Well, another school year has come and gone in our house: yesterday was my daughter Alex’s last day of school, and today we had our final parent-teacher conference with her third grade teacher, confirming that she’s ready to move on to fourth grade. We thanked her teacher for her hard work this year, and we’ve celebrated Alex’s hard work as well.
So. Time to sit back and do nothing for the next three months, right?
Well, unfortunately for my daughter, not in this house.
Now, don’t get me wrong: it’s not like I’m going to send my daughter into some child-labour workhouse, trust me. And growing up in a home where at least 4 hours of each day my summers was spent “getting a head start on next year’s mathematics” has made it so that I’m very cognizant of how rough it is to watch all your friends kicking back while you keep your nose to the grindstone. That said, I don’t think it’s all that bad to keep a little focus going throughout the next three months, either. And so in order to strike a delicate balance, I asked my 9-year-old daughter if she could come up with 10 things that she wanted to accomplish this summer (providing a bit of parental guidance, obviously).
Here’s what she came up with:
1. Go horseback riding. She’s in the middle of a book about horseback riding, which is where I think this is coming from. She forgets that here in Houston, the summer temperatures are on the verge of rising to surface-of-the-sun magnitudes, making being outside pretty miserable, far less horseback riding. But nonetheless, we will look for an opportunity, what the heck.
2. Roller skating. There’s a rink near our house. We can do this.
3. Read 10 books. Okay, now we’re talking. Alex is a reader by nature, so we’re talking chapter books here, which is awesome. If she makes it, this might be worthy of some sort of reward at the end of the summer.
4. Write something in my journal every day. She’s a kid after my own heart. And a writing practice during the summer months? This soothes my academically-inclined soul.
5. Create a photo diary. I’m intrigued by this one. Last summer, we took a family vacation to France (to celebrate our 10th anniversary), and Alex kept a journal while we were there, involving an instant camera. It might be time to pull it out again, to combine with her #4, above.
6. Go to the beach. Galveston is a 45 minute drive away, so we can make this happen.
7. Go to the entertainment pier in Galveston. This is new, built after Hurricane Ike a few years ago. This can happen as well.
8. Have a sleepover. She’s finally getting to the age where hosting sleepovers for her friends is fun — no one is crying to go home early, and so on. We can make this happen.
9. Master making paper airplanes. I have no idea where this goal came from. But I’m all about whimsy, man. We can start here.
10. Write a comic book. Write on, my girl. Creative is good.
So this list of summer goals feels good to me — it has tons of fun, and there’s enough stimulation for her mind and exercise for her body in there that I’m satisfied.
What about you — now that summer’s coming, do you make goals with your kids about what they want to accomplish over the summer? How does it work out for you? Any tips?