I don't know about any of the rest of you, but the time that's hardest for our geeklets is the time when school lets out. They don't sing about lack of pencils and books at our house. Nope! They moan and complain about how bored they are and no amount of chores and jobs tends to help the situation.
She then goes on to describe an ingenious solution of schedules and activities. While I don't fault her for her obvious enthusiasm and dedication to her kids, I would offer another solution:
Surprisingly, nothing is one of the most difficult things we need to do as parents. Our modern culture tells us that kids need constant stimulus. If we're not arranging play dates, running them to soccer, taking them on outings to the museum, and generally running every minute of their lives, we've somehow failed in our duties. We try to create the perfect storybook childhood, the irony being that the childhood from the stories, as well as our own childhood and that of our parents and grandparents, rarely involved adults at all. The Hardy Boys, Harry Potter, Encyclopedia Brown, The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, Bridge To Terabithia; kids being kids, encountering problems and finding solutions, all without adults there to hold their hand and tell them what to do. Think of your own childhood. Exploring, bike rides, building a fort with friends, tea parties, pickup baseball games, kickball, catching crawdads in the creek, refrigerator box submarines, slumber parties. We played, we learned, we got hurt, and we came out of it stronger and smarter.
When I was growing up, we didn't have much money. There was no summer camp, no trips to Disney, no Little League. Summer was three months of nothing to do. It could have been the most boring time of my life if it weren't for my mom and those four words she would say every day when I slumped down on the couch to watch The Price Is Right.
"Go outside and play"
No direction, no plans, just "Go outside and play" (although she would sometimes change it to "Go find something to do!", depending on the weather). Because I was allowed to cure my boredom on my own, those were the summers I discovered the abandoned barn by the railroad tracks, learned how a bike works by tearing mine down and putting it back together, was introduced to wonderful characters like Captain Nemo and Long John Silver, and taught myself how to play a Melodica. It was also the time that I smoked my first cigarette, got my first stitches, learned how to take and throw a punch, and was introduced to sleepless nights, not to mention a whole new world of profanity, by Mr. Stephen King.
And that is a difficulty we face as parents. Letting our kids find their own ways of beating boredom means knowing that they may get hurt or learn things we wish they didn't know. Yet, that is what childhood should be: exploring, discovering, and learning from mistakes, and nothing brings out the brilliance in a child like an active imagination and a boring summer day. Our job is not to protect our kids from growing up, but to instruct them on making the right decisions, being a role model for how we want them to be, letting them know we are always there for them when they screw up, then getting out of their way and watching them shine.