I thought I was done with the Student Whisperer, but the following point keeps coming to mind.
In the "personal experience" section, Ms. Earle talks about going to a simulation as a college student. (A simulation is some kind of simulated event-- in the book, she discussed a meeting-of-nations simulation, I think. It sounds sort of like debate, but deeper and in a variety of contexts.)
Anyway, after she came through the simulation, she talked about the constant tension, the man-on-the-ground immediacy of what was happening. Decisions had to be made quickly. There were so many people lobbying in different ways... well, let me just quote her:
"One girl said she was used to being in control,and when she realized she had no control over the way the simulation was going, it scared her."
Okay. Life is like that sometimes. Not everyone is like you. Some folks will behave in ways you cannot predict. Kids have to be prepared for it. Studying the Bible and history and literature frames our minds to respond properly in real-life experiences, which for students may come through sports, speech and debate, volunteering, part-time jobs, and theater and music collaborations and performances.
A friend of Ms. Earle's said the simulations helped him prepare for a tense situation later in life. He was in a condo association meeting and the majority shareholder became unreasonable. Her friend was able to keep his cool when the situation spiralled out of control. He helped resolve it.
We hope our kids will be able to handle situations like this by the time they leave home. Getting them out in real-life situations is a natural step after steeping them in the right books. I have a tough time with this one, because I would rather stay home and read and play music and watch movies with my family. So I post this as a reminder to myself that properly chosen extracurricular activities are a vital part of my kids' education.
(One more thing to remember is that experiences can only be called "real-life" if we allow the kids to experience them. If we engineer our kids' experiences so they don't have to deal with unpleasantness, that's not real life. We have to use discernment in order to decide if we need to intervene or not, but as they get older, they ought to have their experiences less and less diluted by their parents.)