sounding it out

In the summer, I put together a little list of daily “school” work that each boy has to complete before any sort of video games or TV watching can ensue.

Cruel and unusual punishment, I know.

It helps them spread their summer reading assignments throughout the summer so we aren’t scrambling mid-August.

I supplement the reading list with workbooks that they can do on their own.   Last thing I need at 6:30 am is an over-exuberant learner asking me questions in my sleep so he can turn on his DS by 7.

This year I purchased a summer curriculum book for each boy that has daily assignments that cover math, reading, etc.   It is pretty simple stuff which is all review for them so they can do it independently.

Today I went back and checked the work from earlier this week.   This is what I found on Day 2 of Reid(6)’s workbook:

I am thinking it might be a long and silly summer…


Several of you asked about what I had chosen for a summer curriculum (y’all know better than to come to June Cleaver Nirvana for ACTUAL advice…it is more like don’t do what I did! around here).

Here is what I am using:

For Ryan going into 4th grade

  1. Summer Bridge Activities (bridging grades 4 to 5)   from Rainbow Bridge Publishing – each day has two pages of activities that cover all subjects.   I looked through several levels because I wanted it to be fairly easy, but not too easy.   This level seemed to correlate with what Ryan was doing last year in school.
  2. Perplexors (Level A) from MindWare products – Each page is a separate mind bending puzzle with a simple form to help them figure it out.
  3. Reading Comprehension (grade 4) from Flash Skills – There is a one page story with a picture or two followed by some sort of puzzle or questions that pertain to the story.   I like it because it looks fun, yet Ryan really needs to read the story to be able to answer the questions.
  4. Summer reading list (I will be listing all of these in a later post) – currently he is reading The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden.

For Reid going into 2nd grade:

  1. Summer Bridge Activities (bridging grades 1 to 2) from Rainbow Bridge Publishing – it is the same as Ryan’s book.   So far Reid has been able to accomplish most pages without help.
  2. Addition Adventures from MindWare products – On each page there is a series of addition math problems that once solved help you draw something on the grid at the top of the page.   I like it because it combines math with graphing, map skills and a little fun.   Reid has needed a little help on the first few, but I suspect the more he does the less help he will need.
  3. DRAW Medieval Fantasies, A Step by Step Guide by Damon J. Reinagle – I chose this because Reid has a real interest in art and dragons.   He loves this book and started on it before school ended.   Each picture has simple directions that can be completed over and over.       It is so fun that I have drawn a few things from it with him.
  4. Summer reading list (I will be listing all of these in a later post).

For Rhett who is 4 and not going anywhere next year…he is attending Mommy’s school again next year:

  1. Summer Bridge Activities (bridging grades PK to K) from Rainbow Bridge Publishing – it is the same series as his brothers are using.   Obviously, he needs someone to read the directions to him.   So far it seems pretty much the same as any basic activity book for this level, but it is like his brothers’ books which makes him super cool.
  2. Number Puzzles and Games (PreK-K) from Flash Kids – Rhett LOVES this book.   It seems to me like most the other workbooks we have bought for him, but he has asked several times specifically for this one.   We have almost completed it despite my fancy one page a day schedule.
  3. Mazes (various levels and books) from Kumon – I LOVE these books.   All my boys have used them.   If you have a 2-3 year old, start with My First Book of Tracing and then progress to My First Book of Mazes.   These are the only workbooks that the boys would grab and do independently at a young age.   It is amazing the complexity of mazes that they easily work into through the Kumon process.   I have bought all 7 of the books multiple times for each kid because they are THAT GOOD.   I also like the Cutting, Pasting and Craft series from Kumon.
  4. The Now I’m Reading Series for Beginning Readers by Nora Gaydos – we have tried Hooked on Phonics, Saxon Phonics and the Bob Books, but this series by Nora Gaydos is my absolute favorite for non to slightly reading kids.   Rhett LOVES them.   He is in the pre-reader stage.   I read the book once and he can “read” it back to me.   It is the perfect balance of repetition with progression.   I started him with the alphabet series, but really like the next stage of books in the pre-reader level like Look Around.


  1. What a fortuitous post! My husband and I have been talking about doing exactly the same for our kids. Can you recommend a brand of workbook/curriculum book for summer? (I’d need a preschool and a kindergarten/first grade range.) I’d so appreciate knowing which ones you like.

  2. Ha! Love it!

    Okay…I, too, must know what brand of workbooks you are using. I am gathering our summer supplies up this weekend to have everything ready to go on Tuesday.

  3. I’m getting our summer worklist together as well. The boys have two more weeks of school. I’m having a hard time finding a workbook for a rising second grader I have the Bridge Activities one for a rising first grader. Which did you choose?

  4. mama-face says:

    Aw crap. I was planning on letting the 9 year old do his own thing all summer. Now I feel guilty. I can deal with that. 🙂

    “and z”-cute as can be! 🙂

  5. Hey he got it all right, he just added his own flair. Can’t get on him for being unique.

  6. OMG! I am laughing! We do the same thing at our house. I have a carton of books and they each have a workbook to complete.

    As I always say… Great minds think alike… oh, and they dress alike too.

    Now off to order my pajama jeans!

  7. Love it! How cute! I know I should probably do that with my kids too, but no matter what my intention is I’m pretty sure it’s not gonna happen.

  8. Yandz, huh? Very clever…very clever indeed.

  9. Great ideas! My kids are both non-school age (the oldest will be in kindergarten in the fall) but a little school work over the summer never hurt a boy! Thanks for the suggestions!

  10. We’re going through the same thing re: TV, computer and Wii. I love your idea and will definitely be implementing it for my older son! I’ve also been trying to direct him to educational sites during his 20 daily minutes of computer time (some days this is more effective than others). He really likes Qwizzy’s World, which has some premade basic skills quizzes that he loves to take over and over to improve his score. I’d love to know of any other good early elementary sites…he’ll be heading to kindergarten this fall.

  11. I’m glad to see I’m not the only parent who doesn’t let their kids slide during the summer – I posted about this last summer and I thought I was the only one who made their children do homework during the summer. I am so doing it again this summer and I told my brother to as well and he thought I was nuts!

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