Operation Do It (O.D.I.)

Written on

June 12, 2022

Tomorrow starts the third week of the girls’ summer break from school. Over the years we have developed some structure for the girls’ free mornings so they wouldn’t spend all day every day glued to some screen or begin begging us for something to “do” at 10 am each day. I am not sure which of the three girls dubbed it O.D.I., but it has stuck.

My guy seems to think that this may be marketable. I am not so sure of that, but – if it were, I definitely don’t have the bandwidth to pull it off any time soon.

What exactly is O.D.I. you ask? Let me tell you – it is the Vinson family answer to having some structure and routine during the summer months the girls are out of school.

To create “buy-in” and a little excitement, I involve the girls in the planning and prep phases of initiating O.D.I. Together we made the list of things below, things each daughter will do each morning, Monday – Friday:

  • BBWD (Brush Teeth, Brush Hair, Wash Face, Get Dressed)
  • MB/SR (Make Bed, Straighten Room)
  • Read
  • Learn
  • Music
  • Chore
  • Devotional
  • Be Active
  • Be Creative/Kind

We discussed expectations for each of the above items. For some, like “Read,” “Learn,” and “Music,” we agreed on the minimal amount of time to be spent on each. (There was some definite negotiation that went on here!) Depending on the age of the girl, we adjusted the expectation to be fair and fit the individual. (A rising 8th grader has a greater reading stamina than a rising 3rd grader. )

We talked about what supplies were needed, raided various hiding places of needed materials and made a shopping list of what we still lacked. The list was minimal but everything we required was found at PopShelf, Dollar Tree or Walmart. Each girl used stickers to decorate her own “bucket” to keep her various books and supplies in.

Below, I will flesh out the agreed upon expectation for each item:

  • BBWD (Brush Teeth, Brush Hair, Wash Face, Get Dressed) – If I allowed my girls to live 24/7 in their PJs, they would. Getting dressed helps them start their day on the right foot, setting apart the weekdays from the weekends.
  • MB/SR (Make Bed, Straighten Room) – This is something that we don’t require our girls to do daily. Maybe we should. With spending SO much time at home in the summer, it would be really easy for the girls’ rooms to become and to stay a complete mess. So far, this has helped calm the beast. (I think it’s working!)
  • ReadMy oldest daughter is a ferocious reader. My younger two? Not so much. As an English teacher, I understand the NEED for the girls to keep reading. Neither of them would ever admit that this is a favorite part of O.D.I., but I have “caught” them both reading beyond the agreed upon time minimums.
  • Learn* – In another effort to avoid the “summer slide” the girls are required to do something educational each morning. Together we made a list of activities – cursive, writing journal, math review, typing, etc. We are using websites, old workbooks (sent home from school), and learning games.
  • MusicDuring the summer months, Piper’s piano and voice lessons pause. For O.D.I. she practices old pieces or challenges herself with something new; all to try and keep her skills from getting rusty. Eliza hasn’t had any formal lessons – yet. She did however get a Joog guitar for Christmas. Online she is accessing free lessons and games from their website. So far she’s learned a couple of chords and one song, “We All Live On A Yellow Submarine.”
  • Chore* – The girls still have some “everyday” chore expectations like emptying the dishwasher, putting laundry away and cleaning up after themselves. But, for the summer we agreed upon some additional things they can do around the house – dusting, vacuuming, cleaning their bathroom, etc.
  • Devotional – The girls each have an age appropriate daily devotional. Piper’s is written by Sadie Robertson Huff and Eliza’s by Sally Lloyd Jones. After they finish reading it, they are writing thoughts/reflections in the summer journal. (The summer journal is also used as needed for other O.D.I. activities.)
  • Be Active* – Practicing soccer, taking laps around the house, and playing Wii Fit, are just a few of the “active” activities that the girls came up with to fill their “Be Active” O.D.I. criteria.
  • Be Creative/KindThis part of the girls’ mornings is all of our favorites. So far they’ve painted, They’ve backed. They’ve planned and cooked dinner twice. They’ve made crafts to give away. They’ve scrapbooked. I am always amazed at the things they come up with and they are pleased to do something for someone else.

To keep the girls engaged I’ve done a couple of things to mix things up a bit from day-to-day:

1: They can choose the order that they complete the things on their list.

2: They each have their own small dry erase board to keep track of what they’ve done each day.

3: We will have “Modified O.D.I. Days.” For example, this week Eliza has music camp every morning. The girls will do some O.D.I. things before she goes. Piper will do some extra things to help me out while she’s gone. Then they will both have a few items that they can choose from in the afternoon.

4: The items I indicated above with a “*” – are all items that the girls draw each day to decide what they will do that day. For each item, (Learn, Chore, Be Active), I have a jar filled with 5/6 craft sticks (tongue depressors). Each stick has one activity written on it. One girl draws one stick and whatever is written on it, is what they do. For example, Eliza pulls a craft stick out of the “LEARN” jar. It says typing. Both girls take turns on age appropriate FREE typing websites. When all of the sticks are drawn from any given jar all the sticks are returned to the jar and all the activities are up for grabs again.

So far, two weeks in, so good. I am enjoying guiding the girls through their mornings, asking them questions about what they’re reading/learning, helping them complete projects, and cheering them on when they reach new goals. It has been sweet to watch them do many of the activities either together or beside each other.

O.D.I. has had the smoothest start of any summer so far. I am praying that it continues and that God will bless our efforts. O.D.I. is definitely a big part of “My Present Tense” this summer.

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