Thursday, June 28, 2007

Homeschoolers at camp

For the past three days we were away at a Homeschoolers Family Camp. What happens when you bring together a couple of dozen homeschooled kids for a few days of games, activities and being together socially? Well, a lot, as it turns out. I found the whole experience pretty interesting. We had a lot of fun. The kids tried a lot of fabulous new activities and did really well, coming away feeling confident about themselves and their abilities. We were able to stay together as a family in one cabin, so my introverts had the crucial no-stress parts of their quiet bedtime routines preserved. My "less introverted" kids seemed to have left any vestige of their introverted tendencies at home. Sophie and Fiona quickly and happily became part of various packs of active friendly busy kids and even when I thought they'd surely be flagging, in need of some recharging, their energy and interest in group activities was always up for one more round of capture the flag.

Erin coped beautifully and without any apparent stress as the sole 'new kid' in the teen group of six, comprised of two sibling pairs and another girl, all of whom knew each other prior to the camp. While she held back for recharging time during unstructured interludes, during the scheduled activities she was right into whatever was being offered, smiling, cheerful and enthusiastic.

Noah was a little slow to warm to the social stuff. He gets easily intimidated by groups of agemate boys, since (as he has explained to me) there's an implicit expectation that he should be just like them, just as capable, interested in and knowledgeable about all the same things. And the camp was certainly dominated by boys in the 10-12 age group, all of whom knew each other and had the same toys along. So he hung back until he figured out who the more approachable boys were, and gradually found his stride by the last day. But he participated beautifully in the new activities he was looking forward to, without any concerns about the group-learning format.

I guess I came away feeling like "hey, my kids could cope with public school just fine if they had to." I mean, I've always been confident that they could cope academically. It's the social and temperament stuff I wondered about. I probably don't need to wonder about that anymore. It'd be okay. Not ideal, but okay.

Other, more general, enlightening observations:
  • homeschooled kids know how to line up
  • homeschooled kids know how to take turns -- waiting for their turn at the fun stuff, volunteering to take their turn for the not-fun stuff
  • homeschooled kids know how to work together co-operatively, both in play and in work (washing up in the kitchen)
  • homeschooled kids develop social hierarchies that can veer subtly towards exclusionary cliques when levels of parental supervision are low
  • homeschooled kids do fads (diabolos were huge -- coincidentally Noah and Sophie had just bought themselves some of these before the camp, but hadn't brought them)
  • homeschooled parents in the BC interior are almost all idealogically left-wing
  • school kids vacating a camp facility before a group of homeschoolers arrive may say that they cleaned out their cabins, but they're lying about the hundred and twenty thousand spitz shells and candy wrappers and potato chip bits tucked underneath the mattresses


  1. Sounds like you all had a great time. Your enlightening observations were very encouraging.

    Also, thanks for the link to the diabolo. I might do some exploring about those (and the devil sticks you recently mentioned)and see if my dd would be interested in something like that.

  2. LOL About the public school kids vacating the campsite LOL

    Sounds like a wonderful time!

  3. Sounds fun! I wish we had a similar type of event in our area. Did your dh go too?


This blog is moving to archive-only status. Please consider posting comments instead at the active version of the blog at

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.