Friday, April 22, 2016

Teaching your children not to cooperate with law enforcement

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

This article is written from a U.S. perspective with regards to matters of law. I welcome other perspectives in the comments.

Did you see Making a Murderer, about a man who's been convicted AGAIN of a crime he possibly did not commit? We don't have to go into my opinions of Steven Avery's guilt or innocence — I just want to talk about what seems to me to be a classic case of extorting a false confession out of his 16-year-old nephew, Brendan Dassey, and my fear that my children could one day be accused, arrested, tried, and convicted simply because I haven't told them this important piece of advice:

Don't talk to the police.

Brendon is a minor when this murder investigation goes down. He is repeatedly interviewed without a parent present. He has a low I.Q. In short, he is vulnerable, and the cops take advantage of this.

Despite no physical evidence whatsoever, and no prior run-ins with the law by Brendan, they decide he's guilty and then systematically, over many excruciating hours, manipulate and lie to Brendan to coerce him into saying what they want. I don't really want to "prove" here that I'm right — this is just my opinion, after having seen comparable interrogation footage of other false confessions of similarly vulnerable people. You can watch the footage yourself and form your own opinion.

Whether this particular confession was false, my point is just this: People DO give false confessions, and innocent people DO go to prison, and I definitely don't want that to happen to my kids!

But how do you balance the messages you want to give young kids about law enforcement with the warnings you want to instill in older children? How do I tell my four-year-old, "Police officers are our friends! They help us!" — and then turn around and tell my eight-year-old, "If the police want to talk to you, you say NOTHING but 'I want to talk with my parents'"?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The golden hour at Gas Works Park

Sam and the boys went to Gas Works Park in Seattle
and then to a neighboring playground,
at just the right time on a spring evening.

Monday, April 11, 2016

How to make a scavenger hunt for your kids

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

It's easy and fun to DIY a scavenger hunt for your kids. Scavenger hunts are great options for so many occasions and reasons:

  • Interactive birthday party activity (the prize could be presents for the birthday kid or goody bags for guests)
  • Practice with reading and logic for young learners — it's so fun it won't seem like homeschooling!
  • Practice reading a target language for multilingual learners
  • Holiday fun — we used this to lead our kids to their Easter baskets
  • Rainy day fun
  • Just because!

Remember, the hunt is fun on its own — the prize doesn't have to be anything fancy. It could be a favorite stuffed animal who's "hiding" or a couple of coins … er … pirate doubloons.

All you need to do to set up the scavenger hunt is write down clues and hide them through the house or yard. The last clue should lead to the prize. Simple enough, but here are seven tips to pull it off like a boss.

Tip #1: I find a good number of clues is around 8 — it's enough to keep kids interested but not frustrated. Aim lower for younger kids and higher for older.

Tip #2: If you have multiple locations to plant clues, vary location as much as possible between clues. For instance, have one clue be outside and the next inside, or one upstairs and the next downstairs, the next in the basement and the next in the attic. Most kids have a lot of energy, so take advantage and run them around.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Dandelions and children

I've often thought that dandelions are a child's perfect flowers.

They grow everywhere.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Decluttering when poor & the fear of minimalism

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Have you ever tried to pare down your belongings when you have no money?

It takes a steady hand and a brave heart, that's for sure.

I came across Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, a little over a year ago, when Karsten was still quite small. I started implementing some of the techniques — picking up objects and determining whether they sparked joy, and even folding my socks the KonMari way — and immediately enjoyed the increased serenity that came with less clutter, less crowding, less need to organize and cram and put away. I am a declutter-o-phile and reforming packrat, and the KonMari options clicked with me.

Some examples:

How I redid the kids' drawers. I love how visible everything is.
My mismatched socks before. I'm NOT KIDDING. These are all SINGLE SOCKS with no mate.
HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? These all went bye-bye.
My sweet little socks and undies afterward, with socks organized and separated by color family.

But … it was around this same time that we realized how little money we had coming in. Sam and I work for ourselves, which means our "paychecks" are unpredictable, so things can sometimes coast for a bit before we realize there's been an income swing. We've always had a dip like this when we've had a new baby, but this one was perhaps deeper because the pregnancy itself was hard as well and we have — count 'em — three children now to care for and homeschool. I don't worry about telling you this, because I trust I've been honest that being self-employed is only for those who can handle some degree of risk, and we are such people. Our income has always been cyclical, so we tightened our belts while we devoted what energy we could to earning more money, and we have pared way, way, way down on spending.

And this is where the KonMari giddiness took a nosedive.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sunday Surf: Misery as a requirement, breastfeeding mermaids, & mini-Bronies

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaWelcome to the Sunday Surf, a tour of the best blogposts I've read throughout the week.

Sunday Surf is back! For today! I'm not promising to keep this up weekly as in the past, but every once in awhile, I have links and other resources I just wanna share. To make life easier for me, I'm going to embed them from the original share source. Hope that works-ish.

Here we go!

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

The Misery Argument. #homeschooling #unschooling

Posted by Hobo Mama on Monday, March 14, 2016

I've never understood why we'd want to train our kids to endure misery.

Photographer turns #breastfeeding babies and their mamas into #mermaids. #normalizebreastfeeding

Posted by Hobo Mama on Thursday, March 24, 2016

Now I want a mermaid photo!

My project for the week! Our sofa is disgustamundo.

I've got my homeschooling activities ebook back up for sale! Just $3.99 on Amazon. I'm seeking reviewers — let me know if you want a review copy.

Speaking of which! Natural learning ftw.

This whole series makes me snort-laugh. I love that generations upon generations of painters have accurately portrayed women tolerating being talked at by men.

So. Dumb.

A new article in the journal Pediatrics is calling on health professionals to stop saying that breastfeeding is natural, arguing that doing so gives the impression that natural parenting practices are healthier. The authors have started a public campaign to end the positive use of the word natural, claiming that it is associated with such "problematic" practices as home birth, homeschooling and the rejection of GMO foods, and that natural parenting movements are interfering with vaccination efforts.

Apparently our family is problematic.

Friday, April 1, 2016

My Easter chicks

17-month-old Karsten in vintage smocking by my mom

I … er, I mean, the Easter Bunny … created a scavenger hunt
for the kids to find their goodies.

Mikko did well at reading them,
and they both were great at
deciphering the clues and
uncovering the next hiding place.

I might have to make them harder next year!