Re: Questions Kids
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2005 16:17:34 -0700 (PDT)

On Jun 6, 2005, at 12:45 PM, Princess Pepperonia of the Pizza People wrote:

A large part of my interest is in providing kids with a home environment while helping the stay-at-home parent stay sane. Is child-care a community interest or mostly up to the parents? What support (if any) does the community give stay-at-home parents and homeschoolers? If child-care/schooling is partly a community job, how do you deal with different parenting/schooling ideologies? Has anyone tried having kids sleep in dorms in the common house, kibbutz-style, and has it worked?

In our community different parenting styles and differing levels of laid back on the part of the parents has resulted in our children going to all sorts of schools and daycare situations. It's very hard to do group childcare or schooling. If people did not join the community specifically because of agreements about child care, it is likely that it will not happen.

The adults with and without kids do a lot of childcare but it is arranged on a personal basis. A parent will either ask an individual or post an email asking for help. Mostly networks of relationships have formed between parents and other parents or adults -- just like in any other neighborhood. But it is much easier in cohousing because of the commonhouse, piazza, play areas, etc. The geographic proximity in clustered housing makes it very easy.

I attached to the first two babies born here but when the third baby came along. I found that I was really up to my limit. One of the first now has a sibling so that one has been added. I do emergency care when they are sick and can't go to regular sitters. For periods of time I've done daily sitting but it's a lot of work and I have a million other projects going. Occasionally I watch a nine-year old and a set of two year old twins, but it gets very heavy to have all the relationships going at one time. One year I tutored a nine year old after school.

But these are really personal agreements between me and the parents. I've become an adopted grandmother to two and a home away from home for another.

Some parents expected the community to have a regular children's program of some kind and do much more care but that was not the intention of those without children. As one said, "I raised my kids. You raise yours." So while there is much more care available than I EVER had for my children, for single parents there is never enough. Even in cohousing.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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