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To camp or not to camp, that is the question

March 4, 2010 2 comments

The Summer Camp issue has started popping up in my Mom Circles.

I have mixed feelings about the issue. First, I believe that we are way too structured in the way we treat our children. I think kids need more free form play and more time to just free associate. Summer is a great time for that — you can go outside, the kids can run around, there are fewer deadlines. One of the moms in the preschool insists that she doesn’t do camp for her kids until they are in kindergarten because that was you have more time for spontaneous adventures.

But part of me is exhausted by the idea of dreaming up and orchestrating spontaneous adventures for a precocious four year old all summer. (And, of course, let us not forget the parenting advice that those adventures need to be fit into the flexible parts of a regular schedule without disrupting aforementioned schedule.) There is only so much time I can spend at the local parks, only so many play dates I can plan.

And, frankly, I need some alone time. That’s sort of the big theme of my motherhood, I think. Alone time and the lack thereof.

The summer that The Child was 2, we had a good routine. Get up, walk to ‘Bucks, play at the park, maybe shop for groceries, home, lunch, nap, play inside (too hot to go outside), and then dinner and bed. But last summer this didn’t work so well. She was bored with the parks because, frankly, most of the kids there are two and the older kids all … go to camp.

And, of course, there’s the money thing. We’re paying two tuitions — The Child’s and The Husband’s — on one salary. The summer camps I’ve been checking out are $300/week or so. I don’t know if we can afford that, frankly. Things are tight.

I’m thinking I may do one week-long camp and one once-a-week class. I’m also going to try harder to try to do some of those spontaneous adventures. Last summer I got really homebody. This year, i’m all about driving to a wildlife sanctuary and going outside all day.

At least in theory. In reality, I’m likely to stay a homebody. Except for those days when she’s at summer camp and I can drink iced tea and read trashy novels!

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