Parents start ‘common sense camp’ for kids during quarantine amid COVID-19 pandemic

A Los Angeles-based couple decided that since they’re holed up in their home due to the COVID-19 pandemic with their kids, they might as well make the most of it, so they started a “common sense camp.”

Oona Hanson is an educator and parent coach, according to her blog. She and her husband admitted that, while both of their children were very book smart, they lacked in the “common sense” department.

“As a former English teacher, I reveled in having precocious readers. Like sitcom bookworms, however, they can be befuddled by the practicalities of daily life, the very things that help young people thrive in the real world,” Hanson wrote in her blog. “Observing our kids struggling with ordinary tasks, my husband and I have often joked they would benefit from ‘Common Sense Camp.‘”

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Since the pandemic wiped out all normal options for her children such as summer camps and attending sleepovers, Hanson and her husband turned their joke into a reality.

“We decided it’s time to launch our own Common Sense Camp, made possible by the privilege of having flexible schedules and the ability to work from home,” Hanson wrote. Using author Catherine Newman's book "How to Be a Person: 65 Hugely Useful, Super-Important Skills to Learn Before You've Grown Up" as sort of camp manual, the family planned eight themed weeks, each one focusing on a different set of life skills.

Themes include "Kitchen Confidence," "Safety and Emergency Preparedness," "Laundry and Cleaning," and less physical lessons like "Anti-Racism" and "Social Skills."

Hanson also noted that she and her husband plan to make time for “downtime and fun” but would also be dedicating each week to a major topic. The first week’s topic is “Anti-Racism.”

“In addition to requiring daily self-care (sleep, physical activity, hygiene, regular meals/snacks) and making space for downtime and fun, we are dedicating each week to a major topic, ranging from quotidian household chores to inner work with community impact,” Hanson wrote in her blog. The goal for Hanson and her husband is not just to teach their children life skills that will benefit them as they grow, but to teach them how to be aware of their societal surroundings and empathize with other human beings.

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“So we came up with a Common Sense Camp motto: Be Observant. Be Useful. Be Kind. Having compassion and a can-do attitude will benefit our children throughout their lives, allowing them to effect positive change in a world that needs it more than ever,” Hanson concluded.