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Summer "Homework"

July 19, 2019
By Dave Park

 I have heard it many times over the years.  Sometimes in my own house, when our children were younger. Other times in friends or families’ homes. I can even remember times where I’m sure I asked the same question to my mom during those   long hazy hot days of summer vacation.  “What are we going to do today?”  

 A simple enough question to be sure, but probably one that, after the first couple of   weeks of summer vacation, starts to grate on your nerves a little.  I mean, did you really agree to be the summer fun coordinator for every day? Does everyday have to be something more, or bigger, or better than the last day’s activities?  When do you get a break? The unfortunate part is that, over time, if we are the ones always making the decision about what we are going to do each day, then very easily we become the   social director, excursion planner or concierge for our children’s summer. Feeling like   this probably leads to thoughts of, “When do they start school again?” :) (I can see and hear that Staples commercial about it “being the most wonderful time of the year!”)

One suggestion to combat this planning fatigue and expectation heaped upon only your shoulders, is to pass on a little bit of the work.  Maybe call it “Summer Homework”. This “Homework” allows your children the opportunity to grow in their ability to take ownership and gain some learning experience at the same time.  Here is the suggestion:

Each week allow your child to plan a day’s activities.  If you have multiple children, give each of them one day of one week and spread it out over the summer.  You can give them parameters such as cost, timing, and distance, but ultimately they get to plan the day.  They need to work through all the details such as meals, costs, and what needs to be taken with you, but they plan it all out.  If your children are younger, maybe you can help them make a choice between two options that you pre-pick, leaving as many details as possible up to them, and allow them the ability to think through why one option is better than the other.  The learning comes from seeing them consider options and talking through pros and cons with you or their siblings. Give them a deadline for when the decision needs to be made by and their reasoning behind the final decision. Added learning can come from spending time afterwards discussing what they thought and evaluating their decisions.  Would they have done something different?

Taking ownership and working through choices are just some of the learning skills we focus on here at PCS and our Profound Learning approach.  Continuing to do this at home, during the summer, just enhances their ability to grow in these areas.

For an even more in-depth look at the process of decision making, take a look at this summer’s blog that our friend Doreen Grey, from Master’s Academy and the Profound Learning team in Calgary, AB, wrote about using a specific format to help make the decisions.

Happy planning!  Love to hear about any trips your kids plan using this approach.  If you are on Facebook, maybe share a couple of pictures on our Facebook page ( and use the hashtag #PCSSummer.  We will draw a prize at the end of summer for any families that share their stories.  God bless!