Harry Potter or Sidewalk Chalk?

 

I’ve been seeing a lot of blog posts about SUMMER! As in no school, no learning, no teachers, no pressure. And the “Woo-hoo! Yay!” of that.

This reminds me of a post I wrote last year about summer reading (posted below). I’m going to be the wet blanket here. I think kids should continue learning during the summer. What I don’t understand is why kids can’t learn and have fun. Why is there such an extreme separation between these views? I don’t think there needs to be. ThoughtBubble

Going to the beach, riding bikes, blowing bubbles, swimming…these are all wonderful parts of summer. That doesn’t mean kids can’t read or use some of their outdoor time learning about nature.

My children are out of school, and it is officially summer break around here. They both love reading and willingly grab books daily as a fun activity. But what about those who would rather not read? Summer Slide is real.

After you’ve dried off from the pool or wiped sand from between little toes, sit down in the sunshine and have some DEAR time or read to your kids.

Who says you can’t have a picnic and read Percy Jackson?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Summer Reading Book (s)

When I was in school, we had required summer reading lists. Every year. With multiple books we were required to read. End-of-summer / back-to-school meant buying clothes, pencils, notebooks, and a backpack. It also meant preparing ourselves to prove we did our summer reading. In grade school, we had to write book reports. When we entered junior high, we were tested on the reading.

I suppose I’m old(ish) but, wow, have things changed that much? Get this. My kids have to read a book over the summer. One. Book. AND they don’t technically have to read it—this is a request not a requirement. Reading a book is “great!” and “encouraged!” but not “required”. Consequently, my kids will not be tested on or even asked about the book(s) they read because they weren’t expected to read any.

CharlotteWeb

Also, there is a page trying to talk students (or parents?) into this one book by spouting “Summer Slide” statistics and research about expanded vocabulary and increased success in school.

There is a list of book suggestions, yes, but they are popular books including many comic books and magazines. I’m not looking for a fight. My kids read both of the above and some of them are fantastic but I’m talking summer reading here. I don’t understand how we went from a required list of specific books to a suggested list of popular books in one generation.

Okay, it’s been twenty thirty years since I was in grade school and things are bound to change a bit in that time but, honestly, taking away summer reading? It’s still there, technically, but it’s really not. Not with the mild, mousy voice of it-would-be-so-neat-if-you-could-maybe-possibly-read-one-book-or-something-with-words-on-it-this-summer.

 

Did you have summer reading when you were in school? Do your children? Are they going to read this summer? If so, is it for fun or because their school required it? 

 

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Summer Solstice: The Shortest Night

 

The first day of summer is here. We like to think about sunshine and light and warmth when, in fact, this is the beginning of the dark half of the year. Today is the longest day and each day that follows will become incrementally shorter. Darkness is slowly edging its way into our lives.

We can wonder, while sitting on a sandy beach or swimming in a pool, how June could herald a decline of sunlight. Or we can savor and appreciate what we have.

This flower, purple, delicate, and perfect, showed up in the midst of the mess of old pine needles and weeds in our backyard. I have no idea where it came from. We didn’t plant it so the seed flew to us on a breeze or was carried by an animal. (I like to think it sprouted magically from the ground or the fairies brought it but believe what you must.)

Regardless of how it arrived, it stayed and blossomed just like that. One day there was nothing, then there was this. I’ll leave you to admire the beauty of the petals as well as the thought that it appeared somehow, some way, for some reason.

 

Summer Solstice Flower

Flower From the Fairies

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Mirror, Mirror

 

How do people see me?

I don’t think about it much. ThoughtBubble

It’s not because I don’t care but because I’m too busy asking my magic mirror (who isn’t very nice) what it thinks of me.

It always finds faults.

The way I look, act, parent, write…

When I put my face, my body, my writing, or my parenting skills in front of that mirror, they are ugly.

Add all my health problems and that’s that.

Sometimes I can fix the imperfections, other times I want to smash the mirror. There are days I can’t even look because I know what I will see.

In this way, I do wonder how others view me. I wonder if it’s the same way I view myself. I’m thinking it’s not.

I can be cruel.

I catch myself thinking something negative about myself and realize that I would never say that to someone else.

Chances are I wouldn’t even notice the perceived flaw.

Is this my internalization of society’s image of what I should be or an issue with my self-esteem? Is there a difference?

I’ve noticed I’m not alone in this. Why do otherwise ordinary, considerate, kind people do this to themselves?

 

Mirror Mirror

Warning: Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by society’s image of what you should be seeing.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Disappearing Into the Ethernet

 

It’s an unspoken rule that you don’t just disappear from social media. You don’t remove your blog or delete your Twitter and Facebook account without warning. You don’t keep those accounts and abandon them. ThoughtBubble

Why? Because we have made connections.

Maybe I made this rule up because, of course, many people do disappear. But a lot don’t. They announce they won’t be on Twitter or are taking a break from blogging. They often give a reason, too: computer problems, internet connection, poor health, family stuff, personal issues, going on vacation, “just need a break”…

The “social” in social media is strange. I’ll confess to checking on people (discreetly—in DMs or emails) if I notice they’ve gone AWOL, and it truly is out of concern. I’m not trying to pry and yet, I wonder, is this appropriate? I think it depends on your relationship with the person.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. When did we become so attached to our cyber friends? How do we define online friendships?

How much do we owe our readers and followers? Our facebook friends and tweeps? Why do we feel we must give an explanation for our sudden disappearance?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Oversharing on Social Media

 

When you haven’t blogged or been on Twitter, what do you do? I think some would answer with a resounding, “Nothing. Move on.” Others would say that a full-on explanation is warranted. I’m guessing that most people fall somewhere in the middle.

Personally, I feel I should write something.

When sharing information about my personal life in a very public way, where is the line? Do I keep it vague or go into details? How much is too much? And, more importantly, why am I thinking about this at all? Why, in the midst of a family crisis or health emergency or computer meltdown, am I worrying about what my online presence looks like to others?

I suppose you should let people know why you haven’t been online or won’t be online much. I suppose that’s the nice/right/proper thing to do. But… Is this common courtesy or TMI (too much information)?

 

So, when I should have been getting a huge reality slap about what’s important in life, I was thinking about all the blogs I haven’t commented on, the posts I hadn’t written, the updates I hadn’t made on my website, the tweets sitting in my drafts, the emails piling up in my inbox.

For anyone who is wondering, I’m about to overshare:

I went to the ER last week expecting a little help but was admitted to the hospital. I stayed a night. Then another. Then another… The world outside those four white walls faded away. I didn’t think about much besides my family. (And all the beeping machines, wires, IVs, tests, and blood pressure cuffs.) After a day or two, it hit me. The social media thing I’ve been yammering about. And here I am posting about my hospital stay and my ongoing treatment (a.k.a. wireless heart monitor I must wear 24 hrs. a day for a month). So I will post when I’m not passing out and will tweet when I’m not too dizzy. And there you go. Hope that is not too much information for you.

Cheers, gentle readers.

Oh, also, I have a strange habit of taking pictures at unseemly moments. I like to document everything—even the horrible things. So, for your viewing pleasure, this is my EEG. It’s one of the nicer photos. I look at bit like a modern techie Medusa but I’ve titled it “space mermaid”.

 

Sarah B Hospital - EEG