MOMMYHOOD: Whatever happened to Summer Vacation?


I am amazed at how busy we are week to week with school work-and it's summer break! Before school's end, my daughter's teacher recommended we get her a math tutor over the summer. So we started one day a week and moved it to two. That involves homework week to week. Meanwhile, Carla was sent home with summer workbooks and a work log as well. These workbooks revolve around reading and writing. Her school urges summer work so they don't forget what they learned throughout the year. Each workbook, to get through all of it, would involve 17-20 pages a week. We also enrolled in the Chicago Summer reading program as well (10 chapter books in 8 weeks). Carla also requested beginning piano classes (which I am totally on board with) which involves practice and workbook homework.

All this would be much easier to get through if we were not so busy week to week this summer with family obligations, outings, visits and entertaining. And I also want her to enjoy her vacation. Her school is very aggressive academically and I think she could use a break. She just finished 1st grade, for Pete's sake!

Then I think back on my summers. I was not pressured to do any summer work except reading, which I did voraciously. Back then, schools did not put summer pressure on kids unless you needed to go to "summer school" for failing grades. I remember feeling a huge load off my shoulders when the last day of school came around to a close. I relaxed and enjoyed my friends, the pool, the weather, the TV sitcoms (Lost in Space was a guilty pleasure), and the park. So I have to remind myself that letting children be children and letting them take time to enjoy the world around them is just as big a part of their education as "hitting the books". If we don't have the work log all filled out or we miss a a book or two, I should not beat myself up about it. What will make more of an impact on my daughter-sitting with me on the deck with a blanket looking at the clouds eating ice cream for an hour, or plowing through "telling time"? I know which one of those made an impact on me-and maybe that says it all.

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