During the last few summers, our family’s schedule has often felt as busy as the school year. But this year we have prioritized our commitments, streamlined the summer calendar, and found ourselves with actual down-time once in a while.
In the past, theme camps at the local health club, rec center, and community college have allowed our kids to delve into piracy, dinosaurs, odd science, etc. Sports camps have fed their soccer and volleyball skills; in fact, volleyball has included travel club camps, high school booster camps, skills-specific camps, and even a ‘college showcase’ camp. A major challenge with the camps is deciding who should go where, and when. If 3 kids have 3 camps in 3 different places, the logistics are crazy. But if we spread them out to different weeks, summer travel becomes as hard to schedule as trips during the school year. The kids had plenty of good experiences over the years, but it was time for a little different schedule.
This year? Our rising high school junior has assisted for a week at her coach’s booster camp, and she may attend another camp as a player to sharpen up before school tryouts. For our camps this summer–as Tony Kornheiser might say–’That’s it. That’s the list.’
But no one is exactly sitting around our house wondering what to do until we head out of town for a vacation. Here are a few examples:
- In our 9th year on the team at our local pool, swimming remains an important part of summer life. It is the favorite activity for our 13 year old–practicing the early shift–and a favorite for her 9 year old brother–practicing at 9:00. This schedule gives each day a balance of consistent structure to start off followed by freedom from 10:00 on. (Alas, their older sister retired from swimming this year, but she will grudgingly admit that much of her success in volleyball over the years was made possible by the muscle she added to her once-skinny frame through all of those years in the pool.)
- School workbooks and assigned reading: chores or good times? It’s all a question of attitude. We’re going for ‘good times’ this summer, and there should be no August rush to get everything done.
- I am teaching the ex-swimmer how to drive. That’s certainly……interesting.
- Driving range. With 2 kids who want to learn how to play golf, taking turns hitting a few shots in a row turned this into a great hour–at a bargain price.
- Books for the sake of books. This afternoon my son and I settled in for some quality reading time. He went with a book ironically called The Name of This Book is Secret, while I worked through a few chapters of Hemingway. (Once an English teacher….) What could be better than an afternoon read in a cool living room on a 95 degree day?
- We’ve also found time for foosball. Wii. Building a robot duck. (Seriously.) Extra time at the pool, without laps or stopwatches. Time with grandparents. Some pretty wild squirtguns that I wish were around when I was a kid. Tending a neighbor’s dog. An occasional episode of the original Star Trek series. (After a year, we are just over half-way through, so it’s a perfect time to pick up the pace). The time fills itself–so far with plenty of good things.
Hopefully we will be a little more rested and ready this year when the school year starts off again at the end of August. But either way, we are enjoying the change-up.