Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer School Kick-Off 2011!!

It's time for the annual Johnson Family Summer School!! 

I'm really excited AND trepidacious about Summer School this year...and I'll tell you why...

This year Summer School was a challenge because all my children are getting so much bigger…and the cutie little “Gospel-themed” lessons just won’t cut it anymore.  Nicolette will probably still enjoy counting goldfish and learning about pioneers…but the other kids have gotten older, and have this “been there – done that” mentality. I wanted to be able to challenge everyone…but I’m not qualified to teach higher math and science concepts.  I also wanted it to be fun and engaging…for the older kids AND the littles.

Not only that, but we have the additional challenge of a dwindling budget…meaning that I can’t spend a lot of money on supplies and field trips. I have to meet everyone’s needs AND do it economically. That means walking to the pool and library, and doing more activities at home.

Finally, I wanted to shorten our lesson time. In past summers, we sometimes worked all day…but this year, I wanted to be done by lunch. That means that I couldn’t have all these grand activities planned…everything had to be short and sweet.

I am pretty daunted by the task.

I decided the easiest way to solve my dilemma was to pick a subject we could study all summer long that everyone loved. 

I settled on “Geography”. Our family loves to travel, but we have never been able to take big family vacations. Geography seemed like an easy theme to work with that I could adjust to fit the many different learning levels and attitudes in our home. I would have the first couple weeks be about actual geography, and then focus on a different country every week after that, skipping the week Jason is on vacation.

Each child will have a “travel binder” with dividers in it. We can keep our work and progress in the binders.

I also wanted to have a “mascot”…someone that would “help” our studies all summer long…I really wanted a parrot, and I wanted to name him “Rio”. But then a movie came out about a parrot with the same name, so I decided against it, and instead used a giant stuffed monkey that I already had hiding in my closet. I named him “Columbus”…

It's true that many things will be below Josephs level...but I am hoping he will step in and take a more "leadership role"...helping the little kids complete their tasks. I do have activities that are geared more for the older kids, but what I really want is for Joseph to be a "teachers aide". I will also be working with him on several merit badges this that will DEFINITELY keep him busy if he needs a little extra boost.

Kaitlyn has her own on-line courses this year, a new part-time job, summer activities to get ready for the new school year (like choir practice), AND has her non-profit to work she's taking off 3 weeks to visit her Dad in although she'll participate and help with the lessons, she's really going to have her own stuff to do.

So anyway...this is my plan. I post the lessons on the "Summer School Safari" part of my blog. They won't update automatically onto Facebook, or if you're on the e-mail list, they won't automatically e-mail to you'll have to actually go on the blog page, and under the title click the "Summer School Safari" link, and then it will take you to the lessons.

I make sure to list the links where I pulled and adapted ideas, so if someone else is interested in what I do and where I got the inspiration, they can go to the source. It's also because a lot of these ideas are NOT mine...they are created by other people...far more talented people who I am sure want some credit for their very hard work. Therefore...if I have borrowed an idea...or even if I've used an idea as a platform from which to jump and spin my own little lesson...I include the link.

Here's to a successful and fun Summer School in 2011!!!

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