Kemi, like “chemistry”

Random Musings of the Misunderstood

It’s official! School is out for the summer. June 4, 2008

     The bell tolled at exactly 1:00 PM.  My kids are home now.  For the entire summer.  Until August 25.


     I’m still not sure how I feel about this.


     Even so, we picked them up (it has poured here since they left this morning!) and made a quick celebratory trip to a McDonald’s drive-through window.  The Happy  Meals have been eaten, the two littlest are napping, and the two oldest are watching an episode of “Phineas and Ferb” on television.  So far, so good.


     What I am waiting for (with nervous apprehension) are the inevitable power struggles that will happen between older and younger siblings.  Hannah has been used to being in charge, and now there are two older kids who will put her in her place.  I remember last summer, where every morning started with tears, tantrums and tirades, and they continued well into the day.  I dealt with that for at least a month, until we all settled back into the summer routine.  (Pecking order.  Whatever.) 


     For the next three days, everyone is taking a “vacation” from responsibility.  Except Mom, of course.  And Dad…  he still has to go to work.  But the kids in my house can sleep in, play video games, watch movies and skip their chores until Monday morning, when we start our annual FlyLady “camp” and the summer routines are formed.  (One year I never really got around to setting routines, so their entire summer break was a vacation from responsibility.  And reality.  Was that last year?  *snicker*  No wonder we had problems.) 


     Anyway, I wanted to tie this post into the NaBloPoMo “home” theme.  Since school is my kids’ home away from home for a good share of the year, it’s always a little upsetting for them to get to the end of the school year.  In the past we’ve had tears (okay, so they were mostly mine), we’ve played “school”, and we’ve written letters and drawn pictures for their “old” teachers.  (What is it with kids and the word “old”?  No matter how many times I try to model the usage of “former”, they still revert to “old”.)  It really makes me appreciate the wonderful teachers they’ve had when I see my kids reenact their school days in front of our white board.  I wonder if Mrs. Hoffmann would be flattered to hear that for an entire summer, Kendra wrote “Mrs. H” as the name on all her papers.  I think Mrs. Sperry would love to know that both kids write and illustrate their own picture books, and they still beg to play with the envelope of math games she sent home at the beginning of first grade.  Or if Mrs. McAdams would grin to know that three objects get drawn in the corner of the white board every morning for Hannah and Anthony to “earn” or “lose”, based on their behavior.  I’m sure Mrs. McCann would be relieved to know that there was one kid who “got” a good share of her jokes, even if he was too shy to laugh at them in class.  Alex ALWAYS came home and told me what funny things she said, and how she’d comment that her humor was wasted on third graders.


     (I have to stop.  Here come my tears.  I have never been good with the last day of school;  not as a student, a teacher, OR a parent.  When I was a kid, I choked back my tears all the way home from school, and then I would hug my mom and go directly to her bedroom to hide by her sewing machine and cry my eyes out.  As a teacher, I always cried when I hugged my students for the last time.  And as a parent, it’s especially hard to say goodbye to a person who’s had so much impact on your children.  Gaah!  The lump in my throat is so big I can hardly swallow!  Breathe, Kemi.  Breathe!)


***** Kleenex break *****


     There were fewer tears this year than I expected (except for me!), so it makes me wonder if they fully grasp the finality of second and third grade.  Summer sort of crept up on all of us this year (I SWEAR, it was just February!), so maybe that’s it.  I think that sleeping in tomorrow will be fun for them, but by Friday the novelty will have worn off and reality will begin to sink in.  As I drove Alex to his friend’s house a few minutes ago, we discussed his last day of third grade.  I asked him if he hugged his teacher goodbye.  He said yes, and then he shyly said, “She told me, ‘Alex, I love you.  She only said that to some of the kids.'”  His voice cracked at the end, but there was no way I was turning to look at him.  My eyes were instantly full of tears, and I was afraid we’d just set each other off.


     Kendra told me how exhausting and looooong her day at school was.  It was hilarious for two reasons:  1) they got out an entire hour earlier than they do on Fridays, their regular “short day”, and 2) other than a talent show and autograph book signings, they did absolutely nothing.  Not one thing academic.  My funny girl…  maybe it affected her more than I realized.  Maybe her way of coping is playing school EVERY. SINGLE. WAKING. MINUTE of the day.  Either that, or she’s gonna be one heck of an experienced teacher when she grows up and goes off to college.


     It’s going to be a great summer.  I wonder how many games of “school” we’ll play?


     Bring ’em on.  I can hardly wait!



7 Responses to “It’s official! School is out for the summer.”

  1. Goldie Says:

    You must have been a good student. I NEVER cried at the end of school, except in choir b/c my choral group was disbanding.

    my BFF is DREADING summer b/c she has 2 preschoolers and one 7 year old and it will be hard to have the older one home w the babies. plus he never wants to go anywhere, just stay home and play video games and watch TV, but she needs to go out and run errands. maybe some structure would help her.

    you seriously flylady with your kids? you are SOOooo organized!

  2. Mercedes Says:

    We got out on May 23, 2008 and I go back July 28, 2008. The students return on August 1, 2008. The calendar year changed the year I started teaching-so I have never seen 3 month summers like so many assume we have-lol! I have become friends with many parents over the years and those parents always come to my room to visit me on the last day of school. I miss those parents too-especially when they move on…but I will have the younger siblings-woohoo! Hopefully this upcoming year I will have some of them with students I have already had…wanting to move to 5th grade so bad!


  3. Kemi Says:

    Oh, I LOVED fifth grade. That was my favorite grade to teach. 🙂

    Mere, I would love your schedule. Our kids get about two months and three weeks of summer vacation, and by the first of August, they are bored senseless. In my dream world (*grin*), school would begin August 1, we’d have a week off at Thanksgiving, three weeks at Christmas and a week at Easter. We don’t get a Harvest break the way you do. We just get two or three days around a “big” holiday, and about ten days for Christmas.

    Goldie- I was a HUGE geek. I sluffed school once, and I ended up spending the day in a teacher’s workroom, putting together my Sterling Scholar Portfolio. (She wrote me an excuse, of course, so it probably wasn’t even technically sluffing.) *rolling my eyes* I was a senior in high school.

    Some years are better than others when it comes to FlyLady camp, but we always try. Even if it’s one day a week for the whole summer, it gives the kids something to look forward to. It’s probably no surprise that we use a timer for video games, too. My kids get 30 minutes at a time, and after the timer goes off, they have to do something else. There was a lot of resistance in the beginning, but now they know there will be more turns later, after they’ve cleaned up a little and played outside.

    If you asked my husband if I’m organized, after he stopped laughing and picked himself up off the floor, he’d tell you that NO, in fact, I am NOT AT ALL organized. 😀

  4. Rachel Says:

    You are so funny! I too am slightly stressing about summer and what to do to keep people busy–and I only have 1 in PRESCHOOL–so I can’t imagine how you feel!

  5. Kemi, you are awesome with descriptions. This post is making me laugh. Even though my kids are too young, we might try a modified version of that camp because it looks like so much fun. Thanks for linking to it!

  6. High Hopes Says:

    I love summer vacation. It just seems to take the stress off in the morning, even if I am getting the dd out to summer camp.

    My daughter isn’t officially out until June 23rd, and they go back September 2.

    Enjoy! Packrat huh, I might have to do face book again…..

  7. paul Says:

    Great stuff.
    I just found your blog and love it.
    Look forward to reading more.
    You are so funny!
    I love it!!!! Thank you very much!

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