Jim Shooter, the editor of Marvel during the years I first started reading Marvel comics, apparently used to insist that each comic be written as if it could be someone’s first comic. In every issue everything had to be explained for a new reader. In the spirit of that, I’ll explain what this whole “circus” thing I keep talking about is.
My partner J and I homeschool our kids, K and M. Part of our homeschooling is a commitment to having the kids learn a variety of skills. They have to participate in a musical activity, they have to participate in a public performance activity, they have to perform community service, they have to learn a complex physical / athletic skill, etc. One of the things they do as part of this is take classes at Circus Juventas. I’ll quote from their webpage:
“Circus training is a non-traditional athletic activity which provides an alternative to organized sports. At Circus Juventas, no child is ever disappointed by not “making the team” or not being allowed to perform. Every child is given the opportunity to grow and be challenged. Combining athleticism with the arts, the purpose of Circus Juventas is to:
Offer an evironment in which boys and girls work and train side-by-side as equals, learning together the values of discipline and hard work;
Foster mentoring relationships between older and younger children, between peers, and between adults in the community and children of all ages;
Train all children as a team, from superior athletes to those less gifted;
Teach students the value of contributing to society through performances at community and charitable events.”
This appeals to us as parents. We like the emphasis on cooperation instead of competition, we like the mentoring aspects. Also … this is more vague and harder to quantify, but the teenagers we see at Circus Juventas are pretty decent role models. I mean, they are teenagers, yes, with their prickliness and cliquishness and horseplay and et cetera. But they are by and large kind to and generous with younger kids, they are tolerant of racial, religious, and sexual identity differences as far as I can tell from observation, and they are incredibly hard-working. I don’t object when K wants to dress like the girls she sees there, or M wants his hair cut like his trampoline coach. BY ALL MEANS, emulate the hard-working, professional, motivated, friendly adolescents at circus.
K has really thrived at Circus Juventas. M is not as wed to it as his sister, but he enjoys the non-performing trampoline class a lot. Since he joined choir with K and Unity Unitarian Church this year, his performance requirement of our household curriculum is being met there. So he doesn’t have to participate in the performing classes at circus if he doesn’t want to.
Anyway! Four times a year the next quarter’s schedule comes out, and four times a year we have to figure out which classes the kids are going to be in, and how it fits into our week. The summer term is usually when we try new things and make changes. It’s only seven weeks long, or so, so any major problems can be coped with for that time period. Also, during the summer J doesn’t teach on Thursday nights, and she’s not in choir on Mondays. There’s a little more room.
The summer schedule was posted to the website yesterday. Yesterday afternoon J filled out the form and drove the registration over to the school. Classes, you see, are filled first by returning students and then by new students who qualify in the order the application was received. Both last spring and this, ours was the very first registration turned in for the summer term.
If all goes according to plan — which it may not; sometimes no spots are available in classes for new students — we’ll be at circus on Tuesdays and Fridays. Which means my partner will be at circus 75% of the time. I go back to working Fridays in two weeks, and my summer trap shooting league meets on Tuesdays. I’ll only make it to every other Tuesday class.
Anyway, I hope the kids get the classes they want. If they do I think the schedule will work out well for us, and we’ll likely keep it into the fall term.