Friday, May 06, 2005

You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman

This post refers to a review of Unequal Childhoods. Not a book I'd ever read.

I enjoyed Elizabeth's review as I'm sure I'll never read the book -- but it sounds as if Lareau is arrogantly humming the tune "What Do the Simple Folk Do?" If I recall, the singers of that song ended up divorced with the wife nearly burned at the stake -- rescued by the dashing Lancelot but then cutting off her hair and vowing a life of chastity.

Wait, what was the topic?

I suppose the book discusses that the working class may not shuttle their kids around to activities because of the financial restrictions of their economic status. That could be the only reason why parents don't 'do everything possible to give their kid every advantage.' There are those of us who actually choose this way of life. We define 'advantage' differently. To me, the most important 'advantage' is copious time with my children and granting them the freedom to let their imaginations roam and look at the clouds instead of forcing them into an unceasing parade of activities in which they may have little interest. However, there is a big difference between taking a ballet or karate class and having every afternoon and weekend booked with lessons and tutoring and athletics.

I always wonder if the jam-packed schedules have more to do with the parents competing with one another than having to do with nurturing their child's talents. I think there may be a herd mentality, that 'everyone is doing it.' A recent Op-Ed in the Washington Post supports this -- she says twice that she sent her kids to camp for just that reason.

As to 'middle class' naturalists (unschoolers), there is a big divide in philosophy over whether to allow the kids unfettered access to TV, believing (and proving) that the kids moderate themselves eventually, and getting rid of the TV altogether.

Interesting book -- I don't see the need to lump people into groups. I'm uninterested in the demographics and am more likely to wonder what it is about people that makes them choose certain approaches.

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