So, this summer, when S is 5.5 and M is 3.5, I decided to try "theme weeks" to give us something to do and hopefully avoid an all out war between the three of us. Based on a simple premise of discovering/exploring a particular topic each week, I set out to drain the library of all of it's resources on various countries of the world, water, medieval times and the pioneer way of living. Thus far...it's been a resounding success...the likes of which even surprise me.
Week one was "Countries of the World" where we watched some videos (LOVED the "Families of insert country here) series, read books, ate specific foods and generally had a good time learning about new places. As an added bonus, S learned how to say "Hello Dad" in each of the languages and greeted J as he walked in the door each night. Pretty cool.
Week two was supposed to be USA (coinciding with July 4th), NY and Rochester, but kind of didn't happen because J was home for two days and the girls had summer camp.
Week three was water week. I think this was everyone's favorite so far. We went swimming in a pool (with my newest addition to the "best things I've ever purchased" list: floatation devices that let the girls have some independence in the water and let me avoid the grip of death that often accompanies water excursions), went to Cobbs Hill and walked around, went to the RMSC where we did an "underwater adventure" via motion simulator and went under Lake Ontario, learned about the lock system on the canal and generally had a good time. We hit Kershaw Beach, saw Bill Nye the Science Guy videos about water and went to Roseland Water Park.
Week four (where we find ourselves now) is medieval/Renaissance week. This is especially interesting to me because I really knew very little about this time period. We've read a bunch of books, made crowns (because in our house, there must be some sort of royalty thing going on), did "stained glass" and today we're making shields and cardboard swords. We'll watch the Sword and the Stone, various "historically accurate, yet child friendly" videos found at the Downtown Branch of the library and hopefully not run out of steam by Friday. This week will be topped off with a trip to the Sterling Renaissance Festival, complete with wenches, a visit to the queen and (hopefully) a stop in the "stocks" as my girls are fascinated with what I'm calling "the ultimate time out".
Up next..pioneer week, nature week, art week, animal week, playground week...the possibilities are endless.
The reaction I get from friends when they find out I'm doing this is varied. Some say that I'm "super mom", some look at me longingly and then wonder why I'm bothering, some have joined me and adopted some of the themes for their own kids. I'm neither super mom or some expert on kids...I just needed something to keep me focused this summer or else we'd all go nuts from monotony and boredom. Even if we don't do the activity of the day/week, just knowing I have plan keeps me sane and happy. If they learn something along the way, so be it. If we just have fun and they look back on this time with fond memories, even better.