Our Plans for a Regular Old Summer Day

LauraAll Posts, Books

Year-round schooling is my style. I thrive in the sweet terrarium of structure and accomplishment.

My children, on the other hand, need a nice, long break from the monotony thrill of a rigorous academic schedule. Besides, our summer schedule is gladly full of friends, outdoor adventures, vacation, and camps, so it’s not realistic to expect school-work-as-usual.

When we are home, I like to keep a general daily schedule so the kids know what to expect. I’ve discovered that even summer vacation thrives with a little structure, so that everything hums along. The younger they are, the more passionate I am about having them read, write, and reason a bit each day. (Personal history proves that a 3-day weekend – let alone a 3-month vacation – can make a Kindergartner write their 5’s backwards after working so hard to write them correctly. Ack! That hurts. So, we keep things like “5’s” fresh through the summer.)

Here’s our “Regular Ole’ Summer Day” plan.

Play until Breakfast.

8 o’clock: Breakfast

Outdoor chores (Before the sun!)

9ish – 10ish a.m. The Playful Pioneer

We’ve just begun a beautiful and fun curriculum that takes young students through The Little House on the Prairie Books w/ activities, crafts, recipes, coloring, and Copywork. It’s meant for K-3, but my older girls begged to be let in on the fun. I’ll be sharing more about this soon. Stay tuned.

10ish – 11ish a.m. “Snack and Stuff”

We’ll all grab a snack and then… The older girls want to keep up with their math and practice their music or ballet. They’re both writing stories for The Secret Keep Girl Story-Writing Contest, so they use this time to work on that.

Meanwhile, I play with Malachi and Audrey, aiming to help Malachi do some math, reading, and writing as we play. My top 5 ideas: “Toy Store”, “Sunday School,” “Camp,” “Train Station,” and “Restaurant”.

11ish – 12ish p.m. Free time

12ish – 1ish p.m. Lunch/ Free time

1ish – 2ish p.m. Quiet Reading Hour

2ish – 3ish p.m. Read-aloud + an Art Project or a Game

I love this special time just with my older 3. We’ve read so many wonderful books together, painted many watercolors, and played many games. Just yesterday, Malachi and I won a game of Rummikub. 🙂

3ish – 3:30 p.m. Indoor Chores

3:30 – 5 p.m. Free time until dinner

All of that free time is beautiful for children! They can run and play and create! But, I must admit that all of that free time gives me the jitters. I don’t mind a dose of boredom that results in discovery and play, but I do mind boredom that results in complaining, snack-begging, and aimlessness. (Two-sides of the same coin!)

Our kids love to play outside and can spend hours with Playmobil or LEGOS, it’s just a matter of getting them going sometimes.  So for a quick reference, I made a list of fun things they can do and posted it on the fridge. If they need an idea, there it is. The list is full of everything you’d expect: playdoh, dolls, bubbles, clay…

My biggest concern is myself:  I can flat-out wilt under the intensity of unstructured time. To appease myself, I posted a 2nd list on the fridge: a list of “You ACCOMPLISHED something!” ideas for myself. (I used Pam Barnhill’s free Summer printables.)

I’m sure that most of that “free time” will be taking care of business, getting supplies for little ones, applying sunscreen on four little noses, restoring peace to the universe, and patching up boo boos. BUT, for those rare moments when I have free time and don’t know how to begin, I can glance at my list for an idea to make the most of my opportunity. 🙂


When it comes to community and online summer reading programs, I tend to fail.

I don’t know why.

They are just so hard.

The lists, the entries, the prizes… I try to juggle the Summer Reading Program Ball, but it’s one I keep dropping. So for the past few summers, I’ve just created our own Family Reading Challenge.

This year, I compiled a list of good books that are also good movies. Read a book from the list and we’ll watch the movie! Easy and fun.

I tried to include titles that are both good books and good movies. Want the plan for your own fridge? Here’s a copy that you can edit according to your particular family’s taste. Just click here: A Book and a Movie: Summer Reading Fun.

What goes on at your house on a regular old summer day?