Sliding into Summer
Today is June 1. The perfect first day of summer. No more homework, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks until...August 16. A little earlier than in the old days.
When I was in school, we started around Sept. 1 and finished around May 31. If we had too many snow days that year, we went into June. At that point, we'd sit at our desks, sweating, playing board games and realizing our teacher was a pretty nice lady when she didn't have to teach us anything.
Not anymore. According to news reports, summer breaks have been shrinking for some time. One reason is that school officials are worried about the Summer Slide, which is not a water park attraction.
It's when students forget four months worth of school over the summer. That's about half of what they learned. This makes what happens at age 22--when you forget all you learned in school-anticlimatic.
We didn't have Summer Slide when I was in school. We kept our brains fresh by playing Super Mario Brothers and watching reruns of The Facts of Life. Unfortunately, today's kids are a lot dumber. That's why they don't learn algebra until first grade. Wait a second. That can't be the correct explanation.
Rather, I think grownups knew about Summer Slide when we were kids and just didn't worry about it. They saw that we--generation x--spent most of our time watching T.V. and playing video games. So they cut their losses.
"Hang tight gen-xers," they said. "We'll call you if a princess needs to be rescued."
Then they pooled their resources for gen-y, who might actually be able to run the country some day. For instance, they made the kids wear a little something called "bike helmets." The first time I saw a kid ride by wearing one of these, I thought he was on his way to football practice.
"Where's your mouthguard, dummy?" I yelled.
Now I support bike helmets wholeheartedly, and in fact I think kids should wear car helmets, too, but that's another topic altogether.
Anyway that's my theory. Whether it's right or not, Summer Slide is not going to happen to my kids.
To prevent it, I started Summer Silence, when my kids will do a quiet activity for one hour. All quiet time is educational--even day dreaming. (Hello? How else do you think I developed my Summer Slide conspiracy theory?)
The kids are really excited about quiet hour. Almost as if I enrolled them in Math Camp or Wellness Camp-where you learn to excercise and eat right. I see these camps advertized everywhere-probably because math and dieting are such a barrel of laughs for kids.
It is Summer Silence time as we speak. And the kids are quietly karate chopping each other outside. See, it works.
Other than that, we have a busy summer planned. Johnny wasted no time in writing up a detailed itinerary for June. On the sixth, for instance, we will "go to poc" (the park). On the seventh, we will go to "siins sit e" (science city.) June 11, a friend will "spid the nit."
I just hope his spelling doesn't slide this summer.
Meanwhile, the boys seem to think I need summer school. This morning Richie wanted ketchup on his scrambled eggs. I held the plastic bottle over his plate and he looked at me.
"Do you remember how to do it?" he asked.
"Do I remember how to...squeeze a bottle?" I asked.
Then I did it.
"You remembered!" he said, as if I was a two-year-old.
Later, in the car Johnny handed me a paper he was working on. We were at a red light, and he wanted me to look at it. But before taking his hand off it, he said, "Don't throw it out the window!"
"Why would I do that?" I asked.
Must be all the years of summer slide I endured as a child.