Today's guest blogger is Frances Ruiz, former lawyer and current stay-at-home mom of two. Enjoy!
next door neighbor was a school principal and he mentioned that when
he interviewed his first grade students and asked them what their
favorite part of school was, he almost had the same response every
time: "recess". I don't think it's because these students
are all lazy bums. I think it is because this is the time they get
to relax, play, connect with other children and form long lasting
is over and summer is here! The memories I have of my childhood
summers (circa. 1975) are all very happy. I was lucky to be sent to
wonderful camps, where the main activities were playing games,
painting, performing on talent shows, swimming, and simply making
friends. The rest of the summer, I remember staying up late, thus
waking up late, riding my bike, watching movies at home with my
parents (on our VHS) or at the theatre and simply "pass" the time
playing with my cousins. We would have water ball fights, play in
the rain, chase each other ("tag") or play "tira y tapate"
("dodge ball"). Other days we would invent dramatic plays that
my cousin would record in her taping recorder (nope, no video
cameras, no itouch those days) and we would listen to ourselves
afterwards. Or we would just "camp" in our living room and make
our own camping sites by placing blankets on top of chairs or sofas.
It was very simple then...and it should be this simple now. I cannot
retrieve a memory where my parents would sit in front of me and flash
Math cards or ABC cards so I could maintain my academic status once
summer was over!
oh boy, times have changed! I just received an email message
alleging that students can lose up to approximately 30% of their
skills and knowledge during the summer! They call
it "Summer Brain Drain". Ok, so what should
I do as a mother? Run to the store and grab any and all products
that will help my kids maintain their 90% of skill and knowledge this
summer? Instead of going to the pool, stay home and read books about
science and math? Prepare the flashcards Mommies, it's going to be
a busy summer...NOT.
understand there are children who need some assistance catching up in
the summer what they did not achieve during the school year. My
parents had to find a tutor for me to help me with English.
Apparently, I was failing... I am also in love with learning and
reading. That's why my husband and I read to our kids every night.
However, I think that the school year is for studying and summer is
for kids to be kids. Childhood is a precious and fragile time for
our children. That's why we say "you are a child just once".
After childhood, summers are full of summer reading and summer
projects...ask any tween or teenager. I want my boys to grow up as
well rounded kids. I understand that my duty as a mother is to help
them achieve their academic goals as well as develop long lasting
relationships and memories. The latter, in my opinion, are best
formed during summer "recess" with your family and your friends.
I am who I am because I worked hard in school, but also because
summers were spent being a kid. I earned a degree in Law and
currently work as a translator so I guess I did learned my ABC's.
But, thanks to those summers full of nothing and everything, I have
the tools to teach my boys that it is okay to just hang out once in a
while; that "chilling" (that's what my boys say when they want
to relax) on the sofa watching a program together eating popcorn is
a great time to enjoy each other's company; that riding a bike is
not only exercise, but also fun; that they can stay up late because
their friends are over and thus, wake up late (and giving Mom and Dad
an extra hour of sleep in the morning).
It's a simple solution for your child to feel like a
child while "rebooting" her brain and refreshing it for when
school begins in the fall. And if you are still worried your 7 yr.
old is not practicing his Math enough this summer simply ask him that
if he has $5 and he buys two popsicles at 1.50 each, how much will he
spend and how much will he have left? I did this "exercise" with
Javier and he excitedly answered: "I'll spend $3.00 and I'll
have $2.00 left!" We both had a special moment of pride while we
savored our popsicles together in our backyard. Have a great