J-‘s now on her summer break. We’ve been thinking of ways to help her use her summer well. There’ll be time for unstructured play and for hanging out with friends, of course, but it’s also good to help her develop initiative and life skills, fighting the temptations of video games along the way.
Both W- and I are working through summer because we’re saving our vacation days for Kathy’s upcoming wedding, so J- will need to be self-driven. She’s pretty good at dealing with the inevitable what-do-I-do-now moments (and we all get those, if we’re lucky). She often practises piano or ukulele, reads a book, or hangs out with friends. We can help by setting some challenges, nudging her to work on mastery or life skills, and giving her feedback on how she’s doing (such as for writing or math exercises).
Overall plans for the summer:
It’s often easier to pick from a list than to think of something to do in the moment, so here are some ideas for things to do:
We’ll encourage her to add to this list, too.
We like the way her school uses rubrics to make it clear what excellence looks like. We’re not planning to use one to grade J- for her summer work – grading summer! what a thought – but it might be useful to work out one with her so that she can self-evaluate how she’s spending her time and so that she can motivate herself to push her limits. W- and I thought about the process first so that we can guide her through planning her own. Here’s the draft W- and I came up with:
|Physical||Sat on couch all day / stayed indoors||Basic calisthenics||Extended physical activity||Stretching your limits|
|Mental||Played video games all day / watched TV all day||1 unit of work||2 units of work||3 units of work|
|Creative||No creative output||Drew / wrote / practised piano/ukulele / etc.||Memorized part of a song / New story/comic/drawing to share||Discussion of work|
|Life skills||Mess||Cleaned up after self||Cleaned up after cats||Made life better / cleaned up after others|
|Technology||Played video games or surfed the Internet all day||Practised IT skills (typing, presentations, etc.)||Created something using technology and shared it with us or others||Learned something on your own / experimented with tools|
Thinking of ways to build scaffolds for J-‘s learning through these lists of ideas and rubrics for self-evaluation inspires me to make some of these for myself, too.
What would my discretionary-time activities look like?
What would a rubric for myself look like?
|Category||1 – minimal||2 – acceptable||3 – good||4 – awesome|
|Physical||Sat and worked all day / stayed indoors||Worked at standing desk / did some gardening||Turned the compost / exercised||Exercised for hours|
|Mental||Did OK at work||Solved new problems or built new functionality at work||Read one or more books||Worked on learning a new skill / Shared what I was learning|
|Creative||No creative output||Blogged / practised piano||Created and shared pictures or sketches||Learned a new technique / memorized part of a song|
|Life skills||Mess||Cleaned up after self||Cleaned up after others||Made life better|