Watching kids on the last day of school can be fascinating. Reactions run the gamut from ecstatic to despairing with a fair amount of anxiety, relief, excitement and confusion in the middle. If you want to know about a kid’s home life, I recommend watching that kid when summer begins. The picture’s not all about home life, of course. The quiet that introverts welcome naturally dismays the kid who likes to be the center of attention. In my school district, siblings and order of birth can be important. If you have to babysit the four who came after you, the end of the school year does not signal the beginning of fun and relaxation.
In the midst of the happy crowd running to the bus, I saw dejected faces and a few criers.
Eduhonesty: While we are amassing these mountains of mostly unused data, we might add one more survey, the one about how students feel about summer vacation and what they expect to do during that vacation. That information could help us identify students who need more support during the school year. We often don’t know enough about their home lives until a crisis hits, especially in the case of our more reticent students.
For parents: If you are reading this blog, you probably don’t need advice from me on how to manage the summer months. But I’d like to throw in one suggestion: Why not create a daily family reading hour? During this time, the whole family reads when possible. We learn from what we see. My mom was always seated in a corner armchair with a book, a picture of peaceful contentment under a hanging, stained-glass lamp. I sat on the couch across from her.