Monday, April 30, 2007

How Unschooling changed me

The question of the month on Unschooling Voices is:

How has unschooling changed YOU? Yes, it’s about the kids, but is it ONLY about the kids?

What surprised me was that the principles about freedom and choices generalized themselves into other parts of my life. I give my dog and my cats more choices. I let plants and trees grow naturally instead of trying to control them so much. I am more compassionate to my neighbors and to strangers.

When I see a parent being gentle with a baby or a toddler, I really notice it and appreciate it. Sometimes I say something like "You're a nice dad!" or "That looks fun."

My kids are all big now, but were never in school. When I show photos of them now, they look like photos of adults doing things. It's so hard, though, to "take a picture of unschooling." It looks like a peaceful life. I do have some recent photos, though, of my kids doing things from which they were learning and building relationships. That's what life is about: learning and building relationships.

Marty built Holly a sculpture, a kind of big chair, of the broken shopping carts behind the store where he worked. They took photos on them, and Holly made this and called it facecarts.

I gave a talk called Unforeseen Benefits of Unschooling and the notes are at Much of it was about the children, but some was about getting along better with my husband, and not wanting to notch seeds to get them to germinate sooner.

Holly was taking photos of her reflections one day.

Three of our unschooler groups are here. Sadie in the green with the veil, Marty with his arms crossed, and Holly in the blue. Their friend Howard is between Marty and Holly. They were listening to an artist talk about the Battle of Hastings (re-enactment at Hastings in 2006), medieval turn shoes, making cloth and tissue paper window covers... (click it for more photos of that evening, of the items they saw and some of the kids too, near the bottom)

And here's Holly, by the side of the highway south of Alamogordo, where the white sands were encroaching on a state road and had totally covered the big chain-link fence. Most of the sound is the wind blowing.

This post is one of several linked from Unschooling Voices, on the question of how unschooling had changed the parents.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Not another hobby!

click for bigger photos...

I had so much fun at a woodworking workshop last night it has stressed me out. I want to finish the spoon I was given to work on. I don't want to do anything else. Only thing is, I'm promised to do so many things in the next month I can't even think about the spoon. There is a spoon. I need for there not to be a spoon. That spoon's got to wait, but it's calling me.

Those tools were cool. Cabinet scrapers--who'd've known!?

I would like to get to the point of needing to melt bees wax shavings into mineral oil, but there are writing and sewing and cooking and making the follow-up webpage on the woodcarving workshop (which will be linked on the right side of, but isn't built yet).

Maybe what I'll have is an unfinished spoon, new experience and terminology, some photos and some memories of one of those times when learning just showered around like fireworks.

And yes, that IS how I dress to do woodwork. (Well, this time I did.) Years ago I did some carving on panels--hippie stuff. I like wood. Keith likes wood and messes it with it quite a bit, but I haven't been. Some of Keith's stuff is here: I guess I should leave it to those for whom it's one of their first few hobbies, and stick with my own, and consider tonight's excitement to have been a crash course in woodwork appreciation. Jack Knapp (who, dressed as he was, is Sir Jochen von Balduinseck) was the woodworker who gave us this opportunity, and who made the not-quite-finished spoons we got to work on and keep. Some of the fancy spoons he's made are shown here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

late night Marty-laundry

It's nearly 1:30 and I'm staying up until Marty's laundry's done. Tomorrow is his last day of work. I realized just now that I put four days' worth of work clothes in the laundry, for one last day of work.

Monday the 2nd, Marty gave two weeks' notice at the grocery store where he works. He will have been there for sixteen months, nearly.

I could have failed to notice the clothes, or told him to do them himself, but he worked today, and got the box of Anachronism cards he's been waiting for and was going through those, and then got dressed and drove several of us to the Thursday night SCA meeting I've been organizing (tonight's was on research and is here), where he arranged furniture, took photos and moved heavy luggage to another vehicle for our visiting friend, and then went to play basketball with friends, and is sleeping so he can get up at 5:30 and go to work for the last time at this job.

There he is between Holly and Sadie, just a few hours before now.

Marty's a good guy.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Howard's visit

Our friend Howard is visiting from Southern California, and we took him to the top of the Sandia's by the back road. There was still some snow, which was fun for him.

Mostly he wanted to play board games, but I don't think he was satiated on that, but he did get to play lots of video games to try to round it out (Donkey Konga and Guitar Hero might've been some consolation), and he went out with various combinations of the kids to do things with other friends of theirs.

(Ignore the end of that where I was trying to figure out how to turn off "record." oops. But the view is good. That's our friend Charley talking and meeting him on the trail.