Friday, September 03, 2004

Last Weekend of Summer

I don't know who is more anxious about school starting, me or the kids. We have enjoyed 2 months of no homework, no karate classes or rehearsals, no lunches to pack, and if it takes an hour to find the shoes, that's okay, nobody is waiting. Evenings have been, "Supper, yeah, maybe I'll think about what to make in an hour or so, right now I'm drinking a glass of wine with the neighbours and the kids are down at the pool anyway." This has been followed by, "Sure you can watch The Simpsons and King of the Hill and Family Guy until 11pm. I'm going to read a book until 11 and I'm going to read it some more at breakfast because you're sleeping in again, right?" Weekends have been tons of fun too, with camping, family get-togethers, Theatre Under the Stars, just basically a lack of structure, emphasis on spontanaeity and a gentle slide towards nocturnal living - at least on the kids' part. I've read that the teenage brain needs extra sleep, and it prefers to get this sleep between 1am and 11am. Some schools are even experimenting with "late start day" one day a week, so the kids can sleep in and start class at 10:30 or so. Except for the fact that most teachers don't like the later day, it's been successful. On Tuesday morning, both schools open at 10, but on Wednesday it's back to business with secondary school classes beginning at 8:30 and middle school at 8:50. At least both children will be transported to school by means other than parental propulsion. Our 14 year-old will walk about 2km to the big school, while our 11 year old begins middle school, a 4km bus ride provided (for this year at least) by the school district on a big yellow school bus. This makes my husband dance with joy. He'll still have to drive kids around in the evening, but no more having to make it to the elementary school by 3pm for pickup time. Hooray!

While my husband does most of the chauffeur work, I do the study helper/enforcer role in our family. This is the dreaded part for me. There is always homework, and sometimes it is fun and interesting and the kids can do it on their own with a bit of help, but sometimes it is horrible and perplexing and they come home without understanding what it is they are supposed to do, or they leave their book at school, or they just hate the assignment, then one or the other has a meltdown. My most dreaded moment happen when two tired, grouchy kids are sitting at the dining room table bickering over who needs my help most and hurling insults at one another. But fortunately that does not happen often. One benefit of being the homework coach is that I am re-learning all of the material that needs to be studied for tests. I will be qualified to receive a Dogwood Diploma all over again in 2008. That's good, because when these guys finish their days in the public school system and move on to university or college, I'm going back too. Then they can help me with my homework. I have a degree in history from SFU, and I'm a certified teacher, but I did all that before I was 23 years old. I'd like to go back and take some more courses with my new and improved middle-aged brain. I think I'll understand them better, or at least differently.

So for our last weekend of summer-ish living, we'll have some fun. It's my best friend's 40th birthday celebration tomorrow, families invited. We'll all go to her place for supper and presents and cake. On Sunday we have to go to the PNE or we'll miss it altogether. On Monday we will do whatever we want to do. It's not like our last day on earth, but it will be our last day of summer. Maybe we'll go hiking or watch a movie or bake cookies or go for one last swim at the outdoor pool, or maybe we'll sit around the house and practise bickering (but I hope not!). Oh yeah, the kids mentioned something about buying new clothes for school at the mall. I'd better go hide now. I hate the mall. But that's a story for another day.

Question: How will you spend your end of summer days?

mompoet - calm on the outside, freaking on the inside

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