Monday, May 18, 2009

Summer Break has started

The boys are officially done with Kindergarten. It is hard to believe that it went by so fast. I had whip lash as it zoomed on by.

During the school year, the boys are very structured. All of us are. We get up at the same time each day. We go to bed at the same time each night (they are usually in bed by 7:45 since the bus comes at 7:05 in the morning). They have their rituals of making their bed, brushing their teeth, eating breakfast, and their afternoon rituals of reading, backpack cleanout, and putting everything away. We just have a routine that we go through.

Kevin and I have talked at length as to what this summer should look like for them. We want to make sure of course that they have fun, but it is very important to us that they learn responsibility and that we don't shy too far away from our school time routine. The boys' teacher next year is a wonderful educator, but she is also very strict. We want to ease their transition time by making sure they are ready to have structure next fall in school.

We had discussed the boys helping around the house this summer. They already do quite a bit. They help with the laundry, they work on the dishes, they pick up the living room and their room and the toys, and help Kinsley with her room; they are also GREAT big brothers!!! I wanted to do something that would not only encourage them to help, but would also reward them when they help. So I came up with the Chore Chart for each boy. There are 20 different things on the list. The things are varied in nature. Somethings, like brush your teeth, happen more than one time per day, while others like dusting, happen weekly. There are simple things on there like ride your bike for 30 minutes or run 10 laps around the house. There are things that require more effort like Make your bed or fold laundry.

The point was to get them off the couch and give them something to look forward to this summer. For each chore completed to Mom's approval, they get a star. When they get 25 stars, they get 1 gold star. After 10 gold stars, they get to buy a Nintendo DS game, or something equivalent. Right now, they are outside helping Dad build fence. They get a star for every hour they spend with him outside.

It is not that I am organized or scheduled to the point where we can't have a day of relaxation or fun. Trust me, if you could see my house right now, you would know that I need a chore chart too; FlyLady may just become Mom's New BEST Friend!!! I just wanted something to keep them busy, be able to reward them from time to time for a job well done, and in the process, keep the house somewhat decent with five people in it for the next three months.

Now before anyone starts screaming child labor and all of that, they are getting to do fun things this summer. Both boys are participating on the swim team in Kingfisher. They will also be spending time at the library because they have book goals they have to reach before school starts. Reading a book is something that is also on the chore chart list.

And since we aren't planning a big vacation this year (hopefully we will go someplace BIG next summer), we are planning little day trips to places like Frontier City, White Water Bay, the Zoo and so on. These day-cations are also part of their reward for being Mom and Dad's helpers this summer.

People have raised their eyebrows, questioned my motives, wondered if the boys are too small to do these things and so on....So I felt it was important to set the record straight. I know most of the people I have told about my chart read my blog, so I wanted everyone to know where the chart idea came from. It is less about whether the house is clean or if I have built in slaves all summer, but more about teaching my children independence and responsibility.

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