Adventure Academy is taking a summer break as I await the arrival of our family’s next lil’ adventurer. We will re open for child care and tutor time services next fall ~ and are currently enrolling tots to preteens (Discovery daycare (1-6years), Elementary Explorers (5-12yrs/k-6th grade).) Until fall students have access to materials encouraging summer smarts, such as Mother Goose Time’s “More Math and More Literacy” workbooks. Students are also encouraged to participate in our local library summer reading clubs (even non readers can participate with parent assistance).
My own children take the summer reading program as a challenge and are getting quite competitive trying to out-read each other. They are also busy finishing their summer studies – as their homeschool program goes year round – preventing the summer slide. Year round they work on building their brains and bodies. Since they aren’t in a traditional gym class they pick various sports and other activities to interact with peers. Currently they are playing baseball – their team has made it to the playoffs!
We are working on them understanding the team concept – even if they are not the strongest players they are contributing to the team in the many ways. Playing on a pee-wee team with other 7,8&9 year old boys should be simply about learning team concepts and the basic rules/skills of the game. I grew up playing every sport possible and was very competitive, and I think competition has it’s place. However, as the mom on the sidelines (who’s supposta be home on bed rest and stuck silently observing) I notice which parents and coaches are a little too focus on the winning aspect.
As the mom who grew up playing every sport possible – but loving baseball the most – it’s hard hearing your child say they don’t want to play next year, because they let the team down. They feel they let others down and aren’t good enough when they don’t get enough chances to learn the game. When we only use the strongest players in the field, we don’t give them the chance to gain strength on the field. When coaches argue with other coaches and umpires, and teammates are allowed to tease and bully their teammates – we aren’t teaching them the game I loved.
Sports should be a fun way to build skills and friendships. Sports should also be a way to build confidence and face fears. Many kids are scared of the ball, many get hurt on the field – and I’m one that says that’s ok. No I don’t want my child seriously injured, but teaching one to get up and keep playing with the scuffed knee teaches resiliency. Teaching children resiliency and how to face fears is a needed skill. Teaching how to face fears, while facing them safely is the key. It seems many families are at opposite ends of bubble wrapping their children – to tossing them into the wild.
In baseball we should wear helmets… in the wild we should have tools to meet survival needs. In recent news a child was left in Japanese woods as a form of punishment – the child luckily survived. He gained some survival skills, but also gained some trust issues. Teaching one to face fears doesn’t mean abandoning them and losing their trust. Facing fears often means trusting someone is watching over you … just in case. Sadly we can not watch over our children ever second – believe me – I can be quiet the helicopter parent, but even my legit fears after being an emergency tech at summer camps – hasn’t prevented all injuries.
Luckily my children’s injuries have not been too serious and I’ll continue watching over them even though they are 8&9 years old, but there are times I lose my attention and look away and sadly that’s when serious accidents are more likely to occur. Serious accidents that make more news headlines such as toddlers being taken by Alligators at Disney World and little boys falling into Gorilla zoo exhibits. Still, I don’t point fingers and blame the parents. The horror the family at Disney faced wondering where their toddler was dragged and the tragedy heading home to bury him…
Even though the child who fell into the Gorilla’s habitat survived the traumatic situation will never be forgotten. That mom will forever blame herself so we don’t need to. The only parents I would blame are those who put children in harms way purposefully. There is a difference between encouraging your child to play ball knowing they might get hurt and leaving your child alone in a dangerous situation for punishment. Although I encourage my boys to explore our yard and dig for treasures we talk about safety of staying together on their hikes and not talking to strangers and what to do if a friend plays with a gun…
We talk about safety and pray that when we can not watch over them that they look out for each other and themselves. Summer time adventures often require bandaids, but summer time shouldn’t be spent stuck indoors simply reading about adventures – even if that’s safer. It’s hard to be a parent and know when to hover and when to let them fly so I try not to judge others parenting, but I encourage everyone to take a moment to evaluate your parenting and how much you observe and interact and teach your child this summer.
When Adventure Academy opens after summer break we’ll be back in action discovering and exploring together. One benefit of our multi-age program is big kids helping being the extra set of eyes to avoid accidents. It is not a big kids job to raise younger kids, but they love helping watch over their little friends and it teaches confidence and compassion and so much more when these kids work together! If you’d like more information about our program please email Christi@MiFamilies.com. If you’d like more information on any of the Mi Families programs visit www.MiFamilies.com