Strewing in Our House

When I was a child bedtime kicked off with a trip to my parents’ room. It wasn’t a place I was usually allowed to hang out but at bedtime my mother (usually it was Mom, but on rare occasion it was Dad) stretched out on her bed and began to read aloud to me. When I was very small it was simple story books. As I got older and my attention span grew it became chapter books. The Little House series, Nancy Drew, Little Women, and more were my picks for bedtime stories. Continue Reading

Summer Learning, Had Us a Blast!

Summer in the desert isn’t a time for a lot of outdoor play. It’s much too hot for riding bikes all day. We tend to save our fooling around outside for evenings and cooler seasons. Unfortunately, summer on the farm is also not a time to travel and get away from the oppressive heat. Because of the odd constraints of farm life and climate, summer tends to be a season of indoor play and learning around here. It also tends to become a time of staying up late and sleeping more during the day.

This summer has certainly been a time of learning. Strangely enough, that “coincides” with this being a summer in which I wasn’t determined to “educate” the children. Last summer marked the beginning of our unschooling journey and my girls spent most of it deschooling. Continue Reading

How Do Unschoolers Prepare for College

Academic Success Left Me a Failure

“My child is an honor student at John Q. Public School.”

Much is made of academic success in public school. Bumper stickers and window clings proudly proclaim that a budding genius may be aboard the family car. Local newspapers publish lists of “A Honor Roll” students. Every year some local paper gets to publish a glowing testemonial to a local youth who has “aced” his or her ACT or SAT exams. Continue Reading

How I Know Unschooling Works

So I’ve known for quite a while now that unschooling rocks and works. But today I got conclusive proof of how incredibly awesome it really is.

I’m working with another homeschooling mom to put together a presentation at the local library’s summer reading club for kids on the theme “The Library is Your Kingdom.” I got pulled in because, hello, my name is Mari and I’m a total medieval geek. But I’m the kind of geek that doesn’t feel the need to take things tooooo seriously so this presentation is partly educational, partly action-packed, and fully hella fun. Continue Reading

Perfect World Meets Real World

When I first envisioned unschooling in our home I imagined rich days full of a variety of obvious “learning.” I would look on with pride as my children miraculously volunteered to write essays, read the classics without protest, demonstrated flawless mathematical logic, and excitedly read about faraway places on the internet.

Reality check: it’s unschooling, not utopia! Luckily, I wasn’t heavily invested in that fantasy world because it hasn’t come to pass. Continue Reading

Less is More: An Unschooling Journey

I was raised in a very schooly family. My mom was a high school history and English teacher. My older sister worked her way from elementary teacher to elementary principal in a huge school district. My other sister is a school board member. You could say public education is in my blood. Being the black sheep of the family didn’t fully release me from the hold of public education although it did give me a healthy skepticism.

My husband attended a tiny rural school. He insists that he flourished in that environment. But he, too, has a healthy skepticism of public education in general. Continue Reading