Setting Up for Summer Success

Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen.

Wayne Huizenga


Growing up, we had a formal living room with light blue carpet, white couch, antique piano passed down from my mom’s side of the family, and lots of other “pretties”. (“Pretties” is a word we use with the kids in our family to keep them from touching the very breakable expensive item.) It had a huge picture window facing the front yard. The room was on the right as soon as you walked into the house. So, pretty much the very first room our guests would see.

None of us, I mean none of us, were allowed to step foot into the room. It was the one room in the house my mom wanted untouched, clean, and nice looking.

Even the dog knew to stay away and she pretty much ruled the roost.

If ever we did try to sneak in, the light blue carpet would give us away. It kept every single footprint. There was no wiping it the other way as you walked out of the room either. It was merciless.

I used to think my mom was crazy and a bit OCD, but fast forward to now and I so get it!

I don’t have a forbidden room in my house, but I do have a forbidden chair that no one under the age of eighteen can sit in.   It’s nothing fancy and not even expensive, but it’s the principle of it now.20170616_142255_resized

I, tree…..but I will not apologize. Can’t I have ONE thing that stays nice around here?

I always tell my kids when they grow up and have a house of their own, they can set up their homes however they want. Somehow, I see them not letting me sit in some of their chairs.

Rotten kids.

Everybody has their homes set up somehow, whether intentionally or totally unintentionally… it has a set up. Everyone in the home knows the rhythm of the set up and pretty much goes along with it…hopefully.

Each season your set up may change, too. Different season…different schedule.

So, how is your home set up for this summer?

We’ve been talking about the dreaded Summertime Slump. Something we don’t buy into a whole lot around here…especially if your home is set up for success instead.

It’s not hard at all to set up your home for success either and each home may look different. Different interests, different personalities, different schedules.

But the one thing all of our homes should have in common is the thought or intention behind the day to day. We all have this one goal in common: Raising lifelong learners who are critical thinkers.

Lifelong learners, who are critical thinkers, don’t just happen. They are taught intentionally by his or her parents.

So, with the end goal always in mind, how am I trying to set up our home this summer? Please note I said “trying”…there will be and already have been days where we totally veg out and are complete lame brains around here and I have no energy to do any better that day!

We all need those days!

But, the overall set up is the overall picture of the house. This list doesn’t include specific activities, next week we will include some, but this week is about the set up. The way we think of our role in our kid’s summer and consequently, teaching him how to be a lifelong learner.

(That’s not always taught in the classroom, but definitely should be taught in every home.)

So, what is this set up for a successful summer? Here are a few ways we’re trying around here:

kids with map1.I see myself as my child’s teacher for life. Did you know kids spend 900 hours a day learning at school per year versus 7200 hours at home per year? (Thanks, Jim Trelease from The Read Aloud Handbook) That’s quite a difference! So, where should the responsibility of my kid’s learning lie? With my husband and me…the parents! It doesn’t matter if we see ourselves as the teacher type or not, we parents know stuff…good stuff…so let’s pass it on!

  1. learn something newI see myself as a lifelong learner: My husband and I can’t raise lifelong learners if we are not lifelong learners ourselves. What am we interested in learning, reading, experiencing? Let’s do it and share what we learn with our kid! The best teacher is curiosity so be curious yourself and it will rub off!
  1. Conversations will happen…a lot! I will try to find the small windows of time where everyone is not running in five different directions and have some real conversations. Around here, this happens mostly at the dinner table. I expect everyone to come to the table ready to talk about something. Nobody is allowed to just show up and be a guest…show up and offer something interesting. What time in your family’s day can good conversation happen? Now, make it happen!

4.I will slow down and embrace the “everydayness”. Lots of learning happens during the everyday things. Whether we’re walking to the neighborhood pool, taking a dog for a walk, or putting together a puzzle, lots of learning (we think the best kind of learning) happens here – in the small things. Let’s put down our phones and embrace the “everydayness”.jake reading on grass

  1. I will be intentional with our days. What are the summer goals for my family, and for myself? What is in my way timewise? What needs to shrink in time in order to make my family’s and my goals happen? Not everyday will we be working towards a goal, but it helps to have a few things in mind to try to accomplish for the next three months. Why not try something new or actually get that project done together as a family? Truth be told, right now, my husband and son are watching some Avengers movie, the baby is asleep, my seven year old daughter is on the kindle…I keep hearing Sing songs coming from her direction, and I’m working on this. So, ahem, at least one of us is being productive! Again, not every summer day should be busy…we can also be intentionally lazy, too! Those days are much needed!

Summer is the perfect time to make a shift in the house. So pick one thing to work towards this summer. Maybe it’s less time on the phone and more conversation, or dinner at the table all together at least three times a week, or you learn one new thing an share all about it with your family. Just pick one small change and go with it!

That one small change can turn into a new family habit that helps raise lifelong learners.

That right there is what we like to call….A Successful Summer!

Oh, and I am typing this from my chair that nobody can touch! I loved every clean minute of it, too!

Happy Summer, Brainy Yaks!





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