“Free-range” childhood, arrested development

As a 25-year-old who was raised in the “free-range” style, I have to voice my concerns about what Edgy Mama had to say about “free-range” parenting [“Free-range Kids, Local-style,” Aug. 18 Xpress]. It is not the idea of parenting in that way, but of schooling in that way that has me angry.

My sister, the eldest of three, went to public school (by choice) in 7th grade and I remember her coming home every day in tears; [I thought], “I’ll never do that.” So while she learned to like [public school], I never made that same choice. (And at 7 or 8 [years old] can you blame me?)

This left me at home with my “free range,” “home schooling” parents (at the time it was called “unschooling”). I ask you, what 7-year-old, given the choice between math and playing in the woods, is going to choose math? I know there are some, but not very many.

I was given plenty of time to socialize, but never made to learn anything. To some of you this may sound like a good thing, but as a 25-year-old just learning long division I can tell you first hand that it is not!  My dream was always to be a Veterinarian; my parents always said, “you can do what ever you put your mind to,” but [they] never gave me the tools I needed to achieve that dream.

I am now in the process of getting my GED, which brings up a lot of feelings that I feel would have been easier to deal with when I was 15 and my friends where going through the same things. But that is beside the point. I am now an adult and have no choice but to put my mind to it and get my diploma.

The point is that for a lot of the people that I grew up with, unschooling was a way for our parents to be lazy. There is no reason or excuse for not giving your children the education they are entitled to as Americans. Allowing your children to do as they please when it comes to school is not a good thing. As someone who has been through it, I ask you, please, put your kids in school, or at least teach them what they need to know, not just what they want to know.

My life would have been a lot easier if I had learned to read in first grade and had been given some idea of what college would hold for me (I have never been inside a class room). So all I ask is that you think about all of this before you keep your kids out of school.

— Hannah Layosa
Asheville

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15 thoughts on ““Free-range” childhood, arrested development

  1. Piffy!

    The letter writer seems to be taking some liberties with the definition of ‘free range parenting’ that goes far outside the boundaries defined by miss EM.

  2. Asheville Dweller

    Its another viewpoint, and I know folks have a hard time with thinking outside the box around here, but everyone should try it.

  3. C Atkins

    Caleb:

    Funny. It says in the first paragraph

    ” It is not the idea of parenting in that way, but of schooling in that way that has me angry.”

    Maybe you should learn to read.

    C Atkins

  4. Piffy!

    Which box are we talking about again, Dweller? It’s so hard to tell these days if its outside the box, or a new paradigm, or maybe just synergistic creative processing.

    Dear MR. Atkins;

    The letter-writer is complaining about lazy parents, and is trying to compare that to a column on the difference between parents who hover and parents who allow their kids to develop on their own.

    There is a LOT of space between a parent who gives their kid a little time to be a kid and the lazy parents the letter-writer.

    [b]Maybe you should learn to read. [/b]

    Perhaps you should use your own advice and read the column being discussed, mister ironic name-caller guy.

  5. missemmalee

    “Free-range” is a euphemism for “I’m too damned wrapped up in myself to waste anytime on my kids, cause it’s hard n’ stuff”…

  6. Asheville Dweller

    Its another buzz word that is going to get attached to what ever someone wants to sound hip, its LAME.

  7. Asheville Dweller

    You know the box, the tiny lockstep mindset of this town.

  8. Piffy!

    [b]You know the box, the tiny lockstep mindset of this town. [/b]

    So, over-parenting would be outside the box you are referring to?

    [b]“Free-range” is a euphemism for “I’m too damned wrapped up in myself to waste anytime on my kids, cause it’s hard n’ stuff”.[/b]

    Nonsense. No more than over-parenting is a euphemism for “I have no sense of self and no friends, so i over-manage my kids’ lives.”

    Let your kids live life. The kids who have four sports a year, honor role, band practice, etc, are having something taken away from them.

  9. missemmalee

    Caleb…oh, sorry..with a lowercase “c”, and whatever heady symbols and token use of the word “love”…

    You have no idea what you are talking about – or whom you are talking to.

    Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s so pedestrian, not to mention annoying.

  10. JWTJr

    ““Free-range” is a euphemism for “I’m too damned wrapped up in myself to waste anytime on my kids, cause it’s hard n’ stuff”.

    Nonsense. No more than over-parenting is a euphemism for “I have no sense of self and no friends, so i over-manage my kids’ lives.””

    I think both euphemisms are correct. Both are the results of our self absorbed society.

  11. Piffy!

    [b]I think both euphemisms are correct. Both are the results of our self absorbed society. [/b]

    And yet there is AMPLE middle ground between those absurd extremes.

  12. Piffy!

    My parents made me go to school, where I got made fun of and got my lunch money stolen. Therefor, ALL parents who send their children to school HATE their children and want them to get wedgies.

  13. Piffy!

    [b]Oh, come on! My euphemism is so much more creative.. [/b]

    By which you mean made-up.

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