wonderful world

This morning Thomas says to me, "the worst thing about summer is that you won't let me get up early, and ticks."

Oh my son, I know you are like your mother and actually like getting up at the crack of dawn, but it's OK to sleep in a little in the summer......geesh!

The FIRST DAY of SUMMER! It was truly a beautiful day today! The weather couldn't have been any nicer, and my children were excited for our new daily routine. I could tell. It went all too smoothly!

Last year we did "Summertime Tickets" with Thomas and Annie. The gist of it is that I have a list of things they can do to earn one ticket. So when they come to me saying, "I have nothing to do....." I can show them the list, they pick one, they are busy.....presto. These are not things they have to do by any means, just ideas to keep their little brains working instead of me just turning on a movie. After getting so many tickets, they can redeem them for prizes. It works pretty well.

Here are some ideas on the list:

-picking up trash on our boulevard

-calling a relative and asking them three questions

-copy writing a poem, draw a picture to go with it, and then recite it at dinnertime. (we came up with the idea of getting to stand on their chair while reciting it! They thought that was pretty cool!)

-sketching something in their sketch book

-going through math addition and subtraction flash cards once

-writing a letter to a friend or relative, addressing it, and sending it in the mail

-reading a book to a sibling (for 15 minutes)

-playing 5 songs that they have already learned on the piano (this is in addition to their regular piano practice for the day)

-hanging up or putting in the laundry ALL the clothes that are scattered on their floor.

-playing a game of chess together

-putting together one state or content puzzle

- memorizing a new prayer

-reading a book for 30 minutes

-pick a saint and write a five sentence summary of their life and draw their picture

By 8:00 in the morning, I had two eager children sitting at the table copying a poem, by 9:00 they were all ready to go out on the boulevard to pick up trash. I hope this enthusiasm will last through summer.

I know it won't, but today was fun!

I love how she is wearing her old size 4 flower girl dress!

And Thomas picked up a bug or two!

As we were walking, and I was watching my children, I had this overwhelming sense of how much I want to teach and inspire them. I want them to wonder about the wonderful world God made for them. I hope to instill in them the desire to explore, read and learn. I want them to always ask why. I want them to explore the world (even if it is a few feet from our home on our blvd), to go on adventures through the pages of a book, and to learn by researching. I love having field guides. Bugs, birds, and fish field guides are what we have now, and I hope to get lots of other ones soon. Whenever they ask a question and I have no idea what the answer is, I'm honest and say, "well, I don't know, but lets go look it up either in a book or google it.) We have a great book called, "The Big Book of Tell Me Why." It's awesome. The kids love looking through it. We use it a lot too! I want them to be free this summer to soak up as much knowledge as their little brains can hold.

We don't make it to the library as often as I would like to during the school year. So when I told the kids that we can go as often as we like this summer, they cheered! We went the very next day. Thomas picked out Star Wars books and Annie picked American Girl. I LOVE to see my children walking out of the library with a pile of books. The book Thomas picked out is a little advanced for him to read by himself, so I am reading it to him. I actually enjoy these Star Wars adventure books! But what gets me every time is how he will ask me ALL DAY LONG to "please read mom" and if I make a motion like I'm going to put the book down and stop, he orders me to "keep reading."

I have two toats filled with art materials so they can create whatever, whenever they want to. I leave them out on the table in the computer room. I will often walk by and look in and see two (now three, George has taken a liking to coloring these days) heads bend downward, working on something.

I'm going to challenge myself this summer to use movies and TV as a last resort. I love to get things done, checked off my list, you know. There have been times when I turned on a movie for them and it runs ALL DAY. I don't want that.

Notice that George is soaking wet. His new game is to stand underneath our hanging baskets as we water them. He says, "I'm taking a shower!!! As he dances around under them giggling. I don't have the heart to stop him, and I figure if were not going anywhere, who cares? He'll dry.

I want to enjoy watching my children grow, learn, and explore. Thank you God for the gift of this summer! What a wonderful world You have given to us.

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