Laurie A. Couture on Attachment Parenting, Unschooling, Social Justice and The Planet

The Gender Politics of Toys Part III: The Lammily “Average is Beautiful” Doll

07 March 2014 Categories: Boys and Girls, Uncategorized

Where is the male counterpart? Do only girls need proportionally human dolls? (Photo via Lammily.com)

Where is the male counterpart? Do only girls need proportionally human dolls? (Photo via Lammily.com)

When I wrote the articles, The Gender Politics of Toys Part I and The Gender Politics of Toys Part II, I had not envisioned the need for a three part series. However, despite my advocacy for true gender equality and my bringing attention to society ignoring the suffering and needs of boys while championing girls, the media has not brought attention to this problem. In fact, in the latest toy news, the powerful mainstream media has been assisting a Pittsburg artist, Nickolay Lamm, in stimulating the crowd funding for a new alternative to the Barbie doll: Lammily, with the slogan, “Average is Beautiful”.

At least Barbie isn't THIS drastic in promoting impossible body image standards! Why aren't parents concerned how these standards affect their sons?

At least Barbie isn’t THIS drastic in promoting impossible body image standards! Why aren’t parents concerned with how these standards affect their sons? (Photo via ToyArk.com)

Although this is a very positive development, it doesn’t take a thinking, socially conscious person long to realize that this female doll has no male counterpart. Buying into the myth that girls and women suffer more pressure (and thus more angst) to look a certain way, the Lammily doll ignores that boys, also, need an action figure doll that looks more proportionally human. Would the mainstream media had spread this story had Lamm created a male doll instead of a female doll?

Male action figure dolls are often far more drastic than Barbie in their unattainable body proportions. Yet parents, researchers and society as a whole does not seem at all concerned with how these dolls affect their sons’ self esteem or body image. It seems as if parents don’t concern themselves at all with the often secret angst boys feel about their bodies and body image, being trained by the media to believe that only girls feel pressure to meet a certain standard of physical beauty. I wonder, how many parents of sons have ever wondered if their sons feel they are beautiful?  How many mothers and fathers actually tell their sons they are beautiful?

My son and I watched a news interview with Lamm and in response, I sent him the following email:

Hi Nickolay,

I am a researcher, mental health counselor, author and mother of a 20 year old son. I have been working with youth for two decades. I have been trusted with the angst of thousands of boys and girls as young as toddlers and as old as college age. I am disheartened that your attempt at making more realistic dolls has excluded boys, seeming to cater to what is politically correct in society: A focus on girls while ignoring boys.

My son and I cringed at a comment you made in a news story, “If I can feel inadequate at times, I can’t imagine what women have to go through who are subject to much higher beauty standards than us men”.

We disagree and we discussed this prior to me writing. As a woman myself, as the mother of a son and as a child and adolescent mental health counselor, I want you to be aware that boys and young men suffer incredible pressure to live up to impossible standards of physical attractiveness, all while they get the message their entire lives that “boys can’t be beautiful” and “girls are more beautiful than boys”.

As a woman and when I was a girl, I suffered no more pressures or insecurities than my male friends or partners suffered; in fact I bore far less burden because I am female- As an adult, I was able to heal from those youthful insecurities with supports and affirmations that men are not provided in this society. While our society is set up to remind girls and women how beautiful they are, boys are rarely told they are beautiful. They are only told they aren’t desirable unless they have the bodies of ripped body builders.

Have you looked at Barbie’s Ken doll or any of the action figure dolls for boys? The musculature, groin and body proportions on the male dolls are just as impossible as Barbie. It perplexes me when I see people in our society, especially men, who are in a position to stand up for both girls and boys and their suffering, but who instead present gender issues in a false “female victim”/”male privilege” manner, ignoring the equal (or in many cases worse) suffering of males in our society.

If you had focused your entire project on an “average is beautiful” male action figure doll, not a female doll, you would not have received the attention of the powerful media outlets that you received. They are politically motivated and politically charged and focusing on boys as victims is not something they accept.

Why not work for true gender equality and put out an “average is beautiful” (and yes, use the word “beautiful”) male action figure doll?

-Laurie A. Couture

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The Gender Politics of Toys, Part II: Shunning Boys and Turning Lego Pink

06 January 2014 Categories: Blog, Boys and Girls

In Part I of this post, I discussed that the toy company, GoldieBlox recently made the disappointing marketing move of reacting to pink saturation and gender polarization in the toy market by producing yet another pink and pastel toy specifically for girls. They further added insult to injury by producing a viral ad that not only plagiarized a song by The Beastie Boys, but the ad incited separatist, anti-boy attitudes and inflammatory lyrics claiming falsely that “everything else” in the toy stores (except pink princess accessories and dolls) “is for boys.” Part II will focus on the contrast between the toy marketing of the 1970′s and 1980′s, which was more gender inclusive than previous decades, and the cultural shift of the 1990′s and 2000′s which led toy companies to disassociate from boys and “pink saturate” their products, causing a regression back to gender polarization.

The 1970′s and 1980′s: When the toy companies embraced gender inclusiveness

When I was a child in the mid-70′s and 80′s, there was less gender polarization in children’s toys than there is today. I enjoyed playing with a diversity of toys and cared little about whether they were marketed to a specific age-group or to one sex or the other- My goal was simply to have fun and to augment my imagination with props!

Girls were being empowered in the 1970′s and 1980′s to do and become anything they chose. Girls were proudly working to their potential alongside their male peers, with both sexes rightfully being seen as valuable and capable. However, fast forward to the new Millennium, and gender polarization and stereotyping has become almost more extreme than in the 1950′s! [...]

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The Gender Politics of Toys, Part I: GoldieBlox and the Gender Polarized Ad

23 November 2013 Categories: Blog, Boys and Girls

The makers of GoldieBlox building toys for girls seem to have forgotten the 1980′s, when pink wasn’t popular and girls were encouraged to play with any toys that they pleased, including building toys such as Lego, Tinker Toy, K’Nex, Capsellas, Erector Sets, MegaBlox, Lincoln Logs and others. I saw through the fact that GoldieBlox has simply produced yet another pink, gender polarized toy for girls by financially exploiting the already excessive “Girl Power” climate and I am bewildered why most parents and the media are heralding the ad as “awesome”. With more than 6 million hits, GoldieBlox’s video ad of three little girls shunning pink princess toys in order to build a Rube Goldberg machine- using the pink and pastel GoldieBlox products- seems to have seduced parents into believing that before now, girls never had the opportunity to build!

The beginning of the commercial looked promising to me: Three creatively-dressed young girls stare with lament and boredom at a TV screen advertising pink-saturated princess props. The girls then start up an old modified Fisher-Price record player which plays the tinny melody of The Beastie Boys’ song, Girls. Starting the record player sets in motion a massive house and yard-wide Rube Goldberg machine that we are led to believe the children built using rejected pink accessories and GoldieBlox parts, which look very familiar… (Think Tinker Toys and K’Nex). However, the ad’s playful charm ended for me when I realized that the new lyrics that the girls were singing were as sexist as the original party lyrics written by The Beastie Boys… and the ad had a clear political agenda. [...]

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Teacher Offended by Student Advocating for His Needs, Rights

11 February 2013 Categories: public school

(Photo by Laurie A. Couture)

I hope this month’s post will empower children to advocate for their needs and rights and I hope it will empower parents to seek out learning environments that respect their children’s needs and rights. On 2/8/13, I received an email from a middle school teacher who was displeased that a boy in her class had empowered himself with one of my articles. Her email and my response to her email (with a grammatical fix for clarity) follows.

NOTE to school teachers: I am a mandated reporter of child abuse and neglect. If you leave a comment telling me that you deny children use of the toilet, I will forward your school’s info to Child Protective Services in your state as required by law.

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VAWA Must Be Renamed, Rewritten to be Gender Neutral

24 January 2013 Categories: children's rights

Brycen and L

Protect our vulnerable boys! Rename and rewrite VAWA so it is gender-neutral.

(Note: Although I appreciate the support, this is copyrighted material. This article may not be reposted to your blog without permission/payment, however a link is appreciated.)

This is an open letter to Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi, who strongly supports reinstating the gender-biased Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). For the past 18 years, VAWA has been renewed without public debate. VAWA fails to support boys and men who are victims of sexual and domestic violence. It also fails to acknowledge that women perpetrate sexual and domestic violence against children and adults.

I mailed a hard copy of this letter to Nancy Pelosi, along with a list of studies and reports supporting my statements. I sent a similar letter to Governor Maggie Hassan of NH, who also supports VAWA. For this post, I included a partial listing of the resources. I also redacted my address and information personal to my family.

As a child advocate, I feel it is my duty as a professional to demand equality, compassion and fairness in laws that have the potential to help or harm children.

January 24, 2013

Office of the Democratic Leader
H-204, US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Honorable Leader Nancy Pelosi,

I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a children’s rights advocate and former social worker. I have worked with children of all ages and families in various roles for 20 years. I am a registered Democrat, a strong humanitarian and community activist. I am requesting that VAWA be renamed The Sexual And Domestic Violence Act and rewritten so that it is gender neutral.

I am writing to express my dismay at how politics have infected the fields of human services in the past several years, to the point where I am seeing a chronic lack of compassion and a dangerous apathy towards the suffering of male victims of sexual and domestic violence. [...]

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Male Genital Mutilation: American Academy of Pediatrics Says OK!

01 September 2012 Categories: child abuse, children's rights

AAP = No Ethics Campaign photo by The EPICoutures for The WHOLE Network

On August 27, 2012, the human rights of children and gender equality for boys took a devastating and shameful blow: The American Academy of Pediatrics released a position statement sanctioning the outmoded, ancient practice of genital cutting of male children. Their new statement shockingly reversed their former position of discouraging male circumcision which had already fallen short of promoting genital integrity. The community of children’s rights activists known as “Intactivisits”, was shocked to the core. This community of Intactivisits includes scientists, doctors, nurses, mental health counselors, human rights activists, parents and victims who have worked tirelessly for years to educate the public about the dangers, trauma and suffering caused to boys and men of Male Genital Mutilation. It seems almost surreal; nightmarish, in fact- that a physicians organization as powerful and influential as The American Academy of Pediatrics would support legalized sexual assault, torture and permanent penile mutilation of boys under 18. [...]

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An Unschooled Teen’s Vision For World Peace: Love and Respect Children

30 June 2012 Categories: Attachment parenting, children's rights, public school

Laurie’s son, Brycen at his unschool graduation ceremony, June 2012

“If every action you made had loving intentions, if every move we made was born of love, the world would be healed, the world would be whole.” -Brycen R. R. Couture

On June 9, 2012,  our family and friends gathered at a beautiful ocean side park to celebrate and honor my son’s unschooling journey with an unschool graduation ceremony. A month prior to the celebration, Brycen was chosen to be featured as a Youth Luminary on Inspire Me Today.com. His profile and his 500-word essay were featured on their site, today, 6/30/12!

Unfortunately, some of Brycen’s words about traditional school were edited out of the Inspire Me Today.com posting. Below is Brycen’s entire, unedited essay on achieving world peace through love and treating children with respect. To see the Inspire Me Today.com post as well as his profile, please click here. [...]

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Unschooling Without TV and Video Games: A Freeing Experience

26 March 2012 Categories: unschooling

As an Attachment Parenting and unschooling coach, I commonly hear the following,

“My unschooled children spend hours a day watching TV and playing video games- Should I just let them?”

The unmistakable “video game stare”: Brycen at age 11, about a year before he decided to pull the plug on home video gaming

While many unschooling advocates approve of regular, daily video game and TV use as part of unschooling, I strongly disagree. My son and I both choose not to play video games or watch TV at home at all.

My son, Brycen dislikes TV, home video gaming, Facebook, social media, texting …and he won’t buy a cell phone. However, he isn’t devoid of media. He runs a state-wide Dungeons and Dragons campaign via Skype and he uses Skype to conference call with friends who live in separate locations. He researches music, art, history and science online and enjoys exploring music and chainmaille technique on YouTube. He watches movies with me, we bust out the Nintendo DS on airplane trips and we both enjoy our summer treks to the beaches and their vintage arcades. So why don’t I recommend TV and video games? [...]

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Laurie A. Couture Debunks ADHD on Anderson Show

19 March 2012 Categories: public school, unschooling

Laurie A. Couture on Anderson

“We see a developing potential for nearly a total control of human emotion status, mental function and will to act.” -Wayne O. Evans, Ph.D. Psychotropic Drugs in the Year 2000 (1967)

“The way to sell drugs is to sell psychiatric illness.” -Dr. Carl Elliot, University of Minnesota Bioethicist The Washington Post (2001)

Drugging children for telling us our culture doesn’t meet their needs

“ADHD” is a fraud. It was a label concocted by psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry that allowed them to turn the distress of children held hostage to public schools (and other traumatic environments) into a financial goldmine. Manufacturing a label for the alarm signals of suffering children serves the needs, pockets and whims  of the pharmaceutical industry, the medical and mental health industry and of course, the factory public schools. The “ADHD” label does not serve the needs of children, who are suffering distress as a result of this unhealthy society we have created. Instead, the label draws attention away from children’s unmet needs and conveniently redirects the focus to stimulant drugs- a form of chemical restraint that requires no responsibility on the part of adults or our culture to meet children’s needs. [...]

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Liberals, DO Homeschool Your Kids!

21 February 2012 Categories: public school

Laurie’s son, Brycen, involved in social justice work

Why allowing children to live and learn freely nurtures progressive values

The institution of forced school is in panic mode right now. More and more parents are taking action to protect their children from a largely unaccountable environment that is responsible for inflicting intensifying distress upon young lives. Increasing numbers of parents are opting for arts-based charter schools, child-centered private schools, democratic schools, homeschooling and the most natural choice, unschooling. The institution of public schooling has been responsible for child abuse, human rights violations, epidemic psychiatric drugging, health risks, violence, enforcing increasingly stressful time expectations, developmentally inappropriate curriculum, lack of play and physical activity, destroying creativity and dulling children’s interest in learning. The Slate article, Liberals, Don’t Homeschool Your Kids by Dana Goldstein seems to minimize many of these human rights concerns and instead begs progressive parents to do what is in the best interest of the public schools. As a progressive parent who is unschooling a happy, socially conscious, community-involved, socially adept and creative teen son, I am asking you to instead consider what is best for your children and what is in the best interests of children’s rights in our society. Does public school nurture or violate progressive values? [...]

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Announcing My Second Book, Nurturing and Empowering Our Sons

23 January 2012 Categories: Attachment parenting, unschooling

It all started back in 1979, when I was around five years old. My next door neighbor, Toby, was my best friend at the time, and I recall a conversation he and I had on the long staircase leading up to his kitchen sliding glass door. We were having a serious discourse that both boys and girls could do and be whatever they wanted to be. We were trying to come up with some things that could disprove our theory, but we were coming up short. Suddenly, as he bit into his snack, Toby piped up, [...]

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When No Presidential Candidate is for Children

09 January 2012 Categories: children's rights

The New Hampshire primaries are tomorrow and my son, Brycen is now just old enough to vote in his first election. Both of us, usually considering ourselves very progressive, face an ethical dilemma in 2012. The problem at hand is that NO candidate or side in any US Presidential election is for children’s rights, or for total compassion for all people and living things! Human and environmental rights have been co-opted into political “isms” and funding lobbies, with groups using propaganda and rhetoric to deceive people into believing they want equality for all, rights for all humans and respite for our planet. In actuality, they want funding for their narrow-minded political causes. Here I discuss each Party’s record on children’s rights and overall social and environmental justice. [...]

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You Can’t Reform An Education System Built on Oppression

16 November 2011 Categories: public school

Laurie’s son displays his Occupy Education post

Talk of “education reform” is viral all over the internet. Despite multiple failed attempts at “reform” over the past decades, society refuses to think outside the “box” of schooling and consider a radical return to how children learned for millennia- By playing, living and doing! Teachers and others in the field of education continue to propose that the oppressive, prison-like institution where children are forced to stay seated in a building all day pumping out paperwork can and should be reformed! When democratic schooling, homeschooling and unschooling advocates attempt to join the conversation and offer models that are successful and truly radical, they are often met by educators and their supporters who dismiss these models as idealistic and not “realistic” for “everyone”. Additionally, people seem not to be aware of the fact that despite talks of reform, the needs, voices and leadership of the people who are the most adversely affected by public schooling- youth- are left out of the conversation. [...]

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Women Who Commit Abuse, Sexual Assault or Murder Must Be Held Accountable

03 October 2011 Categories: child abuse

Recent headlines of women avoiding jail time after being charged with sexually assaulting children or being freed after being charged with murder are shocking to the conscience:

Knox Freed After Conviction Overturned http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44752948/ns/world_news-europe/#.TopOqnJVXYg

Casey Anthony Freed From Jail http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=14089837

Debra Lafave: Probation Ended for Florida Teacher Guilty of Student Sex Scandal http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/218521/20110922/debra-lafave-probation-ended-for-florida-teacher-guilty-of-student-sex-scandal.htm

Female Teacher Avoids Jail Time in Statutory Rape Case http://www.bostonsexualabuselawyer.com/2011/01/female-teacher-avoids-jail-tim.html [...]

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What Children Really Want to Tell Teachers

01 October 2011 Categories: public school, unschooling

Laurie’s son, Brycen R. R. Couture, 17 year old unschooler and musician

I am sharing the words of my 17 year old son in response to Ron Clark’s article, What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents. Brycen is an unschooler and the vocalist and songwriter for his Glam Metal band project, Serenade II Darkness.

What Children Really Want to Tell Teachers

by Brycen R. R. Couture

This is my second response to Ron Clark’s article, What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents. My Mom, Laurie A. Couture, also wrote a response to his article, What Parents Really Want to Tell Teachers. This is what I say from a child’s perspective to Ron Clark and to teachers like him. [...]

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What Parents Really Want to Tell Teachers: What You Do Hurts Our Children

12 September 2011 Categories: children's rights, public school

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs (Image by Factoryjoe)

Many parents are shaking their heads at the audacity and insolence of the CNN article, What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents by Disney-and-Oprah-endorsed teacher, Ron Clark. His article is dangerous because it represents how the majority of traditional school teachers view children, parents and teachers’ roles as authorities over children’s lives. In my post, What Teachers Really Need to Hear From Parents, I challenge Ron Clark to consider the dehumanization of children and the undermining of the parent-child bond in the institution he represents.

Most parents in industrialized societies are conditioned by their own schooling to be obedient and unquestioning of their children’s schools and the so-called authorities therein. A frightening majority of parents are unaware that most everything that traditional school teachers do is developmentally inappropriate and even harmful for youth of all ages. However, a growing movement of parents are parenting through awareness, consciousness and connection to their children’s needs. Many of these parents are opting out of public and traditional schools are are seeking refuge for their children in child-centered and democratic schools or through homeschooling and unschooling. As a mother of an unschooling teen son, and based on the years of complaints I have heard from parents and their children about traditional schools, I have compiled a list of  concerns and presented them to teachers in the context of their own education: [...]

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Mainstream Media Wrongly Presents Back-To-School As Inevitable, Part III

29 August 2011 Categories: Attachment parenting, public school, unschooling

Laurie’s 17 year old son, Brycen is holistically healthy because, as an unschooler, all of his physical and emotional needs are met

The August 2011 issue of Parenting New Hampshire stood out as a perfect example of mainstream media presenting traditional schooling as inevitable for children in September. This is Part III of my blog post discussing the way the media presents Back-To-School fervor and traditional schooling issues and the detriments to children.

Failing to Bring Attention to How Dangerous Public Schooling is For Children’s Health

Towards the end of the August 2011 issue of Parenting New Hampshire is an article that, without intending to, underscored the irony of how schools fail to meet children’s basic biological, physical, psychological and developmental needs, often contrary to health care advice. Traditional schools are regimented in a manner that forces children to deny their bodily functions and emotional needs and contort these needs to the system rather than schools conforming to children’s needs. [...]

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Recess Isn’t Enough: Active Play Should Be All Day

21 August 2011 Categories: public school, unschooling

Laurie's 17 year old unschooling son active at play

A post on Care2 states that the demise of school recess hurts student learning. It advocates that children should have “even 15 minutes” to “run around”. I believe that this article misses a major point- A few-minute gesture of respite or “recess” from hours of mindless busywork is not “recess” at all. The value of outdoor play is in realizing that children’s natural state of being is play and movement. Reversing the ratio of active playing vs. sitting down would be a wonderful start for schools: Freedom to play and move should consume the child’s day and “15 minutes” to sit in discussion (if children so choose) would be more in line with a child’s natural development. [...]

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Attachment Parenting Our Teens

08 August 2011 Categories: Attachment parenting, unschooling

Laurie and her 17 year old son, Brycen

Laurie and her 17 year old son, Brycen

So many Attachment Parents start out so passionate about giving very young children the best start possible in life- Moms birth naturally, spare their sons the trauma of circumcision (MGM) by keeping them intact, breastfeed for at least three years or longer, carry their babies at all times, cosleep for several years and they ideally are gentle and nurturing to their young ones as the children begin to assert their wants and express upset emotions.

Sadly, however, something happens between the ages of seven and 12 in far too many families who started out as “attachment”-minded families: Moms and dads stop parenting for attachment and connection and start letting the mainstream lifestyle creep in. This often translates into sending children to school to suffer with all of its toxic elements, passively allowing children to become saturated and enslaved by the media, consumerism, pop culture and peer culture… And most tragically, moms pull away emotionally and physically from their older children.

If children as young as ages seven to 12 are being slowly absorbed into the mainstream cultural ideals of consuming and “individuating”, where does that leave our teenaged children? Very lost and disconnected, for sure! [...]

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Please Help Create Christian’s Law to Protect Abused Children

12 July 2011 Categories: child abuse, children's rights, Uncategorized

In 2009, 13 year old Christian Choate was beaten to death after years of physical and mental torture by his father and step mother. He was confined to a wire dog cage for the last year of his life, not being allowed to eat, hydrate, use the toilet, play or move around. He wrote pages of heart-wrenching accounts of his suffering, wondering when an adult would come to rescue him. After dying from blows to the head, his body was wrapped in trash bags, buried and encased in cement by his father and step mother. In July of 2011, his body was finally discovered by authorities.

For ten years prior to Christian’s death, child protective authorities investigated and visited the family, most of the time concluding that they found “no evidence” of abuse and neglect. The Indiana child protective (DCS) spokesperson, Anne Houseworth claimed, “We followed all state laws, all policies and procedures.” She added, “If we don’t see evidence of abuse, and no one admits anything is going on, there is nothing for us to do.” [...]

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Homeschoolers Who Run Businesses: The EpiCoutures Family Store

31 May 2011 Categories: Natural family living, unschooling

Laurie's son Brycen with his Feendz creations, 2006

One of the coolest things about unschooling/homeschooling families is their creative, brilliant inventiveness! I have met so many homeschoolers- children of all ages- who have their own businesses selling beautiful handmade crafts, comic books, graphic novels, CDs, stuffed animals, jewelry, art work, films, books and helpful services. Children who are allowed to live and learn freely have the time, support and creative passion to devote to starting businesses or making and selling their unique art and craft works.  My 17 year old son, Brycen R. R. Couture, has been selling his artistic products since he started his stuffed toys business, “Feendz”, at age 12. As a metal musician, Brycen released his solo EP on 4/8/11 and he is now making and selling custom chain maille bracelets. [...]

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Unschoolers Should Live and Learn Freely

26 April 2011 Categories: unschooling

My son, Brycen is a free spirit, much like Mom! When his sense of intrigue and curiosity envelop him (which it does nearly every minute of the day), there is little that can distract him from passionately exploring, creating, wondering, questioning, researching and playing. Unfortunately, State legal requirements for homeschoolers are the few times in my son’s enriching life when he must take a break from living and learning and instead perform some task in order to produce some product for our annual portfolio that will cover some requirement in some mass-determined “subject” that some unknown person decided was necessary for all children his age to “learn”. Of course unschoolers know that nothing forced is truly learned, only finished and produced. [...]

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(Putting Joy Back Into) A Day in the Life of an Industrialized Child

08 January 2011 Categories: Attachment parenting, Blog, Natural family living, unschooling

In the womb, babies are blanketed in a blissful neurological expectation that when they finally are born into the world, their needs in every manner will be responded to lovingly and met immediately. There is an inborn agreement with nature that because nature intended it to be so, it will be. In many peaceful indigenous tribal societies, this will be the life for most babies that come into the tribe: Love, affection, joy, play, freedom and happiness.

In our industrialized, disconnected culture, we are born into something very different. We are born into a world-view in which nature’s agreement has expired, is disrespected and long forgotten by the majority of the culture. We are born into the firmly established expectations of wounded parents and families who survived their own malnourished childhoods, and of a society that has one motivation in mind: Money. Despite all of the carefree childhood myths, before we even scream our first screams into the world of being born, our entire childhood has been decided for us- It is a preparation for “success”: Productivity, the workforce, a money-making machine. [...]

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Public Schools that Cut Recess and Play Need a Lesson in Child Development

12 October 2010 Categories: Blog, public school

The national trend of eliminating play-based learning, unstructured play and frequent physical activity for youth at all grade levels in public schools defies all of the research on learning theory, child development and the study of childhood in indigenous cultures.

As someone who has worked with children of all ages for over 18 years in the roles of counselor, social worker, educator, child care provider and mentor, I am intimately aware of the negative effects on children and adolescents who are confined to chairs and forced to labor over paperwork for 6-9 hours per day. Epidemic numbers of American school children are presenting with profound distress signals in reaction to the developmentally inappropriate environments of public schools. These distress signals, including hyperactivity, distraction, aggression, poor school performance and school refusal are mislabeled as “ADHD”, learning “disabilities” or mental “illness” in such children and the knee-jerk reaction has been to chemically control these children with powerful, dangerous psychiatric drugs.

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