Education Matters: 'Write about your summer'

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Remember the question "Write about your summer"? As school started up for this fall, I had mixed emotions. I love the return to routine. I love the idea of starting over fresh and jumping into a year full of opportunities.

But, as I have admitted before, I am loathe to give up the summer. It is my favorite season, and it's always just too short.

This year, though, I am really hoping that at least one teacher assign one of my children an assignment to cause them to reflect on the many things that happened.

I wonder which makes their list? Will hosting our new friend from Spain top it off? Will they talk about his mountain biking accident only three days into the month-long visit?

Or will it be all the things we did together with the group from Spain, like the trip to Six Flags, the drive in movie theater night, or the bowling? Maybe they will talk about the day we spent at the mall, joking and laughing as we kept running into each other? Or the final gathering with the fire pit and the s'mores on the perfect July evening?

There were some trips, sometimes really short ones, like the day we watched a lacrosse tournament, took a quick drive through a university, and tucked in a drive through Newport, Rhode Island — all in about 18 hours. There were the three days in New York City — hot, sweaty days filled with walking, sweating and more walking. The 19-hour drive to Illinois to visit family — all in one day, followed by the 19-hour drive back — again, all in one day. That was memorable indeed, but probably won't make their writing assignment list of fun things they did. Perhaps those days in between the hours in the car, maybe those have more positive memories attached, and maybe they will write about those?

Two of our kids went with dad to a lacrosse tournament about seven hours to the south. One went on a solo trip with dad to the Adriondacks (yet another lacrosse tournament). Our oldest and our youngest joined me on an international trip — a trip full of history, culture, language, agriculture and geography. I dare say I think the memories they would talk about are the helicopter rides and ziplining.

If they really had to decide to write about "what you did this summer," I wonder if they will look back at the calmer moments? Will they remember sitting around the family dinner table, sharing "two good things of the day"? Will the simple joy of fishing with friends make the list? Will it be going to camp and hanging out with friends? Or will it be watching a sunset on a summer's perfect evening?

Here's hoping that this "write about your summer" assignment still exists. I am not ready to leave the magic of this season yet, even as the alarm clocks start to ring again.

Jill Stahl Tyler is a parent to three children involved in the local schools, at the high school and elementary school levels. She firmly believes in all education, and currently sits on the board for the Brattleboro School Endowment and the Brattleboro Town School Board. Contact her at jill@globalcow.com.

The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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