Monday, April 30, 2007

Unschooling Voices for May

A post for Unschooling Voices

The question being:

How has unschooling changed YOU? Yes, it’s about the kids, but is it ONLY about the kids? I sometimes think unschooling has changed me more than them. What are your thoughts?

I had to answer this. How has unschooling changed ME? Wow. I guess my first response to that is, how has it not changed me. Really. It has changed me in so many ways. Or it has allowed me to be a person I never really allowed my self to be. It has brought me out. I really believe that unschooling got that evolutionary ball rolling for me, I'm continually evolving into me. :)

Unschooling has so affected our lives in a whole encompassing way, its almost overwhelming thinking about it.
Unschooling has brought joy into our lives, in a way that we never knew was possible.

I remember sitting at the computer writing to UD (Unschooling Discussion) about how happy we were since I had found unschooling. It was late at night and the kids were dancing around, the whole family was laughing and dancing and singing. It sounds like nothing now, but at that moment I realized something, we hadn't had that all out joyful, free, fun life. How liberating its been.

That almost makes our previous life seem somewhat sad. Which it was, and it wasn't. We still had happy and joyful moments, but probably only moments. There was more unhappiness and struggles for all of us, and only moments of joy and happiness. Our life has taken an about face. Now our struggles and unhappiness are the moments and the joy and happiness is our norm. :)

This all started when I realized that home "schooling" wasn't working. And why should it when schooling never did, why would I try and replicate something that didn't work. Why would I bring that into my home? So I started thinking about it. When did my kids pick up on something? When did I see that light in their eyes? It was when they were interested in it. When it had some value to them, when they enjoyed what they were doing.

My turning point came when I thought I had done this amazing unit study on Mardi Gras. I went into the whole history of it with them, Fat
Tuesday, the geography behind it and even did a craft to wrap it all up. Later on, I was telling someone how great our homeschooling had been going and turned to the kids and asked them to share with this person what they knew about Mardi Gras. (Yes, I was the trainer, they were the monkeys *cry*) What did they remember about it when I wanted them to spew forth the knowledge I had imparted to them? Hehe... They all looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. "Huh?" they all said. I continued, "remember the Mardi Gras stuff we did? New Orleans, Fat Tuesday?" Still,,"huh?" Then I said, "remember the masks we made?" Kyra and Abbi then lit up and said,,"OH yeah, the masks". Alec still just sat there.

Wow. I knew I needed to find something different. So I did more research on homeschooling. I saw the word unschooling and decided to google it. Well,, I found Sandra Dodd's site and joined some discussion lists and I've never looked back. :)

But, back to my change.

So in learning and reading about unschooling, we decided to let them become more active in their learning, in their lives. We wanted to allow them to be them. We let the control go and saw the continual amazingness in our kids, that.. which before only appeared to us in

Well, as you're going along seeing what wonderful things this freedom is bringing your kids you can't help but let it eep into your own being. I started questioning my shoulds. (Things I always felt uneasy with but never really did much about, maybe "those" voices *g*) Shoulds being, things in my life that I did that I really didn't want to be doing. Or things that lurked around in my head saying,,"you should do this" or "you shouldn't do that". I started examining those things. I started to allow myself to say no to things,,"no I don't want to go to that church anymore" (yes, the whole church thing) "no, I don't have to have my house/yard/self look a certain way" "no, I don't care what other people think".

I allowed myself to say no to things, which in turn then actually gave me the opportunity to say yes. Yes, I can be with my kids and enjoy them. Yes, we can do what we want and still learn a ton. Yes, I can be a responsible parent and still be my child's friend.

Maybe that's where unschooling has changed me the most, it has turned a life of limits into a life of possibilites. We now make choices that matter to us in a deep important way. We don't do things because we should do things, we now do things because we want to and think there's a good reason for it. We have found out that our desires and wants correspond with good results. Good results for us and good results for people and things around us.

Some glimpses into our "wide sky life". I want to thank Amy Steinberg for that phrase.

At the Grand Canyon

In Toronto, just enjoying the green grass, oh yeah, and bright sun ;)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Etsy Excitement

We created an etsy shop :) Only 1 item on it right now, one of my ponchos, but we got it up and runnin.

Abbi is helping me to create the shop's appearance and is creating little button thingys to put in places. She knows so much more about those things than me. She also thought up the name..Zenitivity.

When we do our creations we really feel like we're in this place of "zen". Hence,,a creative zen thing. *G*


We had a really nice day yesterday. Last week Kyra proclaimed that we had to go on a picnic this weekend, so off we went!

The snow and ice has cleared so we were able to hit the bike paths over at Lake Bemidji State Park. :) Even the lake was clear a few days ago. Much to my s
urprise Tim and the girls informed me that they saw a couple of sunbathers jumping into the lake! Brrrrrr...

The whole family went biking. It felt so good to get out in that fr
esh air. I just love the smell of the trees and the lake.

These pictures are still pretty gray, no green leaves yet, but it still felt amazing out there. Big sighs from me as I was going down the paths. In a few w
eeks, these paths and areas will be a sea of green.

The following 2 are of a camping site that I would like to camp at, its so nice. Come on up and visit and we'll go camping! :)

After a while Alec decided he had had enough so he and I headed back home. Tim and the girls went on to bike some more. Alec wanted to share with me some of the bosses that he was discovering in the new Kingdom Hearts he's playing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy Alec

Man, is Alec psyched. He finally got his Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, after waiting 10 *business* days-- all the way from Hong Kong, ITS HERE!! hee hee

I initially wondered why he would want this game when he's totally annihilated the original Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2 already? Well,,, there's actually 20 new bosses. He's already come across 2 and he says "They are sooo worth it!!!" hehe, he's so happy.

Very cool. The game is Japanese but the characters still talk in English, go figure. But that 's all the English there is. He printed up a bunch of charts with Japanese characters and all sorts of terms to aid him in his playing. We were very excited when we figured out the little download to our computer so we could print Japanese characters. He also had to figure out what type of converter to get in order to play a Japanese game on our PS2. You order one of these:slide card with swap magic, which came pretty quick, and worked just right. :)

Early on he didn't know if he'd want to learn Japanese at all, but as he's been playing he's changing his mind a bit. Tonight he's thinking it might be cool. (I've gotten out all of our Japanese reference books and we're ready!)


Another cool thing that happened today was that we started a yoga class again, a family class which we love and Alec came with :) He had never really wanted to go before but he decided to give it try this time. It was so fun to go with all 3 of the kids. What a glorious day~ and Tim comes home tonight too.

On the yoga theme~Namaste~

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Sissy

I could never say Julee when I was little, so my sister was Sissy to me.

My Sissy turned 50 this weekend and we w
ent to celebrate with her. Wow, time flies!
The corsage was a "joke" corsage. She had one made for my mom one time. What comes around, goes around ;)

Uncle Kurt with Abbi

Brenna and Matt

The elusive Marilyn and Tony
Grandpa and Wayne

I caught Natalie sitting down, that doesn't happen much ;)
Happy Tim and Alec
Kyra and Grandpa

We all had a great time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Crocheting Craziness

We've been crocheting. A LOT

Even our visiting nephews got into it.

I love this yarn but I forget how much work goes into just getting the lengths into balls. Alec helped me unwind and roll and roll and roll. OK, I still love the yarn. I found this in Johnson City TN when we visited Ren. Soo excited. Cutest yarnshop in an old house, called Yarntiques This first bunch is the usual color that I've used.

But now I found another color! ~Neptune~

I also made my first shawl, it was really fun. Its called Hot Shawlcolate :) (I love the name *g*) This is going to a certain soon-to-be 50 year old ;)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Le Printemps est ici?

Spring is here? Perhaps. (French is on my brain. Abbi is wanting to learn it, so we've been parlering the Francais :)

Some signs of spring have popped up in the last 24 hours, Yay!

The ladybugs have decided to move again.

I looked out my back and saw NO snow!

But wait, that's right I do live in Minnesota.

The screen door has actually thawed out. I can move it.

And I heard a wonderful sound this morning, trumpeter swans flying over head.

Even Garrison was talking about spring in Minnesota this weekend.

Its 52 degrees and I saw shorts on our neighbors *g*. It must be spring.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Just gotta share more pics

Rue sent these over, I loved them so much, just had to share. They are from our trip to the Lovejoy's and up to Hershey PA too.

I think we're pretty ding dang happy when we get to see our friends. :D

I received this horoscope today. I think I've said it before, but, I don't know how much I believe them but I like reading them. :)

I especially liked the bottom paragraph. Abbi and I were reading through it and learned a new word-- ebullience. I like that word. What a GREAT word *g*

Defined as:
1.high spirits; exhilaration; exuberance.
2.a boiling over; overflow.


n. Zestful enthusiasm.

What a great word for our unschooling life. Yeppers.

Here's the horoscope.

Fun In Action
Scorpio Daily Horoscope

A need to play can commandeer your attention today, compelling you to leave serious matters by the wayside in order to concentrate on pursuits you deem fun. Even if your circumstances require that you devote a large portion of your time or energy on mundane duties, you can still find many opportunities to enjoy yourself. Games and sports can provide you with wonderful diversions today, though you may have to gather together family and friends to ensure have plenty of participants. And your everyday chores may even seem more fun than usual today if you approach them with an eye toward competing with yourself.

When a craving for fun strikes, satisfying ourselves will almost always be a matter of proactively finding opportunities to take part in those activities we truly enjoy. We cannot wait for life to provide us with stimulus that tickles our fancies because so much of existence is concerned with serious matters. Our ebullience can be a wonderful guide that will naturally provide us with the tools we need to recognize playful prospects. We may find that we need to create our own fun and that the games or entertainment we devise carry with them an extra component of fulfillment in that they are uniquely ours. Joy thus begets more joy provided we are willing to take steps to nurture it. Your positive mood will find a practical outlet today when you keep your eyes open for opportunities to engage in the pursuits that bring you happiness.

It seems to go pretty well with what's going on in our day. We have my 2 nephews visiting which is always fun. And we have an additional friend coming over today too.

Fun and joy galore. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Amazing definition of unschooling by Rue:

"Unschooling is life as a child would live it, unencumbered by society's 'shoulds'; with wonder and spontaneity, curiosity and imagination. It's a conscious decision to live in connection with your children and to live with your eyes wide open."

That covers a lot doesn't it? Jam packed!

Life IS Good

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


And people worry that computer use will stall out creativity, check this out. (Click PLAY ;)

Very reminiscent of some Bugs Bunny cartoons :)

And check this out. Remember The Muppets and Sesame Street with the Mahna Mahna song?

(For all the world of warcraft lovers *g*) Click the "ROFLMAO"


My nephew found the first video and Abbi found the WoW one. Pretty fun :)