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Planners and procrastinators reveal their kids' summer plans

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

Summer is here! Parents at LA Unified's Ivanhoe Elementary School give their opinions about summer plans for their kids.

“What am I doing with the kids this summer?” is a question that’s perplexed some parents and guardians while it’s provided comfort to others. Both reactions were evident on a recent day at Ivanhoe Elementary School in L.A.’s Silverlake neighborhood.

Friends Shannon Timms and Jill Tanner appeared to be the Yin and the Yang of summer planning. As both waited for the bell to ring outside campus, Tanner talked about how she mapped out the season for her eight- and ten-year-olds months ago.

“My kids love to go to camp, so they’re going to two weeks of sleep over, sleep away camp in Canada, which is where my family is from, and then they’re going to come back here; my older one is just going to play with friends and the younger one is going to go to musical theater camp at the Lyric Theater,” Tanner said.

Timms said she’s in denial that for her second- and fourth-grade kids, it’s already summer.
 
“I plan to enjoy my summer with the kids. That’s the plan and then I panic a week before school gets out,” she said, recognizing that school is out in a matter of days.

She says she and the kids may join a pool and visit relatives back east – or the other way around. Her children did camp last year and didn’t like it. L.A. Unified has changed the fall start date so this year summer vacation lasts just about six weeks.

Compulsive planner Jeannie Chang booked camp for her kindergartener two months ago.

“Natalie is going to do an art and dance camp for one week at CREATE, which is in Atwater Village. And then she’s going to do two weeks of Descanso Garden camp through the Childhood Early Education Center, that’s with Caltech,” she said.

In the midst of her planning, she said, sticker shock set in.
 
“The CEC one is $415 a week,” she said, remembering the price of the other camp. “It was $250, and it’s not even a full day, it’s 10:30 to 3 or something like that.

Retired postal worker Earl Harris radiated a Zen glow when asked about his kids’ summer plans. He has four to worry about: a fourth grader at Ivanhoe Elementary, two middle-schoolers, and a high school junior. For years he’s put them on a plane to see and get to know their grandmothers.
 
“They have an auntie who’s a judge and she’s the one who booked the tickets for them, she’s the one picking them up. They’re flying together, the first trip they go to Miami, then they go to Key West, and then they fly from Key West to Brooklyn, from Brooklyn back here,” he said.
 
He wouldn’t have it any other way. “I have to have some pleasure, me and my wife to ourself, you know. And it gives them time to reevaluate [theirselves] and be thankful for their parents they have and the family they have,” he said.

That, Harris said, recharges his entire family’s batteries for the fall.

What are your kids doing Summer 2012?

After talking to Ivanhoe Elementary School parents, KPCC decided to extend the question to all of Los Angeles:

Storified by 89.3 KPCC · Fri, Jun 08 2012 17:57:53

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@KPCC taking the kids to the grand canyon and leaving them there.Whale Staff
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(P.Sachin.Nayak/Flickr) A killer whale balances a trainer during the Shamu Show at Sea World California in 2009. Bernard Adamczyk, a freelance TV editor from Altadena says he, “would like to take the 3 year-old to Sea World as he has an obsession with killer whales.”
@KPCC We are camping at Big Sur but what our son is most excited about is the Ancestral Skills camp at EarthRoots Field School.Mary Castillo
@KPCC On June 23rd we’re hosting the LA Youth Hack Jam for kids 5-18 + parents to learn how to code. http://lahackjam.eventbrite.comTara Tiger Brown
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(Presidio of Monterey: DLIFLC & USAG/Flickr) Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center student Pvt. Michael Odoms, Marine Corps Detachment Monterey, reads from a book to children at Foothill Elementary, March 2012. Substitute teacher Leslie Chain of Youngstown, Ohio offers this summer suggestion: After years of "students" from K - 12 who can't conjugate the verb, “to be,” simple present tense, I would encourage all parents to take their children to the library. Get books; read to them; have them read to you; and insist they write letters and diaries.

Be a source for KPCC: What are you doing with your kids this summer?

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