Rethinking Everything Days Three and Four – Playing, Learning and Growing

I am so far behind updating about my experience about Rethinking Everything, that I decided to post the final two days in one post.

Our third day was great, we opened with a family intention circle, something I learned about from Nova, a road schooler who I have a lot of respect for. The intention model we utilized was sitting in a circle, each person saying what they are grateful for, then saying what we want or hope for the day.  After each person has gone, you take 3 deep breathes as a group, then do 3 “oms” as a group. This is something we have tried to do on a daily basis since discovering the process.  It helps you to set your day off right, so you can support each other’s goals.

This day we had ZERO presentations, so we took a slow relaxing day.  There was a really fun bizarre bizarre where kids and adults sold items they had created. I got some knit wrist warmers (gloves with no fingers) and got Aliana an awesome green tape bag with a painted Rock Lobster inside.  Watching the kids create art so they could run a micro business was adorable and really exciting to see.

The kids raced through the hall, cruising around on the riding toys from Kids’ Village. When Aliana got rug burn on her tow, some kind mothers helped supply her with bandaids.  She completely forgot about the boo-boo when she heard the teen dance taking place in the cafeteria.  Of course, we busted in and danced our little hearts out.  Bill had a blow out all over our friend, Ellen, which I felt bad about but still found funny :p

It was a great day!  John attended the dad’s circle (SUDs – Society of Unschooling Dads).  He said it was great connecting to the group of dad’s on a similar journey.

The last full day we had two presentations – one was Bitcoin and Unschooling, John presented that and the crowd LOVED it.  We introduced the idea of the “uncoin”, a crypto currency for unschoolers, build on top of the Bitcoin Blockchain.  The second presentation was DIY Advocacy, I presented this one.  It wasn’t as well attended as the other 3 presentations we did, but it was dynamic none-the-less.  See a pic of my marker board in the gallery below.

We went swimming as a family and watched the boat making competition from the pool.  Check out the pics of kiddos making cardboard boats!  Several actually floated with kids in them!!!!

 

That evening was the family dance.  Aliana was the first one on the dance floor, cutting it up.  She exhausted herself and was asleep by 9pm.  Something that is rare in this family!!!  Before the dance she hung out in the sewing room with some pre-teen girls who made her a fancy skirt.  There is a pic of her getting “measured” by her dress maker, Ruby.

We woke up sad to leave – others were staying for a retreat, but we had to get home.  This Rethinking Everything was yet again life changing.  We came home with a new practice (morning Intention Circles), new and closer friendships, and my daughter learned to beat box.  How cool 😀

Enjoy the photos, we are already excited for next year.

 

 

 

Rethinking Everything, Day Two: Presentations and Reflections

Today our family had two presentations. The first was about unschooling and anarchism. John presented this one solo as miss Aliana was sleeping in after several days of travel. He said the 2 hour talk and interactive conversation went really well, I will post a link to the audio once it is online.

After the first talk we got set up for our Sovereign Living speech and show screening (sovereignliving.tv). Since we had screened episodes 1 and 2 last year, we decided to screen episode 3, all about homebirth and conflict resolution. We are saving episode 4 about alternative currencies for our talk tomorrow, all about Bitcoin.

The Sovereign Living speech went great. We discussed our goal of getting out of all centralized grids, be they food systems, government systems, the electric grids, etc…  The show was recieved very well, and the conversation after was very deep. We talked about taxation and government documents such as Birth Certificates and Drivers Licenses.

After our presentation we took a trip to town for a much needed bite to eat. That resulted in a tired bunch so we retired to our room for a break from all of the RE comotion. Our good friend Antonio was here as aker and he joined us for a few hours of awesome conversation.

The best part of the day was again the last part of the day; A candle lit hike through the woods to a labryinth.  We walked as a family, me holding Aliana and John holding Bill. On our way toward the center Aliana and I talked about some things we both wanted to let go. We discussed the stresses our family has experienced since losing the farm.

Here are the picutres from the day, including the dead bug board! A collection of dead bugs found by kiddos at the event! I love the random jam sessions (yellow submarine was awesome!) And the agorist ventures of hair wraps and massages set up in the lobby!

Rethinking Everything, Day One: Crisis on the Way, Peace Upon Arrival

Yesterday we woke in Little Rock, Arkansas and hit the road for the final two hours of our trip to the Rethinking Everything Conference.  Just ten minutes from the 4H Conference facility, our final destination, we drove past a woman laying in a parking lot receiving CPR from a teenage girl. I had John turn around and I ran over to see how we could help.

The teen giving her CPR was pumping on her diaphram, not her chest and I suggested she stop. The womans heart was beating and she was breathing. The woman had tingling in her hands and feet, pressure in her chest and was having trouble breathing. I knew instantly she was likely having a panic attack as I had recently experienced my first stress induced anxiety attack and recognized the symptoms.  I helped her to regulate her breathing while we waited for help to arrive. Sure enough, we later found out she had taken 5 hour energy with redbull and and her body was exhausted from overwork and she had fallen victim to a panic attack.

What a dramatic arrival.

We checked into RE and ran into many familar faces. We played in the always-epic children’s village, enjoyed swords made of balloons, went swimming, devoured delicious grub, watched giant bubbles be made next to the lake, then participated in a letting go and setting new intentions ceremony at the evening bonfire.

Honestly, we didn’t know what we were walking up to when we arrived at the bonfire. We were told we could walk down this beautifully candle lit path to a note writing station where we would write down the things causing us greif. These are things we have not let go of, stressors, things causing us anxiety. We were to then drop them in the second fire at the end of the path and return via the candle lit path to the lakeside bon fire. Once returned we were to set a new intention with candles in floating votives, and send them out onto the lake.

The walk was amzing. John and I talked about our pasts while our children drifted to sleep (Ali in my arms, Bill in the stroller). We burned our anxieties and returned to set new intentions on the lake.

When we got back to our bunk I took a long hot bath and enjoyed reading an issue of Home Education Magazine. We drifted to sleep and woke feeling anew. John is currently presenting our Unschooling and Anarchism talk so I could let our kids sleep in. I am excited to see what Day 2 will bring!

Here are some pics from the day!

 

 

Report Cards for Unschooled Students

Children who are unschooled to not receive the standard American “Report Card” because they are not tested or graded on any specific subject, unless they choose to be. This can cause challenges for unschool families as they attempt to gain recognition and understanding from the community regarding their children’s academic journey.

Today, Dayna Martin, author of Radical Unschooling, posted an example of how parents can build their children’s esteem while gaining support for their lifestyle in the community. She gave her children report cards that were “graded” on Happiness, Contentment, Self Love, Fulfillment, Passion, and Freedom. They took those report cards to Chuck E Cheese to participate in a Tokens for Report Cards program, and they accepted them!

I feel like this is something I want to periodically grade myself on and a really fun way to play off the “mainstream” way of doing things.

Here the photo and caption she posted on FaceBook:

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“THIS is how Report Cards SHOULD look!
I brought this in to Chuck E Cheese’s (one for each of my children) to see if they would honor the “tokens for A’s” deal that they were running. THEY DID!! I was so happy that they were open-minded enough to respect how we choose to “grade” our children in life. If you are an Unschooler – try this! It was an awesome experience and my children felt so respected as Radical Unschoolers.”

100 Things I Love About (My) Life

1. We Make Our Own Daily Schedule
2. We Work for Ourselves
3. San Marcos, TX has a Huge Unschool Community
4. Daily Walks
5. Living with Animals
6. Strong Family Ties (this took effort and was so worth it!)
7. Our Vintage 3 Piece Sectional Couch
8. Lots of annual Slow Travel Across the Country
9. BITCOIN
10. Friends Who Accept and Love Us
11. Yoga
12. Vision Boards
13. Organic Food
14. Farmers Market (when we can get up in time!)
15. Gardening at our apartment and with friends
16. Chickens
17. Living Near the River
18. Two Parks in Walking Distance
19. Like Minded, Loving Husband
20. Family Bed
21. Journals
22. Daily Art
23. Natural Medicine
24. Coconut Oil
25. Essential Oils
26. Making Juice at Home
27. Our Food Dehydrator
28. Watching Toddlers Play Chase
29. Following Our Dreams
30. Watching the Sun Set (Back Windows)
31. Catching the Sun Rise (Front Porch)
32. Camping with my Family
33. Getting Paid to Write
34. RedBox Movie Night
35. Stove Top Popcorn in Coconut Oil
36. Amazon Subscribe and Save
37. Kombucha
38. Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking Mix
39. Maintaining Life Long Friends in my Hometown
40. Live Music
41. San Marcos Community Events
42. Handmade Jewelry
43. Thrift Store Shopping
44. Living in Abundance
45. Inspirational Friends
46. Brave New Books
47. Barter
48. Lots of Sunshine
49. My Freckles
50. My Children’s Freckles
51. Snail Mail
52. Photography
53. Dumpster Diving
54. Podcasting
55. Long Hot Baths
56. Double Stroller
57. Whole Foods
58. Scented Candles
59. PorcFest
60. Rethinking Everything Conference
61. Listening to Podcasts
62. Spending Time With John’s Family
63. Bare Feet
64. Apple Cider Vinegar
65. Crafts with my Kids
66. Incubating Eggs
67. Grandma’s Kitchen Aid Mixer
68. Glitter! (To John’s Dismay LOL)
69. Gluten Free
70. Coconut Water
71. DIY Lifestyle
72. Magnetic Spice Rack
73. Home Grown Spices
74. Tethered Wifi
75. Fluoride Water Filters
76. Buddy Bucks
77. Searching for Shells in the River
78. Collecting Rocks
79. Bird Watching with the Family
80. State Parks Pass
81. Texas Wildflowers
82. Rain Storms
83. Buddhism
84. Custom Wedding Rings
85. Homemade Hummus
86. Bush Family Salsa
87. Hand-Me-Downs
88. Paying it Forward
89. Unschooling
90. Splash Pads
91. Confidence
92. Okra, I am so in Love with Okra!
93. Reshi Infused Organic Coffee, Daily
94. Keeping a Dream Journal
95. Refining my Writing and Speaking Skills
96. Hushmail
97. Tap Shoes for the Kids
98. John, Aliana, Bill, Murray, Muno and Mousey Mouse
99. Me, I love Me <3
100. Living the Blessed Life

Unschooling, Responsibility, and the Value of Money

My almost three year old Aliana told me she wants to earn her OWN money. She offered to help babysit her 16 month old brother and I said DEAL!

We have been using the kitchen timer set for 15 minutes and she has been “watching” baby brother while I do chores. She negotiated a rate of one quarter per 15 minute time period. She lets me know if he has a need she cannot help him with and agrees to not fight with him during this time.

She is saving her hard earned pocket change in a small bag in her purse so she can buy treats at the grocery store.

I love this “game” because it is teaching her responsibility in so many ways. She is learning about time, the value of money, caring for others, and how to save for something special. It is improving her communication skills as “negotiates” her pay, tends to her brother, and talks to me about his needs.

I am always close by keeping a sneak peak to ensure nothing goes awry.

How do you teach your kids about money, time and responsibility?

Here is a podcast on this issue!

http://soundcloud.com/sovereignlivingpodcast/unschooling-responsibility-1

The Unschooled Toddler: Teaching Eachother Through Art

I have mentioned before that art is a big part of our daily unschool routine. Our daughter has a passion for creativity and she is teaching her brother to share in this. We love watching them learn through eachother; this encourges life skills like sharing, communication, patience, and empathy.

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Does one of your children have a passion they teach to other kids in the family? Please share!

Learn Nothing Day

Learn Nothing Day is a holiday for unschoolers, who spend every day learning! Obviously this is impossible and the reviews of those celebrating the day are hilarious!

Tonight we will be joining the Austin Unschoolers at the park and splashpad for our Learn Nothing Day Celebration.finalllll-3

Visit SandraDodd.com for all the details, here are some excerpts:

 

Unschoolers need a holiday.
When people ask if they homeschool in the summer, they say yes. When people ask when they have a break from learning, they say never.

THERE’S A BLOG
with art and videos
and you can subscribe
2008 art (link at bottom for more)

A 2012 report:

We failed.
Utterly
Completely…
Gleefully

2010 citations and comments:

Learn Nothing Day, Home Education Resources, UK


Today is Learn Nothing Day, by Rebecca, at Victoria Advocate.com

 


The Quirks of Unschooling (Ronnie Maier on her blog, and another one later that same day: Tiny tidbits: Learn Nothing Day, Part Trois)

 


“I just kept on learning just like it was a normal day. No matter how I tried, I just Kept On Learning!” —Annalise, age 6
 


Learn Nothing Day, Volume Three, Susan Gaissert at The Expanding Life


(two parts of a long list:)~ Tinky learned how to use the dishwasher today. I tried to stop her, but it couldn’t be helped. They just are not cooperating with me today.

~ Techi was playing his “Guy Game” online and was listening to some really cool funk music. I asked him where he got it from. He told me to check out Pandora.com. So now I have learned how to find all my favorite music on Pandora. I’m listening to Frank Morgan he is an Awesome jazz musician. Oops! Now you learned something new. Sorry! —Rana

 


It was our first time participating in Learn Nothing Day, and I am afraid to say we failed miserably!We started out okay…
we got out of our beds, said good morning to each other and we were peacefully eating our breakfast together… when before I could really even realize what was happening, the girls began explaining tornadoes to Little Buddy! It was not his fault really, he’s only 3 and he just didn’t know better than to be curious about, as he says it, “toynadoes”! At any rate, as you can most likely imagine, it was all downhill from there, learning stalked us all day long, and we never even left the house today!

Oh well… there’s always next year! —Anne Dye, in Italy

 


“It’s only one day—surely we can slow down for just one day to take it easy and learn absolutely nothing.” 


“Well, we had a plan to stay at home and do nothing for Learn Nothing Day, but by 11am our plan was foiled. My 6yr old son put in a History Channel DVD on the history of steam trains and my 6yr old daughter Wiki’d Annie Oakley and was researching guns, so unfortunately we are all learning something today. They even looked at me like I was a complete reject last night when we discussed the concept of learning nothing today. My daughter said, ‘But mommy, how are we going to learn nothing? That’s just silly!'” —Nina Lee

 


Parental Intelligence wrote: PLEASE DO NOT VISIT THIS WEBSITE ON JULY 24!!
Any other day of the year is just fine. 

 

 

The Unschooled Toddler, Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts are a big part of unschooling our children. We try to do a creative project daily for our daughter who loves to draw, paint, glue and be crafty. Sometimes our son joins in, but he frequently find more active things to engage in while she doodles or paints.

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We have found that stimulating her desire for creativity has brought her confidence and joy. She loves showing off her work and giving gifts that she has made to others.

The frequent craft projects have not only stimulated her creativity, but her mind. She has learned about texture, color, temperature, time, numbers, and more. The crafts have helped her to develop her fine motor skills amd progress her ability to communicate.

Happy New Year!

We hope this year brings you greater sovereignty and lots of creativity!  Here is a shot of Aliana Jan 2, 2014 enjoying a fun unschooled afternoon painting.  Live!  Love!  Enjoy 2014!!!  <3 the Blush Family

 

ali paint