15 May 2013

Unscheduled Un-Plans

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.

Of 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.

Side 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.

Anyway, the 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.


Alicen said...

You and I have similar attitudes to all this. We have nothing lined up this summer except the month we will be visiting family on the mainland. There will still be gymnastics for E but I think that is something we will have for quite some time since she loves it and asks to do it everyday!

While I have no problem with a couple (or one) activities that the child actually wants most people take this to the extreme and feel the need to schedule every moment of their day! If your child loves art and you want to sign them up for the 2 week long art camp then go for it but you don't then need to find 2 other sports and 3 more camps to "fill" your summer.

I am going to get a couple workbooks to give me some guidance on what will be touched upon in 2nd grade and we will do some mommy school for a short time most days. The rest of the time we are going to enjoy our time together and do some of the fun things we don't have time for during a school day. Unfortunately there really aren't any good museums around here (which I hate, more so since I have a child that loves them) but we will be frequenting the beach and the zoo, going to the pool, riding our bikes, finding some new hikes, baking, crafting and anything else the kids suggest. At first I was thinking it would be a looong summer but I am in a new frame of mind now and I think it will be a nice change of pace!