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Planners and procrastinators reveal their kids' summer plans

Summer is here! Parents at LA Unified's Ivanhoe Elementary School give their opinions about summer plans for their kids.
Summer is here! Parents at LA Unified's Ivanhoe Elementary School give their opinions about summer plans for their kids.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

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“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.

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