bits and pieces

March 25, 2006

Our 1 year old chose today to reveal that her spoken vocabulary is actually about 3 times as large as we had thought, all of a sudden she started trying out new words. She also decided to start experimenting with walking with her eyes closed! These are the things that I love about being a parent. Kids from the age of about 1 through to 3 years old are absolutely riveting – and hilarious too. You’ll often find a room full of adults goes totally quiet while all eyes focus on the toddler as they do, well, as the do nothing in particular.I’ve noticed that everywhere I go on the net lately people are saying how they wish they could find people in their area who were into the same things. Be it parents practicing alternative methods of parenting or the crowd at Anthropik looking to form tribes the theme is the same. We’re certainly feeling the same thing here in Raglan. There is one other couple here who parent like us and they’re moving away for a few months. We’ll cope but it won’t be the same.

Incidentally, where I have been today is checking out some of the blogs by young mothers. I always find myself drawn to mothers of young children, as a group they impress me more than any other in my culture. I’ve been through a fairly intense few years the last 5 years and I’ve had to change to survive. I don’t want to get into the details but one of the results is that I seem to be much more interested in talking to women than men, who, apart from a few exceptions, seem to mostly talk about kind of boring inconsequential stuff. I wonder if this is how women generally see men?

The latest topic of discussion at our place has been about home schooling. We’ve read some of John Taylor Gatto’s articles and we’ve poured over The Teenage Liberation Handbook, now we just need to figure out how we are going to do it here. One of our biggest problems is trying to enourage other people around us to homeschool as well so that there are friends around for our kids to play with. My big fear is that our kids will want to go to school just to be with their mates. I’m sure that’s what I would have been like in the same situation. We’re also worried that it will be hard work – based on the fact that it is hard work right now with a 3 yo and a 1 yo. This is not necessarily very logical. The problem is we don’t know people in our area who home school yet (there we go again). So we’ve decide we’ll order one of John Holt’s books from Amazon, sign up with Growing Without Schooling magazine and then put an add in the local paper in order to hook up with a few hopefully like-minded people. Once again I figure this would be less of a problem if we were in a village. And yes, I’m starting to sound like a stuck record with that comment ‘n all.

Damn, I’ve just discovered that GWS magazine stopped back in 2001. I wonder if there are any websites or blogs that are doing a similar job these days?


One comment

  1. Below are a couple places which list homeschooling groups in New Zealand.


    I don’t know how good the lists are.

    Would it be OK to use this post in the Carnival of Homeschool?

    Here’s information about blog Carnivals:


    And here is an archive of the Carnival of Homeschooling:


    Posted by: Henry Cate | 03/26/2006

    Why don’t you let your children go to public school if they want to – but always let them know that they don’t HAVE TO go if they find they dislike it. I agree that when i was 6 yrs old i most definetely would have chosen to be with a bunch of friends, but school soon proves to be not fun at all, and if i had been given the choice i would have dropped out fairly early on. It seems that kids need to see the world for what it is, not be shielded from it, and if your kids found very erly on that school hurt them, and were allowed to opt out, well that would be a big step to see that the whole system is equally bunk.

    Posted by: miles | 03/26/2006

    Some kids think they like school – I was one of them. Looking back I can see that it was bad for me but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have guessed it at the time, especically not when I was 6.

    I’d probably be happy for them to go as teenagers because by then they would be independant thinkers.

    There are certain things in modern life that I use my power as a parent to enforce. I tell my daughter that around cars she has to do what I say because it is just too dangerous – most of the time she does happily accept this. We also enforce restrictions on certain kinds of foods (although we can also model this one) and we don’t watch TV. I think playing at school is just as dangerous as playing in the road (or watching TV – which is probably a better comparison)

    Henry – thanks for those links, there looks to be some useful stuff there.

    I don’t mind being in the carnival so long as it doesn’t bring any unforseen responsibilities with it

    Posted by: Aaron | 03/26/2006

    “My big fear is that our kids will want to go to school just to be with their mates.”

    You hit on the one reason I stayed in school far longer than was healthy. Establishing some solid connections through other avenues than school is going to be really, really important.

    You’ve read John Taylor Gatto, have you read anything by Alfie Kohn? He wrote a book recently called Unconditional Parenting that is just absolutely brilliant — I was already a longtime fan of him for his critiques of schooling, but now he’s one of my personal heroes. Check out his website at http://www.alfiekohn.org

    And, of course, a google/wiki search on unschooling will bring up a lot of results, I know I’ve seen several discussion groups around when doing my searches.

    – Devin

    Posted by: Devin | 03/27/2006

    “I don’t mind being in the carnival so long as it doesn’t bring any unforseen responsibilities with it”

    Great, thanks.

    Normally when people submit a post for a blog carnival there is an expectation that the bloggers will put in a plug for the carnival. But because I’ve selected you there is no such obligation.

    Posted by: Henry Cate | 03/28/2006

    Hi, 5th year homeschooler here, and I’d like to say congrats on your decision to homeschool! I’m not sure how many homeschoolers are over your way, but I will say a couple of things about friends. First, they will have each other, so a playmate will always be nearby. Second, they will have the neighborhood kids after school. Third, you should check in to local homeschooling groups because they can be so rewarding for the adults and kids alike. If you don’t have one nearby I’d start one. I’d start now too, because by the time your kids are big enough to be school aged they’d already have built in mates! My kids see their homeschooloed pals for science class and a playgroup , for Gilr Scouts and boys club and many other times a week for social reasons. It has only taken 5 years to build a homeschool group that has 50 plus families. Even if one lives in a less populated region, I think you’d find 3 or 4 families who are looking for folks to meet with regularly. I wish you good luck and please pardon all of the unsolicited advice I gave! I just wanted to counter the “send the to school” thoughts.Nowadays, homeschooling can offer kids so many opportunities to be social that I think your kids will be very happy at home. I like your blog btw!

    Posted by: kim | 03/28/2006

    Unsolicited advice is cool, it’s nice to hear positive comments from people who are a bit further ahead in the process.

    One thing I point out to people who bring up the socialisation issue (actually a few things) is that at school you usually get punished for trying to socialise – unless it’s during the prescribed times of course. Also school kids ususally only socialise within their own strict age group which is hardly ideal and there’s plenty of opportunity for various types of socialising that we don’t want our kids to be involved in at school as well.

    Posted by: Aaron | 03/30/2006

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