Saturday, May 23, 2009

Feeling Blue and a Shift in Thinking.

I'm feeling kind of blue, and am wondering if this grand experiment of ours needs a bit of tweaking. Homeschooling thus far has been a success in terms of academics. I have no doubt that we have the knowledge and resources to teach all the things (well, almost) that the kids need to know just as well, if not better, than any school. In terms of raising socially well adjusted and well mannered kids, ditto. The one area I think we fall short is in having regular, consistent interactions with a group of kids that share a common interest. I don't think a perfect situation exists, but I feel like our kids might benefit from it.

I know all the logic about homeschooled kids being more well adjusted, and I agree. You can spot a public school kid a mile away, and if your kids doesn't fit in, well forget it, it's conform or perish. I see it a lot with t-ball. Some of those kids are completely out of control, and mean and tactless to boot. Best of all, the parents are sitting there watching, acting as if they have no control over the matter, when in fact it's their duty to keep the kids in line.

Anyway, it came to light the other day when a good friend's child mentioned that other kids might have focused on their differences and thus labeled this accordingly, i.e. weird. The tragedy of it all is that this child is anything but. If anything, they are an incredibly special, smart, creative, imaginative. The problem is, young kids don't value the things that we adults do, so kids end up being pariahs unless they change. Sadly, most do, especially girls as they get older. What a tragedy. The key is instilling the child with the wherewithal and strength to ignore their detractors and stay true to who they are.

A tall order, by any stretch of the imagination. The child in question has these qualities, but it strikes me as a bit of a lonely way to go. The better way would be to find a like minded group of kids to congregate with and see on a regular basis.

Which brings me to our kids. Let's just say for the sake of conversation that hypothetically they were smart and creative. Again, values not appreciated by kids, and thus a reason to be targeted. Now where might you find a similar group of kids that met regularly? In a school of like minded kids, but where do you find that? Heck if I know.

I do know this-homeschooled kids may end up being better behaved older kids, I see this firsthand, but what about that regular social gig that you get with school? Waldorf ain't the answer because that school is socially not unlike your typical public school in so many ways, complete with cliques and mean kids, not to mention conformity and dogma of the highest order. The homeschool community works hard to socialize their kids, but it falls short because it falls short because everyone is too spread out and though they meet once a week, for the most part I can't imagine they see much of each other, unless of course they live close together.

CB seems to be completely out of the picture, and I'm guessing this is something we need to accept. Even though there were fun times, my gut feeling is that our kids, besides being different, were always going to be outsiders because they didn't share the commonality of being Waldorfians. That common bond is so strong, even when the kids aren't nice, they relate better to one another.

Okay, so begins the mission of finding that group of academically oriented, creative, imaginative kids who work well together and are accepting (indeed, they embrace it). I think our kids hunger for that group, and I've made it my mission to find it. Besides, at some point kids benefit from having a social circle that has nothing to do with mom and dad. As parents, perhaps we are way too involved in our kid's lives.

What our dream would be is to find a group of kids that met regularly, like in a school setting, and were all like each other, i.e., our kids and CH. Is that too much to ask? No drastic changes in the immediate future, but it breaks my heart to think our kids are missing out on certain things in their youth. Granted, they're missing out on a lot of the crappy ones, but such is life.

Just one final note-kids can't see this now, and won't for another 10-15 years, but being intelligent, imaginative, and creative will serve them well in their lives, it just won't endear them to the hip, leader crowd of children. The big tough kids who rule the playgrounds in elementary school and even high school often find themselves pining for yesterday later in life. It's not good to peak too early, it's just hard to comprehend that when you're young. Besides, why suffer for your gifts, when you should be celebrating them.

We do. Every day.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

No comments: