Is Summer Sucking the Manners and Academic Skills out of My Kids?

The Pickies need to do some school-work over summer vacation. For their own benefit and for my own sanity.


As summer vacation approached, I longed for the hot sun and the relaxed schedule that accompanied the long days and warm nights.  I wanted the biggest decisions to be whether I decided to take the Pickies to the pool or let them play in the sprinklers.  I imagined all of the healthy, easy meals I would make from our Farmer's Market loot that, of course, all Pickies would eat without the slightest complaint of "I don't like this" or "NO!!!!!!!".

Reality hit me last week when the Pickies' whining:tattling ratio dramatically increased, the littlest Picky refused everything on his plate, and the 100+ degrees weather made playing outside difficult.  I knew I needed a plan, and the former teacher in me had one:  Buy the kids some summer skills workbooks so they don't lose their manners and academic progress.

After the Pickies played in the gym's childcare and I finished a (ie: shower), I headed to Lakeshore Learning to see what I could find.  I found the workbooks (on sale!), a birthday present for the littlest Picky, and allowed all the kids to pick out a special pencil and stickers.  We were armed and read to brush up on those academic skills that have been quietly napping and filed in the brain between television trivia, t-ball rules and restaurant menu options.

It's been a little less than a week and the Pickies seem back in track, completing their workbook pages, and I even gave them an assigned reading project.  The middle Picky was not pleased with this new development and even told me, "Mom.  I can't read because my mouth is too sore."  They read, they summarized, and I felt like maybe a little structure and academic skills could be beneficial over summer vacation.

And when asked about where he wants to go for his 4th birthday, the littlest Picky exclaimed, "The Teacher Store!".

How do you work with your children on their academic skills over the summer (and more importantly, how do you get your children to not become beastly tattlers?!)?

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Amanda Kirksey July 11, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Did you know they do free crafts every Saturday from 11-3? I love their craft section. :) I am so lucky: the littlest Picky was lusting after a $4.99 toy phone and he will be ecstatic to see it tomorrow morning!
Amanda Kirksey July 11, 2012 at 01:42 PM
And of course, thank you for the comment. It's nice to know that SOMEBODY is reading!
Kristin Bull July 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Battling the "beastly tattler" is tough; you seem to have the right idea: keep them busy (and studious!) :)
Joshua Raymond July 16, 2012 at 08:27 PM
My wife has set up a list of activities that need to be completed daily, including math and reading workbook pages and online activities. They are still at the age where they feel it is important to get every checkmark on the list. We also prefer to go with quality over quantity. Give them a few things to stretch their minds instead of a lot of things they can easily do. They gain pride when they accomplish something that they view as being for older kids. We are also big fans of Lakeshore Learning and would love to have one closer. Tattling is more difficult as I think adults often have mixed and nebulous expectations. Parent observing Child 1 watching Child 2 writing on the walls, "Why didn't you tell me Child 2 was writing on the walls?" Child 1: "I didn't want to be a tattletale!" Easily defined rules are a must for determining what information you want your children to actually relate to you.
RH Mom July 17, 2012 at 12:45 AM
This site has worked well for us this summer, www.adaptedmind.com, the first month is free. There are math problems, videos, printable worksheets, emailed progress reports and special achievement badges. The site is made by graduates of Stanford, Berkeley and Harvard, although it would been nice to see MI Schools representing. Joshua- Funny scenario!


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