Summer is in full swing and for the first time ever we are bringing our homeschooling to nearly a full halt. In the past we have continued to do math, reading and writing near daily for the entire summer but this year we are all ready for a break. The boys have worked very hard the last several months, we have a thousand family activities going on and I am in the midst of stepping down from my job at the church – life is busy and chaotic in the best possible way. While a break is much needed, the trained educator in me knows that to stop all the intentionally focused learning for the summer could spell disaster when we start back up. Summer slide isn’t some imaginary thing that only happens to public school kids. It is real and it is ugly. Summer slide while annoying to the teacher is frustrating and demoralizing to the child. How do we intend to stop the slide? We’ll be doing Today’s Challenge (see below).

Each morning our kiddos wake up to the chart above filled in and ready for them. There is always a number above the word chores and the two blank boxes have some sort of activity written in. Once they have dressed and eaten breakfast, they knock out their challenge. Each time they complete a task, they use a dry erase marker to cross out their initial(s) at the bottom of that box. Our goal is to always be finished by noon.

So what kinds of things go in the empty boxes? I’m so glad you asked.

  • Activity Book Pages (this year we are using Brain Quest books)
  • Timed Math Facts Practice (we really like the math facts app for Apple)
  • Writing a Poem or Song
  • Writing a Story or Personal Narrative
  • Create Something
  • Clean Out Your Closet / Drawer / Under Your Bed
  • Go for a Bike Ride
  • Help Mom
  • Cook a Delicious Treat
  • Play with Play-Doh / Kinetic Sand / Water Beads
  • Work with a Brother to Accomplish a Task
  • Find a Game and Play It
  • Harvest Vegetables from the Garden
  • Make Up a New Game
  • Research the Answer to a Question You Have
  • Write a Letter and Send It
  • Spend Time Playing Music (Guitar, Piano, Drums, etc.)
  • Make a Picnic so We Can Go to the Park
  • Go to the Zoo
  • Play at the Park
  • Do Jumping Jacks while Skip Counting to 100

As you can see the options are endless. I try to make sure that I’m mixing up the tasks each day and not spending too much time focusing on one type of skill [math, writing, home economics, sensory, research, music, art, etc.]. In general, the boys love the challenge and we plan to have a reward for every 15 days we finish before noon and then a big surprise if we can finish by noon 50 times this summer.

Want a copy of the Today’s Challenge board to laminate or slide into a page protector? Email me at or dm me on Facebook or Instagram [@smartsimplehomeschool] and I’ll send you a copy with custom initials at the bottom of each box for free.