Showing posts from August, 2017

Fantastic Teens and Where to Find Them

This past weekend, my 15 year old and 17 year old celebrated their birthdays with a couple friends. Their birthdays were in June and July, and it's now the end of August, but summer happened and this is when we could manage to pull it off. 

Zachary (17), hosted his half of the party at the local bowling /laser tag / game room place. Haley (15), set up a magical Harry Potter party at home. That my teens are willing to share a party, and just have a couple friends over so they can catch up before the new school year begins, warms my heart. 

My husband took care of the bowling/laser tag part of the party, and then took Alia and Coren out for a couple hours so the teens could have uninterrupted fun. I am incredibly thankful that I got less active end of the stick. 

I retreated upstairs to my youngest children's room, caught up on emails, homeschool co-op stuff, and, when I couldn't stand it any longer, sorted through the pile of clothes awaiting their place in Alia's already …

Unschooling Is Not

Unschooling is not unparenting. While we strive to give our children autonomy, we do so within a framework of safety, cleanliness, boundaries, and moral standards. We work together to keep our house cleanish. We take responsibility for our actions. When we commit to doing something, we follow through to the best of our ability. We are kind. We treat each other as we would wish to be treated. We forgive. We ask for what we need. We offer each other what we can. We respect each other, our house, and our possessions and do our best to take care of all of them. 

Unschooling is not non-learning. It is learning through conversing, experiencing, reading, creating, dreaming, asking, doing, listening, and sharing. It's taking a class or attending a workshop when we so desire. It is following our passions and interests where they lead us. It is encouraging our children to make their own decisions and giving them the tools and the desire to learn whatever they want to learn. It's modeling…

What You Don't See

When you look at this picture, you see two people standing on the top of a mountain overlooking with a beautiful view of lakes down below. You may notice that I am wearing gloves. If you look even closer, you might notice crutches between my husband and I, resting on the rock.

What you don't see is the amount of pain and exhaustion I'm feeling while standing there, even after rest, water, and a healthy snack. You don't see the extreme struggle I went through to get to the top of the mountain, nor the number of times I wanted to give up, sure I'd never make it to the top. You don't see the pain in my knees, which I was told to get replaced twenty years ago; the agonizing spasming of my back due to damage already done by psoriatic arthritis and spondylitis; the suffocating ache in my chest from costochondritis; or the  deep, deep emotions of this accomplishment. You don't see the amount of medication coursing through my veins that made this possible, nor the days …

What To Say

Why do people hate? Why do people do and say horrible, violent things? 

And how do we not hate them in return?

When I look at photos from that night in Charlottesville, VA, it sends chills down my spine. It is evident that these people believe in what they are doing, the vitriol they are spewing. It's difficult not to feel rage when reading about what happened that night. 

What I see is a mass of broken people - people who choose hate over love. People who think that they are superior because of skin color and belief system. People reduced to hate, because they think it's the only choice. 

What do I tell my children about these people? What do I say? They can see everything I see. I need to show them what they don't see... people who, more than likely, feel hated or vulnerable more than loved or secure. People who have been fed righteous indignation in the form of racism and false beliefs until they believe it to their cores. People who are blind to God's love for all all …

A Fox at Calumet and Other Places

We spent 16 full days at Camp Calumet - from breakfast July 1 until breakfast July 17. Four children came with us - Alex stayed home. Zack went to a week of Resident Camp and then took the bus home. Haley and Alia stayed for two weeks of Resident Camp. Coren went to a week of Resident Camp, and then joined Jim and I at Family Camp. Jim and I had a week to ourselves at Family Camp during the first week.

Trying to sum up even one week at Camp Calumet in a blog post is nearly impossible -or would be impossibly long. So I'll let our friend give you an idea of how we spent our first week at Camp Calumet, Freedom, NH. Enjoy!

No Place I Would Rather Be

Trees rustled in the gentle breeze as notes wafted through the outdoor chapel. My heart burst to overflowing as I watched the sun dancing on the cross and sang, "no place I would rather be...than here in Your love, here in Your love..." It was difficult to believe that an entire two weeks before we sang the same song during our first worship of the Summer at Camp Calumet. Our time there was almost over. It was nearly time to leave the place for which my soul yearns every day I'm not there.

Our time there was full, well-spent. The bible studies in which I participated seemed tailor made for me - one on prayer, the other on hymns. We sang each day of each bible study. We shared personal experiences, growing in knowledge and faith as we explored God's Word in different ways. The hikes (on crutches), both the weekly hike and hiking on our own up Jackman's Ridge, the length of the Outer Limits trail and through the Pine Barrens, were physically, mentally, and emotional…