Today was the last day of school for all of kids ages 12 and down, and dd16 finished 12th grade over a week ago, so as of now we have just one child left in school – ds14, who has a different school schedule than the other kids. The kids who finished today came home with report cards and certificates of good behavior and workbooks/activities for the summer, and I keep thinking how happy I am that we’ve completed this stage in our lives and are moving on to homeschooling!
As positively as I feel about the summer, I know that the transition period won’t necessarily be easy. This is more of a concern to me right now since for the last week and a half I’ve been really wiped out and exhausted. Transitions require more of an investment of parental time and energy than when things are running according to routine, and I’m going to have to make a very conscious effort to get to sleep earlier so that I can do what I need to do!
Dd16 will be running a two week day camp for young boys beginning tomorrow. It’s ironic that here in Karmiel, far from a bastion of English speakers, that all of the families sending are English speakers so the camp will be in English! She offered to take ds4 and ds5 for free, but we settled on me paying a discounted price, since it will be more work for her and I don’t want her to do it without any gain. It’s a small group of nice kids and especially with dd running it, I know the boys will enjoy it. Particularly for ds4, it will be special since he’s used to being home with me.
Dd12 and ds7 both asked me to send them to the camps their schools are running. I told dd12 I was open to it but we needed to discuss it, and that discussion hasn’t yet happened. (Updated to add – she asked me about this at 7:45 the next morning. I told her I wasn’t comfortable registering at the last minute like this, but if she wanted to take care of the registration on her own, it was fine with me. So she did and will be in camp for the next two weeks. :)) As far as ds7, I think he needs to deschool and I’m not the slightest bit interested in sending him to camp. He was telling me about his day in school, including the fifth grader who told ds7 to give ds11 the message that he hates him, and then the boy kicked ds7. Then he got kicked by a seventh grader not long afterwards. I pointed out that it didn’t seem camp would be much fun if the same group of older kids were there. The kids are careful not to do this when teachers around since there’s no tolerance for this kind of behavior, but it makes unsupervised school time unsafe for kids.
Ds7 is a great example of a student who has everything going for him – he’s the top student in his class (and unfortunately knows that- I’ve always avoided this kind of comparison, preferring to focus on each person doing his best), is friendly, great at sports, and students and teachers really like him. He’s the kind of kid who shines in school, but even so there’s a tension and unhappiness that we’ve all noticed in him. If I’m seeing this in a boy who is excelling by all accounts, what’s it like for the kids who aren’t successful in school? I’m looking forward to the restoration of his natural easy going nature as he unwinds inside. I spoke to another mother of a large family, and she told me all her kids are uptight and unpleasant by the end of the school year – they start to get back to themselves after some vacation time. I wonder how many people think about how this kind of tension affects their children’s personality development long term?
Last year, I was really looking forward to summer vacation, and then gave birth a day after it began. That was followed by time in the NICU, daily trips back and forth to the hospital, then followed by constant doctor visits. And before I knew it, the summer was over and the kids were back to school, and I hadn’t had a chance to be with them in the way I had hoped. I’m looking forward to this summer being different. My plans are very low key – mostly to take them to local parks, read books and play games with them. As boring as that sounds, I think it’s just what we all need – time to relax and spend time together as a family.