Today I waved goodbye for the last time to a kindergartener and third grader. When I walked along with their school bus and lingered to wave a minute longer, I thought back about this year and all my children accomplished academically with advanced placements, tennis goals they reached, and the new creative opportunities in band and a school play. As summer begins, I wanted to share our summer routine that keeps my children thinking and moving so they return next year ready for new challenges.
Our Summer Routine to Keep My Children Thinking and Moving
Routines are important to my children because it makes them feel secure knowing what will happen next. It’s interesting to see how much it bothers them for a routine to change. For the last week of school, I was able to bring them to the bus stop for the first time this year.
I discovered that if I came downstairs at 8:00 am instead of 7:50 am, they already fed themselves breakfast because that fit with their regular schedule, even though they had almost an hour to be at the bus stop and had plenty of time to eat breakfast at 8:00 am.
Not that I minded them making their own breakfast, although the cereal crumbs and splashes of milk got a bit messy, but I wanted to be the nice, caring mom who offered them a decent breakfast before school. It really pushed me to stick with their schedule to help them feel more prepared for their day.
With summer officially starting this afternoon, I’m already planning how we’ll celebrate in a way that totally disrupts the afternoon schedule. Will we head to the pool and order pizza there? Should we go pick out something special at the store or have a fun movie night tonight?
As much as we are ready for a fun start to summer, I’m also making sure to help them come up with a routine to stick with each day. It can be easy to do nothing all day, but they feel more secure having a plan. Even if we don’t do much or go anywhere, they want to know what to expect.
Routines help moms too! My dishes are already piling up at the thought of summer, but sticking with a plan helps me stay organized so I feel like I am accomplishing more.
Today, I really am so proud. Third grade brought huge academic achievements with opportunities to excel in harder classes. Recently I learned that my daughter is wrapping up the school year in a fourth grade math class (the schools here really do a great job of challenging children), and that she needs to have all multiplication and division facts memorized by the start of next year.
While the school gives her awesome games and a learning packet to do over the summer, I was excited to see her perk up at the sound of an academic contest from IXL called Study in the Sun 2019.
This annual showdown is a fun way to make sure that summer break doesn’t include a break from learning. Winners receive an awesome prize: an iPad mini!The prize was enough to get my kids ready to dive in and start learning.
The contest has three grade ranges: PreK–4th, 5th–8th, and 9th–12th. The three students in each grade range who answer the most IXL questions correctly during the contest period will take home the prize. (For more on the rules, visit here.)
While my children are ready to make smart use of their technology time with IXL each morning before we head out to play tennis and swim, they won’t be tempted to spend all day in front of a screen just to win. After all, no more than 500 total questions answered per day by a student will be eligible. Now that we have clear guidelines set for having an academic routine this summer, fitting in movement will be simple!
My daughters were so excited about this contest that they both checked with me to get permission to do IXL in the mornings on my computer if they wake up early instead of watching cartoons. This will be the structure they need to keep a productive summer routine. Plus if they are this excited, they are more likely to stick with it.
With school programs getting more competitive at a younger age, it’s important to already be thinking ahead to next school year as we create a summer routine. I’m happy that my children want to include IXL in their routine because it’s worked well for them in the past (my kindergartener was learning first grade math for most of the school year), and I expect that supporting them as they practice new skills will help them start the next school year as academically confident as they did started this school year.