Snow Play

snow play

I’ve been conscious of not filling our days with too many scheduled activities in this first part of 2018. And I’ve been thinking about how our homeschooling requires a really firm belief in play: not just that it’s important to include a little in the late afternoon, but that it should be central, the focus of our days.

We Belong Together

we belong together

We joined in the We Belong Together campaign, kids writing letters to Congress to keep families together. We don’t encounter immigration issues in our daily lives, but this campaign was an opportunity to talk about it. We watched the video on the website, about an inspiring girl named Leah, several times. And I ordered Mama’s Nightingale, by Edwidge Danticat, from the library, as it offers a hopeful message about the power of children’s voices.

we belong together

Our Own Stories

Fare of the Free Child

I asked Akilah S. Richards if she had any thoughts on my post Fragility and Freedom in Self-Directed Education.

An unschooling activist, Akilah Richard’s smart, wide-ranging podcast, Fare of the Free Child, pushed me to finally try homeschooling. It continues to guide my husband and me. As she describes it, “Fare of the Free Child is a weekly-published podcast community centering People of Color in liberatory living and learning practices.” I highly recommend it to anyone interested in alternative education and intentional living. Like Peter Gray, Akilah is a co-founder of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. Read more

Screen Time or Media Literacy?

media literacy

What parent hasn’t agonized about screens at one time or another?

I don’t want to discuss screen time here, though I’ve thought about and discusssed it plenty. In the past year, we’ve shifted from very limited and controlled iPad time; to almost complete freedom, inspired by unschooling ideas; to my reasserting my role as guide, encouraging my kids to think about how they want to spend their days.

But I’ve started to think that media literacy is a more important topic than screen time. Read more

Fragility and Freedom in Self-Directed Education

self-directed education

Recently, an acquaintance posted an article on Facebook titled “The Fragile Generation.” Her post, from the Libertarian journal Reason, quoted Peter Gray from the article. Gray is a psychologist, whose book Free to Learn, and articles on the importance of play and self-directed learning, influenced my decision to explore homeschooling with my children. My interest piqued, I saved the article to read later.

When I read the article, I was dismayed to find musings on freedom and fragility in childhood and young adulthood used to advance a different agenda altogether. Unfortunately, I’ve encountered these conflations before, and it motivated me to write this rather uncharacteristic blog post. Read more

Improv Baking

baking

As a longtime recipe-follower, I love watching my kids invent cakes and cupcakes. I’ve been baking with them since they were little, so they have an idea of the ingredients in a baked good: flour, sugar, eggs, and so on. They experiment, adding milk or leaving out oil, using almond flour or mixing in strawberries. We have color-coded measuring cups and measuring spoons, and Daphne (age 7) likes me to record her recipes. Netta (age 5 tomorrow!) bakes with a splash of this and a dash of that. They’re almost always happy to eat the results of their improvisations.