It’s summer, and my daughter has compiled the list of places she wants to go, the kids she wants to play with, and the things she wants to do around the house. Some of the things are already a given–we will go downtown and take the train to get there (we already have). Today it was the Griffith Park Observatory, along with apparently dozens of summer camps. We use a two-year-old Los Angeles Visitors Guide magazine from Discover Los Angeles This summer they also have 100 Free Things to Do in LA.

When we’re not playing tourists in our own city, she’ll be reading, but not forced reading. Not recommended reading, and not required summer reading. Some schools do it, and thankfully my daughter’s doesn’t. Last night she was reading about the Revolutionary War in the What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know book from the Core Knowledge series. That led to pulling out the lyrics book to my old School House Rock books and singing along in the car to the America Rocks series. For those who feel obligated to look at lists, LAUSD offers a compiled web page of recommended award-winning books to read this summer. Both the LA City Libraries and the County Libraries offer programs for reading along with arts and crafts and other fun stuff.

For parents who like to sneak in a little education with their children’s web browsing, try SOSClassroom.org, a website created by graduate students at USC to counteract the loss of LAUSD summer school a few years ago. Broken down by grade level and by subject, the kids will hardly realize the games they’re playing are educational. My daughter still plays some of the multiplication games, long beyond needing them.

So I don’t need summer school or fancy camps, and I don’t need a shorter summer. We have stuff to do every single day this summer, and we’re going to enjoy every single one.

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