Tuesday, May 31, 2016


There is a point in a mainstage production that everything comes together and a transformation takes place. No longer is there a set and a bunch of actors, but a new world and its inhabitants. 

This metamorphosis took place this week at Epoch Arts, as Beautiful Things blossomed into its own being. 

This chaotic band of teenagers loved... and loved to hate ... their characters, memorized lines, blocked and reblocked, rehearsed, and rehearsed, and rehearsed, and finally they own their characters, their parts, this world they created. 

Seeing their actions, interactions, and reactions this week as compared to just a week ago amazes those of us who have witnessed this process from its genesis.

Elizabeth Namen's inspired work is brought to life by these teens who have so much more going on in their lives, but devote great amounts of time, especially this tech week, to create something amazing, earth-shaking, and extraordinarily important. (And also hilarious, tear-inducing, and thought-provoking.)

I am truly blessed to have been a part of this beautiful thing ... from cooking for the cast, to some costume and prop design and fabrication, to spending a great deal of time with lots of inspiring people.

To each and every cast and crew member ... you make BEAUTIFUL THINGS!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What About Prom?

If you're unschooling, your children are going to miss out on so much!

I get that a lot. People fear that by my children missing out on "normal" growing up experiences, they're somehow going to be harmed, or incomplete, or something. 

Questions abound. What about learning to stand in line, take turns, and relate to their peers? What about learning to meet deadlines, memorize, take tests? What about graduation? What about prom? 

We stand in checkout lines and ticket lines and many other lines. We have five children who have friends. Taking turns happens all day long. Not only can my children relate to their peers, they can relate to people of all ages, because they spend time with people of all ages - a wonderful skill to have as an adult. 

Ask Haley about meeting deadlines and memorization. For the upcoming mainstage production she's in, she's had to memorize all her lines, entrances, exits, where she needs to be on stage, and all of that by a deadline. Our other children have been involved in other theatrical productions, projects, and events that have taught them to meet deadlines, memorization, and myriad other skills. There are tests in other aspects of life. 

But prom? Prom has been on the minds of many families with teens lately, and I get asked often how I could let my children miss such a milestone? Considering I never once went to a prom - I had "we're not going to the prom" parties at home with friends, food, movies, and a hot tub instead - I don't see prom as that big a deal. But never fear - Homeschool Prom is here! Yes - there is prom for homeschoolers, and I just got back from bringing Zachary to Laila's house, where we took pictures of our way-too-grown-up-looking children before they were off to Homeschool Prom for the evening. My husband will pick them up at 10:30pm and take Laila home. I'll be excited to hear how it all went, although I have a feeling that will be days from now, as we all need sleep before getting up early for the Robin Hood Springtime Festival tomorrow. 

I'm not worried about prom, or tests, or any of it. Unschooling provides plenty of valuable life experiences for my children to prepare them for the real world. If you talk to them, they worry about schooled children missing out on all the things we get to do. Prom or no prom, my homeschooled children don't miss out on life. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Blissfully Exhausted

It's gone. Just gone. I have no idea what happened to it. 

In February it seemed it would last for such a long time, but none of it did.

The time just sprinted by without looking back. There's still so much to do, even with several events behind us. The countdown has begun. Ten...nine...days and counting.

I'm blissfully exhausted.

Life is so busy I barely have time to come up for air. It's good busy - my creativity overflows as I work on costuming and other endeavors for Beautiful Things, a mainstage production in which two of my teens are taking part. I am having entirely too much fun making patches, adding to costumes, and creating whimsical hats, not to mention hanging out with an amazing bunch of teens.

I've had the opportunity to test my ever-changing physical limits during Spring Cleaning Work Weekend at Camp Calumet and on weekly hikes with fellow Epoch Arts Homeschool Co-opers. From shoveling and spreading mulch to crutching up steep forest inclines, I've relished every painful movement. 

The people with whom I've spent my time have been true blessings. The thoughtful and inspiring - if sometimes overly rambunctious - teenage cast of Beautiful Things ... and the wonderful Epoch Arts staff; the welcoming and passionate crew at Camp Calumet; my beautiful Women's Circle friends; the EAHoCo Crew; and my own wonderful (if I do say so myself) family, overflow my cup with joy each day. I fall into bed each night exhausted, yet fulfilled.