Sam had a two and a half spring break from school. It took a while to sink in, but when it did — panic followed. What was I going to do with her at home for two and a half weeks?! Jamie’s spring break would only coincide with hers on the last week, but otherwise I was still going to shuttle one child to school everyday and have another one glued to me. ALL. DAY.
We did that before in Manila, when Jamie had school and Sam spent time in the backseat of the car chewing my ear off with non-stop questions and what if’s. My very energetic Sam is highly excitable and is most in need of constant stimulation. She’s always asking what else, and she’s always looking for something new to do. I appreciate that Sam is smart and I am lucky to have a highly inquisitive child, however I distinctly remembering being zapped from all energy during those days. Hence, the pre-spring break panic attack. I felt ill-prepared.
My first instinct was to look for camps to stick her in. The problem was the timing. Most of the camps ran during the week that Jamie was out too, and it didn’t make sense to have one in camp where the other couldn’t.
Then I asked Sam to help me figure out what she wanted to do and I said we’d go find the class.
Her answer caught me off guard. “How about a Mom-Sam Camp, Mommy? Could we do that since we don’t have much alone time together?” Lay on #momguilt, why not.
When I had calmed my nerves
(with wine), I realized she was right about the lack of our quality alone time. She’s in school longer than Jamie is, and apart from some girl scout activities, we don’t really do much else that’s just the two of us. Jamie doesn’t nap during the day either. Most of their extra curricular activities were still on for most of the break, so we’d still be running around for a good part of the time.
I also realized that I missed Sam. We’ve gotten caught up in our routine, and she works so hard during the school days on everything, cutting her a little slack and giving her some downtime wouldn’t hurt.
All the more I felt bad for trying to deposit her immediately into some “camp”. As her mother, I could definitely put together activities I know she’d love (and learn from too). There would be no compromise, and no adjustment towards what other people wanted to do, and to my husband’s delight, little-to-no cost. There’s a lot of things we could do at home as it is. When did I get so dependent on camps?! I’ll admit was a good eye-opener, and a wonderful moment for re-evaluating my parenting philosophy.
So with a days to spare before sem-break actually hit, I planned out our Mom-Sam Camp “curriculum”.
According to Sam’s teacher during our Parent-Teacher Conference, Sam quickly masters math and reading concepts (we all know she’s a voracious reader), and so she suggested giving Sam more “breadth than depth”. I took that to mean an introduction to other subjects like science, history, art and the like.
And so we embarked on various activities during the course of our days.
There was of course – Science. According to her teacher, Sam has shown a keen interest in the subject. We’ve talked about molecules, read up on magnets, and have conducted our own little experiments.
I also took her to the Science Museum several times, and it was quite timely that they had an exhibit on National Geographic Explorers. So there was a lesson (or two) there.
There was also a fun Bubblefest show happening that week, and Sam got to explore the world of a gazillion bubbles. We discovered Deni Yang, the world-record holder Bubble Performer. Let me tell ya, he puts on an AMAZING show. Ah-mazing.
We’ve also been learning about US history and geography together.
This is “new territory” for me (pun intended), and something Sam may know more of than me. I found a workbook in Barnes and Noble that would teach her first grade history too.
There was a little bit of biography.
Might as well learn a little bit about the person who’s park we frequent so often, don’t you think? 😉
Speaking of which, what is Spring Break without a few trips to Disneyland thrown in? 😉
Of course, I had her help me with the chores around the house, and I taught her a little bit about peeling a potato.
Of course as Sam loves anything art-related, we did a lot of art exploration.
And my novice little mind thought to mix technique and medium, with Art history and style. So I invested in some books for reference.
I was amazed that Sam recognized some artists from the book. It appears they were already taught at her school (winning points for our school!).
Sometimes it was just free painting, which is always a good thing.
On the last week when Jamie was out of school, I enrolled them both in a week-long soccer camp (more on that in another post).
All of these, coupled with a few play dates and girl scout meetings and activities made for our spring break.
Was the house turned upside-down? Yes. Was I able to do anything else other than Mom-Sam Camp? Not really. Was I tired and worn out everyday? Absolutely. In fact my husband couldn’t understand how I could be so exhausted with one child out of school. I just gave him the evil eye.
And while I may not have any child development or educational degree whatsoever, I do think a few lessons from me and our hodge-podge “curriculum” did her some good. It did us both a lot of good, and it was exactly what we needed.
Oh and it looks like Sam liked her camp too. 😉