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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Safety is Job 1

Anyone remember the Ska fad?

If so, did you ever listen to the Five Iron Frenzy "Quantity is Job 1" album? It was amusing to me because, despite the title, there were only about six songs listed on the back cover. Inside, something like nine tracks were listed. But the album actually has 17 tracks.

Goofy humor. Good stuff.

But not all goofy things make for good stuff.

Jerri-Ann just started a series on recess. I'm interested in where she's taking it--and getting her perspective--but if her source is right and tag is being outlawed during recess, we've really hit a recession there too ...a slowly waning opportunity of physical activity and exercise.

It seems that we're moving more and more toward a "legislation must care for me" type mindset. Gone are the days of personal responsibility and learning to act appropriately. "Socialization" no longer means "to learn how to act appropriately in society," but rather "to conform to society's dictates." These are the days of confining rules that bind us to a system.

And I know there are some good reasons for it. For example, I don't really let the 4th and 5h graders I teach for Sunday School go play outside. There have been too many fights that have started and, even if they are minor scuffles, I can't have that happening when I also have to watch 20 other kids. So I have sympathy for the system.

...on the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if the system itself is largely to blame. As a teacher, I don't have any course of action to take when a child acts up. Not that we should go back to the days of smacking children with rulers... but my hands are completely tied when it comes to punishing bad behavior--especially things like violent outbursts against other students.

Thus, my observations are as follows:

  1. Children need to be allowed to "get their wiggles out"
    ...for boys, especially, this means some moderately dangerous options

  2. Bad behavior must be dealt with
    ...especially when it is against other children

  3. Homeschooling provides the best opportunities for both of these conditions to be met

Homeschooling allows children to develop holistically and wholesomely, even when safety is job 1. What's more, real socialization can truly take place.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father


Melonie said...

I had to laugh at your comment on my blog - am I being charged with Blog Abandonment? Is somebody going to call Blog Protective Services? AAAAAAA! Nannyyyyy Staaaate!

Ah, now that I got that out of my system heehee...

My daughter's school has recess. The discipline action taken is to remove rough or hurt or sick or tired children to "the wall". Basically the side of the school. They have to hang out there (or in the case of hurt or sick children, go to the nurse if it's needed, obviously). But that way the ones that just don't feel like playing can go sit down at one spot and not get kicked in the head when they plunk down in front of the swingset. And the roughhousers get pulled off the play area where, well, they would purposely kick somebody in the head on the swingset. ;-) The PE teacher has sent home "quarterly homework" - which is a sheet where they are to mark each day they are "active" for 30 minutes or more; they are allowed to include PE class, walking to/from school, and after-school sports as well. Not sure what the prize at the end of the road is, but every little bit helps, I guess.

As for the blog - I'm not "abandoning" it.... well, I suppose I am but I don't want to feel guilty, so I'm saying I'm CONSOLIDATING. In other words there's been a hostile takeover of both my blogs by a whole new blog and it's going to take what it wants (the posts and some of the banners/buttons) and then kick everybody else out (the URLs). It's the American way, isn't it? HA.

Please do join me on the new one - the template's virtually the same, so you'll barely miss M&M. As opposed to Eminem or M&Ms. (Can you tell who didn't get enough sleep and thinks NAPTIME should be reinstituted at school too?)

Wendy said...

A few years ago a little guy in our local elementary school was punished by having the police called on him. His high crime? Playing cops & robbers on the play ground. His gun was his hand...after being told two days in a row he's not allowed to play that way, the school called the police to handle the situation. Yes, the police officer with a gun on his hip, the one the little guy wanted to be when he grew up...

A very interesting thing recess has become. I'll check that link with interest.

se7en said...

The legalism of childhood is so overwhelming... Now they are commanded how to play, when to play and what to play... no wonder kids have forgotten how to play. Actually, they just don't want to and who can blame them! I would also rather sit and stare into space rather than play if everyone was dictating what to do when... Not least of all there is going to be a whole generation of kids who don't know what to do with themselves without being told what to do... Hmmm, great leadership material there - not!

Luke Holzmann said...

Melonie, I'm glad to know it's a hostile takeover situation and not blog abandonment <laughing>. I have now added the new feed to my reader <smile>.

Very interesting notes on your daughters recess time too. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Wendy, I once took laser guns up to a local school on a Saturday to play "Bang" with friends. They were very much laser guns and looked nothing like firearms whatsoever. Someone called the police because an officer showed up to talk to us. This is a crazy world.

Se7en, I like that: The legalism of childhood. I don't blame them much myself <smile>.

Thanks for your added insights!


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Some ideas for wiggly kids:

squishy stress balls

sticky velcro under desk (boys touch this and play with this instead of poking other kids)

Balloon baseball (make something up)


spoons. Put them on your nose while listening.

THANK YOU, LUKE, for teaching children during Sunday School.

Luke Holzmann said...

Great ideas, Mrs. C! And it is an honor to be entrusted with teaching children at Sunday School.


Heather the Mama Duk said...

I think in some ways we're going back to Victorian Era view of children sitting still and acting perfectly in adult situations, places where they really are bored and need some time to be kids every so often. I substituted in my daughter's Sunday School class a couple weeks ago. There is one very, very active boy in the class. He spent a lot of the class standing on four chairs he had pushed together in a square. As long as he could answer questions appropriately - and he did - I was fine with it. Some kids just don't fit the mold of sitting and being angels for 40 minutes at a time.

Luke Holzmann said...

I'm not sure I fit the mold of sitting still and being angelic for 40 minutes at a time, Heather <smile>. Great point!



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