What summer means to me

Looking back on my life summer has had so many different meanings in my life.

When I was a child: I remember summer being a time of freedom.  Staying up late, playing outside, waiting for the ice cream truck.  It meant bike riding, swimming and making up games with friends.  It meant getting up early and staying out until the street lights came on.  We went to soccer camp, community boating, and participated in other camps.

When I was a teenager: summer meant being able to work more to make more money.  It meant going to the beach and movies with friends.

Summer means a break from reality.

When I was single and a teacher: summer was a time to take courses.  It was a time to pick up summer school if I wanted or do nothing at all.  It was a time to change gears and then prepare for my next batch of kindergartners.

When I first became a mother:  summer meant less time outside and more time to be creative.  Summer with little ones in Florida means cooling off in the baby pool with a Popsicle.  As the boys grew it meant swimming lessons, playing sports and keeping busy.

When I became a mother to school age children:  summer meant keeping busy, finding camps for the kids and fitting in the fun.  Summer is a time to watch movies during the day just because.  Summer means $1 movies, trips to the library, and baking together.

Now that I am a mother of school age children and a teacher again:  summer is bittersweet.  It reminds me of my days as a stay-at-home mom.  I am able to be with the boys all day... which is a challenge some days.  We try to do a lot together during the summer.  But summers also means the boys come with me to set up my classroom.

It means thinking about getting them ready for school and myself as well.  I have said this year I will not go into work until August. So we go to the $1 movie, go to the library, to to Walt Disney World, make puzzles, watch movies, play outside, play in the pool and just hang out.  There are more laughs and more frustrations, but I love my summers with my boys.

So what does summer mean to me?  It means I get to be with my boys, to reconnect and just be.


technology vs play


Over the years, I've thought about screen time a lot. I have two sons, they love technology.  I have a husband who works in the computer industry.  We have computers, tablets, cellphones, tvs, mp3 players.... but, we also have books, board games, puzzles, arts and craft items, and so much more.

When we go to the pediatrician one of the first things she asks me is how much screen time do the boys get on a regular basis.  My answer, less than most.  During the school year, they do not get technology during the school week, unless it is something they need for a project.  We then also limit it on the weekend.  Even during the summer we limit it.

As a teacher, we are pushed to have the kids use more and more technology during their learning.  For me this is a double edged sword.  I understand that there is so much we can do with technology, but isn't it more important for children to explore knowledge than to watch it?  Wouldn't it be better to have them watch a real caterpillar change into a butterfly than see it on the screen?  Isn't it better to use multilink cubes to learn to add than use a computer program?  Is it better to have an actual book to hold in their hands than watch a book read on the computer?  Don't get me wrong, I think there needs to be a balance.

Balance... that seems to be what is missing or skewed.  Why are people allowing their children to sit and use technology for hours on hours?  I am amazed every year by the number of children who have never played an actual board game.  The number of parents who say they can't find time to read, but then hear the child talking about playing this game or that game on their tablet.  My children read all the time. They read before bed, they read in the car, they read in their rooms.  They also play with toys, the play board games, they play sports, they play.

We don't know the effects that this increased screened time will have on children, on generations, on our future.  Think about what you loved doing as a child... is your child doing anything like this?  If not... why?