Posted by: Tracy Barsamian | November 20, 2015

What if they spend their whole childhood playing?

happiness is here

Oh dear, sweet Happiness is Here blog.  Thank you so much for this post…I needed it!

I ran into a neighbor today and her son is struggling in full-day kindergarten.  Not so much in the classroom…he holds it together all day and then comes home and tantrums.  The usual stuff:  screaming, hitting and kicking.  Just like my big girl did when she got home from kindergarten.  My neighbor explained how she knows it’s too much for her little boy.  But he’s thriving in the classroom.  The tantrums are the price to be paid at the end of the day.

But wait.  The price to be paid for what?  For being trapped in a classroom on a 60 degree mid-November day (instead of running and jumping and climbing trees)?  The price to be paid for being forced to learn letters and numbers at a developmentally inappropriate age (instead of simply being surrounded by books and magazines and maps; instead of being allowed free choice in reading materials; instead of simply being read to)?  The price to be paid for doing pointless things like worksheets?  And growing to dislike “subjects” like reading or math (subjects that cannot exist on their own in the real, interconnected world).

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that some lucky kids come out of school unscathed.  These super-kids go to school and still come home and read for pleasure.  They still even like to learn about new things that interest them (just for fun).  Even those “success story” school children are at a minimum missing out on unstructured play, downtime and daydreaming.  Free-time and free-play enable children to really get to know themselves and who they are.  The luxury of time allows children’s own unique talents to naturally unfold.  Freedom is required to discover one’s interests and passions.  Isn’t childhood the time to nurture our children’s innate gifts that they are meant to share with the world?  What could be more important than a happy, unhurried childhood?

So thank you Happiness is Here for taking a much better approach.  The higher road.  And focusing on the positives of homeschooling and the incredible power of play.  What could children be doing if they weren’t in school all day?  What great things might they be experiencing, creating, doing if their childhoods were no longer defined by school?

Here is that beautiful post:  What if they spend their whole childhoods playing?


  1. Such an interesting philosophy and way to see things. It really is such a different world from what I grew up with ( Tiger Moms ). I did come to resent Maths, I definitely do not read for fun, and it has been a long road to learn to communicate my feelings if I don’t like something (does it even matter? who really listens?). One thing I really got out of it all was discipline and perseverance. If you can get through life doing things you hate, I guess you can do a really great job at something you love! I spend most of my life now figuring out what I truly love. It’s been a project for the past 6 years since I moved to Boston. It has been quite the passion project!

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