Valerie Fitzenreiter and Laurie Chancey interview

Valerie Fitzenreiter is the author of The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School , a book about "...how we raised our daughter, Laurie, with attachment parenting and unschooling methods. I discuss issues that concern parents who are considering unschooling their children and offer advice on living a peaceful coexistence with children".

She and her daughter Laurie (who is pursuing her PhD in sociology) were interviewed together by the American Public Media. Soon after, Valerie was invited back to reply to readers comments, including a teacher who thinks we should keep our children in school and work harder to make the school better. Personally, I think the public school system has more than enough time and help.

Here are the links to both interviews. I highly recommend taking time to listen to both of them if you're interested in learning more about unschooling.

School? NOT
Unschooling Revisited

How the Public School System Crushes Souls

While surfing around the blogospere, I came across a post titled How the Public School System Crushes Souls. With a title like that, you know it has to be good.

Steve brings up lots of good points and I encourage anyone who wants to know learn more to visit the library and check out some of the resources in his book list, which is at the end of the post.


Thinking Blog

Doc has named A Day in Our Lives, along with the other blogs in her blogroll, as blogs that make her think and we get this cute Thinking Blog Award

Thanks Doc!

I'd like to and pass it along to all the blogs that participate in Unschooling Voices. Consider yourself a blog that makes me think!


Just Jacqueline

Future attachment mama

Making a tent out of your comforter is fun!


Fun in the hot tub

Out of all the things Billy & I have bought over the years, this is the best one. I am so in love with my hot tub. :-) And it seems so are my kids and their friends. :-)

Here's the girls with some of their friends. They had all just been in the pool but it got cold after a while so they jumped in here to warm up.

Um, Buddie-I know you like hot water, but I think 103 is just a bit to hot for you.


My tattoos

I've never posted pictures of my tattoos, although I've been wanting to for a while.

This was the first one I got and it's on the side of my left ankle. I got this the year before I opened my dance studio. Quick story: It was done by an artist named Sweat. Being it was my first, I had no idea what to expect and I was yelling and screaming a lot. lol I apologised but he told me that he was into S & M and that as a sadist he appreciated the fact that I was so verbal with my pain. He thanked me and told me not to hold back.

That was my introduction to the tattoo world. LOL

All the rest were done by my friend Pete.

This is a tribal anklet with dark red hearts. It was a gift to myself when I had quit smoking cigarettes for one month! I took the money I would have spent on cigarettes and got a tattoo instead. It was very symbolic to me and actually helped me stay away from picking them up again. It's been 10 years now.

I got Billy's name a year before the hearts. I'm not sure if you can notice it but his name is in purple and has a heart for the dot over the 'i'.
The three hearts represent each of my three children. It was a gift from our friend Pete, the tattoo artist, after we finalized the adoption. Each of my children picked their own color. They're on the back on my left shoulder.

This was just a fun one, no special meaning other than I like witches. I wanted a cute one, almost fairy-like that had red hair. I think she's adorable. She's on the back of my right shoulder.


Mommy, can we come inside now?

I made the dogs go outside so I could mop the kitchen floor, but how can I do that when this is what I see through the door? That mine on the left (Mini) and her sister T.J., my mom's dog.

Of course, I crumbled and let them in.

They know how to get to me.

This unschooling moment has been brought to you by Jacqueline

I almost feel like it's my duty, as an unschooling mom to share moments like this because I read so such CRAP online about how you can't trust kids to make their own choices. That if a child chooses their own food, they'll eat gummy bears and chips everyday, ALL DAY LONG. That if a child has computer freedom, they'll either be playing games all day or visiting porno sites.


I have living, breathing proof in my house that it's not true.

Jacqueline gets up before I do most mornings and she helps herself to a light breakfast and then decides what she wants to do. Mostly she'll watch a movie (she's big into Star Wars right now), work on a story she's writing (it's her third) or play Barbies.

I woke up the other morning and started making my morning tea. Jacqueline yelled good morning from the family room and I asked her what she was doing. She replied that she was playing on the computer. Being she said 'playing', I thought she was on one of our games like Sim City 3000 or Lilo & Stitch which of course would have been perfectly fine.

But there she was, having fun with the scientific calculator that's on the computer. The same scientific calculator that I didn't even know existed until I saw her on it. In her world, playing around with algebra, calculus and the table of elements is fun.

And you'll notice the breakfast she got for herself-a banana and a low fat smoothie.

Let me make something clear....I don't think the table of elements is any more valuable than that Sim City game. In unschooling, everything has value and is important. I bring up these moments to silence the critics who think that unschooled children will never have an interest in learning anything unless they're being told to or that children cannot be trusted to make their own choices.

That's where mindful parenting comes into play. Jacqueline is not left alone to figure out things on her own. I'm there, as her partner, her guide. I take my job as an unschooling parent seriously and I pour a lot of time, attention and respect into her. Frankly, it's not for everyone...I know plenty of parents who never want to spend more time than they have to with their kids.


Daddy on the loose

Jacqueline had a friend sleeping over last week and Shawna joined them on the trampoline. Everything was going great, until the problem child wanted to play. That's him in the middle, the big kid with the Metallica shirt.

Jacqueline tried to get a sip of water but sometimes the simplest of things become mayhem when Daddy is involved. I love the expression on her face. lol

You'll notice Shawna & Jasmine (Jacqueline's friend) stopped jumping so she could get a drink. But there's Billy...apparently forgetting he knocked out one of Jacqueline's teeth on the trampoline. Okay-it was a loose baby tooth...but still!!

:-) I joke about him but he's the best husband & father for this crazy family. He reminds me to stop and smell the roses and makes me laugh every day. :-)


Woodpeckers & Crows

I've previously blogged about all the beautiful birds I see around here and my quest to photograph them. I was walking to my car, parked in front of my house when I heard the familiar tapping of a woodpecker. I had tried once before to get his picture, but he flew away while I was getting the camera so I'm psyched I got it this time!

Later that day, I was on my way outside to clean and fill the bird bath but saw a crow on it. Shawna had just thrown some bread outside and it looks like Mr. Crow found it.


Links to Unschooling Voices #8

A big THANK YOU to those who linked to Unschooling Voices #8. If I forgot anyone, leave the link in the comment section and I'll add it right away.

Please take a few minutes to visit the following blogs (and websites). I bet you find some new ones that you didn't know about. :-)

1. Kelly Lovejoy, coordinator of the Live and Learn Conference who mentioned Unschooing Voices in her article in Connections.
2. Mary Nix, editor of Home Education Magazine's blog.
3. Why Homeschool
4. Robins Blue Skies
5. Mandaroo
6. Relaxed Homeschool
7. Apple Stars
8. A Typical Homeschool
9. Mom is Teaching
10. KS Homeschool
11. Dare to Know
12. The Lilting House
13. The Varela Family
14. Doc's Sunrise Rants
15. Life Without School
16. Sea, Sand and School
17. Sandra Dodd
18. Life With my Sweeties

Here's the link with details for participating in Unschooling Voices #9. Submissions are due on or before April 30th.

Don't forget you can share the link to your blog on the Unschooling Squidoo Lens. At last check, we were #84 in the education category.

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Unschooling Voices # 8 (word play and screen time)


There were two (always optional) questions for this edition.

(#1) Use the letters U-N-S-C-H-O-O-L to write about unschooling. Use what ever method you want, for example you can use each letter like "U is for...N is for.."or you can have each letter start a new sentence or paragraph or try writing an acronym.

(#2) A topic that comes up on the unschooling e-mail groups a lot is TV/computer/video games and how hard it is for parents to let go of control in those areas. What has been your experience?

This month we had 13 participants and 19 submissions. Welcome to the new bloggers! :-)

As you click the links that take you to the different blogs and sites, I encourage you to comment on the ones that you particularly enjoy (tell 'em we sent ya!) or maybe offer some words of wisdom to someone at an unschooling crossroads. As you read, keep in mind that everyone who participated is at a different place in their unschooling journey.

Schuyler starts us off with an insightful post about why quitting doesn't mean failing. She says "I can remember clearly being asked if I wanted to be a quitter. I didn't then, but I'm absolutely fine with it now. If I didn't quit things I wouldn't have time for all of the amazing things my life is full of in this moment".

Here's a two part post from Cindy where she shares an honest look at her sons first experience with formal education with a community college program and what it did for her own unschooling journey. I especially like this part "My job is to trust the process while stretching the thoughts and reactions that society's expectations for this age at this stage in this generation face".

Next is a post I enjoyed so much that I asked Holly to submit it here. It's an excerpt from a letter she wrote to the superintendent of her school district after resigning from her job as a high school teacher, which explains why she decided to unschool.

One of the questions this month was about screen time (tv/computer/movies/ videos) and why this seems to be one of the hardest areas for a lot of unschooling parents to let go control of.

Robin's submission touched on a lot of my own thoughts and I find that this statement from her post"...because we have a relationship based on mutual trust and respect, instead of power and control, they trust our opinions..." speaks volumes about the unschooling lifestyle.

Tracy submitted a post on television, that speaks for a lot of us at one point or another on our unschooling journey. She had this to say "Though I've long considered myself an unschooler, letting go of restrictions on television time was something I really struggled with. It took me a while to understand that by putting restrictions and guidelines on television, I was increasing its value... something like a scarce resource that had to be taken advantage of while it was available".

Here's Laura's post on letting go of media control. I especially liked this part "It does take trust. But I completely trust my children. I know that they will learn what they need to know when they need it. I’m just here to facilitate that journey. Oh, and learn a whole lot on the way!"

Another voice on this topic is Cher. She ends her post with this; "They’re all tools, waiting to be used, to be explored, to be delved into. Kids don’t need controls on them, they need help using them and being adept at using them, and they need a guiding, honest hand. Like apprentice carpenters who need help learning how to use the tools of their trade; the hammers and nails and saws and drills and more, kids need the same help using the tools of their trades. Not restrictions or controls, but a guiding hand'.

Melissa sent in two posts....the first is about "how unschooling the TV brought algebra into Josh's life". I found this post very familiar because my eight year old daughter wants to learn algebra after watching Apollo 13. The second is a great list (I'm a list lover!) of what children can learn from video games. Don't forget to take her poll at the bottom of the post.

Schuyler also adds her second post this edition on this topic. She says it's "a history of my life with video games. It includes a bit on overcoming a fear of them and fully embracing a life that includes dancing and laughing and rolling up the sun and pairing up with Goofy and Donald to save the universe from Organization XIII". (I'm lovin' the visual on that!)

Dayna Martin starts off our word play with an acronym she and her family came up with.
U - Unaccepting
N - Nonsense
S - School
C - Could
H - Have
O - On
O - Our
L - Lives

I lifted Schuyler's off her video post because I thought it was fantastic.
U - Unschooling,
N - Not
S - Schooling
C - Can
H - Help
O - Overcome
O - Obstacles
L - (to) Learning

The prize for the most creative post goes to Mandy. She submitted a picture of a page from her daughter's altered book that she did the word play on. Great job on the book! I'm looking forward to seeing the one for your other daughter. Also, thanks to Mandy, we now have our own Unschooling Voices flickr tag which will come in handy for the next edition.

Also check out Kim's, Melissa's, Cher's and mine. If anybody else wants to take a shot at it, send it in and I'll include it next month. It was kinda fun doing it. :-)

This submission from Allan is not particularly about unschooling, but posts that speak about the ramifications of school may help someone who is thinking about removing their children.

If you post a link to this months installment on your blog or site, please let me know (by leaving a comment here) so I can thank you with a link back. :-)

Please note: The main page for UV has been moved. Please update your bookmarks. Unschooling Voices

The next edition of Unschooling Voices will be out on May 1st. If you'd like to participate, click the Unschooling Voices main page for details. The new (and always optional) question for the month, plus past editions, can also be found there.

I wanted to create a blog-ring for those of us who participate in Unschooling Voices, but haven't made the time. Until I do, please add your unschooling blog (or website) to the Unschooling Squidoo Lens. It's been steadily moving up the ranks and starting to get a lot of visits from people wanting more information and understanding about unschooling. These "lens" (as squidoo calls them) were created to be a jumping off point for people new to a particular topic. Theres spots for you to add unschooling blogs, websites, etc and add your thoughts on unschooling. If you have trouble adding it, post here and I'll do it for you.

Until next month. :-)

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