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 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.”

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. 

 

 

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

[NEW] Kid's Day coming soon to the Blush Family Farm!

This past Thursday the farm invited a pack of kids, who are on the unschooling path, to enjoy a day at the farm meeting the animals, exploring the plants, and hanging out with each other. This successful kid’s day made it certain the farm needed an official “Kid’s Day” in the coming weeks.

Our Head Volunteer, Paul Davis, will be helping to put on another event, and children from the area are all invited to attend. The next kid’s day will be announced soon, but we can say it will fall on a Thursday – we’ll share more later this week! If you’d like to learn more please contact Paul at: sifu78704@gmail.com

At the most recent meet-up here at the farm, our friend Michelle brought her son Carl to check things out. Michelle told us that she didn’t realize the impact of the hands-on learning at the farm until she got home to reflect on the day with her son. She had him prepare his daily journal and this is what Carl had to say about the experience:

homeschool book

What a beautiful response from this young man. We are so eager to touch more children’s lives through Kid’s Day at the Blush Family Farm. Next playdate TBA! Thanks again for everyone who made it last week and safe Trick or Treating to all!

Don’t forget to visit our Indie Gogo page to watch Episode 1 and donate to our project!

A listener of our Coast to Coast interview weighs in on the education system…

We were contacted by many new fans and intrigued listeners after our interview on Coast to Coast. Craig Williams took the time to reach out and put into words, what many people can’t when it comes to the education system in America. Thanks for reaching out Craig and we’re happy we found an awesome new supporter like you!

“We live in a world today that clingsto and enforces an obsolete education system severely outgrown by our infinitely-unfolding consciousness. This is an unfortunate hindrance not only on the basis of individual growth, but also on the contingent evolution of mankind, itself. 

Observing this system, we can recognize the system is robbing children of being taught the fundamentals of human life and the unlimited potential to create and experience. The system has been cleverly cloaked in a disguise as the most beneficial approach to collectively instilling knowledge; while obtaining a blind acceptance of the “necessary” tools and attitudes. All the while using tools such as: instilling fear, abusing authority, misinformation, separatism and competitiveness.  

Placing each individual into a generalized mold that feeds an archaic system has proven time and again to fall short for the human race.”

Feel free to copy and paste Craig’s quote, but be sure to link back to our Sovereign Living Blog. If you didn’t get a chance to hear the interview on Coast to Coast, check it out here. 

Fun activities for the kids: Flower Power Craft!

Yesterday was Aliana’s birthday and she was so was blessed to receive a massive amount of craft supplies at her party.  Today she was too worn out to attend our weekly unschool meetup (they made hula hoops today), so we had a DIY craft time at home!

 pom pom flowers

What you are looking at is a Flower Power Centerpiece made with tie died pom poms hot glued to craft sticks that we painted green (the flowers are glued together). We added small poms to embellish the glass jar and wa-la, you have a perfect hand eye coordination activity that results in a display ready craft! What a great way to get those toddlers working on fine motor skills at home! [Remember to always help your wee ones with the hot glue gun]