Sunday, October 10, 2010


It's been quite awhile since I posted. I've never been good at consistently journaling or writing in a diary. sigh.

It's autumn, now, my very favorite season. I love spending time outside in autumn. The air is crisp and cooler, the colors are beautiful, farmers markets are plentiful and provide me with the things I need for canning, and I just have an overall sense of calm and preparation.

The kids and I have been doing more regular type school stuff, according to their request. They go through phases with the way they learn. Sometimes we are exclusively and radically unschooling and other times they want to sit down and "do Math" and "do History." I enjoy the flexibility and just responding to their needs at the time. Erin and I are continuing to work through the Consumer Math course that we got last year from Oak Meadow. We're reading Greek Mythology and she's still doing Geography (although I think her interest in that is kind of ending so I'm not sure how long we'll continue that). She also expressed interest in doing Chemistry so I found a book at the thrift store and we're going to dive into that. That should be interesting!! Erin is very interest in make up (she's considering being a make-up artist in the future...for movies and fashion) so she and her friend are learning about making mineral make-up, which is cool. Adam is interested in History and has expressed the need (not "want" since he hates it) to improve his handwriting and general writing we're doing that together. James spends HOURS (literally) building Legos which is really awesome. I'm really impressed at his ability at only 4 years old (and he JUST turned 4). That's what he spends most of his time doing. Obviously, I see no need for any kind of instruction or "lessons" at his age. Occasionally, he wants to do "lessons" because he sees his big brother doing it. So, we sit down and cut paper or play playdoh or color. That lasts about 20 minutes. LOL

Amber (18) is off in Portland, on her Homeschooling Leadership Retreat. She'll be back in November. I'm so happy for her and proud of her. She amazes me. I love watching her move out into the world. :)

Life is good, winter is coming, and we're content in our big old house. :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So my oldest, Amber (18), has decided that she is going to...ahem..."train" my son, Adam (11). His training includes Writing, and I'm not sure what else. I'm really excited that they're going to do this together. Amber is a writer and is really fabulous at teaching. She and Adam have a great Chemistry and he wants to learn from her. He really dislikes Writing but wants to write better so this will be perfect. I love that she is willing (and excited) to do this. I think they are going to do a couple of days a week. Can't wait to see what they come up with!

We have also been rediscovering the Library. We love the library but I have the unfortunate disorder that makes it impossible for me to return things on time which results in my paying fees. So, we kind of just forgot about going. James and I (and whoever else wants to on any given day) have started going again and I love to see him discover the library. He really enjoys it. James has a passion for everything Robotic and we've been checking out book after book on that topic. It's pretty awesome.

I think we're going to join our local indoor pool, as well. We thought it would be a good fall/winter thing to do together and would be great for James with his sensory challenges.

The Summer is wrapping up but I love that we enjoy the WHOLE season at home and that we haven't had to abruptly put a stop to the fun. We're getting in our last days of swimming, hiking, and exploring. This weekend we're camping out in our backyard, just for fun. We're going to sleep outside, have bonfires, roast marshmallows, tie knots, explore, and learn lots, I'm sure. Life is good!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


James (almost 4) has suddenly become very interested and inquisitive. Well, he's always been curious and stuff, but I feel like he's entering this new phase of really wanting to learn about the world around him, as far as soaking in information, facts, etc. James has some delays, so this is happening for him a little later then for a lot of kids...he's on his own schedule...but what a joy to see.

Currently he's very interested in bugs and robots. The robot thing has been an obsession for awhile. Almost daily I'm taping things onto a piece of paper which is taped around his arm, to create lasers and guys and mechanical things to make him a robot. It's wonderful. James has always had a hugely active and intense imagination. He gets into character and he IS that character. He's not just pretending, he becomes the character and is that where ever we go for that time. He is very often a robot....he talks like a robot, holds his arms stiff, etc. So cute. He's also become very interested in bugs, in part because of the loud presence of Cicadas this summer. They are deafening and the other day he found the discarded shell of one...thus began his interest. We've hiked and hunted for Cicadas, played with them, gotten books on bugs, and most recently made a house out of a box for his Cicadas. He is proudly telling everyone about exoskeletons and how delicate they are. He is scouring the books we went and got at the library, full of bugs and big colorful pictures.

It's a joy. I'm really loving his litte brain and having the privelege to witness his growth and learning.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

that "fall feeling".....

Why do I have that "Fall feeling" already? It's very strange. And, even though we're unschoolers, we seem to naturally still follow the cycles of the seasons and use the summer to really decompress and get even looser then we are normally. It's a strange thing since it's not as if in the Fall we get out our curriculums and start to learn....we're learning all the time....but in the Fall I still get this feeling. It's like an anticipation, a craving, a feeling that I need to make a plan or get back into that Fall/Winter rythym.

We aren't "sit-down-and-learn" homeschoolers, obviously. As free learners we are open to the changing moods, passions, and experiences that life brings us. But, there are those times when the kids WANT something a little more, I don't know, "school-y." We go through cycles with that, as well. Some months you'll find us in our PJs at 3pm, baking cupcakes or playing a video game. Some months you'll find us up and dressed, sitting at the kitchen table doing Math or some project. It's all child-led, all the time.

Currently, my children are telling me that we're entering a more "school-y" phase. (And, believe me, our "school-y" is still far from school-y *lol*). Adam is expressing a desire to "do History & Science experiments" and Erin is continuing to want more structured "lessons" in Consumer Math and Geography. Of course, these "lessons" will be on their time, when they feel moved, and not really on any schedule (unless they want them to be). James is showing signs of developmental readiness in some areas, so I want to follow him there, as well.

Back to my "Fall feeling" any of you know what that feels like? It's really hard to's this nostalgic feeling of preparation and like we're getting ready for something new. As a child, I know I had this feeling when school-time was coming. I loved getting new notebooks, pencils, pens, a lunchbox, shoes, and school-clothes. I think that even though we don't necessarily do those things the same way I did as a kid, I still get that feeling. But, why am I having it NOW? It's only just turning towards August! I do love the feeling, though. It makes me want to do papier mache and lapbooks, it makes me want to do Yoga with my kids and go to the library. For us, those things don't only happen between the months of September and June....but it is curious that I still get that feeling and that we are still more dormant and unfocused in the summer months.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I just realized the other day that my oldest daughter and I successfully navigated the waters of life learning at home and that she is now beginning a new phase of her life, possibly away from home! Amber turned 18 last week. What a weird and beautiful thing.

As I sat with her at her LAST ever homeschooling evaluation, and listened to her speak about her experience and what she wants and where she thinks she might be going, I had just a tiny passing moment of panic. For a split second I thought, "Oh my God...did I prepare her? Did I teach her all she needs? Will she be successful?" The thoughts didn't have time to really develop or take hold because my next thoughts were, "She is so brilliant and talented and amazing. Look at her confidence and ease in expressing herself. I can't wait to see what she does next!"

Having walked this path from start to "finish" (I use that word loosely...we're never finished) with one of my children, I feel like I can stand back and see a full picture and draw from that experience. It's really interesting to be parenting children at both ends of the spectrum (and some in between) (3yo James) who is just beginning his amazing adventure of life and learning and one (18yo Amber) who has kind of come to the end of one phase of life. What's even more interesting is that they are both kind of in the same place. They are both wide-eyed, excited, afraid, reluctant, impulsive, and innocent. They are both looking to me for guidance and wisdom.

I can feel Amber pulling away, longing to fly and create her life on her own...while still holding on to my hand and the safety of our home and her life within it. And, as usual, I will simply be here, loving her, listening to her, giving guidance when it's wanted, waiting for her to take whatever step she will take, follow whatever passion she will follow, and giving her that absolute promise that I have no expectation of what she should do next.

I'm so excited to continue this adventure with her and to watch what she creates.

Amber, 4:

Amber, 18:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

See Donna sigh.

See Donna write stuff down.

See Donna jump through the hoop.

See Donna stick her tongue out.

See Donna sigh.

(homeschooling "evaluations" today....blah)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I love summertime! There's just so much to learn out in the world, when nature is busy and buzzing and alive! Don't get me wrong, I love winter, as well...there's a whole different energy and life to explore and enjoy...but I love being able to run my hands through the dirt and really commune with the earth in the Spring/Summer. Growing some of our own food is so cool and I love to see little hands gently placing plants and seeds into the earth, then covering them with dirt, anticipating growth.

As I see other kids, wrapping up their school year, I'm struck by this separation that our society has created. We've compartmentalized learning. During the Fall/Winter/early-Spring you are in school, learning and shut off from the world outside. Then, in the Summer, the kids celebrate because they aren't required to learn anymore for a few months and the parents moan because their kids will be home and "what the heck will i do with them for 3 months?" It's all so freaky to me!

Then I look at my home & family and I see kids who just continue living, all the time, they flow with the cycles and seasons and just experience learning throughout the whole year. There's no "now is time to learn" and "now we stop learning." There's no requirement to learn, there's no separation between living, learning, and playing. It's never "time to play" or "time to do school." I'm so so so grateful for this life we live! I love the natural rythyms that just happen! I love that my kids go through very natural cycles; at times they appear to be doing "nothing" (even though we all know that's not true) and then at other times they are engrossed in a project or "school-like" subject for days on end. And it's all because THEY WANT TO!

It all just makes sense. Not just with learning, but as a whole lifestyle. We eat when we're hungry...not by the clock or according to some arbitrary schedule. We sleep when we're tired. We learn all the time!

:::sigh::: I love my life. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

what we're up to

I haven't updated in a bit. Life is happening, who has time to blog? *lol* We're all busily engaged in our individual passions and activities. The kids are proving more and more every day that we're on the right path. I don't think I ever held out and trusted long enough to really see it happen before. We've been mostly unschooling for 10 years, but I never totally let go and got radical. How awesome it is! We've gone through the deschooling, detoxing, and binge-living (all video games, all computer, all tv), to get to the other side where it really gets good. Here's what everyone's up to....

Amber is excited to have been hired as a Camp Coordinator at one of the City summer camps this summer. It's a month and a half long and everyday. But, she really really wanted it because it will pay for her Homeschool Leadership Retreat that she's attending in October in Oregon! Boy that takes some pressure off. So, she'll get $2500 for this month of work. Not too shabby! I think it will be a great experience for her and the focus is on Literacy which is right up her alley. Amber has also become very outspoken and knowledgeable about responsible living, eating, and farming. She's so awesome. Oh, and one other new activity...she's trying out a Philosophy discussion group here in the City that sounds pretty interesting. Otherwise she's writing lots (as usual) and just being her awesome self!

Erin has continued to be pretty focused on her art. She's also into some RPG game with her friend that I can't remember the name of. Erin chooses to do some traditional learning so has asked that I sit down with her a few times a week to do that. She mostly just wants to know stuff so we're doing Math & Geography right now.

Adam is always busy playing his RPGs and video games, but he has stopped doing ONLY that. He's still working on his model of Rome. He and a group of friends are starting a D&D group, so we're working on cleaning out the basement to create a space for them to meet and play. Adam wants to build a grid table (that's probably not what it's called...what do i know?) to play on, so we'll be doing that. He also just got all of the Percy Jackson books for his birthday so we're going to start reading those together.

James is a wild man. *lol* What else can I say? He's all about robots right now. He slips into character several times throughout the day, so we're never sure who he is. He lets us know very loudly, though. He saw his specialist the other day...we adjusted his supplements and talked about things I can do to help with his energy and impulsivity. I'm realizing that James may need something a little different then the other kids, so I'm open to what that means. But, I still feel really committed to unschooling him as well. We'll figure it out. Hmmm...I need to do a search on "unschooling kids with special needs." If anyone knows of any good resources for that, please let me know.

And me....let's see....I'm freakin busy. Having just lost my partner of 11 years, I'm kind of in a bit of a caccoon-like stage. I need to go through this process and get to the other side. As sad and angry as I feel at her, and as confused as I am about the whole thing, when I let go and detached from her I felt my world open up and felt the flow of energy start again. That flow has been backed up for awhile, while I was stuck in HER stuff. Now it's flowing and all these things are happening. Opportunity abounds....I feel really optimistic and hopeful. And, I just TRUST that all is how it should be and that more will be revealed!

Thanks for reading! I'll leave ya with my current favorite picture....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Great Article!!!!

Had to repost this in it's entirety....I totally could have written it myself!

from Life Learning magazine, March/April 2008

Am I Giving Them Enough?
When Unschooling Feels Like Unparenting
by Theresa Shea

Normally, homeschoolers are sprinkled here and there throughout cities and, due to this spotty distribution, they have little effect on mainstream parenting. I have the rare good fortune to live in a neighborhood with seven other homeschooled families in it. Our local playground is filled with children of all ages during school hours. At the library, we often meet one another on sunny afternoons. Last winter, we organized a homeschooling hockey clinic on Wednesdays after lunch at our community league rink. When the sun was shining and our skates were carving up the ice, we couldn’t help but feel sad that our children were the only ones out enjoying the beautiful weather.
We are the wild element, the bad example to schooled children! We represent an alternative lifestyle. When we get together en masse, we are a formidable crowd. We provide living proof that not all children have to spend five days a week shut away from the larger community. There are a lot of children in our neighborhood, but one by one the daytime access to these playmates dwindled as kindergarten and first grade claimed many of them. Because of our presence, however, it’s not uncommon to hear schooled children ask their parents, “Why can’t I be a homeschooler?”

The kind of freedom homeschooled children enjoy – no early bedtimes, sleeping in and no homework, to name just a few – must be perceived as a threat to mainstream parenting. I assume that the parents whose kids are in school tolerate us. Sometimes I’m convinced they avoid us. Probably they judge us. Alternatively, they might just feel sorry for us. They can’t imagine spending the entire day with their children. So when their own kids inform them that not all children go to school, they likely have ample ammunition to justify the importance and necessity of doing curriculum and regular schooling. Every now and then, however, their real thoughts about homeschooling slip out. But that’s okay because, as homeschoolers, many of us are engaged in the same comparison and judging of their children’s schooled lives. At times we mingle warily, at times freely. Most importantly, to preserve relationships, we routinely keep our opinions to ourselves. After all, every one of us believes we are doing what’s best for our children. No one way is perfect, and it does little good to create an “us against them” standoff, for even though the abundance of homeschoolers in my immediate vicinity suggests we’re not a minority, I know that’s not the case. The peers my children will have as adults will likely have been schooled. Some of them will have fared better than others. Regardless of who went to school and who didn’t, they will be of the same generation and they will find common denominators in order to get along.

To my mind, parenting today is more challenging than ever before. Perhaps at no other time in history has so much focus and attention been spent on analyzing how children develop, how they don’t develop and what we need to do to get them to develop. Sadly, today’s children are diagnosed with all kinds of deficiencies and behavioral problems. Professional pathologists analyze the speech of kindergarten children. Reading tests are done at an increasingly younger level. Schools practice lock-downs as commonly as fire drills. One can almost feel the collective held breath of an entire community of schooled parents who desperately hope their child will not be the bullied one or the one singled out as a remedial student. Articles in magazines discuss the realities and pitfalls of competitive parenting. Somewhere along the line we have lost our bearings. Rampant individualism is replacing cooperative communities as more and more folks operate not collectively but as individual family units (and even within these units, there is often a shocking lack of interaction).

The homeschooling community, because we routinely seek each other out for social activities, may be more cooperative out of necessity. However, even though I’m not drawn into discussions about what school is better, what teacher I wish my kids had or who is getting better marks, I am not immune to the anxieties and pitfalls that stem from contemporary parenting. Perhaps this says more about me and my own insecurities than it does about homeschooling, which is an arena that challenges me in positive ways because I can’t blame the “teachers” if my kids don’t appear to be learning anything.

I wasn’t the mother who always knew she’d homeschool her children. Luckily for me, I had friends and neighbors who were already on the “beam,” so to speak, and who answered my many questions. One friend said, “I didn’t want someone else to have my children for the best hours of the day.” The coin dropped when I realized I didn’t want that either.

For the most part I am the happy life learning mother of three children aged nine, seven and five, and I’m immensely grateful for the freedom and flexibility my family enjoys. Not doing school-at-home or following any set curriculum enables us to set our own schedule, make spontaneous plans, lie low and read all day or pursue any old adventure that comes our way. My children have never gone to school and, aside from asking once to go to a daycare that had enticing toys and a playground barred to them by a chain link fence, they have never voiced a desire to attend school.

Yet I must admit that there are days when I question my pedagogical beliefs within the homeschool community and wonder if I’m giving my children enough. I’m not very “crafty,” you see, and, aside from music lessons, I avoid putting my children into activities that have pre-set learning outcomes. However, parenting is not something done in isolation and I’m always rubbing shoulders with parents whose children, schooled or homeschooled, are engaged in highly “productive” activities. Sometimes I wish I had a Teflon shield (“force field UP!”) that I could deploy to ward off well-intentioned bits of advice or to redirect the stressed vibes that emanate from highly-ambitious parents who seem to believe they know exactly what’s best for their children. On a good day I can easily protect my chosen family existence and defend it if need be. However, on a bad day (like when the children are fighting incessantly, the house is beyond chaotic or my patience is at an all time low) I find myself falling victim to the belief that other people are doing far more interesting things with their children than I am. While I’m trying to lock myself in the bathroom for a moment’s peace, these families are likely working on science projects, engaging in clay and woodworking instruction, taking sewing lessons or painting murals in their bedrooms.

By contrast, my days with my children are largely unstructured and unambitious. My kids usually sleep in. Sometimes we start the day by reading. Sometimes they go their own way and listen to book tapes, play dollhouse, work on their LEGO base or play hockey in the hall. At some point in the day they ask when we can all go to a café (yes, my need for an afternoon coffee has resulted in having three café kids). I love the mornings that start slow and begin without any rushing whatsoever.

So why, then, if I’m mostly content with my day-to-day life, do I have the tendency to compare my unschooling regime with that of others? Where does this underlying kernel of dissatisfaction or doubt come from? I guess I’m not immune to the cult of competitive parenting that has contemporary families engaged in far too many activities. Yet I consciously try to resist the mainstream map (or trap) that has parents running hither and yon, continually linked to a cell phone. No, I think my impulse to compare stems from having a guilty conscience. By not having my children in school, I feel like I’m getting away with something big, that my family and I have somehow managed to slip between the cracks of the overly-scheduled world out there, and we are all laughing. It can’t last, can it? The shoe’s going to drop, isn’t it?

But here’s the glitch: I also have a guilty conscience because I enjoy leaving my children alone and waiting for them to initiate activities. In fact, what unnerves me is that I think I do my best parenting when my children entertain themselves. Abandoning the need to teach my kids specific subjects can, at times, make me feel negligent. Shouldn’t I be taking a more hands-on approach to their learning? Shouldn’t I be introducing them to numerous new things each week to ensure that I don’t miss any outstanding abilities they might have? Deep down, am I really a true believer in the unstructured life we lead as life learners or am I simply lazy? Isn’t unschooling, in a way, simply a gussied up form of unparenting? Sure, I cook with my children when they ask, and yeah, I chase the puck on the rinks with my boys and, okay, I can load stitches on a knitting needle for my daughter. But I’m also really happy when they do their own thing. In fact, I’m mostly operating on the belief that it’s not my job to initiate great projects for my children. I like to believe that giving them their freedom is the best thing I can do for them. On good days, I don’t feel guilty at all about letting them find ways to amuse themselves but on a bad day I think: Shouldn’t a real homeschooler be more engaged with her children? Shouldn’t she have some kind of a “plan?”

I usually suffer this educational crisis when I visit the home of a parent leading a more structured homeschooling life. As we all know, there is a wide range of pedagogical beliefs in the homeschooling community and there’s also no shortage of things to get involved in. The daily choices can, in fact, be overwhelming. By trying to keep life simple, I’m hoping to slow down a little and create some kind of sustainable desire in day-to-day living. So what if my kids spend their days listening to book tapes and building Lego bases or drawing? So what if they play hair salon or pretend they’re in a spaceship? Does it really matter if my eldest son can name all 30 NHL teams off the top of his head but has trouble remembering the ten provinces and three territories? (If only more expansion teams would come to Canada!) Am I failing him? Or will he figure it out on his own one day?

It’s important for me to remember that, to paraphrase the writer Allison McKee, not only am I unschooling my children but I’m also unschooling myself. The latter is the greater challenge of the two because when I succumb to doubts about the path I’ve taken I know it stems from my own schooled childhood. I received the gold stars. I won the spelling bees. My learning was structured so that I’d always be told when it was time to do a history project or to hand in a book report. Did I love school? No. I just happened to be smart enough to get by without much effort. From a parenting perspective, however, I look back on my own childhood with mild regret. If I hadn’t gone to school, what might I have done instead?

A woman I know once told me her son had been a late talker. “If he didn’t talk to me, I didn’t talk to him,” she laughed. Yet he learned how to speak. I believe the same thing will be true of my children. If I don’t lead or prompt them, they will naturally end up leading me and leading themselves. Aside from asking them to play music on a daily basis, I’m as hands-off as I can be, yet I’m always around for guidance and assistance should my children ask for it. That’s the key thing – to have them ask. I try not to pose the questions for them and I also try not to test them by asking them questions to which I already know the answers (no easy task, that one!).

When my youngest son, Levi, first began to write his name, he spelled it I-V-E-L. I was amazed! He was learning his own letters! I didn’t need to point out he’d written his name backwards. I knew he’d figure it out on his own at some point, and he did. However, to some people, the fact that I didn’t “correct” his writing (“No, Levi, you’ve written your name backwards; it’s L-E-V-I!”) would be seen as an act of unparenting. For isn’t it my job or duty to correct him? Yes, if he came right out and asked, “Is this right?” But he never asked.

I remain convinced that many of my neighbors and acquaintances also believe my unschooling methods are a nifty way of unparenting. My children, for instance, are often the only unparented ones playing outside. Over the years my husband and I have taught them road safety and we certainly did our time on the sidewalk when they were really small. Now we trust that all will be well. If it’s not, we expect one of the kids will come and find us. But to the other parents on the block, our parenting likely looks negligent. Little do they know how much time our children spend playing together while theirs are in school. Even I must admit, however, that when my kids were outside in the dark one night at 11:15 enjoying a game of glow-in-the-dark wand tag I suddenly realized that my unschooling lifestyle could probably land me in trouble with social services or child welfare. Shouldn’t they be in bed by that time or, at the very least, inside?

Every now and then another parent will say something that gives me an insight into what they really think of homeschooling. A friend of mine whose children go to school recently told me about the new piano teacher she had found. For awhile, I was contemplating changing my daughter’s instructor so I asked a few questions. She replied that the teacher was pleased that her daughter went to school because she liked kids who had discipline in their lives. “I’m not sure,” she went on, “what she’d make of a homeschooler.” Of course she didn’t mean anything by it, but the comment revealed her belief that homeschoolers have no discipline in their lives. What I wanted to ask, but didn’t, was how she thought a child learned “discipline” by being dropped off at school in the morning and having all her time structured for her until being released at 3:22? Of course, my friend’s brand of discipline is the popular one: It means learning to do what you’re told. I would prefer to see discipline defined as the ability to structure one’s time or, better yet, as the ability to handle freedom.

Most people believe that sending their children to school is easier than keeping them home, the theory being that daily separations help to replenish the supply of patience. But it doesn’t work that way. Parenting has its own “zone.” If you’ve ever gone away for a day or two without your children, you’ll know what I mean. I return home thinking I’ll be a deep well of patience but it takes me some time to get used to everybody talking at me simultaneously. My husband, meanwhile, having been on his own, is in the “zone.” One doesn’t step in and out of parenting seamlessly. Surprisingly, I have discovered that the more time I spend with my children, the easier it is to be with them. School creates a whole host of problems that parents are willing to accept in order to procure their own “freedom.” My siblings and I spent our childhoods going to school. For ten months of the year we were separated five days a week, for the majority of the day. When we returned home, we watched television or played with friends, then we had more “school” to do in the form of homework. The parenting we received was transitional – we were transitioned to school, transitioned from school, then readied again for school. Much of our out-of- school time was spent preparing for school. I’m telling you this to illustrate that unschooling my children is not a natural thing for me.

It takes time to rid ourselves of the need to accomplish things educationally with our children. How well I related to Allison McKee’s anecdote in Unschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves (Life Learning, May/June 2006) when she admitted to taking over her son’s pond project by suggesting ways he could better chart the changes. Only later did she discover that by applying so many structures she completely deflated her son’s sense of wonder and fascination with the initial idea. But staying out of the way or minding my own business does not come naturally. Hence the occasional doubt about unschooling and the inevitable fall that follows into believing that it’s really a way of sanctioning unparenting.

The good news is that every time I go through a period of questioning my pedagogical beliefs I come out the other side with a renewed conviction that life learning is exactly what my family needs and benefits from. It’s the “schooled” voice in my head that wants me to believe my children aren’t truly learning anything but, when I stop to question that belief, I see an abundance of proof that suggests the contrary.

My eldest son Dashiell, for example, learned how to read on his own when he was eight. He didn’t have to suffer through phonics or undergo any alphabet drills. Again, it was his interest in hockey that got him going. He wanted to be able to read the sports page on his own. That same interest in sports has furthered his math and geography skills. Why not get the world map out when watching the World Cup of Soccer to see how far some of the teams traveled? My daughter Sadie, at seven, is going through the same preliminary reading process that her older brother did. Every day she asks me how to spell certain words as she writes her “books” and when we go on outings she often asks me to tell her what signs and advertisements say. Sadly, she too will be reading soon. I say sadly because, once children learn how to read, there is no going back to that time of innocence when they are immune to print culture, to reading everything from store and brand names to some of the smuttier graffiti around town. I hope my daughter takes her time learning to read and I hope my youngest also doesn’t break any early literacy records. I routinely wince when I hear parents of schooled children complaining about the difficulty of getting their six- and seven-year-olds to read. I wish I had the courage to tell them all just to leave their children alone. What’s the big rush? Children have an entire lifetime to be literate. Their pre-literate life is so short.

In the long run, asking the “big” pedagogical questions is not a bad thing. In fact, it ultimately strengthens and confirms my more intuitive convictions about unschooling. I want to give my children a childhood that’s not entirely governed by the clock. I want them to have time to develop their imaginative worlds. I want them to know that freedom from the daily grind is not something that necessarily stops once you become an adult. And I want them to understand that a life in which one simply grins and bears it, because everyone else is doing the same thing, is not a life they need to lead. I know that, to many parents who are leading a more mainstream life, my unschooling looks suspiciously like unparenting. But if “unparenting” to them means having no set bedtime, no “discipline” and no real structured learning, so be it.

I know I’ve found the right thing for my family. And I still feel like we’re getting away with something big.

Theresa Shea is the mother of three unschooled children. Her poetry and non-fiction have appeared in several magazines and anthologies in Canada. She has just begun to seek a publisher for her first novel, The Quickening, which deals with the complex moral issues surrounding contemporary conception and birth technologies. An amateur violinist, Theresa spends much of her time trying to get her children to do their music practice. Any free time she has generally involves drinking americanos in cafés, reading the latest in contemporary fiction and non-fiction or homeschooling her new golden retriever puppy. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This is why I choose to trust.....

We've been back to completely and radically unschooling for several months. For most of those months, Adam has done nothing but play video games (and I'm not saying that in a negative way, I see lots of value in video games). He plays computer games primarily....mostly RPGs....he loves them. Lord of the Rings, Age of Empires, etc. He pretty much woke up and started playing and kept playing throughout the day until bed time. He ate at the computer often and I think he maybe would have been happy to sleep there if it were more comfortable. Obviously, it wasn't 24/7...he took hikes with us, we play board games, have conversations, cook together, etc....but MUCH of his time was spent doing what he loves and what he loves is playing video/computer games. I loved hearing him tell me about his strategies, problem solving, and about beating levels and games. I sit down with him when he wants me to and he tells me about what he's doing. He's come a long way with his anger and frustration when dealing with these games since they can be frustrating and hard sometimes.

His latest obsession has been Age of Empires which is a really great game. And exactly what I know happens when a child is given the freedom to follow his passions and enjoy self-propelled learning is happening. He has now decided to built a model of a Roman city and outlying landscapes. He has been doing research on the computer, printing out pictures of different anciety Roman buildings, soldiers, encampments, farms, cities, etc., etc. and putting the picture in a sheet protector which he then puts in a binder. He has drawn a picture of what he wants the model to look like and the elements he wants to be present. He has been learning about the tools and weapons used, the banners the ancient Roman armies carried, and how the ancient Romans lived. He pulled a large board out of the basement, cleaned it off, scraped off the paper and stuff that was on it, and is planning on painting it tomorrow. He plans on making half of the board a model of an ancient Roman city and the other half a valley with an army encampment. Suddenly the game has taken second string to this real life project that he started HIMSELF because he WANTED to and because it's something that HE is interested in.

Gosh...I absolutely LOVE watching this stuff happen. :) And it IS what happens if we just trust and get out of the way.

Friday, March 26, 2010

this awesome unschooling life

I just love life. And I love my kids. They're so freakin' wise. I don't know if I was as wise as them at their age. Or...maybe noone asked so I didn't know I was wise.

Had a wonderful conversation with Amber (17) today. It started out being about something with her, where I was kind of checking in and seeing how she was, voicing some anger/resentment I was feeling (not at her) around a situation, and just making sure she was taking care of herself and honoring any boundaries that she needs. It ended up being great, wisdom-filled conversation about how we live our lives.

During our conversation we kind of shifted and talked about human beings and how human beings seem to need a group, a dogma, a *fit* into some idea/philosophy/movement. It doesn't matter what it is...a religion, a political idea, a anarchist movement, whatever. So, in the soul's journey to find, define, and create itself, in our human form, we look for those who are like us and use that group to further define ourselves. In addition, we seem to look for mentors, leaders who inspire, or "gurus." This is all fine and good, I think, and perfectly natural.

But...what Amber and I were talking about...was how often (most of the time, probably 99%) these groups have a dogma. Even the groups who are supposedly non-dogmatic, have a dogma of their own (I wonder if they know that?). So, people have an interest or a the desire to unschool.....we seek out others who unschool (perfectly natural), we talk to people who have been unschooling and look for encouragement and support (perfectly natural), but at some point there's an invisible line that may be crossed where we lose ourself in the group. And, what's funny is that we may lose ourself in a group whose "dogma" includes being true to your self, being yourself, etc. "We" start to look to this group, or the "leaders," to tell us what that means. Who our "self" is begins to change because our self starts to be modeled after the leader's "self." We want to be like them, we want to do it right, we want to be an unschooler and the way to be an unschooler is to be like other unschoolers and do what other unschoolers do. Which is totally contradictory, really.

When I pulled Adam from cyberschool and returned (again) to being true to myself and my children and live with them in the way that we are most comfortable, most joyful, must US, I sought out people who were living radically and unschooling. There is so much value in the websites I found and the groups I joined. About two weeks after joining groups and reading a lot, I found myself forcing myself to be a certain way...the way I was "supposed" to be as a radical unschooler. A couple weeks later, after spending more time feeling bad about myself then good, I felt like I was doing it all wrong and life was definitely not happy. What I then began to realize was that I had lost my self in the supposed quest to find myself. I wasn't even lost in the beginning. I already was happy, living joyfully, being myself, etc. I had been "convinced" that there is A WAY to do it, that the RIGHT way to do it is to follow these steps (that someone came up with) to being a radical unschooler. Which is funny since radical unschooling IS about being who you are, with your family, living freely and joyfully and allowing everyone to BE and live and learn, etc. That suggests to me that there is no RIGHT way. I mean, who is any person to tell another person that they are not unschooling?? Or to judge whether another person is parenting well or right or in the most loving way? I began to get very uncomfortable and to feel the fundamentalism in it all.

So, I've spend the past couple of weeks getting back to my true self...I already WAS living in a way that was free and joyful. Noone can tell me who or what I am. I love to be inspired by other people, I seek inspiration....but I want that from people who are just BEING real and honest and humble in the way they live. I most appreciate that from people who don't have to talk about it, who just ARE. Amber mentioned how if you are truly BEING, then you don't have to talk about it. If you start to talk about how you are BEING, then you kind of cease the being. (so smart!!!) She compared it to breathing...if we start to think about breathing and the need to breathe then we stop breathing naturally and start breathing in a weird way. Try it! If you are just LIVING and BEING and it's real and good and honest, then you don't really have to think about it, analyze it or just IS!

I am never comfortable living in the extremes, because I don't believe that anyone or anything is 100% all the time....and when I am around anyone who claims that, I am uncomfortable and pretty much don't believe them. When I start to see a few people who KNOW the way to do things and counsel others on how to do it, I begin to wonder how many people are sitting and feeling badly about themselves because they just can't get it. I wonder how many people go throughout their days, second guessing everything they're doing with their children, wondering if it's the right way to unschool, and end the day feeling bad about themselves and like they just can't do it. What I say to them is that THEY are wise, THEY know exactly what to do and say, THEY need to stop wondering what some other person would do because that other person is not living their life and doesn't know shit about it. Be inspired, be motivated by others, but don't give them your power!!! Don't give up yourself so that you can fit into some label!

In every group or movement there are the people put on pedestals who have it all down pat. Those people DON'T have it all down pat and that they DON'T always do it right. I'm betting that some of them don't even want to be on that pedastal at all and that THEY feel pressure and anxiety about being there. But, there are some that need the pedastal so that they feel safe and secure in that feeling that they don't have any more work to do except to show everone else how to do it. God, I never want to be there. At the end of the day, I don't care what I'm called, what groups I fit into, what my philosophy may be long as I lived that day true to MY self, true to my children, with humility and honesty and always a willingness to learn and change, it's all good.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

We discovered an AWESOME opportunity for Amber next Fall. A friend mentioned something called Homeschool Leadership Retreats so we checked it out, thought it looked awesome, and registered Amber for the Fall Retreat in Ashland Oregon!! She's really excited and so am I!!!!! She's choosing to do that instead of Not Back to School Camp this year since both are pretty pricey and the Retreat is a much more awesome opportunity. She'll be there for over a month. I'm so happy for her! She's looking for a new job to start saving money. I'm just so happy she'll be able to travel and get out West which is what her soul has been craving.

Things are going and flowing, happiness abounds, life is good. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's been awhile since I updated, but that's just because life has been really busy! Too busy to live it and then write it down! :)

We're having so much fun, being present with each other; learning, living, experiencing, and dreaming. We're planning for Spring and Summer, seasons that allow us to be outside more with the earth and all of her gifts. Our plans include an Unschooling Conference in June (camping for a week) which we're all REALLY excited about. We'll probably travel somewhere else but we're just not sure, yet. We toyed with the idea of renting an RV and just going for a couple of weeks...but then after researching we realize how much $$ that would cost and we're just not in a position to do that. But, no worries, we'll dream up something else.

The girls are planning on doing something with a local museum in the summer which will be cool. And Amber will be attending her beloved Not Back to School Camp in Vermont in September again.

Everyone is doing projects and just really enjoying their passions and things that make them feel joyful. I love to see each of them doing that and to be present to them, helping them if they need help. Adam is going to teach me to play Bakugan and Amber and I have a creative project we want to do. Erin has started making stencils (creating them and cutting them out with an exacto) and stenciling things on Tshirts, which has been really awesome.

I'm just so in awe of all of them. They make my heart sing! :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

life, life, and more life

Things have been going well here in the big red the way, I called this blog "Big Red House" because when we moved into our big old house almost 10 years ago, the kids started calling it the Big Red House (it's big and Unfortunately, because of it's age, and the expense that would be involved in refurbishing the wood exterior, we've begun the process of putting siding on, so it's no longer red (well, half of it isn't). This makes us sad, but, c'est la vie. We still love our house and will always think of it as the Big Red House.


We've gotten into a sort of comfortable flow, I think. The girls pretty much do their own thing, occasionally asking me for help with something, money for something, etc. We often hang out in the evenings, after little James is in bed, which is nice. Things are just kind of nice. There's a kind of an easy, comfortable, free vibe going on. Just like I like it.

Adam and I exploded his volcano, Mount Moon, for the first time on Friday. That was lots of fun. He plans on building a town beneath it so that we can then watch the town perish. mwahaha.

James is into everything Robots right now. He's all about robots and tanks. We spend many hours talking in "man" voices, fighting, battling, then being friends, then shooting things up, etc. I love to listen to him play and to play with him when he is tired of playing alone. He's got the best imagination. I don't think I've ever met/seen a 3yo quite like James!!

I, personally, am thinking about getting back to doing some sewing for my store. I've taken a break since before Christmas and am feeling ready to get back into it. And, I feel like since we have created a free, open space for learning and living together, now there is room for me and my creativity. Before I felt like it was something I could only do after I "did what needed to be done with the kids." Now I feel like it's all a part of the flow and like I do have the time, whenever I want to make space for it.

Amber also wants to start learning to sew, so we'll be doing that soon.

There's just so much we can do! Every day is free and open and just waiting for us to create it and live in it! I love not having the pressure to get this lesson done, or sign in to a cyberschool, or get in our hour of lessons, or whatever. Each day I am trusting more and more and seeing with OPEN eyes what the truth is about life and learning. It's not about a 2yo saying the ABCs or keeping up with other kids, or whether a kid can say his multiplication tables. Connecting on a daily basis, hearing, listening, talking, BEING, laughing, creating, snuggling, feasting on food for the SOUL....THAT is what it's all about.

Today will be beautiful and full of surprises and's all open and waiting space, to be filled with what we choose to fill it with! That's just so awesome!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

creativity abounds!

Adam likes to play with fire (who doesn't, really?). He's allowed to use fire in our backyard in the fire pit when he wants to. My only "rules" are that he has to keep the fire in the pit and he isn't allowed to burn plastic or other materials that would be toxic when burned and he can't add gasoline or lighter fluid, etc. He does a good job and I totally trust him to be responsible. He's already learned a lot just by doing, like: reaching into the fire to pick up something isn't a good idea, grabbing onto the handle of a cast iron pot that's in the fire (with bare hands) isn't a good idea, and when you throw in a plastic action figure to see what happens it produces a black toxic smoke that isn't very good for you or the environment (he just couldn't resist...he is 10 afterall). "Playing" with fire, for Adam, is also a good lesson in focusing and being present. There's a very quick and sometimes painful consequence when a fire-tender is not present and mindful.

Amber has been teaching herself to play the guitar for several years. She started out on my sister's old acoustic and then 2 years ago got a new guitar of her own for her birthday. She did take lessons briefly in the beginning of her learning but quickly decided that she'd rather go it alone and teach herself. She's done amazingly well and plays daily. Sometimes she takes her guitar and sits down in our town somewhere, playing. She has written several songs and has video taped herself singing/playing.

James discovered yesterday that he can cut with scissors all by himself!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Did I mention that Adam is so happy and free these days? He just seems so much more relaxed. He's working on the new RPG creator program that we downloaded, he's enjoying friends, reading, playing his Lord of the Rings game, building forts outside and in his room, hanging out with me and his sisters, reading a book with Jamie, and more! He's just generally happier and I haven't felt much anger coming from him, either. I'm so happy for him. I'm learning a lot about WHO he is, I'm enjoying listening to him and hanging out with him while he explains his different games and things he's doing. He loves to share what he's doing with everyone. And this shift in my own attitude has allowed me to just really be open to that sharing. It doesn't matter if it's something I'm in to....HE is into it and being present to him while he shares that with me is a real gift. I love to listen to him (and this boy sure can talk) tell me about what he's excited about, nervous about, worried about, happy about. He's so much more important then ANYTHING I might "need" to get done at that moment. And because he is getting this attention and he knows I am present to him he is more himself which is a sweet, loving, compassionate, generous, funny kid!

Erin and I had time to talk some this week. We connected about friendships and just different things going on with her. Again, it was awesome to hear her thoughts and opinions on things. Erin is more quiet with her thoughts and takes more time to get them out in a conversation. So, when she feels like sharing, I really want to be present to that. She's so insightful and brilliant. I really have to quiet myself and allow her room to express what she has to say.

Amber is really growing and maturing. She's so wise. More wise then I was at 17. It's such a joy to see her grow; I really look forward to seeing what she does next. She has decided that she's not going to go to college right away. She wants to travel, and I always knew she would. She feels like she wants to travel while she's young and really has thought it out. She has felt pressured to go to college and has felt like it's what's expected (not by me). She's absolutely right when she says that she feels like she'd waste her time and talents MORE by GOING to college right now. I so respect her ability to see things another way and look "outside the box." When so many people still think that there's only one way to success; I'm so thrilled that she knows that this is not so and that success means something different to her. She's open to college in the future but just has no desire to do that now. And, I TRUST that she is creating her own experience in an amazing and insightful way.

What an awesome journey we're on together.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Week in Review

What a wonderful week this has been. We are slowly remembering what this life together is all about and are embracing it. The kids have naturally moved back into the way it should be. It's taking me a little longer, but I'm getting there. What great lessons my kids teach me. Amber has been amazing. She helps me to see and to understand. I am learning so much about myself and about how my own issues effect my children. I am letting go of some things and just working to really trust and allow our days to shape themselves and evolve. I do not need to control...things don't have to be in order...a project does not have to be done a certain way and it is beautiful just how my child creates's ok if the plan changes. There are things that I thought I had let go of and worked on, that have resurfaced and need to be worked on again. It has been a really eye-opening week. The most important thing I learned this week (thanks to amber) is that the beauty and joy is in the experience and the creation, not in the outcome...the outcome is not important and I have to allow the experience to just happen and go in different directions and just follow the beautiful, creative minds of my children without worrying about the "product" or the end result. My OCD does not like this lesson is very freeing for me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

wow. how did i get so far away from center? i'm having such a hard time just letting go and trusting. life has been lighter, and more full of joy for the past week, but in my own head i am still worrying and feeling the need to "manipulate." asking the kids what they want to do. suggesting projects. feeling like i should be doing something. i've got to get to that place of trust and presence and just BEING.

our success is not measured by the chalkboard painted on the wall, the beginnings of projects that are "unschooly." now i feel like i'm preoccupied with "am i unschooling? is this unschooling?" and i know at my core that i'm obsessing and that obsessing is another way to control.

somehow i have become full of fear. so a week later i still feel like crying and still feel like i'm "doing it wrong." and i know it's not something i should be DOING but just BEING.

i'm a pretty intense person. i analyze and philosophize and discuss and want to do things right. it is hard for me to just let go. granted, i have connected more with my children in the past week then i have in the past year. the laughter and joy is back in the house. cyberschool is out the window. adam is like a different kid. i have to remember all of those things. all of the other stuff is just in my own head. i question myself, beat myself up.....somehow i have lost my self-worth and self-confidence.

so, my PLAN is to let go of the plan, let go of the control, and just really try to trust and BE. i KNOW that this lifestyle of unschooling is the way....the proof is in my oldest, Amber, who has been unschooled for a long long time and is bright, amazing, confident, wise, and herSELF. i need allow my other kids to get there....i AM allowing it....but i want to allow it for myself too, i want to feel that freedom again. i know i will. it's just hard to get there sometimes.

Monday, January 11, 2010


today was just one of those of those days that is just, good. i feel like i connected with my kids. had a great conversation with my oldest, Amber, about what she wants and the direction she wants to take, now. hung out with all of them in different moments. smiled with all of them. we had a nice dinner together that was more filled with laughter then this house has been in awhile. then we watched a movie together and the house is quiet now, everyone kind of doing their own thing. jamie is reading to adam and both girls are cyber-socializing (lol, i just made that up). nothing extravagant happened, no big plans, no big events, it was just good.

i like these days. i'm so grateful to be living this life with my family. it's good and it's exactly as it should be.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

detoxing myself

I've been spending the past few days detoxing and just immersing myself again in writings and wisdom from other unschoolers. I am remembering slowly what this lifestyle means and am I feel like I'm re-learning it myself. It comes so naturally to children (which is a real testament to it in and of itself) but can be so hard for us grown-ups to get it. It's funny. I've been looking at wonderful websites and blogs created by unschoolers and in the back of my mind I've been thinking, "Ok, so if I can just find someone to tell me how to do it!" LOL Um...right. My mind still wants someone to give me a recipe, a structure for success, a checklist for what to do. And then I remember and laugh at myself and just take a deep breath.

Probably one of the best websites I'm reading is Joyfully Rejoycing (thanks Anne!). It is fantastic and just so full of information, encouragement, answers, etc., etc. AND, it also discusses unschooling and parenting which is just so awesome. Because unschooling isn't separate. It's not like "school" vs. "home" or "homeschool" vs. "family time" or whatever. I actually don't even really like the name unschooling because it has "schooling" in it, which it isn't, so it's kind of a misnomer....but.....anyways, this site is just amazing. Go there. Now. (well, not RIGHT now, finish reading here first) :)

I've also joined a yahoo list that looks like it's going to be awesome, where a new friend of mine is list owner. I'm just so inspired. And, get this......when you join this list, and are approved for membership, one of the suggestions is that you take some time to just read and feel the energy of the list and get to know how it works, etc., before you post anything yourself. I think it said something like two weeks time to do this. I think that's a fantastic idea. Because often we (I) just want to jump in with my voice, before hearing others and getting a feel for the atmosphere, etc. It's pretty cool to just be listening. But, at the same time I'm DYING TO POST! lol So then I was like....did they really mean to wait 2 weeks or was that not literal and they want you to just take a few to feel out the place, etc. So, now I'm stressing on WHEN I should post my first post.

Gosh, I need help.

So, there's just so much living to much fun to be I heard myself ask Jamie, "would doing 'x' bring you joy?" she answered "yes" and i said, "then lets do it." That's what I want our life to be about. Joy. Love. I want so much and am just feeling so excited about this path we're on. And I'm grateful that we're on it together. I can't wait to have another day with my kids. After being stuck in such trauma and difficulty over the past several months, I feel like I'm looking at my kids for the first time in months. And what joy I feel. I'm so grateful that they are so patient with me.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I sometimes feel as if I've gotten off the path, and that I need to get back on. But then I realize that there is no ONE path. Whatever path I'm on IS the path for that moment. Sometimes life requires that I take a turn, possibly moving off of the chosen path, and when that happens I sometimes get lost. It can take awhile to get back to where I was, before life happened. But, everything that happens, as I circle and veer, is important and valuable and will only serve to enrich my self and make my chosen path richer when I return to it.

Over the past couple of days I have found myself back where I want to be, longing for living the way I want to live; helping my family to create an experience that is rich and beautiful. We have been through a very difficult year, which is why I think we veered into living in a way that I'm unhappy with. The difficulties aren't completely over, but it is time to reclaim our selves and our lives and get back to joyful, intentional living.

Two days ago, as I laid awake trying to figure out what was out of balance, I got a clear picture of my children in my mind. My beautiful, bright children who have been waiting for me to "come back" and live life with them. I felt sad to know I have not been as present as I want to be, but it is understandable considering the curve balls life has been throwing at us lately. I realized that I had forgotten what living and learning is all about. I had a 10 year old in Cyberschool, a 14 year old who is bored and craving interaction with me, and a blossoming and in love 17 year old who is readying herself for her life as an adult and needs me to be emmersed in that with her. I cried for awhile, feeling guilty and like a failure, and fell asleep.

The next morning I sat with my coffee, reading facebook, and from a friend's profile page came a beacon and the flicker of hope and memory was ignited to full flame. I saw a link to her blogs and decided to look at them.......and then I remembered. I was flooded with memories of a messy kitchen table, full of craft supplies, random bits and pieces, and our family around the table creating. I had visions of little hands holding paper against a tree, making rubbings of the bark with crayons. All of these visions of joy, togetherness, warmth, learning, experiencing, and LIVING came back to me. I cried, again, but this time with hope and relief. This could be our lives again, this is what we want and need.

When my son Adam (10) woke up, we sat and talked and I apologized to him. I told him that I know I have not been present, that I am sorry, that I want him to experience learning and living the way I knew it could be. I told him that he can create his life, that he can have choice and freedom and not be burdened by the mundane and unimportant. I told him that if Cyberschool is what he chooses to continue to do, then I would support that and that I would not be negative or critical of it. I told him that these are his choices, but that I did hope he would be true to what he REALLY wants and not what he thinks he SHOULD do. He asked for some time to think about it and I said "of course."

Later, I went up to Erin's room (she's 14). She was still asleep, but I crawled into bed next to her and just laid there quietly. She kind of looked at me, sleepy, wondering what I was doing there. I just sat quietly with her for awhile, as she woke up, and then apologized to her too. We talked a bit, I told her what was going on with me. She's so wise and loving....she told me that I shouldn't beat myself up, that life has been really hard for awhile and that it's ok. I cried and she let me.

Adam came downstairs in a bit and handed me a tiny piece of folded up paper and said, "The jury has spoken." (lol) I opened it and it said, in big letters followed by exclamation points, "UNSCHOOLING!!!!!!!"

After spending the day just kind of regrouping (I was pretty emotionally drained) and just being together, talking, playing a game, and just being, I felt as if everything was going to be ok. I felt like I had my self back and my children's selves back. Last night, while Adam and I played Rummikub, I just looked at him and saw his laughing and thought how much I missed him. But, it wasn't him that was gone. I said to my partner later, "Did you see how happy Adam was today? How relaxed and good he seemed to feel?" She had noticed too.

It's amazing how we find something that really works, that is just natural and right and good, and we still can forget and get away from it. But, life has a way of doing that, I just have to learn what I learn from all of my experiences and try to stay true to myself and to my children. I still feel a little guilty, but here I am, excited and ready to live joyfully, mindfully, intentionally; present to each beautiful moment as it happens.

This blog is a reflection of our lives as: unschoolers, artists, family, revolutionaries, inventors, scientists, philosophers, and everything and anything else that we come up with. It feels so good to be back!