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

If School Were Relevant, it Wouldn’t Be Compulsory

15 October 2013 Categories: children's rights, public school

(Photo by Laurie A. Couture)

(Photo by Laurie A. Couture)

In a democracy, holding someone hostage, subjecting them to unpaid work and denying them the right to meet their basic needs is a human rights violation. However, since the 1850′s we have been subjecting children to these conditions daily, calling it “education”.

Most children do not want to go to a place where every joy about being a child is controlled, banned or used as a reward or punishment. They don’t want to go to a place where their basic physical and emotional needs, such as food, hydration, elimination, physical activity, play, rest, sleep, comfort, affection and attention, are at the mercy of the people controlling them.

Children grow weary of years and years of being in a box that stifles their innate creative passions, interests and unique ways of learning. Children struggle to learn in environments that are increasingly developmentally inappropriate, hostile and stressful the older that they grow. Kinesthetic learners, especially boys, are especially agonized by being forced to sit sedentary for hours in chairs doing mindless busywork that bears no relevance to their way of exploring and interacting with the world.

Fiery, brilliant, kinesthetic, out-spoken explorers and creatives are often labeled in school as having brain disorders or behavioral problems and are subsequently referred for chemical restraint (i.e. “medication”). As if six hours per day, five days per week isn’t enough time stolen from the most creative and ingenious years of their lives, children are still expected to hand over the remaining few hours of their family, social, play and free time for daily, weekend, vacation and even summer “homework”!

Can we blame children for not wanting to go along with such conditions?

When certain freethinking children assert themselves and refuse to continue to blindly succumb to treatment that has made them miserable for years, we should be praising and supporting them! However, Portsmouth, New Hampshire and other cities in the “Live Free or Die” state are now using law enforcement to keep children oppressed and compliant with their own captivity. As the mother of a unschooled son who is now in college, I am appalled that in this society we treat children as if they have subhuman status. I am equally shocked and disgusted to read that the police are violating children’s private bedroom space and using physical force, physical abuse and even arrest to muscle them to attend school. In the recent case, a Portsmouth NH police officer used physical force to intimidate a 12 year old child to get out of bed. The officer also grabbed the 14 year old brother to get him out of his bed, then arrested the child when he attempted to fight back.

Imagine how you would feel if your employer sent a police officer to your home on a day that you did not go into work. Imagine how you would feel if that officer broke into your bedroom, demanded that you uncover yourself and get up. Imagine how you would feel if the officer grabbed and attacked you when you did not comply. Imagine how you would feel if the officer arrested and handcuffed you and took you away from your home before you had a chance to use the bathroom and eat breakfast. Would you want to return to a work place that sanctions that type of treatment of employees? Now imagine this happening to you when you were at the vulnerable age of 14, at a place where you are forced to do unpaid labor. Why is the community not outraged that schools collude with this treatment of children?

According to the number of times the police had reportedly been called to the home of the two children in the above case, the children demonstrated on at least 40 occasions that their school is not an environment that meets their needs. Why has their mother continued to insist that they attend?

Most parents are not aware that homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. They are also not aware of the many other alternatives to traditional public school such as alternative schools, charter schools, virtual online schools, early college and democratic, child-led schools. The media fails to educate parents about how simple it is to get started with homeschooling and that there is a strong homeschool community with active groups and social activities available to homeschoolers of all ages. When children’s needs are met, when their learning is driven by their own interests, when they are free to learn via their own their unique learning styles and when they are honored and respected, every child can succeed. The media does little to bring attention to educational alternatives, leading parents to believe that leaving their children to suffer in public school- or get arrested- is the only option.

This post is based on my article that appeared in the September 28, 2013 edition of the Portsmouth Herald under the title, Embrace Options to Public Schools.

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Bully Film Misses Obvious Solution: Abandon School (and Let Youth Create Their Own Education)!

18 March 2013 Categories: children's rights, public school

(Official Bully movie poster)

I reviewed the film documentary, Bully on Amazon.com. Documenting and exposing the reality of children being tormented by peers in traditional schools is commendable. The humanizing footage of the bullied children, including footage of their emotional suffering and home-video of them at various stages of their childhoods, was painfully powerful. The film’s exposé of the infuriating  incompetence, minimization and victim-blaming shown by the adults towards the victimized children was outstanding. Of course, the stories of  the children who took their own lives were  some of the most heartwrenching “wake-up calls” in the film.

However, despite these strengths, I gave the film only a three-star rating for the following reasons:

1. The film failed to address that the root causes of peer bullying are child maltreatment by adults and the child-subordinating power structure of schooling itself.

2. The film failed to state that the most obvious immediate solution to protect bullied youth is for parents to rescue their children by abandoning the schools.

The film also left viewers with a false sense of “hope”. Emotional community rallies, slogans on bracelets, pledges, Facebook groups and bringing passionate speakers to schools will not put an end a problem that is a symptom of a much larger problem: The inhumane way children are treated by adults in Industrialized culture. [...]

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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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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. [...]

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NOT-Back-To-School: Unschooling is Nature’s “Curriculum”

27 August 2012 Categories: unschooling

Back-To-School? Or Nature’s Intent for Learning?
(Laurie’s son, Brycen, joyfully exploring the wonders of nature)

I revel in the embrace of summer, when children are again a part of the community and a part of the natural landscape! It brings me such joy to see children jumping in the waves at the ocean, running through a wooded trail, exploring plant and animal life, digging in the sand, climbing trees, creating artistically in the community or leaping from boulders into a rocky basin gorge. I reflect with warmth and love at how September for my unschooled son has always been a relaxing and relieving time- yet another month to extend the joys of summer; the beginning of another cycle of him living and learning in freedom.

However, for the majority of the children in society, the “Back-To-School” nightmare seems to get an earlier start every year. Many schools are forcing children to return to school in late August, two weeks earlier than when I was a child. In mid-July, advertisements on TV, the radio, online, in stores and in junk mail flyers begin threatening children a month too soon about the impending dread of school. It strikes me as very passive aggressive that our culture takes a condition that most children find so distressing- being confined against their will for nine months of the year- and throws it in their face relentlessly during the second half of their summer time. [...]

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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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Laurie A. Couture Responds to Unschooling and “ADHD” Questions from Anderson Episode

02 April 2012 Categories: public school, unschooling

Laurie A. Couture on Anderson

Here is Part II of me discussing my appearance with my son, Brycen on the Anderson daytime show. Below I respond to some of the common questions and comments raised during and after the show.

What is unschooling?

Unschooling, or radical unschooling, are the trendy terms for the way children learned for thousands of years- up until fairy recently in human history- by playing and actively pursuing their passions and interests all day, most of the time. Nature intended children of all ages, from infants to teens, to learn through play and physical activity. Humans and other mammals have learned this way since the dawn of time. Unschooling has at its core living authentically and freely as a family, nurturing close, connected parent-child relationships that meet children’s needs. [...]

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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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I’m Generalizing Teachers? Teachers Generalize Most of the Children in the Country

01 October 2011 Categories: public school, unschooling

Photo by photl

I have received a blizzard of positive and negative feedback from my two controversial blog posts, What Teachers Really Need to Hear From Parents and What Parents Really Want to Tell Teachers: What You Do Hurts Our Children. Both of my posts were in response to the exasperatingly child and parent-disparaging CNN post, What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents by Ron Clark.  The most common complaints from people were:

1. “You are over-generalizing all teachers in your post- Not all teachers believe/act the way you and Ron Clark presented that they believe/act”,

2. “Teachers hands are tied- they can’t be blamed for what the system forces them to do”,

3. “You should encourage people to try to fix the system rather than blame teachers”,

4. “Parents are the ones who are the problem because they aren’t involved”,

5. “Democratic schooling/Unschooling is only possible for a privileged few families and isn’t realistic for society as a whole”.

Sadly, the actual impact of the school system on the human beings who are the most damaged by it was glaringly left out of these types of arguments. [...]

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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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What Teachers Really Need to Hear From Parents

08 September 2011 Categories: public school

Sometimes school propaganda comes out that is so obviously, shockingly dehumanizing to children and undermining of the parent-child relationship that it amazes me that anyone dared print it. The viral CNN article, What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents by Disney-and-Oprah-endorsed Ron Clark, epitomizes the word “propaganda” and gets a gold star for its audacity in dehumanizing children and undermining the parent-child relationship. Homeschooling author, Linda Dobson, immediately tackled the article with a blog post that paragraph by paragraph exposed the hypocrisy and callousness of teachers’ attitudes towards children and parents.

Public schools are government institutions that have literally taken control of  much of the global population and most world cultures. By holding all children under 18 as hostages, against their wills, this infectious institution forces the population to deny the self, homogenize, obey and consume. By choking down an irrelevant, carefully engineered “education” in a factory-like environment,  children are conditioned to ignore their bodies, emotions, passions, interests, questions, ideas, creative impulses, purposes and needs. In the US, this multi-billion dollar social conditioning machine trains children to take their place  assisting the United States in remaining the World power through economic and political globalization. This control of the population was the intent of public schooling when it was made into law in 1852. [...]

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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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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. [...]

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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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Children Are Not Born to Be Cogs for the Global Market

18 June 2011 Categories: public school

A responder to The Huffington Post article about “education reform” wrote that children “must” be “prepared” by schools to “compete” in the global market. The responder stated that children should not get the impression that the world can meet their needs! This was my response to that person’s comment:

Why “must” children do anything for the global market? I don’t understand this view of seeing children as cogs in the system or pawns for the government­. Children have a birthright to live and learn in freedom and in joy, according to their own passions and interests. They do not HAVE to “prepare” for anything, let alone to assist the government in staying a world power. The world can fit everyone’s needs. The school has never fit children’s needs, not even their most basic physical needs. It certainly does not fit children’s emotional, creative and intellectu­al needs and in fact mangles children.

The young human being is not born to be some cog in a system or some test score to increase globalizat­ion. The young human is born to play, explore, learn, create, invent, dream and receive love and connection from parents and support and inspiratio­n from friends and the community. Anything less is oppressive­.

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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. [...]

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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”). [...]

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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 Pathologize Childhood; Cause Severe Distress to Healthy Children

21 October 2010 Categories: Blog, homeschooling, public school

Every single day in my work as a mental health counselor, children of all ages are being brought to me, being referred, because the public school insists there is something wrong with them, something that must be punished, manipulated, controlled, pathologized, drugged up and strangled out. That something is called childhood–the basic needs, nature and energy of childhood. The schools are causing healthy children to become depressed, anxious, distressed, aggressive and suicidal. Healthy, energetic, normal childhood, boyhood behavior is labeled a brain disorder (ADHD) and children are subdued with chemicals so that schools can continue to operate in a grossly developmentally inappropriate manner. The schools so aggressively overpower parents that parents ignore and deny their natural instincts and intuition about their children’s needs. Parents instead become extensions of the school’s oppression on their children, keeping children locked into a place that they hate- A place that drowns every pleasure and joy of being a child that they can uncover. Even when children have made suicide attempts due to their distress about the pressures and demands of the school environment, parents still won’t do the obvious and remove their children from the source of their distress.

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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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Obama on Education Reform: More of the Same Insanity

27 September 2010 Categories: Blog

My 16 year old unschooled son and I watched TODAYshow’s Matt Lauer interview President Barrack Obama on education reform this morning. It was a frustrating and depressing scene to watch, as the President inadvertently outlined the problem- that American children’s performance in math and science has declined sharply in one generation- but he was unable to make the connection that the decline occurred during the time when public schools became increasingly standardized!

In the 1990′s and 2000′s, high stakes standardized testing, teaching-to-the-test,  increased homework and policies of homework for all grade levels (including for children as young as preschool) became the law of the land. Schools began to slash hands-on learning, recess, movement, outdoor free time, play, art, music, fun activities and field trips, further causing distress and trauma to the bodies and the psychological, creative and intellectual well being of public school children. With this frantic teach-to-the-test mentality of schools, these deprivations of childhood joy needed to become standardized practice in order to corral and indoctrinate millions of children into one cookie-cutter system, with results that guaranteed the failure and mediocrity of the many. These deprivations would quickly come to include the abuse of children’s bio and neurochemisty as well. [...]

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Epic Fail: Good Morning America Gets “F” for Biased Radical Unschooling Report

21 April 2010 Categories: unschooling

When Juju Chang asked the teenage siblings featured in Good Morning America’s report on Radical Unschooling if they “ever miss or regret” not being in school, I couldn’t help but wonder if she would ask a survivor of a hostage situation if they “ever miss or regret” not being in bondage. Clearly, from the sitcom-like, satirical nature of GMA’s segment, Juju and George Stehanopolos spinned a patronizing, smug and biased attitude towards the idea of youth living in freedom- The way children, including Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln and Margret Mead, had done it for millennia. This montage of painfully obvious bad edits and carefully selected quotes was patched together to make the Yablonski-Biegler family appear irresponsible, negligent and ignorant. What ironic fuel for the firestorm of oppressive legislators around the country who are already working to infringe upon the inalienable rights of homeschooling families! [...]

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“Avatar” Blues Can Be Cured with Real Life Activism and Radical Lifestyle Change

12 January 2010 Categories: Uncategorized

This CNN article, “Audiences Experience Avatar Blues” http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/Movies/01/11/avatar.movie.blues/index.html about moviegoers becoming depressed and suicidal after watching Avatar is troubling yet strangely hopeful. It is curious as well as shocking that people have been so asleep for so many centuries that only now that they have seen a computer generated movie have they become depressed by, shocked, outraged and aware of the severity of the loss of human life, of the loss of the natural, luscious beauty of our planet and of the loss of the joyous, symbiotic cultures that once inhabited the continent of North America.

I think it is testimony to how dull, arduous and downright painfully boring public school has presented history– in attempts by our government to deter people from deeper inquiry and research into the truth behind the atrocities and genocide that our government has committed against the indigenous peoples of the world. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn is the real-life “Avatar” that every American should be reading.

I suggest and hope that the mass numbers of depressed and suicidal viewers use their angst to rally together to save our very real life planet and the remaining peaceful indigenous cultures from further destruction and seriously rethink our society, our culture, our Government, our Capitalism and our worship of money and material objects. [...]

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Child Advocacy and Children’s Rights Resolutions for the New Decade

02 January 2010 Categories: children's rights

With every decade that passes, new legal and civil rights have been fought for and won for every group of adults in Westernized cultures. The fight continues around the globe in order to share those legal protections with oppressed populations in other cultures. With each passing decade, there have been landmark victories won that validate the journey for adults to assert their basic human rights- In the 00′s, gay marriage was the fight that finally found victory in the United States.

However, children seem to exist in a surreal incubator; a sterile laboratory in which they are viewed and treated as if they are human beings-in-the-making, like objects waiting to be assembled, or feelingless, spiritless bodies waiting for someone to bestow humanity onto them. Decade after decade passes, and yet an industrialized child’s world always looks the same, with little more than trite hope of obtaining any real victories beyond the superficial “right” to be intoxicated consumers and technology automatons. [...]

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