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Summer Plans Part 2: Necessary Activities

Dreaming is the best part of planning for the summer, and a summer filled with dreams will leave a lot of happy memories.  I posted about our Dream Lists last week.

However, to avoid regrets when the fall comes, it’s also important to plan the necessary activities:

Obviously, there are daily chores.  Summer is a great time to teach new life skills and to learn ways of streamlining chores.  It’s also a great time to try out new chore plans or schedules.

Depending on your family’s lifestyle, there may be an abundance of seasonal work.  In our family, we spend some time in the gardens each day.  We also dry, can, and preserve produce, and usually we raise meat chickens.  All of this work involves learning useful life skills.  Not only does it prepare children and teens for their adult lives, but it also gives them well-deserved confidence in their ability to tackle a wide variety of challenges.

We all need character training, moms as well as kids.  Summer is a great time to focus on some important character traits.  Wisdom, for example, can be studied by absorbing the book of Proverbs, as we did earlier.   This summer, we will probably spend more time with Proverbs.  Charlotte Mason discusses habits extensively, and developing them is also an important facet of building character.  I’m not certain which habits we’ll work on yet; there are so many that could benefit us!

Since no one is learning biology terms, grammar concepts, or history dates, it is possible to really focus on Bible memory.  During the school year, we memorize short passages and review what we’ve learned before, but most summers we are able to memorize several chapters of the Bible.

For some children, summer is a welcome relief from being inside and sitting down.  These children are outside and active from dawn to dusk.  Others, however, would rather avoid all physical activity, just as many of us moms would.  They (and we) need some regular accountability to be active in the summer.  This could involve organized sports, informal exercise, family sports, or simply the commitment to walk, stretch, and ‘huff and puff’ each day.

Some children have no hobbies.  Some have many.  In either case, they need time to either develop hobbies or work on them.   Card-making, baking, sewing, archery, photography, computers, writing, biking, plant identification, and swimming are passions at our home.

Businesses, part-time jobs or volunteer work are ways for older children to learn new skills, practice important character traits, contribute to the community, build up their resumes, and earn some money.   While all jobs have value, some will benefit teens more than others.  For older teens like Miss 18, a summer job can take up almost all of the available time.  This is a new stage in our family, and we’re still adjusting to it.

A certain amount of school learning always gets lost over the summer. Unless you enjoy spending the first month of your school year reviewing, you’ll need to plan how to keep up with last year’s learning.

  • Little ones need to read and practice their math and writing.  Good books and real life activities, from baking to writing letters, will often suffice.
  • Anyone learning a language needs regular exposure to it.  For Dutch this summer, we’ll concentrate on vocabulary and conversation.  We’re still negotiating what we’ll do for French.  I keep itching to do classical languages with the children; as they are not very enthusiastic, we’ll perhaps just concentrate on Rummy Roots and the Greek alphabet this summer.
  • Of course, no musician can afford to stop practicing for a whole summer.  Enthusiastic musicians will just play whatever they choose for hours every week.  Everyone else in our home will need to practice in the least painful way possible.

In many families a reading hour is needed just to make sure everyone reads enough.  Our children read way too much, but I’m going to channel that by requiring them to read certain books that they would not choose on their own.  Mr. 16 will be reading more Christian historical fiction, Miss 10 and Miss 13 will be reading more nonfiction, and Miss 8, who’s just beginning, will be encouraged to read whatever she wants.

Although this may sound like a lot of work and effort, it needn’t be. With a bit of planning, necessary activities can all easily fit into a summer both pleasant and satisfying.  Everyone will be refreshed, and will enjoy (or not, sigh) exposure to new skills, experiences, attitudes, and thoughts. No one will lose hard won skills from the previous school year.  And no one will be bored.

Next week I hope to post Summer Plans Part 3:  Summer Contracts. I’ll share how we combine our lists of dreams and necessary activities and end up with a workable summer plan for each of us.


  1. […] presents Summer Plans Part 2: Necessary Activities via Tea Time with Annie Kate For a truly satisfying summer, you need to balance dreams and […]

  2. Angie says:

    This is a great list. You seem very organized and orderly. I am inspired. Our summers usually consist of trying to build reading skills, holding onto math skills, and going to the park weekly. It is also a time to do chores full time, so that’s great. I am inspired to plan and manage summer in a more orderly manner. Thanks!

  3. Annie Kate says:

    LOL I’m not that orderly, although I aspire to be! It’s just that I’ve seen the benefits of thinking ahead. This works for us.

    You seem to be doing great yourself!


    Annie Kate

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