May 14, 2011

The final countdown...

The end of the school year and a wonderful summer are in sight around here; not just in our mind’s eye, but in the hallway next to our kids’ bedrooms.  This past week I asked our three younger students to help me make a countdown chart.
I assigned our eight-year-old Daniel with the task of drawing a picture of the three of them doing their schoolwork.  Not the artsy sort, but definitely a comedian, he came up with a scene at our kitchen table in which his twin Zach is thinking about food, his ambitious little six-year-old sister Audra is trying divide 500 by 57, and he is thinking about a video game.  He even included his teenage brother Scott attempting to find the square root of a twelve-digit number.  (Scott was not involved in our chart-making venture.  Though equally eager for summer, he doesn’t need such things to keep his eyes on the prize.)  I wanted a drawing that showed the reality of how we’re feeling about school as the promise of summer lies ahead, and Daniel didn’t disappoint:
Zach was in charge of drawing figures of each of the three of them.  We cut out the little Wilburs and taped them to bamboo skewers I had lying in the back of a kitchen drawer.  His little figures were so personalized and adorable that they will not get tossed after our countdown is complete.  I see some puppet shows in our future starring miniature Zach, Daniel, and Audra...
Audra had the cheerful assignment of drawing a picture of the three of them enjoying their summer vacation.  Knowing she loves to draw outdoor scenes, I thought this would be the right job for her, and she proved that to be true:
My task in our countdown chart was to use a desktop publishing program to create a banner on which the number of days we had left counted down to one.  I included a backdrop of checkmarks in boxes to help add to the sense of accomplishment and progress.  I set the numbers up high on the page, and after printing and taping the pages together, I folded the bottom of the banner up and taped between each number to create pockets for our little puppets.  We taped Daniel’s woeful school scene to the wall at one end of the hall, followed by the numerical countdown, and finished off with a pretty summer day through the eyes of our little girl.  In went the puppets to begin their countdown to summer.
Every day after they’ve completed all their schoolwork, Zach, Daniel, and Audra move their paper counterparts one step closer to the end of the school year.  It motivates them to do their work each day, and it reminds us all that the season of bug-catching, bike-riding, swimming, sidewalk chalk, squirt gun battles, capture the flag, freeze-pops, and lazy-hazy days is just around the corner.  Or down the hallway.


  1. I'm looking forward to summer too.

  2. What a creative family. You do so well. Caitlyn would love to be in your school and indead is also looking forward and NEEDING her summer break.