Sunday, October 4, 2015

September's splendor

You might want to grab a cup of tea, or a mug of coffee. It's time for yet another lengthy, shameless, random catch-up post, which I am choosing to see, not as a failing on my part, but as a sign of the full, beautiful, messy unschooling life that we live and prioritize in the most delightful way manageable. Cheers and thanks for visiting.

September 19 - 30
 friends, carnival games, prizes, and free unlimited "bounceables"
 yes, please

 oh, and glittery face tattoos, too...

 art in the park

 Wo Zha Wa parade with friends
 Hi, Camille!

 Sometimes we go to a park with swings and slides and teeter totters and my kid spends the whole time gathering sticks and sorting them into piles. When she found one shaped like a Y and another shaped like an L, naturally it was time to spell out her name.

 Everywhere we go, they will gravitate to the rocks to climb on by the waterside, naturally.

  garden bounty with my cheerful garden helpers
one of three baskets full of basil
  time for pesto

 Having never had chores forced upon her, Camille now chooses to mow the (large) lawn, do her own laundry, take care of her chickens, ducks, and geese, babysit her sisters when asked (which she gets paid for), and help tidy up from time to time. Children people of all ages like to feel helpful, useful, responsible, and proud of themselves.

How shall we celebrate the autumn equinox this year? A five-hour paddle down the river, just us girls? Let's do it!
 *photo by Camille                       
  We took two canoes, Camille and Sylvia in their own and me and Ayla in another. We leisurely made our way down the river. There were times when someone would have to jump out and get the canoes unstuck from a sand bar or retrieve a lost oar, but we kept both canoes upright the whole time. I consider it a success! Have I mentioned we've only canoed one time before?

so delighted to be on the river for the autumn equinox  
In a memorable moment during our five hours on the river, a sandhill crane startled about 6 feet to the right of the canoe that Ayla and I were on. It rose up and soared about 5 feet above Camille and Sylvia's heads. In this pic Ayla was showing me how big it was. I looked it up and their wingspan is between 5.5 and 7.5 feet!

my awesome canoeing partner taking a well-deserved break from paddling

"Mama, can I try to make fried green tomatoes?"
"Sure, do you want me to look up a recipe?"
She wasn't pleased with the taste, but most of us in the family loved them and appreciated her efforts.

wooly bear caterpillar

northern leopard frog

homeschool dilemma: which book to read first
The one about Andy Warhol's cats won first pick.

Mama, Will you jump on the trampoline with us?
Yup, pretty much every day.

chalkboard art by Ayla

Happy birthday cards and songs for the grandparents in Minnesota.

Because Camille is in pep band, we find ourselves at more school sporting events than you would expect for non-sport-loving unschoolers. In support of breast cancer awareness, the team and most of the spectators showed up wearing some pink, and the sunset showed off its colors as well.
listening to the band play Sweet Child of Mine (originally by Guns N' Roses)

"Mama, I want to count the pennies in my bank. How do you draw the numbers?"
She made it up to somewhere in the thirties before she lost interest. We mostly drew the numbers big in the air with our fingers and then she wrote them down.
 "Mama, it's the full moon! I want to hold the moon!"
 We got out our good binoculars and watched the super blood moon eclipse in our jammies.

The next day we looked at water fowl through the binoculars.
"Let's make a fairy house!"

Five year old artist:
"Mama, I'm drawing a goth girl and she's having a bad hair day, ... and a bad eyelash day, I think."
Ooooh, we're nearing the end. The last day of September was glorious. We met friends at Old World Wisconsin, a living history museum, to see and participate in how daily life would have been for the settlers in the late 1800's here in Wisconsin. We were able to participate in so many activities from the time period, from riding bikes and playing indoor and outdoor games, to splitting wood, hauling stones out of the field, kneading bread, shaving shingles, milling grain, washing clothing, and grinding coffee.

 good friends

Yup, that might be seen as too many photos for a less than two-week period of time, but I don't feel like letting any of these moments go unnoticed or unshared in this life that I am so grateful for. As a single-income family, we try to be very intentional about how we spend our time and resources and yet it feels so full. There's joy and struggles and learning and delight and helping and being helped and discussing and adventuring and all of the ordinary business of life lived in a family and as part of a community.

If I ever had a message that I hoped that this blog would convey, other than just as a chronicle of our unschooling family life, it would be that children deserve to be treated with respect and allowed meaningful choices for how they spend their time and energy. Contrary to cultural assumptions, it does not create little monsters that don't want to get off of the couch, or spoiled beings that don't consider other people's feelings. A child respected and loved and supported doesn't need to be taught coercively how to act respectful, loving, or supportive, they feel it and live it from their experiences. This doesn't mean they won't act thoughtlessly at times, or that we as parents won't either, it means that it's also an opportunity for learning about asking for forgiveness and for learning how to forgive generously.

Life is good. Cheers.


  1. I have got to take my kids canoeing! I have wanted to for forever but I guess we need to rent one somewhere. That frog is really cool. I want to ride those bikes! I have been trying to update my blog on weekends and it seems a good time period for me. If I wait too long I get overwhelmed by the amount of pictures to upload :) Life looks good in your neck of the woods.

    1. I rode one of those bikes last year and could not get the hang of steering at all and was wildly off track, which is funny because none of my kids or their friends had any trouble. :) I don't know what canoe rental is like where you are, but for us it was $30 per canoe for the whole time, including pickup at the end of our trip and a ride back to our car. I loved it!

    2. oh and we wanted so badly to see the eclipse but it was cloudy. we even drove around hoping to see a peek through the clouds. eaden said "well i guess i will see it when i'm 26" lol.

  2. Hello! I've been meaning to comment but my 4 month old baby girl has kept me busy. ;) But I'm finally getting to it today!

    First, I want to say that I love your blog and love seeing in photos how an unschooling life works. We plan on unschooling our child(ren) as well.

    I also want to say how inspiring you and your family are. On many occasions I have been inspired by what you've shared. A couple of examples: 1) your art - it is beautiful and fearless and inspired me to be fearless in my art as well. And 2) when your daughter Camille shaved her head. I had always wanted to and her bravery inspired me to shave my head as well! :)

    Thanks for sharing your family's life - it is beautiful, inspiring, and educational all at the same time.

    1. Angelle, this literally brought tears to my eyes. I'm honored that you find inspiration here. Thanks for commenting and congratulations on your new babe! xoxo

  3. Love seeing all of your pictures! Looks like a great month. You have really captured organic interest led learning at its finest. Thanks so much for sharing.😄

  4. That all sounds wonderful! Your pictures really capture the fun in learning naturally.


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