Tag Archives: Super Summer Challenge

Saving Summertime

summer

Last week I sat down to organize our family’s summer calendar. I mapped out potential camps, listed possible play date opportunities, and checked the church website for fun things that entertain the children and spread the word of Jesus (that is a winning combo, by the way).

I was feeling quite productive as I registered my kids for all the things, including their annual stint at Vacation Bible School.

It was not until I hit that cute little “submit” button that I realized I had registered them for VBS…

in Iowa.

In case you are a new reader here, we don’t live in Iowa.

In fact, we don’t really live anywhere near Iowa.

I then got to make that awkward call to a church office…in Iowa…and explain that I accidentially registered my children for their VBS and would like to cancel said registration.

I am betting by the secretary’s response that she does not receive calls of that nature very often.

So that is how my summer has started off.

What about yours?

As I continue to plan and organize our summer (Which I don’t really consider  as started until after dance recital season comes to an end), I always like to see what my fellow mamas are up to. In the past we have done several variations of the Super Summer Challenge (read about those here).  I have also spent countless hours scheduling technology time, refereeing sibling spats, and searching for the constantly missing bottle of sunscreen. My goal for this summer is to minimize the chaos while maximizing all the glory that is summer.

My question for you is what are you doing this summer to prevent your children from becoming television and technology zombies? How are you saving your sanity while savoring your summer?

Share, mamas (and dads and grandparents and the random nanny who reads here). I plan to totally borrow your ideas and compile them into something useful.

Check back next week to see how I utilize those ideas and what we are going to do to not only save but also savor our summer.

Summer Reading Guide 2015: The Kid Edition

Growing up, I remember the brother of a friend of mine was being paid per page of every book he read that summer. I really wanted my parents to pay me per page because I could rack up some serious money by basically lounging around with my nose in a book. Obviously the friend’s brother was in need of some literary encouragement. I also happen to remember that his parents’ did not end up forking over a lot of money once August rolled around that year. Said literary encouragement obviously did not provide the type of motivation he was in need of that year.

At casa de phillips, there is no need (or financial way) to pay kids per page to read.

Both my kids love to read. The boy has been a book fiend since the very beginning. He reads quite quickly and can make his way through a pile of books in no time.

The girl has also loved books from the beginning, but her love grew in different ways. She loved to have books read to her but had some hesitancy for a while when it came to reading on her own. That hesitancy has since diminished and she attacks books with fierce bravado.

The interesting thing about these two is that their tastes in books can be quite different. Part is a gender thing, part is a personality thing, and part is “I don’t want to like that book merely because YOU like that book” thing.

 

So what is on the girl’s list of books for fellow eight year olds to read this summer? First, lots of non-fiction ocean books. If they contain pictures of really disturbing fish, that is a bonus. Below are some of her favorites.

 

The Shark Encyclopedia

Rainbow Fairy Series

Capital Kids Mysteries

A to Z Mysteries

The Critter Club

American Girl Mini Mysteries

 

The boy has his own list of great summer reads. The hard thing about the boy is that on occasion I let him venture over into the teen room to check out their library books. He is rapidly reading through everything in his normal section and he is needing some new inspiration. Obviously we are careful with what he comes back with from said room. His summer reading guide contains some of the following titles.

Science Fair

Gollywhopper Games (he LOVED this series. LOVED. IT.)

Kingdom Keepers (Perfect because we are planning for a trip to Disney in the Fall)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

Big Nate series

Anything Marvel comics related

Frindle

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer series

 

One thing they both happen to love is a boxed set of Calvin and Hobbes comics that my husband owns. For the past few weeks both of them have been pulling these large volumes of comics into bed with them to get in a few giggles before lights out.

 

What books have found their way onto your kids’ list of “Must Reads” this summer?

 

 

Surviving Summer: Super Summer Challenge

Thursday night for dinner we dined on Chicken Nugget Kabobs, Sautéed hot dog buns, fruit salad, and cupcakes.

Obviously not the typical meal plan one would find on Pinterest or among the pages of Southern Living magazine.

However, the meal was met with a round of applause from the entire family.

Especially from the chef who was cooking the meal for us.

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The seven year old taking charge of the kitchen is part of our Super Summer Challenge. The Super Summer Challenge is based on the book by the same name and is anidea of how to keep kids busy and productive during the summer months. In years past, we have done various point earning systems during summer months. We have completed learning units and had scheduled days of fun (all the way back to the kids preschool days when we had a set activity for each day of the week…and simply repeated the activities on weekly basis). This year I decided to follow in many of my friends’ footsteps and create a Super Summer Challenge for my kids.

The idea behind the Super Summer Challenge is that kids will be challenged in various areas to promote learning and growth during the summer months and cut down on the whole “I’m bored and must constantly be entertained 24/7″ phenomenon. For our family’s challenge, we decided to create goals in four areas: Spiritual, Physical, Creative, and Academic. There is also a bonus area for random things to be completed in order to earn bonus points (Teb minutes of weed pulling, anyone?)

Each area has a list of goals underneath with each goal earning a set number of points. Some goals are worth quite a bit (for example, planning and cooking dinner for the family is worth 8 points) while others are valued at less points (completing a worksheet out of summer workbooks are worth one point). We have a chart that outlines what is earned at various point totals. Some point values are large while others simple serve as a motivator to keep earning points. The big summer prize is a trip to the local waterpark.

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The system works by the kids looking at their goal sheets (which are large posters taped to our kitchen pantry door) and decide how/when they want to earn points. We have point record sheets taped to the inside of the same pantry door (because they are not as pretty as the goal sheets). The kids are responsible for earning and keeping up with points. There is no nagging from mom to earn points or to mark points. If they want the prizes, they have to earn the points.

I keep it easy because I do not want my summer challenge to be managing my children’s summer challenge. That does not seem like a fun mom task to me. However, both my kids can read and do math which makes them keeping up with their challenges an easy process.

Some prizes are earned individually (for example, choosing from our coupon jar or earning money) while others are group prizes. Group prizes mean that BOTH kids have to reach that point level before that prize is earned. I believe having both individually earned prizes as well as group earned prizes keeps all involved parties interested. Here at casa de Phillips we have one child who is super-motivated to get things done while we have another who is happy to skip through life and not worry about such things as earning points until the last day possible. Our Super Summer Challenge runs for two months, from June 10 – August 10 (we start back to school on August 11th).

 

Here’s the big question: What are your kids goals?

 

Grab a drink, give the kids the ipad and take a minute to check out the things the little people are casa de Phillips are working on this summer.

First…a little glimpse of our Super Summer Challenge posters..

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Spiritual Goals:

Learn the books of the Old Testament

Learn the books of the New Testament

Attend *** Camp

Attend *** Camp

Attend Church Music Camp (Yes, we are doing three church camps. )

Read a biography about a missionary

Memorize Scripture

Complete family study of book of John

Spend time reading from your bible and tell about it

 

Creative Goals

Plan and cook a meal

Learn how to completely clean a bathroom (They have been cleaning bathrooms for years…but we are stepping up the process quite a bit)

Learn three new songs on the piano

Learn how to wash sheets and towels and remake bed

Make a gift for someone

Learn how to vacuum (Again..stepping up the process)

 

Physical Goals

Dribble a ball 50 times without stopping

Extended bike ride

Swam x number of laps of the pool

Attend *** sports class (this is different for both kids since they do different sports)

Stretch twice a day (Evelyn)

Practice various baseball skills (Isaac)

Get to the top of the climbing wall at the pool

 

Academic Goals

Complete a book study (each child has a book and the corresponding study. Isaac is doing Ben and Me and Evelyn is doing Nate the Great)

Daily Spelling Practice with All About Spelling

Complete 10 Day Multiplication challenge

Cursive copywork (I put up daily copywork for them to copy from our white board…right now no one is too motivated to get this accomplished. Going to have to alter point values for this one.)

Journal Entry

Write a proper letter to a friend

Workbook page

Complete a reading program

 

Bonus

Complete weekly chore chart (this has been in place for a long time…just adding motivation to keep on truckin with chores)

Obvious display of kindness or compassion

Tackle extra cleaning assignments

10 minutes of weed pulling

Clean out art closet

 

There you go…the casa de Phillips Super Summer Challenge. Each goal has a set point value (with an overall goal of attempting to achieve 225 points this summer in order to win the Big Prize of a trip to a local waterpark). The point value of goals depends on a variety of factors: the actual goal (goals that can be repeated indefinitely over the course of the summer are often worth one or two points will loftier goals can be 10-15 points), the motivation of the child to achieve said goal (goals that are easier for a child have a lower value than goals that really stretch the child), and the time frame of the goal (if the goal is going to take some practice to achieve…such as learning three new songs on the piano…then that goal has a higher point value). I also have goals that I would like to achieve this summer (although I have yet to craft a cute goal sheet for myself). For my goals, I am going to assign point values for their completion as well. However, my points will go onto the kids’ point sheets. I think this serves as a win-win situation: they earn bonus points and I get to use the phrase of “Mommy needs to get this chore/task/annoying thing done so you can earn bonus points.”

 

Well-played, huh?

 

Four days in and the Super Summer Challenge is going great. I have already had one night off from supper duty (Another well-played goal) and both kids are eager to get summer learning and practice in during our two months off of school. And those cries of “I’m Bored!” have yet to be heard because there is always something to achieve on the Super Summer Challenge board.

 

How are you surviving the summer this year?

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