I am no where near “school age” with Judah but I have already begun to think about the topic.  Something about public education doesn’t sit right with me for many reasons and I was never fond of public school myself, so I have already been pondering the alternatives.  Private Schools.  Charter Schools.  Homeschooling.  Unschooling???

Unschooling is a relatively new term to me and I am in no way an expert nor do I have much experience with it. But as I have been researching the concept, it is has peaked quite an interest in me.  Unschooling, also known as natural learning or life learning, is a concept of learning that nurtures a child’s innate curiosity and drive to discover.  Parent’s guide their children and help to facilitate further discovery of the interests of their children. There is no set way to unschool.

In essence, I am already unschooling Judah.  Everyday he is naturally learning and I am coming along side and helping to nurture what interest him.  Babies and children are natural learners and when learning is approached as something natural and freely occurring, the love of discovery will never end.  Kids just grow into adults who never stop learning.

Recently, Good Morning America did a segment on unschooling, which I was not crazy about, but caused quite a stir.  The link is here.  And the follow up interview is here.

Also, here are some great posts and articles concerning unschooling.

Walk Slowly Live Wildly:  Unschooling: A Life of Freedom

The Organic Sister:  The Uproar Over Unschooling

Child’s Play:  Unschooling

Swiss Army Wife:  Parent’s Role in Unschooling

Huffington Post:  Unschooling: How GMA Got It All Wrong

What are your thoughts?  Have you ever heard of unschooling?



Why is it so hard to be present?  I struggle to be fully present when playing with Judah boy.  Fully present when talking with the hubs.  Fully present when reading a book.  Fully present when taking time to think.  I find my mind wandering.  My heart wandering.  Yet longing to get back to the moment at hand.  I need to train my mind

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to focus on what’s happening right now.  I need to intentionally prevent myself from getting distracted…like leaving the iphone or computer out of reach.  I want to embrace the moment.  I want to be playful.  I want to get caught up in the interaction between me and my loves.  I want to smile when I think back on the day because it’s happening are so vivid to me because I was immersed in them.  On the surface of me there are so many things that call for my attention yet deep down I want to run from all the noise and find simplicity.  This will not be easy but I want to do it.

I found this terrific blog article on allowing your babies to Cry it Out (CIO).  It is written from the perspective of a woman who could have been left on her own at night when she was very very ill.  She relates this to how babies could feel – something many don’t consider when they do allow their babies to cry alone in order to get them to sleep.

Woman Uncensored

A Marathoner!!!!!!

I have had the goal to run 26.2 miles for about 6 years and on Sunday I will have achieved my goal!  6 months of training and running smaller races and it’s almost here.  I’m so full of excitement and nervousness.  Here are some pics of me since the start of training…

5K - 3.1 Miles

Half Marathon - 13.1 Miles

10K - 6.2 Miles

What a fantastic book!!!  Last Child in the Woods looks at the lives of today’s kids and exposes what the author calls the nature deficit disorder.  Nature deficit disorder is not a medical condition, it is the description of the human costs of alienation from nature.  This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families and communities.  The author even links the lack of nature in children’s lives to common trends, such as obesity, ADD and depression.  He shares the evidence of the deficit and ultimately shares how to restore not only our children, but ourselves back to nature.

He also shares that there is proven research to confirm that environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problems solving, critical thinking and decision making.  Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.

Sending kids outside to play has become increasingly difficult. Computers, television and video games compete for their time. Schools are assigning more and more homework.  Areas are being developed which means less and less natural space to roam and explore.  And parent’s fears of strangers, traffic or virus carrying mosquitos are keeping kids indoors.

I was so challenged, inspired and impassioned to make sure that Judah does not grow up void of a connection to nature.  This book opened my eyes to the very reality that we live so out of connection with the natural world. There may be trees, grass, fields, or streams all around us but do we daily connect with them.  Do I make the outside world the most important place for Judah to be?  Or do I allow my priorities to keep me so busy that it ultimately keeps him locked up in school, the car, the house?  Long long ago, even before I was a kid (so I would say I grew up with this to a degree) kids wanted to be outside more than anything else.  They would wake up and head outdoors and wouldn’t come in until bed time.  They climbed trees, made forts, caught bugs and just existed outside.  For me, I spent a lot of time outside with my neighborhood friends but I wasn’t free to roam.  I spent much of my childhood camping and in natural environments and some of my best memories are from those times. Even now, as an adult, I love nature and my soul longs to be in it.

I want Judah to grow up outdoors and to connect to nature deeply.  I know that nature will shape him in to the kind of man he will become, whether that is athletic, artistic, musical, or educational.  He’s 18 months and would live outside if he could and I don’t ever want to see him stray from that.  I don’t ever want him to choose t.v. or video games over the trees, the birds and the fresh air.  I don’t ever want to see him lose this love and spark.

Monkey See Monkey Do

I’ve been thinking about a quote I read in the book, Dumbing Us Down, that says “Children of today are indifferent to the adult world.  This defies the experience of thousands of years.  A close study of what big people were up to was always the most exciting occupation of youth, but nobody wants children to grow up today, least of all the children; and who can blame them?  Toys are us.”

Judah (and young kids in general) love to be involved in what you’re doing.  For me this means: If I’m cooking, he’s at my feet or offering to help stir or throw something away.  If I’m vacuuming, he’s following me around mesmerized by the loud machine and most recently using the swiffer to sweep behind me.  If I’m cleaning the bathroom, he wants to scrub with the sponge and spray all the spray bottles.  He loves to be in the midst of all that I am doing.  And many many many times I don’t keep the perspective that this is how it should be.  Instead, I find myself trying to keep Judah occupied (with methods I wouldn’t normally use) long enough so that I can get things done without him trying to help.  Well, once I read the quote above I was so convicted!  It used to be normal for kids to want to be about their parents business.  Not only did they want to help but they also wanted to learn. (Learn from parents, now that’s a shocking idea!!!) Nowadays, kids get in the way of our to do list and we would rather occupy their attention instead of showing them the ways of life.  This ultimately back fires on us by creating kids and teenagers who are indifferent to the lives of adults and who must be begged, reminded, and rewarded to help out around the home.

I have never thought about this in this way before.  I am going to be conscious and aware to involve Judah in the things I do throughout my day.  How amazing would it be for him to grow up not only having learned how to cook, clean, do laundry, work in the yard or on the car but to actually enjoy it enough to want to do it on his own accord.  That is nearly unheard of, but maybe, just maybe  it is possible!

Here’s some shots of Judah learning…

BBQing with daddy

Washing dishes while camping

He loves to transfer clothes from washer to dryer. And get a ride in the clean clothes.

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There is a couple in our church that have a small ranch where they keep goats and bunnies.  Grandpa had been helping out at the ranch and that meant Judah got to go along.  This quickly became Judah’s favorite place to be.  He was so in his element out on the ranch and he and the goats became quick friends.  After spending time on the ranch, I now want to own some acres where I can have a garden and where Judah (and any other future kids) can just roam and be.