Thursday, March 21, 2013


March 21, 2013

And here I am, about to apologize again.  About the make promises I can't really keep.  About to vow more fealty to the blog.

Don't believe me.

You know that April is coming.  The cruelest month.  The one that involves more grading than I should have assigned if I had paused for even a moment back at Christmas break when I was finalizing the details on the syllabi.  I would even call it wall-to-wall grading.

I'm already behind and every day new students show up at my office with new assignments to turn in.  They shove them into my hand at the end of class.  They attach them to emails.  They slip them into my mailbox when no one is watching.  

The one thing I can honestly say about spring break last week was that I didn't get any further behind.  That, dear friends, isn't true here in the week after spring break.

But I didn't log on to blogger to complain and make false promises that I was going to get after all the stories that are building up that you need to know about (including the Tale of the Lost Glasses, which happened on a dark trail in the wilderness this very morning).

I came to give you some advice.  This week.  Next week.  Soon.  When the delights of lolling around during spring break is still fresh on the minds of your children.  When their imagination is still ripe with all of the things they could have done during the break but ran out of time.

Sit them down.  Give them paper and pencil.  Or a tablet.

Make them EACH compose of list of 100 Things They Like To Do:

work a jigsaw puzzle
learn to jump rope
make paper airplanes
climb trees
play with sidewalk chalk
make woven potholders

Keep after them until they have at least 100 things if not more.  Have that list handy through April and May, when you are making them go to bed when it is still light outside.  When you have to pry them out of bed in the morning.  When all they can think of is summer break.  When their imagination is full of all the things they'd rather be doing.

Add to the list.  Plump it up.  Guide it so that it isn't a list of 100 video games (make that count as one thing).  Shape it so that it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to do most of the things.

As the countdown to the last day of school starts, post the list in a prominent place in your house.  

Then, three days into summer vacation, the first time you hear "Mom, I'm bored."  "Dad, there's nothing to do."   Point them towards their list and give them the choice of choosing something from the list or doing chores.

Trust me.  You will have a happier summer with just this little planning tip.