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Friday, July 19, 2013

why I'm not always a fun summer mom and why I don't apologize for it

When I picture school getting out for the summer, I imagine kids bursting through the school doors into the hot sunshine, throwing books, papers and pencils like confetti and running for the playground. 
My own work morphs from homework police, school paperwork organizer to beach packer and event planner.  (Regardless of the time of the year, "van driver" is still high on my job duties list.)
Summer is supposed to be the epitome of the carefree childhood with the only worries being if you are going to have a red Popsicle or a smooth fudgesicle on a 90 degree day and if you have more bug bites on your legs or your arms.
Let me first say that I am all for that.
However, over at our house, we are combining loosey goosey summer with some school work.  Yup, I'm that mom.
Third grade is apparently a more academically challenging year.  Kids need to have their addition and subtraction facts down and will be moving on the multiplication.  That is a lot of memorizing if you have to do it all at once.  There is something educators warn about: "the summer slide" and ways to combat it. 
Allow me to also say that we are not the parents wondering about the just how early you can apply for early admission to Harvard.  We are not academically pushy or demanding.  Our main goal is to raise children that feel good about themselves and their place in the world.  This looks different for different kids.  For Ella, it means having a sense of mastery, confidence and comfort which will be especially important next year as she actually transitions to a new school for third grade.
Here's what we have adopted at home.  Each Monday morning, these stickies appear on the wall:
The goal is to complete them by Friday. If that happens she gets a dollar. She takes the weekends off . Because third grade also has a big focus on independence, she is in charge of her time management around the stickies. She can do them all early in the week and take the rest of the week off or she can save them up and do them all at once at the end. She can do some each day and keep the workload even.
It is very interesting to watch her approach to these stickies.

This just over 4 hours of work each week.  I think that is a very fair price to pay out of the multitude of summer hours to start next year off well. 

We let her take a week off when we were traveling and she will take another full week off when we are all on vacation together.  So far she has earned that reward dollar each time.

In many ways it seems sad to do this to a kid.  But knowing my kid I am certain the reward will be much higher than a handful of dollars.  I also remind myself that doing this teacher real-life time management without the complication of tiring days spent in school as well as the core life skill of learning to work hard for something and reap the rewards.

This week, after spending the weekend at camp, we went swimming Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Today we go back to Schoodic for the weekend.  She has managed to do all but two lone stickies she left for today.  It certainly isn't all work around here...

1 comment:

gretchen said...

Ing's teacher did Daily 5 last year, and it's been a great framework for summer, too. I don't have a schedule like yours, but if she's bored I use the Daily 5 wording to give her ideas: "You can read to self, or Willa, or write - which do you want to do?" (and being read to is just a default setting here.)

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