Friday, November 30, 2007

Unschooling through the ages

This is for Unschooling Voices issue 11

Unschooling through the ages: How, if at all, does unschooling look different as your child ages and grows. Is it different now than it was a few years back? What role does age play in unschooling?

I have been thinking about this probably a little too hard which makes it more difficult to articulate.

I have 4 kids, ages 12 1/2, 9 1/2, 8 and 5 1/2.

We have been living and learning without the confines of school since birth.

I actually find that with the younger kids my role is more hands on, there is a constant question and answer dialogue going on. They need more undivided attention, which is hard to do with 4 kids anyway. I have just found a way to be with all of them at various times and helping them with whatever it is they need. With different ages they are all into different things, their interests vary but rarely are they all interested in the same thing at the same time.

As they grow they are more independent learners. My oldest just does the research himself and rarely asks me for help. He will still come to me on occasion but not like when he was younger. I believe it's because he knows how to learn and how to think because it's been fostered in him and nothing has been force fed. He doesn't look to me to tell him what to do he looks to me for support and guidance .

My middle children are right in between these two with doing things independently and asking me how and for help as needed.

It will be interesting to see how they continue to learn and develop as they reach the teen years, which isn't far off for my oldest.

My role as facilitator is to observe my children, to know when to step in and when to stay out of their way. I do not want to hinder the learning process, I want to nurture it and watch it flourish.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Images of me

I saw this meme at Zenmommas but I had some technical difficulty and today saw it at Deanne's blog, she helped me out. The idea is to type in your answer to the questions into google search and pick an image from the first page.

1. Age at your next birthday: 37
2. Places I'd like to travel: Tuscany Italy


3. Favorite place to be: bathtub



4. Favorite object: computer


5. Favorite food: organic dark chocolate




6. Favorite animal: Elephant



7. Favorite color: red








8. nicknames: Stephie, Robin I have so many I picked two














9. Town where I was born: Lewiston, NY, this is Artpark a place I remember going to as a child






Sorry about the double photo, I'm still technologically a newbie :)















10. A bad habit I have ... I finish people's sentences




Tag your it! Have fun :)









Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cutting the cord

When I became a mom 12 1/2 years ago, I couldn't imagine leaving my baby with anyone. I couldn't even put him in another room to sleep, so he slept with me. Now that also spiraled into all of the babies sleeping with us, it has been a wonderful experience of bonding with babies.

I could literally count the amount of times that I have left my kids with someone in the past 12 years, so that should tell you it isn't a high number.

I never understood how some parents just handed them off to someone else. You could say it's the same way that I do not understand how parents send their kids to school. Personally I did not have kids to send them away to be raised by someone else. If I wasn't going to do it then I would not have had kids. That sounds harsh, I know and it's the truth. I'm talking about my intentions before I became a parent. I'm not talking about some life circumstances that may cause you to do something different for a period of time.

I'm swaying.... the point of this post is about how attached my kids were to me. When Brenny was younger he never left my side wherever we went, I used to joke a bit about him not cutting the cord yet.

The older kids are fine without me now, they can go to a friend's house or go do something with a friend without me present. Cassie goes to Brownies , my friend takes her because I don't have a car right now, she does great and has fun.

Jared is my purpose for these thoughts, he is almost 5 1/2 and I can not leave his sight. He has to go everywhere with me, I have not gone to the store by myself in a looong time.

He is constantly talking to me and asking me questions, it's a little hard at times when my attention needs to go elsewhere.

I can hardly take a shower without his approval, I mean he has to have milk, and then he is hungry and then he wants a toy... It's like he is afraid I'll be gone a while and wants to get everything he thinks he'll need. I'm not really sure but I do know the he would never let me drop him off somewhere. I can't even leave him with Jason while I go shopping, no way no how, one day last year I tried it and Jason said he was running down the street after me. Oh my gosh, I just have to wait until he is ready. He has stayed in the *baby stage* longer than the rest and I believe it's because there aren't any more babies after him.

Imaging the sheer terror he would experience if I sent him to daycare or school. I just can't get over the damage that would cause, you see those little ones screaming all day for their mommy, they feel abandoned for sure.

I suppose what I did/do is called attachment parenting, I always called it common sense before I heard the term. I do definitely see detachment parenting so I suppose the term makes sense.

So listen to those babies, feed them when they are hungry, hold them as much as possible, sleep with them, talk with them, play with them,enjoy them, they grow up way TOO fast!

If you lay the foundation of trust and respect it fosters a good relationship with them as they grow.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why?

We need to examine why we say what we say especially to our children.

Why is our first reaction, no.

When the child wants to do something messy like play-doh, painting, crafts, putting barbies in the sink full of water, playing in the mud and on and on.

I realize that it's the process that is important and to look beyond the result which is usually a mess.

There is a little girl who comes here often and each time she is here she wants to paint or play with play-doh. Last time she did that plus got out the puzzles, she left quite a mess for me...

I have a feeling that she isn't allowed to do that stuff at home.

Why are so many afraid of letting kids play and be kids? That includes playing in the rain and the mud. Guess what? Kids and clothes are washable, no really they are.

Sometimes I get that first reaction of not wanting my kid to do something because I may not be in the mood but I get over it when I see the fun they are having.

Traditional parenting rears it's ugly head in so many homes, so many kids aren't allowed to play in the rain, or play in the sink or paint or create and just be a kid.

Why can't they have a cookie BEFORE dinner?

Who made that a law?

Why do they have to go to bed at 9:00pm even if they aren't tired? My mother has told me time and again that she had to go to bed at 7:00pm each night. PHOOEY!!!!

I vow that my kids CAN be kids, they can play and laugh and create and get wet and muddy and imagine all they want.

Loosen up just a little and when your kids cover the kitchen in flour or come in covered in mud from head to toe, take a picture :)

Have fun with them and watching them, let your kids have fun!

Monday, November 26, 2007

No bedtimes!?

This is always a hot topic, not as hot as video games but popular nonetheless.

It has been brought up twice this week on christian unschooling basics, I did reply once but I find I'm much better at blogging because then it's not personal, it's just my opinion, my perspective, my experience.

Technically my kids have never had bedtimes, I breastfed and co-slept and moved them on to their own bed when the next baby came. We just slept when we were tired, while nursing or whatever. I am a night person I always have been, my kids are pretty much night people but my oldest is a little earlier than the rest.

We did have a period of time when our routine would end up sending the big boys to bed around 10pm, we never thought anything of it. One day Kieran asked me why he had to go to bed but his little sister didn't. Light bulb moment! She just naturally was running around at midnight :)

I had already been on unschooling groups and read many posts and said well you don't HAVE TO go bed if you aren't ready.

At first they pushed themselves, later and later each night, Jason did get a little annoyed, but I asked him to trust the process. I am blessed with a husband who trusts me and gives me lots of leeway with the kids.

They ended up tapering off after several weeks and started to go to bed anywhere between 10pm and 1am. Cassie and Jared were still up later but the difference was they decided when to go to bed, not me.

Although now my kids are up half the night, it ebbs and flows and times do vary but now it's more like between 1 and 4 am but they are older now, 12,9,8,5.

They go to bed when they are ready plain and simple.

My husband has to get up at 6am to go to work, he goes to bed anywhere from 10pm to 1am usually an average is midnight. The kids know that whenever daddy goes to bed it's quiet time, sometimes they get too loud but most of the time they do pretty good.

We don't believe that everyone should go to sleep and wake up at the same time, nor be hungry at the same time nor go to the bathroom at the same time, see where I'm going?

We all have our own schedules and routines and nobody should make us something we're not.
My husband has no problem getting up in the morning, I do, I am physically unable to get up in the morning but when I did work I worked swing shift.

Don't let any naysayer tell you that your kids will never learn how to get up and go to work, that's a bunch of BS. If they don't do mornings who the hell cares the world revolves around a 24 hour time period each day, thank God for that. I spent my years getting up early and being miserable, I was exhausted and suffered migraines. Just because I had to go to bed did not mean I went to sleep and then I had to get up for school, oh the absolute misery.

I will not make my kids go to bed or make them get up for anything, especially school. If we learn to listen to our bodies and find the natural rhythm early on we will be so much better off in the long run.

This is not say they they don't get up to go places that they WANT to go because they do. The point is thay are in control of their own bodies, they know when they are tired.

If you are just lifting a restriction, I would do it gradually, a little more yeses each night until they are the ones putting themselves to bed. My kids tell me they are going to bed.

I realize that many people will never do what I do, I mean the whole damn package, it's not easy to get over the engrained shit BUT it is so worth it. Let go, move on, embrace your life right this moment and don't listen to people who tell you it can't be done.

"In a nutshell, people whose lives are hard, boring, painful, meaningless—people who suffer—tend to resent those who seem to suffer less than they do, and will make them suffer if they can. People who feel themselves in chains, with no hope of ever getting them off, want to put chains on everyone else." —John Holt, Teach Your Own, Introduction.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Everyday Blessings

You know how some daily household tasks can seem dull and routine, or even dreaded by some. I usually don't mind normal cleaning but some days I feel overwhelmed.

I was just thinking of turning it around and looking at the positive side. I'm sure others have done this but I have never really put it into words, I think about it a lot though.

That neverending pile of laundry means we have clothes to wear.

The stack of dirty dishes means we have food to eat.

The endless stream of toys, games, books, stuffed animals crayons and papers etc. means that my kids are blessed with a variety of things to do and the imagination to go along with it.

The various stages of repair means that we are blessed to have a home and I am thankful to have a husband who can fix it.

Just because my toilet is on the back deck doesn't mean it will be forever, it's just great that we have 2 bathrooms :)

With it being a time of year that we ponder what we are thankful for it helps to just see the little blessings in everyday things.

Enjoy your blessings today!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Facilitate

fa·cil·i·tate /fəˈsɪlɪˌteɪt/

[fuh-sil-i-teyt] Pronunciation Key -
–verb (used with object), -tat·ed, -tat·ing.

1.
to make easier or less difficult; help forward (an action, a process, etc.): Careful planning facilitates any kind of work.

2.
to assist the progress of (a person).
[Origin: 1605–15; facilit(y) + -ate1]

I figured I should define this too, LOL!

I really like the 2nd definition and that is what I am doing with my kids, assisting the progress and the process.

Happy facilitating!

If you can read this...

Jason saw a bumper sticker that said, "If you can read this, thank a teacher"

BWHAAAAA!!!!!!!

I'm not knocking teachers as people I have a menagerie of them in my family.

I do not really believe that one teaches one to read. You can do many things to help someone learn to read but the learner has to be ready. AS with anything in this world, the learner has to be ready, willing, able and interested, learning comes from within.

teach
verb, taught, teach·ing, noun
–verb (used with object)
1.
to impart knowledge of or skill in; give instruction in: She teaches mathematics.
2.
to impart knowledge or skill to; give instruction to: He teaches a large class. –verb (used without object)
3.
to impart knowledge or skill; give instruction. –noun
4.
Informal. teacher.

—Synonyms 1–3. coach. 2, 3. inform, enlighten, discipline, drill, school, indoctrinate.

See my difficulty with the word?? INDOCTRINATE! whoa.....

im·part
–verb (used with object)
1.
to make known; tell; relate; disclose: to impart a secret.
2.
to give; bestow; communicate: to impart knowledge.
3.
to grant a part or share of. –verb (used without object)
4.
to grant a part or share; give.

You can say it's just semantics but I believe it is so much more, it's a belief system, an opinion, an understanding, how we use words is very important.

http://sandradodd.com/teaching/

If teaching is external than a teacher is only as good as the learner is ready. All of my kids read at various ages, levels and abilities, as they do with everything because they are INDIVIDUALS. I can't take credit for teaching them, I do facilitate, I answer questions, I live by example, I can read!

Who taught me? I'm pretty sure I was born an autodidact, it makes sense... I could read BEFORE I went to school, my little brother read at age 4. I only remember this because my parents separated and he couldn't go to PS because of his birthday. So mom enrolled him in private school and they tested him. I don't give a rip about the tests but it showed that he was far above *level*, so was I. Schooling really sucked the natural ability and desire right out of us.

I'm not a teacher, I don't want to be one, I'm the facilitator, the helper, the mentor, the guide, the how do you spell, what does this say, mom play with me, let's make cookies, go for a walk, read a book, what's this plus that, endless question answerer... not a teacher.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Awesome apple pie.

Kids in the kitchen.

Just about ready to eat.


After dinner the kids were playing with left over dough and it escalated quickly. Cassie is covered in flour, Brennan was too he looked wicked cool and I thought Kieran got a pic but he didn't, oh well. There was flour everywhere...



Jared helped to clean up.




Happy Thanksgiving to all my blogger buds!





I hope everyone had a wonderful day filled with blessings.










We stayed home and had dinner with ourselves, this is the first time in 5 years, we used to go to our families in NY. Last year we went to our friends so it was nice to stay home but different too.










Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Awesome pie crust

I know I never post recipes, LOL! This is for Jewls or anyone interested.

Ingredients are key, many recipes call for butter, some use shortening like Crisco(yikes partially hydrogenated oil)

The best shortening I have found to use is Spectrum
Since we have used this we make the best cookies and pie crust, try it you'll see.

2 cups flour
1 cup Spectrum
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup of milk plus add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to milk

Yield one double crust pie or 2 single crust pies.

Mix salt and flour.

Add shortening and mix with fork until crumbly.

Add the milk, a little at a time, pushing the dough to one side of
the bowl while adding the milk, Do NOT mix.

Form into two balls and set aside.

Roll the ball between two pieces of plastic wrap. Flour the bottom before placing the dough on it, then slightly flatten with your hand and add flour to the top of the dough before placing the other piece of plastic wrap on top.

Roll out.

Peel off top layer of plastic wrap.

Place in 9 in pie plate and peel off the other layer.

Stick removal service

Jewls and I are on a mission :)

I have had a cranky day and I still have a few splinters that need to be removed.

Jason asked me what was up and I said I don't know I'm cranky, he said *well get a hold of yourself will ya* I said I'm trying but I don't know where to grab :)

I guess it's mid-cycle mayham or something. The messy house has been bothering me, the trip to the grocery store bothered me, it seems like the kids aren't listening. It seems like I'm just not getting what I want so I'm not being nice.

So earlier I was getting flustered and I said ok, you tell me what I'm going to say because I don't feel like saying it again. Kieran was on the computer and he looks at me and says *what* He wasn't paying attention to anything going on.

Cassie and Brenny started listing stuff like:

It's time to be quiet because daddy is sleeping.
Clean up the mess
be nice
get along
be quiet
help each other

I don't remember everything but it was good, so I told them to listen to themselves.

Just because I am having an issue I have to remember to step back, breathe, relax, listen to the kids, and work on getting the rest of that stick removed...

Reformation

I'm not on a crusade or trying to take over the world...yet, LOL!

Just a few thoughts...

As long as *we the people* allow the government, or an authority figure, or leader or anyone control us the state of affairs will not improve.

They have to control the masses the sooner they gain control the better. The state wants your kids, they think they own them, they want them as young as possible. They can't be bothered with feeding, diapering and being up all night but as soon as the child is past that, say ages 3, 4 or 5 that is when they want them.

Have to get that mind control as young as possible, tell them what to do, what to think, how to dress, what to eat, when to go to the bathroom and on and on and on...

All throughout history there have been the non-conformists, those that disagree with the masses, those that CAN and DO think for themselves. The rebels, the revolters, the reformers, the grass roots organizations...

I know there are groups of people that are out to hurt others, I'm not talking about terrorists or cults, I'm talking about the good ones, the ones that help change laws and help people see the light.

Unschooling reformation: shifting paradigms, one mind at a time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Cavy Friends




Makes for happy kids :)
Those of you who read here know that our guinea pig died 2 months ago. We have been looking and looking for another, they aren't that easy to come by.
Cassie misses Caramel and talks about her often, these are not to replace her but just to have another pet to love.
The big one is Boomer and the little one is Petey.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Don't cry over spilled milk

Need I say more????

Of course I will :) Actually Jared and Brennan did it too but they finished and Cassie said she wished daddy could see it. Since daddy was in bed I took a picture, he'll see it now.

You have no idea how much I have overcome so that my kids can be kids. I had to get that stick out of my ass for starters. Unschooling is about so much more than the 3 r's, I honestly don't care much about academics because you can learn anything they teach in school fairly easily. I care about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.I'm pretty sure that there are lots of parents with that proverbial stick up their arriere. Actually I know there are, that is why their kids come to my house to play!

When my advice is to get over yourself, I speak from experience. Trust me on that.

A few things I Don't do

I often say things like *I don't do mornings* so I thought I would just write down a few things I *don't* do. I was tagged again about listing 7 random things about me and I just did that 10 weird things so this isn't a meme or anything I just felt like sharing :)

I don't camp unless it's at a hotel with room service.

I don't eat broccoli, mushrooms or oatmeal, it's a texture thing.

Do not put nuts in my chocolate!

I don't sew, Susie and Martha do not live here.

Actually this is the one that spurred my blog entry...

I can't stick my hand in a turkey... I just can't touch it, the raw bird, yikes. If I did not have a husband that not only can cook and is quite awesome at it, we would not be having turkey for Thanksgiving. Nope I just can't do it!

I do cook, I'm pretty good at it but I have my boundaries, LOL!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Blog readability

cash advance

Jewls did it again, she keeps putting these little things on her blog and I just have to try it :)

Giving advice

I find that I have a hard time giving advice to new to unschooling people who are on the fence. What I mean is some posts are full of red flag statements and misconceptions of unschooling and if I let them statements. I really want to help people see the light, let go, trust the process and unschool completely.

I love talking about unschooling and helping people who are truly seeking it. I have great difficulty replying to those that are so far from the concept.

In order to get unschooling you have to want to get it, you have to detox from the system you have to look at learning from a completely new perspective. You really need to have good reasons to home educate in the first place. Unschooling isn't something you do on a whim or try for a day, week or month. It takes time to see the fruit, it takes time to see the process in our children, to see real learning unfold doesn't happen overnight. Everything is connected and sometimes those connections can take months to be made.

If you seriously want to unschool ask yourself *WHY*
What are your real reasons?


First of all for me I am vehemently against compulsary schooling and the basis of the whole system. Why would I try to re-create that in my home?

I know there are lots of happy homeschoolers that push curriculum and make limits on electronics and everything else, well I don't know how happy the kids are :)
I personally know people like this, no I'm not friends with them. That is really because we have nothing in common but homeschooling and parenting issues are BIG on my list.

I have a dear friend who is an eclectic homeschooler, we have talked in length about many things. She doesn't force school but she will never be an unschooler, she said it herself, she can't let go completely. I respect her for making that admission, in the mean time I still can plant seeds.

When people come to unschooling lists and post about their hang ups, I need to know if they really want to unschool before I proceed. Why is that? I am very passionate and very straight and I can't be worrying about saying the wrong thing, LOL! So if you really want my advice, I freely give it but you need to decide why you want to unschool and then get over yourself so your kids have the chance to learn in freedom.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Unconventional Christian

So many of my thoughts and beliefs are unconventional, I've been thinking a lot about being a Christian and how much I have changed and grown and gone back to my original roots.



I have met a brand new blogger and she is new to unschooling and I am using her term so I think I'll introduce her here and maybe if more people visit her blog it will encourage her, Hilaree



Unconventional-

–adjective
not conventional; not bound by or conforming to convention, rule, or precedent; free from conventionality: an unconventional artist; an unconventional use of material.




I wish I had a tape recorder :) I have just had so many thoughts and had a long talk with Jason, I just may try to write a book someday...



I believe that faith is personal between me and God, not some rule oriented lifestyle that man has mandated to be God's word. I do not believe in institutionalized religion anymore than institutionalized schooling. Our faith is not something to be judged or ridiculed or ruled, it is to be lived.

I believe that I was a Christian since I was 12, my mom prayed with me and I accepted Christ. I had a very rough childhood and I did things that weren't very good but I always prayed and I believe that God was with me and watching over me.

I never thought that you had to go to church to be a Christian, I believed that God was everywhere and we could pray and worship at any time not just at 10 am on Sunday.

I went to many different churches and didn't really believe any of their doctrines. We didn't go for many years but I always had faith and prayed and believed I was a Christian.

Then we joined the Church of Christ and got baptized and lots of things changed. Things I believed to be true I was told were not, we studied the Bible weekly and learned a lot. I also became *holier than thou* and started telling others what I had learned and challenged their convictions. I judged people by so many measures I can't count, I didn't realize I was doing that at the time though. As time went on and I changed and had all my kids and I really started reflecting on these *truths* I realized that I didn't really believe in all of these should's and should not's.

After careful prayer and lots of time to make sure it was right we left the church. I have been growing with God and keeping my faith but I do not need an institution and I do not need any man made religion all I need is the Lord.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Recipe

Got this from Jewls




Stephanie

- a pinch of charm
- a scoop of trustworthiness
- 1/2 a cup of humor

Mix on high, and serve immediately.
'What is your personality recipe?' at QuizGalaxy.com

What spurs imagination?

So many times you see people post that all their kids do is play video games or watch tv, when will they get up and DO something?!

In our house tv and games actually promote many things. It is not uncommon to see my kids acting out a game or something they saw on tv.

Lately my kids have been playing Runescape outside, they dress up and they play it.

We just recently saw the Apple Dumpling Gang and the kids loved it, I have been getting older movies for them through Netflix

Last night and today they are dressed up as outlaws and playing like the guys on the movie.

Jason always says that Jared lives vicariously through a video game. He is always acting, and everything he does is a game. He has been playing Club Penguin and so now he tells me that I have to check on my pet. He being my pet, he makes faces and tells me how much rest, health and energy my pet has.

My kids have learned so much from playing games and yes it does lead to research and gaining more information as their questions arise. There is a vast amount of information to gain, we just go with our interests and find out answers to our questions. So many questions... One thing leads to another, it's a natural progression when learning isn't forced or coerced.

You can also learn *subjects* by playing games, it has helped my kids read, type, spell, draw, do math, history, geography and on and on just by having an interest and playing a game or watching a movie.

I do not do subjects, I don't separate our life, we live and learn period.

A few weeks ago Kieran was doing work for someone on Runescape where the guy paid Kieran to collect so many herbs(or whatever it was) Jason gave him the idea to hire someone else to help and pay them a little less then what he is making. So he did just that, got the job done in less time and still made money.

There are so many examples of real learning that takes place everyday in so many ways, I could never document it all. I just know that my kids are learning what they need when they need it. I am here to facilitate and help and stay out of their way when necessary.

Quick example, Jared asks me how to spell words that he is writing down but he tells me not to spell the ones he knows how to. So he says wait mom, don't say anything I know this one.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Logic vs. Emotion

One of the hardest parts of parenting for me is dealing with my kids emotions. I am a logical person, when something happens I offer solutions, I try to problem solve or sometimes I just plain think that they are really being overly dramatic about something so simple. I realize that kids feel differently, they process information differently, they are emotional about things that I think aren't worth being emotional over.

Cassie is my only girl, she is full of emotions, I have struggled with relating to her and being what she needs since she was born, actually Jason is much better with Cass than I am. Brenny is very emotional and he gets upset and flips out and I just don't get it. Real example, tonight he was upset because Kieran said he would help him do something on Runescape and when he called for his help he was sleeping. I told Brenny that it was 2:00 am and he fell asleep and that he can help you tomorrow. NO that isn't possible! He cried and jumped up and down in the chair and banged on the desk. I realize that it was important for him but I don't understand how he doesn't get it that it's late and his brother went to bed.
Things like that happen often and I just explain the facts and expect him to move on, but it isn't that easy for him.

Kieran being 12 and all is experiencing some hormonal fluctuations :)

Jared is so intense all the time that I spend most of my time helping him to understand and handle everything that happens.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not helping my other kids with their situations because I have so much invested in Jared.

I truly struggle in this area, sometimes I wonder if we are all born with feelings and emotions and that we get shaped by our environment. We could just be born logical too, I'm not saying there is one without the other, I do feel, I do experience emotions but I am truly a logical thinker and emotions aren't always first on my plate.

As a child and teen I literally shut my emotions off so that I wouldn't get hurt anymore. Sometimes I wonder if I can get that back, I do feel, it usually erupts out of sheer frustration or to a point where I just break down and lose it though. I mean there must be a healthy way to deal with emotions, feelings and frustrations in a logical way, right??? LOL!

I'm me and my kids are who they are, we are all different, I love them so much and I just want to be the mom they need me to be.

I realized tonight after my bath that maybe Brenny just needed a hug. This touchy feely stuff is hard for me but I know that sometimes Cassie just wants a hug and validation.
I'm working on it...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is Unschooling right for you?

Unschooling is not for everyone, although I believe that anyone can unschool. We must deschool ourselves, free up our thoughts, let go of all of the ingrained nonsense, and get out of mainstream thinking. You have to be willing to give up all of those schooly ideas...the scopes, the tests, the "this child should know _____at this age", the grading, the ranking, the forced schoolwork at the table.

Research, read about natural learning and not forced schooling, ask questions, find others who are living it. Give yourself time to properly detox from the system. While you are doing this don't impose it on your kids. Let them learn in the way God designed them. Keep your hang ups to yourself.

The basic philosophy is that people (children) are born with an innate desire to learn. Learning is as natural as breathing. Forced, bribed, coerced, compulsary schooling strips that desire away piece by piece. Then learning becomes a chore. It happens by being told what to do and what to think and how to do it. The real chore to be abhorred is schooling, not learning, because school has nothing to do with real, true, natural, life long learning.

While it is possible to unschool academically, I think you are missing the whole big picture. Many people out there unschool but control everything else in their child's life. I believe that electronics and tv and sleep and eating and helping around the house are all part of living together as a family. We are all individuals that contribute to the family dynamics.

I believe that to fully unschool with all the benefits, we parent differently. How can you say that your child will read when he is ready but that they don't know when they are tired? How can you make up arbitrary rules for all to blindly follow?

Many people are hung up on video games but there is a lot to be learned by playing games. I have never limited use. I will tell you that our systems go weeks at a time without being turned on. They know it's there and that they can play whenever they want.

If you aren't willing to truly examine all of those beliefs and practices that you upheld for so long and truly make a paradigm shift, then no...unschooling isn't for you.

It is a wonderful lifestyle to live and learn and observe and be and
do and create and laugh and love without the confines of school or a
closed mind.

Free your mind-UN SCHOOL!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Partners




Daddy's little helper. After they were done Jared said *Dad, we're partners, right? Partners that fix cars*
Daddy said *Yes we are.*

Monday, November 12, 2007

What makes dogs go crazy at night?

A possum up in the tree or opossum depending on how you say it. Of course we had fun watching her, Jason took several pics only a few turned out decent. We googled possum and found out lots of interesting facts and myths. One neat website we found is The 'Possum Pages
As we were watching her I noticed something moving in her belly, she had a pouch full of babies. You can see the lumps in her underside. Possums are not rodents, they are marsupials and also known as the north American kangaroo because they carry their babies in their pouch.

One of the nice things about unschooling is these moments of how learning actually finds us. If we didn't have dogs we would have never known that this creature was passing by our house. Everyone stopped what they were doing to check it out then we spent time online looking it up and learning all sorts of neat things.

What artist should paint you?

>
Who Should Paint You: Andy Warhol

You've got an interested edge that would be reflected in any portrait
You don't need any fancy paint techniques to stand out from the crowd!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cassie's hair

Before...

After...
This is the worst her hair has gotten. We had some times before where it got really tangled and then we would work it out but she finally got to where she wanted it brushed. She took care of her hair, she brushed it every day without me saying anything, it was important to her, she was intrinsically motivated.
She wants her hair long but she hasn't been brushing it. This latest one is the worst ever, she wanted help, she knew it was time to deal with it.
So talk about an all nighter, it took 3 movies, homemade cookies and popcorn, lots of conditioner and breaks. Most of all a very patient daddy, I started to brush it, I was as gentle as I could be. Let's face it, this is gonna hurt no matter what. We did our best to not pull it, she had so many knots, Jason had to cut some out.
She is so happy that her hair is soft and flowing beautifully again. I just braided it so it doesn't get tangled over night. She wants to keep it brushed.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Strawberry blonde


I'm still waiting for Tina to tell me why she thought I was a blonde...
This is me at age 17 and 3, my hair turned brown when I was 6, it lightened up as a teen because of all that sunbathing. I don't fry my skin anymore

Replying to blog comments

I have seen other people reply to questions or comments on their blog. At first it seemed kind of odd but then I realized that sometimes people ask a question and it makes sense to answer.

I appreciate those who stop by here and read and take time to leave a comment. So I did respond to 2 recent questions by Julie and Jenny and I will try to reply to others as they come.

Sometimes it seems left open ended when you ask me a question and I don't answer.

So I'll try to respond as needed.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thoughts from the dizzy blonde

Well I'm not blonde now am I Tina? LOL! But I used to be I'll get a picture of me blonde soon.

Dh and I joke about blondes and dizzy and stuff all the time so since I have an inner ear/sinus thing going on I am really dizzy even if I'm a brunette.

I am better than yesterday, my gosh, I was taking a shower and shaving my legs and then I instantly was weak in the arms and legs and I sat down. I started crying, Cassie came in and I was sitting there with soap in my hair and one shaved leg... It was not cool, talk about freakin out, I was shaking so bad...

I have been having dizziness on and off and an ear twinge on and off but I guess it got worse. I am prone to this but it has been awhile, maybe since last winter.

Today I was taking my Xlear nasal spray that dh drove to get after work last night. It is not convenient to buy non medicated treatments, the health food stores are nowhere near us, he didn't get home until almost 7 pm, he is such a good guy :)

I'm off my rocker, today I needed to lay down, pure exhaustion, this is not me, so I know I have a virus. The neighbor kids came over as soon as they got off the bus and guess what their mom is sick, oh joy I don't feel good and I get 6 loud kids instead of 4. Something ain't right here!

I was not myself I told the kids I didn't feel well, my head hurts and I need to lay down...
They were just being loud and goofing and I had to tell them to go outside. I had a little talk about respect with them today.
I realize that there is a huge sense of freedom at my house but you need to respect me :)

I just took a hot bath and had so many thoughts but something about them going down the drain really stinks. I put the hot washcloth on my face and had some wine and just tried to relax.

I also will use my eye pillow when I go to bed, I got it from my friend Penny, I keep it in the freezer.

Here's hoping and praying I'll be better tomorrow!



Friday, November 09, 2007

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

From Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9 Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

This has been posted on several groups so I thought I would put it here for reference.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

In a house...

Where activity is happening at all hours of the day and well into the night, it is finally quiet.
Shhh, don't tell anyone :)

My friend came over today with her 3 boys and she goes, did the intensity just increase as we walked in? I'm like yeah, just a little, they are happy to see each other, it's almost always loud in here so I'm used to it.

It wasn't just my 4, I had 2 neighbor kids here also.. Their parents are having scheduling issues and I told them that I would rather the kids (8 & 5)come here then be home alone. Heck they are here anyway so I pretty much have 6 kids here most days so add 3 more, hey I'm good. Sometimes the kid across the street is here too, he is just a visitor every other week(divorced parents) so he comes over when he is with his dad.

This is the go to place on the street, I like it that way. I want to know what my kids are doing and they like to be here so in that process we will have other kids here too.

Anyway I started to talk about how busy my house is with just my own 4 kids, it's a constant hubbub of talking, playing, watching, doing, creating, cooking, cleaning, eating, washing, drying...

Tonight Jared and Cassie spent 1 1/2 hours in the tub, they were playing and having a blast and flooding the place.

The imagination that abounds here is so awesome to watch, I always thought I didn't have any imagination, I'm such a realist, but I try, oh I try. The questions that are asked really stretch my mind and make me realize that some things are just meant to be made up and fun.

Tonight Jared and I went grocery shopping around 10:30, I like having Kroger to myself :)

Everything is a game to him, he has to place the food in the cart to make a race car, or space ship or something, you know with tail pipes and stuff. I have to wait for him to set it up, he is always acting things out and living in his imagination. I'm just grasping it, it's important to him :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Left to their own devices

I see this phrase a lot on unschooling lists, usually it is by new unschoolers who don't really get it. They say *if I leave my child to their own devices* then ____ might happen, or how will they ever learn ____. On occasion I'll see someone use that phrase when relating to someone as in *when I left them to their own devices* _____ happened.

I don't really know where this came from in regards to unschooling. In my mind leaving a child to their own devices sounds neglectful. I don't even know people's motivation for saying it.

I'm thinking that you the parent locks herself in her room with head phones on all day and leave your kids to fend for themselves? How does a parent leave a child to their own devices and still be there? I have no idea, I am with my kids all day, every day, sure we all do our own thing and we all do things together. Nobody is left alone to fend for themselves.

My kids *choose* what they do each day, they are free to do what they want as long as it doesn't involve hurting themself or someone else. I am here, I am available, I answer questions, I watch, I help, I listen, so I am baffled as to how you leave a child to their own devices.

That sounds like pure neglect and it isn't unschooling.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My little boy


Isn't so little anymore. I'm just realizing how time flies and how fast our babies grow up. Kieran is 12 and he is becoming a young man, he isn't a little kid anymore. He loves fishing, he and Jason get up early and go alone while everyone else is still sleeping.

Smashing Pumpkins








Isn't it fun to be a kid :)


A bit about college

Since I was talking about some of my thoughts on high school I figured I'd move on to college.

I went to a community college in CA after graduating high school in NY. Now I always had goals for college I knew I wanted to manage and eventually own a Hotel.

It wasn't as easy as HS, I actually had to put forth some effort in some classes. I took as many business classes as I could, HS economics and college economics were two different things. My professor was a dull monotone guy and I really needed some help. I remember studying harder than I ever did in my life for a test and I got a D. That was a hard earned D, it wasn't that I didn't know the material, it was that I didn't relate with the teaching style, or lack there of...

I had some great classes too, it was an interesting time in my life.

I really wanted to take a year off after HS, I was schooled out :) But I had to go in order to keep my health insurance, so... I could go off on that tangent but I won't right now...

I worked full time the 3-11pm shift and I had an 8am class, oh yeah you get the picture. I also had a night class once a week, so I literally had one day off a week with no work or school. Man talk about stressful... I actually only went 3 semesters, they changed my hospitality management program and God changed my heart.

I got to where all I wanted to do was be a mom, and it's funny because all I wanted was the career, I was so gung ho on the CAREER! Don't underestimate the power of God.

Becoming a mom was no easy task but that's another post.

I don't have too many issues with college, it's NOT compulsary so it's got that going for it, it's not free either, but then either is PS we all pay taxes.

It's also not necessary for most people, we can learn by so many avenues and college is only one and is only needed for a handful of jobs. I think it's overrated and pushed to many teens when they really don't know what they want or aren't able to appreciate it. My sister went to an expensive University and she partied hard, joined a sorority and well partied :)
Lots of kids do that!

Even though it's not mandatory it IS an institution that runs on grades, tests, socio economic class and politics to name a few.

So unless you really have a career goal that needs a college degree I would think long and hard before wasting precious time and money on an instution.

Do I regret going? Nope I don't. Do I regret not getting my degree? Nope I don't.

Like I said I had some good experiences and I especially had one professor who was so awesome, I would say he held the unschooling philosophy. I loved his classes and I actually learned a lot. What was different? He pointed out from day one that he was the *facilitator* he put us in groups and we taught each other, gee that's an interesting concept, this was 1990-1991 BTW. He also did not grade us you either did the work and got an A or you got an incomplete, this was awesome.

I took his classes each semester, but one time I could not work with the group I was assigned, we had way too many differences of opinion. I went to my professor, a little scared but knowing what I could and couldn't do. So he gave me a separate assignment to complete so that I could get my A and pass the class. I will never forget many of the things I learned at that time.

So I hope I'm not boring anyone :)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Badges - NaBloPoMo

Badges - NaBloPoMo

The idea is to post everyday in the month of November.

Deep thoughts by Jack Handy

Or maybe by Stephanie, LOL!

I have so much going on in my head I don't know what to sort out and actually put down in writing. I have always said I'm not a writer but some people have said, sure you are, so what's my problem. I have these stigmas that still creep up I guess, from school, teachers, people, you are this, you can't do that, blah blah blah.

Yesterday I was telling some friends about how I had to go to school but I did it my way. I refused to do some assignments, I took F's and incompletes, I told teachers that they were insulting my intelligence. I'm not running a mile to mess up my hair and sweat off my make up, sheesh.

I had to be there because being a dropout was only for teenage pregnancy or losers, or druggies or whatever but it wasn't for *me*. HA! I Lived with 2 public school teachers in my 10-12th grade years. I really didn't care about school or grades and I hated how they *made* me take subjects that had nothing to do with my major. I went round and round with my *guidance counselor* on many occasions, she actually knew my dad so that was always fun :)

One thing about my dad, he tried not to set guidelines on grades but one semester my junior year he said well why don't you get all A's??? I'll give you $50 if you can do it. Well gee dad sure I'll take you up on that. So I got all A's and I got $50, dad is like see I knew you could do it, why don't you always do it. I said I don't feel like it, I'll go back to my B's now :) Getting straight A's took a bit of time, but getting B's I could do in my sleep, piece of cake. I know it wasn't like that for everyone, I saw people struggle, my dh didn't have it that easy, many friends didn't either. So I don't take it lightly but for me if I actually paid attention in class I got A's. Who cares!!! Grades are for meat and eggs not children (Kelly Lovejoy) I love that phrase!

I always spoke up and let my thoughts be known, I'll tell you what they weren't popular, I would not conform, after 12 years of *so called conditioning* they did NOT win over my mind or my spirit. They pissed me off and kept me fuming but they did not take away the spirit of *me* I was a leader, other classmates looked up to me and asked me for help, teachers asked me to help because * I got* the material, duh, like it's complicated or something...

I really didn't mean to go on about high school but I have been thinking about this so called state of *adolescence* I mean some 16,17,18 yr old grown men and women are stuck in high school sitting behind a desk being subject to some guy who gets his rocks off on being the *authority* and it makes me sick. School is no place for children and it's even worse for teenagers. They should be out doing real life tasks and projects and working with mentors in the field they are interested in and/or figuring out what they want to do and be, not stuck behind a desk listening to some garbage.

Ok I'm tired and I didn't even get to the really good stuff...
My point is and will always be Stay Out Of School, it does the Mind a Terrible Thing!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Birthday Girl

Cassie is 8, today we celebrated with our dear friends and good food and fun.


Blowing out the #8.


Playing with new squishy play doh.

Cassie and daddy having fun with play doh.
Wow 3 kids have hit the 8 year mark, 8 year old girls are definitely different than 8 year old boys :)
We all had a great day together.



Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween

Jared didn't want to kill his pumpkin so he painted it.

Ahh, pumpkin guts.

The 3 jacks.


All 6 of my kids ready to trick or treat.



Afterwards, checking out the candy.




And eating it... They ate it all night long...
Here's a little tidbit, this is the first time my kids have trick or treated, yes Kieran is 12. How does this happen you ask???
Well actually it's all my fault:) Halloween does nothing for me and I never made a big deal out of it. When we lived in the country nobody was around so it made it pretty easy to ignore. Last year we went to the harvest carnival and they had a great time but we didn't trick or treat or hand out candy, we just left the house for awhile.
This year they asked to go and at first I told them I didn't want to but Jason set me straight... it's not about me, no really, LOL!
So we just went down our road and up another and came back, they got a bunch of candy and had fun. We then came home and handed out the candy I bought until it was gone. So it looks like we will be doing Halloween from now on :)