Has anyone else heard of Lenore Skenazy at Free Range Kids and the media furor over her letting her 9-year old ride a Manhattan subway alone? I heard this story on NPR a couple of weeks ago and was just thinking about it again as I contemplate summer.
For me, I grew up riding my bike along with my little brother the several busy blocks to school in Miami from age 8 til we moved to NC a few years later. We were home alone together after school and were allowed to roam the neighborhood with our similarly unfettered friends til my mom got home from work. I went up to the 7-11 by myself to buy candy. I went alone to friends' houses and didn't have to call when I got there. My mom told us not to talk to strangers and gave us certain cross streets as boundaries, but that was the extent of her keeping tabs on us while we were out. Oh, and I knew how to cook several dinners for us all by the time I was 9. Unsupervised. In the oven, even.
I've realized recently that I'd like Sister--and eventually my little girls--to really enjoy this sort of freedom as a matter of course. Sister's been walking to school by herself for two years now and enjoys a solo scooter ride about the neighborhood and solo walks to a friend's. I've told her I thought she was old enough now to go hang out in the woods if she wants and she was psyched (though she has yet to take me up on this).
What about you and your kids? Are they "free range" Were you?