"I'm not sending the kids to camp this summer."
I have this mental image of our summer. We'll spend the mornings at the pool, swimming and eating a (nutritious) picnic lunch. We'll do complicated art projects and visit local museums. We'll walk to the farmer's market to buy colorful produce that we'll use to cook dinner together. In the evening, I'll spend a half an hour in the porch swing with each child, reading aloud while the other two kids complete workbooks that will allow them to resume school in September with just the tiniest academic edge.
Wouldn't it be funny if I were really like that?
The vision evaporates by 10am the first day of Spring Break. Kids are whining. Kids are fighting. Kids are planted 6 inches from the television. And I'm online seeing what camps are still available.
It's not that I haven't tried. Dude I've tried. One summer I announced that each week would have a theme. THEME OF THE WEEK camp, I called it. We'd visit the library on Monday and check out books on our topic. Wednesday we'd do a project. Friday, a field trip. We lasted exactly one week. 1
The next summer a friend and I cut out the Washingtonian 100 bargain restaurant list. Our mission: to try a new restaurant each week. We'd expose the kids to different ethnic cuisines and then find a playground in that neighborhood.2 The very first week my car was hit in an Arlington parking lot. We spent the rest of the summer closer to home.
And those summer workbooks? Nothing says Summer like dropping a Ben Franklin at Borders on a big bag of them. Nothing says Fall more than finding the unopened Borders bag in the bottom of my closet.
What I lack in follow-through, I more than make up for in knowing my limitations. I've learned my lesson. This summer, they're going to camp.
1) And the kids and I can't even remember the theme so it must not have been all that good.
2) I'm sure there was also going to be some quality time spent with an atlas. Our atlas still lists the USSR so losing that part of the curriculum was really a mixed blessing.