Hoo! I am about worn out from our sledding party today, but it was great. I wish I had photos, but I was way too busy in the middle of it.
We invited one of the homeschooling groups we are connected with to come to a sledding hill near our house and them come over for cocoa and treats afterwards. Violet got to sled with a group of boys slightly older than her, and she really pushed herself to keep up. But what was really fun to watch was Victoria doting on her older friend C., a 12-year-old girl. Following the older girls around got Victoria doing some real daredevil moves. She also won the admiration of some of the boys (ages 9-10) when she (unintentionally) took a major jump and got some serious air time before flying off the sled and rolling over several feet. One of the boys took off down the hill to check on her before I got there, and when I arrived they were discussing how fun the jump was. From where I was watching, I was reminded of The Wide World of Sports “agony of defeat” ski jump shot.
It was great to see Victoria having fun with the kids when she was by far the youngest here — I think Violet was the next youngest, in fact. She does such a good job of putting herself into the mix — I feel good about homeschooling her knowing that she will be able to take care of herself socially. (Violet seems to need a little more direction and support in that department, which is also fine.)
One thing I love about meeting up with homeschooling groups is spending time around so many great boys. Of course boys who go to school can be wonderful too, but many homeschooling parents I know seem to be successful in providing boys lots time for physical play and activity (often lacking in traditional schools) — and a way to “do school” that does not require as much sitting still and being quiet — as well as interaction with all kinds of people, including adults and younger children. I am sure they make as much trouble at home as my homeschooled daughters, but I am always so impressed by the boys we meet through homeschooling. (Even when they are obsessing about video games.)
Victoria has plenty of disadvantages as the younger sister, but I think being the little one among the older homeschool kids is a special bonus she has to her advantage. She meets great kids who show her what she can look forward to as she gets older, and she feels cared about in a larger community. If I could go back and take a snapshot of this day, it would be little 4-year-old Victoria lined up next to three almost-teen girls, all getting ready to zoom down the hill together.
A little post-script — We are allowing Violet to have a small slumber party sometime in the new year (part of that parental support of developing social skills.) Victoria is quite impatient to have her own slumber party, but I told her she was too young. When she kept pressing me on it (while I was busy doing other things) I said, “that’s just the rule, that’s why.” She apparently pondered that for some time, saying finally, “We’ve got to change that rule.”