Friday, August 12, 2011

Homeschool Summer Camp

There are bags of groceries that need to be put away, kids to be played with and coffee to be drunk, but I need to just sit...and type, apparently.  It's been one heck of a long week!  But it's been amazing.  I had this idea of hosting a homeschool summer camp.  My kids are still wee ones that aren't going to go far away for some time.  I don't want to send my kids far away either.  And even if all those things lined up and they were ready to go, I just couldn't afford to send all three to a summer camp!  In walks a brainstorm...let's host one for the families we know and love. 
I have excellent organizational preparation skills.  I love spreadsheets.  I love charts and graphs.  I love researching on the internet and through my books.  I could PowerPoint along side the best of them and no one would even think twice about it. 
I have terrible implementation skills.  Well, let me rephrase that - when kids are playing and I don't have a boss telling me what to do, I have a tendency to just let the kids play and ignore my scheduled cooperative game paired with a catchy camp song. 
I had fabulous plans.  The kids just wanted to play...or as we found out...just wanted the mommy's to do the crafts for them. 
Positive spin - The mommies had a wonderful time making Cat's Eyes and gimp lanyards and beading while the children played water games, delved into the sandbox, hunted for an array of bugs and chased one another around, laughed and had a good time. 
Tonight we're ending the week with a pot luck bbq, fire and s'mores.  Who knows, maybe we'll sing a few songs around the campfire.  Or maybe just the parents will...

Here's what my planning looked like for a day:

CIT - Sarah
10am – 2pm

Opening ceremony
Activity 1 – Sand-glue sculptures, Hike to stream, making lemonade and solar cooking, and finger knitting.
Story, Lunch, Songs.
Activity 2 – ice cream making. Nature journaling.Free play.Water play.
Closing ceremony

Here's what actually happened:
CIT was taken by grandparents all week
Whenever people could get their children out the door - whenever people could get their children back in the car.
Everyone went hiking to the stream.
Cram food into your mouths, or not eat, or eat other people's food because it's clearly better than what your mom brought you.
Bug hunting, sandbox playing
Ice cream making, but not being a huge success because the salty ice got into the ice cream, giving it an entirely different flavor.
A two-year-old finding amusement in spraying everyone with the hose...
Run around and do whatever until mom tried to get you back into the car.

Would I do it again?  Definitely. 
Kids who normally don't play together got a chance to get to know one another.  New-to-homeschooling families were able to come to hang out and not worry too much about their kids.  Getting together at a playground certainly has it's benefits, but kids aren't really forced by the environment to even notice another child.  Free play in a confined area was more conducive to letting common interests shine through and allowing kids to discover that energy at their own pace.  Outside of a few squabbles over shovels or toads, there were no big arguments.  The youngest was three-weeks old and the oldest was ten.  Girls, boys.  Dolls, bugs, guns, swords, sand, swings, hugs, kisses, water and sun.  It was a pretty great week. 
See you next summer!


Revel said...

I went to lots of camps growing up and let me tell you the best camps are the ones that are loosely organized and let the kids "do" what they want. I'd say your campers had quite the time :)

Jean Marie said...

Ok I am a little behind in my blog reading!! I loved Summer Camp!! Can we do it again??? My kids loved it too!!