Tag: 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

“Screen Time”

We get the “my kids are doing nothing but play video games/watch tv/look at a screen and I can’t stand it, what should I do?” question about once every week or so on our  (now huge) Christian unschooling Facebook group. It has become the norm. We are all kind of tired of it. Really. For many reasons. Mostly because we hear the fear, we know the paradigm shift hasn’t occurred yet, and  we know it will be a fight to get there, and that part is exhausting. The following is a recent response that I wrote while super-short on sleep 😀 but which ended up covering all the basics in one place.

Esther playing Sims.
Esther playing Sims.

To pull from something my dear friend Pam often points out; how much time is “nothing other than game on their PC/ds/Wii”. Do they get up to get a drink? Go to the bathroom? Eat something? Sleep? If they are doing those things then clarify. They are doing something other than just playing games. They are probably getting up. They may even jump around, do other things. They may spend a few minutes getting something, look something up, they may even go play with something else for a while, go outside, play together beside the tv, they are very likely doing something else too. We need to see those things and recognize that no, the child is not spending “all their time”, they are spending more time than we feel comfortable with.  When we start out with a generalization, it is really hard to get from the viewpoint of seeing it in a negative light to seeing “screens” as many different types of learning and internal things going on and the screen itself as just the media they are getting those things.

Rachel watching anime.
Rachel watching anime.

My husband spends the majority of his day in front of a screen. Working, playing, socializing. He does many different things and yes, he has always preferred doing things in front of a computer screen to elsewhere- there are just so many more things to do, it is a vast world full of many, many types of media in one place- no huge mess to clean up when he wants to play a game, he can write quickly and efficiently, read quickly and move between many different things to read, watch a movie, change the movie, and so on.  It is an amazing, miraculous thing that allows us to communicate with our friends across the world (he collaborates with people all across the US weekly on huge projects), work anywhere (he works with people from all across the globe) and so on. It is amazing that this technology is available in our lifetimes and our children get to learn the language of it now, easily, without fear.  Our kids are going to live in a world where much of their time is going to be in front of the computer. Some people won’t, but the vast majority will. They will use it for work, for play, for socialization, and as unschoolers we have the freedom to let them learn it right now, first hand, and be proficient at it. This is a huge boon compared to kids who are stuck in a classroom unable to look things up as they are interested. Our kids will be well prepared for the future, right now.

 “Technology is here to stay. So why would I choose to keep my kids illiterate in the language that they may need for the future? A half an hour a day does not give kids time to explore the land scape.” ~Aza Donnelly

That said, if you are still really uncomfortable with how much time they are spending, then you get off the computer (you are here, reading this, communicating with others, online) and do really cool things out where they will see. Things that they will love. You make things available that go with what they love on their games (you will probably have to get online to research those things). You find things that associate with what they are doing so there is a connection- if they are into a game that has an associated tv show or other media then there are probably lots of  products out there related to it- pick up a book connected with it, or some figurines, or whatever. If there is a website that has info about the game they are playing (hints, a walkthrough, a wiki- my kids learned to navigate the internet and read because they loved looking up info for their games) put it on your screen and show it to them. If the fact that they would be reading it on a screen bothers you, then you can often buy  a gamers guide but they do get expensive. Offer to help them create a database of the characters and their skills, or print up ones you find online for quick reference. Pick up a gaming magazine for kids, or a book about the collectibles or whatever. Find ways you can connect with the kids where they are, ask them about the games, the shows, whatever. Bring them healthy finger foods if you are worried about what they are eating or that they aren’t eating enough. Ask them about the game, what they are playing, the plot, the people in the games. Let them know you are thinking about them  and want to encourage their interests. Find some aspect you can understand and join them where they are.

Issac playing online with a friend.
Issac playing online with a friend.

This will help you connect with them and really get a feel for what they are getting out of all the things they do on that form of media, and maybe even why. And as they feel you are really trying and aren’t going to “take it away” and that you aren’t frowning about it at them, they will loosen their hold on it a bit and gradually they will start joining you in the cool things you are doing (not all), they will start looking at the books, playing with the associated toys or crafts, and so on. (Many of us have minecraft posters on the wall, or Pokemon, or Skylanders, or Terraria, and books, and action figures, stuffies, houses full of geek references.) Meeting them where they are will help you feel connection with them again (which is usually where the parents panic when they start feeling the kids are doing “nothing but screen things”.) It takes time for both sides, but it is like learning another language and our kids get to do it first-hand and be prepared for this changing world where screens are an everyday all the time part of our lives.

 

Dealing with Chores: Everyone gets Paid

I have been leery of writing about this since we have only really had a one week trial, well, a little over a week. But so far it is working. It is interesting to see what aspects are and what aspects aren’t. Also, Rachel is still out of town so that will change the dynamic when she returns but here goes.

You may remember, if you have read this site for anytime at all, that roughly 2 years ago we quit chores. No more chores. We were done. After that there were some whiny posts as I dealt with my own baggage regarding chores.

A lot has changed since then. I now work full time. The family is here all day without me, making messes without me here to clean up as I go. When Shamus isn’t working a lot he will do dishes or clean the bathroom and the kids pitch in occasionally but they are all busy with their own stuff and a clean house isn’t a huge priority to them. We still do Saturday Sabbath which is wonderful, and the house stays relatively clean because we don’t have a lot of “stuff” and we do have a pretty good system in place for that. The problem is that I work Sundays. Twelve hour Sundays. And Monday I like to rest and get caught up on computer stuff I missed out on at work. So coming home to a mess- dishes in the living room, dishes in the sink, random stuff on the table. Not huge messes but not neat, not calm, not clean, was getting frustrating. Working 36 hrs a week and then taking Grandma shopping each week and doing our own family shopping…well, I was getting cranky and exhausted. I was burning out. It isn’t that the family wasn’t getting anything done. They were but I was picking up the slack anytime it didn’t get done (I have higher standards of cleanliness than everyone else, except Issac- but he keeps his room and desk clean and doesn’t notice the rest), and most days it came down to me.

We needed a solution.  There were certain things we knew from past experience it had to be:

  1. It had to be elegant. Simple. Easy to implement. None of us have the energy or time to fuss with details. I hate lists and schedules. So does the rest of the family. So no lists, no schedules. No “standards”.
  2. It had to be something we could all do- no “kids get paid for jobs that parents do for free” (leading to cranky parents when kids choose not to help).
  3. It had to benefit everyone and everyone had to agree it was fair.
  4. It had to allow for various quality of work and reward accordingly.
  5. It had to be easy to figure out and make sure people got paid and work with when we couldn’t pay due to no money.

It was tricky to come up with something that would work for that list, but suddenly it all fell into place. We would pay per hour. That was it. For any work done to benefit the family that member would get paid. Each member has their own rate based on experience, quality of work, time taken to do work. After a lot of talking it out we came up with the kids starting at $5 per hour and myself and Shamus getting $10 per hour- I am faster and more experienced but not as meticulous, he is slower but super high quality work when he does it. Issac is like Shamus. Takes forever to do a load of dishes but every dish is perfectly clean, dry, and put away neatly. Es is more like me, hurried but doesn’t take long. We used “doing a load of dishes” as our measurement with the goal of “each family member earning roughly $2.50 for a whole  load of dishes. That is the job that needs done most often. That is the job that is most easily measured because we know how each person does the job. Each kid can up the quality/speed of their work and get paid more per hour. That is the only time they need to show us their work. They need to prove they have consistently upped the quality of their work in order to get a raise. Otherwise we have a sheet of notepaper on the wall and everyone just notes an estimate of time spent.  5 minutes sweeping the floor? Mark 5 min. on the sheet. An hour cleaning a room, or doing laundry, or shopping for groceries? Mark an hour. Whatever.

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This picture is from back when Issac was about 8. He is 12 now. I want to pat his head, the tiny thing. (He is now my height and about to pass me up.)

Yes, it takes trust, and we trust the kids and they trust us. It is up to them if they write something down or not. If they want to do something out of love then awesome. If they want to put down the time spent helping me take Grandma shopping then great. If they can’t remember exactly what time they started something and estimate, it is fine. No stress.

So how has the first week gone?

Esther worked 4.5 hours. She helped with several projects she would never have helped with in the past.  She worked harder in hopes of working her way up to $6 an hour. She also spent quite a bit of time figuring out the math behind how much she needed to save up for a game she wanted and helped her brother do the same. She worked till she had enough to buy the new game she wanted and stopped unless I asked for help for something, but it was still wonderful having a sparkling clean kitchen when I got home from work. She also learned a lot about how her sister and I, and pretty much every other person who has cleaned something only to have to do it again the next day,  feel about  cleaning the kitchen- “It is really frustrating, I worked so hard to get it really clean yesterday and already it is messy again and we have to do it all over again.”

Issac worked 2.5 hours and 10 minutes or something like that. Enough to buy a game he wanted and get his Roblox Builder’s Club for the month. He is talking about working a little each day so he can save up for a new computer but hasn’t gotten to the point of doing just yet.

Shamus worked 1.5 hours but  spent a lot of the time I was home and awake writing.

I worked 9.5 hours. That included some projects I had been putting off so isn’t really my norm. It was so much easier to do that knowing I was going to get some reimbursement for my time, that my time was important. I love serving my family, I have been doing it for 17 years now but it was nice to feel valuable, and also to feel like I wasn’t just spending money that needed to go to other things. The money I spend is “mine”. I can use it to buy people things but there is no guilt and no stress. (I recognize that I am working for my money “twice”. So is Shamus. It is more a system for divvying up money that lets everyone help out and feel valued. I am thinking in general I will end up closer to 4 hours a week, maybe 5, which is much more reasonable financially.

In general the house is staying cleaner- everyone knows how it feels to clean and have it messed up again and forming habits of cleaning up after themselves. The kids now have a real means of earning money towards bigger things, it is no longer in our hands, it is in theirs. Everyone is happy because we all have an easy way to get spending money. If we don’t have the money at the time then it will be “saved” until we do. I plan to finance my traveling out of that, as well as games clothes, treats, etc for all. This means we will likely, in the long run, spend less as a family than we normally do when money isn’t tight.

It will be interesting to see if this is something we can continue or if we find it is just too expensive or if it just falls to the way side. For now it is really working and we all are pretty happy with the results.

Addendum:

I neglected to add that I post jobs that need done to the door frame using mini post-it notes, which get tossed when a job is done (or for recurring jobs they get put in a pile). And for Sabbath prep I move the notes to the table so all can see what needs done an grab what they want to do.

It occurred to me that it is likely that, in the future, we could hire people for a set time for more regular job and have everyone sign up. For instance, “I would like to hire someone to do this job  each day and whoever wants it can do it each day or once a week or whatever. ” Or we can do a scheduled time each day more like a regular job. The possibilities are endless.   We could also offer an extra $1 an hour for certain jobs. For now we are keeping it simple and we will add to it as it is needed or as we figure out what works.

This has all already lead to a conversation about how  Issac would like to save us money by not charging. I pointed out that even better he could do more jobs and even if we are paying him, by not paying me he will be saving our family $5 an hour. He thought that was pretty cool.

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.

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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.

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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.

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On the bus. Finally.

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.

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.

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.

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

Strewn

I have been thinking about strewing a lot, mostly because people keep asking about it. So I thought I would share some examples in our house (way less than usual because we have most stuff packed up and away or gotten rid of.)

Our new "This week's specials" board. This has the main foods available for quick meals and snacks each week.

The chalkboard on the cabinet and the food bins on the shelf and in the fridge are new additions. And yes, they are a type of strewing.   The chalkboard is so when I come home from shopping, instead of making a mealplan, I can quickly note the foods I bought so everyone knows what is available at a glance, and I can remove things if they go bad or get eaten.

Fridge: each person has a bin for the special "just for them" foods. And yes, we are almost out of cheese-- picking some up tomorrow. 🙂 We have two fridges, this one is mostly the stuff people grab during the day, the other is raw milk and backup stuff.

I don’t do meal plans and with everyone having certain foods they don’t like and do and other things they can and cannot eat it helps to have things organized so people can find what they are looking for and know what is there (and hopefully it will help us have less waste.)

Shelves

We have been searching for a solution that would allow the kids (and hubby) to know which foods I bought just for them and which are someone else’ as well as which things I have set aside for them (things which might otherwise get pushed to the back of the fridge.) This way one person doesn’t eat something that I bought special for someone else, at least not without asking first.

Most of our strewing is now via internet– either Facebook or Google chat or even email.  I took the following pictures while taking the other ones– they serve as a good example of why computer strewing works for us. 🙂

Esther playing Sims.

 

Esther was getting tired here– she has been going to bed in early evening so she can get up early and work on her book with friends online in other time zones.)  She spent the next hour after this watching our new Animaniacs dvds (which Issac bought with his own money.)

Issac playing online with a friend.

Issac was playing Roblox and talking to a friend in New Jersey as he does most days.

Rachel talking online with a friend while drawing and occasionally playing piano.

Rach was playing piano, drawing (working on illustrations for Esther’s book), and talking with a friend in Arizona.
The strewing photos here include just a few places– mostly living room and bathroom– yes, I strew in the bathroom.

Our coffee table strewn with rocks and game pieces.

I always keep the red painted locally hand-carved wooden  bowls (I adore these bowls) out in the living room out (there are more on the shelves and on the mantle) and fill them with random stuff that is interesting– some always have cool rocks because we all love rocks and love picking them up and messing with them. The other two contain game pieces from a set Rachel got for Christmas from my brother.

Our shelf strewn with games and rocks and vintage wooden boxes for holding more stuff when we aren't getting ready to move.

The board is on the shelf above (ontop of Blockus–which is an awesome game)– this way when they are bored they remember that it is there. I think next to come out will be the gaming dice– a bowl of those will be fun. In the past the bowls have had Christmas bulbs, random baubles, marbles, and fake cut gem stones from Michaels. Under the coffee table is a vintage wooden box with our magic cards, and another full of gaming devices and dvds. In the shelves on the coffee table are books I think the kids will like.

Books on the back of the toilet. Yes, is blurry.

We always keep books in the bathroom, along with writing utensils in case someone wants to do a workbook or crossword.

Shelf in bathroom.

More often I find the books and magazines disappear from the bathroom as once someone starts reading they tend to take it with them.

Interview with Esther

Interviews continued.  If you missed the first one: Jennifer over at Path Less Taken has been interviewing her kids.  I did that  several years ago with all three (here) so I decided to do it again and see how things had changed.   I started with Rachel which is here and now Essie.

1. What is something Mom always says to do?

*thinking* *shrugs* I don’t know.

 

2. What makes Mom happy?

When I clean the house and stuff voluntairily

 

3. What makes Mom sad?

When I ignore her when she says please clean this up or whatever.

 

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

Points out funny things that I have said, points out funny things on the internet.

 

5. What was your mom like as a child?

Me.

(almost exactly to the point of freakiness)

6. How old is your mom?

No idea.

 

7. How tall is your mom?

*Laughs* Still no idea.
8. What is her favorite thing to do?

As far as I know so far, play Tripletown.

(Current obsession so for now, yes.)

 

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

I have no idea, because you don’t do it when I’m around.

 

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

Painting.

 

11. What is your mom really good at?

Painting. And taking care of us.

 

12. What is your mom not very good at?

*Thinking* Mmmm, Tripletown.

 (Stupid bears.)

 

13. What does your mom do for a job?

Paint

 

14.What is your mom’s favorite food?
*Long think* I don’t know. Salad as far as I know. I think it’s salad.

 

15.What makes you proud of your mom?

Her painting, her skill of taking car of us, her skill at taking care of us, her skill at cooking, her skill at cleaning, her skill on the computer.

 

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

I don’t know.

 

17. What do you and your mom do together?

Draw.

 

18. How are you and your mom the same?

Personality.

 

19. How are you and your mom different?

Height.
20. How do you know your mom loves you?

Says it every day, says it in her actions, and how she interacts with me.

 

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

*scratches nose in thought* I don’t know.