[Ansteorra] children and teen activities in the SCA

Cat Clark cat at rocks4brains.com
Sun Jan 20 12:09:01 PST 2008

On Sun, 2008-01-20 at 09:17 -0800, ansteorra-request at lists.ansteorra.org
> With scrolls feather quills could be used to show how to form the
> letters. 
> I'm not sure I'd let smaller ones make their own quill pen.

In my now-soon-to-be-former kingdom, the first event 
I attended here, I had every kid in the room under 16 watching 
me intently for an hour as I unstoppered my made-from-scratch
iron and oak gall ink (and had an oak gall on hand to show off)
and proceeded to do a fancy-calligraphy-style scroll with cadel
using the quill I cut on the spot, on some vellum I had helped
to make.  They had never seen anyone write with a quill before 
other than in movies - so I took the time to show them how the
end cut on the quill nib makes it easy to make medieval letters. 
I just took the school teacher filter out, turned it on and
gave them the "from the ground up" talk for younger students
on the evolution of paper, ink, pens and writing.  Best class
full of youngsters I ever encountered.  (I don't believe in
blowing off interested kids if I have to time to spare - kids
interested in something historical? You bet I'll take the time!
After some of the students I've run into, 'ya sure yebetcha I'll
make that investment of time with kids who are interested! When 
I think of all the times I got blown off as a kid, I just can't 
do it to other kids in turn.)

I have subsequently found that there are a lot of SCA kids
out there in the 10 to 14 range who can learn to cut a decent
quill and learn to do a decent early gothic secretary hand
with it in under an hour when they are allowed into a regular
collegium class (with parent/guardian attached unless I already
know the kid) with the adults.  I treat them just like the 
adults - which most kids that age really take to. It's awesome
what you can get out of a kid when you treat them with equal
respect and don't talk down to them, which many people do
subconsciously without realizing. About half walk out of the
class doing better calligraphy than many of the adult students,
who can have a lot more years of bad writing habits to overcome
than the kids. (I let the parent make the call if the kid gets
to use one of the pen knives for cutting quills in a class, and
most do let their kids do so - after they sign a permission slip;
teaching science and crafts in the litiginous land of California 
has left me just a tad cautious...)

Strangely enough, the kids 15 and up have not been students of
the same caliber as the ones 10 to 14. Some of them have gotten
too callous, cocky and cynical to be engaged as students in
learning the joys of writing properly as people were meant to
write their medieval letters, with real quills. Too many teenagers
brought to events because their parents didn't want to leave them 
at home. (You bring a horse to water...) Sad, that.

(no longer lurking, moving to Ansteorra in 2 weeks)

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