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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

School Stole Our Summer

It's July 31st and I just made the last batch of chocolate chip pancakes for my girl.  Her new backpack and school supplies are spread across the kitchen table and she's plotting the right outfit for tomorrow's first day of school. August 1st, first day of school.

Yes, we have adopted the "balanced calendar" which is a really nice spin on the reality which is -  year   round   school. 

Here's how it works:

June and July off for summer
October - two weeks off
December - two weeks off 
April - two weeks off

Apparently the schools think if they have more time with our kids more consistently they will retain what they have learned. 

Let's be clear.  The only reason this matters to them is because they are trying to up the test scores.  Which I don't give a rats behind about.

Summer is meant to be long and lazy and relaxing.  A detox from stress and deadlines and papers and early mornings and fights about homework and lunch money and all of the things that make our life just a little bit harder. 

Summer is meant for sleeping in, hanging out at the lake, eating pancakes at 10am or 11 or noon.  Summer is for families to relax and enjoy each other without the demands of school and all that school brings.

Even though I work a full time year round job, I have also latched on to the summer time vibe. My shoulders drop two inches to where they are supposed to be.  I knock off a little early on Friday to hang with my kids, we hang around outside until 10pm and then rush in to have a PB&J and call it dinner.  Life is better in the summer.  Laundry doesn't really need to stay caught up because no one cares about the perfect outfit or that it's gym day.  Groceries largely come from the farmers market and the ice cream stand with little to no regard for a schedule. For the kids, bed time is whatever time your eyes finally can't stay open and the alarm is when you finally have to pee so bad you have to get up.  Our kids need that easy breezy summer time vibe.

And because our kids have their own "island time" we parents don't stress about bed times and dinner times and getting to school on time and paperwork to sign and skinny jeans to buy.  So we relax too.  And when we relax, we see how beautiful our kids are with their summery skin and perfect dive and we see that lightening bugs are one of God's most amazingly magical creatures and we too become more aware of the love and the gifts and the joy.

With just two months of summer we had to hurry through it and check off the camps and the vacation.  Not enough time for the lazy beautiful joys of summer.  Not enough pool time, not enough fireflies, not enough pancakes at 10am.

So when October comes around and my kids have two weeks off, I might take a week or a long weekend to travel but then I'll be hurrying off to work and they'll be laying on the couch watching tv and the fireflies will be gone and the pool will be closed and the frantic will barely subside.

Our kids grow up quickly enough. Give me more time to relax and enjoy them. I'll sacrifice their algebra grade for that any day.

Two weeks isn't three months.  It's a blink. The long and lazy days of summer, school has taken them away.

A system that isn't serving any of us very well, has now also taken our summer.