Time slows down as the school year comes to a close. Not just for the students, but the teachers as well. We basically just give up on teaching anything new during the last two weeks. The elementary schools have a bunch of parties and outside-play days, but at the high school we can't do that. The students are absent a lot, with competitions to attend, and the ones who remain are either glassy-eyed or restless, starting to talk whenever the teacher pauses in her instructions. (Me: "Seriously? I just stopped to answer someone's question--that was not a cue for you to start a conversation!")
I was glad it worked out to show the students a movie of the last novel we read (Of Mice and Men), then hand out a review for the final exam, answer a few questions, and finish up grading the last few projects and (late) papers that came my way. Yet doing that tired me out as much, if not more than, actively teaching. I had to force myself out of bed in the mornings. I cannot wait for school to be out, I thought. I need some REST!
Somehow I forgot that my children are eight and five, and they do not sleep late. For the two days that we've been out of school, my son has woken up around the time my husband leaves for work. Guess who gets to fix Mr. Blue's breakfast? By the time I do that and eat something, Miss Pink is up. And I realized that the only way to get extra sleep is to make sure they are occupied with something that keeps them quiet. (I attempted a nap yesterday but our house is so small, I can hear every time Miss Pink starts bossing her brother around and the subsequent fit he throws.) I can doze while they watch TV, but then it gets harder and harder to make them turn the TV off, and I refuse to let the TV stay on all day (I say that every year but it gets more difficult to resist as the summer goes on. Still, better to start off with my ideals high.) So today I sent them outside to play and told them not to wake me up for an hour unless it was an emergency. It worked!
Now that they are older it is easier to plan activities. The hardest time was when Mr. Blue was a baby, but Miss Pink (and I) needed social interaction. My SAHM friends and I used to meet at Chick-fil-A, the park, the free movie day at the library, each other's houses, anywhere we could go to get out of the house. Wait...we still do that during the summer, but at least now we can sit and talk with only occasional intervention, even at the pool.
For days when we will be home most of the day, I have a schedule planned. It's flexible as to time and the exact nature of the activities, but I figure it works at school for a reason. Every day includes outside play, learning time, and independent play. I even let Miss Pink help me make a list of crafts (gasp) so I can add ingredients to the shopping list. It's working very well so far. I think kids need to be able to entertain themselves, but summer days are LONG and a couple of hours of planned activities makes a huge difference.
I guess you can take the teacher out of the school but you can't take the teacher out of the mama....
Except I don't ever get to take naps at school, so even if I only get a snooze once in a while, I'm doing all right!