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Mom Confessional: What I Did (and Mostly Did Not) Learn This Summer

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School starts for my daughter today and I can’t help but reflect back upon the last few months. At the advent of every summer, I make grandiose plans. We’ll do a different activity every day! We’ll make lots of new friends! We’ll engage our minds by daily learning in science, reading and math!

By summer’s end, the result is usually the same: “Yeah, right.”

It’s not that we didn’t learn a lot this summer. I learned:

1) Broken DVD players should be immediately replaced during multi-day road trips to Canada.

2) Husbands should not get two speeding tickets within a half-hour of each other in Wyoming.

2) Every detail of navigating Bowser’s Castle in Super Mario Bros on my son’s Nintendo DS.

4) I need a vacation at the end of summer vacation.

I really did try. A few weeks ago, I introduced my kids to Math Dice, a game I bought at the beginning of the summer. Predictably, my math-prodigy first grader answered all the questions while my math-challenged third grade daughter let him.

I wasn’t fooling anyone. Half-way through our game, she glared at me. “Hey, I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to trick me to do MATH!”

Though she’ll never make it as a mathematician, she may have a future as a private investigator.

The only thing I did really well (besides played, traveled and played some more) was encouraged the kids to read every day. But even that has its drawbacks–it’s called The Day of Reckoning.

In an ideal world, we could go to the library, check out a stack of books and return every last one of them on time.

In my world, due dates are forgotten, overdue charges are heaped up and books are lost.

My end-of-summer tab?

Well, let’s just say I learned something else: I’m single-handedly doing my part to support Jefferson County Public Libraries.

Better luck next summer.

What did you (or did not) learn this summer?

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  • comment avatar Lindsay August 20, 2012

    OHMYGOSH, I could have written this post. Always start out on a good foot but shrivels up by summer’s end.

  • comment avatar Amber's Crazy Bloggin' Canuck August 20, 2012

    Glad to know I’m not alone. 😉

  • comment avatar Lana August 20, 2012

    I buy those summer bridge books but no way I can get my kids to do them. Homework is enough of a battle during the school year, I don’t want to deal with that during the summer, too. So I tried to do non-workbook learning activities. Anytime you’re out in nature discovering, that’s learning.

  • comment avatar Lana August 20, 2012

    At least that’s what I tried to tell myself. 🙂

  • comment avatar Amber's Crazy Bloggin' Canuck August 20, 2012

    Good point, Lana. It’s not like my kids didn’t learn anything–we were constantly outside, at museums, traveling or just discovering. It’s not like they were in front of the TV or video games the entire summer. I wish I’d done better on more structured learning but I just didn’t want the battle with my 3rd grader, either!

  • comment avatar Susan August 20, 2012

    This is so me! I start every summer with big plans and usually the time flies so fast many of the plans skip right on by. This time around I’m focusing on what we did do, not what we didn’t.

  • comment avatar JoAnn August 20, 2012

    Our school suggests the Summer Bridge Books, and they are great. The school even offers an incentive to do the whole thing! So, we did. Granted, she wanted to have the entire thing done in June, but I made her slow down and only do one day (or maybe two) a day. And, I wouldn’t let her do any on the weekends.

    Claire was in a bunch of Art Classes, which offered just enough structure to keep us out of trouble. We had a bunch of adventures, too.

    This summer was awesome!

  • comment avatar Laura August 22, 2012

    I used to feel bad that we had these huge lists of fun things to do and did about three of them. Then I decided it was better for the kids to be bored. Fosters creativity. And makes me feel less guilty.
    We usually participate in the Summer Library Reading Program…and until this year, we participated in our school’s reading program. This year the school sent home a 4-page folder of suggested reading and math and science and social studies and a ridiculous number of websites to investigate and I threw the whole thing away. Two days into the new year, no one’s been sent back a grade so I guess we did ok.

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