Monday, June 6, 2011

8 Reasons Why I Love Summer Vacation (Or Why I Really Should Be A Homeschool Mom)

I'll admit it.  I waste too much time reading parenting blogs.
But technically, since, I get paid to blog about various parenting topics myself, I like to classify the large blocks of time I spend surfing the Internet as "work."

I'm actually researching trends and keeping my finger on the pulse of all the hot topics and daily controversies in the parenting world ...  

It sounds good, at least, right?

Parents Fear Summer Vacation?

In the past few weeks while I've been busy researching, I've come across several blog posts and articles by moms (and a few dads) bemoaning the fact that summer vacation has arrived.   

"What will I do with my kids home every day?" 

"How do I entertain them?" 

"Help! Find me the nearest full-day camp!"

Blogs and magazines are full of tips for how to keep your kids busy and ways to avoid tearing your hair out.  On one hand, I totally get it, and I sympathize.  School provides a welcome break from the tedium that is child-rearing, and summer break signals an almost inevitable explosion in whining, fighting, and that damned sibling rivalry.    

But on the other hand, I must be wired differently.  Because, despite the drawbacks, I am totally psyched about summer vacation.  We're only one week in at our house, and I'm already in absolute heaven. 

I think summer vacation is awesome.  Here's why.

8 Reasons Why I Love Summer Vacation 

1.  No schedules. 

I'm NOT a Type-A sort of person, so the whole get everyone up by 7:50 and out the door 30 minutes later isn't really my cup of tea.  I hate having to wake up my kids (or get out of bed myself) after a late night just because school starts at 8:45 on the dot and the tardy slips are ready and waiting.  During the school year, your whole day seems to be dictated by drop-off and pick-up times, and you never seem to be able to escape the clock.  

During the summer, you can come and go as you like.  If your kids stay up late, they can sleep in late too.  If you end up going to the grocery store at 3:25, you don't have to race through to make sure you're back at school by 3:40.  You don't have to fight to impose the early bedtime that is necessary so they can get up for school, and bedtime doesn't dictate dinner time.

You can shop when you like, and eat when you like, and sleep when you like.

Summer really is a beautiful thing.     

2.  More free time.  

School isn't the only thing that keeps you busy during the school year.  All the sports teams, and dance classes, and scout troops, and school plays, and activities keep you running in circles if youlet them.  Summer may not mean the end of everything, but it almost always means you can find a little more time to relax and do whatever you want. 

3.  I'm in charge.

I may not be Type-A, but I'll admit to being a bit of a control freak, particularly when it comes to who's in charge of my kids (and me).  And apparently I'm not the only one. 

Stephanie O'Dea (author of the popular 365 Crockpot Blog) had this to say in a post she wrote about How To Stop the Summer Brain Drain.   

"I'm greatly looking forward to having the kids home with me when school lets out. No matter how involved I am in the school, during the school year, Adam and I are not in charge. The teacher is. I wish I could say this doesn't bother me, but I'd be lying. The school calendar dominates our day-to-day life, and I'm looking forward to getting a more natural flow to our days."
Yes, yes, and yes. 

4.  Less stress for everybody (especially mom).

No lunches to pack.  No "school" clothes to constantly put through the laundry.  Less pressure.  The minute school ended last week, I could instantly feel a giant weight lifted from my shoulders.  I get to be more relaxed, which means we all have more fun. 

What's that saying?  "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy?" 

5.  Different (and dare I say better) educational opportunities.

During the school year, kids get so busy with actual school that they often don't have a lot of time to pursue other educational opportunities.  Summer means swimming lessons, leisurely days spent reading and visiting the library, and the opportunity to participate in all types of camps and classes, from sports and space camps to academic and acting camps. 

Trips to fun and educational places like the zoo or local farms or science centers are also a lot easier to plan during the summer months.  And as a parent, you also have the option of buying some workbooks or planning activities to help your child with some of their personal weaknesses or particular areas of interest.

If your children love science, do some science experiments.  If they need handwriting practice, hit the school supply store and get to work!  

6.  Good, old-fashioned fun.

Children need to play.  Play is part of how they learn.  But many schools these days limit recess, and kids spend hours on end sitting at their desk.  Yes, you'll hear the "I'm bored" chorus, but some educational experts actually believe that this is a good thing. 

Kim John Payne, author of the book Simplicity Parenting, believes that bored kids are really kids on the verge of discovery.  He suggests that our children have entirely too much stimulation in their lives, and that time and space for simple, creative play is all they truly need.         

7.  A cleaner house.

I know it doesn't make sense, but I swear my house is cleaner in the summer.  Maybe it's because there are fewer papers spilling out of a backpack on a daily basis, or because we spend so much time outside instead of indoors making a mess, or because there's actually more time to clean when school and homework are out of the way.

8.  Time to connect.

A good friend of mine recently complained that, during the school year, she rarely has the opportunity to spend quality time with her daughter.  "It's just maintenance," she stated, and I totally got what she meant. 

We get so busy telling them to do their homework and finish their breakfast and hurry up and get in the car that we don't have time to just be with our kids and enjoy their company.  Summer is a great time to connect with our children on a deeper level, even if that just means chilling on the couch, without all the constraints that a busy school year brings.

Do you love summer vacation?  Or do you prefer having your kids go to school?  Do you find it hard to entertain them and enjoy them when they're home all day every day? 


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