This summer, I will not complete summer math packets.
I will not practice math facts with my kids or even touch a flashcard. I will not sit my kids in front of a computer to “play math games” or even utter the letters IXL.
I will not look at a reading log. I will not keep track of reading minutes, and I will not keep a tally of books read.
I will not purchase any of the big ass first grade or second grade reading or writing workbooks that are currently on display at Costco.
I will not force my kids to practice their handwriting.
I will not spend one goddamn second even thinking about the summer slide.
Because as far as I’m concerned, there is a whole lot of equally (or more) important stuff that slides during the school year.
Instead of focusing on all that stuff, I will do this:
I will take my kids to the library. I will encourage them to check out books. And if they choose to check out books (they will — they always do), I will read them to my kids. Or with my kids. Or I will let them read to me.
And I SWEAR TO GOD, this summer we will return all of our books on time. *crosses fingers and holds breath*
I will teach my children about the importance of down time. Of rest for your body, and rest for your brain.
I will encourage spontaneity, and do my best not to overschedule.
I will devote time to teaching the kids.
I will teach all of them how to operate the washing machine and the dryer, the dishwasher, and the vacuum. Even the five year old. Most of them know how. But not all of them. Not yet.
I will teach my kids how to plant seeds and then take care of them.
And then I will devote time to training them. Not training them how to have perfect penmanship.
I will train them all on how to load a dishwasher (efficiently enough so that I don’t fell compelled to rearrange it), how to empty the litter box, how to replace the bag in the garbage can, how to clean a toilet and how to fold a fitted sheet.
Okay, just kidding about folding the fitted sheets. I fucking hate those things.
But I pledge to devote my teaching and training time not to worksheets, packets, math facts and reading logs, but to developing better organizational skills and encouraging self discipline, responsibility and accountability.
I pledge to hold regular, weekly family meetings so that we all feel we have a voice and a duty regarding what goes on in our home.
I will encourage my kids to spend as much time as possible outside and live by the principle, the dirtier you are by the end of the day, the better. And I will get dirty with my kids.
Maybe I’ll teach them all how to make one fairly healthy meal from start to finish.
But I’ll also have them take most of their “baths” in the pool and feed them way too many hot dogs.
I’ll let them stay up too late and I’ll let them sleep in whenever they can.
By the time September rolls around, they may not remember what 7 x 9 is in less than .12 seconds.
But they’ll hopefully be more rested, more responsible, more proactive, and more self-sufficient than they were in June.
And that’s what matters most not only to me, but to the greater good.
So this summer, that’s what I’ll be devoting my time to.
All those packets and logs and unfinished workbooks?
Between you and me, they make pretty good firestarters. And making s’mores is also on my summer syllabus.
So I think we’ll use them for that.