Summer camps are part of Oklahoma City family fun. Hundreds of local programs are scheduled to take place from early May through late July, a big part of what promises to be a memorable season.
Summer has a way of standing out during childhood and I suspect that lack of formal instruction has something to do with it.
Rather than seeing summer camps as another class to attend or a way of adding structure to a period that might otherwise revolve around a relaxed schedule, they're a great opportunity try something new.
I remember asking my parents as a child whether it'd be better to know a lot about one thing or a little bit about everything. "Go long," my Dad advised. He reasoned that variety makes a person well-rounded and depth of knowledge on a singular subject isn't always practical. I see his point but I'm the parent now and it's difficult to prioritize.
What actually is important? Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) has received a lot of attention recently. So has empathy. Social skills. Community service. Critical analysis and the ability to pass standardized tests. Also, the ability to do more than pass standardized tests. What really matters? When does it matter most?
I wrote a post last week about how living in Oklahoma City provides some incredible opportunities. So much comes to our community, which is fortunate because it's not yet clear what any of my three sons will be great at doing. I really believe in educational theories that focus on multiple intelligences and that the ability to be good at something boosts confidence, which in turn helps them get better at what they aren't inclined to find success in naturally. Maybe they'll be awesome at science or gardening or art or something that hasn't even been imagined yet.
Isn't that what summer is all about: imagination? Until we know what they're good at, we have to try a few different things.
Changing it up has a time and a place.
Fun matters. It's essential to childhood, just as much as structure and nourishment and literacy. Parenting might feel like serious business the other nine months of the year but summer fun is nothing to stress about. Keep calm and find a camp that works for your child with MetroFamily's Summer Camps and Activities Directory.
"Are we going to let Sam's schooling interfere with his education?" My husband has posed the Mark Twain-inspired question to me a few times throughout this past school year. It usually comes at the end of a long day when our second-grader is tackling a mountain of homework instead of pursuing other, more interesting activities. Sam has earned free passes that would allow him to skip turning in the next day's homework but I never let him use them. He might miss something. Might fall behind. Might need the extra practice. Maybe. I don't know. We're all just crossing our fingers and doing the best we can.
I'm not good at breaking outside of formal methods like route instruction, pencils and college-ruled notebooks. That's me, though, not them. Sam, and his brothers, Isaac and Gabriel, will need freedom, too.
That's where summer camps come in, as the perfect chance to commit to something for a short period of time. It isn't forever or for a grade. It's a change of scenery to break up days of free play and sunshine, of just being a kid.
And as for us parents, let's just say kids aren't the only ones who benefit from a short break.
It's going to be a great summer!