Category: A Day in the Life

New New unschooling podcast.

I experimented a bit with different recorders for my phone after both Shamus and Issac complained about the horrible sound quality of my original recordings (purists)  that might work better for my drive. I found one that I think works all right. At least I sound like myself.  And since I have no script (because I am driving when I record) it is still rambly but now that I have recorded several (which I will be rerecording with the new recorder) I am figuring out how to do this whole “talking while driving with no script about a specific subject” thing better.

The recording is still not perfect. But this one was recorded while it was pouring rain whole I was driving and the sound isn’t absolutely horrible so… step in the right direction.

So welcome to the new, new Unschool Carpool starring just me… Heather Young (and other people when and if they are in the car with me. I do have a two part episode that I recorded with the kids that I will share despite it being recorded with the old recorder because now the kids are in Texas so I can’t rerecord it. )

The Unschool Carpool new intro- episode 1- MP3

The Unschool Carpool new intro- episode 1- OGG

Finally, a Christian unschooling podcast

On the Christian Unschooling Facebook group we get weekly requests for unschooling podcasts, especially ones from a Christian perspective. My team has been trying for ages to find time and energy to get together and make a proper podcast. We ideally would like to make a group one using our admin team. But it just hasn’t happened. We all are working or going to school and there is no way we can fit a regular (or even irregular) meeting time in our already busy schedules.

Enter the (Christian) Unschool Carpool podcast. I drive to the university 35 minutes away several time a day. Sometimes I have my charge in the car (5 yr old A, who is lovely and sweet and super fun and loves my cell phone full of games for her to play.) But the rest of the time I am on my own. This means lots and lots of audio books…. BUT it also means I have plenty of time to record in a relatively quiet (aside from traffic noises) environment. It also means no script. Which means I ramble. Because that is what I do. I would do it even if I HAD a script. But since I am driving the same long straight road day in and day out I have this nice long boring stretch of road where I can drive and talk at my phone about the questions people have asked about unschooling, radical unschooling, Christian unschooling, and all the other stuff people ask over and over again.

Obviously this is not nearly as interesting as a conversational podcast (which I did record with the kids on an hour drive to Pittsburgh and which was very, very fun) but it is a start. And if it works then my co-admins can answer the same questions and then, when we find time, we can record some together. At least we hope so.

This first podcast is available as both an mp3 and as an ogg (and I will also try to upload it to my youtube channel for people who prefer that but for right now we will try it this way.) Eventually I will upload it somewhere that works for rss but this is a start. It isn’t perfect. I don’t have time for a lot of editing and I am just learning to use the audio editor so please forgive the weird cuts (I pause a lot when I am talking  on a good day and while recording… I pause more so I was playing with removing them) and the sounds of traffic.

This podcast is the first, obviously and therefore basically an intro. A “how we ended up unschooling in the first place, and how we ended up becoming radical unschoolers” type story. It is a story of us, as a family, and how we got where we are. How God brought us here, because He most certainly did.  (Did I mention rambling? Yeah.)

The (Christian) Unschool Carpool (mp3) episode 1

The (Christian) Unschool Carpool (ogg) episode 1 

 

Changes

I mentioned this on twitter but I guess I should mention it here as well. Mrs. R, the 97 yr old woman I was caretaker to for 4 and a half years, passed Monday while a fellow caretaker/friend and I sat with her. Funeral was today, viewings were yesterday. She is greatly missed. She was a wonderful, feisty woman, and a huge encouragement to me. I (as well as most of the other caretakers) am at peace and have closure as we knew it was coming and I was there when it happened.

However, this means I am without a steady full time job. I am currently focused on getting my art, illustration, and web design business’ really set up and moving forward as real jobs instead of just side gigs. I sold a painting today, I have 4 illustration projects in the works, including 4 book cover jobs, and several other projects on the back burner. So while I am not working full time I am working full time, but freelance. We are currently okay and are hoping that between me pushing forward with the work I have now and coming up and several website projects, some sewing and herbal remedy stuff I have on the side, combined with some extra freelance work Shamus is taking on and his Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/shamusyoung) we MIGHT be able to make this work. We are hopeful and nervous.


If you are interested in my art, I just updated my site (http://www.tinybookdragonart.com/) with pricing explanations as well as purchasing options as well as keeping up to date on my  Facebook , Etsy, my Amazon page, Instagram, etc) so you can buy my stuff. Once I get Seriously Simple back up and running I will link to that. I will probably be selling the geeky skirts through the Nine Tailed Bunny page but possibly will keep them on my art Etsy. I haven’t decided yet. And once I update my illustration and webdesign pages I will share those as well.


I do NOT expect friends to purchase my stuff to help us. However if you know someone who needs book covers, illustration, logos, or art I would love if you passed my site along. That is how I have gotten several of my illustration jobs. Someone knew someone who needed something I do. (And prayer always welcome. This is scary and big and new and well, we are taking turns panicking. :D)

The Year of Fixing

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Me, working on illustrations for the book, “Dog the Dragon”. Nothing to do with the post but thought I should add an image of some sort. So there you go.

 

After years of trying to get back on track (and pay off our debt) this is apparently the year of fixing. Fixing the car, fixing our health, replacing things that can’t be fixed, just plain getting things back in order.
So far:

  •  Shamus has gotten a benign cyst that I was sure was a unicorn horn starting on his forehead.
  • Rachel has been diagnosed with moderate hearing loss . She has cheap over-the-counter hearing aids that rub but which help enough that she willing wears them anyway. Our goal is to be able to get her a pair of digital ones (including bluetooth for music, phone, computer) BEFORE she moves out in the next year.
  • New glasses for Es and I – much needed, including reading glasses for me. This would make me feel old except that I have needed reading glasses off and on since I was 18.
  • Replaced dead Wii with Wii U.
  • New sewing machine to replace multiple dead or nearly dead old ones.
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Another unrelated picture, though apparently this is also the year of the rain cloud. all the rain, all the time.


Coming soon:

  • Full glaucoma workup for both Shamus and Es because apparently there is weird eye stuff running in that side of the family.
  • Get Rach in to doctor for proper inhaler script, permission to get hearing aids (because the FDA is weird), and get her driver’s permit physical.
  • Get car doors fixed- our car has issues. Every door has something wrong with it, 2 don’t open at all, one only opens from out outside, one only opens from inside and one works but has a broken bit so you have to open it just so.
  • Get Rach decent digital hearing aids that suit her needs. Preferably ones with bluetooth that can be adjusted from her phone and can be used with bluetooth so she can easily do what she does, like talk on Skype, listen to music, watch movies.
  • Get a good printer for printing art so the girls and I can, you know, print our art.
Sunset. Because sunset.
Sunset. Because sunset.

I am sure there is more that I have forgotten.

Lots of general stuff going on:

  • Rach graduating and moving out (soon).
  • Rach working on independent study of art and possibly video game design and programming.
  • Me working on the book illustrations, working full time, and working on several websites.
  • Es working as content manager for a website.
  • Es designing and creating a video game.
  • Es writing a webcomic.
  • Issac doing his thing (mostly video games, Lego, and hanging out online with friends while growing and eating and growing some more.
  • Shamus writing, writing, writing, working on Good Robot, writing some more, doing  Spoiler Warning and the podcast and writing some more.

Life is Beautiful and Teens are Awesome

The last couple months or so have been crazy busy.

Mr. Tumnus gets a new look.

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

We moved in the fall (that is a huge story that eventually I will tell, when I have time, and words). Es started volunteering at the library. Rach got a job, then lost it due to age restrictions (company policy vs store policy.)

Breakfast date with my baby boy. (He wouldn’t let me post the one with him in it.

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

The kids are all teens now, and wonderful, awesome, brilliant, fun to be around, and all busy with their own stuff. I don’t post things about them unless they give permission (never have) and now they are older and more private about their stuff and well, I have less to share. We have several new projects we are working on as a family.

Life as we know it is swirling and changing and adapting. I go from times when the kids want all my attention and it is a swirl of activity to times where no one is around– all asleep, or busy with their personal projects, or talking to friends.

 

Rachel’s new head.

 

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

My own projects go in spurts. In this season they often get set aside to talk out personal issues with the kids, discuss how somethign works or why, or how people work or think or why people can be dumb sometimes.

Pillow fort.

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

It is all such a whirl of color and activity interspersed with times of quiet and nothing that it is hard to keep track of coming or going.

 

THIS is how geeks spend Thanksgiving. Dungeons .and Dragons Clue plus Sheetz takeout.

 

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

Our big current project – the kids and I (I’ll let Shamus share his own as he sees fit) is body butters. (For sale here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SeriouslySimpleStuff) They are fun to make and pretty and the kids love them as much as I do.

Kind of excited about the adorable body butters the kids and I are selling. This is the cute little sample size.

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

 

And how cute did the single Valentine’ s gift wrap turn out.

 

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

And there is more happening but I will leave it for now. Life is beautiful, and fun, and wonderful. We have a new warm, safe place to live that is everything we could have asked for, if we had thought to do so. This season with teens is absolutely awesome.

It is NOVEMBER!

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

Math in Art

*I am a lazy blogger. Mind you I have been blogging off and on since 1999. Why yes, I had a blog on the original “Blogger”. I remember vividly making one, being so excited (I had a new baby and was one of the early “mom bloggers”), and then Blogger reset everything after a crash and I lost my blog. We all had to start over. Sigh. Anyway, point is nowadays I seldom have time to blog, what with working full time, having 3 teenagers, running the Christian Unschooling facebook group (nearly 2000 members now), and well, life. So you mostly get posts that are reposts of things I have written elsewhere, because, posts.


The following is in response to a new to unschooling mom asking how to make sure her passionate about art daughter was learning math. Obviously my post here is proof read, formatted properly, etc unlike the original post which I wrote on the fly. 😀

Family Portrait- Heather Young 2010
Family Portrait- Heather Young 2010

With art, math is more of a natural thing that happens and less of a “this is math” thing. If I try thinking of math while I draw/paint my brain actually stops doing the type of art I want to do and I get too analytical to do the more organic work I prefer. (I play a lot of logic/puzzle video games which use the math part of the brain when doing programming and very architectural drawings and tend to spend more time watching vibrant/visually stunning animes and movies and listening to music when painting- helps my brain get into the right mode to work). That said you do use math naturally as an artist and it develops as you develop. So this is more for the mom and whoever else is worried about the child learning math than for her.

Book Dragon- Heather Young 2013
Book Dragon- Heather Young 2013

You use a lot of math think to do perspective, scaling things for drawings- whether up or down, composition, layout, proportions, as well as anytime you work on a realistic drawing it is all in your head visual math. The only art I can think of that does not use math as a default would be doing complete abstract (and many abstract pieces are full of math). Anytime you are taking something real world and putting it on paper (including fantasy and manga style, but I am saying, anything you could build and see rather than abstract concepts) you are using an organic math in your head to decide where things go and how they fit and where the lines should go. Mostly it is because when God created the world He filled it with patterns and lines and you can’t draw without replicating those at least in part, and the more you do it and the better you get the more math you are actually using, whether you recognize it or not.

Dragon Daydreams- Heather Young 2013
Dragon Daydreams- Heather Young 2013

Nowadays I can actually see myself doing it, and my art is much better because of it, though when I was young, math made me panic and I had to “ignore” the fact that I was using it and rather intuit it to get it figured right. I still intuit it, but I also intuit most math in other things- if I think about numbers my brain switches them around (there is a name for it- it is called “dyscalculia”- makes doing bills extra interesting), but if I let myself not think about them and intuit the answer it is almost always right.

Beach House Portrait- Heather Young 2009
Beach House Portrait- Heather Young 2009

There is a big difference between conceptual math and arithmetic- arithmetic is 1+1 and people naturally get that stuff because we use clocks and money, bake and play games, and everything else in the real world that uses arithmetic every day. Art, on the other hand, uses a lot of conceptual math- the scientist/mathematician stuff that most people don’t think of as “math”, it is just another form of that. Seeing patterns and using them to know where to put lines and color and shape is much more conceptual than it is arithmetic . That said artists do also use basic arithmetic for figuring proportions and things in more complicated drawings and layout- think M.C. Escher type stuff.

St. Mary's Convent, Freeport, PA- Heather Young 2010
St. Mary’s Convent, Freeport, PA- Heather Young 2010

More on the difference between conceptual math and arithmetic here: http://www.christianunschooling.com/math-think/

Art Media series #2 ACEO- Heather Young 2012
Art Media series #2 ACEO- Heather Young 2012

Also, is you want to see where I am actually posting my art nowadays on a semi-regular basis you can visit my tumblr here: Pocket Lint of the Soul

Rachel Travels

Racheltrip3
Rachel with her Asian Onion bun.

Our oldest is back in Texas for a 3 week visit. Everything fell in place perfectly for her to spend her 16th birthday there at her best friends’ home so we went ahead despite winter’s unpredictable weather.

Rachel with her Asian Onion bun.
Rachel with her Asian Onion bun.

The first day of the trip was awesome despite the bus leaving an hour late and driving straight through due to snow and ice. She made friends with a girl about her age from China who barely spoke English. She helped her  get where she need to be and do what she needed to do. They watched their favorite shows together (Thor  which they watched in English with Chinese subtitles and Heartstrings- a Korean drama which they watched in Korean with English subtitles). They shared Rachel’s food (there was snow and ice and they were running late so they they didn’t stop at any of the normal stops for food). It was amazing and wonderful and Rue was thrilled that God was clearly in this trip.

Racheltrip2
Look at my onion bun!

The second day was HARD. She had a pack of Pocky left for her breakfast and wouldn’t get in till 9:30pm. (I really wish I had bought her a few more buns at the Asian grocery store (I ran in while she waited in line to get check in.) They were running really late still so weren’t making any stops and when they did stop there were only broken machines. At one point the bus broke down. She had a layover in Oklahoma City with no way to get food as the machines were all broken. Finally they got to Amarillo where she missed her transfer and her luggage had gone missing (they think it went to Dallas but so far no one is sure as it hasn’t turned up yet yet.) She ended up stuck in Amarillo, well after the time she was supposed to be in Lubbock, after everything had closed, waiting for our friends to drive an extra hour to come pick her up with no way to get any food and no luggage.

Racheltrip4
Waiting and waiting and waiting. She was standing in line for over an hour and a half.

They took her to eat, took her home, found some clean clothes for her to wear, and they all crashed. Today they are heading into the city to the Greyhound station to see if they can track down her luggage and go thrift shopping for some new clothes to tide her over. A friend is sending a replacement for her Bamboo Tablet (which was in her luggage) and she received another pair of headphones as a late Christmas gift. So the big things that were lost (if the luggage isn’t found) have been replaced. Her brother gave her some money for her birthday and she will receive a little more which will help cover the rest of her loss. Not the most fun way of spending your 16th birthday but being with her best friends will make up for it.

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Finally getting on the bus!

We are praying that her luggage does show up and soon since we aren’t sure how much to replace and what to wait for. Regardless it will make a great story someday and she still has 2.5 weeks of time with her friends before she gets to deal with Greyhound again.

Racheltrip6
On the bus. Finally.

A Season of Transitions and Many Blessings

After 3 years of  full freelancing, with God providing from all different places including the work of our hands, the Lord has seen fit to give me a job that is providing fully for our family. This will enable us, God willing, to find a local place to rent instead of moving wherever (as we were willing to do and are still willing to do should things change, yet this means we can stay here where family is, especially my grandmother who is not doing as well as we would hope.) This was completely God’s hand– one minute I  was doing some website work and an hour later I had a full time job.

New palette– sketch for future color reference.

This job is not a forever job.  I am part of a team of women who care for an elderly woman. When she no longer needs us then I will no longer have this job.  So we are using this income to get ourselves on better financial footing, to pay off debt,  and find a temporary place to live. (The bank finally, after 6 months, decided that the buyer of our home was not suitable and that we were going to back into full foreclosure. Sigh. So we have a Sheriff sale ate again and a move out date.)  We are packing up the house and looking for a place to rent, or will as soon as the plague leaves our house. We have a list of places to check but are waiting on God’s timing, and part of that is being healthy again (Rach got sick, then the rest of us did– par for the course, though I think we are on the tail end of it now).

Little reader dragon-ACEO

In the last month, not only have we been adjusting to the changes that come with me working full time but also, God has been doing some serious spiritual heart surgery around here.   There have been many changes of a wide variety and those, combined with me working, and the family being sick, have made for a very interesting time but one I am not quite ready to discuss publicly (especially since we are still in the midst of it– we are talking deep internal changes which only show in small things externally). Basically Shamus and I have been spending a huge amount of time listening to the bible together and talking about what God is showing us and  the internal understandings and changes have been pretty huge. Aside from  all the other stuff He has specifically laid 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.) on both of our hearts and we are praying and learning what that looks like in the work that He has given us to do.

Curled up with a Good Book– dragon postcard.

Also, during that time Shamus had a huge computer mess which lead to blessings but that is a story for him to tell (which I believe he will be sharing later this week.) In fact, I believe he has another thing to share this week as well.

All in all God has been blessing us from every angle.  The job I have permits me a lot of downtime and quiet, so I spend that time reading and painting. I do have internet access but no laptop or tablet so I can only be online in part, via the wi-fi smart phone– this means I can keep in touch with the family while there without having to make calls. This means I am spending less time  on groups on Facebook and more time just praying for the CU group (I can only access it sporadically from the phone and usually don’t get updates). That said it is a blessing to have quiet time to paint, and be encouraged to do so (the lady I work for loves that I spend my downtime painting and encourages it.) So I am not only working full time but also producing more paintings.

New book dragon.

The only downside of me working is I am getting less time at home with the family. 🙂  They don’t seem to be suffering for it, in fact it has been a neat transition as Shamus is taking on more of the daily conversations about anything and everything. I think it is a very good thing all in all but I do miss having a good feel for what is going on, what is needed, and who is struggling with what.

Finally, Shamus and I celebrated 16 years of marriage this week by getting nice and sick (well, he is.  I am only slightly  so– stuffy nose mostly) but that made for an interesting anniversary.  Also, Rach spent her birthday last week sick but I think had a super awesome birthday anyway.

So there it is.  A bit of a rambly post about how God is working in our lives and  where we are right now. Aside from being sick the kids are thriving. Shamus is thriving. I am thriving. God is good and is doing great things.  We will see where He leads us next.

Happy Halloween

We finished Rachel’s Chell costume (from Portal) tonight.  Issac had to test out the Portal gun: made from a small soda bottle, a 2 liter, foam, paper, tape, glue gun, some pieces of plastic and wire found around the house, and a glow stick.  Designed by Rachel with help from Mom. The boots  are real boots with stockings over (drawn on with sharpie) and lots of electrical and packing tape.

Where We Are June 2012

On the house front we have a buyer– maybe.  Have to get a “dye test” done for the sewer and if that needs work then the buyer is walking– so still no idea when we will have to move and just waiting on God.

Otherwise all is well and the Lord has continued to provide enough for the coming month.  It has been so awesome to see where the money comes from each month– some from book sales, some from website stuff and art sales, some from ads, some from donations, but regardless it is just enough eacah time.

The kids are busy and happy and growing and learning and just plain awesome.  We got to go meet up with some fellow Christian unschoolers yesterday at Old Bedford Village which was so much fun despite the heat.  I am thinking that is another post though.

The Christian Unschooling group I run (now with the help of 11 wonderful ladies) on Facebook is growing by leaps and bounds with roughly 20 new people a WEEK and all sorts of conversations ranging from basic unschooling and Christianity questions to health to prayer requests to who knows what (today’s big question was about coffee– best type of coffee maker and coffee because one of the kids wanted to know so Mom asked.:))  It takes a lot of time and energy to keep up but it is amazing to see what God is doing and I am so grateful for my small group of admins who help me keep it kind, gentle, and away from the danger zones.

I AM remembering to post recent pictures of the kids but mostly just to my Facebook page for the blog since I am on Facebook for the group all the time and am able to quickly upload them there now (used to be nearly impossible for me to upload pictures to Facebook, plus their policy about photos used to be squiffy).  So if you want to see where we have been and what the kids have been doing and learning  you can find the pictures here: http://www.facebook.com/untraditionalhome?

Also, I have been updating my Etsy shop with all the art I have sitting around that never got posted (still have Sherwood Showdown paintings to post but otherwise  I think I have them all up there and decently organized).  Lots more geeky stuff for sale plus art from Shamus’ book: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ElasahArt