A couple of pictures of my artistic daughter's creations
Just had a great week with some visitors up from England, lovely people we don't see often enough, A had a wonderful time with these members of her extended family. This week we will check in with one or two of her 'school' friends and maybe have a sleepover with one of them.
I've been working on an essay for my OU course yesterday and today, focusing on gender and sexuality in primary schools - really interesting stuff. As always I relate it back to whats going on with A.
My first thoughts were along the lines of 'is this something she will miss out on because of not being at school?' The boyfriend/girlfriend scenario was already well established in her class at her old school, although A didn't seem particularly interested in it all. But is this something thats important as a part of growing up - a way of practicing and developing emotional relationships?
After reading through the research studies I'm using I feel that although this is seen as a normal part of school life, I'm not convinced that it is altogether healthy or positive. Some of the case studies - particularly of boys who don't fit into the macho, football playing type role - were very sad. It appears that in most cases there is a dominant homophobic and misogynistic theme in the development of 'real boys', no surprise really, but rather depressing, especially when (as in one study) it is more or less encouraged by a male teacher.
I can imagine the retort now of: 'thats the way kids are/life is/the world is, she needs to get used to it', but I don't accept that. I hope that in developing a definate sense of self through the wider world, rather than the 'classroom' she will develop a confident and secure sense of her own sexuality as she grows up.
The school social environment seems to be about creating boundaries and rules about what is 'right' and 'wrong', and divisions between kids who are 'in' or 'out', 'romantic' relationships are a big part of that hierarchy. I want to give my daughter some freedom from that. I know that she will come across it in groups she's involved in, and probably needs to so that she knows how to deal with it. She's actually fairly astute socially and I don't think she'd have any real problems, but I don't want her to be hemmed in by these rigid 'norms'.