Summer break is halfway over for us and it has been a great and extremely boring break. Kit Cat has advanced her drawing skills from dragons to creatures of the night. (The latest one resembles a strange spider faced long legged creepy crawly. *shiver*) And Paddy has been working on his CAD software abilities.

And yes, they are also working on the homework assigned to them by their schools.

I completely understand summer homework. I understand the science behind having children keep their mind working so they don’t fall behind in the summer months. However, I wish there was more variety in the choices for summer homework.

Math and reading. Math and reading. Math and reading. Oh…and some more math and reading.

There is so much more to learning than just math and reading. And the assigned reading has very little wiggle room for reading something they want to read. And the math, for Kit Cat, is fractions and all the other math things she hates. Paddy is forced to read books that usually have some sort of political agenda now that he is in high school.

Kit Cat would love to be assigned a science experiment. Something she could really consume herself in. Paddy would be in heaven if he would be assigned something for his CAD program or perhaps even a history research paper. But no. Math and reading. Math and reading.

Kit Cat, for fun, is reading the book “Gone” by Michael Grant. It is 581 pages long and the best way I can describe it is a mixture between Lord of the Flies and Stephen Kings “The Stand”. It is thought provoking. Has multiple characters in a variety of situations that allow the characters to develop and grow. She has to stop reading that book, which she loves, so she can read her two assigned books. Barely over 200 pages with limited action and adventure. She’s bored. She loves heavy sci fi and fantasy and is constantly reading. When we go out to eat she usually has her sketch book or a novel to read. I know she is not the typical teenage girl, and I know many in her class need a ‘grade’ to read something. I just wish the school would have more variety in their reading summer lists.

In order to keep Paddy’s mind active we have him do some small research papers and he gets to pick the topic. He did a great paper on the life of Beethoven and is now working on the Civil War. He is enjoying what he is learning. However, this isn’t what the school has assigned. At least he had to read a classic – 1984. He read it in one day. He went right back to his book on Egyptian Mythology when he was done.

I wish the summer months could be used for the students to pick their own topics for study. I know it is easy for our family considering I work in a school office and have a good portion of the summer months off which makes doing school work with the kids easy. They don’t have to go to summer camps nor do they have to stay home alone. I know this is a luxury many families don’t have.

I just feel like if we gave the kids some control over what they learn over the summer that it wouldn’t be so difficult to have them do it. Allow them to pick what topic they want to learn. Allow them to pick what kind of math they want to practice. If we give them some choices, I don’t think it would be so hard to get them to do it.

Just something to think about. Now, back to making my children put down their over 500 page novel and history books and forcing them to read what is on the ‘list’ that has nothing in it that interests them.

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