Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Keep a Little Summer All Through The Year

The boys are sitting at the breakfast table. They have pens, pencils and sheets of computer paper. They are creating worlds and buildings, lines and dots. They shade and contour; they divine perspective. They are drawing Space Hotels.

Today is their last day of summer. Tomorrow we return to structured learning, text books, schedules, long faces and groans. Most of the time they project an exceptional enthusiasm, but I think some moaning over sheets of arithmetic, essays and rote memorization just goes with the territory, and it's no wonder; they have spent a summer free to explore and follow the sun. We've played outside until dark. We've risen with the first light and crowing of the rooster. They have explored the farthest reaches of their yard, caught lizards, beetles and moon beams. They've been swimming, and hiking, biking and filming.

I suppose I will groan a little too. I don't relish returning to strict bedtimes, and shorter days. It won't be as much fun to add up numbers on paper, as it was to count the seeds in a flower head or the stars in the sky. I have heard people discount the hours of summer for its lack of structure and the time away from the classroom. Life is far too interesting and varied to ever be 'wasted' when it is spent playing, imagining, and sharing thoughts and dreams with people. Summer is processing time; an opportunity to apply theories and develop new inventions. It is a time to become familiar with our senses, and trust our own voices. I think I'll keep a little bit of Summer close at hand. And I will praise the boys and all they have learned and tried and shared in their own learning places.

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