My New Sweet Life, by Harrison Boyink
I was that almost-normal homeschooled kid, the one who did the extra curricular activities, the organized sports, the friend visiting that drove my parents insane with the driving/biking back and forth. I got good, not great, grades, and mostly turned my work in on time. I was as content as I could have been. Normality, or as close as we could get to it, had been reached. Then, at the end of my seventh grade year, my parents dropped the bombshell.
“We’re going to WHAT?” was my first question when I heard their then-crazy plan. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. We were going to buy a trailer. And a truck. And live in it. For a year.
Read Harrison’s full story of his life-changing experience in our May/June issue. Subscribe here.
Stories and a Little Something, by Jill Swanson
Inga-ting was the pet name affectionately bestowed on my third-born by her three year old brother and five year old sister. As a newborn, she was the happiest baby I ever knew, making it easy as pie for all of us to fall desperately in love with her. She folded herself into our lives and routines like a velvet cloth. Smiled when we held her. Smiled when we didn’t. Content as butter. But of course, babies grow.
By the time Inga-ting was a year old, she was a blonde-haired busybody. A darling, rosy-cheeked elfkin with mischief sparkling in her blue, blue eyes. A sweet, kissy-face girl with soft chubby hands that flew into areas forbidden by her elders, wreaking innocent havoc on buckets of markers and crayons, elaborate toy car roadways, and paper doll wardrobes. Oh, was she ever loved. And oh, was she ever the source of frustration.
Read Jill’s inspiring full article in our May/June issue. Subscribe here.
The Time Machine, by John Taylor Gatto
The earliest form of standardized-formula schooling in America was called Lancaster schooling, named after an unstable young Quaker, Joseph Lancaster, who had picked up the idea from a Hindu practice employed in India of teaching up to 1000 students in a single class in which the students did most of the teaching, acting as monitors emulating the single adult teacher exactly; its nominal purpose was to fool the students and their parents into believing they were being educated while learning almost nothing, but its actual purpose was to reinforce and sustain the caste system by preventing the lower orders from becoming too knowledgeable and remain subordinate.
Read John’s full article in our May/June issue. Subscribe here.
On “Fitting In” as a Grown Unschooler, by Kate Fridkis
It’s not about fitting in anymore. That was before–when I was younger. When I was in college and even in grad school, I worried a little about it. Would I seem weird to the other students? Could they tell that I wasn’t like them? Could they tell that I had never taken tests before this? Could they smell it on me? The weirdness of whole autumn days spent building forts in the woods when everyone else was in a classroom somewhere. I was trying to prove myself. I wanted to show everyone, or whoever happened to be paying attention, that I could be great at getting A’s and I could make plenty of friends, too, even though I hadn’t grown up around a bunch of my peers, striving to get good grades. A little later, I wanted to prove that I could get into a top grad school, make it in the big city, convince people to pay me for my skills, succeed in the bigger, chaotic arena of the adult world.
Kate shares her grown unschool hindsights on this in our May/June issue. Subscribe here.
Growing with Unschooling and Animal Husbandry, by Kimberly Scheimreif
Animal husbandry has been a huge component of our unschooling and sustainable lifestyle. Practicing animal husbandry has given us sustenance, companionship, and many learning opportunities. Throughout our unschooling and self-reliance journey we have always been very grateful for all the gifts our animals have bestowed to us. Whether your family has a few chickens, a dog, or a complete menagerie of farm animals there is much to glean from the animals on a homestead.
Kimberly shares a wealth of information on her family’s extraordinary life with animals in our May/June issue. Subscribe here.
Lucky Girl: A Story of Sleep and Unschooling, by Bonny Lee
We were familiar with the concept of “deschooling,” the process of letting go of ideas and habits left over from years of spending days in institutions of learning, being told what to do and when. Well, Ruthie’s days and nights had been spent living on an institution’s schedule. For her whole short life, it is most likely she had never once been asked if she was hungry, tired, or had to go to the bathroom. Every moment of her day was lived on a set schedule. I knew this intellectually, and I know I worried about her transition and blogged about how we’d tackle sleep freedom with a post-institutionalized kid. I thought about it so much that I convinced myself I was prepared. I had no idea.
Read Bonny’s full story on the challenges of unschooling an adopted child in our May/June issue. Subscribe here.
We Love You, Anthony! How Our Adopted Kinesthetic Son Shook Up My Cerebral, Language-Intense Family, by Penny Tuggle
When our little boy was five, he came into the kitchen and asked, “Mama, what are we having for dinner tonight unfortunately?” I blanched, paused, and then burst out laughing. The evolution of my reaction to this question over the last few years serves as a metaphor for the way Anthony’s presence has changed our family for the better.
….In 2008 my husband and I were just starting to enjoy the freedom that comes with having moved past the little kid stage. Our children Asher, Abigail, and Emma were 10, 8, and 6. We felt like we had a good handle on the homeschooling life: our children were advanced academically and we had a peaceful, quiet home. Then during National Adoption month, we both became convinced that things were a bit too peaceful, a little too homogenous. We decided that we needed to seriously pursue foster care and perhaps adoption to shake things up a bit. What started out as a family “project” ended up pushing us farther along the homeschooling continuum towards unschooling.
Read Penny’s inspiring full story in our May/June issue! Subscribe here.
Finding Our Way to a Cohousing Community, by Sarah Lozanova
My husband, Kiril Lozanov, grew up in a tight knit Bulgarian village, where many families have lived side by side for generations. As a young child, he was allowed to roam the nearby forest, forage from fruit trees, and visit neighbors. My husband and I want our young children to have similar experiences and more freedom to roam, but we don’t feel comfortable doing that in most urban settings. We want to live in a rural area, but don’t want them to be isolated (especially as homeschoolers) or relying on us to drive them many miles to social activities. We like the idea of living on many acres, but don’t want to be the only ones responsible for its upkeep and purchase. A rural cohousing community with a town nearby seemed like an ideal situation for us. We were thrilled that this opportunity is only a couple miles from a town with numerous services that we appreciate, such as a YMCA, co-op grocery store, library, cultural activities, city pool, network of homeschooling families, harbor, and natural healthcare providers.
Read Sarah’s full story on cohousing in our our May/June issue. Subscribe here.
Story Stones from Show Me a Story, by Emily K. Neuburger
I like to collect throughout the year, so I don’t have to worry about running out of stones when the ground is buried under layers of crusty snow. Try to find a variety of shapes and sizes to ensure that you have many options. The ideal size and shape is a round or oval stone averaging 1