oh, what do you do in the summertime?

Oh, what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is green?
Do you fish in a stream, or lazily dream on the banks as the clouds go by?
Is that what you do? So do I!

Oh, what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is green?
Do you swim in a pool, to keep yourself cool, or swing in a tree up high?
Is that what you do? So do I!

Oh, what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is green?
Do you march in parades, or drink lemonades, or count all the stars in the sky?
Is that what you do? So do I!

I just love summertime.  It’s like a world full of possibilities is open to you.  People are in such great moods, it’s okay, and even expected, that you sleep in, and you get to do things that you don’t make time for during the school year.  Last year, we went on the Trip of a Lifetime, traveling by car from Texas to South Dakota and back again.  We slept in a covered wagon on the same land that Laura Ingalls lived on, climbed giant tree houses at the Arbor Day Tree Farm, visited the memorial that Don’s relative sculpted at Winter Quarters, dug for fossils at the Mammoth Site, saw Mount Rushmore, and did much more.  The whole experience was life-changing and won’t be forgotten.

This summer, we sticking closer to home.   Don isn’t able to take as much time off work and I have so much on my plate, planning for the new school year.  We’ll be going to Gramma Camp at Sea World at one point and visiting the cottage rental property a few times.  But that’s it!  Which means that we’ll have to entertain ourselves with less “life-changing” adventures and more plain ole good family fun.

As we do each summer,  we’ll be focusing on a few unit studies.  Usually we do one a week, but with all of the planning I’m doing for the school year, I think it’s best to scale down this year.   Also, our topics were chosen during Spring Break, before we knew that we were going to homeschool everyone this fall.  Consequently, some topics overlap our lesson plans for the school year and have had to be cut out or toned down. We have swim lessons and a field trip or park playdate planned for each morning before it becomes unbearably hot, followed by occasional errands, lunch, quiet time (nap for the youngest and seatwork for the older ones), and then a short “lesson.” 

It’s been a blast so far – really low key, which is a departure from my usual theatrics – and we can’t wait for the rest of the summer to unfold.  In no particular order (because you know I don’t like people knowing where we are all of the time!), here are our plans for Summer 2010:

Fire Fighters

  • Field trip to the local fire station (actually it was a birthday party event we were all invited to)
  • made a fire station lapbook
  • read many books on the subject
  • watched  a video on safety vehicles
  • watched a video on fire safety
  • took dinner to the new fire station down the road


  • collected tadpoles and made a frog habitat out of mom’s trifle dish
  • read many frog books
  • watched “Life: Amphibians and Reptiles”
  • made a frog lapbook


  • read the plays from Lamb’s Shakespeare for Children
  • watch a Shakespeare play
  • put on our own play

 Ocean Animals  

  • read books on ocean animals
  • make an ocean animal lapbook
  • go to Sea World (Gramma Camp 2010)
  • do crafts, games, activities, and more with their cousins (Gramma Camp 2010)


  • study the literature and drawings of Beatrix Potter
  • visit the Beatrix Potter “exhibit” at the arboretum
  • study the drawings and life of John James Audobon
  • view related educational films
  • do a photography unit on wildlife
  • produce art based on wildlife photography

Around the World

  •  “tour” countries based on some AWESOME stuff my sister gave us from a swap she was in with people from around the world
  • food, games, cultural activities, and books

 Getting Fit!

  •  the older two children will attend camp at local fitness center
  • read books about fitness
  • do a tiny bit of research on the human body (this is one of our science studies this year and I just want to tickle their fancy without giving too much away)

 Vacation Bible School

  • hook up with friend from church for this unit
  • older two girls will present the lesson objective each day with a visual (meet the preceding week to plan and create these props)
  • crafts, food, games, and more

That’s it!  Of course, we always have something impromptu come steal our attention and that’s the beauty of being at home.  We can switch things around without any drama. 

I know this is a little “scheduled” for some people, but it really isn’t.  I asked the kids about things they were interested in doing, learning, or seeing.  Then I found a field trip to go along with it and added in a focus for our library trip each week.  An easy going unit study was born! 

 Words and music from Oh, What Do You Do in the Summertime: Dorothy S. Andersen, b. 1927
© 1964 by Dorothy S. Andersen. This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.


About sarah at sutton academy

I teach and co-administrate at Sutton Academy with my husband. We love the students as if they were our own, because they are.
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