The title sounds typical of a homeschool mom, don't you think?
That's because, as I see it, homeschooling, by its very nature, offers sheltered independence. Our children are so blessed to grow up in a safe, structured environment that is perhaps more streamlined (and thus less complicated) than other environments.
Within that structure,.....
- they are safe to interact with and learn from unfamiliar adults in their community...because we are there.
- They can explore their weaknesses without fear of ridicule...because we are there.
- And they can comfortably reach out and serve their community too...because we are there.
They must eventually be able to grow beyond those boundaries in a manner which hopefully is still safe...without us there.
I, personally, don't want those first genuine opportunities to come on the first day of college.
(I should note here, for those who may be critical or skeptical of the homeschooling way of life, that I'm thankful homeschool families don't buy into a worldly view of "that's just the way it is with kids today"; a view that risks leaving precious children vulnerable and poorly guided before they have the maturity and experience to guide themselves well in our current culture. In other words, there is clearly great purpose in sheltering our children for a time.)
So then, how to begin to loosen those protective parenting strings just a little, to allow our "babies" to ease into fledglings?
So, "Why did you do it?" you ask.
The short answer? We desired to give them an experience of "sheltered indepedence", a chance to begin to experience new things apart from the familiarity of our family unit and its comfortable, predictable flow. Here are some other reasons we chose to send our girls.
- the chance to make friends the old-fashioned way, face to face (apart from the tech age of texting, Facebook, and so on. Our girls don't actually participate in the tech age to that extent yet, but in-real-life friends of theirs do.) Their camp collects and holds any cell phones, ipads, etc., that are brought to camp, to be returned at the end of the week.
- the chance to experience a new confidence that they can try new things and/or prove to themselves (and to us too) that they can begin to make sound decisions apart from us, as they mature.
- to experience that sense of community that comes with being a bunk or cabin mate, a team member for Capture the Flag, or being part of "the bigger picture" of the camp's history and traditions.
The more we checked into Allendale, the more confident we grew in our desire to give our girls this gift of "sheltered independence." Oh, and while we thought about this for several years, the actual booking was last minute (we booked last week.) There were still a few openings. If you're inspired, perhaps you can find a few openings near you as well.
Rest assured, my husband and I have grown through this week too.
God is always so good to parent all His children well.