Something that I want to heavily instill in my children is the love of knowledge and learning. I am fortunate enough to have been successful thus far in that mission. Jackson is an avid reader who is systematically logical and likes to know how things work, step by step, from the bottom up. Cara is also a devoted reader, best in her class in fact, a grade level and a half ahead of her peers, who likes to make sense of the world by making assumptions and then testing their validity. They are wonderfully curious kids who have very different learning styles, but both have sprinting curiosities that I have no interest in suppressing.
Both of the kids were very excited to spend the summer in a new city and enthralled with getting to spend time at a real beach and getting to live in a dorm! They were even more excited when we found more fun near the city, including a trampoline park that also had a rock wall,
as well as a park trail that was littered with fairy houses!
Our group has various weekly meetings; informational meetings about group outings and expectations, lectures having to do with STEM topics, weekly research presentations from lab directors, group dinners at various Rochester restaurants,
Down on the upside, of course there are some obstacles that the kids and I have had to face. I initially had a babysitter set up a few towns away where the kids could go to spend time with other kids and play while I worked. That did not prove to be an ideal situation and the program has graciously allowed me to keep the kids with me on campus while I work. The nature of my work is mostly computational, so barring wifi connection issues, I can work anywhere. Therefor, I have been working from the dorm while the tiny humans run amuck in the dorm and the communal space on our dorm floor. Usually the tiny monsters understand when I have to do computer work or when I have large amounts of reading to do, but in this foreign environment it has been tricky for them to grasp. Their minds think, "mommy is right there, she can play Sorry with us or watch this cartoon with us, no problem." It has been a bit of a struggle trying to help them be autonomous in their playing and occupation as kids while I'm directly next to them. Sometimes I throw the towel in, call an early day and take them to the beach, then get back to image analyzing when they have gone to bed.
All in all I think this is going to be a good experience for them. My hope is that they see college as a place where they can meet interesting people, make brain tickling discoveries, and a place where they can feel relaxed and have fun. Being allowed the opportunity to further my education and professional experience while also introducing my children to the wonderful world of academia has been one of the best experiences our tiny family could have hoped for.