The Loveliness of Fathers ...
Lovely Lavender

Summer Reading at our House

It's that day of all days in our town - the last day of school till the fall. A big day for many, mildly interesting for the rest of us. But even if you're not tied to the school system schedule (as many homeschoolers are not) I think we all feel like hitting the pause button right about now.

For my family, a lighter summer learning schedule is just right. We drop most formal studies, though we keep a brief daily math lesson at the start of the day. (It's just good to keep going so as not to forget where we were - Crackerjack is just starting to "get" time and Bookworm is knee-deep in decimal points. Two months off and we'd spend a lot of time in review come the fall.) Other than lots of informal nature study (natch) we will immerse ourselves in lots of good books. I thought it would be fun to take that a bit further and organize a family summer reading program just for us.

Now my bulletin board, about which I have posted numerous times, was just begging to be involved in this endeavor. See below how it looked last Friday:


Poor lonely bulletin board, in need of something to do. Then a quick trip to the local craft store yielded:


A bevy of supplies! Scrapbooking paper, stickers, composition notebook, wooden letters, fine glitter and glittering glue. (Those last two items were from the Martha Stewart craft line at Michael's, which I finally got to check out last week and oh my - I was impressed. MS Crafts deserve a post all their own to be sure, sometime in the not too distant future.)

Anyhoo ... here's how it all came together:


Now let me explain. :) I used scrapbooking paper as a background - sandy-textured at the bottom, solid aqua in the middle and a blue sky pattern at the top. I cut out the bucket and shovel from cardstock; the sun is a small paper plate. At the very top you see the wooden letters embellished with turquoise glitter. Once this was all set, I made up the designs for our "beachcombing" project ...


I drew a few simple line drawings in the shape of a scallop shell, a sand dollar, a periwinkle, a starfish, and a crab. The top sheet is the master which we can photocopy as we need more shapes.

When a book is read by one of my boys, a shape is chosen, colored, cut out and labeled with the title and author. Before the end of the summer we hope to have the whole bucket filled - maybe even spilling over onto the sand!

The other part of the program is a family summer reading journal:


I took a plain composition notebook, covered it in thematic paper and edged it with blue ribbon. Inside we will record each book we've read - devoting one page per title. Whoever read the book will be responsible for writing down the pertinent details and a brief review (not a full fledged book report but a few sentences about how he liked the book).

These journals will be great keepsakes, and very helpful come September when we attend our first Homeschool Book Group of the new year. That month's theme will be a "catch-up" for the kids, when they will share what they've read over the summer. Our "program" will hopefully keep all our stories fresh in our minds.

Some books we'll read together, some books we'll read separately. My Crackerjack has just started reading simple chapter books, and is very excited to participate! I have started a list of books to assign, but the boys will be allowed to choose some on their own too. And here's the kick - they've asked if I would add my own reading, too! Naturally I accepted their kind invitation. ;)

At the end of the summer, when the bucket (and journal) is filled with books read and reviewed, we will spend a whole day at the beach in celebration. Daddy will take the day off from work and we'll head to the coast early. We'll do some tidepooling and visit a favorite clam shack for lunch ... of course we'll bring the camera and a good book (or two) to read.

But for now, it's on to our summer reading adventures!

There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away. ~ Emily Dickinson