On the one hand, we think of childhood as a place that should be free of labor -- we’ve decided, collectively, that it’s inhumane for our children to slave in sweatshops or dig in a coal mine -- and on the other hand, between the classroom, homework, and the extra-curricular activities picked to make a child the perfect college applicant, American kids work all the time.
I still struggle with sending my kids to school. On one hand, it makes two working parents easier, but on the other hand I'm not convinced that we're really preparing her properly for the future. Unschooling is appealing to me, but as I said when I looked at Unschooled, I'm not sure how two working parents can hope to fit in the work. I can't just drop everything when my kid is interested in something and investigate it until she's ready to move to something that doesn't involve me.
And yet, an hour of free time is like a drop of water in the dessert for kids. This doesn't sound like the childhood I remember.