We are in the middle of the summer. The tendency to is over schedule, with the focus on keeping children busy, giving them an "advantage" through lots of activities, and to entertain them with screens. All of this can be exhausting for both parents and children, routines tend to get shoved to the side, intellectual skills can slide, and everyone gets cranky exhausted.
May I suggest that you:
* Streamline routines and work together.
* Simplify schedules to open time for boredom, which in turn can lead to creativity.
* Keep intellectual skills alive with a weekly Library Day and a Family Summer Reading Celebration. Creating a Family Summer Reading Celebration is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
How to Create a Family Reading Victory Celebration
Why settle for a summer reading program set up by your local library? Why not create your own Family Summer Reading Celebration, tailored just to your family? A Family Summer Reading Celebration is a program where the whole family gets to celebrate family victories for reaching goals in a shared family reading program. So, there is an element of fun at reaching various levels of numbers of pages or numbers of books completed as a family. Some families will only include what is done as a family. Others will also include the personal reading by members of the family individually, or even a family read aloud, too. Others still, may choose celebrate other things such as family work, exercise, regularity of homeschool, etc.
Simple is best!
1. Decide the "Celebrations" for each level
Celebrations do not have to be major or expensive. It is nice to have them graduate in magnitude.
* Rent a classic movie and make and popcorn.
* Everyone gets an ice cream cone.
* Make homemade ice cream.
* Attend a local venue everyone enjoys.
* Take a family hike
* Have a BBQ
* Go to the pool
* Go on a picnic
* Take a favorite fieldtrip
* Go camping.
* Attend a Cultural Festival
* Go to an Amusement Park or Miniature Golf
Some families let the children meet on the committee to help decide what they want to work towards celebrating and discuss how the family can pay for the bigger goals. Small goals and celebrations along the way help the family stay on track and become more consistent.
2. Decide How Many Points Can Be Earned
Now decide how many points can be earned each time the reading or activity is done. Some will celebrate consistency and will celebrate the regularity of family reading. Others will celebrate with points for each page read, and bonuses for books completed. Some families will begin with celebrating family reading aloud. Others will also celebrate individual reading and reading aloud to non-readers, too
3. Assign the Amount of Points for Each Level
How many points do family members need to accumulate for each celebration? This increases working together for a common goal.
"Fly me to the Moon, Jupiter and Mars" Family Reading Celebration
Once we did a "Fly me to the Moon, Jupiter and Mars," Family Reading Celebration. I created a map of the solar system on craft paper and hung it on the wall. Each planet represented a different level of points earned and a celebration. Everyone designed their own paper spaceship to place on the map of the solar system and progressed them towards the planets.
"Have You Bean There?" Family Reading Celebration
Another time, we did a family reading victory celebration --"Have You Bean There?". Yes, bean, because it was a play on words! We used several bottles of increasing size. Each bottle repesented another level of points and family celebrations. We had a spice bottle and we had pinto beans represent the points for pages and desired physical activity. When the spice bottle filled up, we had a small jar that when filled poured into a larger jar, to a quart, then a gallon and lastly, a 2 gallon jar.
When we poured the contents of the spice bottle into the second bottle and the second bottle became full, we got both celebrations.
We were always working to fill the spice bottle. As the spice bottle filled the second bottle the second bottle would be cascaded into the third. When the cascading from first, filled the second, which poured into the third, caused the third bottle to fill, we got the celebration again for the first, again for the second, and now for the third. That way we had regular tiny, enjoyable, affordable celebrations, as we progressed towards filling the largest bottle, and all got to participate, even the non-readers.
Think of a fountain of a small container at the top, it is constantly filling and as it does, it pours over into a larger container below it, and a larger container below that, and so forth. Each container represents a different celebration and is filled with the efforts of the whole family. Just like the fountain, as each jar fills it cascades into the next, all get to celebrate.
In our family, we celebrated reading and healthy exercise, so we got points for both. You could even celebrate happy workers who help in family work without complaint and promptly. Remember this is a celebration of victory, not a reward and punishment system. Celebrate what you accomplish.
Celebrate your victories!
Go for it!
Now create your plan, put the plan into action and enjoy!
What ever you do...
Enjoy the Journey!