Call For Submissions

A quick reminder to get your submissions in for the next edition of Unschooling Voices, which will be out on Saturday, December 1. Thanks!


Thanksgiving Update

I made it.

The first major holiday without my mom.


I think this was just the warm up for Christmas. lol

So the eight of us went out to eat (see post below) and that was nice. The food was good and the owners were Italian and from, where else? Brooklyn!! I tell ya...we're taking over Florida!! LOL I meet more New Yorkers here In Florida than when I lived in New York. lol

So after that, we all went back to my house for a friendly (10/20 cents bet) game of poker and more eating while my kids watched one of their favorite movies National Treasure. They're so psyched for Book Of Secrets to come out next month!

I also want to post some pictures of a couple of projects that Billy & I finally completed using things that belonged to my mother but my daughters and I are on our way to the gym to work off yesterdays meal so I'll do it later. :-) Have a great day!


Thanksgiving as a Vegetarian

Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday. Always has been. Party because I don't care for all the traditional "fall" foods. Seriously, there is nothing appealing to me at a Thanksgiving dinner. Also, as a long time vegetarian, any holiday that centers around killing an animal is not my idea of a celebration.

So on this Thanksgiving, I offer my condolences to all the turkey families out there who lost a loved one and I offer a funny for the day. (hee-hee)

Human Stuffing
More Funny Pictures at pYzam.com

Holiday Grieving

Grief is such a weird rollercoaster. It brings many unexpected emotions to the surface, and even more unexpected are the ways that we deal with those emotions.

This is my first holiday without my mother here.

I hate it.

After thinking about it for a while, I decided that the only way I would be able to get through the day in one piece, would be to do something that I never did with her. I feel like if I do something that is familiar and has memories attached to her, it will make her missing presence to overwhelming for me to handle.

After thinking about it, I decided to take my family out to eat. It's something we've never done for a holiday. It'll be me, Billy, Shawna, Jacqueline, Cimion, plus my Aunt Mary (my mom's older sister) and our cousin Maryann and her son Paulie.

I think getting through this will be a walk in the park compared to Christmas.


I'm finding some comfort in doing symbolic things and finding ways to honor her, since she passed away in July. When we went back home to NYC to have a memorial service for my mother, I wanted to leave some of her ashes at my fathers grave. Billy did the honors but I found it easier to watch through the lens of my camera.

My fathers name was Frank (Francesco) and he died 20 years ago this past June. Although we had a rough relationship during my adult years, I have very good memories of my childhood.

Then we went to the grave of her second husband Tony (Antonio) and also left some of her ashes. Tony was an awesome man and Billy & I loved him very much. He passed away September 26, 2001, on their second wedding anniversary.

Last, we went to visit my grandparents grave (Marco & Maggie) and leave some of her there also. My grandfather died a while ago but my grandmother passed away five years ago at the age of 92. She was a fiesty and spirited woman who left her mark on all of us. My uncles Anthony and Rosario are also buried here.

Even though it was a long day, doing all of this made me feel good.

So...now it's Thanksgiving. My first without being someone's daughter. Yes, grief is weird.

Happy Thanksgiving Mommy.

I'm grateful I was able to spend 43 of them with you.


You know you want to.

I'm going to sit next to mom and maybe if I stare at her long enough, she'll give me a treat (even though I've had three already).
You know you want to mom.
Look how cute I am!


Getting Dressed Up

During our recent trip back home to Brooklyn, we attended a 50th wedding anniversary for my aunt (my mother's youngest sister) and uncle. It was a fabulous party for two people that are just as much in love now, as they were on their wedding day. :-)

These are some pictures that we took after we got dressed (we're in the condo that we rented for that week. We sold our house in Brooklyn a couple of years ago). I love that Jacqueline has the heavy metal horns up. LOL

It was a very emotional party for me but I'm glad I went. I know it meant a lot to my aunt to have us there and watching my daughters shine on the dance floor was beautiful.

Someone there asked me about the "s" word (you unschoolers know what I mean). My poor daughters...they just don't know how to interact with others without the public school system to teach them.

As I said in my post on unschooling and socialization, I laugh on the inside when someone asks me that.

Really...I do. :-)



Billy and the girls went rollerblading a couple of weeks ago and I snapped a few pictures of them as then left, and then again as they came home. This sure beats gym class in school. LOL

Daddy to the rescue. :-)


The Unschooling Unmanual

I received a very nice e-mail from Jan Hunt asking me to pass along the following news about the upcoming book, The Unschooling Unmanual, which I'm really looking forward to reading.

Hi Joanne,
I love your blogs and would like to post some information about our new unschooling book on An Unschooling Life. I'll attach the press release - you can read an excerpt at http://www.naturalchild.org/unmanual/ . Let me know if this kind of post would be OK, and how to go about it.
Best wishes,


The Unschooling Unmanual to be Published by The Natural Child Project
SUNRIVER, OREGON - August 1, 2007 The Natural Child Project will publish a collection of stories and articles on unschooling this fall.

Through engaging personal stories, examples, and essays, the writers offer inspiration and encouragement for seasoned and prospective unschoolers alike.

The book will include an intriguing first-person story by Netherlands writer Nanda Van Gestel, whose four sons have unschooled in the US, Ireland, and The Netherlands. Also included are articles by Rue Kream, author of Parenting a Free Child; long-time unschooler and mother of four girls Mary Van Doren; and Jan Hunt, author of The Natural Child and A Gift for Baby. Ms. Hunt lives in Sunriver with her son Jason, who has unschooled from the beginning. Jason is the co-editor of the new book.

Unschooling - sometimes called natural learning or child-led learning, is a form of home education that trusts the child's natural curiosity, and respects each child's unique timetable for learning. As Nanda Van Gestel observes in the new book, "Unschooling is more than an education - it's life."

The Unschooling Unmanual can be pre-ordered at a discounted price of $12 through August at www.naturalchild.org/unmanual/. An excerpt from the book can be read at www.naturalchild.org/unmanual/our_family.html.

For additional information, write to Jan Hunt at jan@naturalchild.org or call 541-593-1547.


Halloween 2007

I just realised I hadn't shared any pictures from Halloween. I posted some on Forever Parents, but not here so here's a few of Jacqueline and Shawna.


Taking Children Seriously

THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle

:: Taking Children Seriously ::

We live in a society that doesn't take children seriously. Sure, we care deeply about children's welfare; we do our best to help them to grow into healthy, successful adults.

But we, as a society, rarely take children seriously the way they take *themselves* seriously. To children, *play* is serious business -- channeling enormous creative energies and making huge discoveries. But to adult society, it's "just" play, so interrupting or limiting it is not a big deal.

To children, *feelings* are extremely important, not "just" feelings.

If you want to take your child more seriously, don't do it the conventional adult way, which is to assign *weight* to the child's concerns. That only teaches heaviness.

Children take *lightness* seriously. And when you take their lightness seriously, *you* benefit by learning to take yourself *less* seriously! :-)

http://dailygroove.net/seriously Feel free to forward this message to your friends! (Please include this paragraph and everything above.) Copyright (c) 2007 by Scott Noelle



I've had a myspace account for a while but haven't done anything with it since joining. Tonight I was playing around and decided to update my profile and share the link. I'm proud to say I have seven friends, mostly some crazy unschoolers. LOL Also can't forget my friend Mickie (a LONG LONG time online turned offline pal)!

So here's the link to my myspace page. It's still kinda primative so bear with me. Feel free to add me!


Recipe For Slime

We've used this recipe several times to make slime and it's GREAT! If you haven't made some yet, try it today. :-)

Borax (found in the laundry aisle)
White glue
Food coloring
Ziploc bags

1. Take a cup of water and add to it 1 Tbs. of borax. Stir until completely dissolved.
2. Make a 50% water 50% white glue solution. Take 1/4 cup of each and mix thoroughly.
3. In a ziploc bag, add equal parts of the borax solution to equal parts of the glue solution. 1/2 cup of each will make a cup of slime.
4. Add a couple drops of food coloring.
5. Seal bag and knead the mixture.
6. Dig in and have fun. Remember to wash your hands after playing.
7. Keep your slime in the sealed bag in the refrigerator when not playing with it to keep it longer. Unfortunately it may eventually dry out or grow mold. Just throw it out and start again!

The borax is acting as the crosslinking agent or "connector" for the glue (polyvinyl acetate) molecules. Once the glue molecules join together to form even larger molecules called polymers, you get a thickened gel very similar to slime. If you've tried this recipe (formula) before using blue starch (instead of the borax) with mixed results, you won't be disappointed with this one. Works everytime! If you have access to a chemical supply house, try a 4% solution of polyvinyl alcohol instead of the glue for a less rubbery polymer and one that is transparent showing off the color better.

Part of Works For Me Wednesday



Shawna & Jacqueline just finished their first season of soccer and they gave it a two thumbs up. :-) It's starting up again next month but we'll skip that one and start again in April.

(that's Jacqueline's two coaches in the photo)


Random Questions

What family traditions or customs would you most like to see preserved?
In the last few years (because of moving to another state and also adopting three children) we've set aside some traditions, changed some to suit our current life and started some new ones. With my mother recently gone, we're sure to be going though another change this year.

What do you feel is the least sexy part of the body?
I'm not into feet.

What keeps you awake at night? Why?
My husband.
Because after 13 years of being married, he's still frisky. :-)

Answered for Manic Monday.


Buddie...on the move

We recently went away for a few days to celebrate our 4th adoption anniversary and although I actually do have photos of us humans to share, I wanted to first post this video of our iguana Buddie (yes, we took our iguana...and two dogs on vacation with us!).

As you can see, she was shedding her skin. Unlike snakes, they don't peel all at once and that week it was her head, which is very annoying for her.


Heritage Nature Conservancy

We recently got together with some local homeschoolers and went to the Heritage Nature Conservancy.

Billy had fun too. LOL! Gotta love the unschoolin' dads.


Friday Feast

Appetizer: Which snack do you like to get when you go to the movies?
Gotta have some chocolate but I'll take popcorn also. :-)

Soup: What year did you start using the internet?

Salad: What is your first name in Pig Latin? (Here’s how to speak it if you don’t already know!)

Main Course: Name something you are picky about.
Tuna fish. I have to make it myself and rarely eat it out. It has to be solid white and only in water. Also, I like chopped up lettuce in it and mixed only with Hellman's mayonaisse.

Dessert: Fill in the blanks: I ____ ____ yesterday and I ____ ____ today.
I made out with my husband yesterday and I did it again today. ;-)

Part of Friday Feast 11/9


Feed Link to Forever Parents

Just a little FYI, especially to those who read through a feeder and don't get to see the blog's main page...I added a feed link to my other blog, Forever Parents in the left sidebar. :-)



Stats for Unschooling Voices #10

Just a little FYI to all the blogs who participated in this edition of Unschooling Voices (#10). According to the mybloglog stats, from November 1-4, 1,439 people viewed Unschooling Voices #10. As far as outgoing links (people that clicked on a blog link), because I use the free version they only show me the top ten, but those ten accounted for 617 outbound links.

According to Google Analytics, there have been 1,799 views for Unschooling Voices #10 and there have been 819 total outbound links from the time it was posted until yesterday morning.


Time at Brooklyn Lake

A couple of weeks after my mom passed away we rented a lake front house about an hour from where we live so we could clear our heads and just spend some quiet time together. here are some of the photos we took during that week.

Me near the lake:


There were grapevines all over the property and Shawna & Jacqueline spent HOURS collecting them and making all kinds of potions and concoctions with them.

Billy practicing his golf:

Jacqueline and Shawna on the lake. Jacqueline is getting ready to jump and wanted me to take her picture as she did it.




Climbing trees (Jacqueline):

Shawna in the tree:

Billy joins in.

Jacqueline bought along the laptop so she could work on the third installment in her Princess Barbie story. She already had the first part published in Connections, an unschooling ezine.

Ironically....the lake we stayed on was called Lake Brooklyn. For Brooklynites like us, (now living in Florida) it was a nice surprise.

...and the house we rented was on Brooklyn Bay Road:


Linking to Unschooling Voices

To visit the blogs that have been linking to Unschooling Voices, click "blogs that link here", in the right sidebar. Thanks again!


November is National Adoption Month

November has a spacial meaning in our home, and it isn't Thanksgiving. lol November is National Adoption Awareness Month and National Adoption Day on November 17.

On National Adoption Day 2007 – Saturday, November 17 – an unprecedented number of courts and communities across the nation will come together to finalize thousands of adoptions of children from foster care and to celebrate all families who adopt. The Day brings together hundreds of judges, attorneys, adoption agencies, adoption professionals, and child advocates who are dedicated to creating forever families for waiting children.

Goals of National Adoption Day 2007
• Finalize adoptions from foster care in all 50 states
• Celebrate and honor all families who adopt
• Raise awareness about the 114,000 children in foster care waiting for adoption
• Encourage others to adopt children from foster care
• Build collaboration among local adoption agencies, courts, and advocacy organizations
• Communicate availability and need for post-adoptive services

History of National Adoption Day
National Adoption Day 2007 builds on incredible efforts over the last eight years by The Alliance for Children’s Rights through the generous support of the Freddie Mac Foundation, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and others. In November 2000, National Adoption Day sponsors worked with law firms, foster care departments, child advocates, and courts to complete hundreds of foster care adoptions in nine jurisdictions across the country. In just seven years National Adoption Day has truly grown into a national celebration, with 3,300 adoptions finalized in 2006 as part of 250 events in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

National Adoption Day Sponsors
A coalition of national partners – The Alliance for Children’s Rights, Casey Family Services, Children’s Action Network, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Freddie Mac Foundation– sponsor National Adoption Day to draw special attention to foster children waiting for permanent families and to celebrate all loving families that adopt.



I decided to join NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) this year. I wanted to do it last year but found out about it to late. It's a challenge to post something to your blog everyday for the month of November and was inspired by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) whose challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

So...I started yesterday with Unschooling Voices #10 (Hello to those who are here for the first time!) and here's a post for today, so looks like I'm off to a great start. LOL My family & I are going away for a few days but we're taking the laptop so I'll be around. :-)

Here's where we're going. We're staying there to celebrate our 4 year adoption anniversary! Unfortunately, Cimion won't be there (he doesn't come home until next week-more about that another time) so it's just the four of us.


Unschooling Voices #10

Welcome to Unschooling Voices #10!

I think more than any other edition, this one refects a lot of variation in unschooling. You'll read posts from families that are new to unschooling and some from seasoned veterans as well as families who have unschooling days and those who have unschooling lives.

This edition had 24 participants and 32 submissions. Click on the blog links, stop by and say hello to your fellow unschooling families. Let them know you found them through Unschooling Voices.

Optional question for this month:
1- What advice would you have given to yourself early in your unschooling journey?
2- Ask your kids to take pictures of their favorite ________ (favorite whatever; person, place, thing, etc). Share your photos on the
Unschooling Voices Flickr Group and you can use the Unschooling Voices Flickr Tag.

Our first post is from Pam Genant who blogs at Meanderings Of A Gentle Gull. She shares her thoughts about the word enable, enabling as it relates to her family.

Cher from
Cake For Breakfast shares an except from Rue Kream's book, Parenting A Free Child that inspired her.

Melissa Wiley, (who is one of the sweetest bloggers I've ever come across) explains her post Lovely, Lovely Low Tide, "I use "high tide" and "low tide" as metaphors for our family's shift between more deliberate learning experiences and long, undirected periods of natural learning. This post discusses how the work of radical unschoolers, particularly Sandra Dodd's website and book, influence our unschoolish low-tide times."

Robin from the Life Without School Community Blog, submitted a post by Missy
Chasing Bananas and one by Laureen, Unschooling And The Digital Native.

Karen at
Eclectic Parent shares thoughts on socialization and why "we're to busy experiencing life to worry about our children being socialized."

Doc over at
Doc's Sunrise Rants submitted another great post on socialization titled "What I Learned From Unschooling." (I also enjoyed the readers comments)

Maria from
Living On Adrenaline shares "our family’s story of how we live, educate and love in our home and how being open to life brought me to unschooling."

Silvia, who blogs at
Po Moyemu, submitted, “Live and Learn Unschooling Conference Recap and Radical Unschooling” and has turned it into a short series of posts, the first one mainly about Radical Unschooling and the others about the conference. She's linking them with a liveandlearn tag so people can find the others. She also submitted one of those great Day in the Life of an Unschooler type of posts. (I love reading those!)

Becky from
Life Without School says "How is unschooling like running a marathon? As I reflect on the intensity of running 26.2 miles, I am reminded that a good dose of compassion and respect can get me through my toughest parenting moments."

Laura at
Puddles & Butterflies answers the question of the month in a post titled "Are Your Unschooling Glasses Smudgey"?

Another great post from Pam Genant at
Meanderings of a Gentle Gull is her response to a mom, new to unschooling and a brief description of how her two sons started reading in their own time, two unique boys, different reading experiences.

Answering the question of the month are Cher, who blogs at
Cake For Breakfast and Lesa at Living in Freedom Everyday who both tell us what advice they would have given themselves in the early days of their unschooling. Also from Lesa, a post titled Unschooling Works!

Henry & Janine at Why Homeschool, shared an article on the
value of playing outdoors.

Colleen from
The New Unschooler tell us "as a new unschooler I'm still trying to wade through those murky waters of preconceived notions of what learning looks like and find my place as a facilitator, rather than a teacher, in my son's life. It's a daily struggle, but in this post I write about a happy break through". (good going Colleen!)

Another post from the Life Without School Community Blog, they give background, explainations and resources in a page called
What is Unschooling?

Laura over at Wistful Wanderlust shares her thoughts in "Unschooling-How Did We Get Here?", which is part one of a series that of posts where she shares her journey from mainstream parenting to
radical unschooling.

More posts answering the question of the month were submitted by Mandy from Second To The Right And Straight On Till Morning who blogged about "how my advice to myself early in
unschooling would be to just say "YES!" more frequently and I show how, by saying yes, you encourage your children to be creative and make their own choices about things". Also, check out the great photos her daughter Violet took and submitted. Some more advice from Summer can be found at Mom Is Teaching.

Jason Holm submitted the link to his comic strip called
Schools Are For Fish, which is about homeschooling/unschooling. I posted one of them here a few months back but if you haven't seen all of them, check it out!

Some additional submissions from Silvia at Po Moyemu are "things I had read before homeschooling and they helped a lot, and maybe will be beneficial for other homeschoolers". Take a look at
My Ishmael by Daniel Quinn and an essay by John Taylor Gatto.

Here's a post from
Karen Edmisten titled, Label Me Schizophrenic.

JoVE who blogs at Trictomania wrote a post in a discussion amongst a few bloggers about what constitutes a “good learning day”. On rereading her post, she thinks that the conclusions she comes to and the issues she addresses are the kinds of things that a new homeschooler might find helpful.

Rolfe Schmidt submitted a post that "is a little story about how my oldest boy came up with his own arithmetic system, adding colors instead of numbers. I learned a lot about how much kids can learn on their own, how important it is to take them seriously, and the value of learning with your kids. I also started to realize that we were unschooling, and it was working".

Another post from Summer, this time at
Wired For Noise which is about "reading a book on simple living and thinking about how the normal educational system causes us to be dependent on all the gadgets and things we think we need".

Cindy Englan from
The Sound Of Learning blogged about "my youngest turns 21 this year and is now on the road to earning his Ph.D. Listening to him talk about college reminded me that this was the child that refused to read until age 10. The one who detested any and all textbooks, worksheets and tests. He taught me that learning math from Legos and baking cookies was entirely possible, that invented spelling until age 14 meant nothing more than a creative mind was on the job".
From Jenn at
Living Alaska, we have a blog post titled, "Please-Thank You".

Last, is my submission of photos my daughters took of their favorite things. It's the very next post, so scroll down to take a peek at what they love.

I've had so many feelings with this edition...so much has changed for me since the last one. Besides my mom passing away (how I hate typing that-it always stops me for a moment), we've been on an emotional (and legal) roller coaster ride with our oldest son. It was really rough for a while but it looks like at least the legal part of it is over. I'll post more about him at another time. Thank you all for your support during this rough time. It means a lot to me and my family.

The next edition will be out on Saturday, December 1. Spread The Word!! I do my best to promote the carnival and you can help by using the
technorati tag unschooling voices or unschoolingvoices and by placing a link on your blog or website. If you want to place a link to the main page (where all the details and past editions can be found), use the main Unschooling Voices link or you can just link to this edition. This blog is a Do Follow Blog.

Thank you for reading and participating. :-)

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A Few Of Our Favorite Things

One of the questions for this edition of Unschooling Voices (which will be out later today) was to ask your kids take pictures of their favorite things. Cimion is not here so Jacqueline & Shawna got together and snapped away.

They also took pictures of Billy & I (Jacqueline said I was her #1 favorite thing), but neither of us liked how we looked in them. LOL