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Entries in exercise (2)


Mole hills

We started out on the right foot this week as far as resolutions go. Aside from daily photographs, Calvin and I got out and active every single day this week. For me it was at least a quick jog around the block (1 mile) every day, and for Calvin it was a couple of gymnastics classes and free swim added to our usual routine (which was just a single swimming class).

This is all well and good. Of course I signed him for a couple of gymnastics classes on well-used, probably filthy equipment surrounded by scads of other kids right in the middle of a flu outbreak (sometimes I question my planning), but as it turns out it wasn't the germs I needed to worry about so much. Actually, what had me second guessing the whole affair was his immediate pronouncement upon exiting the gym after the second class that "those boys are mean." Apparently throughout the class the boys were calling names, using ridiculous words (Calvin's term, not mine, for their use of such phrases as "diaper-face" and "poop-head"), and pushing, shoving, and the like. Although I'm pretty sure his feelings weren't hurt, he was uncomfortable and wasn't sure he wanted to go back. Calvin, being amongst the smallest, was the brunt of much of the behavior, and he also said that the teachers were unable to control at least two of the boys.

And so it begins.

I know a lot of parents believe that it's good for kids to handle conflict on their own, good for them to be exposed to the rougher side of childhood socializing, but this is a view with which I have never agreed. If I were attempting to learn a new skill I would not seek training from someone as novice as myself, so why would I want my six-year-old to learn social skills from another six-year-old? I want him to learn the finer points of socializing from people who already know them, like knowing that it's not okay to push someone just because. Not to mention that the skills he is learning now are preparing him for adulthood, and since most adults finding themselves unwittingly in a shoving match would either walk away or seek help, I can't see the purpose behind forcing him to stick it out through a situation in which he feels unsafe.

Of course there's also the whole running away from problems issue—don't be a quitter, and all that jazz. Those are definitely useful lessons or skills to learn, but gymnastics is brand new for Calvin, not something he's pursuing as a life goal, and it's intended to be purely fun. If it's not going to be fun then what's the point? And no I don't want to be the over-protective or coddling parent, but there's something deeper at stake here, I think, and that's trust: my trust that he can make this decision for himself, and his trust that I will give him whatever support he needs to make that decision and follow through with it. Jon and I spend a lot of energy trying extend to Calvin the same respect that we would extend to other adults. We're not perfect at this by any means, and we are always learning, but this is what we try to do, and part of that is giving him room to make his own choices and to live with the consequences, be they positive or negative.

All this over a mole hill.

Part of it is just my usual response to the general "what about socialization?" question that all homeschoolers will hear at least once in their lives, and the rest is really just me thinking out loud (in type). Jon and I have talked about it, and we talked a little with Calvin, too, but no ultimate decision has been made. It would appear that my plan right now is to ignore the situation, but really I'm just waiting for Calvin to think about it in his own time. The awesome thing is that the first gymnastics class of the week is a small class with other members of our homeschooling group (see picture below), so we can go to that class then talk again and see how he feels about class number two. And the more awesome thing is that I can trust him to think about it and decide for himself, and will support him in whatever decision he makes.

That, and knowing that after week one (two?), at least some of our resolutions are still in place.


Just Tuesday

There is a cold in the house. It is trying to ruin my best laid plans for staying healthy in January. We have big doings on the burner for January and can't afford to be sick. Still, there is a cold in the house, ignoring my restraining order, making me bust out the chicken soup, the early bed times, the extra fluids, the naps in the afternoons.

The good news is that this was the first day in weeks that we've been just home. We slept in a little, we did two weeks worth of laundry, we went the homemade route with the chicken soup. There was another section in math, the last of the thank-you notes to write, and we drove trains around the Lego city in our play room. There was Star Wars on the piano. I introduced Calvin to the Wii today with Wii Fit Plus, and we revisited our favorite British Doctor with a couple episodes of The Human Journey. We played a cooperative game of Set (and we might be getting the hang of it). There was art. A lot of art. And there was a lot of just plain enjoying each other.