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A Summer Routine for Third Graders

Taking a break from fretting about the Internet to write about something else; namely, our summer routine.

Know why I am writing this here?  Because I wrote our routine on a piece of paper last year and have misplaced the piece of paper.  Last night I looked through every file because I wanted to prepare a new routine sheet for the twins, and I couldn’t find the original piece of paper.  I asked the ChickieNob how many Summer Bridge lessons I made them do last summer, and she gave me a somewhat gleeful smile as she said, “you don’t remember?”  I thought she was trying to get out of doing more work when she informed me that they only did one lesson per day.  But what did I know — I didn’t have the original paper to check.  Until I remembered that I wrote a post about our routine last year.  Oh, sweet blog, you’ve saved my ass too many times to count.

So I fine-tuned our routine from last summer based on what produced the best results as well as their age.  This is what we’re doing as third graders rising to become fourth graders:

  • One lesson in their Summer Bridge books.
  • Self-checking their Summer Bridge books and circling what they got wrong so we can go over those things later.
  • The Daily 20 on Mathboard (an app).
  • 20 minutes on the educational app page on the iPad.
  • Read alone for 30 minutes.*
  • Wolvog: 20 minutes of guitar practice; ChickieNob: 20 minutes of working on her book.

It takes about two hours, total.

I went with Summer Bridge again because I’ve been continuously impressed with their workbooks.  They feel like the elder statesman workbook lording over the newfangled workbooks.  Listen, Summer Bridge started the torture of millions of children by dumping school work on them in the summer.  Would I ever leave them for a new endeavour trying to cash in on the torturing children gig?  Summer Bridge has got it on lock.  Also, the workbooks are simple, straightforward, broken into nice bite-size pieces, and I trust it.  That’s why we went with Summer Bridge.

Mathboard is an app that we ended up buying because it was in an Apple commercial, and the Wolvog begs us for any app that he sees as being close to Apple, which is the source of all things beautiful.  It’s actually really a fantastic, straightforward app if you want to practice math skills.  You can set the type of problem the app generates, the range of numbers, whether you want it timed or untimed, and then the kid chooses their name under the main menu and starts the test.  Every day, the app spits out random quizzes based on my parameters, and I can go back and look at how they did on each quiz, increasing or decreasing the difficulty.  Again, it’s work they can do on their own.

They get 20 minutes on the iPad to work their way through any of the apps on the educational page that I set up with their input.  This summer, we have old favourites like Wonderopolis, Stack the States, and Aliens vs. Presidents.  And we’re in the process of adding new ones: Marble Math, Crazy Machines, and Symmetry School. (Can’t vouch for any of these yet.)  Plus they are allowed to play games that require logic or problem-solving, such as TwoDots, Monument Valley, or The Room.

They have to read by themselves for a bit, and then either practice guitar (Wolvog) or work on their book (ChickieNob).  During this time, I am doing all of my work.  And then we are free.

We’ll spend the rest of the time at the pool or beach or going on day trips or the library or hanging out with friends.  We need the down time.  We just need a few weeks where we have little scheduled, and we can island ourselves off and just breathe.  Because it has been a hard winter and spring, and I think we just need to step away from everything for a bit — or maybe I just need to step away from everything for a bit, and I’m taking them with me.

So what are you doing this summer?

* The twins are still in the same weekly peer writing/reading group.  We read one book together in the meeting, and one book at home (that we discuss at the meeting), and they’re working on a summer-long writing project with the other kids in the group.  So… that’s all education too.  But it’s mostly an excuse for me to make up the most obnoxious voices for the recurring characters in the books since I’m the one reading them aloud.


1 Nicoleandmaggie { 06.12.14 at 7:43 am }

Neat. Our oldest does swimming lesson for an hour, then museum day camp until 3, then 15 min piano practicing (lesson 1x/week), 2 exercises from the language arts book the school sent home, one from Singapore math. On weekends we add a page of hard math for elementary students. On weekends he can play video games but on weekdays he can’t. Otherwise the remaining time is his to spend. Also he’s learning how to cook.

2 Jodi { 06.12.14 at 7:57 am }

Michael goes to camp because I work outside of the house. He is doing some cool camps this summer, minecraft camp, Lego robotics camp, and 3 weeks of overnight camp. (I’d prefer not to discuss that blog post about how parents who send ther kids to overnight camp don’t care about their children). We also have some vacations planned. Then there is summer swim team.

3 loribeth { 06.12.14 at 8:29 am }

Working. :p My pg coworker is currently “working from home” with a high-risk pregnancy. Her due date is early September but she is planning to begin her mat leave in mid-August, if not sooner. No word yet if we are hiring someone to fill in for her, or if the rest of us (i.e., me) will be expected to pick up the slack (which I am already doing), at a time when we are all being told we need to step up our game. This, plus work projects due in August, plus nephew’s engagement party in mid-August, means that August is out for vacation. I am taking two weeks off in early July to go home to see my parents — which were not the weeks I really wanted to go — but my parents will be away in LATE July. (We could have gone with them, but for a number of reasons decided not to.) And I just found out — after I booked the vacation at work & the flights, of course — that The Princess will be away for all but 2-3 days of the time we are there. 🙁 🙁 🙁 I am not a happy camper at the moment. :p Sometimes it totally sucks to be a grownup. :p

4 Tiara { 06.12.14 at 8:31 am }

Love your schedule!

I am looking forward to our summer very much. I work M-F so our summer is all about the weekends. I create excel calendars for June-Oct (I include Sept & Oct because of all the fall fairs), I look back at the previous year’s calendar & look up events we really liked to see when they are happening this year, then I research any new events we may want to check out. If I read about something on the web or in the paper, I’ll add it to the calendar, even things we don’t end up doing in case we want to look into doing them next year. The “don’t miss” things I add to my iPhone calendar with a reminder so that I don’t a) double book us or b) miss it! I also keep a very open mind to change/cancel any outing if we don’t feel up to it or if something better comes along. I also try to plan only 1 event/outing per weekend so 1 day is free to be spontaneous & 1 day is “scheduled fun”

5 a { 06.12.14 at 8:45 am }

Aside from Rainbow Looming and wrestling, I have no idea what goes on in my house all day. There’s cursive practice, and she has to write a page in her journal, and I hope she’s reading the books we bring home from the library. But it’s all on my husband, so I don’t worry about it. Of course, if he doesn’t take the training wheels off her bike soon, I will start nagging. She needs to learn the bike riding skill soon.

I’m in charge of summer entertainment, so we will be heading off to one amusement park (and visits with aunts and cousins) today, and then we’ll be seeing a different mixture of aunts in a few weeks when we head to Chicago. Then we have to go to the water park, the pool, the other amusement park, and maybe some caves when it gets really hot.

6 andy { 06.12.14 at 12:36 pm }

Wow, I am envious of your summer organization. Liam is spending the summer at home with Hilary (alas, I still have to work) and I’m pretty sure the two of them will have very little structured time.

7 Sara { 06.12.14 at 2:40 pm }

We just returned from our first trip with our 6 month old twins to visit my grandparents, what should have been a 6 hour car drive turned into 10 hours. It was worth it for my granny to meet her great grandsons, something I have wanted for a long time.

I am a teacher and “off” for the summer I am trying to get them to nap at the same time 2x a day. The naps are not for me, I am worried that they will lose their daycare spot if I do not have them on a better schedule by August. We are also working on trying new purees this summer, all in all I think it will be a great summer, as long as my dog stops barking during nap time 🙂

8 Kacey { 06.12.14 at 8:38 pm }

We homeschool through most of the summer (I usually take the last week or two of August off to really deep clean/reorganize the house so we start fresh in September), but our day looks much like this year round. A couple hours of educational stuff in the morning (and more and more of it is app-based, my son (6) is OBSESSED with Presidents vs Aliens and had earned all the presidents within a week, I think. I call him Doris Kearns Goodwin now) and then freedom 🙂

9 Queenie { 06.12.14 at 9:27 pm }

Love the Summer Bridge book idea, and will be ordering the Pre-K one forthwith. (At first I thought you were literally teaching the children to play bridge for an hour a day!) I’m just now sorting out what the girls will do for the summer, and tomorrow is the last day of school. It’s not so much them I’m worried about, as their father. There is a whole lot of energy between them, and they haven’t both been home with him full time in six months! I’m looking at summer day programs now, just for fun activities that will get them some exercise.

10 Erika { 06.13.14 at 12:25 am }

Math Zombies, math duel (they challenge each other), and Mayan multiplication were the favorite math apps in my third grade classroom this year 🙂

11 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 06.13.14 at 12:54 pm }

Obnoxious voices! Everybody’s favourite. 🙂

Independent work is a wonderful thing, and so is breathing. Can I recommend Civ? It’s not exactly free but as far as I’ve been told the older versions are cheap (this is what A told me just after he bought an older version, so, check…)

Anyway, it’s obviously great for adults but what we’ve found is PB (6yo) really loves playing it, too, and then he gets into involved discussions about social policies and diplomatic strategising and supporting the arts.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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