Back in the early spring, my husband and I began researching summer camps for my daughter. While we both work from home, we have a full-time work load, and wanted to have quiet for working. But my daughter – empowered by her democratic school experience – strongly lobbied to stay home for the summer and skip camp. So, because we do work at home (and my mother lives with us and is home as well) we decided to go ahead and let her experience summer at home (and I’ll confess; the money we’re saving is pretty awesome).
But unlike so many other mom bloggers I know, neither my husband or I have time to do “camp at home.” My daughter was going to be left on her own quite a bit, and I worried that she’d focus on non-stop screen time and we’d have to set draconian boundaries.
Now, at the midpoint of summer, I’m absolutely amazed at how it’s turned out. My daughter’s imagination has blossomed substantially, and watching her play elaborate games with her toys, read books, and play outside on her own has been magical. Sure, she’s also spent a fair amount of time playing Minecraft, but I’ve enjoyed watching her use her imagination there too. Today she built a roller coaster in Minecraft, and watching her figure out the engineering for it to work properly was nothing short of amazing.
Until this massive Heat Dome (that’s what our local news is calling it) of the last week, she’s also gone hiking with me a a couple of times a week where I get to finally apply my nerdy hobby of wild plant identification to teaching her about the local woods. Watching her taste honeysuckle nectar for the first time earlier this summer was just… astounding and spectacular.
When I was a kid I spent every single summer from age five until age 13 at a YMCA summer day camp (I became a junior counselor the summers I was 12 and 13). My mom was either working full-time or in school full-time and there wasn’t anyone to be home with me, even though I’d have preferred to just stay home with a stack of library books. With three adults home all summer, it now seems like sending my daughter to camp would have been a waste of money. She’s had plenty of playdates and sleepovers, we’ve taken her to museums (she loves our local anthropology museum, and would go every day if we let her), she’s swam at a friend’s pool club, and played outside in the sprinkler or riding her scooter. One of the three of us does something fun with her each day as well.
In other words, she’s had a beautifully lazy summer. And that’s pretty amazing.