As summer approaches and my 6-year-old will soon head off to day camp (on a school bus and everything) for the first time, a few books have left me wondering if I should be leaving her to her own devices instead. You know, to build forts in our backyard (oh, wait, we don't have one), or catch frogs in the creek (ditto).
The first book, which I previously discussed here, is A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee. The two boys go off to a week of nature camp, which they instead spend complaining about various things, watching TV and playing video games at their relatives' house, and eating food they don't get at home. It's not til the end of the book, when left alone, that they do anything remotely nature-related.
Conversely, A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech (more well-known for her award-winning Walk Two Moons, for an older audience) shows us the pitfalls of too much school. The well-meaning but overly enthusiastic principal keeps adding days to the school calendar (weekends! holidays! summer!) until a wise student points out to him that this means that some people are not learning. She is not learning how to sit in a tree for an hour, her younger brother is not learning how to skip (because she is not home to teach him), and so on. The principal, realizing the error of his ways, relents. A fun read-aloud, my children liked to join in when I read the principal's refrain: "I love this school! Let's have more school!"