Sunday, July 01, 2012

How To Pay For Summer Camp


I think this time of year actually unites working Mums and stay at home Mums. What a concept. The summer is brutal for both. Unless of course you actually like spending every waking minute with your bored progeny, explaining why they can't spend 18+ hours a day rehabilitating cyber kittens in their virtual vet clinic.

This time of year has got to be hard for both species of Mum. Stay at home Mums are suddenly in the trenches all day as schools let out, and working Mums have to stitch together a patchwork of camps, odd pick-up times and ride-shares. It's another full time job.

This summer Anna is doing tennis camp, swimming camp, gymnastics, Girls Inc, her old preschool and her top pick 'farm camp'. We are also - amazingly - going on vacation for a week, so that left only TEN weeks of vacation to cover. I have so many camps, with so many weird drop-off times to manage that I wrote it all on the calendar because if I get hit by a bus in the next few weeks it will kill me that my carefully spun spider web of activities will be for naught. I also wrote it on the calendar because you can guarantee that LK has invested as much time in planning Anna's summer of 'enrichment', as I have planning England's European Cup victory party. Nada.

Don't even ask how much this is costing.

Did you know that there is a very real possibility that budget cuts will mean the next school year will be three weeks shorter? By my reckoning that means that Anna will only actually be in school for three days in February and four days in March.

Good job California - what a great way to plan for an educated and productive future workforce. No really, I think you should keep all those State retirees at full pension. It's the only obvious course of action!!

Lucy on the other hand is in preschool, which - thank the Lord - means she only has one week of holiday to cover. Otherwise my head would explode with the logistics of it all.

Anna is happily oblivious to all this. Like me, she sees an unending summer of camps, but where I see thousands of checks written and calling in a year's worth of car-pooling debt, she sees the possibility of new friends, new skills and new opportunities. She is already nut brown from spending every day of the last three weeks in the pool (if you're reading this from the UK - yes American schools finish in the first week of June). She is having a wonderful summer.

The rationale behind this GIGANTIC summer vacation is that America was an agrarian economy and children were needed to work in the fields over the summer. So it seems a no-brainer to me that we should be allowed to let our children actually work in the fields over the summer. Right? That way instead of paying $250 for a week of 'organic farm camp' at the Center for Urban Agriculture, Anna actually gets hands on experience picking strawberries down in the fields of Oxnard. I get childcare and the family gets a little money coming in instead of going out.

But apparently that's against the law. Sheesh.


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