Category Archive for "Organic Learning"

On Trusting Our Kids (and Their Candy)

This is the candy Zeb got from two trunk-or-treat events and one night of trick-or-treating. Or I should say it’s all the candy he has left. From Friday through Tuesday he probably ate another grocery bag full. Because of all the sugar in his system he ate little else during that time. Was I worried? No. Okay, for a minute there on Tuesday I began to wonder. And we certainly had a discussion or two and offered him plenty of other foods. But mostly I just waited. Was it hard? Yes. Even though I trust Zeb to find his own limits and listen to his own body, that little Bad Parent voice tends to chirp up and ask “What will other people think?” I’m pretty proud of how well I told that voice to shut it’s trap. Because no matter what common parental rules dictate, I know a happy, healthy…

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Unjobbing: What It Is and What It Isn’t

I’ve thrown the word “unjobbing” around here a few times. Like unschooling, it’s a word we use that, at first glance, does little to really describe the idea. Just as unschooling doesn’t mean uneducated (nor is it against school or always done outside of school), unjobbing does not mean unemployed. Nor is it really against jobs or always done outside the presence of a job. Instead, unjobbing is more about how you do what you do than what you actually do. Unjobbing is about making a life instead of just a living. Instead of living for work, we work to live (and to learn and grow and experience). We love what we do; it brings us fulfillment and it enables us to do some pretty wonderful things. But it’s not all we do. It’s not the only focus of our life. Unjobbing is often used synonymously with entrepreneurship, working for…

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Unlock. Unleash. Unschool!

The past several months of offering coaching for unschooling and mindful parenting have been amazing. I’ve connected with so many parents, learned a lot about the common challenges people face (and the diversity within each experience) and so enjoyed inspiring parents to tap into their own unconditional love. I’ve spoken with unschoolers, homeschoolers and public and private schoolers, all amazing parents undergoing some pretty amazing transformations and needing a bit of support. Something else I’ve discovered, though: 30 minutes is not quite long enough and 60 minutes is sometimes too long. A little like Baby Bear, 45 minutes seems to be just right. So I made some changes: For starters, I changed my button. For some of you it may have updated on its own. For others you may need to grab the code again from this page. Or keep the old one if you prefer. I’m now only offering…

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Overachievers, Vilifying Interests and Owning It

Zeb took a serious interest in the Jr Ranger Program offered through our National Parks while we were in Indiana. Our first park and his first badge has come from Lincoln National Park in Southern Indiana. According to his age, he was required to finish five pages of the program and a list of tasks that included hikes, visiting the living memorials of Lincoln’s Boy Hood Memorial and watching a short film. We were excited to see him so eagerly embrace and accomplish something that not long ago would have caused him to panic, bringing up negative memories of school papers and the pressure to perform. He was gung-ho passionate and an unstoppable answer-figuring machine. That’s likely why I was taken aback when the ranger called him an “overachiever” because of his finishing more pages than necessary for his age group. The term “overachiever” has such a negative connotation to…

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Whole Life Unschooling: It’s For More Than Just Kids

Zeb: always running ahead for what he loves. Justin: We watched him watch this giraffe for a full 20 minutes. Me: They waited for me while I read every sign in the place. There are so many definitions to unschooling. You can find them everywhere and they all do a perfectly fine job of explaining unschooling. And yet, knowing full well how to define unschooling, I’m still not happy explaining it. Why? Because most definitions describe unschooling as a movement, a form of education or a belief on how we raise children. Our short answer usually sounds a bit like this: Unschooling is hands-on, experience-based and interest-led learning. The world is our classroom and everything in it our curricula. Oh, but it’s so much more than that! That answer really only describes how our child learns. It doesn’t describe how we live, how we view the world around us, how…

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I Am Not Broken

I had a dream on Monday night that I was explaining to a physical therapist what was hurting by describing the one thing that was not hurting: my toes. I woke up from that dream with stiff, aching toes. I’ll be honest. I’ve been utterly failing at my attempts for body compassion. For the past week I’ve been in so much pain that I’ve had a difficult time loving this crooked frame. I’ve been angry and exhausted with it. And those old burdens of feeling broken and hopeless have resurfaced. Feeling those aching toes stirred up such bitter resentment. Of course my flipping toes hurt. Because that’s my body for ya. It rings a bit of parental expectations, those sneaky little thoughts that tell me my kid should be doing this chore, should be playing outside right now, should be quiet when I’m quiet. After all, I do all these…

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Strewing Life at the Parthenon

One of the key efforts of an unschooling parent is something usually referred to as “strewing”: keeping interesting things “strewn” throughout your home that may be of interest to your child. It’s one of the ways often described to create a rich environment and it’s one of the habits I thought we might miss on the road. Strewing generally leads to lots of cool stuff rotating around the house…cool stuff we have neither the storage to carry, nor the actual counter/table/floor space to place. “Stuff” simply has no spot to occupy in a 22 foot RV. So strewing has taken on a different look for us now. Instead of things, we strew opportunities: people, places and experiences. The world is truly our classroom…or at least the contingent 48. Zeb has had a serious interest in mythology ever since being introduced to a video game just a few months ago by…

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Body Compassion

This is the post in which a very depressed state of being gets more deeply accepted and channeled into a place of compassion. I hope. Physically speaking, my body is not in a very good place. Scoliosis leads to lots of chronic conditions and major spinal fusions leave you very few corrective options. I’m recently dealing with increased nerve impingement and degeneration and just learned of an increased risk for osteoporosis. All of this has made it difficult for me to play, hoop, or sleep comfortably; to sit, stand or walk for too long. Being very much a “fixer” and an avid learner/researcher, it’s been incredibly frustrating to find so few solutions to the problem. (Exercise, yoga, chiropractic…even massage has caused problems.) There have only been two things that have made a significant impact on both pain and energy: Gluten-free foods Grass-fed meat and dairy The first is not easy…

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Wanna chat?

I’ve been having a blast with the coaching thus far. I love connecting with parents, hearing their stories and helping them to process their experiences. I love brainstorming over ideas and offering techniques. Sometimes we just need someone on the outside to tell us what we already know; sometimes to tell us what we can’t see. And nothing is more exciting than being a part of a parent’s “breakthrough moments”. It’s been a blast and I’m very happy to have begun it. That’s why I’m very excited to share this: Hip Mountain Mama is offering a giveaway of my coaching services on her blog! You can check out our interview and enter to win here. Good luck!

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Playing, Parents and Podcasts (On My!)

It seems like everywhere we go is better than the last…or maybe our excitement is simply renewed with each turn of the key? We’ve been chilling in DFW since last week and despite the humidity (can I overstate how much it sucks?) we’ve had a blast with the unschoolers in this area. If you’re looking for a hoppin’ mindful parenting community, this is the place! We were told of the Whole Life Unschooling Meetup and planned our arrival to coincide with their park day last Thursday. I’m SO glad we did! The whole tribe was amazing and we enjoyed the discussion group as much as we enjoyed swinging like monkeys. We met LeeAnn and her kids there and Zeb and Seth hit it off immediately. We made plans for ice skating with them on Tuesday. That lasted about 20 minutes before the boys had other plans. They all set up…

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