After Memorial Day, which signifies the official start of summer in the USA, the last few weeks of term seem to hurtle downhill towards the long summer break. When I read blogs by people in England, who are only just having half term now, it reminds me how the shape of the school year here is just so different.
In the last few weeks of term come all manner of things that need to be attended by parents; Field Day (aka sports day), the school Art Show, summer parties, kindergarten ‘graduation’. Outside of school, there are dance recitals and music recitals (Americans love a good kiddie recital); having thought we'd done all ours in May, Littleboy 1 has now been asked to perform in another one, so it's back to the manic practising.
The teachers have given up on homework, even though we still have two weeks left of school; the kids come home reporting of having watched the High School Play performed in their auditorium all day, or having extra 'free choice'. Meanwhile, parents are busy buying teacher presents and making playdates with people they’ve meant to ask round all year but haven’t quite managed to.
At the same time we’re getting ready for camp, with orientations to attend, online conversations about nametape labels, trips to buy insulated lunchboxes and the like. This year, the Littleboys start camp the Monday after finishing school on the Friday. (The Doctor says this reminds him of a Peanuts strip where they run out of school yelling ‘school’s out!” only for Lucy to say “Oh, there’s the bus for camp!”).
While it’s a bit of a shame they don’t get a break, I don’t feel too sorry for the boys. Having looked around their camp the other day, I decided I would be quite happy to spend my summer swimming twice a day, riding ponies and doing obstacle courses in the woods. Instead of which, I’ll be continuing with work until August, when I hope to take a well-earned break (aka looking after the boys and being splashed by manic children at the town pool every day). These long American summers may not be designed for parents, but they're heaven for kids.