“Why didn’t you let me know you were at my house last night?” Griffin’s friend asked as we walked into the scout meeting. Griffin had stopped by the night before to get signed off on requirements for his first aid merit badge by his dad. “Where were you?” Griffin inquired. “Downstairs, asleep! My summer awake hours are 8 pm to 6 am.” As a parent listening to this conversation I was stunned that parents allowed their children to live this way. I asked a few questions. He explained that during the summer he plays Call of Duty with friend online at night. If he is up during “normal” hours he gets bored. Lucky for me Griffin thinks staying up all night to video game online is crazy.
As I reflected on this conversation, I got to wondering what my students are doing this summer. Before school got out, I surveyed my classes about what they were looking forward to during summer. Many responded with “TV, Video games or Movies.” Aren’t these things that students can do year round? Some did share about camping, sporting or trips to see family. A few responded with “Nothing”. I guess I am lucky, I can spend most of summer at home with my kids. They read, write, and explore many things. This week they spent 3 days at Stony Creek Metropark attending a nature camp.
Our students need sumer activities to stimulate their minds, challenge their thinking and keep them busy. Yes, children need to have voice and choice in what they do. They need free time to explore on their own, but they also need structured time. Time to explore new things. Time to be challenged. If children only choose what they want to do, how broad will their experiences be? Some children love trying new things but others resist. Children need to be pushed into trying a variety of activities out. Often they find something new they enjoy! My son Gavin didn’t want to goto nature camp, he told me he would rather spend quality time with “Netflix” but he learned he likes making! After building a catapult he said: “Dad can I make a Robot?”
Society needs to make sure their are plenty of opportunities for students in the summer. Students should not be allow to just sit at home with screens as sitters. Many communities have camps at their churches or schools that offer this opportunity. Hopefully my students are taking full advantage of their summer! I will be tagging all my children’s summer learning with #summerlearningfun on Twitter and Instagram. Join me in shedding light on how our youth should use their open summer time to learn independently.