Friday, April 11, 2008

The forbidden game

So, home-schooling. I’ve never really given much of an opinion on the subject because quite frankly, I don’t have much of an opinion. I think it is an option that for some families works great, and for some families, is an excuse not to deal with public school. I think public school works pretty well for most kids, mine included, and I also imagine there are plenty of kids in public school who would be better off if they were home-schooled. I know kids who have been home-schooled and who did great, and I know a couple of kids (who are now adults) who were home-schooled and never made it past the 8th grade. Like pretty much every thing in life, there’s good, bad, and ugly when it comes to home-schooling, and I try to take it all with a grain of salt. I’ve never considered home-schooling my own kids because we’ve had good public school experiences, and also because I think it’s important that it be done well, and quite frankly, I am way too lazy and un-disciplined.

So, all that to tell you --- I was at the gym yesterday (I know! Four days in a row this week!!! But that crap they tell you about the endorphins kicking in? TOTAL LIE.) and apparently I was there at the same time as a home-schooling co-op or whatever it’s called. Probably fifty kids or so, total. The older kids were playing volleyball on one end of the gym, as I walked around the track that circles one floor above the gym. So as I was walking, I had a really good view of everything that was taking place below me. And for the record, volleyball, at least the way those teenage girls were playing it, is NOT a very aerobic activity, unless standing on the court with their arms crossed over their chests, with bored expressions on their faces, counts as aerobic PE activity. I've worked up more of a sweat bowling.

The younger kids, however, were turned loose three or four at a time to run the same track I was on. So now, not only are old ladies passing me as I walk, but elementary age kids are flying by me as well. Whatever. It probably wouldn’t have bothered me if the little hooligans had the decency to be winded, but they didn’t even break a sweat, speedy little turds. (No, I’m not jealous of their ability to run forever without even panting, why do you ask?)

Then, the teacher gathered all the young kids below, on the other half of the gym. She put half the kids on one side, half the kids on the other, and lined a bunch of balls up on the middle line. And as I walked around the track, watching below, I thought to myself, “Hmmm, that looks an awful lot like she’s setting up for a game of dodgeball. But she can’t be; everyone knows that dodgeball has been basically eliminated from the public school system because of the damage it causes the kids’ self esteem by encouraging the strong to pick on the weak." :cough: bullshit :cough:

Right? Isn’t that right? I didn’t think kids played dodge-ball anymore in schools,because it was so un p.c., but sure enough, she blew that whistle and BAM! Those kids were off and running. Grabbing balls, throwing, ducking, jumping, yelling …… they looked like they were having fun. A lot of fun. In fact, I’m pretty sure Kellen would have loved to be right in the middle of it.

So about the time I’m thinking I might need to re-vamp our homeschool position, or at least see if I can homeschool, but only for recess, I decided to ask my kids what *they* were taking in gym lately.

“Pinball”, said Brayden

“Pinball? What’s pinball?” I asked

“Another word for dodgeball” was her reply.

Ahhhh, good to know the public humiliation of dodgeball still exists. And even better to know I can leave my kids in public school, which is MUCH less work for me!


Becca said...

Okay, so I have a bunch of comments, none of which have to do with the current entry (I've been out of the country--give me a break) except I will say that I love dodgeball! In elem gym!
First, we are on complete opposite ends of the political spectrum. However, your post about the war and the military men and women fighting it is EXACTLY the way I feel.
Second, are you really not going to keep telling the surrogate story? I, for one, would really love to hear more about it. I'm not done building my own family yet, but surrogacy is something I would consider doing sometime in the future. Please continue?
Third, as a mom who has experience three miscarriages of her own (which is infertility of a different sort) before the birth of her first daughter, I can empathize with the pain of the Intended Parents. Miscarriage hurts. Physically, yes, but mostly emotionally. To give them some hope, I saw heartbeats and perfect babies on ultrasound for two of my three losses, had all the tests done, and found nothing wrong. My fourth pregnancy was completely problem-free. I'll keep them in my prayers--the journey to parenthood is sometimes much harder than it should be.
Thanks for your blog--I'm often astounded by how connected I feel to someone I disagree with so much on (gosh, does that make sense? Do I sound creepy?)
Happy birthday to Kellen!
Enjoy soccer season!
and tell Kendrie that she looks great in that pink and lime green soccer uniform. Bless her.

Unknown said...

Kristie, please don't ever stop blogging, because you give me my morning laugh so many days. For what it is worth, mi first grader's school HAS banned dodgeball and I think it is a shame because I loved it as a kid. Maybe I should start a dodgeball revolution and just sneak in and start games at recess. :)

Marly said...

My (somewhat aging, but please don't tell her I said that) mother is a PE teacher, and she finds herself constantly struggling with the whole "everybody wins" line of garbage. She'll be glad to know that reality still wins in some school districts. ;)

Also, to avoid those shin splints, try some heel drops before you walk. Stand with your toes on a step (be sure to hold the railing), and drop your heels to lower than your toes, stretching your calf muscles as far as you comfortably can, for about 30 seconds. Repeat three or four times. No shin splints. It works for me every time. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I will attest to the fact that homeschooling is very time consuming. I love the rewards we have seen for our family, but I will tell you that there have been days where the yellow bus goes by and my heart is all, "wow. some mom is getting some free time. I bet she is even a little more sane than I." If you're ever in Ohio again you could stop over and see our insane lives! Tammy

Anonymous said...

Great Minds think alike Kristie....Once again, I hold the same EXACT stance on homeschooling that you do.... it can either be really wonderfully or just horrible. I considered homeschooling, but don't really see it as an option since we only have one five-year old who desperately needs interaction with other kids that share her energy. Though, when she wakes up tired in the morning, she'll ask me "can't you just homeschool me mommy?" She goes to a private school now, though I am the counting days until we close on our house, which is in a great school district. (I can't believe I have to move again--- good thing most of our stuff is packed and in storage already!)

As for dodge ball not being allowed in public school, we are raising our kids to become wimps. Heck, many of the public elementary schools around here, barely have a recess. When I was in junior high, dodge ball or "kill ball" as we called it, was the greatest game in the world.

Anonymous said...

gotta love a school that changes the name but keeps the game the same! :) I am tired of hearing from kids I know that their PE class is lacking in the P department! Dodgeball, Horse, team sports, all banned! It's time to take the PC out of PE! So way to go to your school district for standing up and keeping those time-honored traditions of bouncing balls off your classmates! :)

Anonymous said...

We called it "battleball" and we used volleyballs. Very hard volleyballs .. that the guys would throw so hard that they would bounce again the opposite wall and fly right back to their own side. We played one version where we set up a little wooden pin (maybe this is pinball?) on each side of the court. And the object of the game was to knock down that pin. Well, the guys on each team would position us girls all around the pin to protect it ... which of course meant every single ball was aimed at us. Half the time us girls would just leave the game without getting hit and go sit out. lol. Though I do remember once getting drilled in the side of the face. A coach informed me since I got hit in the face, I wasn't actually out and could remain in the game. I told him "No Thanks." Meanwhile, I still preferred battleball days to volleyball, which I absolutely hated.

Anonymous said...

I HATED Dodgeball but alas they do still play it here in our school district and my boys love it! @@

Natalie said...

Ooooh, I loved dodgeball in school! How disappointing that they don't do it anymore. Makes me want to watch Dodgeball, the movie. My nephew's fave line: "You're about as useful as a poopie flavored lollipop!" Makes me laugh every time. I'm so immature.

Anonymous said...

This has never happened....I'm first?!?! Scary! Way to go on the 4 days in a row. Seriously, if you stick with it, you will get to the point where you'll miss it when you don't do it (or at least I think you will!!)

Anyway, like you, I am not a "homeshool" type of person. I, myself, have trouble helping my little angels do homework. It's so frustrating to watch them struggle with what I could do in no time. I have the patience of an ant!

As for dodgeball, our Y even has dodgeball league! Too Cool!

Have a great weekend


Unknown said...

Three cheers for dodge-ball. Even though my brother found this to be the only acceptable way of beating the crap out of my sisters and me, we always went back for more.

Other than the obvious brain damage I survived unscathed.

Anonymous said...

Oooohhhh!! Am I really first to comment? I was going to say they still play it, but call it something different! I don't even know what they call it in our kid's school, but it's not dodgeball.

Rachel in ND

Anonymous said...

I love dodgeball. As a public school teacher I never gave it up. When parents complain to me about it I will simply tell them that when their kid stops playing football on the blacktop, I will think about rethinking my stance on dodgeball (that we play with nerf balls.) Next year I am thinking of having student council paint a dodgeball court on the blacktop. Ha ha...your children are in more danger chatting unsupervised online than they are playing dodgeball...geez!!


Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of subbing as a K-5 gym teacher this week. The kids are working on a bowling unit, with rubber balls and plastic pins across the gym floor. I had a class of 5th graders where the boys were over-enthusiastic (tackle bowling?) and a number of the girls were standing with their arms folded across their chests, rolling their eyes at me. Gee, the gym teacher's method of discipline is time out in the Character Counts area, which sounds an awful lot like still not participating. I informed their regular teachers of their unwillingness to cooperate; hopefully having their cards turned from "green" to "yellow" meant something to them...probably not.

Dodgeball is a definite no-no in our district. Remember crab soccer, with the huge canvas ball? That's gone, too. Rope climbing? Out. Gymnastics? Gone. Floor hockey? Bye bye. Liability issues have taken a lot of fun out of the P.E. classes.

I'm sure those 5th grade boys would have loved dodgeball. The girls would probably get each other "out" quickly so they could go stand in a corner and talk and roll their eyes.

Have a great day!


Kim said...

Hi Kristie! Just thought I would write to say that I wish your gym experience was motivating me to get to my gym, but alas, it isn't! :)

I know you probably don't want your post to become all controversial about the pros and cons of homeschooling, but I just wanted to say that the years I home-schooled are the years I am proudest of myself as a mom. Also wanted to brag a bit about my two oldest-the two who were home-schooled all the way through--my daughter received her Masters Degree in speech pathology from the University of Washington last year and is working as a speech therapist and my son is in college, majoring in international business and minoring in Chinese.

Like anything and like you said, there is good and bad in everything-and while there are some crappy home-school moms out there whose kids don't make it past the 8th grade, there are just as many if not more public school kids in my area not making it through junior high, let alone high school along with some pretty crappy teachers. My two youngest are in public school and we tolerate it. I do know that in some areas of their schooling I did a better and more comprehensive job. My 6th grader has had ZERO social studies/geography/ history in the 3 years he has been in public school I am appalled that the state assessment test, WASL, prep, takes up so much of the day every year that there is no time for that subject along with several others. I think you have an advantage in your public schools in the mid west as I think it is a more conservative/traditional part of the country as opposed to good old liberal Washington state here. You would probably be appalled at the political correctness in our district--can your schools put up a Christmas tree at Christmas? Also, are you kidding me?? There is NO dodge ball playing at my son's school. You are not allowed to play chase at recess and football on the field is allowed only sometimes if everyone is getting along *nice*. P.E. consists of cup stacking and juggling...and my first though is, are you freaking kidding me??? They do make them do the presidential fitness challenge and might get to play capture the flag after spring break when they go back on Monday. I find it all quite a big joke.

But you should see my kids at church play dodge ball!!! It is wicked!!

Have a wonderful weekend--I am sure you will be soccering away.
Kim in Seattle


While I commend you for going to the gym 4 times this week, if you would just step it up a little more and say add a treadmill, exercise bike and perhaps some weights my competitive streak might kick in and get MY ass off MY couch.

You are after all my inspiration... ;)


Anonymous said...

Oh...I hope this doesn't turn into a homeschooling pro and con blog! We homeschool, and have since our oldest (7th) started school but I have seen MANY families that homeschooling would not work! For us it works great, but we are only one family and every family is different.

Ok, on to the dodgeball issue. When I was in jr. high (you know..what we called it way back when) there was a young lady my age who was a complete idiot. God didn't grant me with a...anyway...with some of the finer points of 'womanhood' that other girls my age were blessed with..and what he DID give me was a little....lopsided-which is apparently a call for idiot jr high girls to make fun of you everyday and make jr high a living ----!! lol! (I can laugh now, but I PROMISE you it was anything but a laughing matter at 13.) Anyway...this young girl tormented me by saying such mean, incredibly hurtful things for my entire jr. high career, that to say I hated her at that time would be a small statement. (thankfully-our high school was larger and I never saw here there) The ONLY time I felt like I could handle her (btw-she could have beat me to a PULP!) was on the dodgeball court. I wasn't afraid, AT ALL, of her hard, mean throws...probably because I wasn't as "blessed" as others my age so it didn't hurt at all to catch them on my chest!!!! lol! I could catch every mean spirited dodgeball she threw at me...and believe me, she aimed for me! It was the ONLY time I ever felt like I was getting her instead of her getting me!! I have no idea what I would have done had it not been for that one way that I kept what little self-confidence remained after her taunting. So for this girl...dodgeball was a HIT!! :-)

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I hate, hate, *hated* dodgeball. It's such mean game. I'm all for competition and think discouraging it makes kids ill-prepared for the game of life, but those dang balls HURT lol.

Missy (the wimp!) in WI

Hyzymom said...

Not only do we still have Dodgeball here in N. Va., but I just paid $40 for Zack to go to Dodgeball night at Tae Kwon Do! I got there at 10:30 to pick him up and ended up sitting until 11:00pm and watching. No less than 4 kids cried in that time for various Dodgeball related reasons.(Afterall,"It's not Dodgeball until somebody cries!") Most got a pat on the back, a couple got a hug and a few calmed themselves down and jumped right back in. While I remember Dodgeball with terror and dismay I can't argue with the fun the kids were having. So, I guess it's okay if we destroy their fragile little egos (said with heavy sarcasm) as long as we're having fun while we do it. :o)

Anonymous said...

I hated dodgeball only because I was one of the wimpy kids in grade school!! Always the last one to be picked for bat ball or any other game!
No way I could home school. I must have adult ADD, I could not stay focused.
Hope you are having a nice weekend.

Memarie Lane said...

I'm a homeschooler who had good public school experiences. :) I was also homeschooled for a couple years in the middle there, and those two years made such a huge difference for me that I vowed my own kids would get that experience too.

As for dodgeball, UGH! I could care less about the self-esteem though, it's the PAIN I took issue with. I couldn't agree more with you about volleyball, for me it was just like dodgeball, but with less running.