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  • #143398
    Kol Drake
    Moderator

    The start of this article caught my eye…
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    Quote:
    I’m nine years old, and it’s a sunny summer day. School’s out and there’s nowhere to be, nothing I have to do. I say goodbye to my mother, grab my bike and ride to my best friend’s house. “Can Lisa come out and play?” We walk in the woods near the playground. The sunlight filters down through green leaves and dances across the wet-weather creek where we go to hunt for frogs. Birds are singing, and distantly I can hear shouts from the kids spinning the merry-go-round at top speed. My friend has walked ahead, following the creek, and for few moments, I’m alone with the sound of my breath.

    Does this sound like your childhood? If you’re my age—thirty-seven—or older, it may. Most children raised in the United States in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s spent a great deal of time playing unsupervised outdoors, often in the company of a mixed-age group of other children.

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    I moved a lot as a kid. I do remember times when I wandered into nearby woods and climbed trees, threw dirt clods like ‘grenades’ to battle imagined giant insects, and other typical ‘making a day of it’ things. Climbing trees, sunshine, grass, open air. It was a ‘natural playground’… instead of being consigned to a room or a prefab ‘play area’ . (and most ‘playgrounds’ are gone these days due to law suits, etc. how did we ever survive!?!?!)
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    Anyway, thought this was an interesting article on ‘Raising Free Range Kids’ — be they ‘pagan’ or Jedi…
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    >> Paganism and the Free-Range Kid
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    VERY worth the time to read and consider.
    (plus some good source references & links)

    #192746
    Jax
    Keymaster

    I’ve read a bit on free range kids because parents are getting into real trouble. It’s crazy. So we’re looking at how to balance that. I’m going to read this article when I can later. Thanks for sharing it!

    #195987
    Vyndo-sei
    Participant

    Hi, hey, another topic I’m going to try to revive.
    I love that article. Sounds just like my childhood in the 90s.
    I’ve seen several other parents on here, so I’m sure this could be a really interesting topic. I love the idea of free-range children. We do have to be careful because of well-intentioned busybodies, but I’ve seen a bit of a trend toward accepting the free-range kids movement. When my first kiddo was smaller, I did a ton of reading and research about free-ranging and whole life unschooling. I’ve settled somewhere a smidge more traditional than that. I believe my job as parent is to equip my little ones for independence and part of that is helping them build the tools they need. At the moment, I’m struggling with accepting that my younger child just isn’t ready for the same independence my older one was at that age.
    We have a fenced-in backyard, and both kids get kicked out there on the regular. My six-year-old plays in the front yard alone, and has been trusted to go into a restaurant with their own money and order their food while I waited outside, walk to a neighbour’s house and ask if their friend can play, and stay home alone while I run a quick (less than 30 minute) errand. They know how to make their own sandwich, cook an egg, use a hatchet and pocket knife, make a phone call, and check out their own library books. They know our street name and can give pretty good directions home from a few streets away. We live less than a mile from the library and two parks, but they’re right on a busy highway, so those are walks we still do together.
    A while back I read a book called Duct Tape Parenting that I really liked. It emphasises the importance of equipping kids with the skills and knowledge they need and letting them really take responsibility for their own lives, as much as they’re ready for.

    #195988
    Kol Drake
    Moderator

    Absolutely.
    And you have the correct attitude about it. It’s all about letting the child explore their limits BUT also giving them the best possible tools to explore with. Knowing how to navigate in the ‘wild’ — be it a city or woodlands; how to boil water or make a sandwich ‘in a pinch’. Going to the library is most excellent… there are whole worlds to explore inside. (It’s bigger on the inside!!!)

    I’m not sure when ‘we’ became a helicopter parenting society.
    Yes, it’s not like the 30s and 40s when no one ever considered locking doors or thought a stranger was ‘danger’ (for the most part). And now, some people get hauled in by the cops because the parent stands on their own front steps while watching their own child walk the block and a half homeward… somehow charged with being negligent for NOT being at the bus stop and hovering. I mean… pardon my universal translator but, wtf? ‘Concerned’ adults (typically ones with zero kids) can be the worst jerks about telling everyone else about how they ‘should’ be handling their own kids… sorry… micro rant.

    As I stated before, I got to spend plenty of time ‘on my own’ after school and weekends exploring the local woods and parks. When I was in Michigan… 8 or 9 years old… I walked about a mile and half to school every day… weaving in and out of the neighborhoods. Plenty of kids did NOT have to be bus’ed for less than 2 miles. In junior high in Massachusetts, I had my ‘end of the school year’ ritual where I walked home from the regional school… and that was over 15 miles. Worst thing that ever happened was I caught a case of poison oak when I cut through a heavily wooded expanse to ‘save time’. *facepalm*

    But I suppose some of this overprotectiveness is a kneejerk response to the era of ‘latchkey kids’… when both parents were working and ‘the kid’ was left alone for hours once school was out… so they were locked in their home ‘boxes’ and were expected to ‘be safe’ while watching TV / eating any food left out for them / homework? (ya, right) / and later, computers. Being able to take kids out to explore their neighborhoods — MEET their neighbors — can be great. Being able to go out to a local park or walking woods is also nice… so they can see that fresh air is not deadly… and sunshine will not make them burst into flame!

    #195993
    Yoshio
    Moderator

    I don’t know if “Waldkindergarten” (eng. “Forest Kindergarten” / “Outdoor Kindergarten” / “Forrest Nursery School”) are a thing in your part of the world or not and it is not exactly the topic here but our big little one is attending one since last year and she really enjoys it! For us this had been the best option to give her the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the nature before hitting school.
    Besides that, we do our best to make our children involved in things we do and by doing so help them to become independent and self-reliant.
    From the last talk we had with the Kindergarten teacher, her feedback had been that we are doing a good job on raising our children.

    #195995
    Vyndo-sei
    Participant

    I love the idea of Forest Kindergarten and I have heard of them in my country, but not in my area. Fortunately homeschooling is legal and accessible here, so I’m able to let my kids go at their own pace, get lots of time outdoors, and spend a lot of time doing “real life” stuff.

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