Monday, July 24, 2006

Triumphs and Traumas

The last few weeks my soon to be 12 year old daughter has been attending a band camp (4 hours a day) at a local middle school. She plays piano, but had no previous experience with an instrument. The camp seemed like a good way to jump start her on the clarinet. I had some reservations about this idea. At things age, the peer group can lure the child away from family and spiritual things. She has never expressed an interest in attending public school. Had I started something I would later regret? Personally, I found the driving back and forth to the school down right creepy. It felt like I was going over to the dark side.

Camp has gone well. After two weeks, she can play a few songs on the clarinet. It helped that she could already read music. She had a few of those "nasty girl" experiences. Nothing traumatic, but it gave her an opportunity to see what she is missing. It also gave us a chance to talk about different responses she could try. Over all she's enjoyed the camp and the practice with difficult people was a plus.

Last Friday, the camp include a water play time. The parents needed to sign a permission slip. My daughter was looking forward to the water play and I signed the permission slip for her on Tuesday. On Thursday, she asked if we could get a water gun. We scheduled a time to stop by at a store to pick one up.

During that same week, the younger two girls were in puppet camp. The camp ended with a little puppet show. My oldest daughter had attended this summer camp in the past. Normally, the whole family would watch the puppet show put on by the children the last day of camp. We had talked about picking up my oldest daughter early from her band camp so that she could attend the puppet show with the family. With the conflict between the water play and the puppet show, I had just let it drop.

I was very surprised on Thursday evening when my oldest daughter brought up the puppet show. She said that in years past we had all gone to her puppet shows. My oldest daughter decided that she could just skip the water play at band camp and go to the puppet show with the family. And so, that is what she did.

I proud of her for choosing to support her sisters over doing something fun with friends. I glad she got to see first hand what "nasty girls" are like and how to handle them. And, I'm really glad she doesn't want to go to public school.


Anonymous said...

I hope I'm not out of place here, but I have a question in regards to these "nasty girls" you don't want your daughter exposed to. As a mother, I too want my children sheltered from the jerky kids at school as much as possible. But what's going to happen when your daughter is done with school and needs to head out into the big world and deal with an entire PLANET of "nasty" girls and boys. Will she be prepared to deal with a world of difficult people?

Keeping her home will protect her the first 18 years...but what happens after that? The first 18 years of exposure to some of this bad element under the supervision of mom and dad can help prepare children for dealing with these jerks as adults. I just hope 2 weeks at band camp each summer is enough for your daughter.

derek said...

I never really know what people are talking about when they ask: "Will she be prepared to deal with a world of difficult people?" Is there any way to avoid them? I don't think there's anyway to go through 18 years on this planet without encountering people like this. That is, unless you never let your kids out of the house. With church camp and Boy/Girl Scouts, 4H, band, choir, sports, etc, I doubt very seriously that my children will never run into a mean kid (or adult for that matter). There are two issues here. First, given the inevitability of running into the "jerks" of the world, how much do you want your kid around them? I know that in public school, I encountered way too much ridicule and humiliation. It is unbelievable the things kids will do/say to each other when there's no adult around. I did not have to endure that to learn how to deal with jerks. In fact, I attribute some of my shyness and fear of what others think to those very experiences.
Second, its all about preparing your children for the world. We should be telling our children about these kinds of people, why they are like that, and how little they should care about their comments. Will they still feel bad when made fun of? Sure, but it's not as if they will be blind-sided, and have a total break-down.

We're also going to teach our kids that there is sex and drugs out there, but would we drop them off at a frat party so they can see it first hand and learn how to deal with it? No! It's completely unnecessary. I want my children to always know and believe that it is ultimately how God sees them that is important, not man. I guess I just find the whole premise unrealistic. There is no way a parent can totally shield their kid from ridicule. But should we purposely expose them to it to "toughen them up"?

DavidofOz said...

Luckily, homeschoolers live in the real world, not the artificial school environment.
How do school kids cope being in the real world where they have responsibility for their actions outside of the school zone?
What do they do if they are used to getting their way and rorting the system once the real world won't stand for it?
How do they cope with having to actually achieve something if they have maintained a "just pass" attitude which has gotten them through school?
When do they get to actually know their parents and siblings if they are trapped in the school, travel, homework and activities cycle?
Keeping kids in school may protect them from reality for their first 18 years, but then what do you do? In good conscience, can you really just throw them into the real world without preparation?
I reckon 2 weeks of band practice is plenty enough exposure to that artificial environment.

Janine Cate said...


I think you missed the point.

Because my daughter doesn't go to school, the nasty girls don't have the power to hurt her. She realizes that they don't matter. She can see that the "The emperor has no clothes." My daughter is the one with the power.

For most youth, the peer group is all important. Youth, who would otherwise make a good choice, will do destructive things to belong to a peer group. They become blind to the outside world. The artificial constraints of school become their only reality.

As derek and davidus have pointed out, homeschoolers live in the real world. It's the school kids that don't.