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Summer Day Camps Are For Everyone

With school soon letting out, parents and kids begin to think about what they are going to do in the months ahead. For many summer day camps are the perfect answer. Throughout the country many and varied programs are being set up as in years past. Whether you enroll in a short day or extended care facility, day camps fit the bill for kids of all ages and parents who work.

Summer camps go back over one hundred years in the YMCA system. In days gone by off from school may have meant spending time with relatives or friends, depending on where you lived. For the city kid living on a farm or in the country was an exciting prospect. For the country child the excitement of the city held sway. But times have changed and so have summer options.

Today you can find a day program almost anywhere and everywhere. From nature camps that focus on learning about the environment and how to protect it to science camps that are as varied as the subject. These programs are set up in cities everywhere.

Looking for an alternative to summer school but hope to keep the mental skills of your child sharp, a summer program may just fit the bill. Of course there are camps that keep your kids overnight for weeks at a time but they can be very expensive. Ones that run during daylight hours and return your child every night come in all sizes, shapes and prices. Most everyone can afford and enjoy this alternative for summer fun.

Among them are computer sessions that teach kids everything from simple computer skills to programming to game making. Music schools hone instrumental skills and playing techniques. They teach kids to read and write music and some even teach how to conduct. If singing is your passion there are programs that address that in great depth including how to protect those valuable vocal cords.

Many zoos and theme parks have programs. Kids learn about animal husbandry, where animals reside, and how they live. If they a water park it may include swimming with the animals and learning how the residents are taught to do their tricks. Some offer an optional overnight experience with campfire and nocturnal activities for those animals that are only awake at night.

If you live in the city your community center will most likely be open too. These often have a swimming pool, art room, multimedia lab, a dance studio, and gym. If your city is large enough it may also boast of a theater, and private classrooms. Some activities offered in these classes will include gym sports, karate, and special events. You can find day camps that help your child prepare for school sports including golf, baseball, soccer, and football and even cheer leading.

One can always find a more traditional summer day camps that consists of the time honored events of cooking over a campfire, practicing safe camp skills, hiking through the woods or along the beach, and playing games in the great outdoors. Regardless of the one you choose your child will enjoy some type of science exploration, arts and crafts. There will be times of relaxation with stories, singing of camp songs and making new friends.

Austin – Live Music Capital Of The World

Austin is the capital of Texas and boasts many attractions, interesting places to visit and culture to view. It’s locals like to promote the “Keep Austin Weird” slogan, but there is plenty of history and architecture in addition to the more modern music and media life that makes Austin the “Live Music Capital of the World”.

The traditional places to visit such as Bob Bullock State History Museum and The Texas State Capitol Complex are impressive buildings. The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum is enormous and holds the original goddess of Liberty, not to mention a full sized windmill and a Texan Airplane from the 1940′s in addition to smaller displays and multimedia presentations. The Texas State Capitol complex is a true treasure of the state and is in fact larger and plusher than the original US Capitol buildings. It is a place that visitors must try to visit, if just to walk in the well kept and picturesque gardens.

Austin is a cosmopolitan city with plenty of modern architecture mixed with classic styles. Just to walk around some of the local streets and neighborhoods is enough for some visitors. You can visit the Pennybacker Bridge which is surrounded by urban picturesque scenes in all directions or take a stroll near the Congress Avenue Bridge around sunset which is the home to over 1.5 million Mexican free tailed bats. These bats live under the bridge for 8 months of the year and come out around sunset to look for insects to eat. It is quite a phenomenon to see the clouds of bats rising from the bridge during a warm summer evening. The bats migrate to Mexico for the winter.

Animals and nature are all part of Austin’s culture. In fact the Austin Zoo is known as a rescue zoo and sanctuary for over 300 animals that have been saved from the wild or extinction. The Barton Springs Pools and the Deep Eddy Pool are the largest and oldest man made pools in the country and are fed from water from the Barton Spring. The water temperature in the Barton Springs pool is always a constant 69 degrees and thought to be a very healthy place to swim and bathe in the grounds of the Zilker Park. Apart from these two famous pools there are many nature trails, parks and recreational facilities to visit and spend time while taking a break from the more upbeat sights and sounds of Austin.

The reason for Austin’s famous name as the “Live Music Capital of the World” is not just because of the hoards of graduates from the many music schools in the area but also the infamous 6th Street. 6Th Street is the home to a multitude of music venues and nightclubs housed in architecturally unique buildings. Strolling down 6th street by day is entertainment in itself to view the buildings and meet the cosmopolitan residents. All of these attractions and more can be seen from the comfort of the Dillo, an historic reproduction of the trolley cars that will take you downtown, to the capitol complex and around the University complex all for free. It is a perfect way to start your trip around Austin and decide which of the many attractions and places of interest that you want to see.

Homeschooling and Delight-Directed Learning: A Natural for Summer

Delight-directed learning involves helping your kids pursue whatever interests come naturally to them. If your kids have been longing to go to a health care camp, or dive into a new orchestra performance, that’s delight-directed learning, which occurs naturally. Often this is most evident in sports. Our family did summer swim team. Other families will really dive into music and art.

Some kids will do nothing but read books. I had a son who constantly had a book in front of him. A lot of kids will do volunteer work; they’re really into being a candy-striper at a hospital, and summer might be their only opportunity to do that. Others really love working with children, so they go from vacation bible school to vacation bible school helping out with different churches. Other kids will do the majority of their projects like scouting or 4H.

One way you can encourage delight-directed learning is to use summer as a gift-giving opportunity. You can give your children some gifts that will encourage their interests. For my son, this meant buying Teaching Company courses on economics or American government. For my other son, it meant different things, and for your children, it will mean different things as well. If you give gifts that encourage their interests, it can help them to feel like they’re taking a break. Sometimes just a break in the routine will help your kids feel like they are getting a breather from the hard-core academics. Even if it is still educational, they will be happier and more willing to participate if it is a subject that they feel passionately about.