Last year, it was the dreaded summer worksheet workbook.

It wasn’t a bad idea…

Had I spent the time I needed to ahead of time, it would have been a huge success. But because I too suffer from the frivolity (and responsibility) of summer vacation, it was hard to keep up with – and so, it was only moderately successful.

I’ll take it.

Practice makes proficient…and that includes this parent as she continues to find her way.

And thankfully, summer comes every year…offering me another opportunity to get it right.

I already had an idea in mind.

READ: My initial Facebook Post highlighting the 2018 summer training program.

Something a little less time consuming than the worksheet workbook; something that could be sustainable through the entire summer. Something that would offer a gradual increase in challenge for him, while not being too challenging for me to keep up with on a consistent basis.

We implemented a planner during the school year to provide a higher level of accountability for classroom work and homework. It was a good thing, a needed thing and something I wanted to carry over into the summer…the key being that it has something to offer ALL YEAR ROUND, for all areas of life…not just school.

I don’t know about you…but I live and die by my planner. (And chuckle all you want…it’s analog. With all my digital prowess, there’s something really powerful about a pencil, eraser and the ability to cross things off my list.)

The planner was dreaded (on his side), and I am still trying to get him to see it as a tool, a support – something that is going to make his life easier.

I’ve printed out monthly and weekly sheets for the summer.

The monthly view is just so that he can access the bigger picture and write in holidays and vacation days, if he wants. The weekly views are where I’ve been writing in (each week), the daily tasks (assignments). I decided to work on it by week, so that I could evaluate the successes and opportunities for growth before making plans on increased challenges.

He started telling me all the places he wants to eat out over the summer…

I told him to make a list and keep it in his planner, so that we don’t forget…so that we can check them off as we figure out when it makes the most sense (time and budget) to tickle the tastebuds. He liked that idea. And…that list is growing.

And while my purse is a little nervous about what that will all add up to, I realize that he’s taking ownership of the planner and how it can be of assistance, and I am leaning into it.

Reading and writing.

That’s been the main gist the first part of the summer.

It started with free reading (a couple chapters a day) and has grown into a little more reading, plus a written summary of each passage.

There’s a journal required each day. It started at 5 sentences of any topic. Now, the sentence requirement is growing and some days…there’s a set topic.

I want him to use his mind and keep it engaged; I want him to be challenged to continue practicing reading comprehension and written communication; but I also want him to deal with assignments that he may not want to do, or be interested in completing.

During his 7th grade year, we lost classroom time, because he was more wrapped up in the dread and anticipation of difficulty…instead of just organizing a plan and getting it done. I’d like to get him to practice getting over that feeling as much as possible this summer so that it’s less of a hindrance in 8th grade.

In my Facebook Post, I called it “strategically planning ‘uncomfortableness’ so that he can work on facing his fear of the unknown, the unseen, the untasted.”

Yes, my darling child. Learning how to deal with being uncomfortable. It’s definitely an important life skill…not just a school skill.

In July, we’re transitioning to digital practice.

READ: My Facebook Post highlighting the kid’s new workspace.

I noticed that he struggled managing his school email and Google Classroom space last school year. And that area, that need to access and develop within the digital space, is only going to grow as he continues to knock out the next few grades. So, I’ve decided to start taking some of his work into that arena.

It will begin with journaling. He’ll have to access his topics and instructions via Google Drive – and he’s going to have to start typing them out. (Funny enough, he prefers to handwrite still…even over voice-to-text.) We’ll see how it goes.

I planted seeds last week (always giving him forewarning because it helps with transition and implementation)…this is just practice. He seemed to take a lot of comfort from that concept. Practice. JUST PRACTICE.

And really, my goal would be for him to find a way to get what’s in his head out – in a way that’s not brutal for him and easy enough for his teachers to evaluate.

It’s going to be interesting to witness how this unfolds.

If anything, the worksheet workbook from last summer helped us get over the hump – the disgust, the agony, the misery – of summer training and academic practice.

I told him before school ended that there would be summer work, and while he didn’t jump for joy over the idea, he didn’t raise as much of a fuss as he did last year. And when Day 1 of summer assignments was handed over, he fell in line to complete his work without a peep.

Did I mention that all work needs to be completed before (fun) digital time?

Yea…that’s a huge incentive.

Work first…and then games and YouTube.

I promise you…he still gets PLENTY of time for fun.