When the school year ends, our family looks forward to spending the summer together in our version of summer camp at home that we like to call "Camp Rowley"! The kids love it because:

We Have a More Flexible Schedule

All throughout the school year, we are forced to live by the clock — we have to be out of bed at 7:30 a.m. sharp Monday through Friday, which means we have to adhere to a strict bedtime schedule too. Even on the weekends we rarely have a chance to sleep in due to sports and activity schedules. Signing up for a local town camp would mean trying to get out of the house by 9 a.m. all summer long — something we just don't want to have to do! We really look forward to those weeks in the summer when we can ignore the demands of the clock and just do as we desire!

All of Our Activities, Field Trips, and Crafts Are Geared Towards Them

The kids love "Camp Rowley" because everything is planned with their interests in mind, rather than a typical town camp that needs to appeal to dozens of children. For example, we love to hike (and geocache) as a family — so we can plan to do that every week if we'd like! The camp calendar is ours alone to plan!

And Mom loves it because:

It's Frugal

When you are raising a large family, even a relatively inexpensive town camp becomes cost prohibitive. The nice thing about summer camp at home is that I can make plans for some great free activities (such as visiting local parks and playgrounds) and take advantage of where we have family memberships (at the zoo, aquarium, and science center) and then budget some funds for more expensive activities (such as a trip to a water park). And I still end up spending less than half of what I would spend to send my kids to our town camp.

It's Part of the Privilege of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

I know that I am very fortunate that my husband and I have been able to structure our lives in such a way as to support me staying home with the kids. And I feel that one of the great privileges of this situation is to have the chance to spend quality time with my kids all summer long. If I were still a working parent, I wouldn't have this opportunity — so I don't want to pass it up, and I don't want to forget to be grateful for it.

Throughout the summer I will be posting articles here on Parenting Squad that I hope will inspire you to try creating your own summer camp at home — for a week, for a month, or even for the whole summer!

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