Well, folks, we have arrived at a very special Hump Day—the one that falls in the middle of the 36th and final week of the boys’ academic year. (I’ll just insert a quick but enthusiastic “Whoo hoo!” for them…okay, back to business…) So you might be wondering what, exactly, goes on during the last few days before springing the eager students free for their long-awaited, much-anticipated Summer Break. And the definitive answer is: um…actually, it’s kind of complicated, and depends on which son we’re discussing.
You see, for Derek, Final Exams have begun. When Riley—whose tests were given last week, and are therefore completely finished—seemed flabbergasted by this, he exclaimed, “WHY do they do it at the last minute?” Derek himself responded to this one, with the matter-of-fact explanation: “They know that as soon as exams are over, no one’s showing up for classes anymore, so they push them back as far as possible.”
He has a point, as we’ve figured out from his past two High School years. I remember when he was a Freshman and trying to convince me that the standard procedure was for kids to attend only when they had a test to take, skedaddle as soon as that particular exam block was over—and not show up on the last day of school AT ALL. Although he’s not prone to telling me whoppers, I admit I was…skeptical about his information. Perhaps he misunderstood? But no--that’s how the game apparently runs around here.
So for those of you keeping score at home, here’s Derek’s super-demanding schedule for the week (which I had to write down, so I could keep it straight and not yell at him for missing school in an unauthorized fashion): Monday morning English exam, walk home afterward; Tuesday off day (more on that in a second); Wednesday a relatively challenging Human Body Systems test in the morning and History in the afternoon (meaning he was forced to remain trapped in the halls of learning for the Entire. Day. The horror!); Thursday the dreaded Math assessment in the morning and then…that’s it. As he put it, “Everyone leaves, and it’s just… over.” (Which would sound fairly dramatic…if it weren’t delivered in such a mild tone of voice, accompanied by a nonchalant shrug, by a teenage boy.)
Back to Tuesday, when he would have had his 3rd and 4th period Finals: both of these were A.P. Bio slots (lecture and lab), in which he’d already taken the test a month ago, so there was literally no need for him to be in class that day. In fact, his instructor imparted something along the lines of, “I’m not…legally…allowed to tell you to stay home…but I don’t want to take attendance. And THIS is what we’ll be doing (proceeds to stare into space with a vacant expression whilst twiddling his thumbs. Bless his heart--I love this man…you can always count on him to tell it like it is…). Taking this sage advice, Derek opted to use his time wisely…sort of…by sleeping in a little, doing some studying….and spending the rest of his bonus free day hanging out with friends.
Meanwhile, the Middle School regimen couldn’t be much more different. First of all, they got all their exam…toil and trouble…out of the way at the beginning of June, so they could kick back and…honestly, I don’t know WHAT the heck they’re up to this week. Oh, except the 8th Grade Celebratory Field Trip happened on Tuesday, when those who chose to participate piled onto charter buses at the decidedly un-fun hour of 7:30 a.m. for the 2-1/2 hour drive to Carowinds amusement park. There they would presumably amuse themselves by checking out all the crazy rides, loading up on carnival-type junk food, socializing with their classmates…and hopefully not getting into TOO much mischief.
When Riley returned home, 12 hours after being dropped off, he reported that he’d enjoyed himself…except for one tiny glitch: he discovered (the hard way) that the rollercoasters made him nauseous. Oh, dear…it seems my younger child developed a bit of motion sickness when he hit puberty. Well, now we know: small-to-medium-size boats…and spinning/plunging/twisting thrill rides are RIGHT OUT. (Eh, I think those are easy enough to avoid…if it ever extends to automobiles or airplanes, we’re gonna have a problem, though…) Because of this, he didn’t feel able to eat anything all day, either, so there goes the whole “stuff yourself with funnel cake” plan that Husband had encouraged before he left. Oh well…he had a good time with his peeps, and that’s what counts, right?
Okay, next up: two solid days of…nah, I can’t even imagine what they could possibly do to fill 14 hours, to tell you the truth. Clean out their lockers? Shred old assignments? Help teachers pack up their rooms? Um….grade papers? (Yeah, hopefully NOT!) Anyway, whatever the adults-in-charge come up with to keep them in check, it only has to last until Friday morning, when they’ll be experiencing their 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony. And yes, because his older sibling is unfettered by any of his own obligations, Husband and I are making him come, to support his brother (or, you know, for the purely “you must get out of bed early on your first day of vacation and sit on hard bleachers for 90 minutes of stuff that will bore you to tears” torture factor…whatever. Parenting has its privileges…mwah hah hah!).
But that’s a post for another day (that would be "Friday"—duh!), and my more immediate need is to devise ways of keeping the boys busy, to prevent them from falling into the bad habit right away of frittering away all of their appealingly empty waking hours. Hmm…there’s ALWAYS laundry to do…they could probably organize the garage….or I could take it in the completely opposite direction, and just JOIN them in their appreciation of leisure. Heyyy…..NOW we’re talking! We’ll see how that goes…