As anyone who knows me well can attest, I am a schedule girl. Schedules make me feel calm. So summer looms large with all of it’s unscheduled, chock-full-of-kids activities.
I spent a lot of May and June trying to figure out how I wanted to work the summer. I realized, last summer, that having 200 things for my kids to do wasn’t the answer. Someone (there are 4 someones, you know) always didn’t do their stuff and I was always irritated at someone. But I knew that the teasing allure of non-scheduling is kind of a lie (for me anyway), because here’s what happens: I wake up and think “oh, hey, we’ll just all lay around in pajamas and just be together. It’ll be lovely.” At 10:00, I start yelling “Hey! This house is crazy and messy and you guys are doing something and you all look too messy for me to enjoy!! Get dressed, practice piano, pick up this house, mow the lawn!!!”
So, I came up with a pretty good compromise:
I stole this idea from my friend Stacy Julian. (I’m so name dropping. She is my friend who just happens to be one of the country’s most well-known scrapbooker. I only read her blog because she’s my friend and terribly creative. Not because I’ve ever scrapbooked a single page in my entire life. But I digress.)
It’s called Summer Bingo. I filled the days with things I wanted them to do in a week, that were mostly fun and a little bit educational and structured Notice the squares that read “Have all jobs done by 10am”? That’s my nod to a schedule. The BINGO is my nod to un-scheduled. They have stuff to do if they are bored or bugging me or need money, but no one’s making them do any of it. OF COURSE, they still have to complete jobs/scriptures/dressing before they play or watch a screen, but that’s normal, right?
They get a ticket for each BINGO. A ticket can be redeemed for 50 cents, or 30 minutes of extra screen time, or a popsicle that is better than an otter pop. So far everyone’s only interested in money. They haven’t had a ton of BINGOs (the max is 4, I think) but they usually do 10-15 things on the chart and it’s worked out really well.
This summer has been a nice balance of outside play, family outings, vacations and down time…and for the first summer in a looong time:
I don’t want them to go back to school!