Outdoor play is declining and causing a number of negative consequences for America’s children. Recognizing this, many parents and teachers are doing all they can to encourage youngsters to get outside and let loose.

Unfortunately for Andrew and Kelly Count in Texas, the efforts to get their children outside are being met with a “neighborly” lawsuit:

“A Texas homeschooling family is being sued by their neighbors for letting their four children play outside during the day when most kids are in ‘normal school’. The neighbors say the children are a ‘noise disturbance’ and that they deserve peace and quiet. However, Kelly Count says the neighbors never voiced their concerns to her, but rather started blasting lewd rap music from their windows every time the children would come outside to play. Now, Kelly says she doesn’t feel comfortable in her own backyard and she is being forced to head to court over her children playing outside on a playhouse. The angry neighbors note that the kids are loud, it disturbs their peace and upsets their dogs.”

To many, the neighbors’ case against the Count family seems rather petty, particularly since the Counts’ play equipment follows city codes and the children are not violating nighttime noise ordinances.

But what if the court system doesn’t view the neighbor’s complaints as petty and sides with them? For many families, one of the benefits of educating at home is the ability to free children from the institutionalized environment of school and give them time to play, imagine, and be creative. Should homeschool families be able to continue to use their property as they see fit – at any time of the day?

“Another thing, that is of great advantage to every one’s health, but especially children’s, is, to be much in the open air, and very little, as may be, by the fire, even in winter.”  – John Locke, 1690

Image Credit: Carolyn Davis via Flickr