Adventures in Unschooling

Archive for September 2009

I think that often times people have such weird ways of trying to get their kids to comply with what they think are reasonable requests.

This weekend I had to fight off two people from constantly trying to bride my kids to finish their plates.

“If you finish all your food you can have desert” and “If you don’t finish you won’t get anything else to eat until supper time.” I think we have heard those many times ourselves.

So we reward gluttony with more food? Or a full stomach with candy? And we punish kids who are disinterested or not hungry by making them be hungry for the rest of the day?

I don’t think that not eating is a “bad” behaviour.

My family keeps telling me that it worries them that Trey (4) barely eats anything past 10 am. I offer plenty of food and he chooses whether or not he wants to eat.

He is growing like a weed, intelligent and super active. I’d say he isn’t suffering.

I happen to be an habitual over-eater (thank goodness I am vegetarian or I’d be a lot heavier). And I blame my upbringing for that.

When I am around food I can’t help myself. If there is still food on my plate I HAVE to finish. I don’t know why I can’t break that but I do know why I do it.

My parents always bugged me to finish my plate and I can’t help myself now. It’s been ground in deep.

My family also thinks that we are encouraging him to be a picky eater. I don’t think that that is the case either. My husband and I crave variety and we eat a wide range of ethnic dishes and try lots of different kinds of plant foods.

My children will never be “picky eaters” just because we allowed them the right to choose not to eat. If I just caved and gave him peanut butter and jam (or pancakes) three meals a day then yes, I would be promoting picky-eating.

My dad used to force me to eat breakfast sausages all throughout my childhood. I would gag trying to eat them and I have NEVER got used to them. I couldn’t stand them then and I can’t stand them now.

My sister had the same experience with peas (which she won’t eat today either). I don’t think you can cure dislikes to food. Why force it?

In my house we try not to make food into treats. It’s difficult though because we often think of food as treats ourselves. But, we celebrate with snacks and meals at the restaurant. We get everyone ice cream after swimming. I am still learning and trying to deprogram myself in a lot of different areas. It’s tough but it will be worth it.

And boy am I relieved that we limit our kids’ screen time.

I had the opportunity to observe an 18 month old completely zonk out every time the TV was turned on.

At one point he saw a movie start on the TV and he grabbed his blankie and plunked himself down in front of the TV.

And the parents thought that this was cute!

My kids use TV as background noise. If they watch a movie from beginning to end they are either sick or exhausted. My kids have better ways of entertaining themselves. Maybe their environment has something to do with it.

My husband and I are quite active. Our kids are used to going anywhere and everywhere. Their toys are simple and have brought hours and hours of imaginative play.

This toddler I observed this weekend didn’t venture very much. When he touched something his hands were slapped.

And his toys were all made out of plastic and almost all of them where animated in some form. Everything played music or moved. How much imagination is required for those toys?

How fun are those toys in the long run?

This kid even had a TV in his room so he could watch Baby Einstein to put him to sleep!

I am far from the perfect parent. I do, however, try my best to constantly read and improve my parenting technique. It takes time to retrain behaviour. I still yell sometimes. And I still revert to rewards and punishments for some things. I don’t like it but sometimes it comes out of my mouth before I have a chance to stop it.

It is really hard for me that I don’t have any supportive parents around though. My family is quite adamant that I am too lenient. I think they are too strict. Not everything needs to be a big deal. My kids got reprimanded when they brought small toys onto the kitchen table! They often eat with their toys next to them. It doesn’t contaminate their food and they don’t touch the toys with their spaghetti hands. And even if they did. Who cares?! What is the big deal?

If it doesn’t hurt anyone why make a mountain out of a mole hill?

But I guess that’s the difference between raising kids that are placid and obedient vs. self-controlled, self-motivated, confident and vibrant.

Here is to parents who think and try!


This parenting thing is so hard.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids are a tremendous joy but yeah, really hard work.

After fighting with my son all day on Sunday and completely ruining all of our moods we decided to simply give up.

We have always wanted our children to be strong willed and confident and I don’t think we are acehiving that end by punishing Trey like we have been. It is likely to crush his spirit. It’s not worth temporary obedience!

Instead of getting angry over yet another pair of soiled pants we are going to show him how to take care of his own laundry. He puts his wet pants in one of our laundry baskets. There’ll be no shame because he will be able to get himself all cleaned up when he soils himself (meaning he doesn’t have to come and tell us). And because we will be seeing less of it, we won’t be getting so angry.

He is even scrubbing his own shorts. And he is excited to do it. When the novelty wears off and he is tired of cleaning them up I imagine he’ll stop soiling them. In the meantime I am not scrubbing poop and that is a good compromise for us. There are no hard feelings. I don’t get mad or disappointed. I just ask him to go to the bathroom to clean up.

No more tears and no more high blood pressure.

Some people may find this terribly innapropriate but he is enjoying washing his poopy pants and I think it is a learning opportunity. He is learning that when he poops himself it is very frustrating for us to have to clean it up. When the novelty wears off and he gets tired of washing his pants I imagine he’ll try hard to have more control.

We are also letting him wear diapers at bed time if he wants them. This way it protects his dignity. He can have a cozy sleep in a warm, dry bed.

Earlier I said we had a bad day. It wasn’t all bad. We went shopping at the art store just the boys and I. We bought more wooden people and made some cool dolls. We also made a spaceship (pics to follow).

It was fun for us all to craft together and they truly love playing with their wood people. That and going to bed dressed like superheros. Awww.

This is what we were busy doing of these busy weekends.


This here is our roof completely opened up. We were getting some massive leaking and rotting so we had to replace the whole section of the roof. New beams, new insulation, new drywall, new paint, new shingles and roofing tar etc. etc.

The roof was so disintegrated that my a beam broke apart and my dad fell off of the roof. Lucky for him he is pretty fit for his age and was able to bounce right back up relatively unharmed.  


Once the men put the roof back on they started removing the mouldy drywall. This was what was under it:


People don’t usually believe me when I say that the whole house (ceilings and appliances included) was painted this blue colour. Here is the proof.

And drywalling over walls instead of removing the old material to replace it with the new was sadly this guy’s philosophy on carpentry.

You should have seen the layers we had to dig up in order to lay our laminate flooring.

DSC06473Here is the almost finished hall way:

But all in all it was worth it because my roof no longer leaks when it rains! Yay!

I was on the Crafty Crow blog a while ago and they had a craft that made reference to the Color Me Katie blog and I found her blog so inspiring. Not only for the activities and crafts but for her joy and desire to live impulsively and to make people smile.  It has got me thinking of little ways that I can bring joy to the world around me. I am not having any great ideas so far.

And for my version of a little Color Me Katie craft:


I am sorry to all of my readers (how ever many few there may be) about my absence on the online world.

We have been very busy for just about every weekend for the last two months. This has been my first weekend at home and “off” so I am taking some time to update you. Be ready for a few posts since a lot has been going on.

In this post I want to show some of the sewing I have managed to accomplish in the last few days off as well as show you some of my felted treasures.


Here we have a princess or a dame or whatever, a Jedi knight and a pot-bellied pirate!

And I also made two carrots for their wood food set.


These are pictures of some of the sewing I did for my daughter this weekend.


The pink one will take her another year and a half to grow into. I guess that’ll be one less outfit to buy then.


I also managed to sew myself two different shirts and a pair of comfy pants but I didn’t get pictures of me wearing them. 😦

I’ll post some when I get them.

We also sorted through all of the children’s toys and now that everything is sorted through they are playing with all the toys that were buried at the bottom of their toy box. Toy-box cleaning is good for their imagination!

I was also thrilled to find that we still had all of the pieces to their wood sets from Christmas.

And I have been trying to read as much as I can lately because I am still not making any ground with my four year old on the potty training front. So many books are quick to say don’t use rewards, don’t punish but they don’t equip you well to know what to do instead.

After over a year of having accidents in waves I have tried it all and I am still not getting anywhere. So yeah, I am reverting back to yelling and punishing out of exasperation. It’s not at all what I set out to do but it just comes flowing out when I have to clean poop from all the way down his leg (because he pooped in his pants) AGAIN!!!

And everyone’s advice on this has been terribly short sighted and unhelpful. I am starting to feel like I am the only one who is dealing with this but I know that this can’t be so. SO, if he MUST grow out of it I sure hope it’s soon.

Anyways, so right now I am trying to read through this book called kids are worth it  by Barbara Coloroso. It makes pretty good sense but the application of it may be a lot harder than it looks.

Do I ever wish I would have started reading these books when my babes were babes instead of scrambling to find answers when the shit was hitting the fan. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble I am sure.


  • None
  • withoutloveweallperish: 50 books for $10!! As a book lover, that sounds like Christmas come early! Lovely library set up, need to set up one of those for myself!
  • theworldismysoyster: Sure. Just none of my kids. :)
  • goobrobinson: Hi! I'd like to seek your permission if I can reuse one of your pictures for my next post? Specifically the second picture.