09 May 2009

an afternoon at the park... not at the desk

When I was E's age, I played outside every day. There was a huge, open space literally right next to the house we lived in. I rode my bike, I ran around, I played cops and robbers with friends, I climbed the jungle gym. I don't remember sitting at the desk preparing for the weekly test, although I'm sure I did my homework.

What strikes me is how much time E is not spending outside. Not that E has hours and hours of homework every day, not yet, but he gets plenty of it for his age. And I have to sit down with him to supervise, especially because his teacher is of the opinion that "it is the parents' job to make sure that the child does his homework, and does it correctly." (She doesn't check her students' homework.) E also has a spelling test every Friday, and part of his daily work is to study for it. So, by the time he comes home and has a snack, finishes his homework and takes a little bit of a break, we're both feeling kind of too tired to go outside.

On Monday this week, however, we had a break from our routine. A friend around the corner said, "Let's take the kids to the park after school today!" and I said, "I'll meet you there around four!"

So we did. And it was really quite wonderful.

Our kids actually ran around the field. They got in the stream and got their feet (and their arms, and pants, and shirts...) dirty. They had a blast, and we had fun watching them.

The weather was perfect, perfect, perfect.

We have to do this more often, I thought. That will involve a bit of conscious effort on my part, because I will have to get us in the car and drive to the park. Too bad that huge, open space I had as a child isn't right next to our home, but oh, well.

Play time is recharge time. We all need it. Perhaps I need it more than E does.

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