Camp

Return of the Fire Breathing Pidgezilla, Part II

Seeing girls grow is one of the greatest things I have ever been a part of. One of my cabin girls started the week with red beads on her swimsuit,warning the lifeguards that she was a weak swimmer. She worked hard all week in swimming lessons. On Friday she ran into the cabin at the end of second activity and told me she had passed the swim test. I just about burst, I was so proud of her.

DSCF2112I taught nature to the Pathfinders by myself for the first time this year. I’ve assisted this class twice now, and it’s kind of included in my CILT majors. To be honest though, Grackle, the activities director, had more confidence in me than I did.

Pathfinders are seriously awesome. They are bouncy, fun-loving, and if you can win them over, you have a best friend. They also have had somewhere between 7 and 9 years to build up a huge capacity of energy. Sometimes we don’t have enough girls or enough classes for them to choose their activities. Sometimes nature is not an optional class. Most of the girls were fine with this, and probably would have taken nature anyway. Then in one of my classes, I DSCF2041only had one girl out of the four who didn’t scream bloody murder at some point.

One day near the end of week two, as we were walking through the woods I had an idea, and it was kind of the theme for my whole time at camp. One of the girls said “I’m not going any further. This is outside of my comfort zone. I have boundaries.” At the beginning of camp I felt exactly the same way. But then I realised, ” Comfort zones are like muscles. When you exercise a muscle, the fibers break, but they grow back. The new tissue takes up more room, and your muscles get bigger. Comfort zones are like that too. You break them a little bit, and they grow back bigger.” This was mostly over their heads, and I’m not sure how scientifically accurate it is, but a couple of them were begging me to go “just a little” further down the trail, so I didn’t have a chance to explain further. They still screamed every now and again, but even the squealers were much deeper in the woods than they had ever been before. Sometimes I still employed trick I figured out. Start belting ‘Love is an Open Door’ and they will stop whatever they are doing and join you. Dance along with it? You’ve got full on celebrity status and a herd of very short groupies. By the end of the week, this was mostly just for fun.

The campers weren’t the only girls stretching their comfort zones. You know what though? The more room you have, the more fun you can have. You know what else? I’m done telling God “I’m not going any further. This is outside of my comfort zone. I have boundaries.” In fact– take me deeper into the woods.

Farm and Family

Beginning Blogging

I frequently see homeschooling moms using the blogosphere in writing assignments. I think writing is fantastic, and blogging is a great way to share what you write and get better. On the other hand, I don’t think blogging should be a school thing. If it is made into one then it becomes a chore. Writing a blog should be encouraged, but not forced. Talk to the child and ask if they want to start a blog. If not, leave it there. If you want them to try writing, have them write a short essay about a topic they like.  If they end up liking writing then maybe your could revisit the idea of a blog.

But let’s say your child is wanting to start a blog. How do you help them get started? Well first you will need to get them set up on a blogging site. The two main ones are WordPress and Blogger. I started out with Blogger and now use WordPress. Both are good, both have different strengths.

For a beginning blogger I would suggest using Google Blogger. It is simple. It is customizable, but not overwhelmingly so. There are more privacy settings. You can make it a public blog, an invite only blog, or a blog that only “authors” have access to. For someone who is relatively good with computers  I would suggest WordPress. Both are great and easy to use, but WordPress can be overwhelming.

Once you have a website set up, just let them write. As often as they want, whatever they want (within reason). I have imported almost every single blog post I’ve ever written to AndieBelle (I lost a few when my website crashed a few years ago and I moved over here). Every so often I go back and read my old posts. There are pages of bad poetry, vague recipes, run on sentences, spelling and grammar worse than what I have now, and content gaps that stretched for the better part of a year. It may not be the best content, but it is what got me started. If you pay attention, I actually still write about the same things, the quality is just usually better now.

Now all you have to do is hand them the reins and enjoy the ride. Don’t forget to comment on their posts and share it with everyone. Comments from adults are the most encouraging to a kid.