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

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!

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