My secret weapon is this stack of envelopes.
These envelopes are filled with worksheets, learning games, crafts, reading lists, math activities...you name it! I found several great teacher blogs and homeschool blogs that offered these printables. I was blown away by what incredible resources are out there!! Stapled to the outside are index cards with various ideas for crafts, snacks, outings, etc.
My plan: 10 weeks of summer = 8 weeks of themed activities and 2 weeks of vacation. I will keep my kids' academic skills sharp. Sometimes that will mean a computer game. Sometimes a worksheet. Sometimes a crafty activity. I MUST be prepared or the kids will win and I will lose and then my summer will not be fun.
My 8 themes are:
Manners -- Weather --(2wks going on vacay) -- USA -- Ocean & Beach -- Plants and Nature -- Transportation -- Colors -- Geography & Maps
I chose themes that my kids are interested in. Maybe. I am just using these "themes" to give me ideas for library books, crafts, snacks, games, outings, and ways to sneak in academics. One day it's a nature walk...the next week it's a color hunt walk. I cannot just come up with great mom-ideas on the fly. You probably are. I require preparation. Yes, my brain is gone. And by the way, my kids are 6 (going into 1st grade), 4 (going to PreK), and 23 months.
Here is a glimpse of what I have planned- next week officially starts "Manners Week".
On the card:
* I will teach them how to set a table, phone manners, safety when we are in stores, address and cell #, be a princess, tea party, discuss feelings and how to handle them, and make plate faces to show different feelings.
* I have a coupon for a free cupcake at a cute bakery...we can dress "nice" and go for a mannerly cupcake and juice.
* I checked out several manners books from the library already. I also have two surprise books that I bought from Scholastic- What Brothers (Sisters) Do Best by Laura Numeroff and Polite as a Princess a Disney book.
What's in the envelope?
** The Exquisite Wedding of Q and U, found here at Growing Kinders; a story about a queen and a quarterback that teaches about the Q and U sounds
** Worksheets for Q and U from BeginningReading.com There are a TON of free worksheets here!
** A Feelings printable found here at 1plus1plus1equals1. Ton of stuff here, too!
Not to mention, I have two more envelopes of Misc reading and math worksheets that don't really have a theme. BUT, I could incorporate them into any theme. For example, we can learn to tell time because it is polite to be on time. We can learn to count money because it is polite to give your mom money. HAhahaha!
If you need a place to start looking, try these sites:
Confessions of a Homeschooler
First Grader...at Last!
Super Teacher Worksheets