Our school system has officially moved to a balanced calendar. This looks like two weeks off in fall, two for Christmas, and two for spring, with only six weeks in summer. I know this creates quite a predicament concerning childcare for some folks. Our educational system itself has presented quite a predicament as well, only I fear parents aren't aware of it, or don't know what to do about it. In shaping our children's days for the soul purpose of increasing standardized test scores, we've left out teaching children how to think, how to question, how to jump off or jump on, how to take what they've learned and move on. I believe personal gifts are so neglected, everyone must excel at everything, or we've all failed.
I've been so blessed to have worked for administrators who know teaching kids to think is the right path. What's so endlessly frustrating about the attitude of the state are my own students standardized scores, that show big growth, year after year in fourth grade. If you teach them to think and give them the basics, the rest falls into place. So, I have had that opportunity where I teach with 10 to 26 kiddos, depending on the year. The problem- after kindergarten it seems, my gramerlings don't have a me. Ever it pinches and pokes.
So, I daydream. About starting camps during those off times. Camps where children are encouraged to think, question, dream, play, explore. Where reading is something you do for the love of it. Where math patterns are discovered everywhere. Where you might actually have the skill to sew on a button, instead of throwing your shirt away. Where you might find that you have a knack for the dramatic, songwriting, creating rhythms and on and on.
Fear comes creeping along to cast a dim shadow over those dreams. Where would I do such a thing? Could I really find good help I'd need? Are there enough parents to care about such things and want their children to have such experiences? While God has gifted me with a creative flair for hands-on, experimental learning, I have a serious deficit in the business/financial part of the plan. We (Handy Man and I), you know, like to eat.