Here’s what all parents can agree upon: Summer need not be another Christmas, one lasting for three full months. It’s okay- actually, it’s imperative– for our kids to be a little bit bored.

The trick is to find the right balance between your kids having too much to do and nothing at all to do. Back in the 70s, kids could go outside after breakfast and basically ride their bikes until it got dark. But these days, if you want your kids to have the opportunity for unstructured fun, you have to structure their summers. A little.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • how summer is for formative experiences- as long as said experiences are at least somewhat formed by the kids
  • why summer is designed for your kids to do things differently than they do during the school year
  • the virtues of Camp Grandma
  • whatever happened to summer jobs for teens? While half of teens had summer jobs in the 1980s (including us— hello, Baskin Robbins?) less than one-third do now, according to a Pew Research survey (link below)
  • the summer slide: how to fight it without ruining everyone’s every single day
  • how we as a people must fight against the great shrinking summer. In Putnam County, Tennessee, the school year now starts on July 23rd. Stop the madness!
  • Why Margaret is just completely, fundamentally opposed to physics camp

Here’s some links to two nifty products, and reading on some issues we discuss in this episode:

Schoolhouse Rock: Multiplication Classroom Education (DVD)

The Math Bus: Multiplication and Addition (CD)

from Kingswood Camp: The Value of Down Time

from Scholastic: 3 Ways To Prevent Summer Slide 

from Pew Research: The Fading of the Teen Summer Job 

from Time: American Teens Are Not Getting Summer Jobs 

by Daphne Sashin for CNN: Back To School: Why August is the New September

by Marjorie Ingall for Tablet: Phineas and Ferb: Dynamic Duo

Is your summer too short? Too long? Do you dread your kids’ long lazy days ahead? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!