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Summer School-er, Vacation

Spring break is barely in our rearview mirror at this household and I’m already feeling the pressure to get our summer schedule figured out. You might think such a schedule would look something like this: “Sleep in. Go to the pool. Take a nap. Repeat.” And we’ll certainly have many days like that, it’s true.

But that’s not the whole story.

Every year at this time I struggle with how much to allow my kids to “do” during the summer. To me, a kid’s summer vacation should be as unplanned as possible, with plenty of blank spaces for sleepovers and hanging out and water pistol fights and lemonade stands and improvised theatres in backyards, and whenever I see children with booked vacation months – a two-week gymnastics camp, followed by a sleepaway camp, followed by a one-week karate camp, and so on – I wince thinking about the unplanned fun they’re missing.

At the same time, I firmly believe that summer is the time to try new things. Want to explore kick-boxing? Take a six-week mini-mester class! Always wanted to learn how to crochet? Do a two-day mini-camp! Summer has a plethora of offerings with a much shorter time commitment than during the school year, and I’d rather Cora learn she doesn’t really want to do judo in July when we’re only out fifty bucks than in September when we’re on the hook for the entire semester.

So I’m moving slowly, trying to sort out what they really want and find a way to make that happened without feeling too much stress. Maddie, for one, has enthusiastically re-enlisted in a one-week invention camp: she went last year and cried bitterly when it was over, bless her geeky little heart. Maddie wants to try ballet one more time this summer, so we’re looking at weekly lessons for that, and we’ve got the required two-week swim instruction at the beginning of the summer. And she’s also asked if she can do a one-week horse camp as well. I personally don’t think I’d have the stamina for horse camp: spending all day every day OUTSIDE in the UNAIRCONDITIONED stables, mucking out stalls and taking riding lessons and cooking out OVER A FIRE does not sound like my idea of heaven. But it does to her, so we’re trying to make it happen.

As long there’s a reeeeeeeeeally long bath at the end of that week.

As for Cora, well, we’re not sure what all she’s diving into yet. She knows she wants to do ballet camp – a one-week camp that spends the whole week exploring one ballet, like Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella, and of course she’s got swim lessons. But she’s asked me to look into something else – circus camp.

Yes, circus camp.

I’m not sure where she got this idea, but she wants to attend a one-week circus camp for kids where she can learn juggling and clowning and trapeze work and such. And heck if I haven’t found a bona fide circus school here that does exactly that for kids her age. Not sure if we can make it work time-wise, but I’m working on it.

We are going to need a vacation from our vacation.


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