Adventures in Unschooling

Archive for October 2009

In my opinion Unschooling is the only way that learning occurs for the sole reason of personal growth and satisfaction.

To illustrate this I have created a short list of motivations for “learning” in schooled environments.

1. Fear: I was afraid of being grounded. When I would fail a test my dad would “ground” me from the telephone (which I used seldomly anyways) so that I could focus on my studies. The only way to obtain my freedoms again was to score to his satisfaction on the next exam or two.

2. Duty/Fear: Fear of ending up with a crappy future. Schools tell you the only road to success is through education and good grades. I remember turning down art, a subject I would have loved, so that I could take another more academic class. All of this was done to “keep my options open” so that I could be anything I wanted to be. If only I had known that I can be whatever I want to be without Math 30!

3. Pride. I used to study very hard in high school because I liked getting recognition. The teacher would mention what the highest score was and there was nothing like getting the highest score in the class. And I would always resent my friend when she would beat me by a few percent. I also remember the glare I received from this girl I didn’t like because I beat her as the smartest girl in my Grade 10 class. Then I strove to score better than her just to piss her off.

4. Recognition/low self-esteem: When I was in a position where I was new and didn’t have any friends I would find myself trying extra hard at school so that I could obtain validation from my teachers.

5. Desire to please: Desire to be a “good” child and do what is right and do it well.

Please feel free to add any if you’d like.

But it seems to me that grades and rewards are the reasons that kids learn in school.

They don’t learn out of a desire for personal growth or for enjoyment. And worst of all they begin to view learning as, ugh, work!

Unschooled kids get the benefit of learning for the joy of it. They learn to read so that they can navigate through the world instead of learning to read to obtain stickers of checkmarks. They learn to add because it helps them to become more independent instead of yearning to add so that they don’t look stupid in front of their class.

It seems a better way to learn in a natural way. Learning about the earth by touching it and learning about life by living it.

This is the quote that spawn this post:  “Grades are the carrot and stick that shape obedient employees” – Denis Rancourt

Why did we let our education make us numb to the way that school or work sucks the life out of us?


This is my last sewing project for today.

I made this dress for my daughter without a pattern.  I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I just made my own.

The fabric had been bought with her in mind a long time ago so this one isn’t as free as my last projects but it probably only cost me about $7.

The lace was also from the Reuse Centre.



Oh don’t get me wrong I am still sick as a all get out but I am one of those people who can’t stand not being productive. So after a relatively decent sleep last night I was ready to get back to doing something…anything.

So I started sewing. These four projects cost me a whole $4.

They were altered from patterns I already owned and made with fabric that was obtained at no cost. The corduroy came from the reuse centre (which charges a fee but the sheer volume of stuff I came home with made the price of this fabric virtually nothing). The Penguin material was given to me from L and the patches were bought months ago and were about $2 a piece. Enough jibber jabber though. Here are the pics:DSC06690



I can’t help it. I am a fall junkie. I love all of the fall colours and flavours. It is sad to know that summer is over and that soon it’ll be frigid and gross but even that reality can’t get me down about fall.

We aren’t really Hallowe’en people. As in we don’t hand out candy and we don’t go door to door for it either. But with all of these beautiful, wonderful smelling pumpkins for $3 a piece I couldn’t stop myself from buying one to carve with the boys.

DSC06677Of course I did all the carving and scooping. I asked for help there but neither of them wanted to touch the flesh and seeds. So their contribution resulted in choosing the design of the pumpkin (a happy one not a scary one) and then complaining that they couldn’t see every little thing I was doing to it. LOL.

Now my hands smell like pumpkin and I couldn’t enjoy that more. I mean, I am still miserable. The whole family has been struggling with this awful cold. Fevers, sore throats, coughing, throwing up etc. I have been the last one to succumb to it but no one is quite over it yet. It breaks my heart to hear my children coughing the way they have been.

A couple of weeks back we have a birthday party for Joel. I usually take the time to decorate but these days with work, extra curricular activities and worrying about Kevin’s “application” I just didn’t have it in me. This is what we arranged instead:

DSC06578cJoel loves Spiderman. We let Joel dress up in his Spiderman costume and we put blue and red balloons and streamers up all over the kitchen. We did the best we could with the time we had.

There is a chance I could be back home in the New Year. I was really hoping that I would be back before Christmas but my husband may have a great temporary opportunity in the New Year. So if that works I will stay until the end of December and then be home for as long as I am happy there.

And it’ll be good for the kids too. My husband isn’t a very good unschooler, cleaner, baker, cook etc. It’ll be very nice to have the house back in order.

And to wrap up this post…

… a picture of my lovely Anna sleeping on the couch.


First off I really want to apologize for this next stream of pictures. I had fully intended on taking pictures of each step but the doll whipped itself up so quickly I just forgot. I will try to fill in the gaps.

The head is made of stuffing. I would rip the stuffing into strips and lay they across from each other (like how you draw one of these stars: *) When I had a big pile I grabbed the ends and pulled them into a bag then I stuffed it into a small mesh tube that had one end sewn off already.

Then I poked a needle through the head with some embroidery thread (hard to do by yourself FYI) and tied it off in the front. That makes a crease in the face. I also grabbed a small wad of wool and sewed that onto the face to make a nose.


Then I sewed a tube of skin fabric and stuff that into it. Then you bind off the top with a needle. Mine isn’t pretty but it will all get covered by hair so I didn’t bother being dainty.

The bottom is harder. You want to bunch it together without making a dozen creases in the face. Once I got it pretty smooth I used an elastic band for the closure. Then I sewed it together a bunch of times over. I left the elastic in. What will it hurt I ask?

Then I sewed the arm pieces and the body pieces leaving a couple or inches (or more) undone at the ends.

The first thing you add is the arms. I wrapped one arm’s open ends around the nubbin leftover from the head and sewed it on securely. Then you do the same with the other arm. Make sure your arms are facing the way you want them too (especially if you have thumbs on her).

DSC06604Then the body slips on like this:

You secure the top layer at the shoulders and very strongly at the head (which bobbles a lot right now). Then you stitch it into the rest of the arms etc.

I think I made the head a wee bit too peanut shaped but I think the distinction will be less prominent with a full head of hair.

I am most nervous about the eyes and mouth to be honest and I haven’t figured how I want to do the hair yet. I am leaning towards crocheting each strand into it individually I just want to make sure it won’t pull out or rip out damaging the “skull.”

If anyone has any advice???

And before we got an unwelcome dump of snow here my hubby was doing work in the yard. Here is a picture of the boys having a root beer break:


And this is a tiny bowl I dry felted:DSC06520

I think I will save it for Anna when she gets her own space.

In my personal life we are still having toilet training troubles. My four and three year olds both refuse to use the potty! I am considering putting them in some kid of activity where other kids will notice and point out the improper behaviour. This might correct. We have realized that they must want to do it for themselves (after well over a year of trying to get Trey to re-potty train) but they aren’t getting any desire to do so around us. Arg! Sometimes I swear their baby sister will train before they do.

And we still haven’t figured out what the next couple months to a year will look like for us. My husband did pass his entrance exam but there has been a delay in getting his package. Once he get that we can proceed again. We have been waiting for this for so long. I would really love to see it moving a little bit more.

I also had my wisdom teeth out recently and that has made for a rough week. My gums are feeling OK overall but I can’t wait to be able to open my jaw enough to fit some of my favorite foods in.

My baby has learned a couple words in sign language. She says, albeit inconsistently, milk and more. She is also standing up on everything and will likely be walking before her first birthday! Yippee!


  • 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.