Monday, November 17, 2008

Free Range Kids

Funny how life has themes. Right now the theme is free range kids.

We had a delightful surprise yesterday evening.

A while back we introduced our neighbors, who are new homeschoolers, to some homeschooling friends.

After a busy day hiking, making bows, concocting poisons and exploring with friends Clem and Ev had performed poison oak removing ablutions and Clem and I were sitting on the couch reading when I began to hear...was it screaming? was it laughter?

Our neighborhood is so quiet that any sound merits investigation. I said to Mike, "Do you hear some kids?"

We never hear kids. Except ours. We hear them a lot.

He opened the door and kids poured in.

Our friends and neighbors together, gleeful and bearing a chicken. A few minutes later the moms walked up bearing more chickens. The chickens, unlike the kids, are not free range, because of the foxes and raccoons.

Ev and Clem ran out in their pajamas and played flashlight tag on the court and ran around wild. We moms chatted and had tea.

Clem enjoyed it so much that she asked to walk home with them when they were leaving.

Her friend's mom offered to drop her back on their way home. They set off. But after getting most of the way there, the kids, giddy with the night air, fled their moms back to our house.

They arrived breathless, saying, "We're back!" and "This was the BEST DAY EVER!" Someone had a bloody foot.

And oops.

They had outrun the littlest guy and he was left alone in the dark halfway between our neighbor's house a few streets away and ours.

I talked about responsibility and using good judgment.

Clem said he was "a stowaway" and "we didn't know he was following us."

With freedom comes responsibility I tried to explain.

We resumed our quiet evening. Email popped up in my inbox. A friend had sent me news of a true free range kid. The New York Times reports on A 12 Year Old Food Critic. He dines out on his own and takes notes Zagat's style in his notebook.

This is the logical end for our Homeschooling in the Kitchen. I'll put the kids on the bus to Rockridge to buy dinner every night for a year and they can be the Homeschooling Jonathan Golds of College Ave.


Krish Iyer said...

A "stowaway"? Wow. She'll be President one day, or at least on the Supreme Court.

Today's post is one my favorites - reminds me so much of my own kids. I was afraid the homeschooling picture was becoming a little too perfect, but ... now it sounds more like America, wonderful, with all its imperfections.

Which one is in the picture?

S said...

That is Clem who looks undead. She scared people all day with her imperfectly removed facepaint.

patricia said...

Oh, that explains it. I figured it was the result of either poison oak ablutions or scratching chickens.