Friday, June 26

Let the Healing Start?

To be nobody but myself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting. -E.E. Cummings, Poet (1894-1962)

It's good that tears can't be seen in the dark. It's also good that tired children aren't as perceptive in the dark when they're sleepy and thinking of other things... happy things.

Storm (who is eerily close to 5 years old, now) has amazed us with his physical abilities since... gosh, very early on. At least as far back as starting to walk, but probably further. His ability to know his body and its limits, to jump from so high with no fear and only get stinging feet... To throw a ball a surprising distance for his age (from very early on and continuing) and the accuracy he throws with.... The uncanny balance he's surprised us all with... His strength-that often rivals and sometimes overpowers Wyl, who is 5 1/2 years his senior...

His joy right now is gymnastic-type things. Jumping of all sorts; hanging, climbing and flipping over and under bars (or anything close enough to a bar to suit his need), that sort of stuff. He's been taking homeschool gymnastics classes for about a year and a half, now, at a local gym that Wyl took gymnastics at for a while. He had quit gymnastics before Storm was walking much (if at all) and was interested in trying again, but quickly lost interest. Storm loved it so much from the start that we went from one 45 minute class a week to two. And still he asked for more. When illness and travel had us missing several classes and to make them up, we ended up with *three* 45 minute classes a week, still, he asked for more. Every day he asked when he could go to gymnastics again. Sometimes, he wanted to go right back as soon as we got home. I wished I had the money to fulfill his need, but we did add some things at home (trampoline, loft bed-never would have considered *that* a climbing apparatus, but Storm saw it for that right away) that helped a wee bit.

This year, when the "school year" that the gymnastics schedule follows was over, his favorite coach, Steve, and I talked about where Storm might be placed for summer. There seems to be a big difference in class activity, skill level and length of class under 5 years and 5 years and up. Steve thought Storm could easily go to the 5 year old class, and maybe even into the 6 year olds-the big question was "listening" in the "paying attention" kind of way. I considered that he *may* be slightly bored and even that being in with older kids might help him focus better. We decided to give it a try for the summer. Private lessons were even suggested. *That* seemed like an interesting prospect, but I thought I remembered hearing they cost around $30/hour. Yikes.

With Wyl wanting to try gymnastics again, and 2 kids doing 2 classes a week, the owner gave me a break on the private lessons and kicked it down to a half hour, saving me a bit more. Storm was kind of excited about the extra time to work on more stuff that he was interested in.

Well, today was his first private lesson. There were a couple instances where his attention wandered (but really, he *is* 4! :~) ) and a few moments here and there that he fell into "play mode", but again, he amazed me with his strength. I didn't hear anything about it all day, so I asked at the end of the day as we were getting settled down for him to fall asleep.

I tried to keep it neutral, asking if he liked classes with the kids or by himself the same or if he liked one better than the other, but boy! "I like being by myself with Jake! I want to do gymnastics like that ALL the time!" :~) Oh, gosh, how I would love to do that for him, but the wallet says otherwise. I talked a bit about how Jake was trying to tell him how to hold his hands, but Storm was distracted and it was like the dawning of a Great Idea, "Ooooohhhh! Okay!!" he giggled. I suggested that he might learn more if he listened a bit closer to Jake instead of rolling around silly on the floor. He was quite excited about that and giggled again.

I started thinking about my love of singing and music and said, "Storm... Whenever you like something, I would love if you would tell me so I can help you do it as much as you want." He asked (at some point tonight) why he got those classes (or something to that effect). I told him I knew how much he liked gymnastics and that I thought he would like extra time and working on those skills he loves so much and that we'd talked about him learning more skills and being able to do more "big guy" kind of gymnastics (like we saw on the Olympics) and he *threw* himself on me and gave me a huge hug while he giggled with glee and said, "Mama I *love* you. I love you *sooooo* much!!!"

And I found out that I'm just not as big a person as all those Unschoolers I read who talk about healing by doing for their kids what they didn't get as kids. My very small self/mind/whatever immediately went to that little girl who wanted guitar lessons, piano lessons (asked for and denied, then my younger brother-who wasn't at *all* interested-got them instead), singing lessons, an electric guitar and was not only not facilitated, not supported, not helped, not given the opportunity to expand her joy, but was indeed *ridiculed* instead. And tears trickled down my face into my hair.

I kept thinking about the "healing" I've read folks talking about and I tried to turn my deep sadness into healing, but I failed. I kept thinking of what I might have done had I been supported, even who I might have been... I figure it is highly unlikely that I would be the person I am today, and I rather like who I am... but *still*... niggling doubts...

One of the most intensely "me" part of who I am is singing. I love to sing. I sing all the time. I sang to Wyl when he was a baby, a toddler, even older. I used to sing to Storm when he was a baby, but as he got into toddler-hood, he would tell me, "Stop singing, Mama." :~) I was not offended. :~) Just 2 weeks ago, he asked me to again sing, "That song about night.... with the shiny star?" And after I sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, he asked me to sing it again. And then, one more time. I was thrilled! And then,
"Don't sing it again, Mama." :~)
"Okay." :~)
And yet, as huge of a chunk of me as singing *is*, singing solo for people outside my immediate family (Dave, Wyl and Storm) is my biggest personal fear. Sometimes, I even fear singing where Dave can hear me. It is such a tug-of-war... this desire to share my love with everyone, and being terrified to. Terrified of rejection, of laughter, of judgement, of humiliation. Of *laughter*. Where did I ever get that idea? I can't *recall* ever having my singing laughed over. Me, yes, many times. I don't ever remember singing solo where anyone could hear me, actually. In choir, in an ensemble, yes, but of course, in group settings, one isn't singled out.

Okay. Maybe *this* is the healing part. My kids (hopefully!) will not feel that tearing of desire and fear tug-of-war. They will choose their interests based on what brings them satisfaction and happiness. Things will fall by the wayside by lack of further interest or another something that edges it out-*not* because they've been ridiculed or embarrassed into it.

Maybe. My heart *does* feel a wee less heavy. (pause, smile) Maybe I'll go sing some cheer into it. Too bad it's so late, or I could crank up the Cha-Cha Slide and dance *and* sing my heart into feather-lightness! Tomorrow, maybe... with my super-wonderful boys....

Sunday, June 7

Unschooling Math!

To be nobody but myself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting. -E.E. Cummings, poet (1904-1962).

Have I mentioned I love Unschooling? Some days just are such an example, I kind of wish I had someone I needed to convince, since I now have "proof".
The boys and I were at my parents' house today, having eaten then run about the yard then played with the giant frisbees with Grandaddy, they settled down a bit to more detailed activity. We were gathered on their back porch, my mother working on finishing details of the shorts she had sewn the boys, my dad and I were talking. Wyl found some small and medium boxes Grandma had sitting around for disposal and immediately set about gathering scissors, cellophane & duct tape, marker and other odds and ends from Grandma, and set about making some furniture

(disclaimer: I am obligated to tell you that this is not finished, yet!)
.................................... ........................ (vv television on side wall vv and...

and dwelling areas for his Snorlax Pokemon. Gee... I wish I'd have gotten a

picture in the afternoon sun! After the handle broke off the big pair of scissors Wyl was using, Grandma got out her small knife (Exacto knife? Stanley knife? not sure what is "common" vernacular...)

and Snorlax at fireplace following-note tiny
bit of chimney at top of picture, please vv)

(vv Displaying stairs, here vv ............ and ^^ here ^^)

and took direction from him, cutting out parts from a giant oatmeal cardboard "canister" and various boxes.

It took Storm a bit more "energy expenditure" to settle down to something more finite. With my kids, they seem to have HUGE amounts of almost-volatile energy that cannot be contained. They have an almost endless supply of this energy. It takes a *lot* of large body movement (running, jumping, climbing, trampoline), loud voices and big body gesturing (kicking, punching, arm-waving) as well as creative thinking All At The Same Time to seemingly "convert" that energy into a more channeled, finer-dexterity, precise-creative-thinking mode. And it doesn't last for long. Apparently, it builds up while they're in a "smaller movement" mode and soon they're up and off again. Even after 10 years, it is still *amazing* to me how *much* energy there is contained in such a small-ish person. I can't even imagine that much energy in an Andre the Giant-sized person!!! It seems to be many people's worth of energy. It makes me think of the big bang theory, with the big release of pent-up energy before things whirled down to a more "organized energy" kind of existence.
At any rate, Storm is still very much a "large energy" kind of person. He may always be... So, it took him a little while longer and a lack of another "big energy" person along side to refocus in a more finite way. As he slowed, he saw a 30' tape measure Grandad had left lying near the back porch. He started to pull the tape out to play with it when I reminded him that he should probably ask the owner of something that didn't belong to him. My dad is very particular about his tools, so I was concerned Storm would need distracted into another interesting item, and I watched as he took it over to my dad and asked if he could play with it.
My dad asked him what he wanted to do with it. I figured he's 4, he didn't really have a plan, but he thinks quickly and he decided he wanted to measure himself. Grandad cajoled him out of the tape measure, telling him he "couldn't" measure himself, as the tape was above his eyes and he couldn't *see* it. It almost turned into an argument, but Storm seemed to decide that he'd rather have what time he could wrangle with the tape measure rather than risk Grandaddy taking it and putting it away because Storm wouldn't "cooperate".
Grandad measured him and told him he was 46". Storm wanted to see. Grandad held out the tape and showed him where the 46 was and Storm seemed pleased with that. He suddenly decided he wanted to count it. I've heard him count to 10 and heard him try to count through the teens. Those darn "11" "12" and "13" are just out of place! They don't sound like anything else (okay, maybe thirteen... but still... three = thirt-?") and they've given both my boys trouble. But, we've not pushed or quizzed on counting and so that was the scope of my knowledge.
He started out at the end and began, "One. Two. Three...." all the way through ten and as usual, skipped over 11, 12, 13. So, my schooled-logical mind has assumed that because he "can't" or isn't counting 1-20 by each number in its place, that he isn't yet able to count higher than 20. Durn school-thought.
As I said, he skips from 10 to 14 and goes on through to 20, where I didn't think he'd go beyond. What do you know? He didn't even *pause*, "Twenty-One. Twenty-Two. Twenty-Three..." my focus sharpened. What would happen when he got to 29? Well, duh, Mama. Next is, "Thirty." I had no idea. He kept going. He got a bit stuck on 50, not knowing how to pronounce it, but seeming to know that "Five - tee" was not right. I asked if he needed a little help. "Yes, Mama, please." I told him "Fifty" and he was off for some more. He needed a bit of help on 80, then I held my breath as he got to the end of the 90's. No pause, "Ninety-nine. One hundred. One hundred One. One hundred Two...."
I'm astounded and holding my breath!! He got up to 109 and needed help. Grandaddy held his finger over the first one and asked what he saw and he said, "Ten" and then Grandad took his finger away and he seemed to be puzzled and Grandad started to quiz him some more, but I just said, "One hundred ten." He half-heartedly tried to go up into the mid 120's, but I could see his concentration wasn't as intense and he was pretty much done. He moved on to pulling the tape and trotting off into the yard while Grandaddy held the base and then Storm would run the tape back up to the porch while it slid inside. (That never gets old, does it? :~) )
We hadn't found Unschooling when Wyl learned to count to 20 at 2, so there was a bit of prompting, and encouraging and some quizzing with number puzzles and magnets. Not a lot and not to the point of frustration (at least that I could tell or can remember), but it was not the Trust and Unschooling Storm has had. I didn't know he could count beyond 20 and it didn't even occur to me to wonder if he could or couldn't or if he "should" be able to. It just *Is*.
My kids surprise me a lot with stuff they know that I didn't know they know. It's fun and astounding to find out. "Wow, I didn't know you knew that! Where did you find that out?" Sometimes, Wyl even knows stuff I don't. When I first considered homeschooling, that concept horrified me-how could I teach someone stuff I don't know?? But now I think it is so cool! I can learn *more*! My kids, or at least *Wyl*, doesn't think it's weird or shocking that he knows something I don't-he just gives me information he has, just like Dave or I give him information we have. He doesn't have a second thought of asking questions of someone he thinks *might* have the information he seeks. I was often embarrassed or felt "little" to ask a parent and most certainly to ask a teacher in front of the whole class, something that *might* get me labeled "ignorant" for not knowing. Being laughed at for not knowing, for *having* to ask is pretty close to the (if not *the*) ultimate shame. I'm *so* glad my kids don't know what that feels like!!! They get to use *that* energy on creating Snorlax houses or counting the inches on a tape measure or bouncing on a trampoline or spinning in circles with their arms flung wide... Or saying for the 40th time that day, "I love you, Mama!" or "Unschooling is the BEST!" :~)

Sunday, May 10

Little things...

Storm has been asking to do things this week-where has he gotten the idea? I'm not sure. He asked to get me flowers for Mother's Day when we were at Mustard Seed. He asked to buy me a card when we were at Target-but not with me. Which makes it tough when Dave's out of town.

I got a fistful of dandelions a few days ago. :~) Bright, sunny, yellow, fuzzy circles of happiness, plus a couple other "yard flowers"-different shades of purple. Wyl looked SO pleased when I found a simple, clear juice glass to put them in (all of my vases are too big)... they've been sitting in various spots in the kitchen-did you know that yellow dandelions will turn to the seed-puffballs indoors in a glass of water?! I didn't...

Somehow, at this point, I just can't see a bouquet of long stemmed roses or a diamond necklace of a box of gourmet chocolates meaning as much to me as that meaningful fistful of dandelions or the expression that came with the acceptance of them. I've always liked the sunny fuzziness of dandelions, but when they're picked *for* you, because someone wanted to brighten your life or because they were thinking of you... well, how can it get better than that?!

Hope your Mother's Day is full of sweet surprises, sticky hugs and lots of love!

Friday, May 8

Soapbox mini-rant

As if the title weren't enough... I have been feeling the need to blow off some steam, don't have much venue where I can do that with this and this is *my* space, so I'm going to get up on my li'l ol' soapbox and have my say.

The events of this week have really clarified *why* Unschoolers feel (justly or unjustly) treated with intolerance in eclectic/diverse homeschooling groups. Well, not the entire groups, but certain factions within. (As I brag up my local inclusive group every chance I *get*, I know that the lion's share are super great, wonderful, open folks... but you know what they say about a couple rotten apples...) I guess I'm just not one of those enlightened folks who can just let it go (yet), because each time it comes up, it gets under my skin and irritates a little more.

Hypothetical scenario: "Betty" writes on her local homeschool group that she's stressed about her 3rd grader's math and does anyone have any suggestions to help them get through 3rd grade math? "Suzy" says that she hasn't used it herself, but she's heard really good things about "Acme" curriculum. "Joan" adds her opinion that Acme curriculum didn't work for them, but that they really liked the ease and diversity of "Beta" curriculum. "Freda" says that no, both of those curriculums are junk, that there is a site online that does wonders for 3rd grade math. "Jane" begs forgiveness for contradicting Suzy, Joan and Freda but that better than all of those is a video she has and will bring along for Betty to consider at their next library gathering. "Helga" says all the previous suggestions stink and that she has a computer program that will put all those to shame and that Betty has *got* to use it, and that she'll be bringing it by right after lunch today.

All those posts are accepted as perfectly normal, fine ways of "helping" Betty. Then along comes "Cindy", who doesn't suggest anyone use anything or say that any way is "right" or "wrong", but just talks about how their family doesn't use any sort of curriculum or learning program and how it has worked in their family and how they've learned without canned "educational" stuff *in their own family*. Why does this last post garner accusations of "finger pointing" and claims of "telling other people they are homeschooling 'wrong' "? Why does a little hint that it *is* sometimes possible for some folks to learn without "structured educational -something-" taken as a huge insult?? All rhetorical, but I am baffled.

In the current, real-life situation, the thing that really stamps the "Unschooler hate" sticker on the whole shebang is that FIVE days prior (9:45 pm), a similar issue was brought up on the very same group by the very same original poster (poster "A"), but more in the spelling/writing arena. A tried and true curriculum-user answered "A" with a reply that would have been *very* similar to an Unschooler's reply, basically, "no biggie, time will see an end to the 'problem' ". What did "A" say to the curriculum-user? Not, "Don't answer any of my posts in the future.". Not, "I know your philosophy". Not, "I don't want to hear *your* answer." Not, "That's not what I asked." No. "A" said "That's an acceptable answer" and "I'm glad to know it will change on it's own".

Maybe I'm just too used to open, honest discussions, where people can take or leave what they want from what's posted. I don't know. I just can't understand why a suggestion can be completely acceptable as long as it has a title or a name, but if the answer is "you don't *have* to use something "educational" ', all hell breaks loose as if someone said to tie the child up and force feed them dog poop until they barf all over themselves. Okay, maybe I exaggerate... but it certainly feels that way sometimes.

:: Big, heavy sigh... :: It's just really tough to let it all "roll off your back" or assume the best when you try to offer a kind, gentle, helping hand and you get kicked in the head for your efforts. Anyhow, the whole "scenario" part has been rolling around in my head since about noon 2 days ago (2 1/2?), and I thought that maybe if I purged it out into black and white, it might help me "let it go". I guess maybe it's just too intertwined with... other events... Gee, I just thought of a new definition for "brainwash"! 'Cause I'd sure love to be able to wash some of this right outta my brain! :~)

Tomorrow's another day, I have loads of friends who are so, so good to me and who I love *dearly*, life is good, me and mine have our health, so time for me to smack that inner optimist awake. :~D I think I'll dig up a quote to put at the *bottom* this time...

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in everything.
-William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Monday, April 13


"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever" ~Gandhi

Incredible the way it affects your being when "one of your own" dies. Especially when it is sudden. Even moreso when they were 12 years younger than yourself.

Today, I heard through the grapevine (amazing how small the world is, really...) that Neal died. Incredible shock was my first reaction. Disbelief was my second. How could someone so kind and gentle, who had so much to live for... someone so... *alive* just be dead? The evidence seemed indisputable, but I hadn't heard anything from any of my other unschooling or homeschooling sources, so maybe there was just some big, giant, horrible mistake? Still, the very *idea* of it crushed my heart and started me crying.

How do you ask folks for that information without being the bearer of bad news or a "rumor monger" (if it turns out to be untrue)? All I could think of was finding out it was a mistake and giving Neal the biggest hug the next time I saw him, and making sure I told him I was thankful for his friendship... Now I will never be able to do that.

His death will leave a big hole in every life he touched. Most especially his family. I so admired how gentle and sweet of a Papa he was. The thought of his children being deprived of him blinds me with grief. How incredibly, inexplicably unfair. Every time it enters my thoughts, it sets me weeping.

I want somehow to build a memorial or build an online page to honor and share him-and we weren't even close friends. It makes the "we only have the now" so much fresher in one's mind. We don't have that chance to get to know him later, when the kids are less needing of parental involvement. I'm sad that we won't get that chance, but it is also a reminder to keep my loved ones close and well cared for. Cherished. Important. Keep the relationships vital and thriving.

Neal, so many will feel your loss. I wish I had known you better. Goodbye, my friend. You will be SO deeply missed.

Saturday, February 28


The race of men, while sheep in credulity, are wolves for conformity. -Carl Van Doren, professor, writer, and critic (1885-1950)

I don't know why conflict between my boys seems so tough for me to deal with. Maybe I don't have enough practice. Maybe I don't have enough confidence. Maybe it's something else. I don't know.

Too many times, Storm or Wyl comes to me saying the other did something or hurt him. They *only* do this at home-not at McDonald's, friends' houses, grandparent's houses... (I'm sure there's one time someone will remind me of ;~) ) My first reaction wants to be, "You, (the complainee) stop that offense, *you* (the complainer) figure out a solution!". I don't react this way, of course. The main problem *I* see (which could be *nothing* like what my kids see or need!) is that they're often (I really, really want to say "always", but honestly, it's not "always", just "lots") coming straight to me to work things out between the two of them. Apparently, I'm not going about mediating very well. Sigh...

Today, they were playing Legos in Wyl's room. With Wyl, 95% of the time, this means lots of characters having conflict of some sort. (Hmmm... a thought just popped into my head-maybe I should see if I can play *with* them next time and act out problem-solving...) Today, Storm came complaining that Wyl "wouldn't let me change characters!"
Wyl's response, "He keeps saying, 'I wanna be this guy. No, I wanna be this guy. No, I wanna be *this* guy. No, I wanna be THIS guy. No, now I want to be this guy. I want to be *this* guy'! He just keeps changing!!"

So, I reminded Wyl that Storm was 4 years old and that he was learning a lot about what kind of guy he wanted to be by trying them all out. Wyl said he does it every time. I said that it takes more than one time, it happens over a long period, in Storm's "way" of doing it.

To Storm, I asked if he could tell Wyl at the beginning what few guys, say 3, that he was going to limit his "changing" to, since it really bothered Wyl's playing to have so much changing of "guys". I explained that Wyl had a storyline, a plan that he had worked out in his head and that every time Storm changed guys, it frustrated Wyl, because he had to re-work his story/plan. Storm *said* it was okay. Whether he really understood or not, or understood the "agreement" is another story. :~/

Maybe I offer too much. Maybe I do problem-solve for them too much. When I try to help them work through things together, it seems to involve even more conflict and much angst. If I don't throw in my "two cents worth", it often leads to extreme frustration on Wyl's part, and sometimes things get thrown or smashed. I understand that level of frustration, and that it *seems* best to avoid it at this point. So, I save my "helping them figure out how to work it out together" for smaller stuff, but that seems so few and far between that I am not very adept at it. And I tend to forget.

Add to that mix that I tend to grab up the mantle when there's conflict or hesitation or no one else grabbing it (is that a nicer way of saying I am a control freak? bossy?), and that just adds to the prevailing attitude of "Let mama fix it", I think. Maybe it *is* the right way to do things at this age, this stage, I don't know. I have a lot of self-doubt in that department, and I huge "I don't want to be my mother" reactionary kind of thing going on with the whole "control" issue. I guess the best I can do is just keep turning it over in my head, examining it from all angles and adding things I think might help to the mix. Oh, and *breathing*. I need to remember to breathe... I often forget when it comes to this kind of thing.

Then, too, they *do* some problem-solving without coming to me... sometimes. They play together *lots* very well. They love each other and they're often sweetly kind to each other....

Off to ponder and mull in private instead of public...

Monday, February 23


One does not advance the swimming abilities of ducks by throwing the eggs in the water. -Multatuli (pen name of Eduard Douwes Dekker), novelist (1820-1887)

It never fails to amaze me how much my children have grown. Here I am, beside them each day, all day long most days and yet, when I take a moment and look back... Wow.

Wyl stood up for a friend a few days ago. Neighbor boys from a couple houses away were over along with the gal next door. The neighbor boys were being rather rough with our stuff and throwing bricks around. Wyl told me and I had them stop throwing the bricks. A while later, he came in and said it was getting too cold outside, and I asked if everyone got home okay. He said only the gal next door had been playing and that the neighbor boys had gone earlier. I asked why. He got very animated and told me with no little amount of disgust that the boys were being mean to the girl and threatening her. He warned them to stop or they had to go home. They didn't stop. So my 9 year old son made them leave our yard and go home! I would never have done such a thing at his age... meanness made me afraid. Of course, I had lots of meanness around me, so not only was it "the norm", but it was done by stronger people to weaker ones, and I felt weak. I am indescribably happy that my kid(s) are so strong and certain of themselves and unswerving in their judgement of what is right that they *can* do the right thing! He didn't have to do it on his own-he knew he could come to me and I would do it, but he took it upon himself. Hmmm... it is only now that I am wondering why. Not a big deal, just curious.

Wyl is recently helping in little ways. Surprising ways. He loves to make the beds. Granted, they're not "hospitality ready", but it is more than I do! Well, for my own bed. I know he prefers his to be made, so when I think of it, I'll make his for him. He's been washing a few dishes, occasionally. He scrubbed the toilet the other day. Storm, of course, loves to clean. He has quite a fixation on cleaning the bathroom sink! :~) He's been asking to clean the toilet, too, but since he's only 4, I asked him if he could wait a few days-that way I could pre-clean it and get the germs under control (at least in *my* mind, they'd be under control...) Wyl does little things here and there... organizing the cereal boxes, lining up the coffee mugs, straightening the medicine cabinet. All are so surprising that it is like a little gift every time I see one-I should tell him that!

Both my boys have been snugglier than "usual" this year... Is it because they feel like they need more of me or just because they're happy and want to express it? Should I delve into that or am I just trying to make trouble for myself? :~) Putting in little troubles where there are none?

I got to visit my great aunt last week, who is my last connection to her sister, my grandma. She lost her husband at the beginning of December and is quite sad and lost without him-they'd been married for 60 years... She was a shell of her former self, gray and fragile when I got there. Once the boys warmed up to her and she felt they were comfortable enough, she played with them and laughed with them and her color started coming back and she seemed more her old self. It was lovely to see. She talked about going back to teaching little kids like she used to, years ago, and I can't help but think it would be so good for her. I hope she finds reason to keep going, because she still has so much to share and I'm not ready to let her go!

It has been a week of surprises, reflections and interesting things and people. Life is pretty darn good.

Saturday, February 7


The soul is healed by being with children. -Fyodor Dostoyevsky, novelist (1821-1881)

I'm freshly home from Unschooler's Winter Waterpark Gathering and still basking in that unschooling vibe. I love hanging out with unschoolers... easy-going, peaceful, kid-loving, accepting, joyful, fun people. Coming home from it helps me appreciate the great little group of unschoolers we have in my area. THANK YOU, Akron Tribe for being my center, my boost, my ear, my shoulder, my hug. I love you guys!! (Ask Dave-today I must have said it 20 times, "I love my Tribe!")

Friday, January 9


"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget. When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth." ~Megan Jo Eberhart, 5 years old.

My life is *so* rich... I've been sitting here, today, just so satisfied and content with life As It Is. I have good friends, a good life, family (both blood related and not) whom I love and who love me, a roof over my head, learning & happy kids, choices... Sure, I could pull out the short paycheck, the lack of this one thing or another, having one car when two would really help our unschooling, challenges here and there, lack of funds for one thing or another, bills that are very far behind and make an uptight, nervous wreck of myself. I could use it to make myself and the people around me miserable, but what fun is that? Not that satisfaction and contentment are really "fun", but certainly more pleasant.

I could kick myself for being scattered and not "finishing" my Live and Learn Conference entries like I wanted to. I could gripe at myself and people around me for things that aren't "like they should be". I've done those things before-why not now? I don't know... unschooling? Age? Tiredness? Does it even matter *why*? The thing is, I'm starting to "get" that concept that other folks have posted about being the "rock in the storm" and just letting the chaos wash around and beyond me without soaking it up like I used to. My sponge has petrified. :~D Who would have thought petrification was a good thing?

Ah, distractions. My family's gravity is drawing me towards them-will I get back to this entry? Who knows? So, I'll post it as is and if I get back to it, I do, if not, it wasn't meant to be. I hope *you* are feeling as content and satisfied with your life, too!