First, before I get on to the business at hand, I have a few housekeeping measures to take care of. I want to start by thanking all of you for the advice yesterday; I’ve decided to hold onto the tests and use them to quiz her if necessary. Thanks for making me feel better about that.
Next, there’s the issue of my new look. Is it not totally mod? I mean, how much more sixties retro can I get, huh? Big, big e-hugs to the designer, Miss Zoot, who rocks in ways I cannot begin to imagine. Not only can she design fabulous, easy-to-incorporate templates, but she is also capable of three or four posts to her own site in a day when I can’t manage that in a week. Check her out, if you’re not lucky enough to have discovered her on your own. And thanks to all of you for your feedback.

Now we can move on. I realize that this is the second day in a row that I’ve talked kid stuff, but it’s a big week for us at the Wordnerd Ranch. Mr. Cool is totally pumped up about having finished school and graduating while simultaneously crapping his boxers about entering Incredible High in August. Miss Priss is still in school and preparing for her final exams. But it’s a happy time. I’ve never gone into a lot of detail about “all things kid”, but Mr. Cool’s graduation from this school, with honors, marks an accomplishment unknown to most of you. See, he was the victim of four horrendous, hideous teachers a couple of years ago, at an age where he was least equipped to deal with them. He was informed that he would never amount to anything and he’d do well to graduate and make it into a mediocre school. And all of this was because of a bit of misbehavior attributed to being 12. Over the course of a few weeks. I didn’t remove him from the school at the time for three reasons: (1) he didn’t want me to; (2) I believed in the overall good of the school; and (3) I wanted him to prove them all wrong. And he has. With honors. And A’s in conduct. Bitches.

But the subject of this post is (was supposed to be, rather) what we are doing to our kids. Are we pushing them too hard? Or is it necessary? Example. This summer, Miss Priss has two or three novels to read (required) which she will be tested on the first few days of school. Added to that is the new “summer math” program. Prior to this school year ending, the students will be given a summer math book, which has to be completed prior to school starting in August. This, too, is required. Their summer math work will be checked the first day of school. Now her school will dismiss for the summer on May 25 and will reconvene the second week of August. They are out for the break for roughly 10 weeks. And this week alone, we received forms for three different summer workshops being held by the teachers. Study skills. Math prep. Reading proficiency. All to be held over a two-week period.

So my question is this. Is this too much? Don’t our kids need some downtime? You know, sports, fresh air, rest and relaxation? Many of the kids are involved in summer sports, sports clinics (Miss Priss already has a cheer camp and a volleyball camp to attend), and things of that nature. By the time they do all this, plus all the summer assigned work, aren’t these summer workshops a bit much?

Doesn’t anyone remember REAL summer vacations? When you planned a family vacation? When the kids slept late, ate cereal on the sofa while watching tv, then went outside until dark? Are we doing right by our kids when we involve them in too many activities? And who is it all for?

Another position would say that we are doing this for them. That we are making success a real possibility. That we are ensuring their futures. And don’t we owe them that?

I’m curious to know what you guys think. I’m very fortunate to have readers with no kids, young kids, grown kids, grandkids. And I depend on you guys to keep me straight.

For the time being, the summer workshops are optional.

Me? I’m opting out.