This is the time of year I turn up the volume on my iPod and sing—no, scream—the words of Alice Cooper:
"School's out for summer! School's out forever! School been blown to pieces!"
On the last day of school, starting when my daughter was in second grade, I'd park the car at our pickup spot, rev up the music, and dance around the car singing along to the 1972 classic "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks". You can imagine how much she loved that during her middle school years.
My daughter may disagree, but for me this song stands the test of time. This year, she completed 9th grade, and had arranged to have pizza with her friends after school, so I didn't get to perform my ritual. But the song has nevertheless been resonating in my head the last few days.
9th grade ain't what it used to be. Back in the 1900's when I went to school in the Midwest, if we had finals, I don't remember them. I don't recall the first week of June having projects and term papers due, although I do recall that squirt guns played a prominent role. (Hey! It's hot and humid in St. Louis). As for elementary school, I recall doing a book report. Once. So I am always thrilled on my daughter's behalf when school's out for summer!
This being high school in the 21st century, the teachers really laid it on thick. In addition, my daughter has plenty of extracurricular activities, and apparently each one had to have its recital, rehearsal, team party, or tournament sometime during the last two weeks of school. On top of that, for the first time, my daughter wanted to play summer softball, which we realized too late starts having games...when? Well, the last two weekends before finals, of course.
The kid did a remarkable job, and although she has always been pretty good at planning her homework, these two weeks qualified for a new reality TV show called "Extreme Time Management: Cupertino Teen".
We've learned our lesson for next year. Summer softball? Sure, but she can't go to all day tournaments until school is out. OK, Coach?
Piano recitals? Love 'em! But how about having them in February? It would be a lovely valentine present.
JV softball team party? The season ended in early May. Let's have the girls celebrate immediately, rather than wait a month.
Extracurricular volleyball? Great fun! Let's find a weekend for it that isn't the one before finals.
A thousand hoorahs to , which holds its yearly recital, with its all-day rehearsal, the weekend after high school is out.
OK, OK, my kid does too much stuff, but she enjoys a variety of activities, and doesn't want to choose. And why should she? She's 14. Participating in many activities as a teenager means an adult life with lots of interests and skills. She shouldn't have to give these things up because of a crazy two weeks at the end of the school year.
Speaking of which, do all the extra projects, term papers, and team videos and PowerPoints have to be due the last week of school, in addition to having finals to study for?
Let's spread out the load both at school and outside of school.
But until that happens, congratulations to her and all the other amazing teens who survived the last two weeks of school. I wish them a wonderful summer, as I invite them to crank up their iPods, and sing along with me:
"Out for summer. Out 'til fall. We might not come back at all."