Today is the day that Ga'Hoole Girl leaves for Girls' Camp. She is, understandably, quite excited about it. This is her 5th year going to camp, her second at Girls' Camp (they have the Girl's Camp for Junior High girls separate from the main camp, at a more "primitive" location). It's been interesting to watch Ga'Hoole Girl grow up these last few years. This year she didn't need any help packing, although she did ask me to "help" her, which involved sitting on her bed and talking to her. Her camp goes from Saturday to Friday. She is going to stay at a cottage near the camp with her friend and her mom on Friday night and then they are going to wash clothes on Saturday morning. Next Saturday, the rest of us will go up for Family Camp and meet her there. So, she will be away from the family for only a week, but away from home for two weeks.
The new Harry Potter book comes out the day that we come back from Family Camp. I have a copy on order at Amazon! Mr. Math Teacher and his mom are going to go to her house for a few days, so we have only four days in which to read the book. But, I'll bet we can do it! We always read these books out loud as a family - and no reading ahead!!
Disciplines of the Home by Anne Ortlund
I have read good reviews of this book and I really enjoyed The Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman when I was younger. Her previous book was rather detailed about which disciplines are important, ad how to get started doing them. This book, though, is much more general. She gives two important "don't's" and 10 important "do's". The things that made the most impact on me were the recommendations to "slow down" and "cocoon". Slowing down is hard for me - I have absorbed a lot of the performance orientation of our society and am having a hard time working out of that. But, to that effect, I reduced the 4H projects that the kids are signed up for, they are each taking just one dance class next year, and I'm going to get very selective about outside activities. My goal, though, is not to isolate them, but to give them unstructured time to develop their creativity, learn things in which they are interested, and get to know our neighbors. Cocooning is also not supposed to be synonymous with isolation. Instead, it is making home the focus of the family's life. We already do a pretty good job of that. I want to be careful that we don't lose that focus when Mr. Math Teacher starts student teaching in the fall and eventually gets a job.
The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine, PhD
I read about this book on a website and thought it would be good to read. Indeed, I highly recommend it. She talks mainly about the difficulties that affluent families have in raising children. Now, it's hard to call us affluent at this time in our lives, but she makes a number of points that are helpful for all parents. One of the biggest problems for parents in affluent communities (and for parents who are achievement oriented) is that they can be emotionally disconnected from their kids (preteens and teens) but overinvolved in certain parts of their lives. So, they may never sit and chat with their kids about life but they are certain to know exactly what their grades are and to tell them exactly which classes to take. Dr. Levine recommends really spending time with our kids and spend more time helping them develop autonomy and be less enmeshed in every activity of their lives. It is also important that kids learn that there is more to life than good grades and getting into a good college. There is a whole world out there that kids need to be free to explore. She also reminds us that the values of the affluent society are very materialistic. It is extremely important that children learn values besides materialism; this book is not written from a Christian perspective, so she doesn't talk about Christian values, but I think it is clear that, as Christian parents, the best thing we can do for our kids is help them know Jesus and develop Godly values. I highly recommend this book for all parents, not just those who can say they are "affluent".