the network for radical unschooling families
Yesterday we watched the Not Back To School Camp mini-doc by Allen Ellis (so lovely, and so inspiring). My daughter (age 9) really wants to go to such an event. She is very mature and responsible kiddo who's already travelled on her own (train, plane), and been to a few camps. I would definitely want an autodidact/unschooling/life learning camp. She is in particular interested in nature, zoology/biology, herpetology, and drawing and painting.
Does anyone have any leads? Ideally this would be something for her to go to, not a family conference. A true sleepaway camp.
Thanks in advance! :-)
I'm the director of ETUSC (east tennessee unschooled summer camp) and it is also for teens. we had about 5 12 year olds last year and will have a few this year as well, but that is as young as we've been willing to do. one of the reasons the camps are for older children is because of the adult to child ratio requirement as well as the broad spectrum of interests that would need to be met with such a huge age range. i have been seriously considering doing another camp for the 9-12 year olds but there hasn't been enough interest to be able to do it. last year i was certain that i would not want to do the younger camp for this very reason. many kids at that age are not ready or don't want to be away from home for so long. that's why the family gatherings are so popular among families with younger kids. most standard summer camps ARE geared toward younger kids and it's hard to find one for teens. in fact when talking about starting the camp with people back in '09 when we were in planning mode, they looked at us like we were crazy...who would want to take on that many teens?? they hadn't spent any time with radically unschooled and respectfully parented teens i guess. ;)
i will continue to consider the younger camp. i know that doesn't help you much this year...but maybe next year? i will keep looking for an interest and if i find at least 35 9-12 year olds, i'll do it!!
Does it have to be unschooling? Can it be a science camp? A young artists camp? Those might be better avenues of exploration for y'all.
I've noticed museums and science centers having group overnight events - a homeschool group in my area just did one at a museum in Nashville. That might be something you could organize, depending on your area.
I hear you. If you opened to a younger age set you'd have a whole different set of administrative and logistical issues!
Thanks for your input! A science camp, or one regarding nature and zoology, would be lovely (our field trip yesterday: reptiles!). However it's hard to wade through the many that are schooly and more like daycare as opposed to quality programs with a lot of freedom - but also at least a few young people. This is why unschooling camps appeal to me. My daughter really can choose her hours, be counted on to be safe, remember details, etc., be trusted to get herself from point A to point B. Not only that but, more importantly, she's willing and wanting to do that. She's been to other camps and she's less interested in doing those again.
That's true, she is. But she might want to try the day camps until she's 11, to see if they fit well with her interests.
It seems to me that it could be a legal issue with regard to overnight camps and age requirements. Many parents aren't comfortable with their under 12's being away a week overnight with strangers, either, so maybe that plays into how camps are arranged.
Some horse riding facilities have week-long overnight camps for younger kids, but they wouldn't be specifically unschooling, either, and I don't know if your daughter would be interested in that.
You may be looking at a "build it and they will come" scenario <g>.
Kelly Hogaboom said:
Thank you, Robin! I do believe though, she is still below the cut-off for overnight camping. Thank you for the link!