Many parents, my own included, look forward to sending their kids back to school as soon as summer vacation starts. Actually, I liked sending myself back to school, too. But I know my mom, and many other parents, look forward to having some child-free time again, look forward to some degree of freedom knowing their kids are being taught and watched for a number of hours five days a week.
I don’t doubt that that will be me one day, especially when both kids are in school.
But, right now, this summer, I look forward to having both of my babies home with me.
It’s my son’s last summer before he really starts school. He’ll be turning 5 and heading for Kindergarten. He’s recently finished preschool, so I’m kind of used to having him away for a few hours. But the Kindergarten days are longer than the preschool days, and I just don’t know what my daughter and I will do without him for that long. Eventually, we’ll figure it out, but I’ll still countdown to pick up time. As it is, I was usually the first one to pick up my son from preschool. I don’t like not having him at home.
Life is louder, busier, and more chaotic with both kids home. I step on more toys. I have more kids whining at me and making demands. I have more disciplining that needs to get done. I have to split my attention between two kids who cling to me and pull in different directions half the day. It’s not always easy having both kids home and sometimes I wish my son had school that day.
But I really do love having them both with me. I like knowing they’re safe and happy and I’m right here to take care of their needs. They only have to wait for each other, but they love playing together most of the time, so sometimes they don’t mind having to take turns.
I look forward to having them both home all summer. I don’t look forward to having to send my son away for most of the day five days a week starting in August. I know I’m going to long to have him home just as much as I like having him and his non-stop word flow at school. For now, I’m just going to enjoy it.
When I was very young, my mom read somewhere that, over the summer, kids lose most of what they learned over the past year. My dad’s solution: have us do workbooks all summer. There quickly came a time where I didn’t remember not doing workbooks in the summer. I looked forward to taking a trip to the local teacher resources store as soon as school let out.
My kids will have their grandparents to blame.
As my son is about to start Kindergarten, this will be his very first summer spent the same way I remember spending my summers.
My mom drew up reward charts for us and taped them, one below the next, to a wall. Every weekday we were to do our assigned number of workbook pages, do a half hour of reading, practice piano, clean our rooms, and whatever other tasks she chose for us. My brother and I would compete to see who finished first, and often did the next day’s pages the night before so we had less to do the next morning.
We were raised to work first, then play, so, even though our mom didn’t demand it, we still spent each morning doing everything we had to do we could spend the rest of the day playing.
Almost as soon as our son graduated from preschool, we headed for the local learning store. My husband and I were like kids in a candy store while our actual kids loved the toys that were out for them to play with.
Laden with workbooks, phonics teaching tools, construction paper, stickers, paints, crayons, and a cute robot set, we exited, simultaneously wondering if we had over done it or were still unprepared for the long summer days.
Coloring is our son’s nemesis. It’s been that way since I sat him down with paper and crayons when he was a little more than a year old. He flipped out when he had to touch paint shortly before he turned two. He made faces when he had to touch chalk. Teaching him to take his time with coloring is going to be fun this summer.
But, when it comes to STEM, this kid lights up. Science experiments, robots, magnets… His favorite activity is sink or float, where he explores weight, mass, and gravity. He’s also been doing simple addition and subtraction for almost a year. His dad couldn’t be more excited about what he gets to teach our son this summer.
The summer will fly by. We’ll keep busy. There’s learning to do and learning to maintain. There will be exciting trips to the city, the beach, the library, and parks. There will be painting and building and hopefully no permanent stains (right, husband?).
But I hope it doesn’t move too fast. I hope to have time to just breathe in my babies, to enjoy having them in my clutches. Ahem. I mean, at home with me. I’m terrified of sending him to school, but am also eager for him to learn and, hopefully, love learning as much as I do.
I’m going to love having both my babies at home with me all summer. Just 13 short weeks.