Friday, September 25, 2009


This is my child who didn't learn how to read until he was 11 1/2 years old. There were a few people that were ultra-concerned. I wasn't concerned at all. I read to him lots, he was exposed to many different, wonderful experiences, he looked at books, and he went about living his life. I knew he would learn to read on his own time and in his own way and I was grateful that we didn't have him in public school where he would be put in special classes and ostracized by his peers. He wasn't stupid, far from it! Phonics was always a mystery to him; the rules always changed and that frustrated him to no end! That's just not the way he learned. And he certainly didn't learn by sitting at a desk. I don't think I've ever read him a book and had him sit still. When he was quite young he would be doing flips off the couch, cartwheels around the living room, or flipping something around in his hand and I would ask, "Tristan are you listening? Or do you want me to stop reading?" He would usually say, "I'm listening! ______ and _______ just happened." I was always amazed that he was hearing anything I said.
So you want to know how he learned how to read? Video games! Hours and hours of video games. I would sit for hours and hours with him, reading the captions at the bottom of the screen. And when I got tired of sitting and reading to him, Martin and Kevin would take their turns. No one got mad at him and told him that he should really learn how to read, they just patiently read to him knowing too that he would learn on his own time and in his own way.
Then one day, it seemed he just woke up and he knew how to read. He reads books now that are considered at "his level", whatever that means. You could have him read you a book and then have another 14 year old read that same book, that maybe learned how to read at 6 years of age, and you would never know which one learned how to read at 6 and which one learned how to read at 11 1/2.
NOW you will most likely find him as you do in the above pictures, with his nose in a book. I often think how much he would like to read if someone had tried to force him to read before he was ready. I know my husband was a late reader too, and in public school by the way, and he really wasn't much of a reader until his adult life. Thankfully, I had his mom to reassure me that Tristan would read on his own time, just as Martin had. Not that I needed that reassurance but it's nice.
Tristan bought the Eragon Trilogy with his OWN money and hasn't stopped reading since. I believe he just finished the second book.
TRUST! If we could only trust our children and not treat them like they are vessels that need filling. All they need is for us to be there, available to find them the resources and materials when they get a spark of interest in something and honoring them enough to know that they will learn what they need, when they need it, in their own way and in their own time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pictures from the last several weeks

The last few weeks have been filled mostly with fun and a little bit of sadness. A few weeks ago the owner of the studio that I teach at, Linda, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Within two weeks of the diagnosis she was in surgery to have a lumpectomy. They were able to get everything and luckily there was no lymph involvement. She will start radiation next week and hopefully she will never have to face this again. She is seeing a naturopath here in town for immune support as well. I'm very lucky to have this amazing woman in my life; she has had a cheerful attitude through it all with a few "F**k's" here and there, as she puts it, and chooses to live in the moment through it all.
A week after she was diagnosed one of the most important people in my life, my VERY VERY dear friend, Sheli, called to say that she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Okay, now I'm saying F***!! At this point there is a 10% chance that it may not be cancer so we are holding out hope for that. She goes into surgery next Wed. to have part of the kidney removed. When she gets home the week following I'm going to head up to Fairbanks to help take care of her and her family, as she will be unable to drive, lift, etc. WE LOVE YOU SHELI!!! Again, so blessed to have these INCREDIBLE women in my life; she is cheering everyone else up that is feeling sad for her, lol. She refuses to listen to the "Oh, poor Sheli" scenario, which makes it easier for all of us.
And now for the fun that has been happening in our life:) The following tells it all:

We celebrated Jared's 16th birthday. Jared is my nephew who has been staying with us, from Tennessee, since May and we have him until Oct.22! It's been a fun summer and such a great chance to really get to know him. I hope he comes back next summer:)

We took the dogs up to Hatchers Pass to let them run. You can see how much room they have:) And yes, we really do live in this BEAUTIFUL state!

Don't they just look so happy!?

Then on to Homer for Kev's swim meet. We stopped here to see if we could see the Beluga's breeching. Unfortunately, we have not seen them this year- such a bummer! It's still beautiful isn't it? It surrounds us!!

Yes, I do believe someone lives in this houseboat. Very eccentric, I would like to knock on the door and visit:)

And yes, there are beaches in Alaska!! Actually lots of them! I know, not the warm, lay-in-the-sun type of beaches but fun to play on anyway. Homer is one of my favorite places in Alaska.

It was just beautiful while we were there. Don't I look happy too?

Jared says, "I love hanging my head out the window. It's SO refreshing!" Especially when it's fresh ocean air!

We found a driftwood playground!

The boys were having WAY too much fun with this bull kelp!

Always fun things to find on the beach. I think she had just found some crabs here.

Oh, I almost forgot, we were here for Kev's swim meet:) Na, I didn't forget, we were just enjoying the beach in between events. The boys won their Medley Relay, so fun to watch. Kev's butterfly has improved SO much since last year- fun to see!

And finally, we celebrated Kev's 17th birthday! 17!! But I can still pass for his sister so we are good:) I can, can't I? Martin says where the heck did the last 17 years go? I said it went by fast because we were having so much fun with our kids!!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

It's blogging weather again:) I haven't posted much in the last several months because it's been summer! We are just out and about too much to take the time to blog. Weather is cool, we are inside more, and things have slowed down quite a bit so it's back to blogging more often.

This is circulating around Facebook today. My blog made the list! This is a great list of unschooling blogs! Whether you are just curious about unschooling, want to learn more about it, or are thinking about moving towards this philosophy these blogs are some great resources for more information. My blog made it under "untraditional families" because we were living and traveling in our motorhome. Though we are no longer living that lifestyle we still dream of living that way again, and next time it will be more permanent.

We all went and watched Taking Woodstock the other night. All the kids LOVED the movie! It made me just long for a more simple lifestyle and made me remember how happy I was when we were living in the motorhome. Not that I'm not happy now, it was just one of those times in my life where there was absolute, complete contentment. Calista was reminiscing and longing also. She was the only child that really liked living that way and would like to do it again. She said to me last night that it was hard on her when we bought this house because the motorhome was her house and she was used to it. We've been trying to sell it, off and on, and every time she gets a little teary to think it might not be around, even though we don't use it much. Lots of memories in that motorhome!

Either way I guess we don't really live a "traditional" lifestyle, in many ways, so I guess it still applies:) I've been more thankful than ever this year for our unschooling life and have been posting more on Facebook than I have been blogging. When I watch my kids live the life of THEIR choosing and watch them be so passionate about the things they choose I know we are doing the right thing. It's brought so many wonderful people and experiences into our lives.....................................and JOY, JOY, JOY!!