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

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.

[…]

Read the full article 14 Comments

Connecticut School Shooting Tragedy: Child Trauma is at the Heart of Every Act of Violence

14 December 2012 Categories: public school

(AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)

I am deeply saddened by the news of the tragic school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut this morning. As of the time of this writing, 28 people have been confirmed dead, including 20 young children at the school, six adults at the school, a seventh adult at a second scene and the young 20 year old suspected gunman himself, Adam Lanza. My heart goes out to all of the people involved in these tragedies: The victims, their families, the surviving children who will suffer trauma from what they have witnessed and for the young man who could find no other way but violent means to meet his needs.

It is tragedies like these that cause me to feel deep gratitude that my son was unschooled and that I parent him by Attachment Parenting principles. These tragedies cause my heart to ache for the other children in my life who I love deeply or who I care about who are unfortunately not Attachment Parented or in a safe and need-meeting learning environment. My heart also aches for a society that will rush to hateful judgements and will blindly recycle superficial causes and superfluous “solutions” for the symptoms of a deeper malignant problem of Industrialized culture: Child trauma. […]

Read the full article 15 Comments

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? […]

Read the full article 17 Comments

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. […]

Read the full article 3 Comments

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. […]

Read the full article 3 Comments

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. […]

Read the full article 11 Comments

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: […]

Read the full article 75 Comments

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. […]

Read the full article 3 Comments

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

26 August 2011 Categories: Attachment parenting, public school

Laurie and her son Brycen have a close, connected and democratic relationship. Brycen’s needs, choices, requests, freedom and time are respected. (Photo by Joe Martin)

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 II of my blog post discussing the way the media presents Back-To-School fervor and traditional schooling issues and the detriments to children of this view.

Advocating For Homework- An Exploitative Theft Of Children’s Free Time

Perhaps one of the most dreadful realities of “Back-To-School” is homework. Parenting New Hampshire again failed to recognize children’s needs and presented homework as an inevitable necessity of childhood. The title of their article on homework, “Get Ready for the Homework Battle: Tips for Parents on How to Win The War” by Karen Plumley, truly speaks for itself. This article, like many other mainstream media resources, ignores the research that indicates that homework has little to no educational benefits and actually may hurt children. Most mainstream media resources present homework as something that children must and should do rather than empowering parents to speak out AGAINST it. This article actually aligns parents with the schools and AGAINST their own children, encouraging parents to view homework as a war battle where they must prevail over their children’s needs and wishes. […]

Read the full article 2 Comments

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

23 August 2011 Categories: public school, unschooling

It wasn’t even August yet when I saw the first signs of Back To School advertising exploiting most children’s dreaded end to summer freedom and joy. Ads, businesses and magazines begin brandishing photos of smiling children rocking trendy clothing, notebooks and textbooks, as if pretending that children entering a hostage situation for the next nine months where their minds, bodies and lives will be under rigid control is something they should smile about. The August 2011 issue of Parenting New Hampshire stood out as a perfect example of mainstream media presenting forced schooling as inevitable for children in September. The magazine was so stereotypical in presenting school as where children belong in September that I decided to use the issue as my inspiration for this blog post. […]

Read the full article 3 Comments

Education Reform: An Oppressive System Can’t Reform Itself

18 June 2011 Categories: public school, unschooling

I read this article in The Huffington Post about “education reform”: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/will-richardson/have-schools-reached-limits_b_853848.html. I don’t believe that a system designed to oppress children (and the population as a whole) can reform itself. Politicians have used the false promise of “reform” for decades now to gain votes. Politicians are aware that most people forget that “reforms” in the past have only worsened the school environment for children and caused it to be more oppressive. […]

Read the full article 0 Comments

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. […]

Read the full article 4 Comments

Unschooling Parents (Not School Teachers) Best Equipped By Nature to Guide Learning

20 March 2011 Categories: Blog, public school, unschooling

This evening I read the first sentences of an online article speaking of teachers in almost fantastical, iconic-like terms, painting a picture of nurturing, loving caretakers wiping away children’s tears, inspiring the passion of youth and shaping the future. I felt the indignation and frustration of years of working with children ages 3 to 18, whose spirits, bodies and psyches have been mangled by traditional schooling, often at the hands of teachers.

Contrary to the sentimental, somewhat maudlin cultural imagery of school teachers pouring out selfless nurturance, tending to the needs of youth or lighting the passionate fires of inspiration in grinning, alert children, the youth I have worked with and met over the years have painted me a very different picture. And it ain’t no Mary Cassatt. For six plus hours every day traditional teachers indoctrinate, control, coerce, punish and regiment. They deny children their basic physical and emotional needs, hold children hostage against their will, stifle creativity and freedom of movement and force-feed them irrelevant, dull, boring theories and biased “facts” prefabbed by the government. They ooze ubiquitously into children’s home and free time with homework expectations that strangle play, exploration and family time. When children cannot tolerate the terrible, developmentally inappropriate environment of schooling, teachers are often the arm of the school system that coerces parents into believing their children are “disabled” and are thus in need of chemical restraint (aka: “medication”). […]

Read the full article 14 Comments

UN Convention on Rights of The Child: Why is Education Compulsory?

29 November 2009 Categories: unschooling

Child advocate Louise Gordon sent me a message on Facebook today asking me my thoughts about the contradictions in The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child related to compulsory education and children’s rights to freedom of thought and pursuit of knowledge. I’ve been familiar with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for at least a decade, especially concerning the international child advocacy work I have done with Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE) for the past 12 years in efforts to abolish corporal punishment of children. The UN Convention is a universal, global children’s rights declaration meant to protect the rights, freedom, dignity, needs and vulnerability of children in every country. Any child advocate knows children of all ages need protection from the exploitation they receive daily in our society from adults, which includes everything from the common day-to-day ageist subordination to the outright physical, psychological and sexual torture some children endure. Child advocates all over the USA have decried the fact that the USA is alone with Somalia as the only two member countries in the UN who have refused to ratify the UN Convention. This fact no doubt reflects a similar hypocrisy of the “Land of the Free” refusing to join the 25 other countries that abolished all corporal punishment of children in homes and schools starting in 1979 with Sweden. […]

Read the full article 5 Comments