Monday, July 07, 2008

Camps Out

Two of my three kids do not enjoy the day camp experience. While my oldest enthuses over Science Venture Camp and wishes it was ongoing (she likes the peer group,the company and the projects) the other two have a different take on the topic.

B flat out refused to attend after day 3. She found it "boring,and too long" and didn't like the way the instructors micro- managed them and had them in competing groups, taking off points for groups that were 'misbehaving'-"Oh oh! I'll be taking off 20 points if you do that again!".

Even the company had much to be desired; "I hung our with two girls that I didn't like."
To the question "why did you hang out with them if you didn't like them?" I got this reply; "There was no one else. I would have had to hang out with the boys. Yuk!"

With M, she got back after day 1 saying "I hope this gets better." On day two she was wailing "This is going to make me hate acting If I keep going."
Seeing as this is an expensive gig, I urged her to continue and perhaps she would learn something useful. On the third day she claimed that the best part of the experience so far "was lunch" which I happen to provide
Today is day 4 and I wonder what the comment will be when she gets back. The "stupid games they make us play, the dumb clapping they do when they want our attention-it's like a military camp. And they yell."

What does this say about my kids? That I spoiled them by unschooling? That they are in for a shocker this fall when the 2 oldest go to school (their choice) is pretty obvious. But I think what is revealing is that they see the the structure of the institution be it camps,schools or what ever as rather demeaning, controlling and often trivializing to children.

Even when E enjoyed her experience she was well aware of the silliness of certain attitudes; Her friend had to "Go see Carm ('the 'principal')" for being "cheeky." "Big wow!" to quote my daughter. The lack of humour in matters of school affairs is legendary.

When M says the experience is making her doubt she wants to be an actor I point out to her that schooling might have the same effect on her learning. It makes me think of Einstein and what he said happened to him after exams- something like how after his exams he found the contemplation of any scientific problem distasteful for a full year later.

The school they will be attending is supposed to be respectful of the individual's learning process. It's said to be a 'program of innovation." We have yet to see.

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