At first, Betsy Eggart, a first-grade teacher at Lipscomb Elementary School in Florida, felt guilty about not sending her students home with some work to complete over the Summer. But after some reflection, Betsy decided that experiencing life is way more important than working on math problems. In a now-viral Facebook post, Betsy proposed a Summer packet of a different kind — and parents are really getting behind it.
She explained why sending her students home with a thick packet of reading and math drills wasn't exactly front of mind going into Summer break. "You see, there are these packets you can create to send home so that parents can work with their child reviewing skills learned and preparing for what is up ahead," she said. "This is so great, in theory. And maybe one day I'll put one together. Although, the more I thought, the more I decided that this Summer packet should be less addition practice and sight words and more . . . LIFE."
In an effort to give parents some sort of guidance on must-do activities, Betsy outlined her own version of a Summer packet — and we fully intend on stealing all of her ideas:
- "Teach your child to tie their shoes. Find a fun trick! Watch a video! Give an incentive! Be persistent! Just make sure your child isn't the one dragging their laces through the bathroom and cafeteria then asking the teacher to tie it."
- "Keep bedtime in the routine. It may be a little later and there will be nights that bedtime doesn't apply. But overall, if we keep our bodies in a routine with sleep, August won't hit quite so hard."
- "Choose a few family members and friends to write a letter to this Summer. Ask your child to write in full sentences, ask questions, and give details. Writing with a purpose makes it relevant and real for your child."
- "Sit at the table and eat together. Really watch your child. Is he sitting on his knees, mouth wide open, food everywhere? This is how he looks in the cafeteria. Work on that."
- "Encourage kindness. Find someone or several others that your child can do something simple to bring a smile. Deliver cookies, make a card, flowers, chores, a song . . . something simply for a smile."
- "Don't rush to the rescue. Hear me out. Our children need us. But they need us to let them learn to problem solve. If your child is in a situation that is frustrating, but not harmful (example: can't put together a new toy, can't open a Lunchable, can't decide which color shirt to wear) let them work it out!"
- "Read TO your child. I can't encourage reading enough! Please visit the library and make books a part of your Summer days."
- "Put down your phone. On Mother's Day, I create a booklet with my students. They answer questions all about their moms, write sentences and draw pictures. One page is 'Mom's Favorite Things.' Can I tell you the top item colored first on most booklets?"
- "Rest. Be OK with not constantly going somewhere. Society, media, Facebook all have us believing we must seize the day and do it all. Our children have worked hard and they need to rest. If we keep them in perpetual motion through the Summer, it will feel like a continuation of the chaos with less homework."