Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mom To the Rescue!

I forget things all the time. It's rare that I walk out of the house without having to run back in to grab something I forgot. Just a few weeks ago, I walked out without my keys, but I did remember to bring my kids, and to lock the door behind me. I found myself outside in the cold with no keys for the car, and no way to get back into the house.

So what did I do? Since I knew my husband was unreachable, naturally, I called my parents. First I called my Dad, hoping that the extra key for my house was at his house, only three miles away. When he couldn't find it, I called my Mom, who was at work. She had the key!

Unfortunately, Mom said, I could bring it to you, but I'm not going to. You have to learn you can't forget your key. How will you learn if I just bring it to you?

Friday, April 22, 2011


Hopeless is what I imagine two girls must have felt as they took their own lives last weekend. The fourteen-year-olds got together for a sleepover, and hanged themselves, leaving behind sad suicide notes and sadder families.

The girls had apparently been bullied at school. They were harassed about things like their weights and hair colors. What is a child to do when she is a victim of bullying?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Food Freedom

We are nation confused about food. It seems like every week, there is a new study about what's good for you and what's bad for you. Experts do not agree. We have people advising us not to eat any meat, and others to eat mostly meat. We have some touting the goodness of whole grains, and others saying we don't need any grains at all. You can find advice to go gluten-free, dairy-free, low fat, low carb, raw, fermented, or a hundred other things.

One of the most difficult things about nutrition confusion is when you become a parent and suddenly you are responsible for not only your own choices, but also those of your children. Parents are advised that they know best. Parents are told to decide what their kids should eat, when their kids should eat, and how much they should eat. I've seen lots of articles over the years warning against giving kids too much food freedom.

But how are we supposed to decide what is best for our kids if the experts can't even agree on what's best for us?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Children On Airplanes

I came across this post today, about people who want airlines to offer kid-free flights. The author, a mother herself, says she agrees with a certain Facebook group that says children are a "constant and annoying disturbance" on flights. This really bothers me for several reasons.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Socialization: My Thoughts

In my last post, I asked some questions about socialization. Here, I share my responses:

How many people do you know who did not attend grade school or high school?

Before I had kids and started thinking about this for my family, I had never met anyone who didn't go to school. There was one person in college who was known as "the homeschooled kid" and all of his weirdness was attributed to that one fact about his past. Now that I am more involved in the homeschooling community (both locally and globally online), I know a lot of people who never went to school. I can say that in my experience, I have found about as much variation in all the usual social characteristics in the unschooled population as in the schooled population.

Are you basing your opinion of unschooled people on a handful of families you have met, or maybe haven't even met but have only heard about? That is like forming an opinion of an entire country or race of people based on the same limited knowledge of them. I was guilty of it too.

Think about the five most antisocial people (by your own definition) you have ever met. Did they go to school?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Survey: Socialization

Even with my limited experience as someone planning not to send my kids to school, I can tell you with some confidence that the most common objection people have to this idea is regarding socialization. As in: How will your kids get socialized?

I used to be one of these people, so I am not here to pass judgment. I used to have the same concern. Now I realize that for me, it was a pretty automatic thing that popped into my head like a reflex when I heard the word "homeschool." I don't remember being taught to have this concern, but it got in my head somehow. Maybe because people told me that was why I was in school? I don't know.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I am going to assume that almost everyone who voices this concern is legitimately worried about my children. Worried about how they will learn to socialize without school. Worried that my children will grow up to be weird, or mean, or too shy or awkward, or I don't know what else.

So here are some questions for you about socialization. Think about them. Think about the reflex answers that pop into your head for some of them, and then really think about how you feel. If you want to. I would love to hear your answers if you are inclined to share. Use the "Anonymous" option if that helps.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What If They Choose School?

Another question I expect to answer a lot as my kids get older:
Will you let your kids go to school if they want to?
The short answer: yes.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Simple Solution To the Cheating Problem

I recently found another article by "parenting expert" Dr. Michele Borba called Raising Honest Kids Despite Cheating Epidemic. In it, she cites nine reasons why kids cheat, a few ways to tell if they are cheating without directly asking them, and six ways you can stop it.

Doesn't that sound complicated? What if I told you there is one simple way we can stop all kids from cheating? It's true. Here it is:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You Might Be Going To the Wrong Dinner Parties

It's another common criticism of unschooling. A worry about raising a child without a curriculum:

Won't your child feel stupid later in life when he goes to a dinner party and doesn't know what people are talking about?

Monday, April 4, 2011

"I Survived It" Is Not a Ringing Endorsement Of Any Experience

I came across the following quote on Facebook the other day:
When I was a kid I didn't have a computer, Nintendo DS, XBox, or Wii . I had Barbies or Hot Wheels, a bike and a sandbox. If I didn't eat what my mom made, I didn't eat. And I dealt with it. I didn't think of telling my parents "no" or dare to talk back and I got in BIG TROUBLE if I did. Life wasn't hard, it was life. And I survived. Repost if you appreciate the way you were raised.
I have heard this sentiment many, many times before. But whenever I hear or read something like this, it strikes me. I will save my feelings about media and toys for another post. For now, I want to talk about the fact that all of us who are here to tell about it "survived" our childhoods. There are grown-ups walking around with all sizes of emotional and physical scars inflicted by their parents, who can still say they survived. So I want to start there: just because someone survives his childhood, doesn't necessarily mean that his parents had it all figured out.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What Happens When You Try To Change Someone

I have a feeling it's not possible to change someone else. That might seem obvious. People say it out loud all the time. Yet most of us still try. There are many, many people out there writing books and articles about how to get someone to be who you want them to be.

Especially our children. Parenting experts and amateurs alike make us feel like it is our duty as parents to mold our children into some ideal form. Like if we can just train them right, they will be right. People scare us into thinking that if we don't try to train our kids (to be polite, to take orders, to eat right, to sleep right, not to give up, to love reading, to watch the right amount of television, you name it), then we are doing them a great disservice. They will surely grow up to be mindless, selfish, friendless criminals who can't get along in the world.

But what if all the training that you do to your child doesn't change who he is at all? What if it only changes how he feels about who he is? And how he feels about you?