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sctmom

How long does it last?

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So how long does this polite, helpful young man that I got back from summer camp, stick around? Maybe I was missing him more than I realized, but I see a different person after 1 week of BSA and 1 week of 4-H camp. Apologizing for talking back WITHOUT being told to. Going out of his way at a restuarant to hold a door for a little boy, even waiting for the boy to go to the restroom so he could hold the door for him again. Volunteered to pick up something of MINE that the cat knocked out of a chair.

 

In February I went with his class on a 3 day field trip. It was painful for me to see how socially behind he is compared to his classmates. I now have a child who greeted strangers at camp, felt he knew everyone, made a new friend at 4-H camp (they exchanged phone numbers!). The Scoutmasters said he did great at camp, always ready to go, always doing things, never in trouble.

 

Please tell me that at least SOME of this maturity stays!

 

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Ahhh, the magic of scouting. Keep the show going with positive comments and don't blow up about small mishaps. Seems like he got some independance and confidence all by himself (he thinks).

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Sctmom -

 

In answer to "How long does it last?" - it lasts as long as you can keep him in an environment that expects that behavior (camp); rewards that behavior with respect (camp staff and scoutmasters and 4H leaders that treat the boys with respect); and he is treated with common courtesy, as I am sure he is at home simply from the tone of your posts.

 

I think you said in other posts that he was considered ADHD? Or maybe it was just he acts like that sometimes...I don't recall, I no longer have much faith in diagnoses so try to forget them as soon as I hear them.

 

It will most likely end as soon as you send him back to public school, where his "faults" will be magnified and his strengths minimized, where the staff will consider the maintenance of their dictatorship more important than encouraging his intellect or self-esteem, and where he will be trapped in an environment that will ensure that the courteous and respectful behavior you now see will be ridiculed by his peers.

 

Sorry. I'm reflecting on some parenting mistakes I have made, and allowing my oldest son to finish his high school years while knowing it was doing him harm is high on my personal guilt list right now. It is hard to know when you should step in as the parent and say "NO, you CANNOT do this" and when you should let them make their own mistakes (it was his choice to stay in public school and attempt to do it "right"). In retrospect, I wish I would have insisted he leave an environment that I knew was very damaging to him. (For the record, my daughter does still attend public school. I'm not always opposed to them, just for some kids. I know firsthand too of the fact that many of us just don't have other viable options. Doesn't mean I have to like it....)

 

Julia

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Yes, my son is ADHD. This last year was a battle of the wills between him and his teacher. The previous 2 years (and 2 teachers) were not that way. I agree with your statement of the schools and their "dictatorship".

 

Today when I questioned if he knew where the matches had disappeared to, he said "I didn't takt them and I tell the truth, I went to camp!". I think camp also helped because he was NOT the center of attention like he is at home (with only one, it's easy to do, also he is the only grandchild on one side).

 

A few other things about camp is that the kids who go are the ones (usually) with parents who want the kids to try new things. Also, the non-competitive environment. Scouting and 4-H is not about beating out others but doing the best YOU can in what you are good at. Seems like in Scouting the boys realize they are different and it's okay. They overlook what school sees as problems. All the boys have some "problem" -- family issues, school struggles, lack atheletic skill, size, whatever. For the most part the boys can overlook these problems and see the good in each other.

 

School starts back in 2 weeks here, and I AM not looking forward to it. My son will start middle school. I've told him I'm proud of him being so active at camp and making new friends. I need to also tell him that this helps prepare him for middle school. That if he feels he has no friends he needs to remember he made friends at camp and can do it again at school.

 

Even though I felt like a spent a small fortune for 2 weeks of camp, it was worth every penny.

 

My father who is 70 still remembers going to 4-H camp as a child. His father didn't have the money to pay for all the boys to go, so he bartered with the camp by providing fresh vegetables from his farm.

 

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"School starts back in 2 weeks here,"

 

Do they get out in April or do you have the shortest summer vacation on record?

 

 

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Good luck in middle school. They were not good years for either of my sons, but your experience may differ - you're in another state entirely, and one that I think is a bit above mine in educational success.

 

Actually, it would be difficult to be below it. I cannot believe Bush sold the nation on the 'Texas Miracle' in education because trust me, very few people here think it's been miraculous. The test scores have indeed gone up, on an exit exam given in 10th grade that any reasonably bright 9-year old without test anxiety should be able to pass. Of course, since the stakes are so high, all the bright kids are throwing up their breakfast on test days.... Meanwhile, the odds of a Hispanic teen graduating with a diploma from high school have dropped to less than 50:50 in my area, and less than 40% in parts south of here. Proud to provide the nation with low-cost, unskilled labor, that's us!

 

Oh, and while we're at it, there is in my school district a great rush to label kids as Spec Ed for any good reason, so that they may be exempted from the TAAS and next year the TEKS tests - if they might drag down the school average. My middle son (the scout) posed quite a quandary to them as he would bring UP the average considerably in mathematics but might have cratered them completely in composition. See, if he doesn't "get" the subject he has an anxiety attack and can't pick up the pencil at all. They managed to write into his IEP that he would take tests "as tolerated," which was fine with me but did give me a private giggle. What a great way to boost their school averages! Have the star student take the tests he's good at and skip the one he might not like.

 

Since he's been schooling at home he's written probably the equivalent of a small textbook on his web-page (not yet published). He's been working on it for months. For his Environmental Science merit badge he wrote an excellent report with plenty of research behind it on the Bald Eagle. Took him about 30 minutes to write it - and I was reading it trying to reconcile the college-level writing with the 13 yearold that brought home a giant F - with an impressive ZERO average - from his first 3 weeks of his freshman year in high school. Motivation is just everything for him. He can't fake it at all, he cannot lie, he can't pretend he understands something he doesn't and he can't pretend he doesn't understand something he does.

 

My daughter shines in middle school, and I'm not sure I like the net effect any better than my son's desperation. She and her friends appear to be learning to be cliquish, appearance oriented, and shallow, and we're fighting back with service and faith but it's pretty tough. I'm glad she's happy and popular but worried that she's not really learning the values we're trying to teach. She's a Scout too, though, so there's still hope.

 

Anyway, I'm cheering for your son and cheering you for making the sacrifices necessary to get him the experiences he needs to become a successful adult. Don't give up on getting him an educational environment that will support him, he is going to need you more than ever the next few years. Do listen to his side of things, there are going to be times that you need to help the school with their enforcement efforts but there will also be times that you need to be able to tell him that you're with him.

 

Hang in there and with any kind of luck you'll get the great rewards of seeing him grow into a self-sufficient adult!

 

 

 

 

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Short summer? Yep. Our county is going to the "balanced calendar". In other words "almost" year around school. Every 6 weeks they will get a week off, with 2 weeks at Christmas (oops, that is "winter" holiday). The theory is the kids and teachers will not get burnt out. Also, with a shorter summer break the kids will remember more from the last year.

 

Home schooling is not an option for me. Trust me, I've tried to figure out a way to do it and still support myself and my son. I am looking at the private school down the road from us.

 

I live in Georgia which is actually lower in ranking than Texas! We are currently either 48 or 49th as a state. The district we are in is pretty good. My son also dreads writing. I was proud he tried to keep a journal at summer camp. I'm not sure where he got the idea. He wrote 3 sentences in 2 days and then got too busy. Hey, at least he tried.

 

He did do well on his 4-H project and poster this spring. Much better than anything he did for his teacher!

 

At a school conference a few months ago I mentioned he was in Scouts, gave them the run down on what Scouting teaches (they didn't seem to know). They were impressed and said it sounded like a great thing for him to be in. Great way for him to improve his social skills, be around boys of different ages, not be pressured about writing, etc. There are a couple of things in the troop I don't like. I'm trying to make sure as long as he is having fun and learning, that I don't get all in a tizzy. The things I don't like to seem to bother the kid.

 

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It sounds like you're doing well with your son. Homeschooling was not an option for us for many years, either, the circumstances that allowed it now were so unusual as to make me feel they were heaven-sent. Even so there have been many days I've worried that I'm NOT doing the right thing by withdrawing him from school. Then I look at my other son and feel the other way. Go figure.

 

Julia

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I'm not sure I but into the theory that kids forget more with a longer summer vacation. IMHO, the first couple of weeks should be review weeks. This will help the students get on track and also help the teacher know where the students are in relationship to the subject. Having short breaks throughout the year would seem to increas the "burn out" problem. We all need our batteries recharged. A summer vacation for kids is a great way to kick back & enjoy being a kid!

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Sctmom;

 

As they say, one summer camp packs a year's worth of Scouting into a single week. A good one, as it appears your son went to, has an even bigger effect. Seems he's internalizing the values, which is what we want all of them to do...good on him!

 

Ed;

 

I'm with you on the vacation. My kids get out middle of June and go back late August. They stay busy; daughter's in a day camp five days a week she loves, and my son's doing Red Cross volunteer work 3 days a week, helping out more around the house, lotsa Scout stuff, and a tremendous amount of cavorting at the pool with his buddies. We're taking a trip to Hawaii next month so they'll have a real "vacation".

 

I suggested to him that the year-round schooling with more frequent, but shorter breaks was better to keep him from getting "rusty" at school skills and brain work. He looked at me like I was suggesting he be conscripted into the Taliban or something. I have to remind myself of the unrepentant glee I felt as a youth when school was out for the summer, and the dread with which I viewed the "back to school" ads in the paper. Up to a point, I gotta let him be a knucklehead while he still can be without penalty. I'll tell you, having a boy on the cusp of adolescence around the house is a good thing, on two counts anyway. One, it forces me to remember what it was like to be 12. Two, it deflects a fair amount of my wife's housekeeping scrutiny away from me and over to him...

 

KS

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