Maybe I am just not there yet, maybe I don't need the childcare coverage as much as some do, maybe I hang out with a different crowd, but I am fundamentally against academics in the summer. Especially for preschoolers, which my kids currently are, but even for older kids. I feel like we have lost, as a society, the notion of kids just being kids. Summer is supposed to be lazy, a time for being bored, for staying up late, for taking a break. I don't think the for academic year should slide into summer. Any sliding should be done at the playground, IMHO.
I am not a big proponent of heavy academics for preschoolers anyway. My kids go to a preschool that is play based, child directed, exploratory. My twins will be heading to kindergarten and I am terrified that they will soon be sucked into the box and that they will lose their love of school and of learning that they enjoy now. Don't get me wrong - I want my kids to be able to compete in school, to learn to read and write and do math. But in a fun, age-appropriate way. And not during summer.
I have friends on the other side of this equation. Friends who perhaps have different measures of success for the kids in that they aspire to send them to Ivy League schools and are starting NOW, at age 3, to prepare them for that. I don't fault this notion. I just don't share it. My definition for my kids' success is to think outside the box, take risks, be comfortable with themselves and just be happy, whatever that means for them.
So I didn't sign my five-and-a-half-year-old twins up for summer camp this year, except for one week when they went to YSI (Youth Science Institute) for a week. Instead we have:
Blown bubbles on the train at Oak Meadow Park in Vasona
Followed the Yellow Brick Road at Children's Fairyland in Oakland (we just read the book recently)
Played monster at the park (Ben as Spider Man, Ava as Cousin It, Lily as Speed Demon)
Riden our bikes across the pedestrian bridge by our house
Done art in our new project room/my home office
Had light saber battle playdates with friends
Played at the beach
Pretended it was raining
Went to the San Francisco Zoo with Papa Silly
Had friends over for a sleepover playdate
Ran around at Campbell's Music in the Park so that our hearts beat fast
Practiced riding bikes with no training wheels with Daddy
Learned how to rock climb
Celebrated holidays with friends and family
Went for runs with the jogging strollers (here is Ava's)
Revisited our creek school
It has been a great summer so far. We are now in Cape Cod with friends for the remaining three weeks of the summer. Yes, I have been working, but not insanely (mostly...). But the main thing is that the kids have NOT been working. Not at all.
This post was inspired by a topic from the Yahoo! Mothers Board, of which I am a part. You can read more posts on The Summer Slide from Kim, Ilina, Melissa, Julie, April, Kimberly and Leticia. Visit Shine for ideas on fun summer activities: http://shine.yahoo.com/event/summerkids.