Every Summer

Every Summer

Every summer when I was in elementary school, if I didn’t have summer school, my dad would give me math lessons from the dreaded orange arithmetic book.  Back in the late 50s, summer school was for kids that didn’t have the grades to pass. I did my time in summer school and I thought that when my report card showed I didn’t have to “do summer school,” I’d have a break.  My dad thought differently. No summer school meant that I had to do math problems from that orange book. 

Every night, my dad would come into my room and have me sit at my desk and then he would explain what I would be working on the following day. No playing in the sprinklers or flooding the front yard with the irrigation pipes for the fields. I’d be doing math problems. He would start with the page number and what was on that page. 

“Do the problems 1 though 20 but skip every other one. Only do the odd number problems, show your work and don’t cheat I’ll know if you do.” I didn’t know that there was an answer book that he used to check the problems. I also didn’t realize that in the back of the book was a lot of answers and some “how-tos” that explained some problems and also gave the answers. I suffered though each summer doing math problems that included some word problems. I thought, “who in the world would needs that junk?” Somehow I made it through.

Summer programs for kids need to be somewhat fun. I’m not saying that all summer should be games, trips to the big Disneyland, sleepovers, video games and the like, but enrichment is always a good thing. Giving kids an option to take an art class, music or try some tumbling enhances their brain. Studies show that kids that are involved in some kind of art perform better academically.    

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