Friday, December 26, 2008

My Personal Calendar

Back when the school calendar mattered to me, my personal calendar somehow had three or four defining dates: the day school was over; the day school started; Christmas; the day school restarted; the day school was out for summer again.

Now that made complete sense to me and to the hundreds of school age children who had to live by that calendar. We got clothes before school started; we got clothes for Christmas; we had to make our shoes last until school ended and try not to bust out of anything else we wore until we could go barefoot and run around in patched clothes.

After the children left home, I thought we could forget about the school calendar--except that I began teaching. Whoops! Here we go again with the school calendar.

Then the grandchildren started school and we began to schedule everything around when they could come visit with us. Oh the wonders of the school calendar and three-day breaks for teachers' in-service days!

Somewhere in the background of my memory are school closings for cotton picking, pecan crops, and other necessary tasks that required the assistance of the family's children. My personal calendar never included those breaks, but at least school openings used to consider the vagaries of the weather. Children cooped up in a hot building was not conducive to intellectual stimulation, so school was released at the end of May and began sometime in September. However, ask any older teacher what it is like to have 40 to 60 little bodies steaming in a warm room in the wintertime, and it is easy to understand how really cold weather could be just as difficult as very hot weather for classrooms.

One of these days our schools will not be part of our calendars because technology will enable parents to have children educated at home without a live teacher. The children may lose all sense of having a personal calendar; no last day of school will tantalize them with its closeness. But while they may lose the sense of anticipation of the beginning or ending of classes--and socialization that comes of being crammed into a room with umpteen other children--they will also have the advantage of learning at their own pace. No cotton pickin' duties will call them away from their studies or pecans roll away from their fingers. They will just have to create their own personal calendars based on their own needs. Those calendars may really create havoc on grandparents, but it may be the best havoc that ever came our way. Grandkids and grandparents rule!

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