I read the Free Range Kids Blog for quite a while. It talks about giving your kids freedom. I really liked it, but then it just seemed to be the same thing. You’re giving your kids freedom, and people are thinking you are dumb or a bad parent..
Anyway, I have really looked for ways to incorporate it into our lives. I’m particularly bugged that our school isn’t within walking distance. I’ve even thought of switching a few times, but decided against it, only because we love our school SO. MUCH.
So, we can’t walk to school, unless we want to leave at 7:30… and they surely couldn’t do it unaccompanied as they have to cross an almost-freeway-type road.
We recently started Karate, and it’s about 2 blocks away. The boys are doing it together and I’ve been letting them walk there, or walk home (I usually accompany once, and they go on their own once) on their own. So far, the teacher has flipped out on me, and another parent also. The teacher didn’t like her having to take that responsibility, I reminded her that Conner was 10 and I felt he was ready. Another parent didn’t feel like they were taking enough caution crossing the road. I talked to them about it, but she was like, “well, if you can’t walk them I could bring them home.” I just said that half of why we’re doing this class is to teach responsibility, and walking home was part of it. A lot of it could be that C doesn’t exactly look 10… so…
In the back of my head I am thinking that from Kindergarten ON I walked home I did a great job and a few times one of the neighborhood bullies whipped out his belt and was going to beat us with it. Luckily, we made it out unscathed….
Also, I’ve left Conner home alone a few times, sometimes with all the kids, usually P is asleep. We were caught in a bind the day we did our loan and he was our option, so we took him. He did great. We hope to just take baby steps on this one. I want to make sure he’s comfortable. We’ll keep having sitters but he’s our wing man.
Anyway, a few questions:
1. How do you free range with your kids?
2. Do you judge other moms who free range it?
3. How do you know when your free ranging has gone too far?