Monday, March 21, 2005

To Camp or Not to Camp, That is the Question

It's Spring Break time which, at my house, means the summer learning plans are in full swing. #1 Son (age 14) will be spending two weeks at Mori No Ike , the Japanese camp of the Concordia Language Villages. All three boys spent five days last August at Mori No Ike. #1 Son had no choice--he hadn't taken a language during middle school because "they don't offer Japanese" like they do in the high school. When I found out Concordia had a short-term "try-on" camp, I figured it would be the perfect way for him to find out if he actually hated Japanese and wanted to switch languages, so he wouldn't be two years behind the other French, German or Spanish students. Luckily, he loves the language and loved the camp, hence the two week visit this year. Concordia also offers month-long high school credit camps and study abroad programs that we'll look into for next year.

#2 Son, aka Wolfie, (11) liked Concordia but doesn't really like camp. He tends to be shy and two weeks isn't really enough time for him to warm up to anything. He went to overnight YMCA camp (less than a week) when he was 8 and was very uncomfortable. At Concordia he had both his brothers around, but it's not an experience he wants to repeat. (And #1 Son would like to go by himself this time, please!)

#3 Son, aka Chester, (just about 10) hated Concordia, not because he doesn't like camp, but because the immersion technique completely threw him. Chester is very concrete and likes things spelled out neat and orderly, not "Guess what I mean when I say X." He's a joiner and likes new experiences, but language camp was not a good fit. I thought he might like it once he got the hang of it, but he never got the hang.

Wolfie was tapped by the Midwest Academic Talent Search this year, so we've been getting all kinds of information on academic camps. Many of them sound like a lot of fun, but Wolfie is determined to do nothing but play video games this summer. We even found him a two week camp at a junior high near his grandparents' house so he wouldn't have to stay in the dorm and deal with the social stuff that is so disconcerting for him, but no. "I already have Orchestra. Isn't that enough?" (He will be in middle school next year, so has summer orchestra through the schools.) I'm torn about whether I should force him to go for his own good or let him stay home like he wants to.

Chester is hoping to take an acting class at the local children's theater during the summer. The class is boys only, thank goodness. ;) Signup starts April 1, so keep your fingers crossed.


Anonymous said...

I vote for letting Wolfie veg all summer with video games and orchestra. :D

The Princess Mom said...

But then he gets bored, and then he gets whiney...

Anonymous said...

Let him get bored and whiney, and then he can help brainstorm things to do...nothing wrong with boredom every now and then, and I find it empowering for a child to make some decisions for themselves. Sometimes kids just need to be bored, and they need time just to veg out...eventually they find something more interesting to do.