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Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow
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Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  86 ratings  ·  23 reviews
An insightful and powerful look at the magic of summer camp—and why it is so important for children to be away from home . . . if only for a little while.

In an age when it’s the rare child who walks to school on his own, the thought of sending your “little ones” off to sleep-away camp can be overwhelming—for you and for them. But parents’ first instinct—to shelter their
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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I picked up this book from the "new non-fiction" shelf at the library, more out of disgust than interest but am now completely converted! I thought it was going to be talking about little kids (as in, anti-attachment parenting) but it's actually a really compelling case for sending your kids away from you to camp (or something similar), when they're old enough. Reading this made me realize how very formative all my years at Tanalian Bible Camp really were for who I am today. I thought the inform ...more
Malin Friess
I found this book highlighted at our library and decided to pick it up. I give it 5 stars and echo much of what Megan said in her excellent review.

Homesick and happy made me a bit nostalgic to a go back to camp as a counselor or camper where I spent at least 4 summers. I think camping ministry (in particular Christian camping ministy) really affects kids and they are changed. I remember obese kids who had never hiked a moutain make it to the top of a peak near Estes Park. I remember kids cryi
Alain Burrese
“Homesick and Happy: How Time Away From Parents Can Help A Child Grow” by Michael Thompson, PhD is an interesting and engaging look at the area of summer camps and why sending kids to such camps helps with their development. It provides a good argument for the benefits of attending camps, and also engages with the stories from his research. I'll have to admit, it also made me think of my years as a young camper and as a counselor. I could relate to much of what Thompson wrote about with my own e ...more
Nancy Kennedy
Author Michael Thompson writes a moving paean to summer sleepaway camp. He visits 19 sleep-away camps and recounts his own camping experiences as a child. In his conversations with everyone involved in the camping enterprise -- campers, parents, counselors, directors -- he develops his theme that the experience can be challenging for everyone, but necessary for the growth of a child's sense of confidence, self-esteem and independence.

I agree with Dr. Thompson's overall theme that a child needs t
Wonderful book! As a former camper and camp counselor I have such fond memories of camp, yet the thought of sending my kids to camp made me nervous. Thompson sets out to calm any nerves and shows how great camp is for kids. He had me at chapter one where he discusses the 8 things parents want, but cannot do or give to their children -happiness, self-esteem, friends, independence. The main point is that there are many things parents can not teach their children, and camp is a great secure place t ...more
Read Ch 9, "The Magic of Camp," first -

"Camp is Hogwarts. While only a tiny fraction of children in the world will ever go to boarding schools, and none will ever go to an academy that fields a Quidditch team, all children imagine themselves going to Hogwarts, because it is an iconic place where kids are on their own." My goodness - Michael Thompson doesn't know my daughter but that is an apt description of what summer camp means to her.

I found myself tearing up - in public! - reading about the
Michael Thompson once again gives parents perspective and guidance as we navigate the decisions of raising children, and in this book he celebrates the merits of sleep away camps. One of my children is an avid and enthusiastic camper, another is going somewhat reluctantly to camp this summer for the first time. Thompson promotes the idea that children will take risks and open themselves to new experiences in a completely different way in a camp environment than they would when their parents are ...more
For any counselor, parent or future parent this is the book to read. It's not that it is new information. What he is telling you is common sense, about why sending your child to camp is a good thing for them. And that being homesick is also a good thing and it's a healthy developmental step in a child's life. But, the anecdotes and information that he has to back it up are really convincing. He is able to verbalize what most of us in the camp industry have been trying to explain to parents for y ...more
This book, though a fun read, didn't hit the points I would like to have seen. It read more like a PR piece for summer camp and less like a book about developmental psychology.
It didn't help, of course, that my experience of summer camp was completely alien from that described in the book. So my review must be filtered given that knowledge.
Dr. Thompson illustrated amply some of the most desirable aspects of the sleep away camp experience and on the factors (the presence of multiple age groups,
Practical helpful tips for making the most of camp for parents and children - I hope to avoid homesickness (and "childsickness"!) but if it comes up I feel like I'll have some tips for handling the situation.
The overall message of the book was great. I totally agree about time away from parents in a camp-like setting is a great thing for a kid for many reasons. I don't think that summer camp is te best/only option for that kind of growth though. Also the book felt more "personal experience" based than actual research based. Not that he didn't interview a lot of people - he just seemed to interview a lot of camp-lovers.

Very helpful and interesting look at the power of the camp experience and how we can successfully share it with our children. Offers advice on letting children gain independence and resiliency through their own experiences in our world of hyper parenting worry. Love the useful tips for helping and preparing kids for homesickness and parents for childsickness.
A great read for sure! I know all the benefits of the sleep away experience from my own experience, but there were lots of great perspectives I have not thought if before. Definitely reinforces the parenting choice of sending your child off for all the right reasons. Finished it up just in time for mine to leave and I hope they love it!
Martin Goldberg
Very good, and comprehensive, look at the benefits of summer camps for kids (and staff). Highly recommend this read for a parent considering sending their kid(s) to camp, who has not themself grown up going to camp. Somewhat of a dry read but very educational.
I read this for July's Parenting by the Book. It was the perfect thing to read while my older daughter tried out sleep-away camp for the first time. Recommend it for parents needing reassurance that time away from home is good for kids and parents.
Ms. Yingling
I don't think that kids get homesick as much as the parents miss the children. I am not worried about Surly Teen Boy being in the Philippines for a year, although it is probably very likely he will not want to come home!
A must for anyone who is considering sending their child to camp. I'm so glad I read this, I know how great the experience is for them. Research and lots of info very helpful to parents wanting the best for their kids!
Deirdre Flynn
A lot of good comes from the experiences gained from being sent to sleep away camp and it's hard to replicate the experiences in other safe, age appropriate ways. Now there's no need for anyone to read this book.
Great read for anyone considering or terrified about sending your kids to sleep away camp.
Glad I read it. Quick read and had some helpful hints for helping prepare your child for camp.
Muddy Waters
Confirmation that summer camp can be life changing. It was for me.
made me feel better about my decision!
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

psychologist, school consultant and international speaker on the subjects of children, schools and parenting
More about Michael G. Thompson...
Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children It's a Boy!: Understanding Your Son's Development from Birth to Age 18 Speaking of Boys: Answers to the Most-Asked Questions About Raising Sons The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Find Success in School and Life Mom, They're Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems

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