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.