Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Camp Guessing Game

I was talking to one of the other adults involved in the summer camp, involved more with the administrative end than I. We were chatting about some of the problems, including the sexual content in that one answer I gave.

The students interrupt more, demand instant attention, even when people are busy with something else, chatter, can't sit still or do self-directed stuff (run lines). It's not all the students, of course. Some are just fantastic.

This year, it seems, we have a much larger proportion of kids who have just finished 8th grade, and yes, those are the kids who tend to be disruptive, chattering, interrupting. But not all of them.

It turns out most of the other students share an important trait. And that may explain some of the problems some of them have with interrupting, chattering, and such. This other adult said that about 80% of the students share this trait.

Anyone want to guess what it is?


  1. ADHD? Being only children? Children of older parents? Owning cell phones? Tell us!

  2. Another vote for home schooled.

  3. Yep, you guys have it.

  4. Anonymous9:19 AM

    the interrupters are home-schooled? I'm not incredulous, just making sure I read this right.

  5. If they're home-schooled, that might also explain the fuss over sexual matters brought up by the parents. I hasten to add that not all, but a good proportion, of home-schooled students are kept out of public school because of religious concerns (i.e., there's not enough in the public schools).

    Before anyone gets on my case about this, I'm not bashing religion or evangelicals, but this is a common theme in articles on "reasons why I home-school my kids."

  6. it makes sense -- both about the interrupting kids, and the complaining parents.

    i personally never had it in me to home school -- educational supplements yes, full-time-all-the-time, no way. i'm sure some parents who choose that path are reasonable people, and others, not so much.

    but also, i always figured that kids need a broader social and intellectual exposure than their parents can provide -- even the most dedicated parents. how to behave appropriately in a group learning setting is one example. for the parents -- we can't contol every message and experience for our kids; isn't it good for them to learn to think, to understand the world is bigger than their immediate experience?

  7. Yeah, I think there are two issues, which are feeding each other, perhaps.

    The just-finished-8th-grade students are immature, and not quite ready for this sort of intensity.

    The homeschooled students, well, I knew there were some, but didn't realize that they were by far the majority. I don't know if they're more or less interruptive than the regular schooled kids, but as a whole, the group tends to interrupt and chatter a lot. Maybe all teens would, but I see other kids in the age group (like at my nephew's little league games), and the kids don't seem so rude.

  8. I find that quite surprising because I was homeschooled and all my homeschooled friends were well behaved at church and other public settings.

    Also, homeschooling has changed a lot since my parents started with me in the mid-80s. All the homeschooled students I know are active in intermural sports, sing in choirs, etc. so there is plenty of social interaction. There's always one or two "weird" kids who lack developed social skills, but those students can also be found in public school.

  9. I have only known one homeschooled kid, and he was the obnoxious, interrupting sort. He was 10 years old and acted like he was 35. He was involved in extracurricular activities, but that didn't seem to tamp down the fact that his constant companions were in their 40s.

    I am both a parent and a teacher, and I would never consider homeschooling my kid. I am completely unqualified to teach elementary and high school. I'm an expert in teaching college students literature. I would be useless to my son for anything other than the basics - I mean really basic - in other subjects. Besides, I definitely want him to have a variety of teachers, school relationships, friends, and character-building experiences that I could not provide.

    (Plus, I'd like him to be a kid for a while, and I feel that the early maturity for homeschooled kids would seem to stifle that "let-me-be-a-silly-mongrel" phase.)

  10. I've seen the type of home-schooled students that many are describing, but I've also had a lot who were really great students.**

    I know some people who homeschool do have their kids in classroom settings with other kids b/c they work with other homeschooling parents to create a co-op type situation in which each family has an adult who teaches the group of kids a particular subject. It can work out well for both the parents and the kids.

    I guess I'm really reluctant to label homeschool kids one way or the other. I can see where some might be more likely to interrupt b/c they are accustomed to having one-on-one access to the instructor or are part of a small group. I suspect most of them will learn to adapt.

    **Then there was the homeschooled guy a friend of mine dated in high school. There was no schooling, unless you consider the porn magazines that were the sole reading material at his house education. He and his siblings were really pulled out of school to keep "the government out of their business." yeah.

  11. Anonymous6:43 AM

    I do not intend to put home schoolers down, but to mere make a point.

    I have taught medical students for over a decade and I have yet to encounter a single one who was homeschooled at the high-school level. The vast majority of them went to public schools and public universities. A small fraction went to private high-schools, usually of the prep-school variety; occasionally of the parochial variety.

    Why is this? Homeschooling is rare, for one, and I'm sure this is the main reason. But secondarily--and I'm hypothesizing about this--homeschoolers tend to be religious fundamentalists who homeschool because they don't like the fact evolution and sex education are taught in public schools...

    ...and you kind of need a good grounding in biology (evolution and reproduction) to get into medical school.

  12. Not true, Anonymous. There are plenty of reasons that a public education doesn't fit everyone. I will NEVER send a kid to public school and am still (at age 30) furious that I was meant to stay there. All it did was make me stupider.