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Review: Summer Survival Guide

“Years ago when my three oldest were just little guys, I realized that I wanted to mark the passing of summer in some really fun ways.  Since we had chosen to homeschool, the line between life and learning has been very faint.  But, I wanted them to make special summer memories that made that season stand out compared to the rest of the year.” 

That was Jessica Fisher’s dream years ago.  Now, after a lot of memory-building, she shares her ideas in the Summer Survival Guide.  Her summer goal for her family is not just to survive, but to thrive.  That’s our family’s goal, too.  “With a little pre-planning,” she writes, “you can develop routines, maintain your sanity, enrich your children’s days, and enjoy quality time as a family.” 

The Summer Survival Guide has already proven itself in our family by inspiring me to build more memories than usual….  Miss 11 will never forget the birthday afternoon she spent in a life jacket, sliding down rapids and floating down the river.

So what sort of things does Jessica discuss?  Here’s an outline to help you decide if this ebook will work for your family.


Jessica suggests starting as our family does every spring: with a brainstorming session; her family’s list ends up on the fridge, a great idea.  She also discusses the nitty-gritty of making things happen: simple daily and weekly schedules and checklists ensure that both fun and chores happen.  After all, Mom is not really on vacation even though the kids are, and basic chores can’t be ignored.


Many special activities are expensive, but so much summer fun is almost free.  Jessica is realistic about the cost of summer activities, shares budget ideas, and even discusses money-making ventures such as summer jobs, garage sales, and lemonade stands.  From free ways to keep cool (instead of air-conditioning) to watching inexpensive sports, participating in community cultural events, and enjoying backyard campouts, there are options for every family.


Jessica suggests, “…make the opportunities available and let them explore the media at hand,” and she provides a handy list of supplies, too.    And if the kids are not interested in crafts right now, just knowing you have something available, such as an “I’m Bored” Box, will do wonders for your peace of mind.  I’m preparing one for our summer travels (52 hours is a long time for kids to sit in a car).


Of course you’ve got to eat, but does that mean spending hours hovering over the stove?  Jessica describes a few simple but wonderful meals, including some that you can make ahead.  With the section entitled “Meal Planning Guarantees Success,”  you can plan for tasty fun and convenience at home rather than heading out for fast food   And what better time is there than summer to visit a farmer’s market or a pick-your-own farm?  


Read to your child.  Read with your child. Let your children read.  Be sure to read yourself as well.  Enough said…and Jessica expands upon this with reasons, reading suggestions, creative encouragement, library offerings, and printable bookmarks. By the way, her booklists for mom look really good.  

Family Nights

Simple memory building ideas include lists of games, movie suggestions, and scavenger hunts for readers and non-readers. And, of course, snacks.     

Be Prepared

The theme of the entire Summer Survival Guide is simply “Be Prepared,” and nowhere is this more necessary than when planning road trips.  Avoid both fuss and forgetfulness by having packed bags and lists for different kinds of outings; plan for activities during road trips and for emergencies using Jessica’s handy lists.   

Save the Memories

Don’t forget to document the fun with photos, scrap books, journals, DVD’s, or videos!

Camp Wannalaffalatta

There are a lot of weeks in the summer, and Jessica’s family has always enjoyed a weekly themed day, either as a family or with friends.  These are like mini-unit studies, complete with books, outings, activities, food, crafts, and movies.  The themes will work for little ones, elementary aged kids, young teens, moms, and anyone else with a sense of humor and adventure.  The section on art has a fascinating reading list.  I also like the music and the backyard campout themes.  Even though we won’t do the ocean study, I can’t wait to serve the octopus hotdogs.  We don’t use unit studies as part of our homeschool, because we are already quite busy during the school year.  However, I love the idea of having theme days or weeks in the summer!  

Throughout the ebook, Jessica provides customizable planning sheets, lists, and links.  I was impressed with the quality of the writing, editing, and proofreading in Summer Survival Guide.  It is obvious that Jessica is experienced as a writer as well as a thriving summertime mom.

If you want an exciting and memorable—but stress-free—summer, Jessica Fisher’s 204 page Summer Survival Guide will start you on your way.  You’ll love not only her suggestions, but also her cheerful, ‘go-have-fun’ style. 

For more information or to purchase, visit Jessica’s site, Life As Mom.

Disclosure I received a free download of Summer Survival Guide in order to share my honest opinions.

Summer Survival Guide is my 20th book in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.

For more summer ideas visit this week’s  Works for Me Wednesday .


  1. Jenn4him says:

    I like that about there being a fine line between life and learning. That describes our home perfectly. And I must get that list compiled. It is June after all!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, summer is basically here! Yippee!

  2. […] previously reviewed Jessica’s Summer Survival Guide, which could make a helpful Christmas gift for a mom you […]

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