Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summatime

I saw a commercial last night which said that our children are losing valuable information taught to them during the school year over the summer. That they were starting school in the fall at a deficit. This commercial advised that we send our kids to summer classes so as not to let all that pertinent school stuff just leak out of their feeble little heads.

I had summers off as a child and remarkably I can still do basic addition, subtraction and multiplication. I remember what year WWII started, I can conjugate Spanish verbs and for reasons I can’t really fathom I have an uncanny recollection of the battle at Bunker Hill.

But what I learned over the summer was so much more than anything my parents tax dollars could buy me in the classroom.

I learned how to get along with others – sometimes compromising, sometimes holding my ground. I learned the laws of gravity and the repercussions of this awesome power. I learned how to do things for myself, how to be alone, how to make fun from nothing, how to fight, how to make up, how to be a good friend and a bad one.
These are things that blossom in the unstructured environment of the neighborhood streets and lawns and woods.
Having kids sit in classrooms during these invaluable summer months robs them of their greatest and most memorable learning experiences... and some of their most colossal mistakes.

Parents get a grip.
Let the world be their classroom, even if that world is only a block wide, and two months long.

11 comments:

Amaya said...

This was a great post!
They want to cut out their summers, their art classes and music classes. All creativity. Basically they're cutting out childhood.

Instead of keeping kids in a classroom all year round, why not take them on a trip to Europe to help with their foreign language skills, world relations, and history?

Bent Fabric said...

I think there is too much coddling going on with this generation.

deb said...

Thanks for posting this. I had to post about it too as "Summatime II."

Kids have only a finite amount of time to just be kids! I say, let them have fun and learn how to enjoy themselves.

That's important too.

-- deb --

Maria said...

I wish that my child could have the summers that I did. I remember rambling all through the town I grew up in on my bike. I remember kids everywhere playing. I remember going fishing at the lake...BY MYSELF.

Now, things are so different. I can't let Liv bike anywhere out of my sight. We arrange play dates with her friends instead. She would never be allowed to go fishing by herself. Ever.

I hate it that she misses out on all those great summer lessons. I remember summer as this warm, lazy, wonderful time. I don't think her memories will have the same taste.

Val said...

Great post. Thing are different for this generation - too much stuff planned. It's tough with working parents, etc... but even 'camp' daycare is better and not as constricting as being in a classroom.

SassyFemme said...

From a teacher's point of view, I couldn't agree with you more! Here's what that commercial didn't say... Teachers (elementary) spend the first 2-3 weeks reviewing concepts from the previous year. We EXPECT kids will have forgotten stuff over the summer. Kids don't get enough time to be kids, they don't know how to play, they don't know how to use their imagination, they don't know how to problem solve social situations. ARGH, I could go on, but I'm supposed to be relaxing, not thinking about work stuff! :)

dykewife said...

it's all about competition in the workforce, being exceptional in all things, pushing to get ahead because someone else is pushing harder. it's rather sad really. there is a reason that there is summer holidays, it's so that children can have some time in the year when they can be children and relax.

it's sad that people assume that time spent playing is time wasted. if the time isn't organized to the second with activities and lessons the child is wasting their future. it's the children who really suffer. they don't get to be kids.

kitty litter said...

Every June my kids were sent home with Math packets and required reading....and graded / tested on it in September. I called it optional and any bad marks from not doing it were excused.

I'm with Maria...I WISH the kids now could do what we were able to do.

WordsRock said...

Kids these days do have too much structure. I totally agree that children need to be allowed to be children before adulthood traps them into... well... into adulthood.

Geeky Dragon Girl said...

I went to summer school not because anyone made me, not because I needed remedial classes, but because it was easiest way to get away from home every day.

the only daughter said...

The only class my son was ever in danger of failing was the summer school course the school system suggested he take to help acclimate him to high school. hmpf.

One of the games my friends and I sometimes played during the summer...school.