More Thoughts on Unschooling and Media, by Heather

(This letter originally written for the Tompkins County Unschoolers list, by Heather McCarty)

I am trying to speak generally here, and not to anyone in particular, as there have been so many thoughtful emails.

Gender, Wicked Annoying Tummyaches, and the Parking Ticket Update

Dear Family,

Gender is not all in our minds. Maybe partly it is, but no way no how can I be convinced that is entirely a social construct.

Last week I took the boys to Cass Park on a gorgeous, sunny day. The playground was populated entirely by lots of two-year-old girls when we got there, and that is pretty much the only demographic generally compatible with BOTH Ben's and Jem's personalities. My boys climbed and slid and played with a plastic backhoe we'd brought, and the girls played and chattered and looked adorable in their sundresses, and all was right with the world.

More thoughts re: unschooling and media

(Letter originally written for the Tompkins County Unschooling list, by Sarabeth)


Lucia wrote:

> I'll lift the controls on food and media when I feel it won't harm them
> in a fundamental, structural way to play around with such things and I
> trust them to be able to discriminate and evaluate the results of their
> play when they do. The other day in the city, I was walking down the
> sidewalk with a friend and the girls were careening way ahead of us on
> their glider bikes, and my friend asked: how do they know to stop at the

More Thoughts on Unschooling and Media, by Lucia

(This letter originally written for the Tompkins County Unschoolers list, by Lucia Ruedenberg-Wright;


I want to chime in here too because it's something I've thought about

I too am distressed by the flippant way in which the unschooling
community deals with food and media. What's missing from the discourse
is a consideration of age. what is ok for a 10 or 15 year is not
necessarily ok for a 2 or 4 year old. (I realize that if you have both a
2 yo and a 15 yo, and they do stuff together, you get into a different

Thoughts on Unschooling, Television, and Sugary Snacks

(Originally posted to the Unschooling Basics Yahoo Group.)

I grew up in a household with no TV (until my brother bought his own, for video-watching, when he was a teenager), few processed foods purchased with family money, and no computer games (there weren't any!). BUT, my parents placed no restrictions on my or my four younger siblings personal spending money, or on foods we ate outside the home, and we all talked--a lot--about health and personal desires and "voting with our dollars."

Intimate Conversations

Dear Family,

Ben looked out this evening at the menacing clouds jetting across the sky, noted the frigid temperature, and said, “We're back to winter again!”

But we had springtime enough for adventures this week:

1. A twenty-mile (!!!for us, this is long!!!!) family bike ride, to Upper Taughannock. Despite me clocking Jem in the head with a frisbee during one of our rest stops, we had enough tasty snacks and good scenery to keep everyone more or less happy. This felt like a major accomplishment.

Shopping, Shorts, and Big Long Road Trips

Dear Family,

We went to NJ for Passover last week, which was great. I went to the old-age home with Mom and Dad, where they lead a weekly sing-along for the residents (I'm so proud of my musical parents!), my sister took me clothes shopping (it's always good to study with a pro!), we celebrated Dad's birthday, and there was lots of all-around quality time had by all. Jeff even got to go see “Hot Tub Time Machine” with Matt (incidentally, this is why I had brothers). Ben and Jem explored all corners of the house, and Jem got so comfortable that on the last day, he up and walked out the front door and down the sidewalk, alone and carrying an orange balloon. He told us that he didn't know which was Grandma's house, which is why he hadn't come back yet. (Jeff's and my heart rates returned to normal sometime around yesterday.)

Sourdough Chocolate, Swing Dancing, and SPRING!

Dear Family,

It turns out that I love swing dancing! Since the class has an excess of females, I'm learning the lead (traditionally the man's) part. And it turns out that I love leading! I told Jeff about this, and he said, “I thought we figured that out years ago.”

I'd never even DONE swing dance before three weeks ago, so don't you think it's strange how Jeff wasn't surprised?


Hot Air Balloons, a Big Lunch, and a Hot Date

Dear Family,

It is pouring down rain, absolutely torrential. This is really great, because I've been wishing I could wash more laundry. All the melting snow will combine with the several inches of precipitation that is descending now, and there will be mud outside for the next decade. Jem and Ben are magnetically attracted to mud, its call apparently siren-like. Hence the laundry. On our every outdoor adventure, I walk this very narrow line, between turning into a nit-picky, over-protective-mother-who-doesn't-let-her-children-experience-the-outdoors, or suddenly-becoming-the-mother-of-two-very-wet-and-disgustingly-dirty-and-very-cold-kids-who-need-to-go-back-inside-RIGHT-NOW.

Winter Camping, and Why Soup Isn't Good for Breakfast

Dear Family,

Ben is VERY interested in law and order. Police officers--what do they do? Why do they drive faster than everybody else, even if their lights and sirens aren't on? Do they get arrested or get tickets? Why “not usually”? What happens if a person steals something? Have WE ever had anything stolen? What happens in a courthouse? And tickets – what do they look like when you get one?

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