The summer break is long. Kids in the US get out of school around the end of May and don’t go back until around Labor Day; so that works out at three months. When we were living in Houston and working we would send the kids to summer camp for most of the summer.
On average, summer camp for a full day Monday to Friday can be $200 a week. So for two children this can be $5000. Now that we don’t need to send the kids to summer camp we are saving a bunch of money. The difficulty now is how to keep the children entertained.
The last thing we want is to have them indoors the whole summer doing nothing but screen time. Our teenager does spend time with friends and is spending this week back in Houston with her old school buddies. However it is more of struggle for our 11 year old. He doesn’t make friends easily and the kids he does know are not living locally. He does know children on the street, but he’s not the type to just go outside and hang with others.
Our summer is quite fluid as apart from our recent vacation we have several visitors over the summer, so that should keep him entertained. We are looking into a few day courses and sports lessons, but even these are pretty expensive.
We are also taking the opportunity to broaden his horizons, we are improving some of his life skills such as cooking and sewing. Also we are trying to get out and see some sights both natural and historical – as long as the weather is not too brutal. even here in the Pacific North west its been getting up into the mid 90s. A day or two of rain would be pretty nice actually, i’m very worried about a repeat of last years forest fires.
Personally I think 3 months is too long a break. When I grew up in the UK we would have 6 weeks in the summer, but longer breaks at Christmas and Easter (usually 3 weeks) with additional weeks at half term in the autumn and around early May. The number of actual days of schooling is probably about the same but the breaks were spread out more. I’ve heard that the reason US schools have such a long summer break is because in the old days kids were needed to help work on farms and bring in the harvest. I’m not sure if that is actually true or not.
Next year we will have to decide if we need to invest some money and sign our son up for a few week long camps. Based on prior experience if we do do that we will need to sign up around February to stand any chance of finding spots.