Summer Camp: Five Tips on Choosing a Camp for Your Child

Summer camp is a great way to supplement your child’s home school experience.  In camp, your child can improve social skills and develop a sense of independence.  Summer camp can also be a good transition from home school to mainstream schooling.

From parochial programs to sports camps, organizations across the globe offer a wide range of experiences for your student.  This article lists five handy tips to help you choose the best summer camp for your child.

BEAT THE RUSH. Most camps have limited enrollment and an application process. More exclusive programs will fill early. Start your search in winter. Doing so will afford your child a wider variety of choices.

ASK AROUND. Ask area schools and other home schools for recommendations.  Schools receive materials about academic camps, exploratory excursions, and other summer programs.  Talk to other parents and kids about camps they have attended.

CONSIDER THIS. What are your child’s interests? Skills? Temperament? For the athletic child, consider sports camps (these are usually 1-week affairs). For the child in need of academic support, look to programs at boarding schools.

SCHEDULE. Do you have family excursions, business trips, birthdays, or holidays during the summer? When does school end for your child? When will the new school year begin? To work around schedules, consider a combination of 1-week-long camps. Also, consider day camps to allow your child to participate in evening events.

BUDGET. Are you looking for a great deal, or would you prefer an “all-inclusive” experience for your child? For the former, YMCAs and churches offer low- or no-cost programs. For the latter, consider organizations such as Experiment International (EI) or the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Many programs offer financial aid.

To enhance your child’s academic experience, enroll her in a summer camp.  Use the tips above to make the best choice about your child’s summer experience.

James Guilford holds a Masters in Gifted Education from Columbia University. He is the author of the novel The Pencil Test and lives in New York City. Visit his website to download free lesson plans, articles, and other free resources.

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