August is the big camp month around here. This summer my kids have each been to one sleep-away camp, have a soccer day camp next week, and are helping out at our upcoming church Vacation Bible School. I always count camps as school time for them. Some people disagree with this idea. After all, school kids go to camp too, and it doesn't count for them. Somehow it seems unfair to count camp days in my required (here in Pennsylvania) 180 days. Camp is fun! It's not school.
But here are some of the things my kids did or will do in camp this summer:
Swam, hiked, played sports.
Perform community service. Our local school district requires 20 hours per school year. My kids will get 20 hours in one week. (Service at a church counts.)
Help teach and care for younger kids.
Acquired emergency preparedness skills such as: evacuating an injured hiker, mobilizing a group to help in a disaster, attracting and communicating with a search and rescue plane.
Learned how properly to start and put out a fire. (Including, in one case, a large bonfire.)
Acquired skills in leading a group of peers.
Worked in teams to improve the camp.
Worked in teams to do daily chores around the camp, including kitchen and bathroom cleanup; set duty rosters and followed up to be sure work was done.
Learned about nature: local animals and plants.
Learned how to track animals and humans through the woods.
Did arts and crafts.
Engaged in healthy competitions, separate from sports events.
Developed problem-solving skills.
Learned how to deal with a peer who is violating a camp rule.
Learned a little cooking.
And don't forget socialization!
Some of these things are easy to compartmentalize into school subjects, others not so much. But they are all things kids have to learn somehow, someday. OK, maybe not the animal and human tracking. But it's an interesting skill, anyway, and who knows if one of my kids is going to become an FBI agent? Remember, it doesn't matter how or where these skills are learned, at camp or at school or at home. It's the learning that matters. So I happily count these days as part of our academic year.
What did your kids learn on summer vacation?