By the time August rolls around, most parents seem to be willing the days away and begging for school to begin. The gist of the pictures and comments on social media parents basically read – “When are the kids returning to school?! Ahh!”
Maybe you’ve seen this recent article and picture?! http://www.insideedition.com/headlines/24874-mom-takes-hilarious-swimming-pool-photo-to-celebrate-kids-returning-to-school
Admittedly this picture made me snort laugh, however you will never find me doing anything similar. Honestly. I’d take summer over the school year any day. Even if the kids are always “here.” Anyone with me?
Reasons Why I’m Not Ready for School to Begin
I remember coming home from the first day of school with a list of school supplies needed and going shopping with my dad. School supply shopping was one always one of my favorite things to do!
Everything now is so prepared. Now the lists of the supplies comes weeks or even months before school starts. In some respects, I understand – but I’m trying hard not to rush our summer away. Purchasing the school supplies so early and having them sit in the corner of the kitchen just reminds us all of how quick summer goes. Stop it!
I support buying extra for children that are unable to buy, but my daughter’s list asks for 60 pencils per kid? If there are 20 children in my daughter’s class, they will start off school with 1,200 pencils. And the middle school supply list for my son? Interpreting that list made me feel like I needed to go back to school! They list everything by class. Last year I used my graphing skills to coordinate and group common supplies together. And early feeling of school year parenting failure when you don’t find everything on the list. The white folder that I’m still looking for my daughter when she was in 2nd grade (she’s going into the 4th) still haunts me. Oh and I can’t even talk about the orange folder needed for my son in 2nd grade (he’s going into 8th).
Man, and the kids need to look presentable again. Does everyone have sneakers that fit? Could they get away with this backpack for another year?
Homework and Projects
Granted it’s their work to keep track of and complete, but come on….. When you are a parent, at least these days, it’s expected that you do your best to keep on top of homework and assignments. Thanks parent portal. Even if you are not the micromanaging type, you’ll tend to notice if your kid is sitting around not doing any work in the evenings. Even if your kid is top notch, there’s always going to be that nudge of a feeling that something is due. Summer reading is a must, but I love that the evening hours are theirs. No pressure of THIS IS DUE TOMORROW (AND YOUR CHILD ONLY MENTIONED IT TODAY….)
According to research, my children need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep per night in order to develop and be attentive to learn. I’ve never been one to manage our lives based on these charts – so let’s say that my 12 year old son needs 10 hours a sleep a night. During the school year he gets up in the morning at 6:30am. In order for him to get 10 hours of sleep a night, he would need to go to sleep at 8:30pm each night. How many 12 year old children are doing this?
In the summer though – when they have less responsibilities – they wake for camp at around 8am. That’s an extra 90 minutes of sleep (for all of us) during the summer. Totally makes sense, right? And if they go to camp tired there are few ramifications. No pressure to have to perform in camp, like there is in school. And worse comes to worse, they can come home and crash – as they don’t have hours of homework to do, which will always negate an 8:30pm bedtime. Always.
I love chatting with my children – except for the following conversations:
Kid: So-and-so went home from school today because they were sick.
Me, as I’m opening the closet for the Lysol Wipes: When you say “sick,” what kind of “sick” are you talking about? How close do you sit to him? You’re not really friends with him, right?
Obviously we can all come down with something at any time during the year….still that first time I hear “the stomach bug is going around school,” I’m a lunatic. Or the “Your child may have been exposed to lice” note is enough to send me into hiding.
Activities and Extra Curriculars
Ah, routine, routine and more routine. A friend from our day care days used to call it her “daily bus route.” This is a term I’ve adopted and have tried to spread all over suburbia. So many things to do. So many places to go. Literally they are all within like a 3 mile radius, yet my car is in constant motion. Plenty of times when both of the kids had to be somewhere at the same time. I swear this is with the bare minimum of formal activities – Hebrew School, Girl Scouts and softball for my daughter. And Hebrew School and piano for my son. In addition, there are often school events and/or family commitments therefore it results in quite tight schedule.
Summertime, on the other hand – you want to do something tonight? Sure, ok. No problem. For the most part, there’s less the kids have to do. It’s a more relaxed time of year. Take advantage – be a tad impulsive and spontaneous.
….which leads me to….
Here’s what my calendar looked like one week last August…
Here’s what my calendar looked like one week last September…
Money & Fundraisers
While summer camps and vacations are a pretty penny, don’t you feel like your shelling out lots of dough during the school year? All for good causes, however these school events and fundraisers seem to popping up more and more. When you send in $10 here or $20 there, it doesn’t seem like so much – until you realize by the end of the week that you have no cash in your wallet.
Here’s My Truth
My children go to great schools. We’re quite lucky in that respect. Great teachers, classmates, and administration – so no complaints there. Summer brings out a feeling of freedom though. That short time of year when your kids have some down time – with less complications, competition, commitment and classwork. They can be themselves in all aspects of who they are. They can breathe easy. They can relax. They can just “be.”
When summer ends though – there is a sense of the loss of that freedom and flexibility. This goes for me, even though I have a year round full time job. Could it be that the lack of clothes that make us feel freer in summer? Truth is that this all may simply be an excuse to cover up the fact that I’ll miss them. Truth is I like them being present – physically and emotionally. Cause as the saying goes, “the days are long, but the years are short.” There’s only so much time we get with these humans we spawn and raise! And I adore and cherish this time together.
The summer months bring about a perfect opportunity for parents and kids to build on their relationship. Get to know each other without the stress of the school year responsibilities. See your kids in a different light, learn about them and focus on who they are – not in their primarily role as a student.
Alas, my daughter’s 4th grade class assignment will be arriving in the mail shortly. And it all begins. Fine, fine – obviously kids need an education.
There’s still time left though – I promise! Do the BBQ. Jump in the pool. Take the kids for ice cream at 9pm. Catch those fireflies.
And enjoy the rest of the summer!