The talk today amongst the mommies at story-hour turned to summer plans. Apparently there is a huge rush to get your kid enrolled in some kind of summer program. For a few moments I kind of felt like a total slacker because my kids are not really signed up for anything. Of course, I quickly remembered that Charlie and Lizzie have turned down pretty much every offer of summer activities I have mentioned. Charlie doesn't want to do soccer, she doesn't want to go to camp, Liz doesn't seem interested in Kindermusic...my kids just are not down with the "enrichment."
I have mixed feelings about this. I do
worry that they will miss out on the education and social experiences
that summer programs provide. Summer activities are a nice way to still
see your friends, meet some of your new classmates before school starts
and generally try some new experiences. With such a hyper-focus on kids
having filled schedules and intense immersion educations, being the
parent who would prefer to go hiking, keep reading journals and spend
the days at the beach can make you really feel like an anomaly.
course, the flip side is that my kids also prefer those things. It
suits them for us to do our own adventures, sometimes meeting up with
friends, sometimes not. I think maybe kids get more out of a day trip
to a museum than a week of art camp. I was also not really into "camp"
as a kid. My sisters and I spent our summers doing the Great Reading
Race, going out to Cape Cod and riding horses. That was pretty much it ,
yet somehow we all grew up to be relatively well adjusted,
overly-educated adults. Granted, it helped that both of my parents were
educators so my Mom was home when we were home and thus, we did not
need to be in camp as a replacement for childcare or anything like that.
note: another major monkey wrench in my plan to ever get back to work.
What will I do with my kids in the summer? Given the kind of job I
will be able to pick up given my hiatus from the workforce, school
schedules and the demands of Chris' job, it is likely to only be
profitable if we keep our childcare expenses at $0.00. It will be a
while before I am making enough at what will basically be a part-time
gig that paying for that much childcare is worthwhile. So what happens
when I need 10 kid-days worth per week of childcare for three months?
Well, fuck, this outlook is a bit grim.
point here is that we plan to spend our summer "slacking." I think I
will try and keep us on a bit of a schedule, and definitely do some
"school" so as to keep Charlie fresh with her reading and math while
helping Liz along with her preschool skills. I am thinking maybe daily
journal writing/drawing. One "road trip/adventure" day a week, plus
library day and beach day for sure. Log some miles on our zoo
membership and enjoy our new yard and all the awesome outdoor toys. I
may plan out some themes for each week, just so we have some cohesive
learning experience, though this is mostly so when they want an activity
I can guide them through something worthwhile. Of course Chris will
be working four day weeks for 11 weeks starting in July, so while that
means a sucky pay-cut (thanks Congress!) we will certainly have some
chances for family fun.
Camp Summer Slacker. Population: 4.