Next Friday, my 6-year-old will start her first-ever summer vacation from school.
As the day gets closer, Abby gets more and more excited about the summer – No teachers telling you what to do! No waking up early! Pancakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
I remember that feeling.
And seeing this excitement grow in my daughter is bringing up a lot of memories from my childhood summer vacations.
Why I’ll Never Forget One Summer
On the first day of summer vacation when I was 12, I had an awesome idea.
An idea that was going to fill my summer days, make me the smartest kid in my grade, and help me finally beat my family at Scrabble.
I was going to read the dictionary.
Cover to cover, A to Z.
This was my idea – no teacher told me to do it, and my mom didn’t put me up to it.
So this should give you a pretty good idea of how socially adept I was as a kid, i.e. not at ALL.
That first morning of summer vacation, I pulled the dictionary off the bookshelf and carefully placed it in my lap.
I distinctly remember that feeling of anticipation – and of being so incredibly pleased with my brilliant idea.
I opened the cover.
Turned to the first page.
Six definitions of “a.” Whew.
a-, a-, -a, -a
Maybe I should skip prefixes and suffixes?
aah, aardvark, aardwolf – a maned striped nocturnal mammal (Proteles cristatus) of southern and eastern Africa that resembles the related hyenas and feeds chiefly on insects and esp. termites
I better skip proper nouns too.
I could probably use those in Scrabble.
abaca – a strong fiber obtained from the beanstalk of a banana (Musa textilis) native to the Philippines; the plant that yields abaca
I didn’t quite see myself using that in a sentence one day. And I wasn’t even halfway through the first page yet.
This was going a whole lot slower than I expected.
I took a break to make myself a Hot Pocket.
As I walked back, I saw the dictionary from afar.
It was so big. And those pages – so thin.
Maybe I should give my brain a rest, I thought. It was an awful lot to absorb all at once.
What Happened Next
I turned on The Price Is Right and ate my Hot Pocket.
The poor dictionary sat on the coffee table, untouched for the rest of the morning.
My resolve to read the dictionary didn’t last long.
But I’m happy I gave it a go. Even happier that I remember my little summer project.
That memory has served as a cautionary tale for my adult life. About biting off too much at once, about trying to do it all, about how to set reasonable goals.
Like my very own parable.
A Free Printable to Remember Your Kid’s Dreams for Summer
What little project is bouncing around in your child’s mind as he starts his summer vacation? What is your daughter most looking forward to over the break? How do your kids see themselves changing over the summer?
Use this free printable interview to capture the crazy schemes your kids are brewing at the start of the summer – from reading the dictionary to building an epic sandcastle to finishing a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.
Use these pages to record what they remember learning in school this year. To find out what you can do to make their little hearts sing this summer.
After you’re done, file the interview sheet away or stick it in a binder. It’s the perfect complement to this start of school interview printable.
Then in a year or 5 years or when your kid is heading to college – or all of the above – you and your child can flip through their answers together. You’ll smile, you’ll laugh, you might even cry.
This snapshot of your child’s hopes and dreams at the start of every summer will be a gift to both of you for years to come.
Here’s the first page. Click the link below the photo to download and see the fun summer questions on the second page!
Download Your Free Printable
Don’t worry if it’s a week or even a month into the summer break, and you haven’t done this yet. It’s never too late to start. (Note: For middle and high school-aged kids, I changed the colors and formatting to make the sheets look a teensy bit more grown-up compared to the other sheets.)
- Download the interview sheets. You’ll get the printables, plus join my weekly newsletter! Just click here to download and subscribe.
- Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
- Interview your child, write down their adorable answers, and you’re DONE.
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What’s your favorite childhood memory of summer? Share your story in a comment below!