Saturday, June 19, 2010

Math Enrichment vs. Camp Galileo

We have in years past sent our boys to Camp Galileo. They are all over the Bay Area, and we have been very happy with them.  The focus on creativity, with science added in, has been FABULOUS.  Fridays included special ending ceremonies, songs and skits, and piles of architectural wonders.  Roller coasters, bridges, all types of art set within their historical context ("This is surrealism, mommy").  It also seemed like they learned a new version of Tag every day!  The kids were always jazzed, and maybe mildly heat-stroked from all the outside time.  Good times, man.

Teddy has aged out of the program now, and Barley always was happier when Teddy went to Galileo with him.  He opted not to attend Galileo this simmer since Teddy could not go with him.  Given the $350 price tag--over $400 by the time extended care was added--that was fine with us, actually.  But part of us were sad that he would opt out of this very rich, very creative experience.

Instead, he is back in Math Enrichment this summer.  He went last summer too, and really enjoyed both the daily math, but also the structure of program.  While Teddy is a free spirit, and loves anything new, thrilling, different, exciting, Barley prefers to know what is coming next.  Based on behavior and other signs of anxiety, we could tell the daily school-like routine was much less stressful for him than changing camps every week.

This week is the first week of summer programs.  Barley was going all negative on me last week, depressed that his friends were not coming to Math Enrichment with him (don't call it Math Camp a la iCarly, he will correct you!).  He also learned he would miss a trip to laser tag, with the summer camp his brother is going to.  I was worried that he would decide not to have fun, and a miserable 8 weeks would be ahead of us.

Luckily, he has met up with some friends from last summer, and is getting back into the routine.  He has been extolling the virtues of Math Enrichment over Camp Galileo all week at pickup time.  It seems some of the "zany fun" that Galileo encourages, actually embarrassed Barley.  Mind you, he's been going there for 3 years before this, and he never before mentioned not liking any part of it.  Some of this might be revisionist history.  However, it does make some sense that our rigid, inflexible, averse to change child might have been less comfortable in an environment which was such a perfect one for our Steve Martin-esque class clown.  I'm glad we signed Barley up for math again this summer, since he loves it so much.  And I am also glad we persuaded Teddy NOT to attend Math Enrichment, and found more new and enriching programs for him instead.

Teddy's joy this week?  He re-discovered Gary Larson's Far Side cartoons at the library.  All week, he's been showing us the cartoons from the book he borrowed.  To him, they are fresh new humor, absurdly funny!  To us, they remind us of our college days, full of sarcasm and irony.  It's been fun reliving these old gems with him.

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