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#61 of 101 Old 05-08-2008, 05:58 PM
 
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More often than not, one child or the other has a feverish night which keeps me rather more wakeful, then the child wakes up recovered, full of energy and bounce. I'm the one that needs extra sleep when they're ill, not them!
Yeah, I've always thought nature got this one wrong - and especially after a longer illness. Ideally, they would feel the natural urge to lay low and nap a lot when they get well after being ill. - Lillian

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#62 of 101 Old 05-08-2008, 07:26 PM
 
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When I read his article against competitive sports, I felt kind of sad for his son who seems to be leaning in a direction that he doesn't want him to lean in. I'm not into competitive sports myself, but I have an 8yo who just loves playing soccer with the boys next door.
What does he say about it? I looked around but didn't find it.

I have no problem with competitive sports whatsoever. I love a heated game of ping-pong myself. My husband and children play ultimate frisbee, which, while fiercely competitive, is also friendly and relaxed. It's really much closer to what I imagine it was like when kids didn't have organized sports -- when they'd just get together and play by some mutually agreed-on rules. The kids don't feel pressured -- it's all about fun. And I like that the boys and girls play on the same team.

But the way team sports are commonly organized for kids makes me frankly ill. It's so serious. They have practice and games eight times a week, and they have to have special uniforms and equipment (which is not inexpensive) and pay fees to the city or club or whoever is sponsoring it, and you have to make a "committment" to the team so god forbid if you miss a practice, and you can't just play the game you have to do a run and exercises to get you extra "in shape", and there's all that crap about team superiority so that the other team becomes essentially the lowly enemy, there's taunts, there's anger and divisiveness, there's adults yelling at small children, there's a hierarchy of good players and bad players and coach's favorites which makes the game miserable for the players and their crushed self-esteem, and the pressure and stress if you're the one who screws up even though it's supposedly a team sport, and "don't throw like a girl," and if you lose a game everybody feels so bad, because, you know, it really matters in the grand scheme of things.

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They have a wide range of choices, and "pushing them out the door" (literally or figuratively) sounds like me making the choice for them. It's patronizing.
Yeah, after reading more on his site, he doesn't strike me as AP or particularly respectful in general towards his kids. It's ironic too that he is all about freedom, but they have to go to school. Hm.
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#63 of 101 Old 05-08-2008, 07:48 PM
 
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But whatever - are there really any perfect parents? I think most of us have our own idiosyncrasies that our families just learn to live with, fit with, rise above, get around, wear down, emulate, whatever... My guess is that he's probably more fun than not and is often taken with a grain of salt by his family. - Lillian


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#64 of 101 Old 05-08-2008, 08:42 PM
 
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fourlittlebirds -- I have concerns about organized sports, too. And I really really would rather not get heavily scheduled. I'm still hoping that we can meet dd's need by playing sports with her, inviting her friends over to shoot baskets, planning some games with our homeschool group, etcetera.

I found the article by typing "idle parent" into the search engine. It seems that his main objection is to sports organized from the top down, so maybe I've misread him.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#65 of 101 Old 05-08-2008, 09:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But whatever - are there really any perfect parents? I think most of us have our own idiosyncrasies that our families just learn to live with, fit with, rise above, get around, wear down, emulate, whatever... My guess is that he's probably more fun than not and is often taken with a grain of salt by his family. - Lillian


This is how I take him too. He comes across exactly like several members of my family (English, which may have something to do with it)....and they definitely love and respect their kids. He makes me laugh. However, I can see how he might not make everyone laugh
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#66 of 101 Old 05-09-2008, 06:55 AM
 
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It's ironic too that he is all about freedom, but they have to go to school. Hm.
What? His kids have to go to school? What was that "the less school the better" column all about then? :
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#67 of 101 Old 05-09-2008, 07:13 AM
 
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I am on my laptop, or reading, or crafting, next to the kids while they are playing the wii or watching TV about 80% of the day. So I totally get just wanting to do my own thing while they do theirs. I just don't like how he sounds like he wants nothing to do with them. I get not hovering over them and feeling like entertaining them every minute but not so far as to want them to leave me alone kwim? I enjoy them.
This is us too... sometimes I feel like I'm not supposed to pursue my own interestes parallel to them pursuing theirs - but that's what feels really cool to me, sometimes. I do play with my kids, read to them, listen to their stories, watch tv with them, talk to them - etc. - but a lot of the time I'm reading or working on something that interests me while they're doing their thing in the same room. When they're outside playing, sometimes I'm chasing them or pulling a wagon, but sometimes I'm reading a book in a lawn chair.

I liked this piece, the guy seemed really affirming of choosing that dynamic - plus I enjoy a bit of a tongue-in-cheekiness now and then.

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#68 of 101 Old 05-09-2008, 09:17 AM
 
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"Go and play in the garden" is commonly heard here and if you are going into a garden with grass, weeds, bugs trees, soil and tools then a good time can be had of the child's choosing. in this country we can't always make best use of our outdoor space due to our weather so we often send them out if the weather is good to balance all the time we have spent cooped up in our tiny houses.

This is my tiny house (the one on the left) where I live with my dh and 4 children. This is what they did in the garden last week and this is how it looks with a bit more work and dryer weather. Pushing them out there doesn't make me not AP.

I don't think Tom intends people to take his example and live by it! I wouldn't pick it over looking for inconsistencies; just read it for fun. It is one man's weekly rantings about the madness of life; there are gems in there certainly but don't take it too seriously. AA Gill, Will Self and others also write in a similar vein and are very entertaining but certainly not gurus.

This thread has raised a few questions for me about our culture and media and yours because as I said before English people 'get' this on so many more levels than just what it says because we live in this environment and understand the context in which the column is written. For example lots of people send their children to school but criticise it partly because they are liberals who voted for Tony Blair's new Labour and have been disgusted by the current state of our schools despite Tony's incantation 'Education, education, education'.

I wonder are the only US anti-mainstream writers serious activists? Do you have anyone who is sympathetically ranty? Is there anyone writing satire on life and being published weekly? Are there columnists in your newspapers who are free to comment on events or is it all news and editorial?
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#69 of 101 Old 05-09-2008, 10:28 AM
 
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Count me in as one who totally gets/adores the dry British humor. I love, love, love it. Maybe it's my British ancestry, maybe my obsession with British comedy. Maybe its just that I am naturally sarcastic. I don't know but I agree about not picking apart what he says too much. Its tongue in cheek for sure.
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#70 of 101 Old 05-09-2008, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for chiming in Orangefoot and Mother Wren I especially appreciate the perspective of someone from across the pond.

And because I'm a glutton....here's his most recent installment (for real this time). I think I'm all caught up now!

Cheers R
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#71 of 101 Old 05-09-2008, 05:39 PM
 
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I don't know but I agree about not picking apart what he says too much. Its tongue in cheek for sure.
Definitely, and it's enjoyable to read, but from the column on education I would never have guessed that he sends his kids to school. I do like his columns but that is disappointing to me!
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#72 of 101 Old 05-09-2008, 05:57 PM
 
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Definitely, and it's enjoyable to read, but from the column on education I would never have guessed that he sends his kids to school. I do like his columns but that is disappointing to me!
eta: I meant definitely it's tongue in cheek. I didn't mean definitely that people shouldn't discuss what he wrote. Why not? I don't think being English and humorous means your ideas can't be looked at more closely. And I don't think it means that the person looking at them is too stupid to get the humor (come on-- "don't your papers have columnists that are free to comment on events?" Seriously? ) That's not to say that there aren't Americans who will not get it. Sometimes Dave Barry would publish some of the angry letters he'd get in response to his columns from people taking him too seriously.
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#73 of 101 Old 05-09-2008, 08:04 PM
 
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eta: I meant definitely it's tongue in cheek. I didn't mean definitely that people shouldn't discuss what he wrote. Why not? I don't think being English and humorous means your ideas can't be looked at more closely. And I don't think it means that the person looking at them is too stupid to get the humor (come on-- "don't your papers have columnists that are free to comment on events?" Seriously? )
Thank you! I certainly enjoy his humor -- I just hadn't realized that the humor meant there were no actual ideas being set forth: I thought it was okay to compare and contrast his ideas with my own, and also with the ideas of others.

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That's not to say that there aren't Americans who will not get it. Sometimes Dave Barry would publish some of the angry letters he'd get in response to his columns from people taking him too seriously.
Oh, well, I certainly have no intention of sending the "Idle Parent" guy any angry letters. I'm not "angry" if he pushes his children into the garden, or anything. I was just commenting that I wouldn't do that.

And, orangefoot, my kids have heaps of fun in the great outdoors, so I certainly wasn't saying that it's awful for them to be out there: They just make their own choices about when and how long and so on.

While we don't get all the rain here that you do in Britain, my girls do often like to get out and play in it. I figure we're at home, if it's cold and they get chilled to the bone, they can take a warm bath and put dry clothes on. And mud washes off.

So ... I guess if we only had one spot of sunny weather in the midst of several days of rain, I wouldn't worry so much if they didn't want to go out on the sunny day (though they probably would, especially if I decided that I wanted to be out there), 'cause they'd still get out enough on the rainy days.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#74 of 101 Old 05-09-2008, 10:35 PM
 
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Needle in the Hay, he refers to his kids going to school here: http://idler.co.uk/news/a-country-diary-75/

I do a bit of that type of humor myself, heck go look at my latest blog post. I'm sure there are people who would be happy to find something in there which they'd feel warranted being offended on my children's behalf. I'd probably talk quite a bit more like that actually, with plenty of swearing as well, if my mother wasn't reading.

(Btw, Dave Barry rocks.)
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#75 of 101 Old 05-09-2008, 11:23 PM
 
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Needle in the Hay, he refers to his kids going to school here: http://idler.co.uk/news/a-country-diary-75/

I do a bit of that type of humor myself, heck go look at my latest blog post. I'm sure there are people who would be happy to find something in there which they'd feel warranted being offended on my children's behalf. I'd probably talk quite a bit more like that actually, with plenty of swearing as well, if my mother wasn't reading.

(Btw, Dave Barry rocks.)
i like your writing much better. the difference is that i know you are an unschooler, i know you love your kids dearly, i know you are very interested in your kids, despite their annoying-ness. he hasn't said anything to make me think he actually does care about his kids. i mean, i'm sure he does, and i get what he's going for with his 'idle parent' shtick, i just think he misses the mark. i read the latest two columns and didn't take particular offense to them, but didn't find them very interesting either. maybe i'm spoiled with all the good bloggers out there.

and just for the record, i'm a pretty harsh, sarcastic, cynical person. i like the little english humour i've been exposed to, and i don't think this guy is an awful person or anything, i'm just not terribly impressed with him.

orangefoot, can you explain this paragraph a little more? i must be daft, but i don't understand what you are referring to. what are the many levels? what environment and context in England help it make more sense to you

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This thread has raised a few questions for me about our culture and media and yours because as I said before English people 'get' this on so many more levels than just what it says because we live in this environment and understand the context in which the column is written. For example lots of people send their children to school but criticise it partly because they are liberals who voted for Tony Blair's new Labour and have been disgusted by the current state of our schools despite Tony's incantation 'Education, education, education'.

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#76 of 101 Old 05-10-2008, 09:07 AM
 
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(come on-- "don't your papers have columnists that are free to comment on events?" Seriously? )
I wasn't implying you were stupid. I honestly have no idea what is in your papers as I have never read them. I know that we have very different tv to you because we have far fewer home grown tv channels and the way the BBC is funded by licence payers (people who have a tv) makes a difference to what they produce in terms of the balance of entertainment, news and comment.

I'm not even saying that because he is British and funny doesn't mean his ideas can't be picked apart I'm just saying that it is designed for entertaining the British middle classes on a Saturday morning over breakfast.
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#77 of 101 Old 05-10-2008, 09:58 AM
 
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Granola Punk

How could our understanding of some things *not* be different?

Our physical environment is different, our political climate is different, our history, culture, food, weather, schooling and healthcare, benefits, gun laws, and more al all different.

I have no idea how people actually live in the US - I mean day by day what you see, who you meet, what you read or see on tv, what food you prepare, what your shops look like or what your town centres and parks look like. Unless you have been to the UK you probably don't really know about us either.

What may seem odd to you seems normal to us just as what some of what I read about the US seems odd to me. I am always surprised by how your ovens and washing machines look when I see kitchen photos on blogs as ours don't look like that!

I smile when I read that people are worried about downsizing a family of four to 1500sqft as many of us here will never live in a house that big. I worry for you all when I hear that having an ill child or a high risk pregnancy will be a huge financial burden on a family when I can be scraped up off the road and put back together for free and have free medication and dentistry while I am pregnant and for a year after.

We think we share a lot and think alike in lots of ways and meeting on forums like this along with reading each others blogs gives us a greater understanding of each other but in many ways I think we are only scratching the surface.
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#78 of 101 Old 05-10-2008, 03:51 PM
 
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Granola Punk

How could our understanding of some things *not* be different?

Our physical environment is different, our political climate is different, our history, culture, food, weather, schooling and healthcare, benefits, gun laws, and more al all different.

I have no idea how people actually live in the US - I mean day by day what you see, who you meet, what you read or see on tv, what food you prepare, what your shops look like or what your town centres and parks look like. Unless you have been to the UK you probably don't really know about us either.

What may seem odd to you seems normal to us just as what some of what I read about the US seems odd to me. I am always surprised by how your ovens and washing machines look when I see kitchen photos on blogs as ours don't look like that!

I smile when I read that people are worried about downsizing a family of four to 1500sqft as many of us here will never live in a house that big. I worry for you all when I hear that having an ill child or a high risk pregnancy will be a huge financial burden on a family when I can be scraped up off the road and put back together for free and have free medication and dentistry while I am pregnant and for a year after.

We think we share a lot and think alike in lots of ways and meeting on forums like this along with reading each others blogs gives us a greater understanding of each other but in many ways I think we are only scratching the surface.
Well I'm not *that* daft. I understand that our whole culture is different, but these articles aren't filled with political commentary, or healthcare, or washing machines. He's talking about life with kids, which I'm sure is different to some degree I suppose, but the stuff he's talking about is just staying in bed late, reading a book instead of playing with your kids etc. There are plenty Americans on this very thread, who get what he's saying and find him entertaining.

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#79 of 101 Old 05-10-2008, 10:47 PM
 
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I havent read this entire thread but i have to say I LOVE the notion of the idle parent. I myself used to refer to my parenting style as "do-nothing" parenting a la "do nothing farming" that the great farmer Fukuoka expounded. I taught myself early on to say little or nothing (to restrain myself from passing judgement, etc)....

I caught that reference to fevers in this thread - recently I had an amazing experience, I was forced to leave my daughter alone with her grandmother while she had a 102 - 103 fever. I returned 3 hours later and she was fine - probably still 101 or so, but slept fine, woke up fine. I cannot believe it but it was true. Doing nothing (on my part) was the best thing for her! Fortunately I did not inform g'mom of the fever so she also did nothing! How many times I pick up Dr Mendelsohn at 2 am to remind myself that I need DO NOTHING.:

(and yes, this is all about unschooling!)

no longer  or  or ... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
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#80 of 101 Old 05-11-2008, 10:03 PM
 
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Yes, I've read Dr. Mendelsohn, too, and I don't do anything for a fever, either. For some reason, though, I just tend to sleep less easy when my children are feverish. It's a good thing we all sleep together, 'cause at least I can check on them without getting out of bed.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#81 of 101 Old 05-15-2008, 05:11 PM
 
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Oh, well, I certainly have no intention of sending the "Idle Parent" guy any angry letters. I'm not "angry" if he pushes his children into the garden, or anything. I was just commenting that I wouldn't do that.
Oh I didn't think you were! The letters Dave Barry got were ones yelling at him about his "error" that Sweden is also known as Norway or something like that.

Fourlittlebirds: Thank you for the link!

Orangefoot: I didn't think you were trying to insult anyone exactly (I did think it was probably an honest question even if it did strike me as odd). What I was hearing from several posts (not just yours) in this thread was that if you wanted to discuss anything further then you just weren't getting it. Thanks for explaining further what you meant. No hard feelings, I hope!

I do find it hard to understand how someone could think the way he does about schooling and education and still send his kids to school (unless the kids are just dying to go). To me his column seemed like more than simply ranting about the state of the schools.
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#82 of 101 Old 05-15-2008, 06:13 PM
 
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Oh I didn't think you were! The letters Dave Barry got were ones yelling at him about his "error" that Sweden is also known as Norway or something like that.
That's pretty funny! Even I know they're separate countries, and I'm a "dumb" American! Surely he knew it too, though: It sounds like his unique brand of humor.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#83 of 101 Old 05-15-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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Needle in the Hay, he refers to his kids going to school here: http://idler.co.uk/news/a-country-diary-75/
I think I enjoyed this rant most of all!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#84 of 101 Old 05-16-2008, 07:09 PM
 
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There is an educated middle class thing about state education in this country which is slightly odd. They are mostly very liberal and rejoiced at the trouncing of the Conservatives in 1997 and the coming of New Labour's New Dawn. They believed Tony Blair when he said his priorities were "Education, education, education" but now that 10 years have passed they see that things are in many ways worse than before. The choice of how to educate your children is very political and a great source of stress for many people.

They are honour-bound to support state education because if they don't, where will it all end? State schools will only be filled by poorer less educated people and that would be shameful. It has already happened in some areas and the schools are known as 'sink schools'.

If they put their children in private education they are seen as selling out. The Blairs got a panning in the press for choosing a Catholic selective school rather than their local comprehensive as the government is against selection in schools and has tried to close schools which still use an entrance examination at age 11.

Lots of people have really good memories of their primary school years and with the benefit of those rose tinted spectacles they want the same for their children, especially in small towns and villages where the school and the church are the focus of the community. We think that they only spend 6 hours a day at school and the rest of the time we can let them be as free as we can.

I would guess that Tom's kids go to a local village school with small classes and lots of green outdoor play space which is considered to be the best possible option for little people. Not to dis him or anything but much like many other educated middle class folks who also rant, he has moved out of the big city to the country to give his children an 'idyllic, memorable childhood'.

Complaints and disappointment are common but there is real inertia when it comes to doing something about it and voting with your feet by choosing home education.

Here's a piece he wrote this week. More confounding in some ways but still understandable from the middle class perspective.
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#85 of 101 Old 05-16-2008, 08:11 PM
 
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Here's a piece he wrote this week. More confounding in some ways but still understandable from the middle class perspective.
I like it! I also liked that there were more positive comments about this article than negative. Whereas in America, I have a feeling it might be the reverse -- although I think (but am not sure) that there's a higher percentage of families homeschooling in America than in Britain ... I'll have to go check that out.

Would you say that there's more of the "social conscience" thing going around in Britain? Here in America, I occasionally run across someone who thinks homeschoolers are "bailing out," and feels we should keep our kids in the system to help "save" it. But, mostly, people don't seem to have a problem with parents looking out for their own kids' best interests, and saying "Hang the system."

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#86 of 101 Old 05-17-2008, 07:14 PM
 
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There is definitely a liberal social conscience thing combined with the fact that we are still not a society that likes to see people do well; there is something unseemly about looking out for your child's best interests.

We laugh over here about George Bush saying "The French have no word for entrepreneur" but at least there is a feeling that in the US you get patted on the back if you make big bucks and spend them whereas here people are sniffy about the the 'nouveau riche' and always think people have made money at someone else's expense.

If you like QI you can vote here to get the BBC to broadcast it in the US.
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#87 of 101 Old 06-06-2008, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello hello!

Here's the latest installment of The Idle Parent. This one really resonated with me.

Enjoy R
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#88 of 101 Old 06-06-2008, 05:57 PM
 
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I saw his stuff just recently but thanks for the link, as I think I lost it.
I love it! And am grateful that my parenting style is confirmed for once, instead of questioned all the time! Thank you Man!
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#89 of 101 Old 06-06-2008, 06:23 PM
 
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Hello hello!

Here's the latest installment of The Idle Parent. This one really resonated with me.

Enjoy R
Funny, that would have resonated with me a couple years ago -- but as we stopped limiting tv and computer-time quite some time ago, and it hasn't squelched our girls' creativity one jot, stuff like this no longer resonates because it simply isn't true.

Of course, being homeschoolers, our 8yo's not asking for stuff so she can be a part of any "playground conversation" -- when she asks for stuff, it's just for her to have fun with.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#90 of 101 Old 06-06-2008, 11:11 PM
 
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Funny, that would have resonated with me a couple years ago -- but as we stopped limiting tv and computer-time quite some time ago, and it hasn't squelched our girls' creativity one jot, stuff like this no longer resonates because it simply isn't true.

Of course, being homeschoolers, our 8yo's not asking for stuff so she can be a part of any "playground conversation" -- when she asks for stuff, it's just for her to have fun with.
ditto! i was always so worried about that but i would say my kids are even more creative now then they were when tv/video games were limited.

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