For all my high and mighty bitching about the end of school, taking the moral high road on teacher's gifts, and complaining about the # of days I am actually required to be in attendance at school towards the end, I am the first one to admit, I love me some school days.
And by school days, I do not mean school that would take place within the confines of my home. Oh hell no. That to me is torture. I'm not cut out to be a homeschooler, or for that matter a housewife, a cook, but I digress...
So anyway, this actually is my prek daughters last week o school. The other kids are done in the middle(two of them) and at the end(one of them) next week. Needless to say, I am having a massive panic attack, and wondering what will I do with all them everyday, all day?????????
Having five kids kinda makes camp cost prohibitive. And that is not to say that they won't go to camp at all. There are some community/church programs that offer camps at a nominal charge, although anything times four, baby is too young for camp, is expensive.
I am not above sending my children to religious camps for religions that I do not subscribe to. One summer, my friend, Holly, who went from a drinking realtor to a sober born again Christian extended my kids an invitation to her church summer camp. My kids are loosely raised as Catholics, and I knew that this was an attempt at conversion, but nevertheless, the camp was free and all I had to do was sign my name to a piece of paper. She transported them every evening for two weeks, from 6-9, and I had three hours of peace and quiet with my third child, who at the time was a newborn.
It did bother me a tad when my son came home singing a song "my heart was black as sin until the savior came in", but I rationalized this experience as a test of faith. None of my kids converted, so it was all in good fun.
Since Holly has since switched over to the Mennonite church, those camp invites have ended. I wonder if the Mennonites have camps? I can see my kids milking cows with somber faces dressed in plain clothes that they made themselves. Unfortunately, no invite has been extended, so at this point they're all mine for the summer.
So here are some of the strategies that I am working on this week in order to ensure that we will have a relatively smooth summer.
* I am printing out a calendar of June, July and August, and marking down any plans that we might have for any of these months. I know, you ladies probably already have this done, but I like to stay a little behind the eight ball. Then I will record any plans I make this week, even little plans like going for ice cream on the calendar. If I plan ahead, it will actually get done- that's theory behind why I will do this.
* I am surfing the web for local attractions and things to do. By doing this, I can see in advance what ticket prices will be and decide when and where we can go for fun outings. Since I now have a navigation system in my car, not built in- just one that you can stick up, I don't have to worry about printing out directions. But if you don't have this gadget, and like me you can't read a map or find your way to your front door in the am, you might want to print out this information as well. Do it this week, before the kids are home, and before the day that you are to leave. Days when we are going somewhere are always so hectic, so less prep work the better. So that you don't loose the directions, stick them in your glove compartment right now.
* I am amassing schedules for free activities, or nearly free activities. Look, I don't exactly live in a booming metropolis, hardly, but there are still plenty of things to do with the kids that cost little or are completely free. The local library and bookstores offer free story time. I let the older kids walk browse for books for themselves during this time. The movie theatre here has free summer movie camp every week. It shows two movies, one G and one PG, two mornings a week for the entire summer. I will get a schedule of what's playing so we can decide in advance who will see what. Also the craft stores have kids project days weekly, and they get to make seasonally appropriate crafts. They usually charge a nominal fee for materials, but the kids have a blast.
* I am searching for websites with great ideas. Today, I discovered the Crayola website. Since we don't live too far from the factory itself, and since tickets are only 9. per person, under three free, I am thinking this will be one place that I will take the kids. Anyway, while I was looking at the attraction, I also browsed the crayola.com website, only to discover that it has a lot of great projects and print outs on it. There is also an online store where you can order supplies. New customers receive 15% off.
So I am feeling a little bit better. Let's promise that we'll be in this together, and that by the end of June we won't be seeing yellow because our eyes are tricking us into thinking that there is a school bus in front of our house, waiting to take the kids away.
Also, if you have a great idea for how to spend summer days, please leave it in the comments. Laurie