K.O.B.F Week #3 Ocean

Gallery

This week continues Mission: Keep Our Brains Fresh

Week #3 – Ocean

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As previously explained in Mindset Mondays, I am on a mission to keep my kiddos brains fresh this summer break from school. Every year I try to focus on hiding some learning opportunities into our summer fun and this year my oldest daughter and I have put together this weekly plan of attack.

Our Plan As Follows

Every week of summer we will have a new weekly theme and we started these themes on Memorial Day (Monday) as this was the first official full week of summer break for us. Read about our first weeks K.O.B.F. plan K.O.B.F Week #1 Outer Space and our second week K.O.B.F Week #2 Science as well. We should have started week three last Monday, however life happens and I am no stranger to that fact, so sometimes plans change. This past Monday upon our return home from Romantic 10 Year Anniversary Road Trip my husband found himself admitted to our local hospital for 3 days. This left me holding down the fort with 4 crazy excited little girls that we were home but stir crazy as I was back and forth to the hospital regularly.

My girls spent the week doing some left over worksheets from previous weeks and really focusing on reading, (and as it goes sometimes, more screen time than normal) once they completed their daily chore’s and Summer Devotion Time.  SO this week I am excited to be home from vacation, with my husband out of the hospital, following his discharge orders & making the appropriate follow-up appointments AND back to the normal swing of things around our house during the summer with my kiddo’s. I’m even more excited that our theme is ocean, especially after having just spent a relaxing trip with my toes in the sand & ocean tide again!!!

Here’s the overview if you wanted to follow along:

The weekly themes my oldest daughter (she is helping me run & organize it this summer, just call her my “PA” personal assistant!) and I have decided to focus on are as follows:

  1. Outer Space 
  2. Science
  3. Oceans – This weeks learning theme!
  4. Bugs & Butterflies
  5. American History
  6. Colors & Shapes
  7. Caves
  8. Dinosaurs
  9. Super Spy School
  10. Rainforest
  11. Lego’s
  12. Water Fun

The idea we have regarding the weekly learning theme’s is to focus on a different theme each week that gives us a commonality to incorporate multiple different subjects under the same topic, much like daycare’s and preschools do. Each Monday I will be posting a new blog with our weekly theme and some of the lesson ideas and tools we will be using that week. I plan to focus about an hour an afternoon on a different subject each day but which days I execute which “assignments” will depend on the flow of each week . We will only be taking an hour out for assignments on typical school days, Mon. – Fri. As I mentioned before, I don’t want their summer learning to ever feel like they are attending summer school for 3 months straight.

Each week I hope to cover these subject areas in our daily

Mission: KOBF hour are…

…Arts & Crafts, Vocabulary, Reading, Math, a Physical Activity or Outing, and also a few Fun Food Ideas!

 

This weeks Ideas:

– Art project or craft, I don’t plan for this to be a big production every week. Most weeks will likely be coloring, painting or drawing, but again, depending on the theme for the week, I may change-up the difficulty level & intensity of the arts & crafts sometimes.

This week our arts & crafts will be very largely based on coloring pages incorporated in the link I provided for the vocabulary section below. Also I have a large supply of toilet paper rolls on hand for random crafts or repurpose needs and I found this great idea to make toilet paper roll fishA simple fish craft made from a cardboard tube using a flatten and cut technique

I may complete a “Field Trip” with them to a local beach to acquire sand & shells to be used for shoebox diorama’s as well. For now we have a fair amount of rain in this weeks forecast though so that will be played by ear! 

****Here are a few other ideas I don’t think we will have time for but may be fun for you and your kiddos! Like Crystal growing Seashells as explained and documented by “Little Bins for Little Hands” blog, I as excited to come across this demonstration because it can sneak a little science into your week of learning!Crystal Seashells Borax Crystal Growing Experiment Also this could be super fun to do, a cute  Swimming Jellyfish Paper Plate Craft idea! 

 

– Vocabulary Lesson, this may be as simple as providing a list of words to have my 7-year-old copy for practice neatly writing into a short sentence each and also for my older daughters to include in a creative writing assignment.

This week our vocabulary lessons will come largely on Monday & Tuesday through the Ocean themed printables and coloring pages that I found from this homeschooling momma here at 3 Boys & a Dog Blog. (This is a resources I will likely refer back to also, she has a vast collection of coloring pages & worksheets on many topics) 

 

– Reading, storytime style taking turns from one week to the next depending on the difficulty of the book chosen each week. Some weeks my 7-year-old will read it out loud other weeks it may be one of my older two and on some occasions it will still be me (we have quite the expanse of books in our home so most of the books will likely come from our existing collection but I will share those titles when available in advance).

This is another area where we can accommodate a pretty wide variety of reading selections based on the beach & ocean from our personal book collection. As in previous weeks, I will encourage my girls to find selections they will enjoy to read to each other while I prepare for our weekend campout. However since I will be home, I will try to slip one or two into a bedtime storytime session one evening. I don’t have any specific book titles to offer but I always encourage a trip to your local public library to let your kids explore the many titles and find books within each topic that interest them specifically. This helps them get excited about books even more when you let them have an opinion on what they read!

 

– Math, this will be a practice session with themed math worksheets whenever I am able to find or create them within our theme. On some occasions though they may be hands on activities, like baking or cooking, or measuring to create (i.e. helping to prepare a dish for a camping trip or family cookout=measuring lesson)

This week our math lesson will be an activity. I took some inspiration from one of my favorite blogs, “The Imagination Tree” to come up with our math lesson for the week. Their idea was to Fish for Letter Sounds as explained on their page. I decided instead to write numbers on the ping pong balls and give them a basic math problem. The first one to “catch” the correct answer using their net to “fish” will win a point. After a series of problems the winner will be presented their Prize Goldfish Cup!

 

– Physical outing or activity, it may be as simple as a dance session to some kind of music that fits the theme or it may be a game or sport altered to fit the theme but whatever it is it will get our hearts pumping! ( because our family has a wide age range we may personally incorporate multiple variations of play to whatever activity we do. Take the liberty of personalizing our recommendations to fit your families dynamic & age span).

I plan to sneak a beach obstacle course in during our Field Trip to the beach if we can manage that around the weather. I will draw out the course in the sand and encourage them to run it against each other 2 at a time. Running in sand is a great way to get a little extra leg burn into your play!

 

– Snacks, I have always been a food lover and as a creative person I find it fun to “play with food” in my family fun theme’s, learning experiences and celebrations. I’m a super cheesy person and love a good theme! I will use our weekly themes as an opportunity to look at our meals, snacks and treats through a different lens through the summer so look out for some fun snack/treat ideas inspired by our theme selections!

Now this is the one area I may have let you down in last week but I do have some simple fun ideas planned for this weeks Ocean theme! I do always encourage you to challenge yourself to come up with some cute ideas based on your kiddos diet & preferences. If you do get creative please share them in the comments or via my Dazzling Domestic Dreamer’s Facebook Page! I would love to see what you come up with! Here is what we will be doing this week, we will be decorating Ocean Cupcakes and making a Simple Seaside Snack Mix. In lieu of a lunch or dinner I will serve Fish & Chips!

For the cupcakes I am going to bake some boxed mix cupcakes and frost them with basic blue frosting. Each girl will get one cupcake and a variety of ocean themed candy to decorate their cupcake, like these sour octopus gummy’s, this great gummy sea critter variety pack, and not to be forgotten, one of my favorite’s Swedish Fish! For the Simple Seaside Snack Mix I will place some goldfish crackers, salty  sunflower seeds (inspired by the salty sea water) the last of the gummy candy’s and some pretzel rods (inspired by driftwood) into a large Ziploc bag so I can shake it to mix it up. Each child will get a personal sized cup to snack on! My last idea is to serve Fish & Chips by way of fish sticks & seasoned oven fries for dinner one evening!

We’d Love You To Join Along!

As I can fit them into our theme I will be looking for “field trip” opportunities and we always welcome friends along for those fun outing so watch out for those in our weekly plans if you are local to us! Also we welcome play dates in the summer schedule too. If you can’t join us in person we would still love to hear about your fun summer themes if you decide to put this plan in place to fit your kids and your family! Share pictures and stories in the comments!

Whether you plan to execute this identical to my plan and future blogs on the topic, or whether you use is as a vague guide, or even not at all doesn’t really matter to me. What matters to me is that you are proactive about allowing your kids brains to properly be stimulated WITHOUT electronics this summer and that you make it fun for your kids specifically. Remember, while you are doing this you aren’t just keeping their brains fresh, you are creating memories!  So go make memories this summer in general, but their teachers will thank you in the fall if you implement some form of our K.O.B.F Mission this summer, and don’t forget to check back for more ideas on our future themes and other summer fun memory making ideas! Now Dazzle your way to an Ocean themed week of Learning & Intentional, Productive fun!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

K.O.B.F Week #2 Science

Gallery

This week continues Mission: Keep Our Brains Fresh

Week #2- Science

As previously explained in Mindset Mondays I am on a mission to keep my kiddos brains fresh this summer break from school. Every year I try to focus on hiding some learning opportunities into our summer fun and this year my oldest daughter and I have put together this weekly plan of attack.

Our Plan As Follows

Every week of summer we will have a new weekly theme and we started these themes on Memorial Day (Monday) as this was the first official full week of summer break for us. Read about our first weeks K.O.B.F. plan K.O.B.F Week #1 Outer Space. We should have started week two last Monday, however life happens and I am no stranger to that fact, so sometimes plans change. This past Sunday in my prep for the week I was putting in my organization hours for the new week ahead and I found myself suffering from headaches and dizzy spells whenever I sat down at the computer, so I was only able to get so far with the technological preparations. Monday my headaches continued and then Tuesday upon finally having relief from the headache, I discovered I had somehow been locked out of my laptop. This meant that finding the necessary printables and science experiment specifics on my computer was not possible until the end of the week when I had finally resolved the problem. After fighting a bit with my technology again I was finally able to put some occasional time on the computer allowing me to begin the catch up project on my work Friday.

My kids enjoyed a traditional lazy week of summer playing outside once they completed their daily chore’s and Summer Devotion Time BUT  they expressed many times during the week the fact that they missed having the work and my 2nd daughter brought it up at least twice a day. I felt super bad but alas plans don’t always pan out as we’d like.

The weekly themes my oldest daughter (she is helping me run & organize it this summer, just call her my “PA” personal assistant!) and I have decided to focus on are as follows:

  1. Outer Space 
  2. Science– This weeks learning theme!
  3. Oceans
  4. Bugs & Butterflies
  5. American History
  6. Colors & Shapes
  7. Caves
  8. Dinosaurs
  9. Super Spy School
  10. Rainforest
  11. Lego’s
  12. Water Fun

The idea we have regarding the weekly learning theme’s is to focus on a different theme each week that gives us a commonality to incorporate multiple different subjects under the same topic, much like daycare’s and preschools do. Each Monday I will be posting a new blog with our weekly theme and some of the lesson ideas and tools we will be using that week. I plan to focus about an hour an afternoon on a different subject each day but which days I execute which “assignments” will depend on the flow of each week . We will only be taking an hour out for assignments on typical school days, Mon. – Fri. As I mentioned before, I don’t want their summer learning to ever feel like they are attending summer school for 3 months straight.

Each week I hope to cover these subject areas in our daily

Mission: KOBF hour are…

…Arts & Crafts, Vocabulary, Reading, Math, a Physical Activity or Outing, and also a few Fun Food Ideas!

~This week I am taking a slightly different approach than most weeks, as we are focusing on a different area of science to study each day. The 5 areas of study we will be focusing on this week are:

Monday- Human Body

Tuesday- Five Senses

Wednesday- Chemical Reaction Day

Thursday- Weather

Friday- The Sun

The week will be front loaded with a few more of the hands on activities because Wednesday evening my husband and I will be leaving to go out-of-town and my oldest will be in charge of the lessons each day with the supervision of my mother.  However I am still going to be sure to find many printables because at the end of every day during Space week my middle girls were looking for more worksheets!

 

This weeks Ideas:

– Art project or craft, I don’t plan for this to be a big production every week. Most weeks will likely be coloring, painting or drawing, but again, depending on the theme for the week, I may change-up the difficulty level & intensity of the arts & crafts sometimes.

This week our arts & crafts will be very largely based on Wednesday our Chemical Reaction Day. I have a few science experiments planned for that day so my husband & I can spend a little quality time with our girls right before we head out on our anniversary trip. I plan to use this afternoon to do a few fun experiments like the Elmer’s Glue SlimeHomemade Bouncey Balls, and last will be a Filter Paper experiment with markers and water (these will be reused in a few weeks when we do bugs & butterflies too!) I do also have a few ideas that seem simple enough to be executed by my oldest daughter with my moms supervision providing it works into their plans on Thursday & Friday for our weather & sun units. The first is Shaving Cream Rain Clouds as demonstrated beautifully through that link provided for this activity. Another fun activity may be to use new watercolor paint they received from their grandma at the end of the school year to paint some weather related images to cut out and create Weather Mobile’s like this great example! Also for Sun they will paint paper plates to use when they create their Sundials as explained further in Math.

****Here are a few other ideas I don’t think we will have time for but may be fun for you and your kiddos! Like Making plastic with milk! Also this super fun idea to do an Oil & Water Experiment would definitely be one if we weren’t traveling that I wanted to do! One last activity we may still try later in the summer but would be fun for Friday when we cover the Sun is this cool idea for Solar Oven Smore’s!!!

 

– Vocabulary Lesson, this may be as simple as providing a list of words to have my 7-year-old copy for practice neatly writing into a short sentence each and also for my older daughters to include in a creative writing assignment.

This week our vocabulary lessons will come largely on Monday & Tuesday through the Human body & 5 Senses printables that I found Here at Crayola’s website & also Here at Kids-Pages.com. (These are resources I strongly advise you refer back to as they have a wide variety of coloring pages & worksheets on many topics) Here is another great “Guts” Printable and this great Body Systems Booklet that my girls enjoyed today as part of our Human Body Day! For our weather day I plan to leave some of these worksheets for my girls to have extra entertainment while I am gone and so I found these cute vocabulary & word tracing weather coloring worksheets

 

– Reading, story time style taking turns from one week to the next depending on the difficulty of the book chosen each week. Some weeks my 7-year-old will read it out loud other weeks it may be one of my older two and on some occasions it will still be me (we have quite the expanse of books in our home so most of the books will likely come from our existing collection but I will share those titles when available in advance).

This is an area where we can accommodate a pretty wide variety of reading selections based on the weather and the sun from our personal book collection and since those are the topics they will focus on Thursday & Friday I will encourage my girls to find selections they will enjoy to read to each other while we are out-of-town. I don’t have any specific book titles to offer but I always encourage a trip to your local public library to let your kids explore the many titles and find books within each topic that interest them specifically. This helps them get excited about books even more when you let them have an opinion on what they read!

 

– Math, this will be a practice session with themed math worksheets whenever I am able to find or create them within our theme. On some occasions though they may be hands on activities, like baking or cooking, or measuring to create (i.e. helping to prepare a dish for a camping trip or family cookout=measuring lesson)

This week our math lesson will be incorporated in our science experiments because we will be measuring ingredients on Wednesday. I do also have plans for them to assemble Sundials with paper plates and paint brushes on Friday as part of their Sun lessons. The plan is based on this idea from Kids Play Box and it involves tracking the shadow hourly also incorporating time tracking into our math lessons. Our last Math lesson for the week comes by way of  These Rainy Day Clip Cards created by this talented momma that I printed to use for Thursday’s weather day. I plan to cut them and laminate them so they can be used over and over for more numbers practice in the future!

– Physical outing or activity, it may be as simple as a dance session to some kind of music that fits the theme or it may be a game or sport altered to fit the theme but whatever it is it will get our hearts pumping! ( because our family has a wide age range we may personally incorporate multiple variations of play to whatever activity we do. Take the liberty of personalizing our recommendations to fit your families dynamic & age span).

I plan to do some driveway chalking with my kiddo’s in the driveway, and trace their outlines encouraging they draw & label their bodies. This time outdoors will naturally include some running, skipping & casual playtime.  Also I think Human Body Day creates a natural opening to teach my 2 yr. old The Hokey Pokey with help from my older girls! Another great idea for a Field Trip that may work into your schedule better than my own would be to visit your local Science Museum as a family on Saturday!

 

– Snacks, I have always been a food lover and as a creative person I find it fun to “play with food” in my family fun theme’s, learning experiences and celebrations. I’m a super cheesy person and love a good theme! I will use our weekly themes as an opportunity to look at our meals, snacks and treats through a different lens through the summer so look out for some fun snack/treat ideas inspired by our theme selections!

Now this is the one area I may let you down a little this week, I have not spent any time looking for cute food or snack ideas related to science this week since I will be packing, & prepping to be out-of-town but I do challenge you to come up with some cute ideas and share them in the comments or via my Dazzling Domestic Dreamer’s Facebook Page! I would love to see what you come up with! 

We’d Love You To Join Along!

As I can fit them into our theme I will be looking for “field trip” opportunities and we always welcome friends along for those fun outing so watch out for those in our weekly plans if you are local to us! Also we welcome play dates in the summer schedule too. If you can’t join us in person we would still love to hear about your fun summer themes if you decide to put this plan in place to fit your kids and your family! Share pictures and stories in the comments!

Whether you plan to execute this identical to my plan and future blogs on the topic (feel free to use this PDF Document I compiled a few of the 5 Senses & the Sun printables I plan to use this week here, KOBF wk #2 Science)  or whether you use is as a guide, or even not at all doesn’t really matter to me. What matters to me is that you are proactive about allowing your kids brains to properly be stimulated WITHOUT electronics and that you make it fun for your kids specifically. Remember, while you are doing this you aren’t just keeping their brains fresh, you are creating memories!  So go make memories this summer, but don’t forget to check back for more ideas on our themes and other summer fun memory making ideas! Now Dazzle your way to a Science filled week of Learning & Intentional, Productive fun!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

K.O.B.F Week #1 Outer Space

Gallery

This week begins our Mission: Keep Our Brains Fresh

Week #1- Outer Space

As previously explained in Mindset Mondays I am on a mission to keep my kiddos brains fresh this summer break from school. Every year I try to focus on hiding some learning opportunities into our summer fun and this year my oldest daughter and I have put together this weekly plan of attack.

Our Plan As Follows

Every week of summer we will have a new weekly theme and we started these themes this Monday as this is the first official full week of summer break for us. The weekly themes my oldest daughter (she is helping me run & organize it this summer, just call her my “PA” personal assistant!) and I have decided to focus on are as follows:

  1. Outer Space – This weeks learning theme!
  2. Science
  3. Oceans
  4. Bugs & Butterflies
  5. American  History
  6. Colors & Shapes
  7. Caves
  8. Dinosaurs
  9. Super Spy School
  10. Rainforest
  11. Lego’s
  12. Water Fun

The idea we have regarding the weekly learning theme’s is to focus on a different theme each week that gives us a commonality to incorporate multiple different subjects under the same topic, much like daycare’s and preschools do. Each Monday I will be posting a new blog with our weekly theme and some of the lesson ideas and tools we will be using that week. I plan to focus about an hour an afternoon on a different subject each day but which days I execute which “assignments” will depend on the flow of each week . We will only be taking an hour out for assignments on typical school days, Mon. – Fri. As I mentioned before, I don’t want their summer learning to ever feel like they are attending summer school for 3 months straight.

Each week I hope to cover these subject areas in our daily

Mission: KOBF hour

– Art project or craft, I don’t plan for this to be a big production every week. Most weeks will likely be coloring, painting or drawing, but again, depending on the theme for the week, I may change-up the difficulty level & intensity of the arts & crafts sometimes.

Our plan for Outer Space is to use a printable I found that allows each of my girls to color a set of the planets & then we will use paper plates to create solar system mobiles.

I also found these links that will encourage coloring and creativity during the week as well:

 Book of Space Words – this will also make a great “lesson” to incorporate vocabulary.

If I found a new planet booklet – this definitely encourages creative thinking!

– Vocabulary Lesson, this may be as simple as providing a list of words to have my 7-year-old copy for practice neatly writing into a short sentence each and also for my older daughters to include in a creative writing assignment.

As for vocabulary this week, I am kicking off our lesson with this cute video about the solar system to introduce the theme and a series of vocabulary words. Solar System Preschool Video I have found a few vocabulary tracing worksheets about the 8 planets & the solar system that I plan to have my kids practice their handwriting while learning new words and I also found a short essay template along with other worksheets that I have included in pdf form with a collection of other pages I decided to incorporate into our week conveniently put together in one document. There are however some other great alternative printables at this link for Solar System For Kids worksheets allowing you to take advantage of alternate lessons. This is another GREAT RESOURCE for preschool printable packs you cn purchase for a small price. Though I didn’t use these, they were too cute not to share and I will be saving her page to refer back to in future weeks!

– Reading, story time style taking turns from one week to the next depending on the difficulty of the book chosen each week. Some weeks my 7-year-old will read it out loud other weeks it may be one of my older two and on some occasions it will still be me (we have quite the expanse of books in our home so most of the books will likely come from our existing collection but I will share those titles when available in advance).

I don’t believe we have any books in our home library on the solar system, so I plan to take them to our public library this week, as they have been asking for weeks and we have been too busy to sneak a trip in before now. While there I will focus their book searching efforts to those in the solar system content of course. I came across this Planet Report Template that I plan to have my kids complete on Friday at the end of our Solar System Fun. So if they each pick a book they are interested in while at the library, it will make completing that report worksheet even easier (though I do have some teaching material I intend to use included in my pdf document).

– Math, this will be a practice session with themed math worksheets whenever I am able to find or create them within our theme. On some occasions though they may be hands on activities, like baking or cooking, or measuring to create (i.e. helping to prepare a dish for a camping trip or family cookout=measuring lesson)

This particular week there isn’t really a practical way that I could find to apply math into the weekly lesson but I was fortunate to find a worksheet that includes a solar system picture that is color by number math problems. It is also included in the pdf that will be attached at the end of this post. This website has quite a variety of great  Solar System Activity Worksheets also so you can customize to your child and their needs, skill level, and interest.

– Physical outing or activity, it may be as simple as a dance session to some kind of music that fits the theme or it may be a game or sport altered to fit the theme but whatever it is it will get our hearts pumping! ( because our family has a wide age range we may personally incorporate multiple variations of play to whatever activity we do. Take the liberty of personalizing our recommendations to fit your families dynamic & age span).

I took some inspiration from this momma and her awesome Astronaut Training Course and we will be running an outdoor version of an Astronaut Training Course complete with an asteroid field they must navigate, spaceship tunnel, propulsion training on our sit ‘n spin, and completing their training with “anti-gravity training” on our neighbors trampoline.

– Snacks, I have always been a food lover and as a creative person I find it fun to “play with food” in my family fun theme’s, learning experiences and celebrations. I’m a super cheesy person and love a good theme! I will use our weekly themes as an opportunity to look at our meals, snacks and treats through a different lens through the summer so look out for some fun snack/treat ideas inspired by our theme selections!

This week I have a selection of simple snacks to incorporate into our meals & snacktimes through the week. Here are a sampling of the choices I made:

  • I saw this cute banana & graham cracker rocket idea and knew right away I would be using it for a surprise breakfast treat one morning this week!Rocket ship banana snacks:
  • Being fresh off of Memorial Day weekend we have watermelon on hand so I thought I would dig out some of my star-shaped cookie cutters & let them cut watermelon stars on afternoon.

  • We also will do “Cheddar Sausage Rockets” for lunch one afternoon my wrapping a cheddarwurst with a croissant so it looks like a rocket ship! 

  • To go with our Rocket Dogs I figured we could have some cheesy “asteroid” balls because my kids will always think I am a rock star if I serve them cheese balls!
  • Another snack idea I thought was super fun was to make marshmallow & pretzel stick constellations.
  • An easy and fun sweet treat to fit into our Outer Space themed week is Moon Pies! I can’t say my kids have had these classic treats so this week I will be introducing them to Moon Pies! 

We’d Love You To Join Along!

As I can fit them into our theme I will be looking for “field trip” opportunities and we always welcome friends along for those fun outing so watch out for those in our weekly plans if you are local to us! Also we welcome play dates in the summer schedule too. If you can’t join us in person we would still love to hear about your fun summer themes if you decide to put this plan in place to fit your kids and your family! Share pictures and stories in the comments!

Whether you plan to execute this identical to my plan and future blogs on the topic (using this PDF Document I compiled the majority of our printables for KOBF wk #1 Outer Space)  or whether you use is as a guide, or even not at all doesn’t really matter to me. What matters to me is that you are proactive about allowing your kids brains to properly be stimulated WITHOUT electronics and that you make it fun for your kids specifically. Remember, while you are doing this you aren’t just keeping their brains fresh, you are creating memories!  So go make memories this summer, but don’t forget to check back for more ideas on our themes and other summer fun memory making ideas! Now Blast Off to a week of intentional, productive fun!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

Mindset Mondays

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Mission: K.O.B.F.

Keep. Our. Brains. Fresh.

    We are about to begin our 3 month stretch of summer break from school and as happy as I am about that I also am well aware that I must be prepared to entertain them. If not then whether I like it or not their brains will begin to turn to sludge until school resumes.  20160907_172258.jpgMy oldest daughter is 2 years ahead in most of her classes and finishing up the 4th quarter of her freshman year with over a 4.0 gpa in addition to being in the Marching Band and the Spring Play among MANY other extra curricular items. She took 4 honors courses and next year she will be in 2 Honors courses and 2 Advanced Placement courses where we will pay to have her test at the end of the year to qualify them asCollege credits…….in the tenth grade!

 Untitled My second daughter is currently completing her third grade year and was awarded a certificate of accomplishment for earning straight A’s the entire school year. She has been taught in a gifted cluster of students in math since Kindergarten and she is reading at a middle year 5th grade level already.

UntitledMy third daughter Cadance is a very spirited and high-strung 1st grade student learning more and more about words & reading and math every day. She is pleased to be moving towards second grade and I want to nurture that excitement over the summer.

Last there’s my fourth daughter, she is about to be two and her vocabulary is growing by leaps & bounds, her interests are mainly in copying whatever her big sisters are doing and she already loves to sing, recite lines from her favorite musicals and flip through cardboard books identifying images she recognizes. She is likely to be the brightest one out of all my girls when she is older.

Untitled

How Did This Idea Become?

Now I didn’t go into their academic standings to brag about my genius kids, (well, maybe just a little bit!) I did do it to acknowledge that I am blessed with pretty intelligent kiddo’s and because I need to point out that for as long as I have been a mom I have faced the task of entertaining my children during the summer, and I have tried to take it seriously. I was not the most applied student once I hit the 9th grade. I was focused on friends, boys & my art in high school but not so much my lessons or classes. I lived for summer, and I loved the ideal American lazy summer. I loved one particular movie about summer when I was younger (and I still love it), “Now & Then” it was a coming of age story about 4 friends who reconnect as adults and remember back to one specific summer in their early teens in the seventies. They learned some life lessons but I bet that when they went back to school they barely remembered the last semester of the previous school year because the had lived the ideal lazy, sunsoaked summer.

This movie was the model for my summers as a child and I did lazy American summer well. So well that my oldest is smarter than me already by book smart standards. I guarantee I wasted half of each school year as a result of those “lazy” 3 months off each year. By the time you figure that I spent the first quarter back to school reminding myself of all the things I was supposed to remember from the previous school year and add that to the fact that once summer was in sight I would “check out” mentally and therefore not retain most of my last quarter studies, you get half a school years worth of education, wasted. Now you take that and put summer in the middle with zero productivity and it’s no wonder my kids are smarter than me! (Shhhhhhh, don’t tell them!) Check out this snippet from a New York Times article in 2011…

“THE American ideal of lazy summers filled with fun has an unintended consequence: If students are not engaged in learning over the summer, they lose skills in math and reading. Summers off are one of the most important, yet least acknowledged, causes of under achievement in our schools.

Decades of research confirm that summer learning loss is real. According to a report released last month by the RAND Corporation, the average summer learning loss in math and reading for American students amounts to one month per year. More troubling is that it disproportionately affects low-income students: they lose two months of reading skills, while their higher-income peers — whose parents can send them to enriching camps, take them on educational vacations and surround them with books during the summer — make slight gains. A study from Johns Hopkins University of students in Baltimore found that about two-thirds of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income ninth graders could be explained by summer learning loss during the elementary school years.

This learning loss is cumulative, summer after summer. It has a tremendous impact on students’ success, including high school completion, post-secondary education and work force preparedness.”

Excerpt from The New York Times article, “This Is Your Brain on Summer” By, Jeff Smink 2/27/11

     This is precisely the reason that as a mom I have always tried to infuse some fun learning opportunities into our summer so that my children don’t regress in their education. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED my lazy summers and I did keep my brain stimulated to some degree over the summer because I was always assigned a summer reading and I am a book-worm to begin with so there was always some casual recreational reading as well. Math, Science, anything that actual challenged my brain past purely fun reading though, that never happened and I want better for my girls academically than I set up for myself. Also I need to clarify here that I don’t ever want this to be summer school feeling and all-consuming of our summer, rather, be a fun way to incorporate learning into our summer entertainment & activities. Basically looking for  INTENTIONAL ways to learn while having fun so they don’t even realize they are learning the whole summer.( Take a look at my blog about Living Intentionally as a mother and woman here in Getting a Handle on the Summer Schedule)

 Being that I stay home out of necessity due to the nature of our family’s dynamic & make-up and having been so for the last 7 summers, I have done this in many ways over the years. I have become somewhat of a self proclaimed “Queen of Summer Fun” and I am always looking to one up myself, but it’s fun for me. Every year is still an enjoyable challenge to plan for though because our household dynamic keeps changing and the number of kids has changed more than once, and as their skills & interests change, so must my plans. These things in mind, I still love planning for and executing summer plans! This summer is no exception, this year we are doing weekly learning themes to “Keep Our Brains Fresh” until school resumes in the fall.

Our Plan As Follows

Every week of summer we will have a new weekly theme and we will be starting these themes next Monday as it is the first official full week of summer. The weekly themes my oldest daughter (she is helping me run & organize it this summer, just call her my “PA” personal assistant!) and I have decided to focus on are as follows:

  1. Outer Space
  2. Science
  3. Oceans
  4. Bugs & Butterflies
  5. American  History
  6. Colors & Shapes
  7. Caves
  8. Dinosaurs
  9. Super Spy School
  10. Rainforest
  11. Lego’s
  12. Water Fun

The idea we have regarding the weekly learning theme’s is to focus on a different theme each week that gives us a commonality to incorporate multiple different subjects under the same topic, much like daycare’s and preschools do. Each Monday I will be posting a new blog with our weekly theme and some of the lesson ideas and tools we will be using that week. I plan to focus about an hour an afternoon on a different subject each day but which days I execute which “assignments” will depend on the flow of each week . We will only be taking an hour out for assignments on typical school days, Mon- Fri. As I mentioned before, I don’t want their summer learning to ever feel like they are attending summer school for 3 months straight.

Each week I hope to cover these subject areas in our daily

Mission: KOBF hour

– Art project or craft, I don’t plan for this to be a big production every week. Most weeks will likely be coloring, painting or drawing, but again, depending on the theme for the week, I may change-up the difficulty level & intensity of the arts & crafts sometimes.

– Vocabulary Lesson, this may be as simple as providing a list of words to have my 7-year-old copy for practice neatly writing into a short sentence each and also for my older daughters to include in a creative writing assignment.

– Reading, storytime style taking turns from one week to the next depending on the difficulty of the book chosen each week. Some weeks my 7-year-old will read it out loud other weeks it may be one of my older two and on some occasions it will still be me (we have quite the expanse of books in our home so most of the books will likely come from our existing collection but I will share those titles when available in advance).

– Math, this will be a practice session with themed math worksheets whenever I am able to find or create them within our theme. On some occasions though they may be hands on activities, like baking or cooking, or measuring to create (i.e. helping to prepare a dish for a camping trip or family cookout=measuring lesson)

– Physical outing or activity, it may be as simple as a dance session to some kind of music that fits the theme or it may be a game or sport altered to fit the theme but whatever it is it will get our hearts pumping! ( because our family has a wide age range we may personally incorporate multiple variations of play to whatever activity we do. Take the liberty of personalizing our recommendations to fit your families dynamic & age span).

– Snacks, I have always been a food lover and as a creative person I find it fun to “play with food” in my family fun theme’s, learning experinces and celebrations. I’m a super cheesy person and love a good theme! I will use our weekly themes as an opportunity to look at our meals, snacks and treats through a different lense through the summer so look out for some fun snack/treat ideas inspired by our theme selections!

We’d Love You To Join Along!

As I can fit them into our theme I wil be looking for “field trip” opportunities and we always welcome friends along for those fun outing so watch out for those in our weekly plans if you are local to us! Also we welcome play dates in the summer schedule too. If you can’t join us in person we would still love to hear about your fun summer themes if you decide to put this plan in place to fit your kids and your family! Share pictures and stories in the comments!

Whether you plan to execute this identical to my plan and future blogs on the topic or whether you use is as a guide, or even not at all doesn’t really matter to me. What matters to me is that you are proactive about allowing your kids brains to properly be stimulated WITHOUT electronics and that you make it fun for your kids specifically because while you are doing this you aren’t just keeping their brains fresh, you are creating memories!  So go make memories this summer, but don’t forget to check back for more ideas on our themes and other summer fun memory making ideas!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca