Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Summer Days…

As much as I wish I could wax poetic about the long days of summer slipping by, the truth is in Southeast Texas, we still have MONTHS of ‘summer’ to enjoy (if by ‘enjoy’ you mean ‘seek refuge from the soul-sucking humidity and glaring obscenity of brightness that used to be sunshine in the dark, cool confines of your home’). I am not even kidding.

While it’s true that some kids have gone back to school already, most of the local ISDs don’t start until Monday. Our homeschool group is having a “Not Back to School Park Day” to celebrate this blessed event, in which the libraries will once again return to the quiet haven we’ve known them to be, parks will be devoid of the 500 rowdy school aged children bogarting the swings, and museums once again get so little traffic that they’re over-helpful when homeschooling kiddos visit them… ahhhh.

Since here, many homeschooling families are involved in co-ops, and co-op groups likewise start next week (they usually follow the ISD’s schedule since many families have kids in both), we’re getting in quite a bit of last-minute visiting and play-dating with friends in. Today, we had lunch and spent the afternoon with my friend PB&JMom and her four kidlets.

The most amazing thing about visiting with this family for my kids is that they have BOYS. Almost all of my friends either have all girls, or have boys that are much older or much younger than mine. Not to say that the kids don’t all play well, they really do, but there is an entirely different dynamic at work when you have a group of boys similar in age.

For the majority of the day, the boys were neither seen nor heard from. They played legos, then video games for a bit, then went out to play in the yard, then set out down the road a ways to catch minnows and explore and just be boys

The boys had a wonderful time… they were out, alone, exploring the world around them and quite happy to be masters of their own destiny, if only for an afternoon. So much fun was had that they were quite reluctant to leave – something that I never thought I would say I was glad to see (because when they were very small fry, a change in the status quo – like leaving a playdate – was call for a meltdown of epic proportions… now, it’s just a mild rumbling of dissent, but a realization that we’re seeing these same friends for two days in a row next week, so maybe the world will not, in fact, end, after all). They jumped into the van sweaty and muddy and hungry and content.

While they were gone, I started thinking about the whole ‘free range kids movement’ and became all annoyed again (as ever I do when I think about many of the extreme POVs found in that sector). This, to me, is what childhood should be about… freedom, but not at the expense of good sense. PB&JMom’s boys know their boundaries and are familiar with the area. There were four (actually 5 since a neighbor’s little boy joined them), so no one child was left alone – the buddy system in full effect. They actually did get scraped up a bit from scrambling down to get the bucket, yet no one came crying to mom about it – and let me just say that ALL of these children are ‘attached’ kids.

The assertions that ‘AP’ parents don’t let their kids experience anything really bug the crap out of me because it’s not true – at least in all cases. PB&JMom and I were enjoying our conversation in the house while the boys were out – for most of the afternoon. I sent them out with my camera (which is shatter-proof and waterproof; basically, it is kid-proof and one of the few things I consider ‘essential’ childcare equipment) to do as they will. Their only instruction today really was , ‘Don’t die.’

Generalizations are generally a bad thing, you know {wink}, and the generalization that AP automatically equals over-protective hovering is flat-out fallacious. I stand by what I said in my previous thoughts on free range kids post. I agree that kids need freedom to explore; I just don’t think that they need to be foisted into the world without a net, which is how it seems to me more often than not when I read FRK-style parenting blogs, which, ironically is another generalization – and one that I am sure makes ‘normal’ FRK moms pretty hacked off to read!

It’s not that I am opposed to the FRK movement overall. There are aspects of it that I wholeheartedly agree with. But so many factors will go into what is safe or right for each family; location is a big one – and I don’t think that any of us can truly judge another’s choices without being in their shoes… and even then, personal preference, personal philosophy and experience will still make those things different. I also happen to be of the opinion that the only way to be sure of what it is that I believe is to continually challenge myself on it… which is why I read things that might make me annoyed; it makes me think, and I do totally respect that. Anyway… enough philosophizing for one post, I think. {wink}

We had an awesome, fantastic, super-duper day and I want to end it on a high note. Tomorrow is Secular Thursday, so if you’re reading this and not currently a ST blogger, then I really encourage you to splash about in that puddle. Write about what secular homeschooling means to you and link back to Smrt Lernins Secular Thursday page with your post. The list there is growing and its so nice to have a great list of blogs to browse in the evening.




8 responses

  1. Quote: “assertions that ‘AP’ parents don’t let their kids experience anything really bugs the crap out of me because it’s not true.”
    Definitely not true here. 🙂 My kiddos are very attached but also they experience “stuff”. All. The. Time.
    Enjoyed reading your post.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:58 pm

  2. Don’t you hate it when you have a tense agreement issue in your writing that isn’t noticed until someone quotes it back to you? LOL

    Thanks 😉

    August 18, 2010 at 8:07 pm

  3. what a fun day you guys had 🙂 great post.

    August 18, 2010 at 8:58 pm

  4. “I agree that kids need freedom to explore; I just don’t think that they need to be foisted into the world without a net…”

    My thoughts exactly.

    August 18, 2010 at 11:32 pm

  5. Thanks 🙂

    August 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

  6. I was hoping you would post those pictures and blog about it! What a fun day for them and us! pp&j

    August 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm

  7. Yep – maybe this week (or next??) we can throw them out with the camera and a mini-lesson plan to roam our yard 😉

    August 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm

  8. pp&j

    Sounds like an EXCELLENT plan!

    August 21, 2010 at 8:46 pm

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