I've been really looking forward to summer holidays. For those of you outside Finland, kids are off school for about 10 weeks. This year it means 72 days.
I love summer holidays. To me it means relaxation. Even at the expense of other things. As a kid it meant reading so many books outside lying down on the grass. Of course it meant other things as well, but that's what I enjoyed most. So I try to do that as much as possible when the holiday comes, even now as a mother of four. Just to reach the familiar feeling of pure enjoyment.
With kids and with more money than we had when I was young, I've also enjoyed "summer camps". By summer camps I mean the opportunities for kids to play a sport for a week a few hours a day. It's a great way of experiencing a sport to find out if they like it or not as a hobby as well as getting new experiences. So far someone(s) in this family has experienced football (soccer), swimming, diving, trampoline, golf, Finnish baseball and tennis. One year one of the kids wanted to have a few days craft club for her friends. Some of them have become yearly routines. This summer we add horse riding to the list.
After all, summer is short, even if it's ten weeks long. Every spring I make a mental list of all those many things, fun and educational we'd love to do or should do during our summer break. We achieve some, and some get postponed. Last summer I made a decision though. I decided not to make any mental lists. I decided not to decide in advance what we are going to to. Because as much fun as those things are, deciding in advance we should do this or that does create stress. Even if it is a tiny tiny stress in the back of your mind, I decided I did not want any of that.
So I came across this in facebook: Do-it-yourself summer camp. I got excited. The title appealed to me. When I read it, I became devastated. My plan of "not planning anything" seemed so "you're not a good mother". I'm sure the approach in the blog post works well for many. It is exciting many want to educate their children and have them do meaningful things. It is true there are so many hours in a day you can fit so many things in a day, time of "nothing to do" too.
But let's face it. I want summer holiday to be a holiday. I don't want lists to tick off. That's everyday life.
So I did not change my plans. We have plenty of football scheduled. We have horse riding scheduled, we have tennis scheduled. Rest of the time we do what we feel like. I'm going to enjoy that.
PS. As an educator I don't want to forget learning. The kids will be required to read. But they do it anyway, so it's not a big deal. If the want to play on a computer during the summer, they may "play" Khan Academy or a few other learning "games". But to be honest, I believe "doing nothing" during summer teaches a lot too.