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Summer Amnesia

Originally published in August 2014

It’s that time of year again.  Summer Break for the children and for me as well.  Although I still have to go to work every day, not having to get up in the morning and wake up Papi and Munch, not having to pack their lunches the night before, not having to prepare clothing for the week is all a very welcomed break. But what I have found is that it is also a brain break, which could be a good thing, but right now I am not referring to the good way. Right now I am referring to the brain break that my children always take that makes it seem as if they have never gone to school a day in their lives by the time school begins again in September.  Last year, I will never forget my oldest son, Papi picking up a pencil to write something towards the end of the summer break.

It looked like he was using chopsticks for the very first time with his non-dominant hand, then he actually said “this feels so weird! I haven’t held a pencil in so long. I almost forgot how to write.” 

Now you may be asking yourself, what kind of mother am I that I didn’t see to it that they were writing all summer long? My response: It was just that kind of a fun summer. Don’t judge me.  But either way,  what kind of craziness is that?!!  Does two months really have the capability of wiping away something that is practiced daily for ten months? Well apparently it does and this summer, there was no way that I was going to let that type of amnesia try to set it again.

And thus, my new family project was born. Now, the key to having children do anything that even resembles school work during the summer, and they still enjoy it is to disguise it as something else.  I have seen parents who sign their children up for literacy, and math classes throughout the summer to avoid the aforementioned “forgetfulness”, but I am not that parent as I do think children need down time.

However, I am that parent that will trick her children into doing work by making it look fun. SO this is what I did.

First I came up with a writing topic, something that sparks creativity. Then instead of just assigning the writing task to the children, our entire family got involved: me, and my hubby, as well as the boys. Next I gave each of the boys their own composition notebooks and a due date that we all had to adhere to. Two days after the assignment was given, everyone was ready with their story.  We gathered on the sofa and took turns reading our stories out loud. The rules were that no one was allowed to laugh at anyone’s story in a critical manner, and no interrupting.    It was a great success! Everyone definitely brought their own personalities to their stories with the big laugh of the night being my hubby’s half human, half raisin story (yep, that’s his personality for sure).  But most importantly, it was family time well spent and the children enjoyed writing.  So much in fact, that when I was ready to give them the next writing topic, they had come up with a few of their own. So now we let Munch choose the next topic: “If you could have any super talent in the world, what would it be?”  Then our oldest son, Papi is excited to choose the next topic thereafter.  I think I may be on to something! This September, there will be no forgetfulness when it comes to holding a pencil! Mission Complete.

Talk to you soon!

Serene

Share with me: What things will you do over the summer for your children to counteract summer amnesia?  

Pot of Sweet Peas

The Writing’s on the Wall

When my boys were very little, they loved to write on everything besides the paper I provided them with.  No matter how many times I stressed to them that we only write on paper, I would find stray marker scribbles on the wall.  I remember speaking to many parents and discovering that I was not the only one with this issue.  Different parents came from different schools of thought.  There was the parent that refused to give their children writing utensils while they were in the house.  Those parents left writing opportunities for mommy and me classes, and the mess could be avoided at home. Then there was the mom far on the other end of the spectrum, who just threw her hands up, saying “Who cares if they write on the walls. We will just cover it with paint…one day”.  I’ve actually visited that mom’s home and literally, there was art on the actual walls like the living room was one big canvas.  Then of course, there was the mom right in the middle of the spectrum who purchased an easel and was committed to repeatedly reminding her child to only draw on the paper. 

While there is nothing wrong with any of these approaches, I decided to add another option to the list for my boys.  I decided that two can play this game. 

If it was going to be inevitable that they write on the walls, then I was going to make sure that the walls were covered with paper.  This way, we both win.  

I purchased a big roll of butcher paper which can be found at an art store or even a hardware store.  Then in the hallway of our apartment, I taped a long sheet of paper on each side of the wall. So there was 6 feet of paper to the left and to right of us when we walked down the hall.  Then I placed all crayons and markers in a bucket on the floor and let the boys go to work.  They absolutely loved it!! I also had an appreciation for their art work, which is why I left the papers hanging in the hall for a week or two at a time.  Also, I found that they would come back to the papers throughout the week and add to it.  There was so much paper for them to cover, it always kept them busy. 

Clean up was easy as pie.  When we were going to have adult company that we actually wanted to impress (yeah right), we would simply peel the paper off the walls, roll it up and put it to the side and Viola!! Clean walls. 

Happy Children, Happy Mom. 

Talk to you soon!

Share with me: What battles have you given up fighting with your children and just decided to meet them halfway?