Summer lovin'....had me a blast........Summer lovin'.....happened so fast...... (If you are NOT singing this in your head....then you must be banished......)
Summer plans for the kids fell apart, and are just starting to come back together. How summer could be screwed up in February (and actually, it started in late January) is beyond me. But it was.
Even though they are old enough to stay home alone
now....an entire summer alone at home isn't the answer. We wouldn't let
them in the pool without us there. So they would be stuck inside or in
the yard (with very little to do) for 2 months. That is a recipe for
If you would like to read about camp.....here is my post from last year that outlines the basics.
We put $100 aside bi-weekly starting after Christmas, and by the end of May/June, we have camp paid for (it usually ranges from $1000-$1100). We have been criticized in the past for spending $1000 on camp when we are in debt. Well, when the kids were younger....we needed some type of child care during the summer while we worked....so this was it. We have also been criticized for being overly indulgent to our kids....which I laugh at....since my kids rarely get anything material, or even "life experiences" that we wish we could get them. We have ALSO been criticized for the appearance that we expected grandparents to pay for this....which isn't true. We have had grandparents say "if you need help....let me know." We didn't NEED help. We weren't going to ask for help. We had it covered. But since the grandparents are largely not involved in our lives, we have had experiences with them that they want to pay for something to ease THEIR guilt for ignoring the kids otherwise....so fine, if you WANT to send something....go ahead. But we aren't going to ask for it, we don't need it to cover the cost, and we aren't going to thank you 1000 times for it.
Last summer, Sassy didn't really enjoy camp. Bossy was ok, but at his level....he was ok with what they actually did. Two field trips were cancelled because of weather (they ordered pizza and the kids watched a movie....) We really didn't get our money's worth. But extended camp was GREAT!!!
This year, our plan was to send them to the extended camp location for the whole summer. It is on a lake, the staff was fun and energetic, and even though the location was terrible for our driving direction....the kids loved it.
When the summer brochure came out......EEEEEKKKK!!!! They redid the camps. Our only choices for camp were either the one they went to last summer and hated....or "teen camp" which we weren't sure what they would do all day (we were told it was similar to what they had last year...which stunk). Plus, we MAY need before and after care because of the times, and that would run us almost $700 more.....
So we started looking at other options. Alot of programs had not finalized their details yet, so we were in summer camp limbo. We thought about Art camp for Sassy...but found she aged out of that camp (stops for the summer after 5th grade). We looked at camp through an Autism association for Bossy....and they wanted $2300 (ha!!), plus food and field trips!!! We knew if we HAD to do parks and rec...we could. And then.....TA-DAH!!!
The Cultural Arts Council (largely supported by a grant) has a 5 week camp, full day (2 sessions....morning and afternoon, with an hour for lunch in between). The morning session is all about the Rainforest, and all the activities are about learning about that and using visual art and nature to explore. The afternoon session focuses on dramatic art....theater, music, and dance with a performance on the last day. Plus, it is so much less expensive!! It will be $400 for both kids.
This camp starts about a week after school gets out, so they have a mini break. 5 weeks of camp....week off.....then we will send them to "extended" camp that they like ($240 for both kids).....then 2 weeks off before school starts. Best of all the worlds!!
Now that Bossy is a little older, he doesn't need as much support for his day to day things. We have a call into the camp to make sure they can handle Bossy (things like realizing that it takes him a little longer to finish things, you may have to give him more direction....). But I think this will give him a little challenge as well. This camp has limited space (the brochure came out on Friday), so we are going down today to sign them up (and bonus...we already had $500 saved for camp!!!)
So we are looking at $640 for summer activities instead of $1000 (or $1700!). It will require a little creativity on adult scheduling, but we should be ok. YAY!
We will take the "extra" summer camp money and use it toward other kid things... back to school expenses (clothes, supplies, etc)....other activities they need money for (scouts, dances....)....and maybe 1 or 2 family outings (a movie, go karts). Traditionally, we don't budget well for these things, but it seems we will have a little leg up on it this year.
All of this said....this MAY be our last summer of camp. We still plan to save for camp, just in case. but by next summer the kids will be almost 13 (shudder!!!) and they probably won't want to go. We will still have to find some stuff to keep them active, but Sassy may be interested in doing some babysitting.....Bossy may have some scout stuff.....don't know.
Can't look too far into the future....but at least it seems we have this summer covered.