One of my favorite things about our community is the diversity of age among our children. Our community also includes a mix of traditional and homeschooled children, so even though “agism” is commonly listed as a reason people avoid traditional school (and I agree that traditional school could do a better job of fostering community between age groups) my girls have a lot of friends in our community, “schooled” and “unschooled,” that are younger or older than themselves.
While I appreciate the way that homeschool allows us time and opportunity to build these relationships, fostering multi-age relationships among children is critical, regardless of the educational method we choose.
Today the girls had an opportunity to practice “multi-age” play/socialization within the community. I had an A Rocha meeting with a friend who happens to also be in the neighborhood. A few of us met at her house and our kiddos played together in the backyard. The children’s ages ranged from 4 to 9, and they played happily in the backyard for the entirety of our 2 hour meeting.
We sipped our coffee in the breakfast nook where we could watch through the sliding doors as the kids swung wildly from trees and assembled things out of rope. We joked about when to intervene: if anyone looks like they are about to fall to their death, or if the rope looks like it’s fast becoming a strangulation hazard. Otherwise, let them be free.
They were SO BUSY…planning, constructing, engineering.
We finally figured out that they were building a zip line from the tree house to the tree.
On the way home I asked the girls about what they did, how they planned the zip-line, and what problems they encountered. They told me about how the rope wasn’t tight enough, and about how they had tried to plan around slamming into the tree while sliding down–good to know someone had thought of that!
Amelie told me how they also had to work out disagreements during the planning stage. “There are like, 10,000 ways to build a zip line, and each of us had about 8,000.” Okay. So maybe we need to work a little on our math. Today we were too busy investing in the economy of friendship.
…Later in the day, we read together from Exodus and also from Silent Spring.
Subjects covered today: Engineering, Reading, Bible, and Friendship