At the beginning of August I wrote a short post sharing a series of tasks which were offered up as summer homework. The tasks were titled: Year 7 Summer Assignment 2015 : Make The World A Better Place, here they are again.
I decided to have a go at the homework, and now that everyone is well and truly back in school for the Autumn term, I want to reflect on how I got on.
Watch the news. Super yawn. I realised I rarely sit down and watch the news any more, I much prefer to pick news up on the fly, from a variety of sources. I find myself questioning mainstream media more and more, and I enjoy the contrast afforded to me by a growing range of news options.
Tell someone how much they mean to you. I’ve been hard on myself here – within our family we already practice this often, so my intention was to go beyond Carole and Keira, and have this conversation with someone else. I didn’t, so no marks there.
Do a household chore without being asked. Don’t tell anyone but I can get quite into cleaning (tidying – not so much) so this one was easy for me.
Dream about your future and decide what you need to do to get there. This is great fun to do, and it’s a work in progress for me, with a particular focus on encouraging everyone to rediscover their inner artist and use those talents to make work better. Talking with Carole really helps me get clearer on my why, how and what, and I’m fortunate to have a great network to bounce ideas off too. Most recently I’ve been helped by Meg Peppin, Martin Couzins, John Sumser, Kat Hounsell, Mark Catchlove, Crystal Miller and Michelle Parry Slater. Doubtless there are others too, but these folks jump straight to mind as having been particularly helpful lately. Thank you.
Read a book by an author you’ve not heard of. I read Us by David Nicholls and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki Murakami. Last week at Learning Live, DavidPerring reminded us of the importance of reading fiction as a way of creating empathy, amen to that.
Sort out what you don’t need and give it to charity. Over the summer I put a few pieces into a bigger charity pile largely generated by Carole and Keira. In comparison mine was a poor effort, no marks for me.
Speak out when you see something you don’t think is right. I’ve taken a few litter droppers to task over the summer. Bonus grumpy old man points.
Walk a journey that you would usually take by car. I walk a fair bit already, over 1,300 miles so far this year according to my FitBit, but I made the effort to go and get a few things from the supermarket on foot one day when I was feeling particularly lazy and really wanted to drive.
Write to your MP about an issue you think is important. I didn’t carry out this task. I have tried writing to my MP on a few occasions and though I voted for him for many years, thus far I’m underwhelmed by his responses. I didn’t support him at the last election, after finally realising that he doesn’t represent the kind of political now and future that I want and we need. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try and engage – no points here.
Lie on the grass in summer and stare at the clouds. Done. An excellent way to spend some time.
Watch a black and white film/Learn a poem by heart/Write a list of things you would like to accomplish by the time you are 18. No points here.
Cook a meal for a friend to make them happy. I like to cook, this one was successfully completed many times.
Hand write a letter to someone special and post it. I send hand written notes and doodles through the post often, always happy to tick this one off a list.
Switch off your online presence and avoid social media for three days. I struggled to start this one, and once I began, I really enjoyed the time off. Must do this more often.
Make a list of all the positive things you can be thankful for/Talk to an older relative about your family history. Haven’t done these…yet. The positive things list is a good idea, I will do it. I spent time with an older relative talking about family history in late spring and found it enjoyable and useful. Need to repeat this.
Pick up someone else’s litter. I try and remember to do this every day I’m out and about. I don’t like walking past rubbish and I figure if we all did more of this, our litter problem would largely disappear. I don’t know anyone who likes litter, and in this case, actions speak louder than words.
Grow something that you can eat. Fortunately we have raspberries, blackberries and apples growing in the garden, mission accomplished.
Bake a cake for someone. Keira and Carole are both good bakers, they helped me achieve this a few times.
Try a new food you can’t pronounce. We holidayed in France and my spoken French is not bad, so I failed on this one.
Learn to play a song on a musical instrument. I managed a few new tunes and enjoyed reacquainting myself with the guitar.
Skim a stone. Carole and I stood on the Atlantic coast in France on a shallow Ile d’Oleron beach. In my hand was a round, flat stone – this one here.
I’m rubbish at stone skimming, if I get three bounces I think I’m doing really, really well. I stood with Carole and let this stone fly from my hand over a wide, shallow pool barely a few inches deep. The stone skimmed and skimmed and skimmed, I lost count of the number of bounces as it sped over the water and eventually came to rest. I enjoyed watching this endless skim so much, I had to retrieve the stone. This brief activity became the most satisfying element of my summer homework.
Volunteer. I offered to volunteer at a local fair. The organiser didn’t get back to me and lazily, I decided not to pursue the matter. No points here and I’ve signed up for another Inspiring the Future volunteer day at a local school.
I enjoyed doing my summer homework. 15/25 may not be a great score, and it was fun to try a few new things, and to remind myself of the things I already enjoy doing. If you had summer homework too, I hope it was useful fun.