Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dear Dr. Jill on Summer Vacation

Originally published in Oak Meadow Elementary School Hoofprints Newsletter April 2004

Dear Mommy (even if everyone else calls you Dr. Jill),

How can we have the best summer ever?

Love Greg, Bradley & Nikki
My dearest children,

First I will tell you why we have such a long summer vacation.  In the olden days, back when your great-great grandparents were children, most people lived on farms.  Farm families had LOTS of children because more children meant more help on the farm.  Everybody knew school was important, but taking care of and harvesting the crops was even more important.  They couldn’t just go down to the grocery store for their food, so if they didn’t take care of the farm, they would be hungry.  For this reason, children didn’t go to school during the summer because this was the time they were needed to work on the farm.  Not much of a vacation, was it?

Children today have lots of time off during the summer and usually there are no crops to care for.    I want to get together one night, make some popcorn, and find out what everybody in our family likes doing best.  To have the best summer ever, we need to spend lots of time doing the things we like best.  I know we will want to do lots of swimming and bike riding.  Lets plan on some lazy breakfasts where we all help make the pancakes or eggs. I think this might be a good summer for you kids to learn some cooking.  Lets take the time to learn to bake a cake and make grilled cheese sandwiches.  Yum yum!  Spending time with friends sounds great too.  Sometimes your friends can come to our house.  Remember they must follow our rules about inside voices, walking instead of running, listening, sharing and keeping hands to selves.  Other times you can go to their houses to play.  Behave well and win the good guest medal by being invited back!  I think the best times are when you go outside and you run, feel the wind, giggle, roll in the grass, get sweaty and hot, and then drink something cold or have a popsicle.  Playing with the hose or in the pool are special summer treats too.

We are planning two very special vacations this summer.  We will go to Disneyworld and to the beach at South Padre Island.  We will spend lots of good times together.  At Disneyworld  we get to go on rides, eat interesting food, ride trams and see things we’ve never seen before.  We will take an airplane and stay in a hotel so we must remember to be respectful, polite and kind.  I will pack bags with treats and activities to keep you busy.  Traveling is a great time for gameboys, coloring or reading books.  When we go to the beach, we will drive.  Lets have a nice time in the car.  We can sing and talk and listen to music or books on tape. Looking at the scenery, animals, clouds, plants, houses and train tracks can pass the time quickly.  At the beach, you have to remember to always wear sun screen and stay where an adult can see you.  Don’t go in the water without permission! We will eat in lots of restaurants on both trips.  Talk in a calm, inside voice.  Order only what you plan to eat.  Sometimes we will get dessert but not every day so please don’t complain.  Complaints are never welcome, although suggestions usually are. 

Summer vacation is a long time away from school.  It is easy to forget the things you worked so hard to learn this year.  A good way to stay smart is to read.  We will try to read at least 30 minutes every day.  You are all good readers so I bet there will be many days you will want to read even more than that.  We can go to the library or bookstore to pick out some interesting books. We can play math games in the car or at dinner.  You can go to the store with me and help me pick out what we need and figure out what we are spending.  Computer math games are a good way to stay smart too.

Remember when I told you about the farm children earlier?  Summer vacation can be a good time to learn new skills and chores.  We all enjoy living in the house together so we all must pitch in and do our part.  Lets talk about chores AND allowances.  Its nice to have pocket money to buy what you want and to learn about responsible spending.  

The most important way to have the best summer ever is to enjoy time as a family and time by your self.  We have the most fun when we are kind and considerate and generous with each other.  We are happiest when we take turns and practice patience.  At night, we can sit outside and watch the stars and moon.  Maybe we will see constellations or planets.  Sometimes we can catch fireflies but we must always let them free before we go inside.  I also like to watch our pets playing.  It is so relaxing!  Our dog does funny things that make us laugh.  Our cats are so cute together and love to be petted gently.  We should spend time outside watching the clouds, blowing bubbles, playing games and walking in the woods.  Maybe we can go through some old photos together and talk about your grandparents and what life was like when Mommy and Daddy were your age. Quiet time spent thinking about our love for each other, what we are grateful for and how to be the best we can be is a good way to spend hot afternoons.  Its so easy to forget how nice it can be to do nothing.

Sounds like a good plan for the best summer ever doesn’t it?  I can’t wait!  

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