.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
Unschooling Blogs
Previous | Next
Live and Learn Blogs
Join | List | Previous | Next

Visit Radical Unschooler's Network

Learning in Freedom

Welcome to Learning in Freedom, a blog all about the learning adventures (and mishaps) of the Allen family. My four children are unschooled, following their interests and passions every day and living the lives of their choosing. The purpose of this blog is to share our every day lives (and my not-so-humble opinons) with anyone interested in stopping by. We hope this will give a glimpse of how natural learning unfolds from day to day......

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Reclaiming childhood

This was a really great series of posts from the Unschooling Discussion list, based on an article someone brought to the list that partially condemned technology for the "loss of childhood imagination". Thought I'd bring it here to share:

From:Deb Lewis
Date:Fri, Jun 23 2006 10:51 am

***"It is disturbing to hear early childhood staff describe
how many morechildren in recent years appear to be losing the
natural ability toplay, to be creative, or use their imagination,"
she says.***

Kids can play just fine if they have the emotional room to play.
Instead they have to explain everything to adults, they have to
parrot back correct answers, they have to answer questions on the
quiz, they have to write a report. They have to get it right.
It's terrible, squishing pressure. Adults interfere with kids
play almost constantly and then "experts" are alarmed when answers
on tests about conceptualizing seem to indicate a decline in children's
ability to use their imagination. What a bunch of idiots.

Here's what we do to kids, little kids. "Say caterpillar. Susie,
say caterpillar. Put that down. Don't touch that. What do you say?
What do you say? Say please. Say thank you. Susie what's this?
What is this? Is this a doggy? Say doggie. Where's your nose?
(Where do you think it is, moron?) Wave bye-bye.

Multiply that kind of revolting crap times ten-plus hours a day
for three years and then add several more adults doing the same
crap (preschool) for two years and then add even more ass holes,
I mean adults, doing that for six hours a day (school) for how
many years and then add the experts who administer "conceptualization"
tests and no friggin wonder you have kids who seem to lack imagination.

We measure and chart and graph how much kids eat, when they poop, how
much they grow, when they walk, when they run, jump, skip, when they
talk, when they add new words to their vocabulary for crying out loud!
We've designed a way to interfere with and analyze every single thing
about kids lives.

Technology isn't hurting kids, rock and roll isn't hurting kids, the
devil isn't hurting kids. Adults, with their pressure and expectation
and narrow margin for acceptable answers and behaviors and growth rates
are hurting kids.

I'm irritated by articles like this because people will read it an nod
and have one more reason to limit their kids computer or game time.
Taking away the few bright, imaginative things a kid still has left and
leaving the adults piling dehumanizing crap on kids won't help kids have
more fun in childhood.

Man, I picked the wrong day to give up sniffing glue.

Deb L




From: Sandra Dodd
Date: Fri, Jun 23 2006 1:08 pm

~~ Where's your nose? (Where do you think it is, moron?)
Wave bye-bye. Multiply that kind of revolting crap times
ten-plus hours a day for three years and then add several
more adults doing the same crap (preschool)for two years
and then add even more ass holes~~

That last thing. That's where some of their noses are.
And that's where the noses of the "early childhood staff" are,
some of them—too close up behind someone ELSE who's too close to
someone ELSE's be-hind to see the world around them. They look
into text books and studies and theories and new methods to improve
last year's statistics.

Those adults appear to be losing the natural ability to be creative,
or use their imagination (and I'm sure someone told them long, long
ago to stop playing).

-=-Technology isn't hurting kids, rock and roll isn't hurting kids,
the devil isn't hurting kids. -=-

BlasFEMUR.

-=- Adults, with their pressure and expectation
and narrow margin for acceptable answers and behaviors
and growth rates are hurting kids. -=-

This should not be read by anyone too sensitive to take a jolt of
cultural history. Maybe just peek. This is someone very seminal to
the development of a lot of American thought, John Wesley (think
Wesleyans and methodists and the days when sermons were printed,
sold, passed around, read for... two hundred years. Oh it's still
happening! He's sure that it's parents who ruin children—parents who
are afraid to do what (he says) God says to do, which (he says) isn't
pretty and isn't nice. http://gbgm-umc.org/umhistory/Wesley/sermons/
serm-096.stm Half a dozen times he uses "break his will" or "break
their wills" or some such phrases, of children, and is critical of
those wimpy parents who didn't do it by the time the child was two.
Children whose wills are broken don't want to play. They probably do
use their imaginations—to imagine what it would be like if their
parents were gentle and sweet.

-=-Taking away the few bright, imaginative things a kid still has
left and leaving the adults piling dehumanizing crap on kids won't
help kids have more fun in childhood. -=-

Well and when and where was this "childhood" they're reclaiming?
Maybe in that small space between WWII and the stranger-danger
scares. Because before that life was generally a few breathers
between wars, epidemics (flu, polio, contagious fevers,
tuberculosis, smallpox), the Depression, and a large layer of
ignorance and abuse (oh, and huge numbers of the parents died,
of all of the above, so many children were orphaned or raised ]
by a single poor parent, or by relatives who weren't thrilled to
see them coming). Before compulsory attendance extended to
17 and 18 years old, very many teens were up and out by fourteen
or fifteen years old. (I was reading a book this morning that
talked of a fourteen year old teaching school, in California in
the 19th century, and he wasn't the only one.)

A little like attacking a straw man, we're mourning a fantasy
history —"reclaiming" something that might never really have
existed in a clean fashion, and sabotaging any hope of it happening,
while blaming the usual suspects—cutting edge of media (which right
now happens to be internet and video games, but has been and will
be other things in other decades).

Sandra


From: Deb Lewis
Date:Fri, Jun 23 2006 1:40 pm

***Man, I picked the wrong day to give up sniffing glue. ***

Oui, oui, le usine de glue. C’est très bien.

And another thing...
I'm really glad for the technology that lets me see comedy
shows that were live, years ago, in some other country. I'm a
better person for watching Eddie Izzard miming foreign exchange
students being shot from tubas.
I don't know what a test ever did for me but playing Xena Warrior
Princess made me want to learn how to do high, fast, spinning kicks
and was instrumental in inspiring me to learn to do a back flip on the
trampoline.

I do know what tests did to me. They pointed out how I was not
meeting the expectations of others.

But as to kids suffering the loss of childhood because of technology
I wanted to say that video games are an evolutionary leap in thinking and
imagination. The people who make them, the people who play them, the
people who master them are using their imaginations in the way of artists
and musicians and the best scientists.

Childhood happiness and wonder being defined as time in the sandbox is
the naive and simplistic blah, blah, blah of experts. Sit all day in a
sandbox imagining different worlds and you still have to go inside to
"eat your vegetables, no cookies for you and shut up and go to bed."
Maybe time in sandbox world makes that easier to bear but first person
shooter games make a lot of things easier to bear and you don't end up
with sand in the crack of your butt.

Dylan's imagination took off when he saw his first monster movie.
Monsters! Guys in monster suits. There are monster suits?! Model
trains, model railroads, model cities, model tanks, model soldiers.
Giant moths.Flying turtles. When he was four he'd say to me "Mom,
do you want to watch Gammera? Flying turtles! You don't see that
everyday!" And, by golly, you don't.

And when he saw the animation of Ray Harryhausen the parade of clay
monsters through our house was jaw-dropping genius.

And when he played his first Playstation game his mind was going
so fast he didn't have time to change out of his pj's. How do you
kill the Dragon? How can you get past the troll on the bridge?
How do you defeat the Cyclops? Could you really fling a cow in a
trebuchet? Anyone who thinks these things don't inspire and require
imagination is too disinterested or unimaginative think about it much.

Dylan's favorite sandbox play was wriggling out a hole the size and
shape of his body and then laying in it will he ran the hose in there,
fill the hole (and his clothes) with water. Maybe in some families
that wouldn't have been the right kind of sandbox play. Maybe only
Tonka dump trucks and diggers or buckets and shovels and sand castles
would be the right kind of sandbox play. I think there's a lot of
that. They talk about imagination like it's wonderful but then they
don't like the wrong kind of imagination. They don't want kids drawing
pictures with orange sky's and blue trees and black grass. They don't
want kids using markers as porcupine quills in clay animals. They don't
want kids putting glue on the palms of their hands and peeling it off
when it's dry. Evidence of imagination is great as long as it's the right
kind of imagination, not wasteful, not too messy, and in the realm of what parents/teachers/expert know to be a representation of reality.

What they mean by imagination is a child who will go quietly outside or
into another room and leave his parents and care givers in peace and who
will seem happy enough and not require anyone spend too much money to
keep him entertained.

Deb L




From: Kelli Traaseth - view profile
Date: Fri, Jun 23 2006 4:38 pm

*****They don't want kids drawing pictures with orange sky's

> and blue trees and black grass. They don't want kids using markers as
> porcupine quills in clay animals. They don't want kids putting glue on
> the palms of their hands and peeling it off when it's dry. Evidence of
> imagination is great as long as it's the right kind of imagination, not
> wasteful, not too messy, and in the realm of what parents/teachers/expert
> know to be a representation of reality. *****

So true.

And this has affected my kids in that they are really leary about
wanting to take any classes or be part of any type of club,,girl scouts
or such. They'll go and try out something and a lot of times they come
home and say,, "nope, not for me". Usually because its too rigid or
limits them so much in their creativity that they can't stand it.

I would be so psyched to find some more people who are excited about
sharing their passions and also psyched to see my kids being creative
in their own ways.

Keep on lookin, keep on lookin, la,la,la, la, la,,,,


From: Pamela Sorooshian
Date: Fri, Jun 23 2006 6:01 pm



> A little like attacking a straw man, we're mourning a fantasy history
> —"reclaiming" something that might never really have existed in a
> clean fashion, and sabotaging any hope of it happening, while blaming
> the usual suspects—cutting edge of media (which right now happens to
> be internet and video games, but has been and will be other things in
> other decades).

Even though childhood wasn't sweet and happy - the children were far
more free to explore and learn in their own way. Unfortunately, what
they learned was harsh and mean.

-pam

Unschooling shirts, cups, bumper stickers, bags...
Live Love Learn
UNSCHOOL!





From: Sandra Dodd - view profile
Date: Sat, Jun 24 2006 6:52 am

-=-But as to kids suffering the loss of childhood because of
technology I wanted to say that video games are an evolutionary
leap in thinking and imagination. The people who make them, the
people who play them, the people who master them are using their
imaginations in the way of artists and musicians and the best
scientists.-=-

And the people who create them are getting paid to work as artists,
musicians and scientists.
Or maybe they're doing art, music or science just because they can't
not. Some people create for free for fun and don't have to wait for
someone else to say "Okay, go—but stop in eight hours because we're
not paying overtime."

Our culture lies. They say they want to encourage and reward
individuality and creativity, but in practice they try to hammer
down the pointy parts, and shame off the different parts.

I guess if they miss breaking the spirit of a child, they keep on
trying into adulthood. Because isn't this whole shaming of the
parents that goes on in articles and in schools and teachers' finger-
pointing justifications of why they're not working "like the old
days" (the mythical old days) a way to tell parents that they're
not not meeting the expectations of others.

Sandra


From: Angela S. - view profile
Date: Sat, Jun 24 2006 8:01 am


>>A little like attacking a straw man, we're mourning a
fantasy history "reclaiming" something that might never
really have existed in a clean fashion, and sabotaging
any hope of it happening, while blaming the usual
suspects-cutting edge of media (which right now happens to
be internet and video games, but has been and will be other
things in other decades).>>

Maybe the author grew up in a home like I did. I was born
in 1967 and my parents weren't perfect, but the one thing they
did do was allow us to be kids. We spent summers on the lake...
6 kids and two adults in a small pop up camper on private land
belonging to my mother's cousin who also had 6 kids and a pop up
camper.
We played outdoors all day long every day all
summer. When it rained, we sometimes sat in the camper and played
cards or a board game or read a book and sometimes we went swimming
in the rain or the parents used that day to get groceries and go to
the laudrymat and the dump. (the dump was the best!..rats and seagulls)

When we were home during the school year, we played outside from
after school till before bedtime in the warmer months, running the
neighborhood, playing hide and go seek, and kick the can. I don't
remember having homework until 5th grade and then it wasn't much,
not like kids have now.

I have fond memories of those parts of my childhood and I do think about the
differences between my childhood and most children's childhood. I am trying
to replicate the good parts and skip the bad. :)

Angela
game-enthusi...@adelphia.net


From: Angela S. - view profile
Date: Sat, Jun 24 2006 8:07 am

I also meant to mention that as I got a little older we had the newest
technology because my dad was into it. We had Commodore computers when
they first came out and all the fun games and we played those till our
heart's content. (remember those Olympic games?) We also watched TV a
fair amount but my mom did think that was a waste of time.

Angela
game-enthusi...@adelphia.net




From: Sandra Dodd - view profile
Date: Sat, Jun 24 2006 8:49 am

-=-When we were home during the school year, we played outside
from after school till before bedtime in the warmer months, running
the neighborhood, playing hide and go seek, and kick the can.
I don't remember having homework until 5th grade and then it wasn't
much, not like kids have now.-=-

That's a really good point.

We played lots of outside games that involved drawing things in the
dirt and running around, jumping over... We played jumprope with
others holding the rope.

Sandra

3 Comments:

Blogger Miranda said...

Thought this was applicable:

Every child is born a genius.
9,999 out of every 10,000
are swiftly, inadvertently,
de-geniused by grown-ups.

-R.Buckminster Fuller

3:16 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Great post.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Sandra Dodd said...

-=-Maybe time in sandbox world makes that easier to bear but first person
shooter games make a lot of things easier to bear and you don't end up
with sand in the crack of your butt. -=-

Just thought that should be repeated.

Partly it's funny, and partly this morning I wished we had made another nice sandbox when we moved. Our old house had a great one! I found a sand toy, and rather than put it in the thrift store box, my mind (whose imagination escaped being extinguished) went through where and how we could yet make a sandbox, because we will probably have grandchildren visit someday. So I kept the toy.

Unschoolers are fortunate to live in a time in which we have this opportunity and fortunate to have the means and courage to unschool. It's not for everyone!

1:06 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home