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It’s here. Already. Summer vacation. And I have mixed feelings.

For the “Hurray!” category: No more early morning alarms. No more packed lunches. No more homework or forgotten library books. And lots and lots of sun.

In the “Ugh!” category: Our predictable, structured schedule is gone. Free (quiet) mornings for Mom, gone. Mom-guilt regarding the possibility of a summer filled with too much TV, very much here.

So how can I monopolize on the Hurrays and smash out the Ugh’s??

Make a plan. I’d love to be a person who can just take each day as it comes and make it glorious. But I know myself well enough to know that waking each day plan-less will mean this summer will pass us by in a blink and we will have done very little. So I will plan. But I will be flexible and know that not every plan works out.

I’ve divided our activities into a few categories:

For Academics, we are going to focus on two things this summer – Reading and Abacus. For reading, each child established a goal and we’ve got a measuring tape-style paper runner adhered to our wall. They’ll be able to mark off pages read and see how far they get. Counting on an abacus isn’t something they have or probably will learn at school, but it’s a great way to practice their math facts in a different and fun way.

Physical Activities is my anti-TV category. The things we will do to avoid the couch potato syndrome. This includes everything from swimming at our community pool, ice and roller skating (our local rink has a great deal for families weekly), geocaching in our neighborhood (geocaching.com) and local hiking (alltrails.com).

Indoor Activities will keep us cool and include things such as the science museum, Vacation Bible School, summer activities at the library, and kids movies for $1 at our local theater.

New Skills are things I’ve wanted my kids to learn but just didn’t have a chance during the school year. This can include teaching them to cook some favorite recipes, working on a foreign language or learning the basics of a musical instrument. We were just given a piano, so will be enjoying some mom-led piano lessons this summer.

It’s just nice to get away sometimes. So we will plan several Day Trips to cities within a couple hours drive to visit their tourist attractions and be travelers!

I’ve written all these possible activities on sticky notes and we will have regular family meetings to figure out the upcoming week’s plan. Sticky notes will go up onto our family calendar for all to see. Obviously some of these things (like VBS) are already on the schedule, but much can be planned just one week in advance. The kids get in on the planning and know what to expect and I feel like a great mom. Win-Win.

I love it when a plan comes together.  

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By Joelle Yamada. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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