I was determined
not to repeat last summer's mistakes and try to actually get my kids a bit more involved in activities. Now, I don't mean overwhelmingly involved (I think we can all agree a Tiger Mom, I'm not), but just up and doing something for part of the summer.
I don't stress about them reading enough, playing enough or being bored (it's not a bad thing...boredom can spark creativity). However, I knew with Peter being gone, we would have a *lot* of together time and I decided something different for each of them couldn't hurt.
Kelsey opted for swim team and one week of summer camp. Plenty of time for unfettered outside play and or just lazily reading all afternoon. Nick had his summer fun camp at his school. I primarily used that when I had meetings or doctors appointments that would not be conducive to much fun for him. He goes 2-3 days a week and loves seeing his friends from the school year.
Cait was a bit trickier. She is at an in-between age. She would love to spend all of her time drawing and or babysitting (or drawing to entertain children she sits) and is not terribly interested in sports. Even though she was a bit against it (apparently *award-winning* programs are just, well, so last year) initially, I would like to believe she ended up having quite a grand time (or at least interesting) at IFTA* .
I really wanted to send her last year when I was busy being the laziest summertime parent you've ever seen (I blame that blip business). However, medical bills were zapping our free funds and it simply didn't happen. This year, however, things changed with Pete over there. I hemmed and hawed (she was not exactly excited) but finally signed her up in late May.
Lo and behold, she appeared to love it. Today was the parent day of the session (second to last day) and her last day, since we are leaving on our semi-vacation tomorrow. She ended up taking classes in computer graphics (drawing pad apps, which she works on all the time at home), foundations of drawing (could not be more up her alley), piano and ceramics. I can't put words into her mouth, but given the effort she put into the work during the day and at home, I think it's safe to believe that she truly enjoyed the program.
I enjoyed finally getting to see some of her work today, and even better, having Peter accompany me. The timing for this day could not have been more perfect, since he was back and somewhat rested today. All of the teachers were truly engaging and the kids seemed excited to be there. I know she likely can't do it next summer, so very glad she had the option and chose to take it this year.
In other words, I would highly recommend this program for any child in grades 6-11 (for past school year). I was very impressed with it and despite it being 5 hours a day for 4 weeks, Cait had few complaints about getting up and off to the bus stop (they pick up from various high schools in the area). After seeing the work she has completed and how inspired she was, I would say it was $800 extraordinarily well-spent. And now she gets to have a few truly lazy weeks of summer, which I do think she has earned...
*E-IFTA also exists for those in grades 3-5.