So we survived summer and I utterly failed at having my kids on their “summer academic schedule.” My plan was merely to have daily quiet time.

Thirty minutes, kids. That’s all I ask. Technically, you’re allowed to stare at the ceiling or look at books. But this is NOT coloring or wandering time. This is day-dreaming or reading time. Is that so much to ask? You’ve done this at school – your teachers gave you quiet time every single day and you were allowed to stare at the ceiling or read a damn book. Why is it pulling teeth with you guys, here and now?

I tried to get them to be mildly academic to avoid the unacceptable slide into stupidity.

Also? “Quiet time” means calm time for me, too. Win-win. Or maybe just I win. But anyway.

But insisting on thirty minutes of quiet time might’ve made my kids hate summer. They begrudgingly sat in silence, but mostly just glared at me.

And that’s the opposite of what I’m trying to do: foster a love for reading.

(And giving me quiet time.)

Which brings me to the other thing I’m nottrying to do with my kids – cultivate conformists.

I don’t want to create rule-following kids. What’s the point of that? Having my kids do just the right amount of academia in the summertime so that they “succeed” in school and do the tests and get into a good-enough college so they can do, what?- be cogs in the wheel?

Isn’t that so banal?

I mean, ultimately we say we want our kids to be nice.

And happy.

And smart.

And sorta badass.

Badass enough to take risks, but not irrationally so.

But only badass enough to be just kindacool but not the mean cool kid…just cool enough to be interesting in conversation.

My GOD, there’s so much stress involved in parenting – you want to have just the right amount of balance that they can play the game of life right but also learn to color outside the lines and break the rules and improve society – not enough to get arrested, but enough to stand out in their college essays; conformist enough to be personable and charming, but rebellious enough to formulate their own critical ideas about art and politics.

Yet I’m just doing what everyone else says they need to do – read in the summer and practice basic addition so they can what? – get good test scores?

And I have to keep in mind – I NEVER kept my skills up in the summer. And look at me? A privileged white guy who’s been lucky to have been born into his privileged, educated family who has had his entire life handed to him on a patter.

Sorry, kids. Do not bank on an inheritance.


My oldest kid just wants to sit around the house, won’t practice piano without serious negotiation, and has zero interest in doing anything but printing out coloring pages of LOL dolls(the absolute scourge of our fucking society) and sing songs from my show(which has lost its charm after the 75th time he’s asked to put on a show for me).

And my youngest is an adorable rule-follower who’s cool with our “math snack” time where he traces letters and identifies shapes, but not so down with reading time. (Then again, he doesn’t read, yet. So.)

But still – being a history-maker or a cog in a wheel, kids always need to be able to read, know how to deal with alone time and boredom, and know how to enjoy quiet time, right?

Thirty minutes ain’t so much to ask.

Shut up and read your book, kids. So you can be a cog.

  • Thoughts? How did you all avoid (or ignore) a “summer slide”.