I’m hoping that this can be the first of a series, because I’d love to share what we’ve done as parents to help our girls grow. I’m not a parenting expert, and everything that I’m posting here is purely based on our personal experiences on what has worked for us.
The Summer Map.
Unlike my girls who are already busy catching up with homework, some kids are still on vacation mode. This is a very late post, as I’m writing about something we did last summer. I do hope that some kids who haven’t started school (because of the K to 12 adjustment) can still benefit from this idea.
Before the summer of 2015 started, I sat down with my kids and asked them to write down everything they wanted to do. I had no intention of filling their vacation with back to back activities, but sometimes things work out differently from how we imagined it.
As I asked them to make a wish list, I saw big things like going on a trip, and small things like wanting to eat at Kenny Rogers.
Other than Kumon Math, (which wasn’t on their list, of course) we intentionally skipped anything related to academics because they had enough of that in school.
They were 5 & 6 years old, when the summer began, so we provided the options, but they had to figure out what they wanted for themselves. I wanted to see if they would continue to like it and grow in their chosen environment, because if the two ideas agreed, then supporting it would only mean that they could one day excel doing exactly what they already love doing.
I constantly pray about such things, that God would reveal to us where we should guide and support them, so that we can raise healthy, happy children that grow into successful, healthy and happy adults who fulfill God’s purpose.
As they listed down the things they wanted to do. I told them to get creative with it and maybe draw shapes around the list of words, and this is how it turned out.
When the list was done. I realized that it resembled a mind map. We tacked it on the wall and that list unintentionally became my program guide in how their amazing summer of 2015 began.
When you have a map, you’re able to get to where you want to go faster. So one activity came after another and I didn’t waste any time signing them up as long as it was aligned with what they put on that list.
They ended up having such a fun-filled summer that allowed them to try so many new things.
Letting them take the lead instead of dictating what they were supposed to do gave them a sense of independence and responsibility. At the end of the summer break, the map became a checklist for them to see how much they were able to try and achieve.
I’m interested to see how this list will change next summer. They probably won’t be taking the same classes , because I now know that Jianna doesn’t care so much for acting, but can sit through hours creating art, that she loves to dance and play the piano, while her sister considers piano a chore. She has the patience to build lego by herself, while her sister would rather play outside.
The activities they engaged in allowed us to get to know their individual preferences more. Catie loves acting and singing and loves outdoor activities like camping and sports. I’ve also discovered that she enjoys competition.
The activities could be more, it could be less, but one thing I’m certain of, it gives them a chance to be clear in what they want and set out a goal to achieve it.