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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Vacation

Summer is here...

Last week, I said goodbye to my 18 kindergarten students.  Every last week of school is difficult for me.  I have a hard time with goodbyes.  My class performed a class musical for their parents last week, and after their performance, I had waves of frogs in my throat, and at one time, I had to stop talking, or a burst of tears would had exploded.  It's always hard to say goodbye and let these little ones go.  It takes a year to create a loving community of learners, where we are like a family.  And every September, when I get new students, I have to start all over again.  It's hard to let go...

But with the last days of school and those bittersweet goodbyes, come long days of unstructured days with my own two children that I absolutely adore.  I love that I can devote all my days to them during these months.  Riley will be doing a morning camp in our town, and Maggie is on a swim team.  We have a vacation to Lake Champlain coming up, and another long weekend trip to the coast.  Today, Riley made a list of day trips he wants to go on. Waterslide World, Great Escape, and zip lining in the Adirondacks is on his list.   Maggie is excited about all the playdates she'll have and the sleepovers.  We'll begin our summer vacations with pedicures and girl outings.  

Summer when I was little...

When I was younger, I have fond memories of kickball games, ball tag, playing Pickle in my front yard, and playing hide and seek on bikes in my neighborhood.  We would ride our bikes to the country store and many times, our parents did not know where we were.  We were just told to come home at dinner.  How did things in today's world change?  

Since their last day of school on Friday, I have been observing my children.  Maggie, who is very social and loves her social life, has already had two playdates since Friday.  She was unsuccessful in finding a friend to play with today (no one was home).  Today, she spent the day in her room playing Barbies, or on our computer or the I-Pad.  

Riley, spends his days on his computer.  Today,  he is publishing and writing his own neighborhood newspaper, and is is organizing a spelling bee, which will occur in our backyard next week.  He is completely happy doing little projects, and they often involve his computer.  I found myself getting upset with Riley today, and all the time he is spending on his computer or with his I-Pod.  "When I was  your age, I was BLAH, BLAH, BLAH."  Did I just sound like my mom there?  But seriously, we didn't have all this technology.  We spent all of our waking hours outdoors playing and riding our bike.  Today Riley said to me, "It's boring to just ride your bike up and down the road."  Is this unfair of me, to expect my son to be like me when I was 9 or 10, and to play outdoors?  Maybe if we had technology in the late 70's/early 80's, I would be like Riley.  Instead of playing "Charlie's Angels" in my backyard, I would be designing my own webgame or website, devoted to my favorite TV show from back then.  

So, as excited I am for the unstructured days of summer, and all the fun activities I will have planned with my children, I also know that I need to "put the smackdown" on the computer (that's what I called it today).  Because after all, summer is all about not having structure.  I can't be entertaining them 24/7 with structured activities, so I want them to be imaginative, creative and physical.  I want them to enjoy running until they are out of breath, playing a competitive game with neighbors, or reading a good book.  Sitting in front of TV, the computer, or the I-Pad drives me nuts.  I love when I tell  my kids to go outside and play, they bring an I-Pad out on our porch and play a game.  That really drives me over the edge.

I'm wondering if I need to get with the times, and embrace all this technology.  

My kindergarten students have an hour of computer lab each week.  With the Common Core Standards being implemented next school year, our students need to be more computer literate.  They are expected to use the computer to publish their writing, even at the kindergarten level.

Maybe I need the "smackdown."  After all, I don't know my cell phone number or even where that phone is half the time, and when I do find it, it needs to be charged.  I have never sent a text.  

So, this summer, I will have to try to understand this technology, give my children some time with it, but I also want them to experience a summer that represents simple times before technology emerged.  Are those days of simpler times gone?

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