Friday, August 30, 2013

Summer Merit Badges

I have a deep failing as a work-at-home Mom: it really irks me when I am working and others around me are playing.  Add to this the fact that my workload usually intensifies during the summer, and we’ve got major irkiness in the Common Household.  Starting about 10 years ago, I began making a ‘summer learning chart’ as an incentive for my kids to do something constructive, or at least stay the $&#@ out of my office.

At the start of this summer, I was at my wits’ end at the thought of Youngest Daughter spending the whole summer wasting her wits on computer games.  Here is the solution which YD and I developed together:  Summer Merit Badges!  (See below for badge requirements.)

Notice how the Cooking Merit Badge is a thinly veiled attempt to get the children to help with dinner preparation.  (I am not posting the "Summer Chore List" which was a blatant attempt to get the children to clean the house.  It was a complete failure.)

The front of our spiffy merit badge bookmarks

Once our college kids moved out, I spent about 20 minutes putting my atrocious art skills to use to make Merit Badge bookmarks.  Youngest Daughter and I had a 30 second ceremony to award each other our merit badges.  YD was awarded badges for Cooking, Music Appreciation, Writing, and Reading.  I was awarded the badge for Reading.

The congratulatory back of the bookmarks

How do you manage to keep your wits during the summer school break?  Or is that not an issue for you?

Summer Merit Badge Requirements

Science Merit Badge
1.  Write a valid hypothesis approved by Dad.  Does not have to be an experiment that could be done at home.
2. Design an experiment.
3. Perform the experiment.
4.  Write a conclusion, approved by Dad.

Cooking Merit Badge
1. Cook one tasty, approved-by-Mom dish.
2. Make a variation on an existing recipe.
3.  Make two cooking experiments.
4.  Learn a new cooking skill.

Music Composition Merit Badge
1. Compose a song based on the chord progression Cmin – A flat maj – E flat maj – B flat maj.
2. Arrange an existing song.
3.  Compose a song using a scale.
4.  Compose lyrics to go with any song.

Music Appreciation Merit Badge
1. Listen to and identify three different types of music.
2. Identify 5 facts about a composer.
3.  Put on a concert.

Playing Outside Merit Badge
1. Take a nature hike.
2. Ride either bike or scooter for 5 hours (not all at once!)
3.  Play Tag, Capture the Flag, or other physical game, outside with your family.
4.  Go swimming.

Acting Merit Badge
1. Do the “one-line Shakespeare” exercise with a Shakespeare play.  (Take a few lines from each scene of the actual play, and use them to reduce the play to its crucial elements.)
2. Play a family charade game.
3. Perform a play or skit with entire family (except for Dad)
4. Perform improvisation.

Writing Merit Badge
1. Do writing challenges with at least one other person.
2. Write a skit or play.
3. Write a short story.

Fishing Merit Badge
1.  Go fishing with Dad.
2.  Catch a fish and release it.
3. Put on your own worm.
4. Play ‘Go Fish’.

Reading Merit Badge
1. Read 5 fiction books.
2. Read 1 non-fiction book.
3. Read one classic that you haven’t read before. (no double-counting this book in part of the other requirements)
4. Read one play.


The Crislers said...

THIS IS A FANTASTIC IDEA. Do you mind if I share it on my blog at some point in the hopefully near future, but no promises because I'm often a terrible blogger? I'll give credit where credit's due!

Sarah said...

I love this. LOVE it. Our summers are only two months long, but they're still punctuated with massive quantities of boredom. Totally stealing this.

Angie said...

You are such a fun creative mom!!

Common Household Mom said...

Please do steal this. I wouldn't want any other mom to suffer Summer Irkiness!

Cassi Renee said...

This is a great idea!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I used to homeschool my kids over the summer -- not too much, just an hour or two a day to keep their brains from atrophying. I've totally failed my 4th child... his only merit badges are from Boy Scouts.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Okay, I just pinned this!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

YOu need to revamp the scouting programs. Seriously.

Jay said...

Wow you did put a lot of work into this, it's a fabulous idea. I keep sane in the summer holidays by going to work one day a week for some adult conversation!