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

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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Pain Infliction to Punish or Control Traumatizes Children

28 November 2011 Categories: child abuse

I am deeply concerned about the recent surge in violence towards children in the name of “Christian” values, religion, parental rights and school “discipline”.  Pain infliction on children seems to have a hold on the cultural beliefs of Americans like an ugly memory that won’t fade. Pain infliction on children in this article refers to “spanking” and other forms of  “corporal punishment”, including smacking, paddling, grabbing, yanking, squeezing, shaking, not allowing children to eliminate bodily waste, or to hydrate or to eat when they have the need. Pain infliction also includes, but is not limited to, forcing exercise or fixed body positions as punishment.

Let’s call these acts what they truly are:  Assaultive, hurtful, distressing, traumatizing and violence against children. These acts are cruel and considered acts of assault or even torture when inflicted upon adults. Despite that 31 countries have abolished the use of pain infliction to control or punish children, Americans continue to believe that controlling a child through pain infliction is acceptable. [...]

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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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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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When Homeschooling is Blamed for Child Abuse

30 May 2011 Categories: child abuse, homeschooling

When children are hit, beaten, hurt, sexually exploited, sexually assaulted, emotionally and mentally tormented, physically and emotionally neglected or murdered at the hands of parents and caretakers, it is an egregious tragedy. When a tragic case of child abuse breaks into the media, if the parents labeled themselves as “homeschoolers”, the media often spins the story to insinuate that “homeschooling” (or what appeared to be homeschooling) is what caused the abuse or allowed the abuse to occur. This deeply saddens me. The majority of cases of child abuse occur in homes where children attend public or traditional school. I can testify to this as I have sadly been working with abused youth of all ages since the 1990′s. [...]

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Spanking Traumatizes Children

06 December 2010 Categories: Blog, child abuse

It is almost the year 2011. A new year, one year into the new decade, 11 years into the new millennium.  It shocks me to the core and I take for granted the fact that mainstream society still holds onto corporal punishment like a tenacious toxic addiction that it just can’t release. It is egregious that in 2010, corporal punishment, “spanking” (or- let’s call it what it is- legalized child abuse), is still legal in children’s homes in all 50 US states and legal in schools in 20 states. Compare that to the fact that the same type of assault against an adult is illegal in all 50 states. While spouses, partners, parents, teachers, psychiatric patients, senior citizens, disabled adults, employees, soldiers, prisoners and all other adult citizens enjoy legal protection from assault, children under 18, our most vulnerable and developmentally fragile citizens, do not hold even this most basic human right.

Is it just ignorance or is there something more complicated going on that causes our society to view children as sub-human in status, not entitled to basic human rights protections enjoyed by fully grown people? [...]

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Spanking: It’s time to Stop Defending Violence Against Children

27 August 2010 Categories: Uncategorized

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has been in the news, as President Obama considers that it is an embarrassment that the United States is the only “civilized” nation who has refused to ratify a document that calls for nations to abolish legalized violence towards children. Although I take issue with the fact that the UN Convention recommends school be compulsory, the UN Convention is the only international child-focused treaty that calls for the end of violence towards youth. Egregiously, the GOP opposes the UN Convention because they have traditionally viewed children as the property of parents. Conservatives as a group have a poor track record regarding fighting for human rights; this includes their refusal to accept children’s right to live in homes and communities where their bodies are protected from age-discriminating violence.

“Spanking” is a candy-coated word for violence- It is not discipline, it is not any of the rationalizing lies we tell ourselves as a culture that it is. Corporal punishment is a physical, emotional and spiritual assault on a child and it has negative consequences to a child’s neurological, psychological and social development. If we hope to teach our children to be peaceful, compassionate, nonviolent, responsible and cooperative people, then we must parent by deepening the parent-child attachment relationship, not hurt it through traumatizing violence. Hitting children teaches them to accept aggression towards the self or others or to become aggressive towards the self or others in some form- often in a form that they later do not perceive as aggressive. [...]

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Schools Banning Silly Bandz: More Important than Banning School Abuse of Children?

03 August 2010 Categories: Uncategorized

TIME magazine recently reported that public schools are finding yet another excuse to curtail children’s freedom of expression: An obsession with Silly Bandz (Banning the Bandz, June 14, 2010)!

I am convinced that public school administrators and many teachers  invest  energy in seeking out and extinguishing nearly any semblance of fun, enjoyment, comfort and pleasure that children are able to sneak into the monotonous and joyless school day. If the children are becoming lively, excited and interested in something or otherwise distracted from the tedium of the school day, you can be sure that if the school didn’t sanction it, it’ll be found out and prohibited. Rather than abolish practices that are actually harmful and traumatizing to children, such as corporal punishment, standardized testing, psychiatric drugging, developmentally inappropriate teaching methods and the practices of rationing toilet use and restricting physical activity and play, public schools would rather ban harmless novelties…  such as rubber bracelets…

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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. [...]

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