You, the unschooling (and unschooled) parent. What's new on your horizon? What has interested you recently? What have you committed to? What are you exploring? Is it anything that your children are taking an interest in?
Thanks for starting this, Miranda. When I started this post, I had no idea how long it was going to be. I really needed this:
I am thrilled that I can get back to gardening this year. Last year was filled with move, an attempt at a house sale, renting said house, staring at dirt and gravel at this house, moving in, county fair, moving in, building sheds and coops. DH and I are done (done and done!) with that and we are both so excited about this spring. I am experimenting with combining veggie garden and chickens to minimize hauling of compost. I need to build a brooder and chicken tractor--the design is done, now just to build it.
Gearing up to be a Girl Scout leader has taken up much of my time recently. That organization has a way of cornering recruiting leaders, but I feel like our new troop has 3 excellent leaders, highly complimentary. Another mother really wants to emphasize community service. That's great, and it lets me focus on what I really want to bring to the group--camping and hiking! I'll be taking more leadership classes to get me to that point to be allowed to lead an overnight camping trip. The 3rd mom is hyper-organized, and loves to fish and has a lot of good energy. All we need is engaged parents and we have the makings of an awesome troop.
I still dream of one day spending 2 weeks at a wilderness skills workshop, mainly to carve out dedicated time to learn these skills. I can learn some at home, but in bits and pieces and competing with other obligations for my attention. In the meantime, our new home abuts hundreds of acres of woods we mostly have permission to wander through, with a "farm" at the other end, complete with a cow to feed carrots to and room to run and play. We are so grateful to the owners for our open invitation--truly, always open to us, whenever. I try to keep the trails clear as we walk.
I'm slowly picking my knitting back up, and I want to branch out into sewing more--keeping up with mending first and foremost. I want to be able to feel like the sewing machine is as ready and available for projects on a whim as is my computer for random questions and my knitting needles when some toy needs a new scarf.
Now that "birthday season" is over, the constant stream of obligations has ceased and I suddenly feel like my life has a new beginning. We no longer have to Dream Big in regards to our property--we are here! The girls are older, no longer needy toddlers anymore. Suddenly, interests and desires that have waiting in the background--dropped but not forgotten to make way in my psyche for all the Big Important Stressful Things and Tiny Tots have been popping up back to the surface: baking bread from freshly ground grain and homemade starter, growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, fermenting our own sauerkraut and kim chee, raising more chickens and ducks for eggs and meat (I recently learn to dress chickens from a neighbor) and not just pets for fair time, hauling out my spinning wheel again, learning to weave baskets from the willows and other plants in the forest....
I have been incorporating a home yoga practice nearly every day and it has been fabulous-- 20 minutes every day has brought me so many more benefits that the occasional yoga class ever did. My chance for my Big Walk--down our dead-end road, across to the little highway that runs through our little valley, over to the farm on the other side of the hill and back up and over through the woods to our house-- is hit- and- miss, but it has had huge benefits for me as well. It is incredibly meditative and invigorating and so steep at the end I have to take turns walking forwards and backwards. And so quiet. I have a terrible time filtering out noise, and my heart is overjoyed when I stop to rest and I hear so few motorized noises--or none at all-- but never the constant, grinding white noise that pounded in my ears and wore me down. When I taught Aikido to the kids, I was always asked why don't we learn to defend against realistic attacks? No one does simple attacks like what we learn. My answer was always-- you do learn those eventually, but it is a hard place to start. I should be able to find peace even amongst the white noise, true, but for me it is a difficult place to start.
My oldest is starting to show an interest in the idea of creating her own dresses for her own catalog. I'm even more motivated to get that sewing machine out! There is a lot of learning I need to do myself. I'm happy to have my mother's Singer that I learned to sew on. She is helping to plan one corner of our new garden to make it like our old yard she loved playing in.
First, I need to get this damn house cleaned up! Some better routines for that would be most welcome. DD2 is asking why we aren't doing the (wet-on-wet) watercolors, and the response ends up being something like.... "we need to find the art table!" Ah, well. The house is a mess because they are such busy girls.
A month or so ago I spent a while learning my way around WordPress. I'd been using it for simple blogging for a while, but hadn't delved into plug-in scripts and all the customizable features that can be added in. I used to think of it as a nice-looking but organizationally limited version of Blogger, but I came to it anew when looking for a content management system for a website I help maintain. That got me really digging into permissions, forms, scripts, galleries, dynamic calendars and the like.
Recently I've got back into cross-country skiing. We lived in Northern Ontario for a couple of winters twenty years ago and I learned to ski then but have hardly been on my xc skis since. This year I managed to turn Fiona on to xc skiing (thanks to a first experience on a lovely groomed trail featuring a "picnic" of cookies and hot chocolate). So I've been out skiing with her fairly regularly, as well as doing a portion of my own solo exercise on skis. I've done about 30 km this week and am really enjoying it.
I'm also very excited about doing some real back-country expeditions again this year. It's hard with young kids, because they can't carry enough gear to make backpacking viable for a family: the adults can't possibly carry the tents, cookware, food, their own clothing, sleeping bag and sleeping pad, plus the kids' stuff! So our camping trips as a family have been limited to what we can do in the canoe and kayak ... basically just meandering the lakeshore's wilderness campsites. But my teenagers are now capable of shouldering their share (Sophie did an overnight backpacking trip with a friend last year and Noah is very strong), and I think Fiona, having gained a lot of size and strength since last year, could manage the majority of her personal items. So I think this is the year to start heading into the backcountry again after a 20-year hiatus. I'm busy investigating trails and terrain in our area, and putting together a wish-list of gear. I'm really excited about this, and so are the kids. I figure this is one of the things they should leave home with, given where we live: a wealth of true backcountry experience. If you want a taste of what's in our backyard, take a peak at the description of this hike. Can't wait!
My girls have been really into learning to ice skate. So we found a rink and have been skating at least once a week for a few months now. I had expected to see their skating skills and confidence grow, and they really have!, but I was surprised to find how much better I have gotten thanks to all the ice time. I am much more confident and can even do little spins now. I'm no Nancy Kerrigan, but it is a lot of fun!
If you want a taste of what's in our backyard, take a peak at the description of this hike. Can't wait!
Looks beautiful! I love the comment about the porcupines in the parking lot--"bring wire".
Living so close to sea level around trees that need not worry about snow, seeing them growing so tall and pointy instead of *huge* and commanding is such a lovely sight for me.
I am getting back into yoga
My current supervisor is into Paleo and intermittent fasting as ways of eating (I don't intend to try either) but I did look them up.
I have also done a tiny bit of knitting and crochetting - this interest was spurred on by my youngest, and her interest in such things.
I have a new interest in herbs, gardening (long time interest but just got to start it) and aerial silks. I just finished a 6 week session in aerial silk and it is so much fun and a challenge. My son seems to be interested in dance and so I'm planning to go back to that (used to dance and teach). I miss it so it will be fun to start from the beginning and explore it all with him.
Love this thread!
I love that as unschooling mommas we are constantly following our own passions/interests too..
I've been a huge bookworm lately (more so than ever!) in the winter we tend to hibernate a bit so the children (2 & 5) have been playing heaps of pretend games while I read and read and read everything I can get my hands on. I got a few Amazon gift cards for Christmas so I've been buying things used and DEVOURING them. Lots of books on Waldorf type education, crafting, sewing, homesteading, animal husbandry, gardening and so on. The reading is also what I'm interested in learning about -- last year we didn't garden much but this year I'm determined to have several raised plots for herbs and veggies, AND we are doing a wild flower garden. Also thinking about adding some fiber bunnies to our homestead and PERHAPS a piglet and some bees?
Life's so exciting. I'm sewing a bit too with the help of DD and we are going small, creating little things for her American Girl doll.
We have stolen a idea from my nieces school. We have a to do list of things we need to accomplish, like have a photo taken with a statue or landmark of someone famous, learn to tie a knot and stick it on a card, scrape some rust and there are a 100 tasks.
Trying to come to grips with Windows 8 on our new laptop, it is so bugging use, well me!
Getting our very old motorhome read for a ski trip.