Surviving Summer Break

Two weeks into summer break and I am about to literally ship my girls off to camp. I am seriously wondering how on Earth anyone can home school their kids! No offense if you do home school…but I think the six hours a day my kids are at school is very healthy for all of us in this family! I am totally bewildered; during the school months, I have to practically drag them out of bed in the morning. The day after school lets out; they wake up at the crack of dawn. During the school months, they are on task getting everything done on time. There is a natural flow of making beds, brushing teeth, getting dressed, homework, showers, and chores. School is out for summer, and they become brain dead…relishing sitting in front of the TV for hours on end.

That’s it! TV is the one difference in our home right now! During the school year, we never watch TV in the morning, and we seldom watch it in the evening…there is just no time. No wonder my kids race to get up before the other ones crack their eyelids…they want to get to that TV first so they can monopolize the remote control! There are several behaviors that run parallel to them starting their day watching TV: They are tired, they are grumpy, they bicker more, they are lazy, they lack initiative, they are non-responsive, and they are unmotivated. WOW! Once I made the correlation, I knew I needed to reverse this quickly, or summer break would be a living nightmare for all of us! And I did…

Yes, I did.
And then something wonderful happened:

My kids began to sleep in later, but not too late. They were getting along better with each other. They were being helpful and cooperative. They were playing together, and doing it nicely. They were using their imagination and inventing games. They wanted to be outside. They were taking initiative to do their chores without being asked. They were reading more and fighting less. They were sleeping better and woke up well rested. They were making healthier food choices. They were speaking nicely to each other. They were doing their summer “school work” without complaining. They would ask, “How can I help?”

It was a total transformation!
It was magical!

I was really enjoying my kids! This transformation was the best thing I had done for our family in a long time. We got back on a mini schedule: Get up and get ready (teeth, bed, hair, dressed, breakfast), school hour once a day (Reading, writing, and studying), playing and creating (art and PE), free time (swimming, basketball, etc), snack time (cooking) and field trips (library, mall, out to eat, movies, etc).

Through this, I have learned some lessons also. Kids love boundaries and structure. When they woke up and plopped in front of the “Boob-Tube”, they became brain dead and thus acted like it. When I gave them structure and a schedule, they began to thrive in every sense of the word. We all need free time to lounge and mush, but too much of that and we get lethargic and cranky. We all need a purpose and goals to strive toward. I also learned that I was, in fact, running a pseudo home school! Here I was making a judgment on people who choose to home school, and I was now running one in my home successfully!

I guess that lesson is twofold:
Don’t judge others
you can do anything you set your mind to doing…
without losing your mind!

Take Action: This week and through the summer, let’s all try to ban or limit our TV time! Let’s have more of a structured routine so our kids can thrive. Let’s be aware when something is not working and have the courage and the energy to make a change for the benefit of everyone.

Because Together is Better,


  1. Great blog Deanna! Love this as a challenge!

  2. Deanna – I couldn’t agree more with your post. We just unsubscribed from our cable company and no tv for us. If we want to watch a movie, we’ll rent one as always. TV is garbage – desperate this and swap that. It’s just garbage that teaches us nothing good other than how to passively think about unhealthy things.

  3. I think banning or limiting tv is a great idea with kids. Growing up, my brother and I had a limit of three situational comedies we could watch each day for a total of one and half hours and we were never allowed to go over that. We became much more interested in playing outside:)

    • Daniele, that is a great rule, to give a time limit. Outside play is so much more healthy for kids…and adults! Thank you for sharing! -Deanna

  4. We didn’t have a TV until my children were in school & it was only to watch videos. Today neither owns a TV (they’re both in their 30s). They are active and read a lot of books.

    • Wow, Meli, that is interesting about your children. I love to read, and thankfully so do my kids. Being active is very important all around! Thank you for your comment! -Deanna

  5. Not only TV. your kids can be addicted on laptop.
    My youngest sister was.
    Almost everyday she sleeps at 3am just by online on her laptop!
    She never wanted to help mom in household activities.
    Nobody can order her to do anything else!
    She even doesn’t care about anything around her.

    • Alikekid, I agree, that TV falls into all types of electronics. It consumes kids and makes them seem brain dead. Thank you for your comment! -Deanna

  6. My kids are grown but I wish I had banned TV more often ( though did not have a TV at our lake cabin and that was a good time for family games etc. Our neighbours didn’t have a TV and spent so much time outdoors !!
    Like you I admired people with the patience to home school

  7. Totally agree with Robin…structure…structure a must!

  8. That’s great stuff… Kids REALLY do crave structure, and most of us adults do too, even though we dont realize it. When I dont have things strategically planned out and I just ‘look for stuff to do’ in a day… those are usually the days that I feel so down in the dumps and barely anything gets done. Great tips all the way around.

  9. ohhh , i love this!!! I am going to try this… Mira gets bored when she does not have anyone to play with- guess I need to get more creative!!!

    Thanks D- keep spreading the LOVE

  10. Veronica says:

    I wonder the same things!! I banned TV for about 6 months in my home not too long ago…except for an occasional movie rental. Because it’s the summer, they can now watch TV, but yes, they fight all day long for the remote. Can I ship my kids to you? Lol 🙂

  11. I don’t have TV service for a long time

  12. There are becoming more and more home schooler’s and to tell you the truth I can’t blame them.

  13. Thanks for sharing. None of my children had tv’s in their room. We didn’t want them to stay up all night and not be ready for school the next day. Thanks for sharing

  14. My daughter never had a TV in her room until she was almost 18. Unfortunately one of the first things we viewed together was 9-11.

    • Tina, our kids do not have computers or TV’s in their rooms either. All that is in a common location. Thank you for your words! -Deanna

  15. We limit tv time. With older kids, I do find it more difficult because they have completed what they need to get done and don’t need constant supervision.

    • Rachel, I agree that it is a bit harder with older kids, as I also have them. Remember all kids thrive on boundaries and structure. Thank you for you comment! -Deanna

  16. I agree about having structure for kids. My grandkids are much happier visiting me now that I put up a three-foot above ground pool and a swing set that they can use. Otherwise, they wanted to spend their time on the computer or watching TV.

  17. Diane Morrison says:


  18. I am having the same issue with my older kids. They think just because mom is home all day that I have plenty of time to take them to do things.

  19. I so agree with this….as I hear the TV on in the other room and can visualize my zombie daughter transfixed to the trash she is watching. At least during the school year we make her watch Super Why or some other educational program. I think I hear Littlest Pet Shop….her latest obsession. What a great reminder to turn that darn thing off!!

    • Awesome, Gigi! It seems easier to just let them veg in front of the TV, but the backlash is huge! Thank you for your comment! -Deanna

  20. As a child I don’t remember watching tv all the time. We spent more time outdoors playing with the neighborhood kids and going to the park. I think its great that you banned the tv for awhile..

    • Thank you Kelly. When we were kids all we did was play outside…we had to come home when the street lights came on! 🙂 -Deanna

  21. We are one day in, and they got up at the crack of dawn.. We limit their tv, computer, and such right out of the gate!

  22. Great post!

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