We left for our summer travels the day after school got out, so we didn't have a chance to get into any summer routine. When we got back, we had to figure out what we were doing the rest of the summer. If the boys had it their way, they would have played games on-line all day. We set some rules right away about screen time. But first... they each got their own "screen"! The kids had earned a year's worth of chore money that they hadn't received. They talked us into getting their own kindles that were on sale ($80) on Amazon Prime day. It was fun to watch them open the box - it was like Christmas in July!
We were worried about getting them their own device, but it turned out to be a great motivational tool for the summer. They were only allowed to play games between 12-6pm, and after they had read scriptures for 15 minutes, read a book for 15 minutes, and spent 15 minutes outside with the dog. They had to earn time by doing chores or spending time outside, and their maximum screen time per day was 3 hours. I also talked Nathan and Jared into starting weekly piano lessons with me. (I didn't follow through very well with that, but we got a couple of lessons in.) They got an equal amount of screen time for being outside and usually about double the time for chores. Basically if the chore took 15 minutes to complete, they earned 30 minutes. Of course I tweaked it according to age. Owen and Weston got off easier. I was a little surprised they didn't want to spend more time outside playing. Nathan and Jared usually chose the chore route.
I was amazed to see how eager and sometimes competitive they were with doing chores. They sometimes fought over who got to clean up which mess. The one annoying question was "Will I get time for this?" when asked to do just about anything. :) And Owen would go outside for 2 minutes and then ask every minute, "How long have I been out here?" Other than that, the system worked pretty well. I usually had a fairly clean house and quiet happy kids by the afternoon.
I am a genius.
Another summer activity we did was the free bowling program. We went at least once a week and sometimes twice. Weston and Savannah (and sometimes Owen) watched videos.
Just hanging out in the pool...
I got a kick out of watching the boys mimic their favorite video game "Singing Monsters".
hanging out at the beach...
Jared, Owen and Weston took swimming lessons. Jared completed level 5, Owen did level 3, and Weston did whatever he wanted to. Ha ha. I think he completed the first level.
Weston did have a problem again this year for the first couple of days. The first day he cried through the whole lesson. (Luckily he was taking private lessons, so the instructor could devote all his attention to him.) The 2nd day he cried through about half of lesson. We then tried taking his piggy float toy and that seemed to solve the problem. His lessons then revolved around throwing the pig toy and retrieving it. He seemed to run the show - whatever Weston wanted to do is pretty much what they did. He is good about going under the water, so they did quite a bit of "diving" for toys ("diving" meaning the instructor pushed him under the water). There was one day when we forgot the pig toy, and that day was a disaster. Seven out of ten days he had a smile on his face, so I guess that's good.
Jared and Owen both did really well, making progress and learning new strokes. I was glad to see Jared jump from the high dive!