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Our Summer is Getting Busy!

I don’t even know how we have time for TV right now. Vacation Bible school, day camps, trips with friends to the zoo and local kid-friendly attractions, and a couple of weekends out of town — and our schedule is filling quickly! Add to that stacks of books from the library (and discount table at the bookstore), and boredom isn’t something I hear about over here.

I really didn’t think it would be this easy to keep the kids busy without television. Shame on me.

In fact, the kids seldom even ask to turn the TV on anymore. They are finding amusement in books, playing with toys, finding craft items that I stored away for rainy days (or excessively hot days like we’ve been experiencing), and finding new uses for old toys. I should have taken a picture the other day when they were making some of those shrinking things that you color and bake. Their little noses were all but pressed against the window of the oven, watching their artistic creations warm up, curl, then flatten out to something about 1/4 its original size. Yesterday they asked to play under the sprinkler in the back yard. I had to be at a meeting and told the sitter it would be fine if they did that. I’m not sure how long they were out there, but there was still mud and standing water in a couple of places in my back yard this morning when I went outside to water the garden. They obviously had fun.

For the first summer I can remember, I’m not worried about my daughter retaining what she learned during the school year. She is reading (avidly!), and we enrolled her in a summer math program. In the past, I would print off some math worksheets that I found on the internet with the expectation that she would have to complete “X” worksheets each day, along with reading for a specific period of time. It was little more than a constant struggle, leaving us both frustrated. Now, she loves her math program. Because she isn’t reading just so that she can catch the next TV show, her retention of what she’s just read has improved significantly.

Needless to say, the TV may play a much less significant role in our family well beyond the summer months. Do I miss some of my favorite shows? Yes, I do. I also feel a little guilty when I think about the emotional energy I invested in fictional characters. It’s my personal feeling that maybe I should be investing that time in my family and the *real* people in my life.

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