Saturday, November 26, 2016

So pragmatic

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

My oldest has his head on straight. Mikko at nine cannot be taken in by tomfoolery.

I was singing my kids this Johnny Flynn song as a lullaby:

(Side note: Alrik, age 5, asked for "Wrecking Ball" to be next.)

"'The water sustains me,'" Mikko quotes. "What is that supposed to mean?"

Well, I say, it could be twofold: Water gives life, and it also holds you as you float. It's maybe a song about letting go and letting the water support you.

"I don't like floating," Mikko says. "I don't like that feeling of leaning back in the water."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How children can help after the election: 16 ideas for family-friendly activism

We've just finished a U.S. election. No matter how you lean politically, it is fact that the outcome has caused distress and grief to vulnerable populations who now fear losing their rights, their livelihoods, their family members, their legal protections, even their lives.

You and your kids don't have to just feel bad. Here are some practical ways to help fight the good fight.

1. Contact your government officials.

Here's a link for how to find contact info for all your representatives, from the president on down to city council members. This is a great idea for homeschool kids especially to practice reading, writing, telephone manners, and civics: Follow along with each new policy and appointment, and then call or write in to the appropriate officials to tell them what you think. This former staff member for two Republican representatives explains why it's better to call than write, if possible. Not all kids will be up for calling, but it's great real-life practice for adulting. Contact your representatives often. Encourage friends to do the same when it's something very important. Attend city council and neighborhood meetings, and rehearse beforehand with your kids so they can read prepared statements of their opinions. Let your voice be heard.

2. Protect human rights.

Join or form an Amnesty International student group to campaign for human rights. Amnesty's page "The America I Believe In" has a video featuring kids talking about their beliefs against torture — older and not-too-sensitive children could appreciate viewing it. On the same page is a sign you can download and print out to say what the America you believe in looks like. There's a toolkit below that with ideas for future steps to take to protect human rights and take a stand against anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant discrimination.

3. Be kind to the environment.

Double down on your family's commitment to sustainable living. Save water, turn down the thermostat, walk and ride bikes, and break out those reusable bags and containers. Start composting at your own house, and organize composting, rainwater collection, or other environmental initiatives at school or businesses where you spend a lot of time. Pick up garbage at the playground or out in nature. Volunteer as a family to become naturalist guides at a local beach, park, or wetlands — you'll learn more about nature and then get to help others do the same.

4. Stop bullying in its tracks.

The best way to stop a bully is for a bystander to say something. Teach your children what bullying is, how to treat others with respect, and how to respond when they see someone being picked on. A generally safe way to defuse a situation is to talk calmly to the person being picked on and ignore the attackers until they leave. If your kids don't feel safe speaking up in the moment, tell them they can and should find a trusted adult to intervene, even if it's after the fact. It can take so little for a kid to feel like an outcast — and then so little again to turn that around. Encourage your kids to seek out lonely children for playdates and lunch seats. A little kindness can affect someone positively for life, and your children can be a good memory that stays in that person's heart forever.

5. Encourage hope.

Teach your kids to take talk of suicide seriously and let a trusted adult know if a friend is in crisis. They can also post crisis contact information on social media along with a video offering love and a listening ear. Some national hotlines are 1-800-273-TALK for suicide prevention, 1-866-488-7386 for LGBTQ youth in crisis, and 1-877-565-8860 for transgender people in need. Teens can volunteer at some local teen-to-teen helplines; do an internet search for opportunities.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We're swinging. Done.

He wanted to do the shortest video ever.

I think he succeeded.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Unschool uniforms

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

This is appropriate field-trip attire
for an unschooler.
Take notes.

While I was at the playground on a warm summer's day, I was amusing myself trying to pick out the homeschooled kids.

It all started because Alrik, in his sparkliest My Little Pony shirt, was trying to play with a group of boys who were not at all interested in playing with him. I sized up their appropriate-length hair and matching gender-specific clothing and concluded that they probably all went to school together and weren't open to a newcomer. (Fair enough.)

After that, I glanced around to try to locate some easier targets for his overtures. Where my weirdo unschool kids at?

I saw one boy with longish hair in long sleeves and unmatched shorts. Possible.

I saw one girl in head-to-toe but unmatching pink leopard print. Maybe.

I saw one boy in patterned leggings. Probable.

Then a kid arrived in Christmas jammies and rainboots. Definitely.

Among some unschooler friends of mine, talk turned to school uniforms on little kids, and we decided to make out a list of appropriate school attire for unschoolers. Shannon compiled the following list, and I will add to it: