Category Archive for "Organic Learning"

Unschooling Coach

Interested in transitioning from traditional learning to full-time life learning? Ready to embrace parenting mindfully? Nervous about math, college or concerned family? There are so many wonderful unschooling resources available online, from blogs to websites to groups. But sometimes nothing will replace a one-on-one conversation with someone who not only understands the philosophy of unschooling and mindful parenting, but also validates the challenges we face as parents. That’s what I want to offer: compassionate understanding and honest, gentle support for overcoming our fears, habits or parenting obstacles while we transform our relationships, embrace joy and enjoy our kids. This isn’t just for unschoolers or people wanting to unschool. It’s for anyone wanting to apply the principles of trust and joy to their family relationships. The coaching decision has been awhile in the making but the time feels right. I’ve had so many people asking me for this and although I…

Read More

Sculpting A New Passion

It’s been almost three and a half years since Zeb has been out of school. And it’s been five years since he decided – with the negative encouragement from some very poor art teachers at the age of five – to believe he wasn’t an artist. In fact, until last week, there were three truths he held firm to: That only women made good artists That he was not artistic, nor interested in anything art related That at some point in the next few years he would have to outgrow his beloved LEGO collection He no longer believes any of that. In fact, several nights ago he declared that he is going to be a sculptor, and that he wanted to go to bed early so he could get started on a new project the next day. The last words he spoke before falling to sleep that night were, “Tomorrow…

Read More

The Uproar Over Unschooling

In case you didn’t know, our family are unschoolers. And in case you’ve been out of the media loop (lucky you), there has been quite an uproar over unschooling in the media the past few days. It begin when a wonderful unschooling family was very poorly portrayed (through biased editing, condescension and lack of time) on a Good Morning America segment Monday morning. Such a backlash was received (from both the unschooling community over the obvious bias and the community at large over the perceived “hands-off” approach) that GMA invited the family back the next day for a mere 6 minutes of explanation. Too little, too late on GMA’s part. The damage had been done Monday morning and the media and public are steaming over something they have barely bothered to understand. (Some examples of both sides of the reactions here and here and here and here and here and…

Read More

The Boat Experiment

Just days after he insists he doesn’t like trying new things, days after I’m worrying over my baby boy, he surprised me. (And likely himself.) Today was irrigating day at Ironwood Farm. The farm shares surface water rights with several other neighboring farms, all of whom take turns irrigating their fields and gardens. It was a lot of tiring work cleaning the canals of debris. But once it was clear the water flowed through the channels and made for very happy geese, ducks…and of course, kids. E and S, the two unschooling kids on the farm, had a ready-made boat (a water tub borrowed from the cows) and swore to Zeb it was the only way to do it. But Zeb insisted on making his own boat, and with plenty of scrap material on the farm, he managed to paint it and even add a flag! With a push off…

Read More

The Good, The Bad and The Funny

I have no idea how to start this post, other than to say it’s all catching up to me. I’ve been tired and sluggish since we arrived and am so thankful we’re staying with friends while we all acclimate. No plans, no sightseeing; just hanging out. It’s a nice way to ease ourselves into things. (We’ve all been catching up on sleep and making our way back to eating Real Food; we’ve been eating lots of bad fats and not enough good fats and fresh veggies lately. I think Justin and I will be restarting our cleanse soon and I’m going to assist the process with a green smoothie fast.) Friday morning Zeb fell asleep before we left, so we moved him to the RV and let him continue sleeping. He woke up around Kingman, immediately went to the map and found our location, as well as our destination and…

Read More

Family Hack Interview

I’m over at Family Hack today answering some Q&A about our unschooling. Just one of the many questions: FH: If you have been homeschooling for several years, what changes have you found yourself making as you discover more about your kids as learners, and rethink educational goals and methods? TW: All of the changes Justin and I made have been internal as we’ve grown to understand our own personalities better. We’ve been able to pinpoint our strengths and work to accept our weaknesses. We’ve been more flexible and willing to try new things. I’ve discovered our learning styles as well as our ”doing” styles (Justin is a visual-tactile learner who maps everything in his head then sits back and relaxes; I am tactile-verbal, have to discuss everything and write it all out; Zeb is kinesthetic-audible, learns through questions and answers and prefers group participation to working alone). All of our changes have been…

Read More

Blame The Schools, Not The Gardens

I just finished reading the Atlantic article, Cultivating Failure, and I’m torn between scathing disappointment and downright outrage at the comments and beliefs stated by the author. I’m going to attempt to offer my cynical, sarcastic remarks in a somewhat coherent, calm manner, but no promises. The entire article is about how school gardens are cheating students out of an education. I kid you not. It begins with the example of an immigrant laborer who’s offspring is forced into what is at one point referred to as “child labor”. But you can’t have a ludicrous comment like that without an equally ludicrous conclusion: Why not make them build the buses that will take them to and from school, or rotate in shifts through the boiler room? Ironically, no mention is made to the fact that schools force children into compulsory schooling that may or may not hold any bearing on…

Read More

Lessons with GG

We all call my grandma, GG, standing for Great-Grandma. Have I mentioned that? I’m sure I have. I’ve probably also mentioned how incredibly special GG is to us. She’s one of those people I’ve never seen grumpy, or impatient; who always has something kind to say or love to share. Zeb’s always enjoyed plunking around on the piano, creating his own songs or following along in our Teach Yourself Piano book. Until just a couple weeks ago, when he decided he wanted to really learn but didn’t exactly like the thought of “lessons” with a stranger. That is until I mentioned asking GG to teach him. His face lit up and his eyes sparkled and he loved the idea. We called GG, who agreed if he was ready to learn that she would love to teach him. . . His first lesson was today. He had some basic knowledge of…

Read More

Unschooling and Young Eagles

I get doubtful sometimes. We fall into our routine (or out of it) and I wonder if we’re on the right track. I remind myself I’d have these same doubts if Zeb were in school, excelling or not. But still they creep in on occasion, usually during a lull. I’ve come to see our lives and his learning coming in waves. Sometimes things are calm and steady and even a little boring. Still a little movement, but even and smooth. These are the times we start to get bored and I attempt to come up with a new something to try. But if I can stay patient, a new wave always surfaces on its own. Some new interest, opportunity or experiment. Lately, he’d been asking a lot about planes. We’ve discussed the Wright Brothers and their trial and errors (which proved to be a great inspiration for him to draw on the next…

Read More

Weapons of Mass Instruction: Review

I just finished reading John Taylor Gatto’s Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book so thought-provoking, and not because I necessarily agreed with it all as I assumed I would, because I’m not sure I especially do. But I do know I want to know more. Of course, coming from an unschooler one would think I’m particularly anti-school. And although I do share the tendencies, I try not to share the opinion. I’ve seen enough unschooled kids choose schooling and know that for some it is the only escape they have. But what I do feel – and what has been confirmed in Gatto’s book – is that school is falling short and that just might be their purpose. In the first chapter, “Everything You Know About School Is Wrong”, Gatto clearly spells…

Read More