Thursday, November 25, 2010

Walnut Creek

Walnut Creek is one of my favorite hikes. It's 17 miles worth of trail. Not sure if I will ever see all 17 of it but I'm willing to try.

We decided to scoop Summer's BFF up and take her along with us. Not much else to say about the day so I'll let the pics tell the story.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Toby had to make his monthly stop at the medical supply store downtown for some supplies. If at all possible, whenever we're downtown I always make it a point to enjoy the beauty of the heartbeat of the city. Although I enjoy my quite corner of the universe on the outskirts, I am a city girl at heart. I love the city no matter how nasty, noisy or crazy it may be.

As long as we have been here there are still parts of downtown and the hike and bike trail we have not seen. We took time out this day to explore uncharted territory. We had a wonderful day. Days like these are what keeps me sane.

I like the quote on the side of the bridge...Life is change be flexible. I have always wondered how people get to the underside of the bridges to spray paint their "art".

Skipping rocks is a favorite..

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Anything Worth Learning

NOTE: This post is for my own personal documentation.

It's been a whole year since we began the practice of the term coined "unschooling" a.k.a child lead learning.

Yes, in the beginning I was terrified and the wee hours of the morning and late at night I still am. My fear is based on patterns of thought that I am trying to break away from. Beliefs about the way children should be raised and what is expected from them. I want my child to be free. Free to pursue the the things that interests her. I want her to feel confident and able to jump in with both feet without thinking about whether it will be "allowed" or if it's "socially acceptable".

I want us to smile and laugh together. I want us to use our free time enjoying each other's company and not stressed about a project that has been assigned and needs to be completed by next Friday. Or homework that takes up free family time and that sometimes requires jumping through hoops to complete.. I don't want to mold my daughter into the robotic puppet that the school system or authoritarian parents adhere to do.

Yes, for a whole year I have done the unthinkable to general society. I have not "taught" my child anything. We have not opened not even one textbook. We have not practiced our multiplication tables nor have we had a weekly spelling list. We have not read about historical events that are "politically" correct nor have we practiced cursive handwriting. We have not learned anything in the traditional way.

For the past year we have just lived our lives based on the moment yet have been mindful of the future. We have done exactly what we have wanted at any given moment. We only have to answer to ourselves. Who the hell else's agenda really matters anyway??? I'll never be able to please everyone so I choose to follow my heart.

We pass our days by going to museums, we visit state parks, we hike, we hunt arrowheads, we have playdates, we read and watch what peaks our interests, we do crafts, we draw and write, we visit art galleries, we take walks, we watch shooting stars, point out constellations and watch space stations cross the sky, we cook, we spend money, we pretend play, we listen to different kinds of music, we visit with friends and we surf the net. We do exactly what WE want.

It's how we's what makes US our definition of normal.

Of course, to general society none of these things are considered to be normal for a 9 year old. She should be in school behind a desk doing what she is told whether it interests her or not...because that's what everyone else does. But that's not our life or what WE consider normal.

And you know what???? Somehow...somewhere along the way...without being taught...a child has learned to read without assitance, write legibly, compute everyday math computations..especially when it involves her allowance, and confidently ask many insightful questions about many different things. She is also able to see things outside of the box. Things that I have ever even noticed because I was raised in the one size fits all mentality.

Her public schooled friends are in awe of her imagination and ability to create. They believe she has been blessed with something they weren't. In reality, its just because they are not able to explore their own creativity because they are told what to read, what to write, how to behave and what to do on a daily basis. They have been stifled. Unless someone rescues them they will have that sentence for the next several years..or more.

All this happened without being coerced or force-fed knowledge.

I CHOOSE to unschool. I don't ask permission. I have chosen to live a life very different from most people.

Anything worth learning can't be taught - Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lake Georgetown

I can't quite shake this feeling I have had lately. I feel out of sorts and.....almost depressed. I know that mostly whatever I am feeling has to do with having other obligations that have limited me from doing what I love the most...being outdoors exploring and hiking...and of course the limited free time to myself that I have to do those things.

I'm selfish I know. But hell, I'm 46 years old and the clocks ticking. I have done my time and I'm ready to be out of jail, so to speak.

So I woke up this morning once again in "one of my moods". I decided that like an alcoholic needs a drink, I needed to be out in nature feeling the freedom that being one with "God's" creation gives me. I got out my handy dandy "Hiking in Texas" guide and started searching.

What I came up with wasn't the greatest, but Lake Georgetown temporarily fed my addiction and seemed to satisfy everybody else in my family. Even if it didn't, none of them were brave enough to argue..

I plan on giving myself another dose of the outdoors tomorrow...

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Best Gift of All

I looked at my calendar today and realized that it has been 3 years since we made that adventurous, scary move halfway across the United States. I guess time does fly when you're having fun.

As I reminisced on the past 3 years I had an epitome. When I first thought about relocating, what I wanted was change. But I realized today that what I really wanted was change in a way of life for my kids.

I had lived in the same city for over 40 years. I knew what Mobile's limited offerings were. I knew about its negative, unenthusiastic vibe underneath the fake persona of southern hospitality. If you are content with going to church on Sundays and sitting around watching Blockbuster movies as your major form of entertainment than Mobile may be the place for you.

I guess I never even really took great notice to the area I grew up in until I had kids. When my son was small there wasn't the opportunity to make a major move. Aside from my thoughts and opinions of Mobile, he turned out extremely well...but sometimes I wonder how much of a fuller life he could have if he were somewhere else...somewhere like Austin, Texas.

The longer I live in Austin, the more I see the huge difference in the quality of life that is lead here. If you are a child that grows up in or near Austin, Texas consider yourself one lucky kid. The opportunities are limitless and easily attainable.

Although my son is still in Mobile, the door has and always will be open for him here. A place for him to call home. A place where he can expand his horizons..enjoy the outdoor activities that he loves and that are plentiful here in Central Texas.

I'll never go back from whence I came. This is my home now. My goal is to have my kids enjoy and utilize every aspect of my gift to them. I hope that one day they will look back and say..."Wow, I'm sure glad mom moved us all the way to Texas!"

For now, Ta Ta

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ren Fest

For the last three years I have eye-balled the Texas Renaissance Festival so when my local homeschool group posted the "kid's day" for the festival I hopped on the chance and bought the advance tickets.

We woke up early to a cold, rainy morning. Quite honestly, I almost blew off going. I'm not a big fan of rain especially when it's cold. After all, this was an outdoor activity.

I had already purchased the tickets. The cheap half of me got the better of me so I decided we were going to go and make the best of it...rain or shine.

We ended up having a great time. It was drizzly at times and VERY cold but we managed to stay dry at least.

There were plenty of shows and entertainment and the grounds are huge. When we left, Summer was already making plans for going back again next year.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crow's Nest Farm

I guess you could say we have been farming it this week. Today we toured Crow's Nest, my favorite. Fortunately, we are lucky enough to live a mile away from it so it's no stranger.

Angela has been the one persistent and dedicated enough to get these mini field trips organized for our small group. THANKS ANGELA!!

I ended up spending a small portion of my time on the farm solo. The two and only older girls...Summer and Jordan..kept leaving me behind or "hiding" from me and the mom's with the little ones were moving waayyyy to slow for my liking. Little ones don't move quickly and neither do mom's with little ones. I probably wouldn't have been as impatient if I hadn't already seen what they were looking at several times in the past already.

I decided to take advantage and sneak off with my camera and take some random pics and enjoy some quite time with nature in the Fairy Forest.

Here is our day in photos...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monkey Road....Summary..

....playdate at Evergreen Farms in Elgin, Texas. I love driving the back country roads so that's the way I drove to the Farms. I paid the consequence when I missed the turn off road to the farm....Monkey Road. Seems folks must like the Monkey Road road sign well enough to steal it, which left me looking for a road without a name.

After I found it we had a great day at the farm...