Summertime has arrived. Students are overjoyed. Parents are excited. But wait…that’s 12 weeks of togetherness. 86 days of unstructured nothingness. You love your children, but come on, there’s a very good reason you don’t home school. You know it’s true…two, maybe three weeks into summer, and you’re ready to start printing off school supply lists. You explain to your kids that you just want beat the August rush, but the reality is that you’re ready to get this show on the road.
It’s kind of like a trip to Six Flags. On the way there you think, “What a fun day we’ll have at the amusement park. We will ride rides with expressions of pure joy on our faces, we will eat delicious corn dogs and drink sodas out of bucket-sized souvenir cups with giant bendy straws, and we will play delightful carnival games and win fabulous prizes on the very first try.” LIM. What were you thinking? Two hours later, you’re praying for a stomach bug. Not a bad one, just the 24 hour kind. After standing in line for an hour for a ride that lasts 6 seconds, paying $7.50 per person for the same corn dog they sell in the freezer aisle at WalMart, and mediating 3 arguments about where to go next, the stomach bug seems like a pretty good option. I could go on and on about Six Flags. Decided. On another day, in another post, I will.
The thing you have to remember at Six Flags and when that third week of summer rolls around is this: there is a bright side.
Things you don’t have to deal with when your kids are out of school this summer.
The sack lunch. I used to put notes in my kids’ lunches. Then they got a little older and I thought it would be good to entertain the whole lunch table of sophomore boys, so I started writing the notes with a sharpie on the outside of the brown bag. Not long after that, both kids requested that their lunches be put in plastic grocery bags. I’m sure it’s a coincidence. Anyway, no more notes. Usually I only did that in the month of August, before the whole, “It’s a new school year” thing wore off. At some point along the way, the sack lunch starts to feel more like pulling weeds than throwing a few ready-made food items into a bag. I’m not sure why sandwich-making seems so taxing. Maybe it’s a guilty subconscious, because I’ll be going to Chick-fil-A while my kids eat their 63rd peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a row. I don’t know, and I don’t care either, because it’s summer now. Fix your own sammich.
The checking of the grades online. Texting and online grade books make it possible for parents to get mad and ground their children before they even get home from school. It’s beautiful, really. But in the summertime, you can’t get mad at Bryson for not turning an assignment in. He doesn’t have one.
The projects. Here’s how it goes down:
Elementary School – teacher gives project assignment, usually involving cutting, gluing, and no less than 3 hours of your Thursday night. I’m convinced that elementary school projects are solely for the purpose of parental involvement and/or competition. You want to let 9-year-old Corby make his own food web diorama, but then you remember the whole “About Me” debacle from the first week of school. Corby did his own work then. It was a poster, with letters written by his own hand. Corby got a C-. Little Macy turned in a vodcast, with guest appearances by the doctor who delivered her, her kindergarten teacher, and Justin Bieber. Macy got an A+. Wow, that Macy is a whiz with a computer.
Middle School – teacher gives a project assignment, usually involving group work outside of class. There are a couple of problems with this. One, middle school students don’t drive. Two, Macy is in another group.
High School – teacher gives project assignment, much like the kind someone working on her doctorate would complete. Only instead of having months to work on it, it’s due in two weeks.You notice Brayden working feverishly at the computer one night, around 10:33 pm. When you ask him what he’s doing, he tells you he has to make a Book of Presidents for AP US History. It’s supposed to be 146 pages long. Brayden then says, “Oh, I’m gonna need a ream of printer paper. Also, a new color cartridge. Tonight. It’s due tomorrow.” Macy turned hers in yesterday. Bound and laminated.
The clothes. I don’t care what you say, what kids wear to school matters to them. And if they have to wear uniforms, then what they wear after school matters even more. But in the summer, who cares? Six days of the week, there are only 2 things you need: pajamas and a swimming suit. You should probably wear something else to church on Sundays.
The homework. This may not be a popular thought, but I’m just going to throw it out there anyway. I used to be a teacher. And I gave homework. But having kids has given me a different perspective. Think about it…if we worked all day long and then had to do 2-3 more hours of work when we got home every night, we’d probably quit that dumb job.
The not sleeping in. If you need me to explain the benefits of this one, you must not have a teenager. Also, your kids probably don’t climb into bed with you to watch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
The drama. I’m sure there was drama in my high school, I just didn’t know much about it. But these days, it’s impossible to stay out of the loop. Texting and social networking ensure that everyone knows everything about everybody, which is great, if you’re a script-writer for Jersey Shore. When it’s not so great is when your boyfriend broke up with you and was just seen walking to 5th period with the new girl, or when that note your mom wrote on your sack lunch is now someone’s latest photo upload on Instagram.
The car line/ school parking lot. When it comes to pick up and drop off, elementary parents have it the worst. There’s a system, people, that even rule breakers should follow. You better wait your turn, or I’m going to write about you in my blog when I get home. That’s all I’m saying.
What are you glad you don’t have to deal with for the next 86 days?