Tuesday, September 27, 2016


September ushered in the start of the school year around here. As unschoolers this doesn't affect us directly but it does signify the change of season and to some extent our schedules shift a bit to include classes of our choosing. As our local friends shared back-to-school photos we commemorated the day with photos too, out in our overgrown garden.

Ayla would be starting 1st grade. She loves to give hugs and snuggles. She loves to sing, play, draw, tell stories, and she absolutely is the first to offer comfort and encouragement to anyone who is feeling down.

Sylvia would be going into 4th grade. She loves to cook, garden, and dance. She has a crazy infectious giggle and an impressive vocabulary. She loves stories and has a fantastic memory but she prefers audio books over reading on her own.

Camille would be starting 8th grade, but she is taking her first college course (not-for-credit on evolutionary genetics). She enjoys playing saxophone in the local high school band for the second year in a row and loves music in general. She's deeply interested in science, but doesn't like geography at all and hates maps for some unknown reason. 

The following photos are from Sept. 1st - 6th. We adore this unschooling life.
Ayla got creative and decorated wax paper sandwich bags for a picnic.
Sylvia and Camille copied pictures of a manatee's anatomy from the book The X-ray Picture Book of Amazing Animals.

While Camille was at band practice Sylvia, Ayla, and I snacked on pickled dilly beans and admired the Lemonweir River.

The next day, we spent the entire afternoon on the Kickapoo River. We canoed and kayaked for 5 hours, mostly without encountering another human. It was divine.

garden goodness abounds

chamomile blossoms

cooking down to preserve tomato sauce

prepping pickled dilly beans

admiring book art at the library

admiring the coloration on butterfly wings

My third home education column was published in Juno Magazine.

...and a little science humor to top it off.

I'm feeling ever grateful for this creative, messy life.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

late summer goodness

August 16 - 31: glimpses into our unschooling lives

in the garden

pickling beets and green beans

at the park

at work (Echo Valley Farm)
ready for the oven

ready for market

Echo Valley Farm tour
greeting us at the gate, waiting for corn
inside the straw/clay built house
inside the yurt
medicinal herb garden nestled in the hills
It smells so wonderful inside the drying shed full of herbs and teas.

Camille's humorous card for her friend's 13th birthday

girl and goose gathering green beans

waiting for the parade to begin
Camille playing sax in the band

strolling the bike path with Ayla 
while her sisters make boffer swords at the library


in the garden

playdate for Ayla

nail art by one of Camille's friends


What do random photos of our summer days have to do with unschooling? Everything! Life is learning and learning is life. What if your kid wonders about why a beet is red? Or wants to rub it on her cheeks to see if it looks like blush? And then wonders about the history of makeup? And then wants to know more about Ancient Egypt? And then, who knows, maybe Egyptian hieroglyphic numerals? Where does the learning begin and end?

It certainly doesn't have to start with a beet. It could be hip hop, or archery, or Minecraft, or ... I double dog dare you to find an interest that wouldn't lead to history and science and math and art and reading. These are not separate, distinct subjects anyway. Life is not that tidy. :) I'm not saying that every interest has to turn into a "teachable moment" or lead to Shakespeare or some such, but just that children couldn't be stopped from learning given the freedom to do so and an information-rich environment, even better if they have support and encouragement.