How feminism influences my parenting

by Shae on September 17, 2014

 

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Of course I’m a feminist. I believe that women deserve the same rights as men. Who doesn’t?

I’m also a mother to three daughters. Wanting them to not be disadvantaged because of their sex has absolutely  made me a more passionate feminist. And there a few things I have made definite effort with in how I parent them.

Note that while that I have daughters I think these points should go for girls and boys and gendered expectations placed on them-but I have zero experience as a mother of a son.

 

For me, it basically comes down to three points.

 

Their body belongs to them, their are lots of ways to be a girl and having conversations.

 

THEIR BODY BELONGS TO THEM- This means no kisses and cuddles if they don’t want to & no bullshit of “oh he must like you because he is hurting you”. It means they have a say in how they wear their hair or if they get their ears pierced. It means choosing to be very physically active or not so much. It means raising them in a house that does not shame bodies or sex.

 

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Doing a ballet curtsey in her football gear

THERE ARE LOTS OF WAYS TO BE A GIRL- Willow likes ballet, football, Monster High dolls, short hair, Star Wars and My Little Pony. There is no need to pre-select things my daughters should or should not like based on her being a girl. There is also no need to immediately slap labels on her like “Tomboy”. There are just lots of cool things out there that don’t need to be boxed in to girl or boy. Tannah, on the other hand, wants a hair straightener and a pandora bracelet for xmas. Of course I’m not going to discourage her interests either-being feminine is just one way of being a girl. They are free to be messy, loud, rough, emotional, sensitive, physical or interested in their appearance. They can dress up or down and pick clothes from which ever section has the cooler stuff.  I will not place demands on them based on stereotype.

HAVING CONVERSATIONS- “ugh, you know why I hate this video clip?” “This ad is so ridiculous, do you think all boys are like that?” “I can’t believe that Black Widow isn’t on the Avengers shirts either. Do you think it’s fair?” “I personally don’t like fashion dolls because they all look the same, and mostly women have a range of different bodies and skin colours”.

Yep. I’m that Mum. But I want my girls to think. Not just blindly accept what society and media serves up to them. Don’t think your kids are too young to talk about topics like intersectionality or consent.  Start small, but start talking. All the time. About everything.

So how about you?

Are you a feminist parent?

How does it influence you?

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Time.

by Shae on September 9, 2014

 

A question came up recently on the Simple Homeschool Facebook page asking “how has homeschooling changed your life for the better?”

I have loved reading the responses and my own was quick to come to mind.

 

We have time.

 

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More time together. More time to hang out with friends. More time to involve ourselves in structured activities. More time to play and create. More time to seriously get immersed in a subject. More time to just be.

 

Without having school and all the busy work involved in the to and fro our days are long.

And I’ve talked before about how being school-free is different, so long is not a bad thing.

 

Last week there was a day that was simply lovely. It was warm and sunny and there was certainly that feeling of spring about to truly happen. My house was a mess. I had promised to finish reading The Hobbit (which is truly the worst read aloud book in history) and the kids were immersed in drawing.

But the weather called and I knew there would be time for all of those things later.

So we packed up and went to the zoo.

 

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And when we got home all of those things were still waiting, and there was still time to get to them.

Except The Hobbit. I put that one off for another day.

 

I’m so grateful for the luxury of time. These years fly by so fast and I feel spoiled with all those extra hours we get to spend together and the freedom it brings.

So the question of the best thing about homeschooling is, for me, an easy one.

We have all the time in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Almost there

by Shae on August 27, 2014

 

 

This winter has taken it out of me.

I feel grey, bland, asleep. I cannot stop refreshing & scrolling across the screens. And it’s not even inspiring me much anymore.

But I can’t seem to stop, like the old moth to the flame.

 

I’ve misplaced the part of myself that is awake. The part that is vibrant. I miss her.

 

I need to get out in the garden more. Write more, paint, journal, cook. Wake the fuck up and be really here.

I need for this winter to be over.

 

Today the sun was shining on the garden.

This weekend I’ll have my feet in the sand at home.

Spring is close, and I’m hoping to unfurl myself.

 

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I’ll give you a hint-it’s neither curriculum or worksheets.

Many of us arrive at the decision to keep our kids out of school before our eldest is old enough to be enrolled. And, from the amount of posts and information around on how to “school” a very young child that are going around, it seems that many of us feel like we need to be doing more than just letting the kiddos play and make some mess.

I think being inspired by pinterest boards and blogs and books is GREAT. Setting up activities can be fun for everyone and I am the first one to tell you my love of creating inviting spaces and strewing.

But we need to remember that we are talking about pre-school aged kids. All of what they do can be open ended and they need to play play play play play PLAY. If you were sending them to a great pre-school their emphasis would be on play. The years stretch out long ahead of you, the worksheets can wait.

 

I’ve now home educated three kids through the pre-school years and here are my top 10 things you need.

 

1-Books. Lots of books. Get them from the library or buy them or borrow them. Incorporate e-books and audio books too, if you like. Rotate them. Don’t leave out non-fiction and magazines. Read to your kids every day. Be prepared to read the same book over and over and over. Do the reading and sharing of stories without testing  or expecting them to read a single thing. Do it purely for the love of it.

 

2-Hats, Coats and Gumboots. Kids love to and need to get outside. Whether it be to the local park, the beach, a hike or just to your backyard don’t wait for perfect weather. Rug up or cover up and get out there!

 

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3-A thick skin. People will question you. They won’t all have positive things to say about your choice and any slight “imperfection” in your child may be seen as caused by your child’s lack of attendance in a school type setting. Some people will be downright assholes to you. Unfortunately it comes with the territory and you need to learn to shrug it off.

 

4-Some great art supplies. Don’t limit yourself to paper and pencils. Think paint, chalk, glue, clay, giant pieces of cardboard, textas, pens, watercolours, pastels, textured paper, felt etc etc. Go WILD with having different types of supplies on hand. On one condition-you give them a fair bit of free scope at how they use them. I’m not saying never do an art project with an expected outcome-sometimes they are fun. I’m also not saying to have all the supplies on hand all at once. But change it up, let their imaginations run wild and worry about the mess afterwards.

 

5-An ability to deal with mess- Kids get messy. Sand, paint, water, dirt, food. When they are home more they make more mess. Find your zen, it’s worth it.

 

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6-Construction toys- some ideas are;Lego, duplo, wooden blocks, planks, loose parts, magnetic tiles, play dough and placticine, tap tap, mobilo, train and road sets, real tools and so on and so on.

 

7-Imaginative play toys-some ideas are: dress ups, baby dolls, plastic figurines/animals like schleich or papo, a home corner, toy cars, soft toys, swords and guns, a fort or cubby house and so on and so on.

 

8-Open ended loose parts- some ideas are;sticks and leaves collected at the park, an old car tyre, some squares of different coloured cloth, empty boxes/cups/containers and so on and so on.

 

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9-Another family with similarly aged kids on a similar path. We all need friends and peers. Some of my and my kids’ best friends are school families, and that is ace. But it was really important (for everyone involved) that we had some friends to talk to who were walking a similar path. I wanted my kids to have friends who’s “normal” was the same as ours. I think it has made a big difference in our success and happiness thus far.

 

10-Time! It can be tempting to fill days with lots of structured activities. I know, I fall into that trap from time to time. But young kids need lots and lots of time for unstructured play. They need time to immerse themselves in a game or spend a whole day at the beach or be able to jump for an hour on the trampoline. They need to be able to chill out in front of the TV or for you to read them their favorite book 16 times or to have an extra long nap. It’s great to have the luxury of time to make spur of the moment plans for a trip to the zoo or playground if they are needing to run around. On the other hand, sometimes we all need to spend a day at home building blanket forts and painting. They’re little, there are lots of years for them to drag you around to lots of activities at their insistence-trust me!

 

Do you have anything you would add to this list?

Have you chosen to keep your kids out of school?

 

 

 

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Book Week favorites- To discuss!

August 21, 2014

  I’ve told you some of my favorite picture books and read aloud chapter books this week. Today I’m going to give you five books I want to discuss with the kiddos when they’re older. Kind of like book club. I was that kid at high school that loved reading and discussing the books we […]

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Book Week Favorites- Picture Books

August 19, 2014

  Yesterday we talked chapter books, today it’s picture books-and narrowing it down to a few is hard! I couldn’t even keep to five like yesterday so I’ve gone with ten that we love.   This list assumes you already know the awesomeness of Where The Wild Things Are, Where Is The Green Sheep, Hairy […]

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Book Week Favorites- Read Aloud Chapter Books

August 18, 2014

  It’s Book Week! Which I thought was next week-so chalk that up to another reason it’s better that we home educate. Books are my favorite and my best and we read in the house hold A LOT. I thought I’d do a post each day this week giving you five of or favorites from […]

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Sometimes I like to curl up in a ball

August 13, 2014

  And then no one can see me because I’m so small…Or that’s how the cheerful kid’s book about the baby wombat goes. But those lines always remind me of being depressed. I’ve been there too.   I was typing this and wondering WTF to write next when the phone rang and it was my […]

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