Newsletter #400: Summer Time - Archived Online.

Since 1980 The Teaching Home has provided families information,
inspiration, and encouragement from a distinctively Christian perspective.

Co-Editors: Veteran Homeschool Sisters, Sue Welch and Cindy Short


Our Gift & Stewardship of Time

Time is a precious gift from God, a treasure for which we are accountable as stewards.

Through God's Word, we learn the Lord's will for the use of our time.

"Therefore be careful how you walk,
not as unwise men but as wise,
making the most of your time,
because the days are evil.

So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."  Ephesians 5:15-17

Although we are to make good use of our time, the Lord is not an unreasonable or hard taskmaster.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

Whatever You Do,
Do It on Purpose!

Time is a non-renewable resource – once spent, it is never again available to us.  We each spend our allotted "coins" of time each day.  For what are we exchanging our time?

If we do not plan the use of our time, we abdicate to the dictates of the moment – also known as letting the urgent overrule the important.

Planning offers a great sense of security in knowing that we are doing what we need and want to do.  A time budget (a.k.a. schedule) will enable you to reach your goals in serving the Lord, your family, and others.

(See practical ideas and free resources for planning at right.)

 Options for Summer Time 

As with all things, balance in a schedule is crucial.  Your schedule will include a variety of activities. However, that balance may not be the same each day, week, month, or year.

Summer provides a change of routine with a variety of options for the use of our time.

In this issue we suggest general uses of your time, plus options for your summer schedule.

Past Issues Archived Online

Newsletter #399
Father's Day.  How To Make Every Day Father's Day, Encouragement for Fathers, Father's Day Activities for Children.

Newsletter #370
End-of-School-Year Activities.  Includes an Evaluation Checklist.

Newsletter #393
10 Ways To Get the Most from Homeschool Events.  Includes list of 2014 State Conventions, dates, and links to more information.

Newsletter #398
Vocabulary / Basic Skills Series, Part 3.  25 Vocabulary-Building Activities for All Ages, plus many free online resources.

Newsletter #394
Word Analysis: Reading & Phonics, / Basic Skills Series, Part 2.  Skills to be mastered by every child and adult – whether or not they can already read.

Newsletter #392
Listening / Basic Skills Series, Part 1.  Includes: Advantages and Principles of Good Listening, plus 10 Listening Practice Activities. Applicable to both younger and older children.

"I'm Bored!"

"I'm bored" is often a summer time cry. And that can mean trouble is on the way!

Unstructured time can be disconcerting for children at any time of the year, and you know what they say about idle hands.

If you don't have a schedule as a frame of reference for the use of your children's time, this checklist provides options for enjoyable and constructive activities.

So when faced by the dreaded cry, "I'm bored," simple point the your list (which you can adapt from the one below), smile, and say, "Choose something on this list and let me know how you liked it."

You might even make a chart for the week with boxes to check off which activities they did on which days.

Maybe a prize or reward (choosing the menu for dinner or something) can be attached to completing so many or the most items on the list.

Most certainly praise, thanks, or a show of appreciation are appropriate and helpful, as children will do what they are rewarded for.

Anti-Boredom Checklist

  Read something in your Bible.
Use your schedule, devotional book, or the Proverbs for the day (e.g., Prov. 3 on the 3rd day of the month). Also see free 42-page student Bible study ebook by Awana, "Salvation and the Christian Walk."

  Learn or review a Bible verse.
See verses or passages related to character qualities in the sidebar of Newsletter #362, or free ebook by Awana: "Bible Bees," ("Be kind," "Be obedient," etc.) a memory book for kindergarten (39 pages).

  Pray for someone.
Make a list of people you know with spiritual or physical needs and pray for them. (See ideas for teaching your child to pray.)

  Do one or all of your chores.
"Work before play, and you'll be happy all day!" (See "How To Make Family Chore Lists" and "Kids Won't Do Chores? Try Simple Appreciation.")

  Do a chore for someone else.
Try it. You'll find it's fun!

  Ask Mom how you can help her.
And then catch her when she faints!

  Learn to cook something healthy.
See suggestions on The Teaching Home's Penterest Board, "Healthy Recipes for Kids."

  Help declutter your belongings.
Find 5-10 things in your room to recycle or give away and put them in a bag for your Mom to check.

  Read a book.
Download free forms: Reading Logs; Easy Book Report; A Retelling Book Report; Book Report; 20 Creative Ways to Share Books; and more.

  Do a page of math or language.
Download free worksheets for: Math; Language Arts; or browse by grade level or subject.

  Learn some spelling words.
See a list of the 1,000 Most Common Words in the English Language ranked in frequency order. The first 100 make up about half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about 65 percent of all written material. Start at the beginning and check off words as they are learned.

  Learn some vocabulary words.
See the Top 1000 word list.

  Write something.
Write a sentence, a paragraph, or a journal entry. Write a thank you note or letter to Dad or grandparents.

  Play with a younger sibling.

  Get active – outside or inside.
Jump rope, Hula Hoop, play outdoor games (find dozens of games), or go on a family walk together.

  Practice your music lesson.

  Do some art or crafts.
See 1550 crafts ideas from Crayola using crayons, chalk, paper, scissors, glue, colored pencils, water or acrylic paint, finger paint, sidewalk chalk, clay, play dough, markers, etc.

Big Evangelism Day Coming

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Food for Grills – and Boys

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Peace with God

1.  God loves you.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

2.  Man is separated from God by sin.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23)  For the wages of sin is death. (Rom. 6:23)

3.  The death of Jesus Christ in our place is God's only provision for man's sin.

He (Jesus Christ) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

4.  We must personally receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Eph. 2:8, 9)

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 In This Issue 
The Use of Our Summer Time
By Sue Welch & Cindy Short
     1.  Time for God
     2.  Time for Work
     3.  Time for Learning
     4.  Time for Planning
     5.  Time for Leisure
     6.  Time with Others
     7.  Time for Sleep


   •  Our Gift & Stewardship of Time
   •  Anti-Boredom Checklist
      (Includes Freebies & Free Ebooks)


In this issue we consider the use of our time (see "Our Gift & Stewardship of Time" in sidebar at left).  We trust that these ideas will provide you:

1.  Options for the use of your time during the summer.

2.  Alternatives to the time spent by family members on the Internet.

May the Lord richly bless your family for His glory as you enjoy this summer together!

The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian

The Teaching Home is a homeschool, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.

Spiritual Activities

1.  Time for God

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your might.

These words, which I am commanding you today,
shall be on your heart.

You shall teach them diligently to your sons
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house
and when you walk by the way and when you lie down
and when you rise up."
 Deuteronomy 6: 5-7

Our time with God and teaching His Word to our children is the most important use of our time each day and should have the highest priority in our schedules.

Spiritual activities include:

 •  Daily personal and family devotional time (prayer, systematic Bible reading (see schedule), discussion, and study).

 •  Talking about the Lord and spiritual things with your children throughout the day.

 •  Helping your children memorize God's Word so that it will be available to influence them throughout their lives.

 •  Making personal application of Scripture to your children's lives (e.g., resources from Doorposts).

 •  Leading your children to Christ in salvation when they are ready.

 •  Training your children in Christian living and character development through example, teaching, and discipline throughout each day – this takes time and should not be looked at as an interruption of your daily schedule.

 •  Attending church services and fellowship with other Christians.

 Options for Summer Time 

 1.  Don't let a busy summer schedule rob your family's time together with the Lord; this time will bear fruit in your children for life!

 2.  This is a good time to establish or brush up on child discipline (see Newsletter #45 on "How To Establish Child Training, Discipline, and Family Responsibilities").

 3.  Take time to identify and remove ungodly influences from your home.


Sharing the Good News of the Gospel

"And He said to them,
'Go into all the world and preach the gospel
to every creature.'"
  Mark 16:15

Fulfilling the Great Commission should be one of our goals in training our children to love and follow the Lord.  Sharing the good news of salvation is both a command and a privilege.

 •  Discuss ways your family can become involved in personal evangelism.

 •  Examine different careers, including Christian service, and encourage your children to consider how the Lord would have them serve Him.

 •  Witness to neighbors, friends, and relatives.

 •  Take tracts with you to give to those you come in contact with.

 •  Contribute to missions and encourage your missionaries.

 Options for Summer Time 

Summer opportunities for evangelism include:

 1.  Street, or door-to-door, witnessing or canvassing for VBS

 2.  VBS or backyard Bible clubs (see information from Child Evangelism Fellowship)

 3.  Summer camps or evangelism at a fair (see information from Amazing Grace Mission)

Constructive Use of Time

2.  Time for Work

Work has been an important use of man's time from the beginning in the Garden of Eden.  Work was given to man, not as a punishment, before the fall.  One consequence of the fall was that work would be harder to do.

One of the best things we can teach our children is that work is not a punishment, and although it may be hard at times, it can also be fulfilling and rewarding.

"If anyone is not willing to work,
then he is not to eat, either."
  2 Thessalonians 3:10

Whatever you do, do your work heartily,
as for the Lord rather than for men.
  Colossians 3:23

Also teach your children that God commands us to work – and that we are to work like we are working for Him.

Resource.  Created For Work: Practical Insights for Young Men and Lessons in Responsibility for Boys, Level 1 & Level 2 from Birch Court Books.

Our work is not to be only for our own profit, but to enable us to help others.

"He must labor, performing with his own hands what is good,
so that he will have something to share
with one who has need."
  Ephesians 4:28

Work can be:

 •  Done in or out of our home

 •  Full or part time

 •  For an employer for wages or salary, self-employed, or apprenticeship

 •  Multiple jobs (e.g., main employment plus part-time self-employed entrepreneurial)

 •  Paid or unpaid (volunteer/service to others)

Time for Others

Service to Others

"So then, while we have opportunity,
let us do good to all people,
and especially to those who are of the household
of the faith."
  Galatians 6:10

Service to others is an important part of our spiritual lives in obedience to God.  Our service:

 •  Helps provide for the needs of others.

 •  Gets our attention off of ourselves and onto others.

 •  Can make us thankful for God's blessings to us.

 •  Offers an opportunity to learn new skills and explore career possibilities.

Some opportunities to serve include your church, support group, rescue mission, retirement home, meals on wheels, crisis pregnancy center, animal shelter, etc.

Working together as a family ensures that your children are safe and that the family shares a unifying goal.

 Options for Summer Time 

 1.  You may have more time this summer to serve others (neighbors or church members who are elderly, busy, or physically challenged), as in visiting the sick, doing yard work, or cooking a meal.

 2.  The chores each of your family members do for your own family is a service to others.

Daily Essentials

Home and Family Care

Much of our time is not open to discretionary use.  We demonstrate our love and care for our family each day as we supply their basic needs:

 •  A healthy diet
 •  Clean clothes
 •  Clean dishes
 •  Orderly and clean home
 •  Physical care and grooming of children

 •  Nurturing of children and husband (spending time together; giving attention and listening to; reading, walking, and talking together)

Other household duties include:

 •  Lawn care
 •  Financial management
 •  Household management (planning and scheduling)

As long as we have to keep up on these chores, we might as well find the fastest, easiest way to do it and be cheerful as we go!

Routines and habits furnish a foundation of peace for a home and family, and thus should not be resented or looked on as drudgery (see Newsletters #89 and #90 on habits).

As mothers our joy can be in meeting the daily needs of our family.  We can encourage our family to experience the same joy by pitching in and sharing the work.

 Options for Summer Time 

Summer can give you time to do those things that don't fit into your regular school schedule, such as:

 1.  De-cluttering and thoroughly cleaning your home

 2.  Establishing and training your children to do new chores for the coming year (see Newsletter #45 which includes "7 Ways To Teach Responsibility through Chores")

 3.  Updating your family's wardrobe

 4.  Reorganizing the use of space in your home

 5.  Cleaning out your library and books

 6.  Showing love to each family member every day in tangible ways such as a hug or words of thanks or affirmation

 7.  Planing special extended time alone with your whole family together; a Mom/girls and Dad/boys activity; and with each individual member

Educational Activities

3.  Time for Learning

As home educators, we realize that learning can, and does, take place at any time and any place.

 •  Formally (in class), or informally (teachable moments / discussions)

 •  By an instructor (Mom, Dad, or others), or self taught through research

 •  In a class, or out in the world around us

 •  Academic, or life skills

 •  The basics, or electives

 •  For credit, or just for the joy of learning

 •  Through an institution (in classes or distance learning), or on your own

 Options for Summer Time 

1.  Daily or Weekly Review

Just 5-10 minutes a day of review and practice of the basic skills of reading, writing, and math will prevent your children from forgetting all they know over the summer and needing extra time in the fall to catch up to where they left off in the spring.

Educational games can make this review more interesting.

2.  Learning with a Change of Pace
Use different methods of learning
Do a unit study with all your children together
Read more than usual
Follow one's own interests
Do hands-on activities
Learn life skills

3.  Credit for "Summer School"

You might assign school credit for some of the fun, practical activities and skills your children do and learn during the summer.

4.  A Head Start on Next Year

You can also get a head start on next year's lessons by doing one class with all your children for six weeks during the summer – perhaps a science class with experiments and field trips.

Besides a good use of your time, this can provide your children with an interesting activity and give you more time during your school year for breaks or a more leisurely schedule.


4.  Time for Planning

Planning and scheduling does not mean that you will have to live according to an ultra-strict regimen.  This false fear can keep us from fulfilling God's purpose for our lives.

It does mean that we should consider and decide how we use our time – be master of it, rather than just let come what may and be subject to circumstances around us.

You need to make time to plan:

 •  A day or large block of time once a year for major, over all planning

 •  Several sessions during the summer for next school year's plans

 •  Weekly and daily plans

Planning and scheduling (making a time budget) helps you make good use of your time, do what you really want to do, and makes your life go more smoothly.

Steps included are explained further in Newsletter #376 on "Your Family Mission Statement" and "Setting Goals."  Also read online articles with practical suggestions: Time Management Skills.

 •  Purpose or mission statement

 •  Goals.  Personal Goal Setting. Find Direction; Live Your Life Your Way.

 •  Master to-do list.  To-Do Lists: The Key to Efficiency. Tackling the right tasks first – Prioritized To Do Lists.

 •  Master calendar

 •  Scheduling.   Planning to make the best use of your time – Effective Scheduling.

 Options for Summer Time 

 •  This is a great time to re-evaluate (see survey in Newsletter #370) and plan for next school year.

 •  Determine life goals and next year's goals.

 •  Set up your master to-do list and calendar.

 •  Schedule classes and activities that will help meet your goals.

 •  Choose and purchase curriculum.

 •  Plan class arrangements.


5.  Time for Leisure

Relaxation and downtime are very important elements in our lives and time should be included in our schedule for:

 •  Relaxing, sitting, and visiting

 •  Playing

 •  Following individual interests or hobbies

 •  Doing something just for enjoyment

 •  Socializing (visiting with friends, attending or hosting social events)

 •  Physical activities (outdoor games, sports, walking, hiking, or exercising)

 •  Using a computer for leisure

 •  Reading for personal interest

Taking a break is important each day and each week throughout the year.

Change of Pace

A variety in our schedule, or a change of pace, differs from taking a break, in that something done for a change can still be productive and yet provide refreshment just because it is different.

Making the Summer Break Last All Year

You can divide up your summer break and spread it throughout the year by following some adaptation of one of these year-round school schedules.

 •  A four-day school week with three days off.

 •  Three to six weeks of school with one week off; repeated in cycles.

 •  Eight or ten weeks of school; two weeks off; repeated in cycles.

Vacation days can be spaced out evenly, reserved for holidays or family vacations, or taken all at once in the summer or whatever season is preferred.

 Options for Summer Time 

Summer affords more time for greater and more extended changes of pace.

There are so many things that can be done in summer better than at any other time of year, that we need to take advantage of them.

 •  Enjoy being out of doors
 •  Picnics, hikes, and drives
 •  Gardens and yards
 •  Exploring and learning about nature
 •  Day trips and field trips (see Newsletter #369).

Social Interaction

6.  Time with Others

1.  Your Family

Time spent working, playing, learning, and worshiping together with your family brings you closer together and increases the opportunity for influence upon your children.

2.  Like-minded Families

Fellowship with like-minded, spiritual Christians for needed support and encouragement for the whole family.

3.  Teaching Social Skills

Teach your children social skills that include understanding others, communication, cooperation, managing conflict, leadership, and lovingly meeting the needs of others.

 Options for Summer Time 

 •  Summer allows more time to spend with others, especially outdoors.

Note:  Always be sure to keep your young children within your sight and hearing when they play with other children.  Do not hesitate to schedule and limit playtimes and enforce your family's rules of conduct.

 •  Go over the rules of good manners (see Newsletter #224) and practice with a tea party, formal family dinner, or dinner with invited guests.

Approximately 1/3 of Our Time

7.  Enough Time for Sleep

Adequate rest is essential for good health. It also helps your children to learn and behave better.

Although individuals vary in their need of sleep, the recommended amount of sleep for various age groups is as follows:

     Toddlers (1-3 years): 12-14 hours
     Preschoolers (3-5 years): 11-13 hours
     School-age children (5-12): 10-11 hours
     Adolescents: 9.5 hours
     Adults: 7-9 hours

Read "How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?" by the National Sleep Foundation.

 Options for Summer Time 

 •  Sleep is something that should remain constant throughout the year.

 •  Although your bed time and get-up time may vary, it is best and easiest to keep it nearly the same.

Closing Thoughts

As you consider the use of your time:

 •  Pray and ask for God's promised wisdom to guide you.

 •  Consult your husband (or wife) for his (or her) input and support.

 •  Teach your children how the use of their time can help others and please the Lord, and teach them Bible verses such as:

"Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might."
Ecclesiastes 9:10

Our father had us say this verse out loud each time we sat down to practice the piano.  His teachings are a wonderful memory and heritage, as your instructions to your children will be also.