Tag: Christian unschooling

A Day in the Life of a Radically Unschooling (Christian) Family

New unschoolers ask all the time “what does a typical day look like?”  I wrote a response 5 years ago, when we were not yet radical unschoolers but full unschoolers.  After sharing it once again I also wrote up our day today so I thought I would share.

My kids are older now and our typical days change based on what projects they are doing, what they are interested in, what their current goals are, and what my husband and I are doing (I work full time outside the home for this season, he writes and programs- freelance). I think today went something like this: 

I got up at around 9am, hubby was still asleep, Rachel (16) still asleep, Issac (12) got up at about 4:55am, Es (14) got up at 6 or so. Rach got up around 12? Shamus got up around 11am? 
Es SteampunkI take my supplements, have my tea, have my breakfast, sit at the computer and look over Facebook- check admin stuff  that needs done for the Facebook group. Younger two have been up watching “Malcom in the Middle” (in between projects, though middle daughter is currently working on a Minecraft texture pack). The tv show has been watched several times through recently, lots of questions answered about the time period, various topics that come up, the humor. Es watches a lot of shows to learn more about pacing and humor as she writes and wants to write better humor and wants to pace her animations and comics better. 

Issac did the dishes (he is saving up for a harddrive and all in family get paid for their work by the hour). Es decided at the last minute to come with me to take my grandmother shopping (every Tuesday) but decided to do a social experiment and dressed up in a steam punk style outfit and brought a card and crayon to make notes about reactions. She wants to write a tumblr post documenting her social experiment- how many people react, how they react by demographic. Shamus wakes just before we leave- he is writing today. Rachel wakes as we leave. She is working on a Minecraft world she and her best friend are designing and needs to work on the texturepack. 
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On the way to my grandmothers Es and I discuss prophecy vs demonic possession, staying close to God during times of extreme spiritual stuff, what the Bible says about fortune telling and prophecy. We stop when Grandma gets in the car. Es explains her project to Grandma. While Grandma and I get groceries, Es goes off around the store to see and document reactions. She then comes back to us, helps a bit, then goes pick up some things she just remembered she wanted. 

We go to Subway because Grandma is hungry. We discuss expanding Esther’s social experiment and what she would need in order to do that as well as other people’s experiences with colored hair, dreads, piercings and peoples reactions.
Es steampunk
We take Grandma home, put away her groceries. We stop by my dad’s place to take some pictures and visit a bit. Talk about the old butternut tree that fell down which my dad is turning into a coffee table (and teaching himself all the steps- lots of new stuff happening there- made a new type of joint today and spent months planing the wood and making the boards). Es talks to him a bit about her experiment.

We stop at the thrift shop to look a t the formal wear for ideas for other skirts and outfits. Found a pair of shoes, a Doctor Who scarf, and a silk skirt that will be awesome. Get home. Issac is putting together a new puzzle we had just gotten. He is in a “bored” stage- his friends (who he talks to on Skype) have all been busy, he wants to have a new hard drive so he can do more, and the weather is cold and supposed to warm up so he doesn’t want to go outside till it does. So he is watching tv, putting together the puzzle and complaining about being bored. Es realizes she is hungry and tired so makes herself some cream cheese pancakes and sits down to watch. Rach makes herself some regular pancakes. She has been working on the Minecraft world while we were gone and has just gotten working on the texture pack. Hubby is taking a nap.1891084_10152138006699335_1472135447_n

I realize that I messed up about a birthday party Es was supposed to go to (her first one that was just her going for her friend and I messed up.) We shop on Amazon instead, she writes her a note on the gift, and we make plans to get together soon.

 

In an hour I leave for work (12 hr shift over night) but in the meantime I am back on the computer trying to problem solve and come up with solutions for running a huge facebook group while lacking the proper tools to do it. 

And there you have it. Our day today. 10014618_10152138006809335_586485070_n

Everything in its Season

*I wrote this in my Christian unschooling  group in response to a young mom with a 15 month old wondering if she would ever have time to do all the things she wanted to, to learn all the things she was interested in learning. It occurred to me that she is not alone. I remember being that young mom wondering if I would ever get a full nights sleep let alone  be able to do things I was interested in, things that weren’t just about my family. And how were all these super moms doing it all? 

This is just a season. Everything in its seasons. Pregnancy is a season. New baby is a season. Toddler is a season. There was a season of me stuck at home in a new town with hubby gone all day, pregnant and with a toddler. We had a season of 3 kids under 5- all in diapers at least part of the time. A season where one child was constantly in and out of the hospital. Several seasons where I was too sick to get out of bed. We have also had seasons of going all the time. Of passionately learning new things- I have learned a little of several languages (Not a natural language person so it is more osmosis for me- watching a lot of tv in that language and just exposing myself to it). Learning to cook for food allergies. Learning natural remedies and cheap healthy foods. Learning wild crafting and herbal-ism. Learning how to be a homemaker. Writing a book. Editing and publishing my own and my husband’s books. Marketing books and art. Learning to code html and php. Hosting and maintaining websites for myself and others. Blogging. Reading the Bible through multiple times and really studying it. Researching pretty much everything. Running several websites and Faecbook groups. Learning to fix things myself and then doing it. Working for an antique appraiser. Working as a caretaker for an elderly woman. Taking care of my own grandparents.

 

I have been married 17 years now. I have a nearly 16 yr old, a 14 yr old, and a 12 year old. There have been many many seasons. There are many seasons to come. I have no idea what will come next. Some of the seasons rotate around my children. Others around other friends or family members. Some mostly around myself.

The biggest trick is learning to focus on the here and now- to do the next thing and not worry about the other stuff, but also knowing this IS just a season so you can enjoy it fully. You can keep your goals in mind, you can have a list, the list will change. Your passions will change.

One of the wonderful things about unschooling is that passion for learning in YOU will encourage the passion for learning in your children so when you hit a season where you can you do- you study and research and learn. And when you hit a new season you do what you need to do for that one. And you build on all that stuff that you have learned and are able to learn and grow more and it benefits your kids as you do so.

Interruptibility

Seth Barnes wrote today about  being interruptible in terms of leading and mentoring young missionaries and it got me thinking about it in terms of  parenting and unschooling, especially when both parents work from home plus in terms of the mentoring I do of Christian unschoolers and others who contact me regularly via email and Facebook.  In Christ being a leader (whether of a group of 800 or just in your home as a parent) means being a servant.  Being a servant means being available.  Being available means you are setting yourself for  exhaustion if you don’t make sure to recharge.  If you are being there for others 24/7 then you need to take what opportunities He provides to rest and make sure you are filled up with Him.  July took a lot out of me.  It was a very hard month.  This month is just as full but in  more fun ways and He has been showing me how to  serve while taking care of my heart and mind so I can better serve.

Anyone who knows me well knows I am a non-planning laid back sort of person.  When I try to plan and schedule things  I get caught up in my plans and forget to enjoy life.  So instead I come up with a tentative plan and trust God with it– His plans are way more awesome than mine. 🙂  So I am naturally fairly interrupt-able.  Once upon a time I was obsessed with reading missionary biographies.  ONe in particular said something that stuck with me.  It was something about how being interrupted was God’s way of getting him where He wants him.  Back then I decided I needed to make sure I was doing that– seeing interruptions as God getting my attention and refocusing me on what was important.   I have also needed to learn when I have to stop and how to work things so I have the breaks I need in order to recharge properly.  I am introverted despite my constant interactions and needed to learn how to get the recharge time I need to I can be what others need when they need it.    So, even though we have had company visiting and lots going on in the group I admin (with the help of 11 beautiful, gentle women who help me keep things loving and thoughtful when anger and frustration rear their heads), plus the kids needing this and that and just wanting to talk, I wander out to the porch with my book and read until one of the kids joins me on the porch for a chat.  I take a long quiet bath or watch a bit of a movie or read or bake or take a walk, anything to get the rest my brain needs when I can so that when I am needed I am recharged and ready.

Yesterday I was blessed with a minor road trip to the airport with several visits interspersed– some with people I have never met, others I hold dear, but in the midst of it I had time driving alone.  I love driving, especially in new places with interesting sights.  I love  being able to see God’s handiwork everywhere and have quiet conversations with Him as I navigate roads, having faith that He will get me safely where I am going whether I know how to get there or not (the kids will tell you I am never lost since I know where I am– right here– and know where I am going  though only God knows how to get between the two though I very often am in the place where I don’t know how to get from here to there and spend that time prayerfully driving and we eventually get where we want to be).  It was a day that was not planned,  other than getting to the airport on time and meeting up with Grace’s friend’s family.  Everything else was spontaneous and relaxed and filled with the freedom to wait and see what God had in store.  The visits were a lovely blessing and the space to drive and pray and think was just what I needed after such a hectic week.  God worked it all out perfectly so that not only did I get plenty of time with Grace before seeing her off and time with my brother-in-law and his beautiful and very pregnant wife, but I also got plenty of downtime alone with Him.  And I have learned that if I watch and wait He will provide those times in the midst of the busy-ness if I keep my eyes open– I just need to be ready to take them.

Everything is an adventure and I love  seeing where God is leading us and watching to see how He works it all out.  And very, very often it is those interruptions, those messages on Facebook, or those emails, or phone calls that  remind me where He IS working and how I can help in this or that circumstance.  Those interruptions also remind me  that He uses everything for good.  Our various health issues, behavioral stuff with the kids as well as both Shamus and my learning issues in school, and the way He has worked to heal us through various diet related things, my studies of herbalism and wildcrafting, food related stuff, our indie book publishing, writing, fixing things,  unschooling experiences, gentle parenting experiences, art stuff, the list goes on.  I have messages daily about all sorts of things that people are struggling with — areas that I have past experience with that helps and encourages them.  It amazes and blesses me daily that God is redeeming those experiences through these “interruptions” in what I think I should be doing.

 

Addendum– as I wrote this I also helped Issac  figure out ideas for things to build in Minecraft (including finding him graph paper, ruler, and pencil so he could draw out his ideas), and had several conversations with Rach.

Goings ons: GAPS, unschooling, work and more

So I have been a bit busy. I mean, I am ALWAYS busy in the summer, but this is unusually busy. Some of it has been the Christian Unschooling Facebook group which take as lot of my time as I am admin there. Some of it has been learning new things: between Pinterest (you can find me here) and Google + (find me here). BTW both programs are wonderful but I am really, really in love with Google +. The artist community there is amazing and inspiring.

We are still on the GAPS diet and it is still helping.

 

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  • Rachel has been able to fully add multiple foods into her diet that triggered full SJS symptoms before– including lemon, chicken, and ginger.  She can also be around tomato and apple without symptoms (just being in the same room with them would trigger a reaction before.)  She has also had plenty of energy and zero RA symptoms since going on the diet.
  • Issac is doing very well on the diet though he now has added regular raw milk in (it is something he can fix himself quickly and will always drink.)  He doesn’t like broth so I make reductions with whatever he is eating — kind of like gravy which works well.
  • Esther was doing very well until she started forgetting to eat and just started drinking straight raw milk all the time. Around that time she contracted a stomach bug, her system got all out of whack and she has to restart intro  in order to heal.  We are nearly back to where she was already and she is now able to eat way more foods than she could before without enzymes.
  • I am continuing to heal well though we ran out of grass fed beef and it is hard to get around here without ordering quarter (which we are doing but it will take 8 weeks to get.)  I can now eat chicken and eggs with no reaction though after years of being allergic I am really nervous of it.  Up until this week I have had no RA symptoms at all.  This week we ran out of broth and I have been slightly stiff (no big flare-ups) and dealing with the exhaustion that comes when I am dealing with what would be a flareup if I were eating a regular diet.  Considering that in the past the first weeks of August are my worst flare-up times and have meant me on crutches most years I am doing exceptionally well.
Unschooling is still going on:

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  • It has become so much of our lifestyle that I seldom think about it anymore.  The kids as always are doing all sorts of things– mostly on the computer (but what do you expect when most of their parents time is spent on the computer?)
  • Rachel is spending a lot of time playing piano, watching anime, drawing manga, learning Japanese, focusing on being more independent, reading the driver’s handbook again and again (she can’t wait to get her license in 3 years),  playing Minecraft and WoW and doing odd jobs for money.
  • Esther is spending much time reading, on Minecraft, Roblox, and Sims 3, drawing, and trying to get her sleeping and eating into healthy patterns so she grows properly (her goal not mine).
  • Issac is spending lots of time playing with his Fisher Price castle, pirates, and submarine thanks to finding more parts via my brother and the thrift shop.  He is also really into Roblox and Minecraft, chemistry, and electricity.
Work stuff:
  • Shamus finally got paid.  It was a year in coming but it is here which means we are no longer struggling (though we still can’t make the full house payment since we need to make this last — since who knows the next time we will get paid. :))
  • This means that part of our current work is figuring out how best to spend on the big things (ordering things we use in bulk, paying off bigger debts, and generally learning how to live on freelancer income.)
  • Shamus is working on a game engine and a book and is thinking about another book.  He is currently working on a game proposal for the game engine as he has potential backers, finishing the first book, and thinking on the new book.  We are also considering different ways of monetizing his site more efficiently.
  • I am working on some more book illustrations/cover art, several portraits, and have some website work on the backburner (waiting for clients to get back to me.)
  • The card game is out and for sale (once we get the cost of making it paid off in sales then we get a chunk in proceeds so…go buy a copy, or two or three?  It makes an awesome gift, is fun to play even as adults, is fast paced and educational (math, history –since I made the costumes and everything involved historically accurate to the 16th century, reading, logic).  My kids love it as do other unschooling friends who have played it.  It is also easy to adapt to other games or for more than 2 people.
Provision:
  • It has been amazing how God has provided this last year and we are trying to learn from the experience and make wise decisions for the future.  He has made sure we have had all we needed despite our lack of funds and it has been awesome to see how various people have stepped in  and provided where work did not.  Shamus’s readers on his website are absolutely amazing as their random gifts saw us through many tight spots, as did several families who took us on and sponsored us, making sure we had what we needed.  We praise the Lord for all of their help.  Our personal goal is to make this (which the Lord has lead us to) work.  To avoid needing to eat into the chunk of  money we have been paid for previous work done and to instead of try to work our way out of the debt we are in.  We want to get to the position where we can freely give and help those in need out of our excess instead of just out of our tithe.  We are praying that the Lord will get us to that point via the work He has provided for us to do.  That said the life of a freelancer may not be easy but it is always interesting.

 

God’s Thumbprints

I haven’t talked a lot about it lately, well, because there have been so many other things going on, however a friend of mine started a monthly meme called “God’s Thumbprints” in order to remember to record what God is doing so, here I am.

For those who don’t know (and I know there are a lot of you now because of the  CU group) my husband went from full time programmer and full time writer a few years ago (the same week my mom died) to part time programmer and then this last summer switched to no time programmer (except for personal projects like the game he is still working on in his head) and full time writer.  This would be fine, really, because he gets paid to be a full time writer as well, except that he hasn’t been paid for being a full time writer, despite continuing to BE a full time writer for almost exactly a year now.  This means that since last July we have been living completely on what we had saved and God’s provision.  We are trusting that he will EVENTUALLY be paid by this company and if not that the Lord will provide from other means.  He has gotten us through in many amazing ways, from friends gifting us (both money and food– our friends are AMAZING!!!! and God has used them in many miraculous ways right down to the necessary ingredients showing up WHILE I was cooking), Google ads from Shamus’ site, donations from Shamus’ readers, web design and painting work I have done and miscellaneous other  sources.  You can read through my stories of how God got us through the winter here.

We haven’t been in as dire straights as we were this winter, mostly because the Lord provided that despite no  regular income we would get back almost all of the money we paid in taxes.  And due to small incomes from various jobs I have been doing plus Shamus’ Google ads we are leaking slowly instead of going through it all in 3 months as we expected.  We are, however, in a place where we really need to be careful and wise with our spending.  Not that we aren’t normally but extras are extras and we are avoiding those (we did use some of the money from our tax return to get some things we really needed and had been putting off).

So, God’s provision.  Well.

  • This last week I went to the farm to get milk.  I have been putting it off because other than a steady stream of ground beef and eggs we didn’t need as much from the farm with the GAPS diet.  I use milk only for making yogurt and kefir right now, so the 4 gallons I buy is lasting longer (4 gallons of raw milk for $16 is an amazing blessing btw– thank you Vicki!)  So last week I went not knowing how much cash was in my purse.  Poor Vicki is used to this– I remind myself of the missionary who found a bag of cash, invited some military men to breakfast, and then afterwards finally counted the money, praying he would have enough (true story– he did, right down to the tip though while he was praying and counting he asked God if maybe there might be a tiny bit left over for him– there wasn’t).    So anyway, I knew I didn’t have much cash as my grandmother has recently moved much nearer and now instead of once  a week I visit twice a week and often have to run out and get her things.  So, as usual, I started with the milk because I KNEW I had enough for that.  Then I got the meat, because I knew we needed it and I would just buy as much as I had cash for.  Well I had enough for 2 extra lbs.  Then I still had enough for 2 dozen eggs.  THEN I still had enough for 2 bricks of cheese.  It was like the cash was multiplying in my purse.  Vicki and I just watched it happen as I had enough for EVERYTHING I needed.  God is SO awesome!  Oh, and I had $3 left over. 🙂  (And if you go back and read some of my archives you will see that this is not unusual in our household– we have an AWESOME God.)
  • Another cool God thing that I haven’t had a chance to share.  My food processor died.  (So did the dryer, and the blender, and I swear everything in the house is dying.)  I REALLY need to get a good one.  I used to have a Bosch.  Loved it to death.  Literally.  It died after 10 years of daily use.  I didn’t know what to do because it was smoking and therefore I really shouldn’t use it.  So I prayed about it and prayed some more.  Then I realized that my grandmother had given me money for Mother’s Day.  Not enough to buy a good one but enough to buy a decent one on sale.  So I researched and found one that was almost $100 everywhere else, on sale that DAY at Target for $60–the amount I had.  The motor was slightly stronger than the one that just died on me after a year (never buy a Black & Decker food processor– the bowl was cracked into hairline fractures within a week of getting it and it just got worse from there.)  So now I have a working food processor again, which is necessary because I use it AT LEAST once a daily– usually more than that.  Someday I am getting a good one but for now this will do. 🙂
  • Another awesome God thing that happened recently.  Facebook transferred the old groups over to the new group format.  Suddenly the Christian unschooling group I created several years ago showed up and had people in it.  200 people!  200 people TALKING and loving each other and encouraging each other!  Of course I had the other group already and that was a bit of a mess but now that is mostly worked out and so we have a huge group of people to love and support one another which has been such a blessing to all of us.  And yes, there have been some hiccups but for the most part we all get along and treat each other with kindness, respect, and grace, which is awesome.  It also means that suddenly I have a ministry facilitating and leading women again.  I thought I was done with that when we left the church we were in and suddenly God thrust mew into this place again.  Let me tell you, it is hard even though this group is really great and loving.  I am not naturally a leader (I call it the church planter mentality– I like to start things then backup and watch them develop on their own, handing off administration to others).  Instead God has handed me this group of women to encourage and it is scary and amazing– because I am not such a great leader– my spiritual gifts (the ones I am sure of) are service/helps and knowledge– my HUSBAND has the gift of leadership, not me!  GAH!  Anyway, God is working and it is a beautiful thing and exciting to see so many new to CU being encouraged (and many are new to unschooling completely though there are a few of us who have been doing it for a while and are comfortable in our own skins.  Sometimes I forget how hard it is to be starting because I am so used to not fitting in.)

Now go visit Mandy at A Bona fide Life and share what God is doing in YOUR life!

Random Stuff and Coming Soon

  • The kids are eating homemade peanut/almond/coconut butter with homemade jam on homemade bread for breakfast.  They are going on about how this is THE. Best. Peanut Butter. And. Jelly. Sandwhich. Ever!
  • Today is a day to go out.  I have packages to mail, library books to return, computers to fix.
  • Due to my weird whatever it is sleeping sickness I have been reading.  A lot.  I have a pile of books to tell you all about and to pass on to my kids to read.
  • My husband has been sucked into the vortex that is WOW.  It will be a while before he emerges, hopefully unscathed.  The good thing is that he has extra work to do which has brought this on plus he is getting irritated at it more often–a sure sign that the game is not long for our house.  Otherwise I would be applying for a WOW Widows support group.
  • Issac got a new bike which we are still trying to replace the tires on.  Sigh.

  • I am finally starting to get back into the posting mode–which is good because lots of stuff has happened that I want to eventually write about.
  • Speaking of things that happened–I learned a lot about myself and my little world last night.  I went to a not Amway party (I don’t remember the name of the company but it is very similar.)  I went because my bosses daughter was having it and I am friends with her and my kids are friends withher kids.  It was eye opening and my husband is very proud of me because I managed to KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT.  (It made me aware of the totally other lifestyle that most people seem to live–in fact my trip south was also eye opening in this way.  But that is a post for another day.)
  • I still have an upcoming post about VBS in the works, as well as some thoughts on good summer reads and other natural household items that are very frugal and much healthier than the alternatives.
  • I am thinking of writing about the natural alternatives to normal household cleansers and beauty products.  My brain is full of all sorts of alternatives–I have been collecting them since I was a kid reading my mom’s Woman’s Day and Family Circle magazines and later when I got a hold of several old Household Hints books from the early 1900’s.  Some of them are great, some, well, not so great.:)
  • Related to the previous note–I am still getting hits on the Baking Soda and Vinegar shampoo thing.  250 to date.  Weird.
  • Also, more day-in-the-life of Christian Unschoolers style posts.  I really think that is the best way to clear up the whole “are they learning” issue, not to mention showing how God is growing them.  I am so thrilled at the Christian unschooling community I have found here online.  God is so GOOD!