Summers for my boys, stepsons now going into 6th and 7th grade, always include books and lessons. School is not easy for either of them. Making them do lessons  during their summer break doesn’t always go over well. The procrastination and excuses get more creative, and frustrating, year after year.

Sometimes I wonder if we’re doing more harm than good. I don’t want to give them any more reasons to not like school. This year we were hit with screaming, angry, frustrating comments of “I’m stupid.. I can’t do better!” yelled through tears. This is heartbreaking and we do all we can to help them know they are bright, smart and creative.

We do our best to make learning fun with challenges and rewards. Last summer we hired a tutor who came to the house. They enjoyed the tutor and enjoyed even more that it wasn’t dad or me working with them.  

This summer we’re adding a family challenge: The Montano Education, Fitness and Health Challenge.

Together we wrote up goals, requirements, consequences and rewards for all of us. The boys’ challenge is to do lessons without fighting and arguing. The challenges for Shawn and me are to get healthy and fit. The boys’ goals include a certain amount of reading, writing and math each week. Our goals include a certain amount of exercise and dietary changes each week.

The rewards for meeting weekly goals include family outings and plain, cold cash. The boys will be in charge of us and we will be in charge of the boys, which includes handing out consequences. Boy, did they giggle in delight thinking of grounding us from electronics! 

We’re using a shared Google calendar to record what we do and to keep track of each other. We’re signing letters of intent and will post them in the office to remind us our commitment to the challenge. I think we’re up for the challenge!

Wish us luck!