Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Saturday, January 18, 2014

If I could do it all over again...

I was a young mother, not to mention new mother when my daughter was born in 2008. I followed what main stream taught me and ended up with much regret. I had my daughter in the hospital. I ended up formula feeding her, although I didn't want to. I vaccinated. I used sunscreen and gave my daughter vanilla wafers as a healthy snack. And had I not done my research, my daughter would be in school.

Over the next year of being a mother, I started forming my own opinions and slowly started feeling like I needed to do things different. Do my research. I started doing things my way. I stopped using sun screen and medicines. And began changing our diet-over time. I pulled my daughter out of daycare and started "home educating" her at 2. And I got many weird looks and snide remarks, especially from older Moms and even worse, Family! "Kids should NOT be raising kids!" I second guessed myself a lot. And did research constantly. It is hard to find unbiased research, so I went off my gut feeling for a lot of stuff. "PUT SOME SUNSCREEN ON THAT POOR BABY!" Says an older woman who could clearly see my child was not burnt in spite of only wearing coconut oil, as she slathered my child with toxic cancer causing chemicals that I had vowed to never put back on my child...I just smiled.

But if I had it to do ALL OVER again, I would tell her, "Thank you for your concern, BUT for MY child, I prefer not to cover her body in hazardous chemicals. I have done my research and coconut oil has been used for thousands of years as protection from the sun. And not only that, it allows us to absorb sufficient amounts of Vitamin D so that we are not having to rely on an unnatural source for our Vitamin D." I would say, "No thank you, Hospital! But next time I'm getting a midwife. And no. I will NOT force her to eat from a bottle because she isn't eating on your time. She will drink MY milk if I have to pump!" I would say, "No thank you, Head Start. Daycare is not the only way to socialize. My child will function just fine-if not better with me keeping her home and supervising her socialization until she is the age where she has seen enough modeling to socialize on her own.  PS We socialize dogs, not our children!"

I would say, "Thank you, but No Thank You. She is my child and I will raise her as I see fit. Did you do YOUR research before you judged ME?"

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Trust. In. God.

It's amazing. The things we say we will never do. "I will never have kids," I said. "I will never stay home," I said. "I will never homeschool my child," says a stay at homeschooling Mom. Just a few short years after I said all these things and here I am. "I will never have another child," I said.

My Husband and I tried for over a year in 2012/2013 to have another baby. After hearing bad speculation from the doctor, we decided we were done. Don't with all the heartbreak. Done with trying so hard and seeing no results. Done with hearing our families pester us as to whose fault it was and why it was taking so long. We were worn down and done. We didn't want doctors involved. We only wanted a baby if God wanted to give us one naturally, and obviously he didn't see that fit for us at the time.

This August brought many new families into our lives. Homeschool families. Christian families. Families who see life in a whole different perspective than what I am used to. Families who taught us God is the way. Families who have accepted us as young parents and encourage us. They have taught us what society says should bear no meaning on our decisions. That GOD will provide for us if we will only do as he commands. Does that mean we should allow God to grow our family if that is what he wants? Should we just allow God to work and accept it if he doesn't give us what we want? After all, there is a reason for everything. Always a reason. God works many ways through many people. My Husband and I both felt like God was speaking to us and telling us to TRUST HIM. Connect as Husband and Wife again and allow things to happen in his time.

So we took a deep breath and haven't looked back. Weather we have 1 child or 10 children, God will provide us with what we need. Especially patience for me. They may not have their own rooms. They may wear hand me down clothes. But they will have unending Love, the Word of God. That is what is important. And of course food in their stomachs. (Learning to Garden could not come at a better time.)

Hubby and I are both excited for this new adventure, putting our future completely in God's hands. In fact DH is hoping we have more kids-as am I, but we are not letting it consume us. It has done a lot for our marriage the last 2 months. There is more love. More understanding. And less stress. 

I am thankful for those God brought into our life to teach us. With their unending love and support, I'm sure we will be just fine.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Update

We have had a great start to the year 2014 so far! One week in and it has been Bliss. My Husband (although he says he doesn't do resolutions, has made some definite changes. Could  be due to increased trips to the gym among a few other things. ;) Heck. Maybe he has started maturing since he is 23. Wait, do men ever mature? He has been so loving, encouraging, understanding. He stays in a good mood and doesn't let work get him down. We have been having deeper conversations. And he is less focused on him and what he wants l the time. I really like this new part of our marriage. He has also been a better father. He listens better. He problem solves. He is more involved in her homeschool. This is shaping up to be a good year. (Not to mention I also made some changes, which helps.)

Other than that, on the home front, we have just been busy preparing. Preparing our garden. Preparing for our new chickens this Spring. And preparing projects for the Home school Fairs.

Everything is back to normal because school is back in for my little brother. Sam has shown an increased interest in experiments lately and we have been doing 2 or 3 a day at least. Daddy did a volcano with us the other day. He also came up with a midnigbt experiment with boiling water and freezing air. (Made her night!) And he helped us decide on a project for the Geography Fair. We are going to create a model of the ocean layers in a see through containers, with his help. He is very creative. We began preparing today, learning about the ocean through reading and experiments and working on what to put on the tri board. All this along with the Center and Gymnastics will keep us occupied through January. But...

We can't wait for the warm weather so we can begin doing more outside. Gardening, fishing, hiking, camping, trips to the lake! Those are some of the family activities that make life worth living. However, for the time being, cuddling in bed all day on a warm day is nice too.

So far so good. I have been maintaining focus. Continuing to be spontaneous. And continuing to show my effort to improve. And let God take control of the rest. Fingers crossed the rest of the year will be this good.

PS I already upheld to my goal and will be speaking at a church for Sanctity if Human Life Sunday. And what better church than my home church, where I have never shsred my story. And what do you know, I found time to write a speech. I knew I could! No more excuses for me!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I don't know what it is about the excitement of a New Year. It isn't just a new number. Or a new start. You can start over any day, any time. I think, for me, it is a whole new set of events and firsts. New things. We get to go through the seasons again. Samantha turns one more year older, which means she will learn new things, have new interests, maybe make dome new friends. We made it through another year and I am looking forward to the next 362 days, Lord willing we make it through. There is just so much that was accomplished in 2013. So much that we will accomplish this year.

The end of 2012, beginning of 2013 was a real soul searching and finding year for me. I learned a lot about God. I became a lot closer to God. I found out that through God, so much healing can be found. So much change can me brought about in so many different ways. I learned to be a better Mom and a better Wife. It has brought peace to our home. Real, true, contentness and peace. If I'm happy, the whole family is happy. I guess I just set the tone for us all. The past few months has brought me into real serenity. I no longer worry about our finances to the extent I did before. I don't sweat the small stuff. And I have been able to allow God to lead me in every aspect. I have surrendered. "Lord, give me as many or few children as you see fit. Tell me if you want us to adopt. How many? Lord, let real life be teachable moments. Show me what to teach my child. Don't allow me to worry about worldly learning. Lord take over my marriage. Grab hold of my Husband and make him into a leader. Do what you will with me. I am letting go!"

It has been several weeks since I completely and totally surrendered. I have never felt such a weight lifted from my chest. I have never felt better. With all the stress gone, teaching has been a 100% enjoyable experience! No worries about, "What is so-and-so learning?" "Should I force her to learn it so she will be considered "on their level?" No arguing for us. I have learned to let go. Learning is learning no matter what it is. And now DD runs around the house spelling like a wiz! "Boots is spelled B-O-O-T-S!" She is doing double digit math problems in her head. "10+10=20! 11+7=18!" What an improvement from even just a week ago! She has really build a foundation of fractions. And is very familiar with her world, the states, the continents, the oceans. Science, hearing her go on about how cool experiments are makes my heart swell with joy! And, you know, it's important to know about more than what core books tell us. We do so much daily that is not considered "core," but is just as useful, like cooking and weaving. DH is very impressed and proud about the education the WORLD is providing her with.

Here's how we will begin working toward our goals for the next few months that I mentioned before:

We started subtraction today. She knows how to subtract. She just isn't quick at it like she is addition. I have never seen a child so enthused about getting in there and getting started.

Next week we will start learning more about the Ocean! We with buy her a tri board and use some make your own stickers she got for her birthday to put the title. (That's a lesson in itself!) And we will begin reading and deciding what to put in on our project. Conduct a few experiments to see how the ocean REALLY works. And then get ready for our final presentation. DD is stoked to write a paper and read it out loud. (I am so excited that she can not only write coherently, but read it too.)

Next week we will also go to the bank to set Samantha up a bank account and teach her how to keep track of her money. (She has really showed us the last few months how generous AND responsible she can be.) Samantha has willingly donated money. She has willingly saved money, and she has spent money on things that last. When she received a $5.00 check from the "Tooth Fairy," (We don't really do the Tooth Fairy. We practice different traditions in other countries for each tooth, thanks to the book, "Throw Your Tooth on the Roof." And America was the first country we did.) She put the check away to cash and said she wanted to use a check register like I used to. (I use my phone now, but I prefer her to learn the format and add it herself before she has a phone do it for her, so I was happy when she requested a paper version.) She wrote that down plus her allowance, totalled it, and is deciding what to do with it. She is leaning toward saving for a big toy.

She starts gymnastics on the 14th. She has been practicing her whole break. She can't wait to show her teachers all she has improved on.

And then the following week we will be carrying out the first steps of our organic vegetable garden! Which is to plant the things that need to begin indoors. We will plant herbs and peppers. And then start making a list if needs to do a raised bed garden in the back yard.

Assuming that this turns out as planned, we will be growing, preparing, eating, trading/giving away, and canning our very own food! We are growing every vegetable that we eat regularly: green beans, beans, potatoes, peppers, lettuce, tomato, onion, carrots, and even our own herbs for cooking and medicine. So if it all turns out, we will be only be purchasing basic staples such as flour from the store. Milk from the farm. And DH is working on a deer-slowly, so we won't have to buy meet anymore either. All that on top of being able to make our own breads, tortillas, and baked goods. Yum! I know it will be very rewarding to literally put food on the table our family. The things she learns in our homeschool will be valuable to her future so that she can sustain herself if she ever needs or wants to.

So this is how January looks.

Some goals for our family/homeschool this year are:

*Continue to let go. See where God takes our family. Spend less time researching adoption or whatever and more time praying to see what He wants for our family and when He wants it.

*Focus more on nature studies and Bible reading. Less on Reading and Math. While Reading and Math are important, they are secondary studies. Her skills will grow in time. But she needs to know more about God and His creations NOW while her mind is growing into who she is going to become.

*Be open to last minute changes and disruptions. Get out if our little comfy zone and realize God introduces these changes for a reason. Be it a new child. A relative living with us. Daddy gets injured at work and is off the job. Etc. These things are part of life. One reason we chose to homeschool is for the flexibility it allows us in cases like these. I can't expect Sam, as a child, to go to school or even "do school" and be able to focus when she has a family member extremely ill or has lost somebody she loves. Life is never 100% always the same and I can't expect it to be.

*Stop clocking out at night. I realize Mom's need breaks and without a bedtime for Samantha, it is hard to get that time. So as I have admitted before, as soon as Daddy is home and dinner is eaten and cleaned up, MOM is off the clock the rest of the night. I'm done playing. I'm done teaching. My nerves are slightly on edge. "Please play. I'm reading or blogging or resting with Daddy." While children need unstructured play and Moms need peace, there has to be a balance. And I will find it, WITHOUT forcing DD into bed before her clock says it's time.

*To go along with the last one, enforce "Monday Mommy and Daddy Hour." It is hard to find a sitter for Sam because of Jessie's work schedule. So we have started enforcing once a week Mom and Dad get one hour together while Samantha plays in her room. So far, so good. I really think it will improve our relationship.

*Lastly, delve deeper into 2 areas. (These are mostly goals for me.) The first one is to learn MORE about my food and the food industry. As I mentioned before, we will be growing and canning our own food this year and hopefully have a deer soon, but I want to be more informed on what we do buy. For the most part we buy organic. Sometimes, because of our small budget, we buy natural, but you have to be careful with natural foods AND sometimes organic. With all these new naturally-labeled GMO food laws passing and some of the lies we have been fed about what is healthy and what is not, I thought it was about time to do my own research. I'm not liking what I'm finding. This garden is looking better and better.

My second goal is to focus more on the pro life movement. No. Not marches or protesting. But getting the word out that there is support for pregnant women. There is recovery. I make excuses of why I haven't prepared new speeches for churches. "Well, we just started officially homeschooling, and it's hard" Not acceptable! I have hours and hours in my day. I have time to cook extravagant meals, clean, research my interests, educate my child, run to gymnastics and the library and here and there. And nap. And Blog. There is always time for God's work. No more excuses. I'm not wasting the year away. Time efficiency is a MUST.

If we can improve upon these things over the next 362 days, I will call it a pretty good year.

Happy Late New Year, Everyone!