Welcome back! By now your have been to Kick Off Kamp, met your resource teacher, and are all set for the school year. This last week it was fun to visit with families about their summer vacation: from camping, European travels, to learning how to swim.
This summer I had the chance to visit my 90 year old cousin from Northern California. Cousin Loretta told me she spent several years (1936-38) at the Stoney Brook Sanatorium in Keene battling tuberculosis. Before the discovery of antibiotics, TB was a terrible scourge of children and adults. The Stoney Brook Sanatorium is now part of the La Paz facility belonging to the National Farm Workers Organization. As this is only 10 minutes away from Tehachapi, I made some calls and took a tour of the old tuberculosis facility that is now a conference center.
Cousin Loretta said that in the 1930’s the theory for battling TB was putting the children through the “vigorous lifestyle”. This meant that windows were kept open at all times, children wore light clothing year round, required to get plenty of sunshine, and they had to eat everything on their plates at all meal times. Loretta had to spend one full year in isolation at age 7. Her only playmate was a little boy across the hallway. When the staff was not looking she would roll a ball across the hall and then he would roll it back. She realized later that this defeated the purpose of “isolation”. During meal times, children were required to eat everything on their plate and would have to stay seated in the cafeteria until they did (if they were not in isolation). Loretta recalled how many times she sat for several hours refusing to eat her canned spinach with another little girl. One time, when Loretta was distracted, she noticed twice the amount of spinach on her plate and the other little girl gone!
Fortunately, medical advances have moved us beyond sequestering children in a sanatorium for several years. But the “vigorous lifestyle” still has merit in everyday life. As families that have chosen the “vigorous lifestyle” of home schooling, you have taken responsibility of your child’s educational welfare. We are excited for you! Your resource teachers are always learning new instructional methods and ready to pass that on. You don’t have to wait for a Kick Off Kamp to get additional help. Our awesome staff are always available to brain storm, instruct, and pass the tissue box if you need to cry. If you feel isolated and need to roll a ball to one of our staff to get some ideas or encouragement let us know!
There will be some days where educating your child at home may be as appealing as canned spinach, but hang in there. President Theodore Roosevelt was an adherent to the “vigorous lifestyle” (find out about his battle with asthma as a child). You are the person that President Teddy Roosevelt was speaking of when he said: “It is not the critic who counts; not the person who points out how the strong one stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena (you!), whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends themselves in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst if they fail, at least fails while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Blog post by Brian McFarland