My husband and I developed a lesson on these components last summer to challenge our children to spend their summer deliberately growing. It was exciting to see how our children rose to the challenge presented by the “Summer Growth Chart!” They liked the opportunity to make most of their own choices for how they would spend their time. Through the summer weeks, they got better at identifying creative ways to engage their minds, be productive, and interact with others in meaningful ways. Our family summer chore list got completed as the kids stepped through various projects around the house! And they grew financially, not only because they earned money, but because they learned valuable lessons about tracking their income and expenses, saving, and donating to worthy causes.
We will soon be implementing the “Summer Growth Chart” for a second summer. Yet the lessons learned last summer are still evident! Our son who was mowing the neighbor’s lawn has already mowed once this season. Our daughter has been writing notes to her cousin and grandparents without prompting. And video games are only requested very infrequently—our kids are too busy growing personally and interpersonally to default to those!
When I spoke for the Autism Society of Minnesota’s conference last month, several attendees requested the “Summer Growth Chart” after hearing how I implemented that at home. I now have that document available for purchase as a pdf download. I hope that it will help parents structure learning and growth opportunities at home, to allow yourselves and your children to grow personally and interpersonally!