July 2017 Unschooling Thread - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 36 Old 07-01-2017, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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July 2017 Unschooling Thread

Happy Canada Day! Happy early-4th-of-July!

Anything goes here.

We have moved home to our village full-time for the summer. We've rented out the house-in-town, so I spent this past week getting it all tidy and clean and clear of all our stuff (of which there wasn't much, but there was a lot of food!).

Yesterday was Fiona's last dance session until September. She is vowing to stay in shape (flexibility and strength), and increase her endurance this summer. Usually she is a good bit less active in the summer because she no longer has her 15 hours a week of structured physical activity via dance classes and silks or gymnastics or whatever. But she's expressing an interest in tagging along on some of the outdoor activities I enjoy: alpine hiking, kayaking, maybe even some tame mountain-biking.

Her first day of work went really well. The proprietor of the café can be moody and harsh at times (my eldest worked for her for two or three years), but all was good yesterday: they had a blast together. As I was driving her in she said "Wow, I'm going to work. Full-time. I'm all grown up now."

Miranda
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#2 of 36 Old 07-01-2017, 11:42 AM
 
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WOW! July! Happy Canada Day!

Big month for us. I'm going to to a concert. I love concerts.

We have already gone down the shore a few times. N (11) is outside kind of guy. We sat and watched a family of birds for a few hours last night.

So happy for summer.
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#3 of 36 Old 07-01-2017, 01:12 PM
 
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@moominmamma - I thought of you. Maybe you would like these guys. They are Nineteen Thirteen
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#4 of 36 Old 07-01-2017, 07:38 PM
 
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Lilah's and my summer readaloud list so far:

The Cricket in Times Square
Stuart Little
Because of Winn Dixie
Finn Family Moomintroll
The Higher Power of Lucky (this one in progress)

Lilah particularly likes the last because it has some elements that are in her life and because the desert setting is familiar. She was pleased to find that I have its sequel...and shelves and shelves and boxes of boxes of books that she is either old enough for or almost...

She reads beginning reader books to me, Frog & Toad, Brimhall, that sort of thing.

July is going to be busy. I'm working four days this weekend at the vet, fairly but not extra busy there (8 dogs, 3 cats) but I have NO IDEA how there are so many towels to be washed! So almost six hours today, I'm not complaining. Tomorrow we meet with chamber music buddy at 2 (my second shift is at 4) at the humane society thrift store. Fortunately Lilah (with us most of the summer) is extremely self winding. On Monday we start rehearsals with the cast for the Fantasticks, which runs the next three weekends, Friday through Sunday. Fortunately for my vet job, the Sundays are not matinees, but 8:15's. I've arranged to come in early for my vet work if I'm not gonna have enough time, so Monday & Tuesday I will likely go in at 3, finish at 5ish, and then maybe or maybe not have time to get rinsed off before my rehearsal in the next town at 6:30. I have had almost NO time to work on my other job. I could do it from home but am not good at it. But if I am to make any money from there for the rest of the summer, I'm gonna have to learn. And fitting my few violin students that are not on vacation in without doing excessive driving...yikes.

Deborah
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#5 of 36 Old 07-02-2017, 02:41 PM
 
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Summer is kind of rainy and cold so far this year, but hoping for a nicer day for the 4th of July. The kids always decorate their bikes and bike in the parade, and they're excited. This is the first year they can both ride pedal bikes competently.

Kids are spending a lot of time with my mom, who comes to visit for the summer. I should be getting more done as a result, but somehow it's never enough.

My son is following his pattern of obsessing over a topic and then watching YouTube until he knows EVERYTHING. This time chess. But he's also been actually playing -- both online and in real life, so that's good.

My daughter is soooo close to really knowing how to read (well enough to read for fun). She's also a bit clingy and grumpy and I think a little lonely -- when her brother is at the peak of obsession about something he's not as good a playmate. Also her best friend is out of town.
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Lilah's and my summer readaloud list so far:

The Cricket in Times Square
Stuart Little
Finn Family Moomintroll
The Higher Power of Lucky (this one in progress)

Lilah particularly likes the last because it has some elements that are in her life and because the desert setting is familiar. She was pleased to find that I have its sequel...and shelves and shelves and boxes of boxes of books that she is either old enough for or almost...

She reads beginning reader books to me, Frog & Toad, Brimhall, that sort of thing.

July is going to be busy. I'm working four days this weekend at the vet, fairly but not extra busy there (8 dogs, 3 cats) but I have NO IDEA how there are so many towels to be washed! So almost six hours today, I'm not complaining. Tomorrow we meet with chamber music buddy at 2 (my second shift is at 4) at the humane society thrift store. Fortunately Lilah (with us most of the summer) is extremely self winding. On Monday we start rehearsals with the cast for the Fantasticks, which runs the next three weekends, Friday through Sunday. Fortunately for my vet job, the Sundays are not matinees, but 8:15's. I've arranged to come in early for my vet work if I'm not gonna have enough time, so Monday & Tuesday I will likely go in at 3, finish at 5ish, and then maybe or maybe not have time to get rinsed off before my rehearsal in the next town at 6:30. I have had almost NO time to work on my other job. I could do it from home but am not good at it. But if I am to make any money from there for the rest of the summer, I'm gonna have to learn. And fitting my few violin students that are not on vacation in without doing excessive driving...yikes.

Deborah
What is Brimhall? We love Cricket in Times Square. I recently became aware that there are other stories in that series. Maybe those would be good to add to your summer reading list.

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#7 of 36 Old 07-03-2017, 04:18 AM
 
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@arliemaria - Welcome
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#8 of 36 Old 07-03-2017, 12:35 PM
 
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Brimhall (a bear) easy readers by Judy Delton. There are several, but I picked up "Brimhall Comes to Stay" as a pulled from circulation library book, I think. The drawings are delightful. They have a southern flavor; Brimhall is delightful with a southern (US) accent.

Here's the first page:

"Raccoon!" called Bear, racing
up the path to Raccoon's house.
"Are you home, Raccoon?"
Bear knocked on Raccoon's door.
Raccoon opened it.
"Hello," he said. Why, Bear,
you are all out of breath!"
Bear waved an envelope at
Raccoon and sat down to rest
on the doorstep.

Bear's cousin Brimhall has decided to move in with Bear, and turns out to be the worst possible guest:

the mothballs he carries in his pockets show up in everything, he alters the furniture, a van full of his plants (to which Bear is allergic) arrives...but Brimhall is a fine chess player! When Bear reaches the breaking point and takes control of his surroundings, Brimhall is agreeable...but the reader can see that Brimhall's new hobby will involve painting on Bear's walls.
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#9 of 36 Old 07-06-2017, 12:22 PM
 
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The monsoon is here. Except that it's been raining everywhere but at our house. We are at today's maximum now, 82F. (The extended forecast is 83, 86, 87, 87, 87, 89, 87.) So, wondering if we can get through The Fantasticks outdoor theatre run (next three weekends) without a rain cancellation?

Lilah and I are chilling out today at home...we went to a student's house for a long lesson and then to the thrift store (but the summer shirts in her size were picked over) and the post office, for a coupon from an auto parts store for her dad, and the weekly county paper, for me. We also got some ice cream, three color and chocolate.

I'm hanging out on the internet a while longer to avoid finishing the dishes.

Deborah

p.s. Then I have to practice the parts I faked at rehearsal last night. Also I missed a repeat, came blasting in eight bars early to almost dead silence from everyone else. I had it well marked too...putting in some words to catch my attention tonight...Oops...
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#10 of 36 Old 07-06-2017, 05:11 PM
 
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I'm back after a lovely break from the computer (essential things like paying bills were the exceptions) for the month of June. What a wonderful reset. This is the second year we have done that in June and it has had wonderful outcomes each time. I skimmed back over the June thread and saw some great discussions. And it seems that everyone is now in the swing of the summer season as are we. We had a cold start but today's heat makes me wonder why I wished for more true summer weather. ;-)

My hubby is taking the motorcoach we purchased in April on a 10 day trip with his Dad to Acadia, Maine. Totally jealous. But I'm having fun starting the planning for our family's month long journey to Arizona in November. Daily though we are doing lots of gardening, yard work, playing at beaches, riding our bikes, playing Plants vs. Zombies, reading chapter books, eating ice cream, having evening fires, playing with friends, and buying and trading Pokemon cards. Phew. We are staying busy! :-)

Cassandra
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#11 of 36 Old 07-09-2017, 11:33 AM
 
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My son won a little online kids' chess tournament yesterday (part of an online homeschool chess club), which he was quite excited about. He has a very focused personality, so when he decides to learn something, he goes all in. Applied to a game, that leads to pretty quick improvement--quite rewarding for him.

Gearing up to be camping for most of the rest of the summer (twice this month and then all of August), and feeling a bit panicked about the fact that we're heading to South America at the end of September and are WAY behind in planning.
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#12 of 36 Old 07-11-2017, 08:10 AM
 
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Interesting how everything picks up all at once: in addition to the musical, lots of pets at the vet!

Lilah and I started Ramona Forever yesterday and will likely finish today, although there is a chance that she will spend the day (and/or) Thursday with her mom.

Youngest is on the ball...found out what it takes to get a no-down-payment loan to buy a house. It takes a credit score of at least 630. She has no credit card; is now getting one to put all of her bills on. The house she has in mind would be a great deal; it's in the college town, not far from the university, modest but functional. It's been on the market for years. Because it's full of renters, no enticement for seller to speed up the process by dropping the price or anything like that.

So today I found out what is owed to the Montessori (because it's basically the ONLY place for Lilah)...$2054. But $500 if I pay it all off in a lump. So, my plan for skating on the edge again next month is to pay that off. And then figure out where to get the $300 per month needed to keep it from happening again.

Well, my husband has gone viral, or almost viral, on Facebook. On the engineering page he maintains for his group at work, he posted a video of himself playing "Ghost Riders in the Sky", his arrangement for violin. That was two days ago; as of now it's shown up in the newsfeeds for 35K+ people, 14K have watched (11K watched for more than 10 seconds), 1.7K have "reacted" (only 1 was bad; it was "but this guy stole my idea"). Husband had two reactions himself:

1) his top engineering post got only 1,200 hits
2) he would have fixed that last octave if he'd realized it would spread; it was just for "family and friends"...haha!

(The posting was just an afterthought; he made a bunch of recordings for a wedding we're playing for in October. A nearby town is a "wedding destination" as of the last couple of years and we are the only active string players in a hundred mile radius. So...)

Today I am going to TRY to do a little work from home. And do some Basic House Maintenance. And to work on taming the kitten that showed up in the garage. Husband says she can live outside, but I'd like to get her in a real home. (Besides, our six cats run in and out the "cat" window and back door all the time; she'd figure it out.) But for now she is as feral as can be, the size of a 4-6 week old kitten with short one color grey fur. Last night she wandered around and ended up way down the driveway, in the undercarriage of a truck. But by morning she was back in her little niche between a box and the carport wall.

Deborah
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#13 of 36 Old 07-15-2017, 10:48 AM
 
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Lilah has been with her mom since Wednesday night & we get her back tonight. So the only interactions we've had with a kid was yesterday, when I texted Yana to find out if she was okay (she'd left her dogs with us after work because she had a stomach ache and didn't feel like walking them) and got the surprising request to pick her and her bicycle up in five minutes! So I did...she hung out for a while, we did a couple of errands in the car, and then I delivered her to the road before going back home, so she could finish off her 48 mile bike round trip from her town. (Our house is up a dirt road...don't know what the climb is, but 100 feet at least.)

Yesterday was the first time a performance I was in was completely rained out, not because of the rain (the director would never let a little thing like a torrential rain stand in the way of the performances; after all, the orchestra is on the back of the stage so we won't pack our instruments at the first drop of rain, as we have been known to do in the pit), but because the lightning was getting closer and closer, and the minimalist set has a large metal frame right on the stage, an on stage lightning rod if ever there was one.

So today it's pouring again, and our next week looks like this: 78, 81, 83, 82, 80, 82, 82, 82...with nights ranging from 60 to 62. So it's all downhill from now? If tonight IS rained out, I finally figured out how to work on my website for work at home. (I've gone through a number of tries because I wanted to make a responsive website (that will work on just about any screen) with minimal maintenance requirements, because if I don't get paid more I eventually plan to leave...finally just downloaded bootstrap and...bingo, the right choice. Finally.

(Meanwhile, Zela in Maine reports that the highs were in the 40's. So we're in the sweet spot, except for the possible washing out of tonight's performance.)

Deborah
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#14 of 36 Old 07-15-2017, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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finally just downloaded bootstrap and...bingo, the right choice. Finally.
Good move! Containers ftw!

Fiona just finished a week of work as the assistant teacher in the dance portion of the dance and drama summer camp that took place here. She rocked it: everyone thought she was fantastic. Funny story. All week she'd been considered one of the instructors, part of their daily planning and debriefing sessions. She'd worked most closely with the dance instructor but one of the drama instructors was co-assisting with the huge dance group for a couple of hours a day, so he and Fiona had got to know each other pretty well. At the end of the chaotic last day, he asked Fiona if she'd mind running down to the lake where some of the kids were spending some supervised flex time with one of the other faculty, to pick something up. She said sure so he tossed her his car keys. Fiona looked at him blankly I guess and he did a double-take: "Oh, you don't drive?" She explained that she wouldn't be eligible for a license for three more years. Haha. All week he had thought she was college age.

The instructors and the director really want her to help out next week too, but it's an older group. She said she would try do what hours she could around her shifts at the café but I think she's feeling pressured and awkward, especially since looking at the student list and recognizing names of kids who go to her school and are older than she is. I may make a call today to explain a little more forcefully that it is tough for a 14-year-old to be cast in a supervisory role over 15-year-old schoolmates, and that such an arrangement would probably have long-term subtle social consequences.

It's been a lucrative week, anyway. She just ordered herself a new high-end smartphone. Her current phone is quite old, cheap and has a failing battery, so it's time. Since we don't have a land line in town, dh and I cover a very basic prepaid mobile plan for her but we leave the hardware up to her. A lot of her summer earnings are going to cover a marine biology course she's going on next winter in Baja, but she should have some left over to also bolster her tech-upgrade fund for the future. We've always encouraged our kids to build contingency funds in case their phone gets stolen or the hard drive on their laptop dies or something.

She's working on learning alto clef and viola for the chamber music program she's doing in early August where she'll be playing viola for about half her ensemble assignments. We've squeezed in a few visits to the beach after work. And she is really loving her job at the café. She gets to interact with lots of people, tourists and locals alike, which is making her feel much more a part of our village community. She really enjoys her boss and her primary co-worker; they have a blast working together. But then when she comes home she can leave all of it behind and recharge, without bringing any stress home and getting the alone-time she needs. Perfect balance for a sociable introvert.

I am in peak administration-mode for the music school, spending 5-6 (unpaid) hours a day on the computer, on the phone or running around vetting venues and equipment. Organization is ahead of schedule but it is such a big job with so many loose ends it's hard to ever feel like I'm on top of it.

It's a bit smoky here but so far we are not experiencing the forest fire problems that are springing up in much of the rest of British Columbia. We were lucky to get a good long drenching last weekend during and after a major thunderstorm that otherwise would have sparked a bunch of fires.

Miranda

Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups

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#15 of 36 Old 07-15-2017, 01:27 PM
 
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Kid has an interview on monday- spending sometime role playing with the usual type interview questions this week. Also discussing the need for budgeting and what costs must be paid immediately (insurance and car expenses) plus he needs a new computer for the upcoming university. So this leads to a discussion about you NEED to work all the hours possible- You need to rock the interview kid and you can start work ASAP. He also needs to save for a car, but that is quite a ways off. My car isn't going to last forever and there are times with conflicting schedules.

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2017 the year of peace and tranquility.
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#16 of 36 Old 07-15-2017, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He also needs to save for a car, but that is quite a ways off.
It's funny, none of my kids wants or needs a car. I suppose this is a regional and cultural thing, but I think it's partly generational as well. A lot of the teens and twenty-somethings I know have no interest in owning a private vehicle. Sophie has used of one of the internet-mediated car-shares in Vancouver on a couple of occasions. It's great, very affordable, simple and convenient. Do most big cities have these now? I think they will force the demise of the private vehicle in urban areas. The other two kids use Uber or taxis from time to time but have made their housing decisions based on walkability and access to public transit. Erin in particular is paying extra money every month to live close to school, shops and services but it's far less than what it would cost her to buy, insure and maintain a car, so it makes sense for her.

I am so looking forward to no longer needing a second car once Fiona moves away i.e. once dh and I are not living in two different cities most of the time and when my errands no longer involve transporting a teenager. It'll be an e-bike for me!

Miranda

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#17 of 36 Old 07-16-2017, 05:47 AM
 
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In our case the generational works backward...I resisted getting my license until I was 24, husband was similar. In Austin, where we met, we lived on the UT shuttle bus routes and used bikes, him in particular. We planned on never using a car, which turned out well until we had kids, and then it got worse when we moved to a place with a winter and no sidewalks. At least the distances were shorter. One sister lived in San Francisco for years and she & husband got rid of their cars and have biked and walked ever since. (They now live in eastern CA, and rent a car when they have to go to SF.) My other sister drove for MUNI for years (the F line, vintage streetcars) and still works for MUNI, gets to her job via scooter, bike, or public transport. She has an old Plymouth Valiant from 1961 or so for whenever she needs a car.

My middle kid is the one to go longest without driving, because she went to college in Portland Maine, which is walkable, bikeable, and has public transit. But now, she's finding herself constrained without one.

Son got a car at 19 and is making a living as a mechanic, because the skills he got working on his car are more marketable at this point than his history degree.

Yana got her license the day she turned 16, bought a car shortly thereafter, and is now talking about taking out a loan to get a car that she doesn't have to worry about not starting in the morning...she has put tens of thousands of miles on her car commuting 25 miles from the town where she lives to our town, where her job is. She's 19, has been doing this for more than a year and a half. The problem is...we live far from everywhere.

So, no one joined my revolution...

Deborah

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#18 of 36 Old 07-17-2017, 02:00 PM
 
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I have never owned a car, but might in a year or two. Grew up in Seattle, resisted getting my license. Finally did in college, but hated driving (Seattle is an awful place to drive). Biked/bussed all through grad school. Then moved rural, had kids. Biked/walked pulling or carrying them for years. Now they're too big, and they want to go do things, and even though nearly everything is 3-10 miles away, it still takes too long at kid walking speed. And I'd like to be able to transport their friends too.

So, I'm not sure if it's generational, or a life phase thing. Wait until these kids have kids themselves, then see.

However, in my town, I see a lot of kids on 4-wheelers, which they can legally drive at 13 or so. Very tempting for kids and their parents to have that independence.
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#19 of 36 Old 07-17-2017, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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However, in my town, I see a lot of kids on 4-wheelers, which they can legally drive at 13 or so. Very tempting for kids and their parents to have that independence.
Very tempting indeed. And ... thirteen, that's nice to have the option. Here you can't even legally operate an e-bicycle until 16.

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#20 of 36 Old 07-18-2017, 12:58 PM
 
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Whew! We've been waiting for real summer weather around here but when it comes I kind of want it to go away. ;-) I'm looking forward to the 70's tomorrow after this thunderstorm system moves through. High 80's and feeling like it's in the 90's is just too hot for me.

I was reading through all the driving comments. I grew up rural and live rural now. Cars are a fact of life for me and we start our kids early around here driving riding lawn mowers, four-wheelers, tractors, and sitting on our laps to drive the cars on back country roads. I was kind of indifferent to learning to drive when I was 15 and my Mom was like, "Oh, yes you are!" She was happy to have her kids start driving themselves to school, activities, and friends homes. I think I'll be the same way. But that said, I did live for a relatively short period in a place where I could bike to most things and it was very enjoyable. But for me the trade-offs from what I get living rural and driving a car are worth it. If my boys end up in a setting later that is conducive to biking, walking, and public transportation that is awesome but by that time they will definitely now how to drive should they need to.

Things have been really good around here. I took on a huge house project while my husband was gone for 10 days. It still amazes me that I was able to do it while being the sole caregiver for my boys. Getting my youngest to age 4 1/2 is certainly opening up possibilities for me and my time! I turned our hell hole (excuse my language) of a front porch filled with storage and just plain junk into a really nice sitting area and well organized storage space for just the essentials. Walls painted, some flooring replaced, junk gotten rid of, sitting chairs added, etc. My husband was so excited when he got home and saw it. And it felt really good to accomplish a big project on my own. I haven't done that in so long.

I've also been working on our plans for the last half of this year. August is filled with family in and out of town as well as a couple of short and local rv trips. For September and October I'm working with my local life learning community to determine what activities our kiddos (and us) all want to do together. So far it looks like a weekly Nature Connection afternoons, a camping trip, occasional computer gaming days, a weekly open play day at our home, and a monthly round table discussion for adults. Fill it out with the occasional "field trip" that others spontaneously plan as well as family hikes and canoeing trips and those two months will be lots of fun. Then we leave for a month in the Southwest (October 27 - November 25). That includes Boulder, the Grand Canyon, Superstition Mountains, and time around Albuquerque. Home for the winter holiday season in December and hopefully snow. We are all excited by our upcoming activities.

Daily, we are enjoying the Heroes in Training book series and my 9 year old son is obsessively listening to an audio series of books by Chris Colfer about the Fairytale world and the adventures that twins from the real/other world have in it. They are fun and I wish I was able to sit with him more and listen. We are also all into playing with their Pokemon cards. And I actually have crops growing in my garden this year. Yay! Oh, and my husband came home from his vacation with a(nother) business idea. It seems sound, fun, and could help us meet some financial/work goals we've been trying to figure out how to hit so we're both working on fleshing it out to see if we can pursue it fully. Hmmm. Well, I think that sums up our life learning journey right now. :-)

Cassandra
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#21 of 36 Old 07-18-2017, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She was happy to have her kids start driving themselves to school, activities, and friends homes. I think I'll be the same way.
We are also rural and I would have loved it if my kids had been able to start driving themselves to all their activities and commitments as teens rather than relying on me. But the wrinkle here is that our Graduated License Program makes it so that a lot of teens, including mine, have moved away from home to start college or whatever before they can get fully licensed -- and away from access to a vehicle and from the rural life that provides an incentive to learn to drive. It's a minimum 30-month process here, and it can't begin until the 16th birthday.

There are definitely disadvantages when we enact laws that push certain privileges into adulthood: we reduce the opportunity for teens to enjoy parental support as they learn. I think this is also an issue when jurisdictions have strict drinking laws. If teens can't legally drink until they're 19 or 21, that's an almost sure-fire way to ensure that their first drinking experiences will be (a) illegal and (b) without any parental guidance or supervision. What a crappy way to learn to drink responsibly!

Miranda

(whose 14-year-old likes to come home from work in the summer and "crack open a cold one with the boys" i.e. with me and her dad ... perfectly legal here, thankfully!)

Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
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#22 of 36 Old 07-19-2017, 05:28 AM
 
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We are also rural and I would have loved it if my kids had been able to start driving themselves to all their activities and commitments as teens rather than relying on me. But the wrinkle here is that our Graduated License Program makes it so that a lot of teens, including mine, have moved away from home to start college or whatever before they can get fully licensed -- and away from access to a vehicle and from the rural life that provides an incentive to learn to drive. It's a minimum 30-month process here, and it can't begin until the 16th birthday.

Miranda
Wow! 30 months!? This got me scared because while I know a Graduated License Program began after I learned to drive I didn't know exactly what it was....until now. Luckily, mine could easily be fully licensed with no restrictions by 17. Unless of course they are a lousy/unlucky driver and get into some sort of accident. ;-) But after reading the wording, the restrictions in the second level at 16 aren't too bad either. In fact they have an "authorized activity" clause in which teens can drive outside of some of the restricted hours and it reads that a school sanctioned event or activity can count. AND school includes a home school. As an unschooler/life learner that one would be pretty easy to use! :-)

And I will add my dismay about the privileges that are withheld longer than I think they should be. It starts early and just continues. Oh, well, I'll do my best within the family unit to allow them to grow at their natural pace wherever possible even when the larger culture won't allow things.

Cassandra
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#23 of 36 Old 07-19-2017, 08:25 AM
 
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...just to note that all the ranch kids here (and some non-ranch) drive as soon as they can operate a vehicle...miles and miles of unpaved roads; by the time they first go on the highway, they've been driving for years. One of my 13 year old students drove to the edge of her subdivision and to her house when their road was too rutted for my low clearance my low clearance car. And the other day a student who just got her learner's permit was out on her own, taking her little sis to the library, with full knowledge of her mom, I am sure.

...so when I give analogies for what it is like to change direction at the end of a violin bow stroke, everyone gets what it feels like to come to a stop in a car. I remember the first one I asked, a tiny ten year old, "Do you know how drive?" She looked suspiciously at me, like it was a trick question, like maybe I would tell someone on her...then "yes"...

Deborah
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#24 of 36 Old 07-19-2017, 09:05 AM
 
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Oh, my, I don't want to think about my kids driving just yet. Yikes.

We've been mostly enjoying this summer so far. The dry weather keeps the girls outside for a large chunk of the day. Indoors, they are on youtube, but it's downtime. They are not getting along well.

Fair is around the corner. Time for sprucing up the animals. They are trying cats this year, so we are now at chickens and rabbits and cats. Now I understand how older kids wind up staying at the fair from opening to closing every day. Neither girl is practicing as much. They are resting on their laurels, I'm afraid, and it showed in their public presentations, especially my exacting oldest's. Oh well. Some real competition is going to be good for her, who has received grand champion every year since she began, and for the big "round robin" award, she won GC 2 years out of three, and 1st place in the other. She needs to know what it feels like to have someone work at the same level she does-- and she wants that! As much as she likes the awards, she wants the pressure.

They are going to try school again this year. I think we'll be better able to handle it this time. My oldest gets to do sports, and she's going to try out cross country. I haven't told my youngest that placement for her is on hold until the district sees their numbers when school starts-- it's that close this year (we are enrolling out of district)

In this next month, I'll be trying to spend a little time evening out their math, spelling and punctuation (and penmanship-- it's that bad!) But I have the trouble of battling against, "but it's fine!" and I'm too much of an unschooling parent to pursue it. It's less an issue of breadth but depth and mastery. Oh well. We've talked about this year being the "sloppy copy"-- learning to do school and not minding grades too much. With some good support (and getting them to ask for it) all will be well.

I'm encouraged by a local unschooling mom whose youngest is graduating this year. All her girls were in and out of school as they felt the need. Her girls are smart and talented and caring and so it helps not to stress too much about impending high school. We are still unschoolers at heart, and that we will remain. School is just the next phase, and I know of two other kind-of-local families who have been radical unschoolers whose kids are in school now and all is well with them, too.

I'm off on a birthday solo-camping to trip to the far corner of the Olympic Peninsula here in WA. I've done the solo camping, but I've never driven so far afield on my own. I suppose I've driven to Yakima to visit my sister, but that was along a known path to a known destination. Next hope is to get a larger pack (I have a good daypack) and a tiny two-walled tent and a bear can and I'm ready for overnights backpacking. My dayhikes have reached their natural limit (10-12 miles, depending on terrain) and I'm ready for going deeper, I only need the last pieces of equipment (and a class on map reading would be nice).

I've had a lot of close encounters with wild animals this summer, common ones that are around but I never see, and some cute fuzzy chicks of a ruff grouse and then a "sand piper"-- squeeeee! Balls of stripey fluff causing their moms infinite amounts of stress as they become mobile....

.... which brings me back to driving and I won't go there until I need to.

"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
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#25 of 36 Old 07-19-2017, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Deborah, it's interesting the differences! I think we're probably in the same ballpark for rural/remoteness but driving is very different here. We have very few roads, and homes are not scattered over large spaces but clustered in the occasional valleys and benches alongside the highways. Almost no one lives more than a few hundred metres from a highway. The unpaved secondary roads are narrow logging roads that snake up the sides of mountains, go nowhere and often suffer random washouts and trees down. No one would want their kids learning to drive on those!

Cassandra, the second stage of our Graduated License Program (the Novice stage which can start around age 17 if a kid has all their ducks in a row) isn't terribly restrictive, except that it caps the novice driver at one passenger. That has been a major problem for us since we only have one passenger vehicle, a large family, and a community that relies heavily on carpooling for trips to town. For years our one major weekly trip for years was to Nelson, 90 minutes away, for choir and dance. I drove six kids. If the teens had done the driving, it would have meant sending three vehicles, all with multiple empty seats. Crazy from an environmental standpoint, even if we'd had enough vehicles and gas money.

The other frustrating thing for us rural folk is that the minimum length of the GLP can be reduced to 30 months from 36 months by taking an approved Driver's Education course, but those tend not to be offered outside of urban areas. We certainly don't have this available in our little village!

Another age-restriction we bumped up against was the Greyhound bus company's refusal to allow under-15's to travel alone on any trip over 4 hours or any trip requiring a transfer. That was a major obstacle when Erin was travelling to Calgary for violin lessons. And there's also a law saying you have to be 16 to operate an e-bike ... a family e-bike would have been a great solution to the hundreds of trips I've had to make just to deliver or pick up Sophie and Fiona around Town, at least during the non-snowy months. The town is built on a mountain and the streets have grades of 10-15%. It's really tough pedalling without electric assist, especially with a backpack of school books or whatever. I've considered flaunting the law on that one, with one of the more incognito pedal-assist models.

Miranda

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#26 of 36 Old 07-21-2017, 08:24 AM
 
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We have very few roads, and homes are not scattered over large spaces but clustered in the occasional valleys and benches alongside the highways. Almost no one lives more than a few hundred metres from a highway. The unpaved secondary roads are narrow logging roads that snake up the sides of mountains, go nowhere and often suffer random washouts and trees down. No one would want their kids learning to drive on those!
That's more like Maine...people live next to the roads (and in fact one is rarely out of the sight of a house) and many of the small towns have just one street, or maybe two, if two highways meet there. Because the roads have to be plowed in the winter, and unpaved roads are muddy and rutted in the summer.

Deborah
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#27 of 36 Old 07-23-2017, 10:59 AM
 
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Night before last, it rained until almost the minute when The Fantasticks performance started. It also rained a little right before intermission, so we cut intermission to about five minutes. Finished.

Last night the town was circled by massive thunderstorms, lightning five miles away. JUST as the director was about to do her introductory speech, lightning 1 mile away. And then torrents of rain and very close lightning. We all waited inside and in our vehicles to see if it would go away, but it didn't. So lost two performances of nine so far. But last Friday's was the best, so if we lose tonight, well, then.

Tonight, whether or not we get rained out, we get to bring granddaughter home.

Deborah
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#28 of 36 Old 07-24-2017, 05:33 PM
 
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It seems like both a long and a short time since July started, and there's still a week left!

Lilah has been working all day, spent a lot of time mopping the dog prints off the floors, and then it rained again! So muddy floors again.

We finished Harry the Poisonous Centipede, bringing our set to:

The Cricket in Times Square
Stuart Little
Finn Family Moomintroll
The Higher Power of Lucky
Because of Winn Dixie
Ramona Forever
Ramona and Her Father
Harry the Poisonous Centipede

Last night's (last) Fantasticks performance featured perfect weather, and together with Friday was one of the two best performances. And we got t-shirts! (When the t-shirt is black, we wear them for the performances. But these are white, so we got them after.)

Deborah
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#29 of 36 Old 07-25-2017, 10:08 AM
 
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I spent this week with my three year old at an unschooling camp. It was a wonderful experience, meeting all of those interesting people. Where I live I'm treated like a villain for caring for my own child rather than sending her to preschool, and I don't even dare tell people I'm considering homeschooling (unschooling) because of all the prejudice. Spending days on end with other unschoolers was such a relief, everyone was so welcoming and accepting...

I told the other campers I was interested in moving to Canada, and a couple recommended Nelson. After some research on that town today I stumbled upon Miranda! Funny how people all the way over in Europe happen to recommend the place where Miranda lives. I'm a little concerned about the climate in that area, but with the right neighbors perhaps I won't care as much about the weather. I'll also have to learn to spell it neighbours...

I guess I'll have to learn how to drive a car soon I was going to when I was a kid, but the same year that I was about to be eligible for training, I met my first boyfriend and spent a lot of time away from home. He lived in a city with great public transportation and that's where I've stayed since then.

Do you guys interact much with other unschoolers? Do you go to unschooling camps? I've had the feeling, reading these threads, that you don't.
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#30 of 36 Old 07-25-2017, 01:17 PM
 
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Zilver- When my kid was little I didn't seek out 'unschoolers' as such but we did go to park days, homeschool events and other activities (art club, gym, library etc). My main focus was to try to find secular groups and activities as so much homeschooling in my area is religious based. I also had a career most of the time so finding understanding childcare was a challenge. As for climate- I live where it's summer 95% of the time. We spend the actual summer months (june, july august) as winter and inside because its so hot. We had some 120 degree days this year. So you learn to adapt, plan your days, plan your year and carry on. When kid was younger those 'summer' months were a great opportunity to do 'school' and jam pack an entire school year of learning into a few short weeks. Again I'm about 90% unschooling with a bit of actual 'school' thrown in there.
Now things are so much easier, the internet is much more developed, there is meetup.com to find other groups, (when i started this journey we had yahoo groups),

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