Thursday, August 29, 2013


Out of the frying pan...
Earlier in August, the boys attended a Fire Safety Day Camp for three days. This was their third year at the camp, but the first year they went to the sessions for the older kids. The experiences were a little more hands-on. They each had an opportunity to go through the 'smoke house' to see how hard it is to find your way in a burning building. The smoke was only artificial, so the kids were allowed to decide if they wanted to wear fire fighting gear, including the breathing apparatus. EM chose to go through without it. I can't even get that kid to wear clothes with tags let alone all of that equipment! JT went for the full experience.

In addition, a team with search and rescue dogs came and gave a demonstration, they had a presentation by a group of paramedics, the boys helped put out small fires with fire extinguishers, someone from DCNR came and gave a talk about forest fires, and they had a class on the history of fire fighting in the United States. And the highlight of the week - a water fight. The kids were armed with water balloons that they had to get from a bucket that the fire fighters were targeting with their water canon. Note to self: next year take more towels.

On the last day, one of the fire fighters came up to me and said, "You must be doing a great job with your boys. During the presentation on the history of fire fighting, your older son knew all about the Buffalo fire in 1813. He even knew why it happened and all about the War of 1812. Half of the adults here don't even know there was a War of 1812!"  Of course, that glowy momma pride came over me. As our conversation continued the man said, "Right away I knew you must homeschool." And I thought, "Finally, I get to contribute to positive attitudes towards homeschooling."

But on the way home I started to wonder about that. Was this really contributing in a good way? When people think of homeschoolers, I know they often think of religious people first. But the next stereotype I hear is that homeschoolers win all of the spelling bees and contests because they are the freaky smart kids. In our case, both of the boys were identified as gifted when they were still in a traditional school setting. Yes, they are ahead of the some subjects, but not all. I know many homeschoolers, and I would have a hard time grouping them all into one broad category like the world seems to need. Homeschoolers are homeschoolers for more reasons than I can count. The only thing I can see that we all have in common is that we aren't just like everyone else. We left the safety of 'normal' and forged our own paths.

In the end, I guess I am still happy that JT was able to share his knowledge about history. The funny thing is that I had little influence in that case. Both of the boys love reading about history and know far more than I know about many events. On the day of that conversation, I couldn't have told you a thing about any fires in Buffalo. Since then, I looked it up and read about it. In this situation, it's actually the boys doing a great job teaching me and not the other way around.

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