What we’re doing for summer: update

The other week we asked you all what to do with our kids for summer and you had some great ideas.

DC2 recently had spring break while I didn’t.  This reminded us that zie reallllly needs more mental stimulation and interaction than what we can provide.  Basically by Wednesday DC2 starting talking and didn’t stop until school started again on Monday.  School has been online all year and it has been great– it keeps DC2 entertained, talking with classmates, and mentally stimulated so we can get normal amounts of interaction at lunch and after 5pm when I stop working for the night.

Meanwhile, we’ve been getting ads for online college credit classes for DC1.  I was irritated to find out that my uni lets high school students take classes during the school year but not during the summers!  What is UP with that?

But there are plenty of programs willing to charge $4K-$6K per 3-4 credit hour class to take either their own special classes for high schoolers, or in the case of Wisconsin-Madison, anything that they’re offering over the summer.  Right now we’re leaning towards C++ at Georgetown, though it is tempting just to do the C++ Coursera not for credit.  We’ve also been considering Intermediate Spanish courses and academic writing.  Vanderbilt has an interesting mentorship program that isn’t for course credit that DC1 may apply to, but zie hasn’t decided yet.  Even though there are a bunch of schools DC1 can’t go to because they require people to be 16 (and zie is only 15), we’re no longer super worried that zie will be doing nothing over the summer.

But, back to DC2 because while DC1 may need to do something this summer for hir own needs *I* need DC2 to do something for *my* needs.  I looked up online summer camps and was a bit overwhelmed.  It’s hard to tell what is any good and what is a for-profit scam.  I did see that the science museum in the nearest city has something, but it is only an hour per day so I wasn’t sure that was going to be enough.  The descriptions for that camp also sounded a bit like they needed more parental involvement than we really want to give.

Then one of our friends who grew up in the midwest recommended NIU– that’s one of the regional universities in Illinois.  Apparently they run some really great summer camps for kids each summer and this year they’re all online this summer, unlike all southern camps that are mostly back in person this year.  An actual university and a personal recommendation?  I will take that.  And it looks like each one is around 4 hours online, with some being 4 hours straight and some having a break in between for projects, which is pretty similar to DC1’s online schooling this past year. They also seem to know what our rising 5th grader will enjoy.  The only thing that sucks is that there’s no creative writing week for 5th graders.  (DC1 has moved on from Bad Kitty fan-fiction to epic fantasy.)

So we did the jigsaw puzzle work with the different options (5th graders are eligible for both elementary school and middle school camps and several camps conflict and several repeat) and signed DC2 up for most of the summer.  There’s about 2 weeks on either end and two weeks sometime in the middle of summer that are unaccounted for, but we can figure that out later or take an actual vacation.  All told it will cost ~$1000 give or take.  But well worth it if it means I can finish an email without being interrupted 5 times.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , . 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “What we’re doing for summer: update”

  1. mnitabach Says:

    This all sounds great & thanks so much for posting your research & analysis! I’m totally forwarding this to relatives w kids & teens searching for summer options to keep them stimulated!

  2. Leah Says:

    The Minnesota Zoo also has some good online camps you can check out. Tho it looks like there’s only part of the time on zoom. And I’ve heard great things about NIU in person, so I hope the online camps are fun.

    This looks like a fun option for creative writing (and they have other options too): https://www.lighthousewriters.org/workshop/wild-weird-and-supernatural-sci-fi-and-fantasy-writing-club-ages-10-and?session=3797

    Also, have you checked out school? I have heard good things about some of those classes too.

    Good luck!

  3. teresa Says:

    That sounds awesome. I’m totally going to suggest the NIU camps for my nephew this summer.
    Selfishly wondering what epic fantasy DC2 is into? I need to send a 9th birthday gift to the same fantasy book-loving advanced reader nephew…

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Its hir own invention. I think a bit Jessica Day George inspired though (of Tuesdays at the Castle fame). Zie has also been reading all my old Patricia C. Wredes and Robin McKinleys (be careful with McKinley though because some of them are not safe for children– deerskin is especially bad with incest… the earliest patricia c wredes are also pretty boring and probably shouldn’t have been reprinted, but she gets much better starting with the dragon chronicles).

      In terms of what I would recommend for such a nephew, I would assume he has all the Percy Jackson books (ask his parents though!) but I would not assume he has Rick Riordan presents books, which are epic modern-day twists on ancient mythologies by diverse authors. DC2 has loved all of these so much we’ve had to buy them: https://www.readriordan.com/series/rick-riordan-presents/

  4. teresa Says:

    Thank you! Those definitely look like something he’d like and probably doesn’t have.
    And that epic fantasy sounds completely delightful. (Agree on early Wrede, but I should tell my mom to put my childhood copy of Dealing with Dragons out for him.)

  5. Omdg Says:

    So frustrating that it costs $5k to take a for-credit course when the content is exactly the same as the non-credit one. 🙄

  6. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    I immediately went to check out the NIU camps but sadly they start at grade 3. Oh well, hopefully they’ll keep offering remote versions down the road.

    JB’s little friend got me started on the Percy Jackson and RR Presents books, I love them! I’m also thrilled that one of my fav authors (DJ Older) will be doing a RRP book. If I haven’t mentioned it before, his Dactyl Hill Squad books are really fun.

    We decided to give the Overcome The Barrier Spanish folks a whirl, JB is trying them out now. That plus dance with an Outschool teacher I hope, plus continued lessons with tutor will cover our Spring Break somewhat patchily. I’m going to work on putting together something more organized for summer next.


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