June 2, 2008

Summer, Kids and Spiders...Oh, My!

Ahhh, summer. I love this time of year! I love the brights colors, warm sights and the fun time with friends. I am ready for a break from the routine; besides, my kids are going cRaZy!
With 90+ degree weather this week, I pulled out the cool-mom machine: our ice shaver. If you don't have one, drop what you are doing and go right now to Walmart. Your kids will love you forever and you'll even enjoy a refreshing bit of snow on these hot days.

I shave the ice and then the kids pour whatever they want we have available on top. Today one kid douced her ice with Dr. Pepper, another with strawberry syrup; for the other child, I shaved the canteloupe pieces she froze the other day. (Who knows why she froze canteloupe. She said it was an "experiment.")

I'm not doing a whole lot of formal schooling this summer. But one thing the kids will do every day is read silently for at least 30 minutes (more if I can trick them into believing the clock isn't really working.) I have a house of mixed readers: one child reads everything, another child doens't like to read, and the third child would rather comment on every.single.picture. But for half an hour each day an enjoyable book will be in their pretty little hands and my house will be quiet. :)

I took the kids to the library for their reading materials. I told them they could have whatever they wanted. So M picked out 5 books on spiders. Eek! Now she's a walking arachnid encylopedia!

Another thing we're doing this summer is playing educational games. Our current favorite is Bananagrams. I had seen it in a school catalog a few years ago, but recently found it at our local AC Moore. Each person gets to make their own crossword puzzle. Any word goes. But sometimes I challenge myself to stick to a theme. I did an entire puzzle of animal names last week, including jaguar, antelope and leopard.

This game is great for word-lovers and beginning spellers, though the silly twins need a little help or they start throwing tiles at each other.

We will also do a unit study on Biology this summer. The kids have lots of questions about people, plants and animals. So now's a good time to start studying this subject matter in a bit more detail so we started today going through the book, Christian Kids Explore Biology. To keep things normal, the plan is for them to learn and me to take pictures. Here's one of the hydrangeas in my mother's front yard:

Instead of doing math workbook pages, the girls will be mastering addition and multiplication math facts. If you know of any great games to encourage them, post a comment or email me. I don't want this time to be drugery for the girls. But I need a break as much as my kids need some structure. So we're setting basic goals and trying the play games to keep the learning alive (and keep their hands busy!).

And no blog post would be complete without a picture of the baby for the grandparents. So this summer he will be downing his Ritz with peanut butter. :)

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