Different Personality in Summer?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2000
Different Personality in Summer?
Sat, 06-15-2013 - 9:46am

It's been a very long time since I posted on iVillage, but still see a few familiar names from the past!  They're not little kids anymore though, are they?!?

Wondering - do any of you notice a different personality in your kids in the summer, when the stress level is down?

We've noticed this with DD17 the last few summers.  I love her personality in the summer - so much more likely to laugh and smile, etc.

The stress level during the school year in our school system is really over the top.  Well, some of that comes from the classes she chooses - but she'd be unhappy without taking the upper level classes.  It's pretty much the norm to be spending 4-5 hours a night on school work.  I worry about burn out before they even GET to college!

She opted out of the second AP English class for her Senior year, and I am so glad she did
The summer work for that class is over the top, and I just didn't know how she was going to get it done with a 3 week trip to Europe touring with American Music Abroad, and a 2 week college road trip of visits later in the summer.  She still has summer homework for 4 other classes:  AP Chem, AP Calc BC, IB Spanish V, and AP Government.  That will be enough to cram in the few weeks of summer that she is actually home.  She's in her room right now, working away to finish some Chem work before leaving for her trip tomorrow.

I glad she gets a little time to actually relax this summer before jumping into an insane schedule Senior year (all the above, plus College Prep English, AP Physics B, AP Economics, Orchestra/Choir, PE)

I'm all for a good education and hard work - but wonder if the stress and expectation levels are like this everywhere now, or if it's just a byproduct of our community? 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2000
Tue, 06-18-2013 - 1:22pm

Oh definitely, there's never a problem keeping busy.
The problem is more so many worthwhile, interesting things to do out there and only so many hours in the day so you have to pick and choose!

We're pretty much locked into the AP route at the traditional HS at this point.  Only one more year to go, and she definitely doesn't want to change things at this point - especially with it being her Senior year.

Honestly, I think things will be better when they are in college.
They come home in between semesters and are OFF - no work hanging over their heads.
I'm probably looking forward to that more than she is!


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2000
Tue, 06-18-2013 - 1:15pm

Mahopac....we are a lot alike! LOL

We do the choose an old series and watch the whole thing in the summer too!
Did Lost that way, did the first 6 seasons to catch up on Dr. Who that way last summer, this year we started in the series "Merlin".

We definitely travel every summer, and still do.  I guess I am more missing the spur of the moment local day trip type things that we used to do - we are a day trip away from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington - - so can see and do almost anything in a day trip. Museums, exhibits, shows, etc.

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Tue, 06-18-2013 - 11:34am
I'm all for keeping busy. My eldest is constantly on the go. When she started at the college, her school hours dropped, the repetitive and needless AP homework ended (and she'll still have 11-12 college courses that were challenging and greatly enjoyed completed) but she has had no problem filling that time with worthy activity... work, charity, theatre (directing, writing, acting, producing, youth outreach,) professional internships, leadership, exercise, family and social time. Some kids are happy with the AP system in a traditional school and that is great! My own kid looks at 5 hours of homework she doesn't need for mastery and laments about how far she could get on her latest Shakespeare adaptation with that time. My point is, if the system works for your child that is nothing to be ashamed of but it shouldn't be assumed that kids who choose alternate paths aren't high achieving and keeping busy. We know kids in all sorts of schooling situations and the one thing they all have in common is keeping busy!
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 06-18-2013 - 10:23am

She sounds a lot like my DD - including the cello. ;)  It also sounds like she makes time for a balanced life with Girl Scouts and yoga.

I'm sure she'll have such a great time with her summer trip.  DD's youth symphony went to the Czech Republic and Germany on their tour.  We had heard that Europeans turn out for classical concerts, and it sure seems like they do - DD said every concert they played was packed. 

What kinds of things did you used to do in the summers?  There are a few things we've done every year for the last few years:  at least one play at the Shakespeare Festival, a classical concert at the outdoor music festival nearby, and the ballet in NYC.  (This year we're postponing the ballet until December to see "The Nutcracker".)  And of course vacation - we've gone to England, Scotland, Ireland, California, Virginia, and this year will be Spain.  Summer is a great time for new experiences.

The other thing we do in the summer is find a show that we haven't been following and watch the reruns.  One year it was "House," last year it was "Community."  It becomes kind of a family-bonding thing to discover TV shows together and watch them at least a couple of nights a week.

This is our first summer without our oldest.  He will be in South America until early August.  Summer just won't be the same without him, though he is coming to Spain with us after he gets back.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2000
Tue, 06-18-2013 - 8:59am

Thanks for the insights everyone!

Going to try to hit replies all in one.

First off  - if it was just Jr and Sr year, I think I'd complain less.  It's actually been since about 8th grade!
But, yes - she doesn't really complain much about the work, and it's in her personality to spend the time and do everything to high standards, etc.  She will have 11 AP courses done by the time she graduates, and has always ranked in the top couple in her class of 650+  (they publish class rank on every report card from first marking period freshmen year, another sign of the over the top competitiveness that is here!).

She does find time for activities.  She's a cellist who studies privately and plays at school, church, and professionally.  She's played many weddings, community dinners, has 3 different professional quartets that call upon her to sub occasionally, was paid to play with a local college orchestra, etc.  Also sings in church choir and at school.  Is still in Girl Scouts, and finished her gold award sophomore year.  Goes to yoga club after school on a sporadic basis.  So, it not like she isn't fitting other things in.  But, I also see her giving up other interesting activities out of concern for time to get her work done.

I'm more the one who resent it!  We used to do so many fun and interesting things over the summers.  Now, it's just filled up with more of the same book work, etc.  This year, I just wasn't going to allow her to give up something as enriching as this trip in order to sit locked in her room reading more books and writing more papers. 

The trip is to Italy, Germany and Austria.  Right now they are still in the US for three days of rehearsals.  Farewell concert for parents is tonight.  Then, the real fun starts!


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 5:33pm

It's not just your area, and we opted out after 10th grade for DD, and 8th for DS. Turtletime is right--the amount of unnecessary homework can be outrageous and cause burnout. In our D's case, I learned just how unnecessary the homework load was when she switched to private school, took the same AP classes and mastered the material with a more reasonable work load. She still got 5s (haven't got this year's scores back yet), so clearly didn't need the extra 4 hours of HW each night.

And yes ,D was a different person the summer between fresh and soph years. She actually smiled and played the piano. After sophomore year, she wasn't recovering and actually began to dread junior year starting in July, so we put her in a very small Christian school, from which she graduated as a much less stressed, healthy, happy kid last week.

Education shouldn't be an endurance contest.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 3:43pm
I agree with you Mahopac, if they want to keep busy like that, more power to them. ODD really did enjoy staying busy and she actually had more of a social life this past year than any other year and wouldn't have changed it. I think certain personalities thrive on being busy all the time, I wish summer was more of a "keep busy doing more things I want to do and enjoy and more exploration" then being filled with assignments for the following school year.
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 11:06am

First of all, it's not just your area (as you now know from previous replies :)).  My DD's junior and senior year were the same.  The difference between her and some of the kids who feel pressured to do all that is that she really wanted to do it, liked doing it, and didn't mnd all the work.  She likes to work hard and be very very busy - in fact, we had to stop her from doing more so she wouldn't have a complete meltdown.  She did find time for fun, though, as did most of her friends.  She was the editor-in-chief of the literary journal and played in several ensembles, including the pit orchestra for Drama Club, which was pretty much her favorite thing ever because it was absolutely just for fun.

The payoff is that she ultimately got to choose among her acceptances from NYU, Boston College, Wesleyan, Vassar, Brandeis, Bard, and a couple of state universities.  Plus, all those APs have allowed her to waive a few of the liberal arts requirements at NYU.  She's about to graduate HS this week and I know for sure that the only thing she would have done differently is taken two years of music theory instead of two years of art.  No regrets on the courses or the great friends she made taking them.

Regarding "summer personality," I was *just* thinking of this with my 13yo DS yesterday.  His regular classes ended a week ago, and since then he is so much more "himself" - funny, eager to help, reading like crazy, singing, cooking, creative, RELAXED.  He has had such an awful time in middle school (which is why he will be going to private school for 8th grade) and I think being free of the craziness of 1200 kids in a single building, 8 classes a day, teachers who can't differentiate him from their 125 other students, etc. has allowed him to shrug off his anxiety and just be who he is.  It reinforces our decision to send him to private school.  He's doing a project this summer with his tutor and he actually seems excited about it, rather than annoyed.

Hope your daughter has an awesome trip to Europe.  My DD did a 10-day tour with her youth symphony two years ago and had a great time.  What countries will your DD be going to?

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 10:42am

I still don't get/like the intense amount of summer work these kids get now.  Its bad enough they are so busy during the school year, I feel like summer should be that time that they can decompress, explore things they don't have time for during the school year, work, etc. and wearing them down with so much prep work for school in the fall is just ridiculous! (sorry, that's my soap box rant for the moment.) 

But yes, I definitely see a different side of my ODD during the summer, luckily she's never had a ton of summer work, last summer she took two community college classes and had decided on core English 4 as opposed to AP.  Usually in the summer she has her summer reading list of all the books she wants to read that she hasn't had time for during the year, and she actually has time to go do stuff with friends.  Good luck to her next senior year, I hope it ends up a good year to remember, not completely consumed with academics!!

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Sun, 06-16-2013 - 2:47pm

It is not just your area and kid. My kids were /are on the honor track as well. Add to that scouts, church, school sports, club sports, art and music and all the clubs they were involved in they were busy. Even summers were filled with homework in addition to travel, sports and camps. It is the way of our times.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!