In Which I've Got The Summer All Planned Out

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Yesterday I managed to cross TWO great big things off of my to-do list for spring break. No, wait, THREE, now that I think of it.
  • We got our taxes done (yay!)
  • We completed most of the pre-planning for this year's senior trip (a cruise, you guys. We're taking them on a cruise. I've already started praying that no one drowns or gets lost in Mexico.)
  • I wrote up the program information for our summer camp. Which took forever. Longer than naptime, which is my definition of forever. I guess because I've never sat and tried to write out everything that we do/offer, I was surprised by the extent of it all, even with cutting parts of it down to what I consider the bare minimum. I put the whole thing in my Boarding page, but I wanted to put it here also. The summer program looks essentially like the regular school-year boarding, except during the school year we do a lot less activities and excursions. Since everyone is in school and sports and all. Oh, and the community service element is new. I've been thinking about this for a long time, and I can't get away from the idea that they need to be doing something for others. Empathy and perspective and all that are pretty difficult to teach in a bubble. Now I just need to do some more work on planning the vacation week so I can figure out how much to charge. Aaron is thinking Galveston or Corpus Christie so he can take the guys deep sea fishing, I'm leaning more towards a cabin-in-a-state-park kind of deal so we can go hiking and river rafting. Either way it should be fun!

The Falcon's Nest Summer Boarding Program

This summer we will offer a five week program that will run from June 15- July 19. There is an optional week from July 20-25, when we will take the boys on a fun vacation trip. 

Our summer program is a comprehensive experience that includes academics, hands-on work experience, community service, athletics, cultural events, recreation, and behavior modification and/or counseling. The program is available for boys 7-12th grade who are affiliated with the Flint Academy. Space is limited, so contact me as soon as possible if you are interested in having your child attend! 


Each morning the boys will have independent reading time from assigned novels. The book choices are individualized, taking into account reading level, personal interests, and relevant themes. On completing the day's reading assignment, each boy will give an oral narration of what he has read, and we will discuss any questions, confusion, or interesting points. There will be a brief daily writing assignment, with an additional essay assigned when a book is finished.

In addition to summer reading, which everyone must participate in, students will be tutored in any needed subject, or in SAT/ACT preparation. Specific subjects can be requested by parents or students - between the two of us, Aaron and I can help with pretty much any topic. We can also supervise make-up credit work assigned by other teachers at Flint.


Learning to work with their hands is extremely valuable for teenage boys! Working together as a team, learning useful skills, acquiring a solid work-ethic, and experiencing the satisfaction of a job well done are all valuable experiences. In the past, our guys have completed hands-on projects such as constructing a shed, laying sod, pruning trees, demolishing and re-constructing a deck, building garden boxes, staining the deck, painting a room (and then cleaning up the paint that was everywhere!), laying flagstones, and building an entire addition room in part of a garage! Aaron leads and supervises these projects, teaching the boys whatever skills they will need and encouraging them to work hard.

In addition to the hands-on projects, which are completed at the school, at our home, or elsewhere in the community, each boy has a small daily chore around the house. Learning to be responsible and to contribute to a household is very important! Chores include tasks such as dishes, sweeping, taking out the trash, and cleaning the boy's bathroom.

Community Service:

At least once a week the boys will be engaged in a volunteer activity within the community. Depending on which programs have openings and which programs will best benefit the boys, volunteer activities can include working at a soup kitchen, Habitat for Humanity projects, working in a community garden, working at the local library, etc.


Aaron runs a series of basketball training camps during the summer, and boys who are participating in our program will either participate in the camp or assist him with it. When the camps are not in session, the guys will have the opportunity to work out at a local gym.

Cultural Events:

One of our favorite things to do each summer is attend the free outdoor concert series at theLevitt Pavilion. Last summer we went to two or three concerts a week, getting to experience a wide range of music, and we plan to do the same this coming summer! Additional cultural events that I am tentatively planning include the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Fort Worth Botanic GardensShakespeare in the Park, and other local museums and festivals, based on interest and availability.


We try to make everything we do fun - there's a sense of camaraderie and lightheartedness that the boys always seem to develop, so that even chores, museums, and hauling sod end up being pretty enjoyable. But this IS summer, after all, and we don't have any intention of creating a boot camp! In our opinion, summers are for staying up and sleeping in a little bit later than during the school year. We play a lot of games in the evenings - Catan is the current obsession, but we have a lot of other options as well. We also love watching movies together. Playing video games during free time is okay, too, but there are some limitations to that, and the video game privilege can be revoked as needed. 

In addition to our regular free time hanging out together, I try to plan a fun excursion each week, usually for Fridays. Sometimes this overlaps with the cultural events, but not always. Other excursions that I'm looking at for this summer include Six Flags, the drive-in movie theater, paintball, hiking, fishing, Hurricane Harbor, Trader's Village, Rangers games, and maybe a rodeo.


Aaron and I have been working full time at Flint for eight years now, and are trained in the Flint philosophy as well as in behavior modification and counseling techniques. In our boarding program and at school we have addressed issues such as ODD, ADD/ADHD, OCD, Autism/Aspergers, anxiety, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, learning disorders, broken homes, unhealthy habits and behaviors, and family issues. We are prepared to assist with these and any other struggles that the boys may face. About once a week we have a family meeting to discuss house business as well as any problems or conflicts. Other counseling or behavior modification occurs as needed, day or night. Our approach to behavior issues in general is to provide clear expectations and boundaries, and to follow through on enforcing those boundaries very consistently, still keeping communication open and available. It is very important to us that we help the boys learn to succeed in life, which includes learning responsibility, respect, honesty, and consideration. These can be difficult lessons, and they tend to be the things that we address on a daily basis.


The boys share two rooms - they helped Aaron build one of them! Learning to get along with a roommate is a vital skill for life after high school, and rooming together helps the boys bond with each other, and often keeps them accountable to one another! The boys' rooms are not terribly impressive right now - when they helped with the construction they asked to keep the concrete floor, and for permission to paint and draw on the walls, so it has a kind of industrial vibe going on. They like it, but it isn't exactly Pinterest-worthy. ACTUALLY, we have some really exciting news relating to this area, which I should be able to announce soon! They boys have to clean their room thoroughly at least once a week, and the rooms are subject to spot checks at any time.


All meals are provided. I take a whole food approach to meals, and I like to use organic products as much as possible. That said, I do routinely stock the freezer with frozen pre-made food that the boys can eat anytime, as well as snacks like chips and pretzels. There are usually baked goods available (actually, they only last about ten minutes out of the oven, but I bake pretty frequently) and sandwich ingredients. I am not opposed to leaving the boys to their own devices for lunch sometimes, since I want them to learn to fend for themselves a bit, but I make a home-cooked dinner every night. Aaron loves to grill, so he usually ends up teaching the guys how to do that.

The boys are expected to do their own laundry on weekdays. The washer and dryer are off-limits Friday through Sunday, since that is when I am doing laundry for the rest of us. 

House Rules:

The house rules essentially boil down to one overarching theme: Be Considerate. We have a lot of people living under one roof, and consideration is absolutely vital. That means that showers can't be so long that the hot water is all used up, all of the snacks can't be devoured in one sitting, music can't be blasted, messes can't be left out for others to clean up. This can be really hard for teenagers to learn. It is also very necessary, not just for staying with us, but for having good relationships at home and in the future. 

Because we are also raising our own three daughters, we have a zero tolerance policy for profanity. ANY profanity will receive a consequence - usually an extra chore or a loss of privileges. The same is true for physical or verbal aggression. 

Internet and cell phone use are decided on an individual basis, with parental instructions being the deciding factor.

Summertime lights-out is at eleven. The boys don't have to go to sleep by then, but they do have to go to their rooms. 


  1. This is amazing! I can't believe you fit all of that in 5 weeks! When do you sleep?! Haha

    1. Sleep? What is this "sleep" you speak of? :)

  2. It's so cool learning about this - and it sounds like everyone has a lot of fun with it!

    1. It really is fun - super busy, but very fun!


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