on why I refuse to have a Pinterest summer

Usually about this time I put up this amazing post with amazing charts, a link to my pinterest board filled with fabulous ideas for summer and other ridiculous things that
we.never.do.
In 2011 we tried these jars. Fail. It was exciting for about a week and then it wasn’t.
In 2012 we had great summer schooling plans and implemented these technology punch cards. The schooling never really happened, but the cards were somewhat of a success. It still didn’t curb our drive to go straight to tech when we are bored (mom included) and honestly I got tired of always punching the cards. I also tried to implement this amazingly complicated chore chart. Beautiful yes. Practical no.
Last summer I chilled out a little bit and I really don’t think I even attempted a chore chart. We did have some sort of a schedule and I did have intentions of doing some summer schooling (which never happened) and tech time was loose in the sense that you got an hour after lunch giving us tech free mornings which typically help curb off the grumpies first thing in the morning.

This year, I don’t know if it’s because I’m so burnt out from a busy and overwhelming spring, because my kids are older, because of this post or what. But I started out with some minor ideas including this post-it chore chart. I bought the post-it’s, wrote it all out and even printed the actual post-its. Then reality set in and I realized I didn’t want to keep up with this.

And I gave up on the idea of having a pinterest-worthy summer. I gave up on the idea of filling our summer days up with checklists, calendars, activities pinned from the web and a stack of enrichment activity books. I decided that this year I was going to do what works for us and our family. I wasn’t going to make up all these crazy ideas and force us to be something that we are not. Giving up on the idea of a “pinterest worthy” summer means that you are living your life and what works for you. This is what works for us…

Summer 2014

Yes, it’s still a chart, but honestly it’s a loose one. I’ve got one child who likes to check boxes and another who just likes to have a list to go by. It’s really just a guide for what we need to accomplish during our day. It’s a way for me to hold them accountable to doing a few things before they veg out in front of a screen or a box of Legos.

We are doing some summer enrichment “schooling” and more than likely these will carry over into our after-schooling homework that we do during the school year. (Our schools don’t really do homework, giving us the freedom to do some extra enrichment stuff at home after school). The boy wanted to learn Latin so I splurged on part of a Latin curriculum and for the chick we are working through a simple language workbook.

We are horrible about chores in this house. Really it’s just expected that you will put up your laundry after it’s folded, that you will take the dog out to the bathroom or that you will help empty the dishwasher. It’s just a natural thing we all do in the house. But for the summer I’m trying out assigning each child a dinner chore. One child will feed the dog and the other will set the table and wash it after dinner. We’ll rotate back and forth throughout the summer.

 

Summer 2014

The husband and I rethought our house rules and consequences and condensed them down to two main house rules. Being a peacemaker and following first request. These are our two biggest issues in our house and something we decided to really had to crack down on. We revamped our consequences and so far so good. Before we just sent them to their rooms, but this time they have to write a note of apology to the offended person before they can come out of their room. Remember those post-it’s? It’s a short note, more than just I’m sorry, but no longer than a post it. They aren’t too happy about the consequences, but I think that’s the point.

We had a family meeting after dinner one night and each of use got some tiny post-its to share some items to add to our summer bucket list. It was fun to see what everyone came up with.

In the world of technology, my goal all along as been to figure out how to encourage my kids not to go to tech the first instant they are bored. I’ve tried this in a million different ways and honestly it really comes more from my example. But this summer we are handling it this way. Every year when we do our well child check ups I always have to share how much technology my children get in a day. I always reply around 2 hours. I don’t know if that’s totally sure, but it’s what we strive for. So this summer, each day a child gets 2 hours of screen time to “spend” however and whenever they want. I’m encouraging them to keep up with the math (obviously I am too) and if they want to watch a show or a movie they have to figure out how much they might have left, if any. So far it’s been working great. When the 2 hours is gone, you are done with screens. End of story.

Ultimately I’m trying to create freedom in our days. I agree so much with the article from The Gospel Coalition that with this world of pinterest and blogs and facebook we are honestly living such visible lives that we are wearing ourselves out as mothers. We are engaging with our children just to have a photo-op.  I’m all for schedules and lists, but there’s a point where it’s all just for looks and nothing more. I’m hoping to make a change. I’m longing for a peaceful and fun summer.  And one where we just live life and not life lived through a lens.

Here’s hoping this is the summer.

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