For the entire summer the time I didn’t spend in the sun, or in the water, or with friends, I spent at the kitchen table in front of those books. Some of my most vivd childhood memories include those books, and surpsrisngly enough not all of those memories are one’s of utter dismay at school *God forbid* in the summer. I covered math, english, grammar, writing exercises, science, and different languages with the help of these workbooks. And for most of it, I’ll admit, I was vehemently complaining, if not out loud like a whiny child (okay as a whiny child) than in my head.
I remember one summer day working on a difficult math problem right before I started high school when the “injustice” of all of this summer work hit me all at once. I didn’t say anything out loud, but inside I spent the whole day screaming. Why couldn’t I just be outside or in the pool? This scene was common in those days of mandatory workbooks, which ended once I started high school. Looking back I was acting the part of the obnoxious child, purposefly blinding myself to the obvious truth. However, in the moment it was hard to realize the help the summer time work was imparting on me.
But now, with a little bit more age and maturity, I’m starting to see that those summer workbooks are proving to have value that before I was blind to. I finally realized that when school would start up again in the fall all of my peers would be stuck in their books, desperately trying to remember everything that slipped through the cracks of their memories during the long summer, and I, on the other hand, came back to school refreshed from the break, but ready to pick up where my books had left off, and was often even a little ahead of the material in most of my classes. Freshman year, after that dramatic scene with the workbook, I was prepared for all of high school life. While classmates struggled to keep up with the accelerated pace, I found that all of that work over the summer had made me ready for this next step. And finally I recognized the connection between my school skills and the work that I put in over the summer. Just like any sport or activity, practice makes perfect, or at least it makes something better.
That preparedness is behind my reason for continuing the summer tradition of school work, even though my mother no longer forces me to. I know it may sound crazy, assigning myself homework when I could be lying on a beach ignoring the world and listening to top 40 hits while focusing solely on how tan my body was getting. But those books are worth every second of time and energy that I put into them. And they would do the same for anyone else who gave them a chance.
Although summer is the time to enjoy yourself, hang out with your friends, go out on boats, turn off your brain and take a much needed break from the stress and rigor of the school year, it is also a huge chunk of time that could, at least in part, be dedicated to your brain. This doesn’t have to be a consuming part of your time off, not even half of it. But dedicating a portion of your rest time to continued mental growth will always pay off. Maybe at the beach when you’re working on getting as golden as you can, you could occupy your mind a little more by reading books longer than 100 pages and with a higher plot structure than the average paperback with a shirtless man on the cover.
Don’t sacrifice fun and sun this summer, but don’t sacrifice all of the work that you’ve put in during the school year either. Just a few minutes spent throughout the upcoming months with a good book or a couple of math problems will have definite results when school starts up again. You’ll come back to school rested and ready for work, and ready to learn even more. Thank me later. 🙂