December 17, 2017

16 Summer Lessons


summer lessons

By Julie Samrick

With the exception of homeschooling families, there just isn’t as much time to hang out with kids during the traditional school year like there is during summer vacation. When my older three kids were younger, they’d learn many things by osmosis, or simply by hanging out with me all day. We’d play cards, which has a lot of lessons right there- not just counting and the difference between the four suits, but even more important things like why it’s always preferable to be a good sport.


I purposely don’t sign my kids up for lots of camps and activities in the summer because the 9-3 school day they’re coming off of after nine months has enough deadlines and restrictions to last a whole year. No, summer is the perfect time to regroup and to recharge instead.


The word “detoxing” has even come to mind these first few weeks of summer vacation. With each day I’ve noticed my kids have been fighting less and even their general attitudes have been more positive. Sure, there are good reasons for year-round school- so much academic learning can be lost in three months for one thing- but the life lessons and skills that are traded for academics are priceless.

In only three weeks of summer I’ve witnessed some things learned or reinforced- things that that just can’t be taught in school:

What the kids have learned:

  • Old movies are worth watching.
  • Skating, and better yet rollerdancing, to YMCA at a rink that’s even older than the song will never go out of style.
  • Say “God Bless You” after somebody sneezes (why this piece of etiquette has suddenly clicked with all four of my kids after reminding them during the school year to no success is a marvel).
  • Cooking and baking have a lot to do with Math.
  • It’s nice to go out of your way to help when someone has a baby- my sister had twin girls two weeks ago.
  • Also, even more importantly, how to cradle a newborn’s head.
  • Why comparison-shopping is worth a little extra time.
  • The library does, indeed, have a book for everyone, even people who think they’re not recreational readers. My sons are voracious readers- and until we found Baby-Sitters Little Sister
    my seven-year-old had yet to find a chapter book series she’ll  devour until this summer.
  • How to cook their own eggs and toast (older ones both- little ones just the toast).
  • A simple knit stitch is not that hard, and knitting is actually relaxing.
  • Flipturns in the pool aren’t as hard as they look and they can shave seconds off your time when you’re racing your, ahem, mother.
  • How to properly pair and fold socks. And if you don’t complain about doing it, you may even earn a nickel for each pair matched and folded. If you complain, though, this chore will go under mandatory next time.

What I’ve learned:

  • Even early birds can become late bird sleepers come summer.
  • The basics of Chess taught to me entirely by my soon-to-be sixth grader. I’ve yet to beat him, but he’s a better teacher than I ever imagined.
  • That this same son can go away for a couple of days with another family and remember his manners without me nagging. The mother called to tell me he had good manners- like how he carried his own dishes over and washed them. That was the moment of truth!
  •  Even if it’s hard to tell sometimes, our kids really are listening to us.

What have your kids already learned so far this summer?


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