Davan is not going off to Australia this summer. There are a variety of reasons for this, one of the foremost being that the cost for this two week jaunt, including airfare and all meals and, ya know, the whole shebang, is just shy of $6000!!!! Now, they do encourage fund raising, but you're on your own to do so. They have a page of idea, but then you have to go and beg your friends/family/neighbors/local business people for money. Yeah. That's not so much our style. So, that was a big part of it.
Davan also decided that she didn't care for the fact that, at the presentation last night, they talked to the parents much more than to the students. Even when she went to one of the leaders after to ask a question, the leader looked at me while replying more than at Davan. That did not make Davan a happy camper.
Davan, while bummed about it being a matter of waiting years to do this alternative, feels like she'd be more at home traveling with this outfit: Unschool Adventures. This year, the cost would have ended up being about the same for going to Australia with People to People or with Unschool Adventures. However, the Unschool Adventures trip is 6 weeks while the People to People trip is 2.
I'm glad that she's decided to wait because it gives her more time to save up, she'll be older and better able to handle the separation and I (now mind that this is my personal opinion coming from outside of the usual school way of thinking) hated, absolutely hated the presentation at People to People last night. If Davan had been determined to go and willing to do her fundraising, would I have let her? Yes, but with my heart in my throat (while keeping that from her) that things wouldn't go well for her.
So, what did I so dislike? Well, first, I agree with Davan that a good deal of the presentation was directed at the parents, not the kids. Of course, I understand that it's the parents, usually, who would decide if their kid could do something like this and be the ones who paid for it. In our house, though, it's primarily up to Davan and she'd have to be willing to do the fund raising to make it happen. We'd help some, both with fund raising and a little financially, but it'd be her deal. She'd be the one going and she's the one they should have been pitching to.
I disliked that the first thing a leader said to Davan was, "congratulations!" for getting an invitation, which is no special thing. They canvas the target area with these things, gleaning from whatever lists they can.
I didn't like the slickness of it all. It was like going to a time share presentation.
I hated how "schooly" it all was. There was so much about how this will help get you into college, how travel will help you to understand the global economy when you are employed as an adult, and the like. It's not that it isn't true, to some extent, I just didn't appreciate the spin or the style.
Being unschoolers, I have a healthy concern for how things are run in a traditional class room. The leaders are all teachers who were excited to tell how many years of class room experience they have. That is a red flag for me, rather than a selling point. There are reasons why Davan isn't in school.
Finally, I was dismayed by how young the 5th graders are. This particular trip is for kids current in 5th or 6th grade. Some of those 5th graders are 10. I think, at that age, traveling with families is more appropriate. I'd be concerned about how they would do on the trip, both in terms of behavior and homesickness, and how that would effect Davan.
So, I'm glad she's not going. I think the Unschool Adventures is a much better fit, even though she has to wait. I also think traveling as a family to Australia is a real possibility. It's the place Anthony most wants to go. If we do that, Davan can do some other sort of trip to assert her independence. She really wants to go here, for example...