Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while is well aware that we are big fans of summer goals around here (lots of links to other posts about that at the end of this one).
We are specifically in to summer goals that have a plan of action.
For what seems like years and years we have sat down with our kids at the beginning of the summer and helped them churn out some dreams for the summer:
Things they wanted to use their time for to beef up their EMOTIONAL, SOCIAL, PHYSICAL, MENTAL and SPIRITUAL abilities.
(We call those the “five-facets” around here, as adopted by my parents…who did the same thing with us at the beginning of every summer growing up.)
Then they would get busy doing their “stuff.”
There was always an award for goals achieved.
Sometimes money, sometimes time (late-nights, dates with parents…back when that worked!, etc.), sometimes something they really wanted (clothes, toys, etc.)
We have done everything from having the kids write those goals on big posters in the kitchen to hanging them on the door of their bedrooms so they won’t miss them:
After a few years of doing this, we realized we needed more than just the goals.
These kids needed a PLAN to get those goals done.
So we added in a “check-list” so they could see their progress each summer week:
(These pictures are killing me, just in case you’re wondering. How in Heaven’s name has all this faded away into the memory banks, gathering dust?? Oh man I had a love/hate-but-mostly-love relationship with these days of monotony and pushing and prodding to keep kids going. And I wish I could go back and give each of those kids a huge hug and tell them how much these goals have helped them through the years! I adore summer goals and I think it’s safe to say they did too.)
One more picture because REALLY….
Those kids worked together.
They were motivated by each other’s check lists.
We had time set aside each day where it was just part of the day to get those suckers done.
One year they even worked together to earn an X-Box for all their hard summer work.
It wasn’t a perfect plan, of course. Some summers went better than others.
But those kids worked and were productive before they set out to roam the neighborhood.
And I loved it.
So what changes as kids dwindle and head off into the big wide world?
First of all the parents get more lax, am I right?
And second of all, they don’t have each other to stay motivated.
Thank Heavens our last little goal-girl left at home happens to be this one who is motivated by a schedule like nobody’s business:
She has been since she was young.
(She would color those little circles in each day with a dry-erase marker and was our best at this task.)
And even though this summer seems to have been a jumble in many ways with so many comings and goings of big kids (life gets so much more complicated with big kids!), Lucy has stuck to at least certain parts of the goals she set up in the beginning of the summer.
As I mentioned back HERE, it’s been down to “The Three Musketeers” for a lot of the summer:
And we have tried to use some of our time (aside from card games) to work together on summer goals.
Lucy had a recurring subject to most of her goals this summer:
Oh how she wants that, and what a great time to be able to work on all kinds of skills that will help her on that journey.
And all those five-facets sure work pretty beautifully into creating independence.
We’ve had some pretty good heart-to-hearts about all the things we can work on together to get her ready to head out into the big wide world on her own some day. She’s working toward being ready to join a “teen to work” camp for blind kids next summer.
One of the biggest goals we’ve been able to work on together in conjunction with being independent is learning to cook some of her favorite meals.
This girl loves to work in the kitchen.
And there’s not much I love more than cooking with my kids. I will say cooking with Lucy is a little bit different than cooking with other kids though. We are working hard on learning some tactics to measure things without spilling all the ingredients, how to feel the knobs of the stove to understand how large the flame is, how to open cans or cartons, (small motor skills are really tricky for Lu), knowing when things are boiling…I realize how much I take what I can see for granted.
But this girl is determined. And that’s a pretty beautiful thing.
How to cook with a visual impairment
She made us our favorite Nichol’s Vodka Sauce twice:
This recipe is no cakewalk…it involves baking the flavors so they can seep into each other, transferring the marinated flavors all together in the blender, squishing whole canned tomatoes that have a tendency to splat all over creation, etc.
But she did it. (And even made a fruit salad to accompany it, woohoo!). I have to say, I think her batches were better than I have ever made it.
She also made us her very favorite “Honey Lime Enchiladas.”
I realized how difficult it must be to see how “done” tortillas are when you can’t see very well (she watched really close for bubbles), and took it all in stride:
We gobbled that right up, it was so good (the gathering ready for the 4th of July):
Lucy also took a flight all by herself in her quest for independence:
(Heading to “Grammie Camp”…and that girl did it without a hitch and had the BEST time.)
We have a lot more work to do: braiding, reading (she is so good at this just naturally), new piano songs, more “friends” in the scriptures, etc.
But thankfully we have a whole two more weeks of summer to tackle these things. (Yes, you got that right, we start school again on the 26th, BOO!)
Hope everyone is having a great summer out there, and hope these goal ideas will help you and yours!