who saw the whole thing was laughing about it, too.
At the park, I took pictures of the kids playing and also of Jen playing in the sprinklers. You can't have summer without playing in the sprinklers!

For her science project, the theme this week was space. I picked space to celebrate the launch of Endeavor which FINALLY happened on Wednesday (after so many delays) and also because it is almost the 40th anniversary of man landing on the moon. Yay!! I love things that have to do with outer space (part of why I love Star Trek and sci-fi so much) and my dream house even has an observatory in it. (I have actually drawn out what my dream house looks like!) So for a science project, Jennifer made a space shuttle and a rocket. Originally, she was just gonna make the shuttle, but decided to go ahead and make the rocket, too. I helped her make the shuttle and she made the rocket all by herself. Woot! They are not perfect, but, hey, she's 7. You can see them here. Afterwards, I found a site on the 'Net where she could learn about rockets. What they look like, how they're made and what everything in a rocket does. I was amazed she was able to read the word "Oxidizer." Woot, go Jen!

Today, Jen had to write something. Previously, I made a list of writing prompts so she could have an idea of what to write. You can view that list here. She's usually gung-ho with the writing stuff. It's like she is always writing something! (And crafting something or drawing something...) But, today, she had a serious case of writer's block. Oh, no! She didn't want to write ANYTHING on that list. As she kept refusing every idea, I started to wonder if she was struck with perfectionist syndrome (which is what I am known to fall prey to quite often; EVERYTHING I write just HAS to be perfect on the first go). But as I talked with her more about what to write and why she didn't want to write some things, I learned she was just shy. She said it was embarrassing to write about those things. I assured her she could trust me with whatever she wrote. I promised not to laugh or tell anybody about it or point out any mistakes. (Though I DID have to stop her in the act of plagiarism. Yikes! I am going to have to have a kid-friendly talk with her about plagiarism.) After the talk, she wrote about her favorite color. When I read it, I gave her high praises, a high five and mondo congrats for writing something awesome. She beat her writer's block! Yay!

Tomorrow, we're planning to go out to the park and fly a kite. That is, if we get some windy weather. If not, we'll go on some other outing. And on Sunday, we're baking brownies together. Yum. Should be fun!

LATER: You know what? I'm not going to get all worked up over not being able to stay on top of getting ALL of the housework done every day, or every week. I have realized that my kids are not going to stay young forever. Time flies by so fast and, before I know it, they'll be teenagers wanting to spend ALL of their time with their friends instead of with Mom or Dad. I am going to enjoy this summer fun with them. I'll get caught up on the housework eventually. That housework will always be here, but they sure won't. And I don't want Jennifer to go back to school saying, "My mom spent the summer cleaning the house while I did stuff by myself." At least we ALL get some of the housework done every day. And that should be enough, for now!


Anonymous said...

sounds god. My housework gets behind during the summer but its ok, I have just a few things that HAVE to get done daily, laundry and dishes and pet things since we have so many pets. Vacuuming is sporadic and only if the floor starts looking bad. Dusting goes out the window until things start looking obviously dusty.

One of my kids likes cleaning and the other does not, so the one that likes it helps me out more, and my messy kid does other things that help out in other ways.

Anonymous said...

i like your schedule! we dont do a schedule but my kids are older and very rarely get bored anymore. When they were smaller we did have that problem which is why we started summer league swimming.

Dawn Colclasure said...

Thanks for the comments, Nancy. :) I wanted to put Jennifer into swimming this summer (and me, too!) because I know it's important to know how to swim, but we were short on cash for that. I hear ya about the housework. I DO try to do the things that have to be done every day, like I said, but I just can't get ALL of it done every day like I used to. I am going to have to put my foot down about other people helping out with the chores around here. I'm tired of being the one who does the bulk of the housework. It just isn't fair. As to the schedule, we don't follow it to the letter every single day. It's more of a "back-up plan" than anything else. Something that Jen can turn to when things slow down and there is not much else going on. And we switch the special activities around, too. For example, we did the "cooking together" thing yesterday (which as you know via Facebook, and as you know was a mistake since my taste buds are not fully restored yet! LOL) and we're having the outing today. Might not be the kite flying thing. We've been habing hot sunny days and not so many windy ones. There is a pet parade today, though, and we want to go check that out, so that might be our outing instead. The schedule is flexible, and I prefer it that way. :)

Millie said...

That's great that you have made that kind of schedule. Sounds like Jen will have a lot of time of discovering her likes and dislikes & talents. :) Definitely keep up with the house work though, so Jen has a good example of being responsible, maybe even you can assign her some tasks to do.

Dawn Colclasure said...

Usually she just cleans her room but sometimes she will also sweep floors and dust the bookshelves. Maybe that can be a regular thing. Jesse even puts his toys away! Isn't that neat? :) Thanks for your input on the schedule. It's definitely opening her up to new experiences and trying new things. And it's fun! :)