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

Thursday, June 11, 2015


So much has been going on in my head lately that I just need to blog!

Two of the big things on the list are Summertime and Being CHEA President.

Summer is going well. For us, it is just another season of unschool. S has been practicing so much swimming. I take them swimming at least once a week. And then we swim a lot on the weekends at the lake and such as a family. S has been using a life jacket until she builds her stamina, but I was worried it gives her too much support to rely on. (Even though she still thinks she has to swim the whole time to stay up.) But I found her a foam back that I can remove the layers to give her less support over time-and for only 50 cents! (Yardsale, of course.) Anywho, she had been using that. And recently she saw a friend trying to build up her endurance without any support-swimming in the deep end. With her head barely bobbing above water. She is, determined next time she goes to give it a try-now that she sees you won't drown. ;) Her and my little brother are challenging each other to learn new things. And they have spent time with some children who are better swimmers than they are and actually taught them some strokes and other cool swim related things. So swim has been a huge focus this Summer. I am just so happy to have them playing outside so much. Even if we aren't swimming, they spend a large majority of their morning outdoors. S wakes up at 10 and they stay out until at least 2 o'clock playing with some of the outdoor things I got this Summer. Scooter. Rollerblades. Of course we have the water and trampoline. Nerf Guns.  Jump ropes. S HAS MASTERED THE BASICS OF HULA HOOPING! So much to do. I have even found them playing with sticks. Thank God! (I should have trained them to do that from the beginning.)

When they are inside playing, they are usually creating. S has taught my brother to dig through the recycling bin and make things from nothing. "Inventions" is what she refers to them as now that she has seen an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy on Inventions. And they really enjoy You Tube. S is getting back into her YouTube channel. They made a video of themselves using an invention to pass each other notes across the living room...Ah. Those two. Now this what a call a technologically updated 70s Summer.

While the kids do that, I watch some and play some, but try not to hang over their shoulder too much, because well, they are kids, and S and I get a lot of alone time throughout the year and even at night in the Summer when we do our reading and work on her projects like her art board game she is making. Eek! She does need her time to learn from someone else and let's face it, as cool of a Mom as I am, I am not the only one she needs.

Just a side note,  I am SO happy S gets to spend time with my little brother over the Summer.  There is nothing better than being with somebody close to you-constantly-during the warm months to create,  play,  and innovate with.  I am thankful for the connection they have.  He is like a sibling. Arguing and all. But she gets to send him home. :) I hope she will look  back on Summer as some of her fondest memories, playing in the pool,  making silly videos,  letting ice cream juice run down their faces. Getting into the recycling. Creating games on the driveway with chalk. Bumping heads on the trampoline. Playing Mario on the Wii...I'm happy for her. Summer days were the best with my older brother. Nothing could replace that time we got to just...PLAY.  No Pinterest ideas.  No over bearing Mom. No demands to do school work. No outside activities. Just plain learning to occupy ourselves for 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

We have so much planned.  Of course lots of camping trips and Boat outings. Swimming. A trip to Six Flags. We will probably hike in the Smokies for a day.  They will get to keep seeing all their friends...

So anyway,  I do my work while they work. Housework. Work on our new boat we are trying to fix up. Projects of my own. Sometimes I read. Other days I just watch them play. This Summer has been especially hectic full of emails and to do lists for CHEA (her homeschool support group) because I am officially president! Whew. It is a lot more work than I thought. Everybody wants my approval for everything. And I get cc'd in every conversation between board members and/or volunteers so that I can be up to speed with what is going on.

I know who is leading what and what every idea for the upcoming year is. Somebody asked another person for the financial information to update PayPal, which is not really my area of business, but I know because I was part of that convo. so I could approve it. I finally got a planning meeting for July coordinated between everybody's vacations and kids' nap times and summer camps. I had to make an agenda with everything we want to start planning for the upcoming year. From community service projects to the big field trip in the Spring. We want to do tons of new stuff like have tshirts made and do a Christmas Float. My Vice President suggested that we all walk over at the end of the parade to her Husband's office in the center of the town-He is a lawyer-and he will turn on the fire and make hot chocolate. And everybody can bring some kind of goodies. It sounds so nice. I think that would be a memory S remembers for a long time.

So many ideas. This is all so new, but it is coming so naturally. Making it a habit to check the PO Box and tell everybody at the end of each email that all of CHEA appreciates what they are doing. And making sure to show support for families who have family members in the hospital or who have recently passed away or even the ones who have just had a baby. Being responsible for every action of every member in the group. Sounds exhausting. But it is fulfilling. I don't get that "high" that most people get out of "being in power." I still feel equal because I am equal, just with added responsibilities. That's where my "high" comes from. And it is my way of taking more part is S's "education," investing in her future. Making sure she has fun memories with friends and an array of experiences.

Which brings me to my next point...I feel so happy when I am doing these things. I keep telling myself that when I volunteer, I am doing God's work. I especially feel that way in the post abortion area, but that is only super active twice a year for about 10 weeks. And when I think about homeschooling I feel that way, like I am dedicating 100% of my life to the work of teaching my child to serve God and teaching her about His world...But part of me wonders if I am doing the right thing. (Not by homeschooling, but by doing all this other extra stuff that is not directly for God.) Does he care if S goes on fieldtrips to the News Station while other children are starving? Does it make a difference in eternity if I check the CHEA mailbox and reply to all the emails from board members? I prayed about taking the President's spot and I talked to my Husband to get his permission. It. Felt. Right. Everything we join is pretty much "Christian." When I think about S joining American Heritage Girls next year, it makes me smile because she will be learning to serve and be making friends and learning more about God's world...Stop right there. Then I think, "Is this the way, we, as Christians, picture Christian living? Is this the right way? Or is this the way that Americans view it. I am so conflicted. While we are going to be sitting inside a church eating pizza and scooping out ice cream for the girls at their indoor sleepover, thinking we are being good Christians by letting our children converse with other Christians, does it anger God? I doubt it makes him happy. While there are thousands and thousands of children out there who are in desperate need of clean water or shoes, we are not solving it. We are contributing to the problem. While there are so many people out there who have not accepted Jesus, we are sitting inside a church trying to keep our children in groups of other Christians and away from the "hooligans" of the world. Is this what we are teaching them? Didn't Jesus sit and talk with even the "biggest" of sinners? Does EVERYTHING we do have to be 100% for God? Or can life be about a different type of enjoyment too, after we have "done our time," so to say. Should we feel guilty about enjoying what God has allowed us to have? It is not that I feel obligated to do what I already do. I do that because I want to help and I enjoy it also. But I do feel obligated to do more. Is it okay to feel that way? I have talked to my Hubby and prayed continuously for the answers to this. I am getting a bit frustrated because I wanted a direct answer, but all I keep getting is "read your Bible." Not just from Hubby, but from God too. Now I feel like, in order to grow at all,  in order to decide what kind of person I want to be, in order to be complete,  I NEED to read my Bible every single day. Sometimes more than once. I have never felt such a desire to read it. It had always felt like somewhat of a chore. It is nice because it has given me the drive to really jump in there every single day and read and interpret and research and figure out the Greek roots and what things really mean, and how many things we learned growing up were only visions we were given through commercialism and not really things that are necessarily true. I have learned so much in a week's time.  If course there is always more. S and I have been working on Exodus together since the seder she attended. Amd I chose to start in Luke.  But I have been going through all the gospels to see what details the similar chapters reveal about the same stuff.  Like the birth of Jesus.  But I am still just so confused. I have more questions than ever about what God thinks of us as typical, or even somewhat typical Americans.

And while I am being busy being a Debbie Downer, I had a rough time this past month with this whole trying to conceive thing. I'll spare the details, but I struggled quite a bit. Just thinking how much more do I have to go through during this season of my life? Am I paying for what I did? If so, why do only some people have to endure that? Will it only get worse? According to my Husband, the good news is, we know my supplements are working. But I worry when I do end up pregnant again, will I make it to 8 months and end up delivering a stillborn baby? Will I end up enduring an ectopic pregnancy, which is common for people like me. Ugh. It shouldn't be so stressful. When we first started trying, I imagined it so magical. Then, the longer it took, the less magical it seemed. And after we took a break from actively trying then when we started back because it wasn't working, I felt renewed. I learned a better way of tracking BBT. I started taking my supplements. I thought, "This is it! Not long from now! This time is different because I have things figured out." Nine months later...nothing.

And it made me really sad because I got some free baby clothes the other day. (A yardsale that was packing up. The lady told me to take whatever I wanted. And she had some good clothes!) I brought them home, along with a few clothes for S, and I spread them out on the floor. Nevermind the clothes I got her, she was all into the baby clothes! She couldn't believe how small and cute they were. She was looking at the sizes and talking about how cute a baby would look in these. And she would read them off, "Daddy's Girl." Ooo...I thought for sure that would make her jealous. But it didn't. She thought it was totally adorable. And she kept talking about how great it will be when her Dad is a Daddy AGAIN! And I'm like, "Okay, God! She is older now. I get it. I like the older age. It will be great when we have another. I got to enjoy my one on one time with her for several years and I am thankful for that, but please!" I don't know what the future will bring to us. But I know it involves someone for S. I don't know if that is adoption or a family member we end up with or if we will have another one. Or a combination of those things. But one thing is for sure, when it happens, it will be worth it. I just keep having to tell myself that. :/

On a happier note, that "Life of Fred" was ridiculous. S enjoyed it. I did not. I realize they are for her learning, not mine,  so we will continue them, see if they get better and more in depth,  but they are not teaching her much math and they are ALL over the place! So I found a series-that is a little more grown up called "Math Lessons for Living." The best part is, it was free! Online. The printable version. I saved it all on my computer and printed a little, but there is SO MUCH! I need to figure out a way to go about it. Maybe reading them off the computer. They are longer, more detailed books.  And have the option to work the problems out with the characters.  They expose kids to a lot of things from what I have seen. It talks about farms, Mission work, art....

Speaking of art,  I'm trying to refrain from talking so much about plans for Fall because we haven't even technically hit Summer yet! But it is going to be great!!! That's for sure.

Making a TV Show-well, several shows actually. 

She discovered Paint on the computer.  

Oh, you know,  just going through the most recently bag of recycling and making another wacky invention.  

Note Passing Invention - the Note-inator. 

Collecting Geese Feathers at the Local Pond While Daddy Fishes

Mastered Keeping the Hula Hoop Up!!!!

Daddy taught Samantha to skip rocks.  

And catch Crawl Dads. She was totally excited to come and tell me. 

Getting to Ride on the Boat Before Me

My Free Baby Clothes Stash-Inside my $6 co-sleeper find at a yard sale. ;)