Monday, June 25, 2012

summer goals 2012...with a PLAN

Each summer as soon as the last school bell rings freeing us into summer, we sit down together and write out what we call "summer goals."

And man alive, I am in love with those little things.

They give our kids something to really work hard toward and they give me a sense of satisfaction that our precious summer is being well-used.

(Much more about the background on summer goals back here and family always did this growing up.)

But this year it's like I blinked and school had been out for four weeks.

How in the world did that happen?

So we were a little behind the 8-ball getting on task this year.  But we've made up for it in tenacity I tell you.

Here's Grace sitting down to get serious about the whole deal.
  Oh wait, here's serious:

Wait, that's more bored, but good posing get the idea.  These kids have been far from bored the last week since we've been home.  They've been busy as bees working on their stuff.
Each year we do our goals a tad bit different.   

One year we did calendars to mark off as we went along.

One year the kids all worked together to earn something they all wanted (Rockband).

But every year they do these kinds of charts:

Those little circles on the side are to color in as they make each goal.
(I love Grace.  And I love that she will stop to pose for me any time I want...even on her way out to do her goal of swimming laps:)

And every year we make sure to balance in some physical, spiritual and mental goals.

The only thing I don't like about summer goals is how sometimes I feel like I turn into a big nagger to help the kids stay on task.

Becoming a "big nagger" is not part of what I daydream about when I think of summer.

So thankfully this year my wise sister came up with a miraculous solution.

And extra thankfully I happened to read about it HERE right as we were sitting down to knock these suckers out. 

The key is to have a weekly chart filled with the things the kids need to be reminded to do every day.

A check list.

Because one of the most important parts of goals is to have a plan as to how to reach the goal.  And all my nagging had come because my poor kids didn't have a plan to go with.  They were just looking at the big overwhelming picture of what they wanted to do, but didn't know which steps to take to get there.

Have I mentioned that my sister is a genius? :)  (She even made up forms and wrote up many more great details about her summer planning over here if you are interested in checking that out...very motivating I have to say...thank you Sar!)

So we pumped out some weekly schedules. a companion to those goals.
...and boy howdy is that plan ever working.
Especially since we decided to motivate with a little bit of cash.

And that they get to double that cash if they get every single thing checked off every single day each week.

I wish I had pictures of the stars in their eyes when we told them that little nugget of information because they are all in need of money right at about this point of the summer.

Lucy is particularly into this new system.
She is a schedule girl if I've ever seen one, and she is responding SO well to this new regimen. 
I'll have to write more about her daily walking goal another melts my heart to see how hard she's working on that one...especially since it's with her dad and they are so darn cute together.

My favorite part of our new plan is these jars:
One of them holds the "prompts" for the kids to use when they write in their journals for one of their "check-offs" each day:
(I have loved reading what they write.)

...and the other jar holds the extra jobs they "get" to do to help around the house for another one of their "check-offs."
This second one is worth it's weight in gold because along with summer goals we are working on putting away the things we get out.  (Including me...sometimes I'm horrible at that so I know where they get their bad habits.)

If I see something the kids have used that they haven't put away I remind them politely to do what they know they should have done without me asking and then sweetly tell them to grab an extra job from the job jar and that maybe that extra job will help them to remember to just put their things away in the first place next time.

I mean, who wants to get hit with an extra job every two minutes?

Apparently my kids did for the first couple days, but they are quick learners, I tell you.

And our house is much cleaner.

And I am not such a big nagger.

So we are all happy.

I do love summer goals.
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