Saturday, September 25, 2010

Parable of the Wolves


A long time ago there were 2 wolf packs. Each wolf pack was very small, each consisting of one Alpha male, a "mother" wolf, and their cubs.

Although the two packs were fairly far away, the 2 alpha dogs would occasionally get together to talk about how things were going.

At this time, the cubs were very young, and were not skilled at hunting. They played at it a lot, and would always be asking to go. As the Alpha wolves were talking, the one said "The cubs can get pretty annoying. They are always wanting to go hunting with me, but they are so young that I know they can't hunt. Besides, they would slow me down and I wouldn't be able to catch anything as they would scare it all away." The other wolf said "Yes, they can be annoying at times. They do tend to scare game away, so sometimes I do hunt on my own.... but most of the time I take them with my anyway. It is harder, and we catch less. It is tiring, but I think it will be worth it. Each time I try to show them something about hunting.

A couple of years went by before the Alpha wolves met again. The cubs were now young wolves. This time, the first one said "Boy, our young adult wolves are sure lazy! They sit around and won't help me hunt but expect me to do everything! I am getting old, and it is getting harder to hunt, but they expect me to do all the work. On top of it, some are getting into trouble. The other wolf said, "Hm, that is strange. Many of our young adult wolves are getting to be very good hunters. They hunt along side me, and when I was injured a month ago, they took care of everything."

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This was a story I learned a number of years ago when I took training in being a Scout Leader. It is one that I took to heart while I was a Scout Leader and later a Guide Leader. Generally when I was in charge of a new Troop, it was hard work. For instance, teaching several patrols how to cook over a camp stove was much harder than having a few adults or leaders cook for everyone. But after a couple of years, the troop would be working well, and the older Scouts or Guides would even be teaching the younger ones. I remember how my Guides (9 to 11 yo girls) would be camping - cooking their own food, chopping wood (not all), fetching water, doing dishes, putting up their own tents, etc - while I mainly helped any minor problems.

I have to admit that this concept was easier to implement with Scouts and Guides (ie, other people's kids) than it is with my own kids.... especially since I am teaching them ALL of life skills and not just a select portion of skills in one stage of life like it was in Scouting/Guiding. I hope I succeed, as I really think it is part of the idea of Charlotte Mason's concept of Habit Training. I hope that at some point I will have my "smooth and easy days".

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Do Kids grow up too Fast?


I've been doing some pondering the last couple of days, for no apparent reason, on whether kids (in general) grow up too fast. It seems like it is a common comment among adults, yet when I look at history, I'm not sure that they really are. In fact, I think that maybe it is the opposite. Kids are being stopped from growing up. I think that what is being complained about really is that kids are being sexualized too fast.

I'm not claiming to be an expert in history. In fact, it was probably one of my worst subjects in school. (I expect to learn a LOT about history while homeschooling using Charlotte Mason methods!)

That said, I look at what a child 140 years ago, or even 100 years ago would be doing. Again, I'm talking generally, as certainly social class, location, etc would make a difference. Farm children would be working hard taking care of livestock, looking after crops, chopping wood, and otherwise doing important work. Girls would be cooking, baking, watching after little ones, as well as looking after chickens, horses etc. Children in a city might be apprenticed, working in a factory, or being a maid or manservant. And this is young children. 6, 7, 8.

When I look at children, I see that there is really one thing they really want. They want to be adults (or at least older than they are.) Unless the desire is stiffled, that is usually shown by wanting to..... WORK. What happens when you are cooking? The 2 year old is right there wanting to cook too. So is the 4 year old. And the 6 year old. If you are sweeping the floor, they want to too.

Of course, what is frustrating to parents is that they mainly seem to want to do it only while they can't.... once they can, and especially if you now require them too - they aren't as interested.... because they now want to mow the lawn or do some other work that they aren't ready for or at least you aren't ready to let them.

This desire to work seems to go away for a lot of kids..... but I think it mostly goes away when we don't let them do it. If we keep saying "No, you can't do that", then eventually they stop asking.

Delta (6) and Echo (4) washed, dried, and put away the dishes tonight. They felt like it was a real treat as it was the first time they ever did them all. Oh, and Foxtrot (2) was busy cleaning up the booster seat, and holding the dustpan while I swept. Yes, the counter got wet, and so did the floor. But they also knew that they were making a difference.

So, what does this have to do with kids being sexualized too fast? Well, here is my theory. Kids are driven to become adults. When we don't let them become adults by having responsibilities in the household - they are going to find other ways. Add the availability and display of sexual content (be that a Bratz doll for a 4 year old, or Cosmo magazines for a 14 yo), and in some cases peer pressure.... and I think you get the results that are so common in this world. Well, it is a theory anyway.

I am not saying to over-burden your children (especially young ones) and not give them time to play and explore. What I am saying is that children NEED to feel like they contribute to the family, that they are important, and that they are big enough to help. That means responsibilities and chores.

Next posting....... my "parable of the wolves"





Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Year K

See the Updated Version Here

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Kindle Book Links


Another person has been working hard at getting the Ambleside Online booklist setup with links to Kindle-ready books (mostly free.) Many of the links are to Amazon, but there are other sources as well.

Although Maple Hill Academy isn't following AO directly, a lot of the books are used, just in different years.

I really appreciate the work this other homeschooler has done. Even if you don't own a Kindle, you can download a free Kindle for PC program (or one for MAC, or for some mobile devices).

Hope this helps someone!