Astra Taylor’s talk on unschooling

Posted Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 10:38 PM

Sometimes I start to feel all wrapped up in, “Am I doing enough? Am I doing this right? Is my kid really going to turn out okay?” Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t actually be easier to do, well, just about anything other than follow this life learning path we’ve chosen.

And then, I finally took the time to watch this video today. This video that has been hanging out in one of my bookmark folders for at least a couple of years.

Taylor’s talk renews my sense that, yes, even though this path has not been well-cleared, it’s not smooth and lined with markers to orient us, it’s a path we’re okay taking. (Sometimes I need that reassurance, even though, perhaps, I shouldn’t.)

“Astra Taylor on the Unschooled Life” uploaded by Walker Art Center


Thoughts on what Taylor shares here?

Happy viewing! ~vickie

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Posted Friday, April 18, 2014 at 11:44 PM

A quick pick-me-up as we head into the weekend.

We love this video in our home.

Happy weekending! ~vickie

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“Unschooling Pros and Cons”

Posted Monday, April 14, 2014 at 10:31 PM

This week, I’m watching the video of the “Unschooling Pros and Cons” panel from The World’s Best Roadschool Convention. Each video is about 20 minutes long.

A lot of people have questions about unschooling. The idea makes many uncomfortable, and I think a lot of that has to do with just not really understanding what unschooling is.

These videos help shed some light on the topic.

[Edited to add: I’m going to post all of the videos here. Also, I had to turn my volume all the way up for these; I hope you can hear everything. -4/17/14]

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the panel.

Happy homeschooling! ~vickie

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Martin Luther King Day

Posted Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:40 PM

In honor of Martin Luther King Day (and of Dr. King’s life), I’d like to share some links and other resources.

* First, as many already know, MLK Day has been designated a day of service. I know it’s getting toward bedtime as I post this, but I don’t think anyone would mind if families chose to undertake a service project on a day other than today instead of waiting until next year. Find more information at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service website. (It’s been a day of service since 1994. Why didn’t I know this until several years ago?)

* Here’s a link to The King Center which includes a digital archive. Here’s their description: “There are nearly a million documents associated with the life of Martin Luther King Jr. These pages will present a more dynamic view than is often seen of Dr. King’s life and times. The documents reveal the scholar, the father, and the pastor.”

* If you’re looking for some of King’s works to read, here is “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and the text of “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” King’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech (video and text) are linked on the Nobel Prize website.

* And here is King’s “I Have a Dream Speech”:

I know there are many other texts and resources for learning about King’s life and work (including, for example, his work on the Montgomery bus boycott or his belief in nonviolent protest). There’s so much to explore.

We welcome your links to texts, videos, articles, sites, and activities to help us remember both Dr. King and all that he and those who aligned themselves with him fought for.


Peace to all ~vickie

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New Year’s time capsule

Posted Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 9:48 PM


I wanted to stop by and share a quick link that just came across my Pinterest board: New Year’s Eve Time Capsule (with printables) from Come Together Kids.

We had planned on cracking open a bottle of sparkling cider at midnight as the sole way of celebrating the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, but we did this little questionnaire on a whim.

All three of us in our household filled this out (revised a tiny bit…note the date on the original). It only took a few minutes, but it required us to reflect on the previous twelve months and to dream for a  moment about the upcoming twelve months.

If you’re doing something fun for New Year’s, we’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment or a link below.

Happy New Year! ~vickie

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Posted Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 9:20 PM

I know that Hanukkah (or, Chanukah) is almost over this year, but I wanted to make sure to do a post on this holiday.

Hanukkah this year, as anyone observing it knows, began November 27th. It was pretty early this year in terms of the Gregorian calendar. Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration “that begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev”(

In the most basic sense, Hanukkah commemorates a small group of Jews reclaiming the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from the Syrian-Greeks over two thousand years ago. After reclaiming the Temple, the Jews learned that they had only enough pure oil to light the menorah for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days which was long enough for more pure oil to be prepared. This light is/was especially important as we are rapidly nearing the shortest day of the year.

For more information on the history of Hanukkah and on how Hanukkah is celebrated, here are some links:

I’ve kept this short especially in an effort to keep it respectful. As a person who observes very few holidays, Hanukkah not being one, I’m probably missing some of the most important aspects of this holiday. Is there anything I should have added? Please let me know in the comments.

Happy Hanukkah! ~vickie

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Winter Crafts

Posted Monday, December 2, 2013 at 12:28 AM

It’s been a while since I’ve done a craft link list, so…here’s to winter crafts!

Check out the links below and share any good links or crafts you’ve got.

  • Mamas Like Me gives 31-days’ worth of December crafts.
  • Make handmade holiday cards. Need some inspiration? Here are some cute ideas: Snowfolk in scarves, yarn ornaments, and fingerprint candy canes. [From Splitcoast Stampers, HGTV, and Leapfrog and Ladybugs respectively.]
  • Fun with felt: If you don’t have space for a giant tree, you can make a felt holiday tree (like a certain crafty mamma in the group…we’d love to see pictures on Facebook if you’d like to share). This one is from Upcycle Your Life.
  • I’ve seen an Elf-on-the-Shelf alternative floating around Pinterest: Kindness Elves from The Imagination Tree.

If you make anything fun and crafty and you’re on Facebook, we’d love to see some pictures on the Kids LIFE! page.

Happy crafting! ~vickie

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heartwarming humanity

Posted Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 1:32 AM

I’m sure that everyone has heard/seen this story by now. (Even I saw it a few days ago and I always seem to be a bit behind.) However, I wanted to share the Batkid story here. If you need a pick-me-up, this should do the trick. How wonderful that more than a huge metropolis can come together to share their love for one tiny, awesome human.

Sometimes it’s all-too-easy to get caught up in all that is ugly in the world, but here we have something beautiful.

Miles Scott, Batkid, Saves San Francisco

Please do share if you’ve come across any heartwarming stories. We’d love to hear them.

Peace to all ~vickie

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close to home or on their own?

Posted Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 10:25 PM

Our daughter, who has not yet reached the double digits, fondly tells us that she will live with us for years to come. When she’s ready to move out, she tells us, she’ll still live near us. We can come over any time we like.

Who knows what will come to pass in the years ahead, but I have to say I kind of like the idea of my kid staying nearby as she attends college (right now, we’re all imagining college in her future).

At the same time, I like the idea of my kid going off to college. While I love her something fierce and hope to always have a close relationship with her, I like the idea of her forging a future for herself, apart from my spouse and me. If that includes her traveling and/or being geographically distant, so be it. I’ll travel to see her.

I know I have quite some time to mull this over — and I know this this really isn’t my decision to make — but I was thinking about it tonight.

What about your family? Are you counting down the days until you’re littles fly the coop or are you dreading the day (or are you, like me, somewhere in between)?

Happy homeschooling! ~vickie

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life and getting by

Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM

Several years after choosing to homeschool, I continue to think it’s right for our family. We all think it’s right. (We continue the conversation about our family’s schooling choice; it’s not a conversation that will end anytime soon.)

However simple the decision to stay the course, though, often enough we are faced with the reality that life, even a life we’ve intentionally chosen, isn’t necessarily easy. We’re not every day skipping down a lollipop-lined lane.

There are plenty of days (yesterday and the day before) when we’re reading at midnight because we’ve been so busy the rest of the day. There are days (today) when the dirty dishes fill the sink and cover the countertop because we spent time being silly with Dr. Seuss. There are even moments (though fewer and further between) when we (the parents) wonder if we’re doing things the “right” way.

The dishes and the late nights and the rushing and the wondering can become overwhelming…if we let it. It’s too easy to let our lives become completely overrun by work and homeschool stuff. It’s easy for us as parents to lose our grasp, to want to pull out our hair, to snap at everyone when we just can’t handle it all in a given moment.

What to do? Take a moment, take a breath. Look at the big picture. (I know, I know. There are times when all we see are trees – big, in-our-face, pushy trees – and the forest remains beyond our field of vision, but the forest is so worth taking a step back and looking at.)

What to do? Figure out what we (as parents) can do to recharge our depleted batteries and do it.

What to do? Prioritize. Figure out what we really want to cover in our homeschooling. What do we need to teach/cover at home and while on field trips and what can be covered by classes now or later?

In our home, our foremost priority is reading. We work math into everyday life. We observe the world, we have discussions, we go to the library, we go on field trips, we travel. Art? I’d love to do so much more art at home, but our daughter is in art classes we love. I try not to worry too much that someone else is teaching her how to add depth to her drawings, how to create landscapes, how symmetry in art can work. Languages? (Aside from the constant chatter at home?) We take an ASL course and we love it. We rely on what’s available in the community to fill in the gaps.

In our home, we also focus on sanity and balance. (Pardon me while I giggle a bit. But, really, we work on it daily.) We know that sometimes we just need to put everything down and take a day trip to Carson or take a walk or go to the cheap seats cinema. And, yep, there are days when we know it’s best to just stay home and hang out.

So, how do you maintain sanity and balance in your home? I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this before. It’s a topic that remains at the forefront of my thoughts.

Also, I’m thinking about this again because (well, life, and…) I reread this post on Simple Homeschool. Anne Bogel’s writing really resonated with me and I think the post is worth a read.


Happy homeschooling! ~vickie

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