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