Saturday, January 31, 2009
I'll make sure to take pictures, I'll try and remember to take LOTS of pictures, and I will have a long post on the trip once I get back and settled in.
"See" you in a bit over a week!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
So, the reason I stopped blogging was that I got a cold on Sunday. And suddenly, everything just seemed like too much effort! I'm still sick and feeling all clogged up, and REALLY hoping this cold will pass before we leave for the Unschooling Winter Water Park gathering on Sunday... I'm getting worried!
I know I was supposed to post a 'week in the life of an unschooler' thing, but I failed at that, since I completely forgot to keep track of what I've been doing! So I'll have to do that some other time...
Yesterday, my mom and I made sushi. And I absolutely love sushi! So I figured I'd chronicle the sushi making in photographs, then post them here!
This time we used cucumber, jalapeno and spinach seasoned tofu, raw spinach, avocado, and carrots. Only the cuke and tofu are pictured, though.
Lots and lots of delicious vegetarian sushi. Eaten with wasabi paste, soy sauce, and pickled ginger, this is one of my favorite meals!
In other news, I'm reading comics. Which I do not normally do. However, I absolutely LOVE Neil Gaiman's Sandman series. The only reason I even picked it up was that my father had brought home The Absolute Sandman vol 2 from the library, and the large size, weird cover art, and embossed, textured cover that reminded of a bible, drew me in. Of course, all references to religion end there! Or, not really... The stories are extremely eclectic, drawing from world mythology, legends, and biblical stories, and are often extremely interesting. The books often read quite a bit like a collection of separate short stories, although as you continue, the common veins that connect all of the individual story lines become apparent. I love how the only constant character in each individual little tale is Dream of the Endless, the Endless being six siblings who can be more closely compared to the horsemen of the apocalypse than anything else. Dream is such an amazingly cool character. According to Emi, I have a fangirl crush on him, but that is completely untrue. *Shifty eyes* Annnnyway, I'm now nearly done volume 3, and it's really good, although definitely aimed at an adult/mature audience. If reading about/seeing horror, gore, nudity, sex, or stuff like that makes you uncomfortable, then this is not the series for you. That said, it's still a great series!
Oh, and I made a new post on my much neglected trash blog as well.
I'll make sure to post before I leave on Sunday!
Friday, January 23, 2009
We're looking to have about a fifty fifty split between articles by children, teens, and adults who are currently unschooling or have unschooled, and parents who are unschooling their children or teens. So, if you'd like to write an article, that would be awesome! And I'd also ask you to please tell your parents/kids/friends, and/or other unschoolers, about this if you think they'd be interested. :-)
I'm hoping to get a mix of articles from both a radical and plain old unschooling perspective. ;-) Since there will be ten articles running, one for each issue, it's important that not all of the articles are introductions to unschooling, although a couple of those would be good. Any angle, perspective, or particular aspect of unschooling is fine! From a certain religious perspective, how you learn(ed) a specific subject, the story of a specific project or unschooling group...
From the Homeschooling Horizons site:
Length: 2 "page" max! Though we would be happy to break your article up into a two part series, we would prefer to keep article lengths to 900-1500 words. Two-Part articles would appear in consecutive issues.
Fresh stuff please! Original unpublished articles preferred, though reprinted works are acceptable as long as they have not appeared within 3 months of distribution of another publication.
Please send the articles straight to me at email@example.com. I may end up using a different email address if the editor prefers that I use a HH one, but for now this one will do! Oh, and I'd prefer if you sent the article in the main body of the email, instead of as an attachment.
Please include the following statement in your e-mail message, and include your name where it says "[your name]"
I, [your name], give Homeschooling Horizons Magazine permission to publish this article (or articles) in Homeschooling Horizons Magazine (print) and on the Homeschooling Horizons Magazine website (online). I offer this article free-of-charge, and understand that I will not get compensation if this article is published, unless other arrangements have been made in writing prior to publication.When sending in your piece, specify whether you would like your work proofed or edited. We define as:
- proofing-we just point out the problems-you fix them
- editing-we make the changes-you approve before printing
To read the full submission guidelines, most although not all of which apply in this case, check it out here: Homeschooling Horizons submissions info
If you want to send a photo to go with your article, that's great! Just attach it to the email when you send me the articles. Submission info for photo's can be found here.
I'm really excited about this project, and really hoping that I'll actually get submissions! If you have any questions, you can ask them in a comment on this post, or send them to the above email address, however it'll most likely take me longer to respond to the email.
Thanks so much for reading this, and extra thanks if you want to write something! :-D
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Secondly, I just read a blog post that states that today is Blog For Choice day. Now, I don't want to blog on the official topic (What is your top pro-choice hope for President Obama and/or the new Congress?), but I figured I would blog about my opinions on the issue. I am pro-choice. Most definitely. If a woman is raped, or even if birth control fails, and she gets pregnant, she has every right to choose whether or not she actually has the baby. Not just for the mother's sake, but also for the baby. I don't think this world needs any more unwanted children. That said, I don't think abortion should be used as a method of birth control either. Birth control was invented for a reason, and should be used! Oh, and I also have a problem with the term "pro-life". I saw a video I really liked on pro-choice stuff, and I really like that he commented that to be truly "pro-life", you also need to be anti-war and vegetarian. I'd add to that, and say to be truly "pro life", you can't own a computer (who's manufacture causes women in Thailand to die of cancer), or use paper products (which kill forests and all those who dwell in them, including non-humans and indigenous peoples), or do any one of the nearly endless list of things we do in this culture that causes death. Say you're anti-abortion, but saying "pro-life" really doesn't work, in my opinion.
In other news, I looked up tons of stuff on travel today. I still have the tourist sites up for Ireland, Scotland, England, Italy, Greece, and France. I also ordered travel guides for British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Yukon, and New Mexico. Now I have to wait excitedly until they arrive in the mail! :-D
I haven't really posted pictures on this blog in a while, although I have been updating my photo blog pretty regularly, so I'll post a few that I took today.
Our lovely old Flora, aka Foo Foo, aka Flora Bean
And by the way, I'm keeping track (sort of) of the things I'm doing this week, so on Monday I should have a Week in the Life of an Unschooler post up!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
"The whole individualist what-you-can-do-to-save-the-earth guilt trip is a myth. We, as individuals, are not creating the crises, and we can't solve them. Take our crazy energy consumption. For the past 15 years the story has been the same every year: individual consumption--residential, by private car, and so on--is never more than about a quarter of all consumption; the vast majority is commercial, industrial, corporate, by agribusiness and government. So, even if we all took up cycling and wood stoves it would have a negligible impact on energy use,global warming and atmospheric pollution. I mean, sure, go ahead and live a responsible environmental life; recycle, compost, ride a push-bike; but do it because it is the right, moral thing to do--not because it's going to save the planet.
If we really want to understand why this happened we have to ask ourselves another question: "Why is it that we seem willing to live with the threat of apocalypse rather than trying to seriously alter a world where consumption, of anything, is seen as unrelieved virtue, production, of anything, is regarded as a social and economic necessity, and more, of anything (like children or cars or chemicals or PhDs or golf courses or recycling centers), is unquestiononly accepted?""
That is by Kirkpatrick Sale. Oops I just made another political post, didn't I? Oh well. So now I shall try and keep track of what I do this week as an unschooler... Just so you know, it'll probably be boring. :-P Most of the the "learning" I do involves thinking, reading, and discussing, which although very fascinating to me, is not so much fun to read about! Oh, and here's a couple of quotes that I've found recently, and loved. They've also been added to my quotes page.
"None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free." Goethe"The hardest battle in life is to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing it's best, night and day, to make you like everybody else." E. E. Cummings
I love quotes. :-)
Monday, January 19, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
All that type of worrying is getting steadily further into the past now, but I'm just recently starting to notice a new emotion, pride.
I've realized that I'm actually proud of my beliefs, of my opinions, of me. I've realized that I'm not like everyone else. I'm never going to be like everyone else. But far more importantly, I've realized I have absolutely no desire to "be like everyone else". As if there's somehow a standard of normality, with rules that no one has ever read, yet so many people believe and follow.
I'm proud to be me. I'm far from perfect, and I still go through periods of self doubt, of disliking who I am. But those are becoming less frequent, and being overrun by new feelings. I'm proud that I believe what I do. I believe in anarchy, in true freedom, in radical unschooling and attachment parenting and breastfeeding, in human and non-human rights, in mutual respect, respect for humans, non-humans, and the world we're so incredibly blessed to call home. I'm proud that I talk about all of these things, debate them passionately, and try to show other people my views, let them understand why I believe all of the above are so important. I'm proud that I've gotten over my fear of ridicule to do so, and saddened that so many people either have no causes they believe in, or have yet to muster the courage to speak out about them. Because it can truly be a very hard thing to do. Society often reacts badly to those who don't conform, so by speaking out, it sometimes feels like you're opening yourself up for rejection from society itself, as if it's a single entity, the cool person whom you secretly, or not so secretly, crave acceptance and approval from.
I kind of realized just a few days ago that I'm pretty much an unschooling advocate. That word sounds big, impressive, professional, and incredibly intimidating. "One who defends, vindicates, or espouses a cause by argument; upholder; defender" states my ancient Random House dictionary that weighs over ten pounds. "A person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc." says Dictionary.com. Wow. It seems hard to believe, but that sounds like what I've been doing very actively for the past six months or so. It feels strange... I've been thinking constantly that I should become an "activist", get involved with some local environmental groups. Find a cause. And I still want to get more actively involved in environmentalism. But I've realized that I already have a cause, and one that I'm truly, wholeheartedly, passionate about. A cause that I'm knowledgeable about, and one that many people have never even heard of. I've never kept a tally, that would be silly, but I think of how many people whom I've introduced to the concepts of unschooling, of how many people were first exposed to the idea by me. And I'm proud. I've realized that I have been doing something to forward a cause that I believe in, to make the world a better place, a more open minded place, in whatever small way I can. And I'm proud.
I've now been offered the amazing, if incredibly intimidating, position of unschooling editor at a homeschooling magazine where I've had a book review column for the past two years. The idea was suggested by my mother, and enthusiastically accepted by the editor, to run an unschooling article each issue. And since I'm deemed to have the most unschooling contacts, I've been asked to collect the articles. Now this is all in it's first stages... We don't know if I can get enough articles, if there will be enough interest in writing them from the unschooling community. But I keep thinking about how many young parents, parents just exploring the alternative educational paths, pick up that homeschooling magazine, and what a difference it could, just possibly, make for those parents to see these beautiful, shining, unschooling articles. Articles showing how people can live such free, non-coercive lives. It could make no difference at all. But as long as there's a chance that even a few more people could come to unschooling because of what they read, I have to try and make this work. And I'm proud that I'm getting the opportunity to share something I love and believe in with all of my heart.
I'm proud. And I'm slightly amazed that I'm proud. Such a novel emotion... But I'm proud of myself for overcoming the emotional blocks I have, for learning not to listen to those little voices in my head that say I'm worthless. So there little voices. I'm proud of myself. Ha.
Friday, January 9, 2009
- The Unschooling Winter Water Park Gathering in Ohio, which we are now going to in absolute certainty! The reservations have been made, and now we're busy discussing the logistics of it all...
- The lovely new guitar my mother got today. The one she got for Christmas turned out to be too big for her, so she now has a beautiful little parlor guitar, that as a bonus is made in Quebec, instead.
- The sci-fi book I've been reading, entitled Anathem, that's far more science-y then the novels I normally read, but still a very good book.
- The fact that I can no longer watch or read anything without a little vioce in my head pointing out all of the things it supports or pressumes that are completely against my beliefs. Luckily that vioce isn't loud enough to actually ruin my enjoyment of whatever it is I happen to be doing...
- The fact that I know several people with relatives in the hospital and in really bad shape... I've been holding them in my heart, and hoping for all the best.
- The fact that EVERY single photo I've posted on my 365 photo blog is a close-up shot. Every one.
- My dad's sweet harmonica playing.
- That I should finally get around to actually learning at least one of the instruments that I want to learn
- How encouraging it is to stumble across cool unschooling blogs, especially when the people writing them are just setting out on their unschooling adventures! It positively delights me that a whole new generation is growing up unschooled. :-)
- The really exciting/scary unschooling editor job I may be taking on at the homeschooling magazine I write for... More on that possible project coming soon!
- How wonderful it is that I've found so many awesome online friends. *Waves at awesome people!*
- How much I love music.
- How much I hate advertising, propaganda, and traditional education, especially when all three are combined.
- How beautiful, and strange, eyes are close-up.
- How beautiful songs, and voices, and light, and sparkles, and eyes, and emotions, and sweet looks are.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I do not live a particularly “mainstream” lifestyle. As many of you may know, depending on where you’re reading this, I unschool. Now, I have answered the question of what that is soooo many times. Put up with all the negative reactions and questions. The “But’s” the “What about’s” the “How can you’s”… So I’ve decided to write my definitive response/piece/thingy on unschooling. What ‘unschooling’ means to me, what it is, and I’ll also do my best to put to rest some of the more common (and annoying) objections.
To start with, I suppose I should explain what exactly unschooling is.
As straightforward as I can manage version: Unschooling is student directed learning, which means the child or teen learns whatever they want, whenever they want. Learning is entirely interest driven, not dictated or directed by a curriculum, by teachers, or by parents. For an unschooler, life is their classroom.
Poetic version: Unschoolers learn from watching and listening and thinking and doing and exploring. They learn from long conversations, from reading books, from running, singing laughing and loving. Unschoolers learn from life.
What unschooling is to me: I read, read, read, and then read some more. I participate in super long discussions with my family and friends about civilization, anarchy, government, propaganda, brain washing, psychology, education, sustainable living, and dozens of other topics. I write poetry. I blog. I read other people’s blogs. I take pictures of everything. I debate issues online and in real life. I run for the sheer joy of it. I explore my surroundings. I cook, which includes shopping for ingredients. I think constantly…
All that seems fairly logical to me. What better way to learn then in complete freedom? Don’t people learn best when they actually want to learn about the topic? And isn’t school full of bullshit anyway? Thing is, although virtually anyone you talk to who goes to school will say there is tons of bullshit there, tons of pointless busywork, if you suggest they simply leave they will react with horror. Virtually every person who’s been out of school for at least a few years will admit that they’ve forgotten most of what they learned in school. Yet if you suggest to them that they don’t send their kids to school, you’re met, once again, with horror. Why is this? Why can most people see that there is something seriously wrong with our school system, yet still believe that attendance is absolutely necessary?
Unschooling is such a foreign concept, something so different then the norm, that even once I’ve explained it, I’m often met with blank looks, then a query of what curriculum I use, or some such similar nonsense. And then once people actually grasp what I’m trying to tell them, then out come the “but’s”…
“But how do you learn?” Read above. Life is THE best teacher, bar none, and there are so many books out there, so much online, so many museums, and even, as a last resort, tutors, that access to knowledge could not be easier.
“Can you get into university?” Yes. Absolutely yes! There are even multiple options for doing so. You can take your high school leaving certificate, or whatever equivalent certification exists in your area. You can take the SAT’s, which are recognized pretty much everywhere. Or, my personal favorite, you can get in purely on portfolio assessment, often accompanied by an interview. And if all that fails, many universities are happy to conduct their own equivalency exams. And it’s important to note that this is not just theoretical. I actually know unschoolers who are in or have graduated from university. I’ve seen them in the flesh. It can be done, and without much (if any) more difficulty then schooled kids have doing so.
“But MY kids wouldn’t learn anything if I didn’t force them to” When oh when was the ridiculous notion that people can only learn when forced invented?? Look at babies! The learn how to crawl, how to talk. They explore their environment constantly and suck in knowledge like a sponge. No one forces them to learn anything. Look at young children. They ask questions CONSTANTLY. Their curiosity and love of learning is endless. Well, not really endless. It seems sometime shortly after they enter school, it just dies… Coincidence much? When something is shoved down your throat, you don’t like it. And when all your experience with “learning” (aka being forced to memorize and regurgitate facts) is bad, you stop wanting to have anything to do with it. Who could be blamed? Now, I’m not saying everyone loses their love of learning, although it probably sounds like it. A few lucky (tough?) souls manage to keep that love alive, but they are working against the odds, and seem few and far between…
“How will you learn everything you “need” to if you’re not forced to do so?” This I understand a bit better then many of the other questions people come up with, even if I don’t agree with it. And why don’t I agree with it? Because you naturally learn what you need. For instance, say your passion is space. You want to become an astronaut. Therefore, you follow that interest, quickly realizing that there is a lot of science and math involved, so learn about that too. If, however, your passion is poetry writing, and you want to go into a job that has something to do with literature and/or language, then you don’t really need higher math, do you? Simply by handling your own finances and living life you learn basic addition, subtraction, division, etc. If you have no interest in anything that requires you learn more math, then why should you? Something else that people don’t seem to quite grasp is that as self-directed learners, unschoolers teach themselves. Think about that for a second. If you ever find out that you need to know something you never learned, to get to something you want (I.E. into university), then you can simply learn whatever it is you’re missing!
Now I’ll move onto the assumptions, which I think are even worse then the straight out questions.
Assumption # 1. Unschoolers are rich, “privileged” (whatever the hell that means) and spoiled. Where the hell did that come from?? Of the 100+ unschoolers I’ve come across, NONE fit that. Honestly, none seemed spoiled. Really. I certainly haven’t personally liked every unschooler I’ve met (no one gets along with everyone), but not a single one seemed to have any false sense of entitlement. And as for being “rich”, does that somehow make someone a bad person? Isn’t that being rather judgmental? Not to mention the fact that the great majority of unschoolers I've encountered could probably be described as lower middle class, not "rich"...
Assumption # 2. Unschoolers will end up flipping burgers for the rest of their lives. Read above answer to “can unschoolers get into university”. And also, I have a major problem with this “Good Job” thing. What exactly is a “good job”? One that makes the most money? Well, I hate to say it (not really) but money doesn’t buy happiness. Everyone knows that saying, but most people don’t seem to believe it. A “good job” in my opinion is whatever makes you happy. That could be a lawyer, but it could also be a woodcarver, or a circus performer, or a farmer, or an herbalist… So unschoolers certainly can get a high paying job if they so wish, but plenty of unschoolers are smart enough to follow their passions (as they’ve always done, being an unschooler and all) and actually enjoy life, instead of slaving away at a job they hate.
I do believe those are the most common, although it’s quite possible I’ve forgotten one or two… Oh well.
In conclusion: Unschooling is doable. Absolutely completely and totally doable, as shown by the thousands of unschoolers worldwide. And the movement is growing. More and more people are realizing how truly horrible school can be for some people. They’re realizing that above all, school teaches obedience to authority. That what compulsory school was invented for, the whole purpose, was (and seemingly still is) to produce “good workers” (now known as “productive members of society”). People who will submit to authority, and do their wage slave jobs to the best of their abilities, unhindered by the usually innate human characteristics of creativity and ingenuity. Don’t you think those qualities should be prized?
The most important thing to me is freedom. Not the false freedom that governments like to preach about. But real, honest, freedom. The ability to dictate your own life, choose what to do and when to do it. And most importantly, to control your own thoughts. Because your mind is yours and yours only. My mind is MINE. Which is why I never went to school, because I want things to stay that way. I always want to be in control of my own life.
I hope you appreciate this if you’re unschooled, and I’d love to hear anything you have to add to it! And if you go to school, I hope this makes you think… I really hope I didn’t come across as disliking those who go to traditional schools, since I don’t at all! Many of my friends are schooled. What I hate is the educational institution. And that I do hate with a passion. But any frustration that comes through in what I’ve just written is directed straight at the schooling system, NOT at those who are forced to suffer through it.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
365 Awkward Angles
In other news, here's what our New Years Eve looked like. :-)
If you click to enlarge this pic, you'll notice that the time in the corner of the TV screen reads 11:59:59. :-)
I hope everyone had a cool New Years Eve!