School in Webster City starts in just 11 days. Between the county fair, a week of church camp, theater camp and other activities, my son has kept fairly busy most of the summer. The pool has called his name on many a warm summer afternoon and of course, like every teen, hanging out with his friends has been a regular happening.
But this week. I noticed that he's talking more and more about the upcoming school year and what he's looking forward to with classes and activities. He and his friends have been eagerly calling- or more accurately, texting each other, trying to guess to which homeroom teacher they have been assigned and who might have classes together. Several of them tried to access the student portal of the school website to see if they could sneak a peek at their schedules and teachers, but were unsuccessful. The excitement surged at midweek when he received a letter that he would be taking algebra this year. He says he's excited for that challenge.
I remember that feeling of being excited to start the new school year and to get back to a little more structure and routine. Summer was always kind of a free-for-all when I was growing up. We'd be out on our bikes from mid-morning until the last light of day. We played pick-up softball games in the open field behind our house. We rode miles and miles around the town with a stop at Dairy Queen just before heading home for the night. With the exception of the week-long family vacation, we had long days of fun, exercise and play. And we did it without any cell phones, hand-held video games and computers.
Part of the fun was using our imaginations and being creative. The big field behind our house was at the base of a great hill - the only place to sled when winter arrived. But in the summer, the land owner put a wooden platform and an old, out-of-tune upright piano out there. I can't even begin to imagine how that piano survived the rain, blazing hot sun and frequent dents from errant softball pitches. But that little platform became our stage. Just like a Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movie, we regularly composed and scripted plays and elaborate musicals which we performed for our families. That maybe what sparked my later theater interest.
When the end of summer rolled around, it was bittersweet. No one wanted to give up the long warm days of summer to be cooped up in classroom. But the anticipation of new teachers, new classmates and new adventures soon made us eager for school.
As the days dwindle down to the start of school, I've noticed that the Facebook posts "I can't wait for school to start" have increased. And those posts are getting lots of "likes" from his friends and classmates. I think parents are probably ready for school to start, too. I know we're looking forward to having a more structured routine. I think the whole family benefits from that.