Saturday, October 3, 2015

Baking soda in the washer

Why did I not hear of putting baking soda in with my laundry until a few weeks ago? I was visiting a sister, and I noticed that she had no laundry detergent. There was just a box of baking soda and a small bottle of something pleasant smelling sitting by her clothes washer. I used some of each, hoping they were what I was supposed to use to clean my clothes, and my clothes were surprisingly clean and soft afterward.

Now I use baking soda all the time in our wash. I do add a little regular laundry detergent because it's hard to shake my conviction that one should use soap to wash clothes. It's probably a bit more expensive than using laundry detergent alone, but why pay less only to have clothes that don't get as clean?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Second Amendment Defense

In the wake of another shooting rampage in a "gun-free" zone, I am pleased that only three of my Facebook friends thus far have chimed in to support more gun controls.

Two--possibly all three--work in places where they have government-funded armed guards protecting them all day while at work. One is a diplomat who not only has Marines guarding him at work (the Marines technically are there to protect the classified information, which the State Department, from top to bottom, protects so assiduously...yes, there was a criticism of H. Clinton implicit in that...yet everyone knows that the Marines are going to try to protect the diplomats, too) but also has USG-funded security that also looks after his home and family's safety. The second works at a public library that has a visible security presence. And the third works in health care; many health care establishments have armed guards, too, but I don't know for a fact that he works at one with guards.

Do they not see, from their protected places, that the world really has many dangerous places? If other people feel like they are are at an elevated risk of being victims of violent crime but cannot afford to hired armed guards, they should be able to bear defensive weapons.

My strong opinion is that we need a change in mental health commitment laws to make it easier to commit and treat people with brain issues before they crack in homicidal ways. If we're going to change our laws over the acts of a madman, the change should affect madmen and madwomen first. Also, there should be a stigma attached to acts that contribute to damaging one's brain: harmful drug use, alcohol abuse, daytime talk TV (think I'm joking? remember Jerry Springer's guests?), and avoiding therapy when disorders first start to become apparent. If football can decline in popularity over concussions, then we surely we can make it so that people are more stigmatized for refusing therapy than they are for getting help for mental illness.

We also need to stigmatize the media for over-hyping and giving fame to murderers. I find it promising that Chris Mintz is showing up so much on my Facebook feed this morning. All hail the hero! (And forget the anti-heroes forever.)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Capitalism Defense

One never hears of a nation facing famine that experiences a resultant flowering of black-market co-ops.

Capitalism organically flows out of normal human desires to enjoy life to the highest degree possible, and it doesn't need the might of the government to force it into being. Unlike socialism or communism.

Capitalism is the enshrinement of "thou shalt not steal." Someone works to create or bring about something. Then they get to keep it. Thus the motivation to work is protected, and more work and creativity will typically ensue.

If a person tries to steal from another in a free market system, the law should step in to prevent theft. The law can also can be used to prevent force or tyranny from distorting the freedom that should be inherent in a free market (mafia, monopolies, etc.).

The free market is not a free-for-all. Regulations to protect basic human health and property are good. Regulations that protect one noisy or well-connected group from its competitors, however, are government-backed monopolies, and black markets can be expected to grow up wherever such regulations have been put into place.

A capitalist system can have a social safety net, but it must be minimal. The net should not be one that rewards an idle person with a more enjoyable life than a worker, or the system will eventually implode as too many opt to be more idle (i.e., "go John Galt"). A hardworking culture can keep that implosion at bay for a couple of generations (see Scandinavia and Germany).

Friday, September 18, 2015

Not an inventor

I am weary of all the fawning attention Ahmed in Irving, Texas has been receiving.

1) He didn't invent a clock. He took apart a clock and rearranged it inside a small case. He brought it to school for no official reason. It looks like a small timer for a bomb similar to the fake ones they make for movies sometimes. He did this on the school day right after a publicized bomb scare on September 11 at a high school in Plano, which is in the same metro area as Irving.

Here's a post where someone identified the clock that Ahmed rearranged.

2) Texas law makes it illegal to have a "hoax bomb," not just a bomb. Even though his project had no explosives, if he meant to frighten people with it, he ran afoul of the law.

Here's the penal code section pertaining to hoax bombs.

3) Ahmed's father appears to be a bit of a publicity hound. As a resident of Colorado, I remember very well the balloon boy hoax, and the Ahmed situation reminds me of it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Math delay

Dd8 has been done with her homeschool studies early nearly every day for the past few weeks, while dd10 struggles to get through with her work before lunch and the drive to their charter school. Dd10 doesn't have that many more subjects, and I let her do her grammar exercises verbally most days. I think dd10 spends so much longer on her work because math facts just don't come as easily to her as they do to dd8; she seems to spend a lot of time sighing while sitting over her open math book.

Over lunch today I asked her if she sits over her math sometimes without doing it, and dd10 replied that she often looks off into space. I have challenged her to change that habit so that she doesn't let herself stare into space until after she has finished the problem she is currently doing. A little mental down time is fine, but taking it in the middle of a problem makes it so she essentially starts the problem all over after her stare break.

Hopefully, she can make this small behavior change so that her math lesson doesn't fill all the available time in the morning.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ads and Joy

A friend lamented today that her one-year-old daughter finds joy in everything, while her six-year-old boy finds joy in nothing. She wondered what the world is doing that it steals happiness away from little children so quickly.

She is a very involved mother who takes her children many fun and interesting places. I suspect a main culprit of her son's joylessness is advertising.

The purpose of advertising is to make us aware of a product and hopefully desire to obtain that product. How do the creators of advertising manufacture in us a desire to obtain the product, though? If we, the targeted audience, are content with our lives, we are unlikely to disturb ourselves to go out and get the product. What would be the point? We're already happy! So advertisers--sometimes knowingly, sometimes not--frequently present to us messages aimed to diminish our feelings of well-being. Then we're more receptive to the idea of seeking to get our happiness and contentment back by buying their product, which they promise us will make us feel better!

If you want happy children, minimize their contact with ads. Advertisers don't love your children; they see them as market share.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Taiwan (well, food from there)

Studying Taiwan was fun, but the end of the summer was so full of back-to-school events that we really didn't do have time for much besides eating Taiwanese food, which was a mixture of Filipino and Chinese foods.

We ate steamed buns, potstickers, three-cup-chicken, shaved ice desserts, and various stir fry dishes. We ate out at a Chinese restaurant run by a man from Taiwan. We drank grass jelly and basil seed drinks.

Our exchange student from Germany thought it was odd but fun that during her first month here she learned so much about Taiwanese food. I pointed out to her that any food made in America by Americans is technically American food! After all, hamburgers and hot dogs? German-American food, actually. Hamburgers even get their name from the German city of Hamburg.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


In Luke 12, Jesus addressed hypocrisy, the practice of pretending to be holy while hiding great sin. This is what he said:

2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

I have three words to say in connection with those verses, and then I shall restrain myself, for this is a family-friendly blog. They are "Ashley Madison hacked."

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Carnival of Homeschooling: Yes, Summer is Really Ending Already

Carnival of Homeschooling

Welcome to the Carnival of Homeschooling for August!

It's been summer. Supposedly a period of lazy, hot days of doing nothing much, right? Um, yeah.

Besides welcoming an exchange student from Germany into our home, finishing up math curriculum from last year, and tutoring a teenager in math, we've also been learning about other countries all summer. Right now, we're learning about Taiwan (the grass jelly drink is not going over well, but rice is an eternal favorite in this house). You can read a bit about our less-than-successful trip to observe competitive table tennis at my last post, "Taiwan, Table Tennis, and Toddlers."

What are you doing this summer? Better do it fast, because summer is about over. The teenager I tutor starts school tomorrow. My children are starting the new school year on Monday. The exchange student starts public school next Wednesday.

Did you know that exchange students must attend a regular brick-and-mortar, full-time school? That's one thing the Cates of Why Homeschool found out upon agreeing to host a Japanese exchange student this year, and now they are diving into the experience of being public school parents. Read about it at their Carnival submission, "We are finally going to experience public school."

Mama Laws, who is introducing her new blog, did summer schooling in math and reading with her children. She posts about it in "Mama Laws."

I am intrigued by the Star Wars math and language arts workbooks that Mama Laws mentions. I'll be looking those up on Amazon once I finish posting the Carnival. Coincidentally, last night I finished a project that seems similar to those workbooks. The boy I tutor in math is obsessed with Spider-Man and genetic engineering, so I wrote him a short story in which Spidey goes up against genetically-altered dinosaurs. My daughters helped me illustrate the story, and in each chapter I utilized an algebra concept that the boy has struggled with. It turned out rather well. I think it qualifies as fan fiction, so I'm going to make it available at this Google Docs link for anyone who'd like to download and enjoy it!

Carol at Journey & Destination submitted a beautiful and inspiring post entitled "Culture of Character." Using many quotes from Charlotte Mason, it meditates on the formation of character and helping our children develop the ability to serve others.

That's it for this month's carnival! Thanks to those who submitted, and I hope to see many more submissions in future carnivals because I look at them all and learn much from them.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Taiwan, Table Tennis, and Toddlers

We are now learning about Taiwan. We went to an Asian market and bought mochi (yes, it's Japanese, but now it's Taiwanese, too), frozen rolls for steaming, fried shallots (apparently rather fundamental as a food topping in Taiwan), 100 lbs of rice, and various other Taiwanese treats.

A popular sport in Taiwan is table tennis, i.e., ping pong. An internet search turned up a local place where people get together to play ping pong in an organized fashion. We went to check it out, hoping that not only would we see good table tennis being played, but that we might be able to play a little, too. Sadly, all the tables were occupied, and dd3 began to cry. Oops. The organizer hurried over and asked us to take her out to the hallway to prevent her from distracting the players, which we did, but then she melted down entirely as only a toddler can. So much for any thoughts we might have been entertaining of becoming competitive ping pong players. I guess it's for the best. We don't even own our own ping pong table.

Homeschool Carnival coming in just a few days!

Please submit posts to the August homeschooling carnival, which I'll be posting in just a few days.

Here are the instructions on how to do it:

You can send in up to three posts about homeschooling via with an email to:

Please include:

 Title of Post(s)
 URL of Post(s)
 Name of Blog
 URL of Blog
 Brief summary of the post(s)

Please send in the entries by August 10th at 6:00 PM PST.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Peace of Peru

We've been learning about Peru for the past week or two. Today a little Peruvian-American girl presented me with a carton of alfajores (sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche) and informed me that yesterday she and her family were celebrating "the Peace of Peru." It turns out that yesterday and the day before were the Peruvian Independence Days, or Fiestas Patrias! What a fortuitous coincidence.

I'm going to make more alfajores tomorrow with another Peruvian-American friend. We're also going to drink some Inka Cola, a bright yellow beverage that is supposedly super-sweet. My kids should enjoy tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Learning about France

I think I gained weight in just the past two weeks. Curse you, tasty French food!

Here are some of the things we did to learn about France this summer:
  • Learned about life in France from my niece, who recently returned from an LDS mission in France and Belgium.
  • Set up a playdate for my daughter with a French friend from school.
  • Did some ballet, taught by my talented sister who majored in dance long ago.
  • Listened to French impressionistic music while viewing slides of French Impressionists' art and painting at the kitchen table.
  • Went to a French bistro and ate croissants and snails. Dd10, dd8, and dd5 all ate the escargot and liked it.
  • Read and watched Madeline books/shows.
  • Read library books about France. You Wouldn't Want to Be an Aristocrat in the French Revolution!: A Horrible Time in Paris You'd Rather Avoid was a favorite of the older girls.
  • Ate a lot of Nutella and some French cheeses.
  • Watched non-fiction videos on Amazon Prime about children living in France.
  • Invited a college student to dinner so she could tell us about her recent study abroad experience in France and show us her souvenirs.
  • Made or bought, then ate apple galette, ratatouille, macarons (not to be confused with macaroons), croque monsieur sandwiches, French bread and baguettes, quiche, chocolate sandwiches (yes, pieces of bread with chocolate between), and several rich dishes seasoned with garlic and herbes de provence.
  • Watched Phantom of the Opera, Aristocats, and Ratatouille.
Macaron cookies. Not sufficiently cylindrical, unfortunately. 

I feel fortunate to have many relatives and acquaintances who can help me teach my children about other countries. Traveling abroad with a large family is prohibitively expensive, so I appreciate everyone that helps fill our home-bound summer country studies with authentic experiences related to those countries. 

I also greatly appreciate the food bloggers and recipe posters and reviewers who make it possible for me to cook Yemeni, French, Lithuanian, Peruvian, and Taiwanese dishes almost immediately.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Learning about Lithuania

We recently finished learning about Lithuania for 2 weeks. Among other things, we did the following:

  • Invited over a friend from church who served as a missionary in Lithuania. She showed us her souvenirs and pictures, wore traditional Lithuanian clothing, and read part of a Lithuanian children's book to us. We baked aguonu sausainiukai--which are poppyseed cookies--ahead of time so we could eat them with her.
  • Made bracelets and necklaces out of wood, shell, and amber beads.
  • Cooked lots of Lithuanian food, including cold beet soup, beet potato salad, cepelinai (blimp shaped potato dumplings filled with meat), and kugelis (a VERY tasty baked dish made of potato, egg, bacon, and milk).
  • Played a little basketball because it's a favorite sport in Lithuania.
  • Celebrated the Lithuanian midsummer day by making flower wreaths and putting them into the water (see the previous post).
  • Ate a lot of thickened yogurt (it should have really been sour cream, but that was just too fattening for me).
  • Watched versions of the folktale about Jūratė and Kastytis. It is about a mermaid sea queen who lives in a castle made of amber underwater; when she falls in love with a mortal fisherman, a jealous thunder god blasts her castle into bits, and that is why amber washes up on the coast of the Baltic Sea.

What fun we had. :) Now we're onto a fortnight or so of studying France. French food is so good, though, that I might squeeze in an extra day or two on France.

This post will be in the July 2015 Carnival of Homeschooling.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Happy St. John's Day! This is the midsummer folk festival celebrated in Lithuania right after the summer solstice. We are studying Lithuania right now, so my oldest daughter gathered grass and flowers from the yard, and we all made wreaths. The girls wore them to a park where they launched the wreaths onto the surface of a duck pond.

Joninės wreaths

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Yemen Fortnight

We are finished with our fortnight of studying Yemen. Among other things, we did the following to learn about life there:

  • Ate mangoes, saltah (national dish of Yemen, eaten with a condiment made of ground fenugreek), honey, dates, yogurt, cardamom rice, etc.
  • Listened to Yemeni music on YouTube
  • Watched a movie on Yemen from Amazon and learned about Socotra (like the Galapagos islands as to remoteness and unique flora and fauna, but located in the Indian Sea) from YouTube videos
  • Visited a spice store and did a scavenger hunt for spices used in Yemeni cuisine (fenugreek, pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, etc.)
  • Bought some frankincense incense sticks and burned part of one
  • Toasted spices and ground them with a mortar and pestle to make hawaij, a Yemeni spice mixture
  • Cooked several dishes using hawaij as the seasoning
  • Recited poetry to each other (poetry evenings are a common evening entertainment in Yemen)
  • Learned about oil exploration at the Hunt energy exhibit in the Perot Science Museum in Dallas, Texas (petroleum is Yemen's primary export and approximately 25% of its GDP)
  • Imitated the Yemeni sport of camel jumping by having my kids and their cousins run and jump over each other's backs
  • Learned about social issues such as child brides and the current civil war in Yemen (we visited friends and family for a week, often sleeping on cots or the floor, so we could show the children what life is like for a displaced person fleeing civil war)
  • Learned how to say "Good appetite!" in Arabic: bil-hanā' wa ash-shifā'

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Yemeni Food

While Yemen is not a wealthy country, its cuisine benefits from its location near India. They make heavy use of coriander, cumin, and cardamom. Some of the Yemeni recipes we've been eating this week have been delicious. My husband--a Midwesterner who kindly tolerates all my cooking experiments even though he would just as soon eat pizza, lasagna, and deli meat sandwiches all the time--really liked the cardamom rice I prepared yesterday. He would actually like me to make it again, which is a rare request coming from him.

If you're looking for Yemeni recipes, I recommend the website Queen of Sheba Yemeni Foods. It's in English and has clear instructions and helpful photos for many Yemeni recipes. Besides the cardamom rice, our family has enjoyed hawaij (a Yemeni spice mixture which we toasted and ground ourselves), banana milk (banana, milk, a little sugar, and almond+vanilla flavoring all in the blender) and a rose lemon drink (basically lemonade with a little red food coloring and some rose water).

Monday, June 8, 2015

Yemen and Girls

As I posted before, we're learning about Yemen right now. I have five daughters, and nearly everything I find about life for girls in Yemen makes me very sad.

The disparity in education between boys and girls in Yemen is possibly the worst in the world, according to this 2007 article. One of the barriers to education for girls is the lack of female teachers (male relatives don't want their girls taught by male teachers); although there are projects aimed at increasing the numbers of female teachers, there aren't remotely enough yet. Technology could help with the teacher-gender issue, but in Yemen, they are woefully behind at actually implementing new technology. According to this 2013 article, only young government employees in Yemen really utilized computers at work while the older employees persisted in using only paper, and a mere 15% of the country had access to the internet.

Then there is the abominable practice of marrying off young girls, which Yemen refuses to make illegal even though it periodically results in deaths of the poor girls from foreseeable internal injuries. Approximately half of Yemeni girls are married off before turning 18. Their consent is not required by the law; their fathers can simply give them away as wives, often to much older men. Death at childbirth is the primary cause of death for women of reproductive age in Yemen, and women typically cannot receive even emergency medical care at medical centers without authorization from their male guardians (usually their husbands). As if all that weren't bad enough, one strain of Sunni Islam practiced in Yemen promotes female genital mutilation as a religious obligation.

On top of all the above, half of Yemen lives in great poverty and there is currently armed conflict between a Saudi-led coalition of Sunni countries and Iran-backed (i.e., Shiite) Houthi rebels, which has further allowed an Al-Qaeda offshoot to gain territory and influence in Yemen.

When I hear feminists' complaints about "manspreading" on public transportation, I just want to throw something sometimes. Like an atlas. At their desks and opened to maps of places other than Europe or the "Anglosphere." I'm appalled that they waste the energy of their movement on New York subway trivialities when there are places like Yemen.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Welcome to summer 2015!

It's summer! The girls' school is out, so we're not doing "normal school" until the middle of August.

The summer school curriculum is our usual (third summer now) of learning all about countries plus math and maybe religion or music a couple days each week.

These are the countries we are learning about this summer:
1) Yemen
2) Lithuania
3) France
4) Peru
5) Taiwan (dd5 wanted to do China, but I have a rule that we can't repeat countries within five years; as Taiwan's status is hotly debated, the choice of Taiwan can satisfy both her desire to learn about China again and my rule)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


For the last few months, I've been tutoring a smart--but very behind in math--teenage boy with ADHD. By the end of his geometry class, he was fairly confidently using the formulas he'd been learning and had improved a lot in his testing. Then the second semester came, and his class began precalculus. Thus far, it's been all algebra (albeit at a precalculus level), and he is abysmal at algebra.

Thanks to ADHD and being promoted in math for years without really being forced to get his algebra (or even sometimes arithmetic) foundations solid, he's been like a person forced to do a triathlon who still just doggy-paddles. Yes, sometimes he gets through the water, but it's only with incredible effort, and sometimes, despite lots of effort, he just goes under.

Until I proved to him a few months ago why two negatives make a positive, he didn't believe it and certainly didn't apply it correctly. Yet he is supposed to be doing long division of polynomials. Sigh. At least his multiplication facts are solid; otherwise, I'd despair. He mastered those through the video game Timez Attack.

Now that school is almost out, I've got him working independently on algebra basics for the next month. I found several algebra programs online that looked promising--interesting videos and visuals, interactive problem sets, etc.--and tested them on him one afternoon. Without fail, he spaced out during all the videos. The only program that forced him to pay attention and learn something is a free, downloadable one called "xyAlgebra." It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is a great program. A retired professor created it and gives it away for free. While one needs a computer to use it, one doesn't need the internet, which means no YouTube/FB/email distractions for the user. Very good for kids with attention issues! It gets good reviews from others who've tried it, and I found myself "trying it out" for nearly 2 hours the night I downloaded it. It's a solid, engaging (because it goes nowhere till you hit the right buttons, and the "right buttons" change) program.

Yesterday, I had the tutee start working on it at my house to make sure that he didn't have any problems with it. I let him listen to music of his choice while he worked, and he made it through the first 20 lessons (out of 375 total) in an hour. I have high hopes that this will be the tool that helps him finally lay down a solid foundation in algebra. He's supposed to do 20 lessons a day, so we'll see where he is in a month. And if the learning sticks.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Dd10 is about halfway through her fifth grade math book. She has been learning to multiply and divide fractions. As she started her math lesson today, she asked, "What's a reprotocal?"

"Oh, a reciprocal!" I said excitedly. "Let me show you."

I put her in a standing position directly in front of me saying, "Stand up straight. You're a fraction."

Then I had her lie down on the floor and grabbed her feet firmly. Next I started to lift her into an upside-down position. She's still a foot shorter than me, so I mostly succeeded. Then I said, "Now you're a reciprocal!" She and I shared a good laugh.

Sometimes I really, really love homeschooling.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

To aerate or not to aerate

We have lived in our current home for three winters. Now it's spring, and it's time to take care of the grass. Last summer, we finally got our sprinklers operational, so now we have lots of grass. And for some reason, the yard in front and back is bumpy. Apparently, the partial solution to that problem is to aerate our lawn, i.e., pull out plugs of dirt that look like very large goose turds and let them break down on the lawn.

My husband doesn't think aeration will do much good. He was pulling up webpages about "hydroseeding" last night. It involves spraying a slurry of fertilizer and seed onto bare ground to get an even cover of grass. It sounds expensive.

I figure aeration can't do much harm. I'll spend $30 on a manual plug aerator and give myself a few blisters using it to treat the really bumpy areas of our yard. Here's hoping it evens out the lawn a bit!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Love it, hate it, tomorrow is still a good day to remember that no matter how problematic our family relationships might sometimes be, we owe our lives to our mothers. If my mom knew of this blog's existence, I'd wish her a happy Mother's Day in this post. Instead, I'll just call her after church and talk for a while. I think she'd prefer that anyhow.

Speaking of church, my eight-year-old daughter might be giving a talk in Primary (the LDS children's organization) tomorrow. I was informed of that possibility 2 hours ago, so I quickly drafted a talk for her. The given theme is "Jesus Christ went about doing good." Here's the talk:
Why do we talk so much about following Jesus Christ? Because he saved us from death and from sin, and he showed us the way to live!
How did Jesus live?
He did what Heavenly Father wanted and didn’t break any commandments.
He taught people what to do so that they could become like him.
He healed sick people.
He was kind to people who were being bullied.
He was friendly to everyone.
He gave everyone the gift of resurrection.
He suffered for our sins so that we can repent and live with Him and Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom.
He was nice to his mother—which is worth pointing out on Mother’s Day!
Jesus was the best person who ever lived on the Earth.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Happy Mother's Day to all women who mother!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Story of the World, Volume 1 timeline

We're done reading volume 1 of Susan Wise Bauer's The Story of the World. It was the second time we read it, and this time through we made a timeline of the most important events and people. It took me over a year to make the yarn, cardboard, and paper framework. Crafty, I'm not. But my kids don't seem to care. Here's a picture of how our ancient world timeline turned out:

Every time my children go downstairs, this is over their heads.

Oh, and in case you're wondering about the red dragon in the lower right...that is actually Alexander the Great riding his horse Bucephalus. Dd8 is currently obsessed with dragons.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


My experience is that little children very much want to belong to their parents. From the time they start crawling, there is an invisible rubber band connecting them to their mother or father, and when it gets stretched too far, they go looking for the missing parent. As they get older, they understand that their parents can be gone for a while and then come back. But they still tend to prefer being with parents to not.

Around age eight or so, most children have started to spend more time doing their own thing. For my children, this typically means reading, playing outdoors away from the patio door, drawing, or making an art store (so that I can pay them real money for artwork they made with craft supplies that I bought...children are such hopeful entrepreneurs).

Then adolescence hits, and they start being able to reason as well as adults, even though their executive function and impulse control are still developing. 

I remember an occasion when the judge I clerked for interviewed a sixteen-year-old girl in his chambers during a custody dispute. He explained to her that he was the ultimate decision maker, but that due to her age he was willing to hear her input on which parent she should live with and why. No, she wasn't an adult, and he made that clear; however, he also accepted that she was close to adulthood and deserved to be treated accordingly. In the end, he decided to have her live primarily with the parent that she wanted to live with.

When I was fourteen, my mother signed me up for a college class one summer and bought me a city bus pass. Then she basically turned me loose to study and go around town on my own for two months. When I was nearly seventeen, she let me go to college full-time. Yes, the university was only three miles away from her house, but I lived in on-campus housing. Both of those experiences promoted my ability to function in the adult world, and I'm grateful for the appropriate levels of freedom she granted me as a teenager.

While doing yard work recently, I was sad to overhear a neighbor boy matter-of-factly tell a visitor how he was allowed to bike on just a few of the streets in the immediate vicinity. It sounded like he never leaves our neighborhood on his own, not even to just grab a slushee at a convenience store. I believe the boy is fifteen or sixteen years old. His homeschooling parents subscribe to a very "protective" (i.e., isolating) way of bringing up their children. Don't the parents realize that part of their job is to prepare their children to be adults? No matter what they do, their children will age. Whether the children mature into adults capable of doing their own shopping and independent living seems to be at risk. 

Sixteen year old people are able to drive and/or marry in much of the world, so it disturbs me to see this neighbor boy being restricted as though he were a much younger child. I've never seen any sign of criminal or bad behavior in him that would justify the near imprisonment he lives in.