I am trying to wright this (again) without sounding like I am preaching. Without being overly longwinded. Here goes...I think I failed on that count but since this is my fourth attempt I will post anyway
I think play is important. I think one of the benefits to my children of homeschooling has been more time to play. And to play in a safe environment (recess is not so safe for kids if they are bullied or on fear of being bullied.) Unstructured play is important. Kids need to use their imaginations. Outside play is important. Kids, well everyone really needs fresh air, space to move and sunlight. Yes we can not hide ourselves Completely from the sun. It helps form vitamin D in our bodies.
There was a time when play was a luxury. During the industrial revolution poor kids worked in factories much of the day. They had no time to play. They had little exposure to sunlight and they grew sick. At that time rickets was a disease many disadvantaged children would get. It was caused by poor nutrition, most notably vitamin D. At that time foods were not artificially fortified with vitamin D. To get it you had to eat the right foods and play outside in the sun. Since this was not possible they got rickets, causing brittle and deformed bones. It bowed legs and afflicted the pelvis preventing a child from being birthed. This disease became a thing of the past as the west became a developed world. It still occurs in other underdeveloped places where children become child laborers for survival. Playing for some children is a luxury, being out in the sun and properly nourished is also a luxury for some children.
But here in North America kids have school and sports and organized programs and fat bellies...so why is rickets making a comeback? Some say because breastfed babies are not getting vitamin D supplements. Well none of mine did but since I went outside and ate the right foods, my babies were outside and receiving the right nutrients. Also Native people (and many others) breastfed dark skinned babies without supplements an no rickets, but they had sun and healthy diets unlike Europeans at the time. Strange that the developed world is less healthy then my people were hundreds of years ago don't ya think?Well let's look at the life of a child with all the advantages of North America. They get up early, rush out the door and into a car or van or bus to get to school even if they are in walking distance. In the rush they gave cocoa puffs or poptarts or toaster strudel (I know my kids used to go to ps). So a missed opportunity for sunlight and exercise and free play, not to mention no nutritional value. They spend the next 6-8 hours in school. 15 minute recesses. Structured gym (inside). Processed meat sandwiches, fruit roll ups, fruit gummies. Chocolate milk orange drink. Send something healthy and they could complain you forgot their snack so they can get some school provided crap. Mine did this all the time. After school there is no time for the playground they must rush off to a sport or afterschool program. The sport may be outside, but most are inside, sometimes even soccer. This people is not play it is to structured by adults to be play. From afterschool to homework there is no time for a proper supper. Fast food, microwaved, pre-prepared. At this point the sun has set on much of North America and the child is inside in front of some screen or other, possible with pop and chips. You can see that this could translate to a homeschool child as well. If you kid is in ps much of this structured life is not your choice. (unless you chose not to do public school any longer) Add up the school hours including transportation and homework. How much play time is there? Add in the structured Childs life and there is less. Homeschool your child and you have a choice. School at home through an organized system controlling your hours and your child may spend as much school time as his peers. Get creative and cut down the busy work and redundant school hours while still getting in as much learning (it is very possible) and your kids may school 2, or 3 or 4 hours depending on age. Way more time to play. But add in sports and afterschool programs and your kids could end up just as scheduled. I plan very carefully to avoid this because I want my kids playing. I have time for three hot meals a day and homemade, not as easy or practical if the child is not at home.
We must be careful because rickets is back in North America. The more privileged we try to make our kids lives the more we sentence them to the malnourished playless world of the industrial era. The problem is these full fat bellied children with no free time do not have the imagination to see a better life or the mind to think that something needs to be changed, so they are fated to continue the cycle.
There is a charity called right to play, working to make sure kids in war torn and underdeveloped countries have the right to play, a right we have happily tossed out of our own children's windows in the name of 'having more opportunities'.
So that's my thoughts and worries for my kids, making sure they eat real food and get to just play.
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