Blogging about music, family life, the outdoors, unschooling and everything else

for more than a quarter century

Category: Parenting

  • COVID-19: the first six months

    COVID-19: the first six months

    I had a haircut scheduled. Fiona was supposed to be doing her driving road test in a few days. It was March 17th, 2020. A week later my hair was longer than ever, and it would continue to grow for another 12 weeks, and Fiona was still a student driver. And then, with gloves for […]

  • Raising teens in a digital world

    When it comes to teens’ use of technology, I feel strongly that we should listen to what the experts have to say. Recently I’ve waded into several threads on social media about youth and digital media. One was sparked by the sharing of the tweet shown on the left, which turns out to be not […]

  • Unschooled adolescents

    Fiona’s primary enrolment this year is with SelfDesign, an independent umbrella program that supports home-based learners from Kindergarten through Grade 9 and their families, including loads of unschoolers. The support is primarily moral support, though there’s a little money available that can be used to fund things like sports and music lessons. I love the […]

  • Building Rat Park

    At a recent unschooling workshop, the issue of technology use came up. Some parents expressed concern over the potential addictive nature of technology. With unschoolers having far more autonomy over their lives, the risk of excess use seems much higher, particularly without the natural time constraints of school attendance and homework. “Video games and social […]

  • Soap and teenagers

    The soap has cured! We’ve wrapped it up in salvaged tissue paper and ribbon, to keep it protected until use by us or others. While the lavender buds turned a less-than-fetching brown in the alkaline environment, the basic marbled green of the soap is nice to look at, and the mixture of lavender and rosemary […]

  • Mix-and-match schooling logistics

    Okay, I know it’s not going to continue to be this challenging, but can I just complain for a moment about the organizational challenges of having all these kids doing all these extremely different but fairly rigorously scheduled things? My Yesterday7:15 up and make lunches7:45 awaken Sophie, make and drink my coffee8:30 run Sophie to […]

  • Tantrums and meltdowns

    “How can you tell the difference between an emotional meltdown due to neurological over-excitabilities and a bratty tantrum the child is using to get what they want?” I don’t believe it’s as simple as saying “either the child is subjected to neuro-behavioural storm totally beyond her control, or else she’s being calculatingly evil and trying […]

  • Stranded stringless

    Erin is possessed of the type of independence her mother has — the ability to tough things out on her own. The type her mother lacks, the ability to approach people and ask for help, she also lacks. Especially on the phone. It’s a generational affliction; my mother is scarcely better at it than I […]

  • Techniques

    Dear parent who is asking about the latest and greatest disciplinary techniques: Discpline (which really means “teaching”) isn’t about techniques, IMO. Techniques tend to be about finding ways to make your child do what you want and not do what she wants. Disciplinary techniques tend to put behaviour ahead of relationship, correction ahead of understanding, […]

  • The race that is childhood

    Message board copy & paste: “One of the bragging points is ‘My little Johnny doesn’t watch those shows anymore. He’s much too mature for Barney and Dora. He much prefers watching Arthur and Spiderman.’ “ My, everything has got so competitive, hasn’t it? Even child-rearing is a race. It breeds something I call pseudo-maturity — […]

  • Naughty Stool Memory

    I was about eight years old. I had done something deemed wrong or inappropriate. I have absolutely no recollection what it was. That part of the memory faded very fast, and it was really beside the point. There had been some conflict and I had lost and was now subject to my parents’ authority. I […]

  • Adolescent responsibility

    Somewhere I read that the shift to night-owl-dom in adolescence once had a biological imperative. Young teens in tribal times were the ones who were given spears and left to guard the encampment from enemies and predators by the fire all night long. Now that’s meaningful responsibility — life and death stuff! By contrast today’s […]

  • Adolescence rant

    Copied & pasted from a discussion board where it was being argued that young adults from 18-25 ought to be cut a little slack by the justice system when they do stupid things like engage in credit card fraud — because science has shown that their frontal cortexes are still developing. “There is good reason […]

  • Small but significant conversation

    Fiona: Mommy, I wish I had an organization to my day. You know, like, ‘practicing: 10:30, math: 2 o’clock.’ Me [chuckling]: Oh my, Fiona, that’s a really good idea. Unfortunately I think you have the wrong mom. I’ll try, I really will. Sort of. When I remember. When it fits. Oh, my poor children.

  • Anger

    In Buddhism anger is held to be one of the three roots of evil. Dr. Suzuki felt that anger was unnecessary and for a long time practiced not being angry. Our own family is a little shy on anger. The kids express hurt, but rarely anger. When they do, it’s an anomaly and usually leads […]