We had great intentions of riding the momentum from school and all that we’d learned as we entered in to summer vacation. Workbooks were unearthed from the bowels of our playroom. Pencils were sharpened. I stocked up on patience
And then, summer happened.
Here it is, the beginning of August, and we haven’t opened a workbook or dulled those pencils. Slap a big, fat “F” on our Continuing Education report card.
The only writing that has occurred has been a scribble on a birthday card or two. The most math skills have come into play is to tally the score on a Yahtzee roll or calculate how many minutes are left in a SpongeBob Squarepants episode.
We haven’t executed scientific home experiments, engaged in critical thinking and problem-solving games, or constructed elaborate and crafty architectural plans out of popsicle sticks. By the looks of my kids writing lately, you’d think they never attended a day of school in their life.
One thing I’ve deduced from this summer break: I’d suck big time as a homeschool mom.
Summer is inherently a time to relax and enjoy a break from routine. The pool calls and you answer.
While cleaning out a shelf in the kitchen last night, I found a couple of math sheets that I had pulled out of my son's folder on the last day of school.
Hey! Look at this! Maybe this will be something fun to do after dinner!
I was clearly delusional.
Sitting down with my son to work on some basic math equations, I was sad that the answers didn’t come as easily to him as they did at the end of the year. And with every equation he got wrong, he got more and more frustrated.
Have I done my children a disservice by ignoring any kind of education this summer? Is this the scenario educational folks use as an example to switch to year-round school? With only three weeks left before the start of the school year, will my son be left in the dust by his mother’s laziness and procrastination?
I sure hope not.
Sure, we could have drilled math skills every day or sat down every morning and forced our kids to write until their fingers bled. But who am I kidding? Getting them to finish breakfast is challenge enough.
Instead of being all smart and scholarly, we enrolled our kids in the School of Play.
My children aced in their courses of Harry Potter Reenactment, Successful Transportation Of Crap Downstairs To the Living Room, and How to Drive Your Sibling Batshit Crazy.
They learned the importance of ignoring wasp nests in the corner of the fort, but issued arrest warrants for lightning bugs. Their bikes and slides and swings got an ample return of investment. Bodies got muddy, or wet, or sticky.
My kids excelled in cannonballs and mastered the fine art of arm-pit farts. Because I’m raising children that will do well at a frat party later.
I have to believe that all of these experiences contribute to a well-rounded kid. That like grass that goes dormant in the winter but comes back lush in the spring, my kids' brains will bounce back to life in the fall and flourish, rejuvenated.
It’s how I was raised, and I can only hope that these different experiences enrich my children in ways that flash cards and worksheets can’t provide.
But perhaps I’ll let my son count the change from the ice cream cones for the rest of the summer. Just in case.
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