Tuesday, May 31, 2011

We Play! In our outdoor kitchen

We Play


While the girls and I were off on our road trip Luke finished the outdoor kitchen project we have been working on.
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We picked up the plastic fridge and stove as well as the double sink off ebay. Luke built a stand for the sink and we have made a little kitchen corner for messy and wet outdoor fun! And the whole thing cost less that $60.

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The kitchen sits in front of the sandpit (it's covered in the photo) so I imagine there will be many sandy treats cooked up here. But the first order of today was sailing a boat.

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Tannah is already looking at ways to make a more seaworthy vessel!
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We're playing along with Childhood 101 for We Play! Go check out her linkup for lots of other great play ideas.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Things I Know-the Yay For Roadtrip!

I'm baaaaack!

3 kids, 1 parent, 10 days, 4 locations, 2608 kilometers and 4 Red Bull energy drinks. Here is what I know about the Yay For Roadtrip. This post is gonna be long and pic heavy-just sayin'

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-It is very special indeed to have my grandmother, mother, myself and my children all in the one place.

-all of the preparation I did to make the drive easier was SO WORTH IT.

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-sand is delicious, apparently.

-6am is holiday wake up time.

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-children care not for the temperature of the water, just how quickly they can get into it.

-you will never regret taking a packet of plasticine for encouraging a bit of down time.

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-seeing my children's faces light up as they see their grandparents for the first time since xmas made the whole trip worth it.

-assume the best for long drives-it might just happen! I am still blown away at how awesome and patient all three of my girls were during the many hours spent in the car.

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-if you think that you should probably take the double pram for sleeping in-TAKE IT

-museum station in Sydney HAS NO STAIRS OR RAMP from the train platform. A community service announcement from someone who dragged previously mentioned huge pram up three flights of stairs.

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-don't let the weather spoil a great day out

-the GPS is your friend. As is the portable DVD player. Yay for technology!

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-getting great shots of kids bouncing on a huge bouncy pillow is trickier than it seems.

-being outside every day was so great for all of us-and it has really inspired me to get outside more.

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-the Australian Museum in Sydney is amazing and so hands on! Although Tannah said her favorite part was the shop.

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-Speaking of hands on!

-the generosity of people is amazing. Special thanks to our family friend Helen who put us up for a few nights in her beachfront bed and breakfast and to the lovely Kim of Allconsuming for GIVING me a pram. I know right? Also big thanks again to Kate of Picklebums and Kate of Kate Says Stuff for helping me out in a bloggy way.

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-there was so much life learning on this trip I couldn't put it all down. It really reaffirmed for me my love of unschooling and all of the freedom to learn that it entails. And it makes me want to live on the road full time!

-my husband is the best. Not only did he stay home to work while I was off gallivanting about the country doing fun stuff, he cleaned the house from top to toe and made sure there were fresh sheets on the bed and a shiny mopped floor for when I got home. Love that man.

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-a six year old can be as excited as anyone about seeing the Sydney Opera House. She declared her first sight of it (from Taronga Zoo) a "dream come true"

-pack only clothes that can be put in a dryer.

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-taking a photo of your kids in a place you played as a very young child gives you a little zing

-Don't let fear stop you from doing fun stuff! This trip was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. It was great to spend time with my girls and reconnect as well as sight-see and experience new places and things. It was not always easy-Harper and Willow both had a pretty significant number of meltdowns and I had to put more boundaries in place that we are all used to in places that were not my own and situations in which we were unfamiliar-this was not always received well. But the good FAR outweighed the bad. Watching my kids play with their grandparents and great-grandmother, seeing them tear up a beach to dip their toes in the ocean, experiencing their first boat trip together and so many other things are so precious. I saw some scenery out the window of the car that took my breath away and made me all teary with it's beauty while hearing "My Country" in my head. I tucked tired and sunkissed kiddos into bed each night who asked excitedly what was in store the next day. I surprised myself with my capability for both the driving and the parenting-I really feel like I achieved something.
But most importantly I helped make memories for my children. Their childhood passes in a blur and before we know it they will be off in the big wide world and having adventures of their own. I want to make the best of the time when they are young to have adventures together.

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So what are you waiting for??





Thursday, May 26, 2011

Things I know-it's not here this week!

I know two lovely Kate's.
Great friends in this new cyber world don't water your plants when you are away-they look after your blog!
So a big thanks to Kate of Picklebums for her guest post and some other behind the scenes bloggy stuff.
and this week's Things I Know is being hosted by Kate of Kate Says Stuff. So get over there on Friday and tell her what you know!

Yay for friends!!

I'm back next week after my roadtrip.........

Friday, May 20, 2011

Things I Know


This is a guest post from my friend Kate, who blogs about all kinds of interesting things including activities for kids, recipes, gardeing, printables and 'life on the Pickle Farm' at her blog picklebums.com.




I've known Shae for a good few years now. We've shared a whole lot in that time; struggling as new mums, the joys and trials of subsequent pregnancies and more babies, the every day crazies of having small kids, the insanity of shift working husbands, an intense love of singstar.... and so much more. Over the years I've gotten to know quite a bit about Shae and I'm going to share that with you today.

Things I know about Shae.

She has an awesome way with words. She is singularly responsible for my children's use of the phrase "bum face".

She is beautiful and constantly inspires me to love myself and my body, regardless of what size it is, or isn't.

She is brave. One adult vs seven girls aged 2-8 years at a sleepover?? Perhaps insane is a better word!

She is a great Mum. Through all the ups and downs, all the hard days and long nights, the times when we wonder together why on earth we ever thought having children was a good idea, Shae is always trying to do the best for her beautiful girls.

She has a really cool and funny husband. I will never forget the first time I met him, I still get the giggles when I think of the perfectly timed joke he made about vaginas.

She is a fabulous friend... and I am not just saying that because she has promised to help me bury the evidence if I ever murder one of my annoying family members.

So what do you know?

Join in and add your link below. Feel free to grab the button to go with your post or pop in on your side bar!







Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm Guest Posting!



I maybe driving down the highway with three kids in the back of my car today, but I am also guest posting at Planning With Kids! How's that for multi-tasking?!?

Pop on over and check out my post about organising homeschool.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We Play! Fun Packs for the road trip

We Play


The big road trip is TOMORROW people.

The three kids & I driving a 26 hour round trip sans husband. I’m stopping over one night each way but it’s still MANY hours in the car.
Because I think a little bit of preparation goes a long way I’ve made some fun packs for the car.
These will hang over the seat (underneath the portable DVD player screens-which I’m hoping will occupy the kids for a fair whack of the drive) where the big 2 can reach their own bits and bobs and I’ll have a bag on the front seat for Harper so I can help her with minimal distraction.


This is Willow’s car pack. She’s three. Tannah’s is the same with the addition of her Nintendo DSi.
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It has a sticker book, paper dolls book, a couple of coloring books that she chose, a kids magazine, a blank notepad, a pencil case, a new toy and some healthy packaged snacks that are easy for her to open as well as her water bottle.
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Inside the pencil case is textas (washable ones); stickers and mini post it notes.
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I’ve found a small new toy is always appreciated as are things that you don’t normally buy- for example I have never bought the kids a magazine before. I have made the mistake in the past of choosing the coloring books myself. MISTAKE. There was one unpleasant plane ride once that involved tears from both Tannah and Willow over me giving them the “wrong” book. Now I ask for input! All three girls will be also able to choose some toys from home to bring in the car.

So with these great packs, some toys endless hours of spotto and many rest stops for us all to stretch our legs it should be a breeze right??

I'm playing along with Childhood 101 for We Play! And you should too :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Unschool Monday-reading is happening!



We pull up at the Melbourne zoo and as we are walking in Tannah points at the sign and says
“That says ZOO! Just like on the Australia Zoo magazine and on the TV when we watch The Zoo”
I tell her that it does indeed say zoo. She continues to find the word around the zoo on our day out.

Tannah is playing her DSi. It’s a Littlest Pet Shop game. She calls me.
“Muuuum! I need help. I want to name this pet Sequin can you tell me the letters?”
I say the letters out loud and she is finding them with no help-except for the Q.


She asks for the set of first readers I bought her so she can read the story to her baby sister. I watch her from a distance as she “reads” the book using the pictures as a guide.

Tannah calls me in to the kitchen to show me this
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It’s so exciting watching her literacy skills grow! I won’t be long before I will have to find another option for spelling out things I would rather she didn’t overhear like “Luke when the kids are in bed can you get me some i.c.e.c.r.e.a.m.”

I'm joining in with Owlet for Unschool Monday. Her post today about rhythm and routine is great!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I love you, just as you are.

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Not too long ago I was treating my youngest child pretty badly. Not hitting her or being cruel but by treating her as one damn big inconvenience a lot of the time.

Every time we left the house I would brace myself and be in a negative frame of mind before the public outburst happened. And they almost always happen. Before the "drop and roll" happened in aisle 5 about whatever had upset her on this particular trip I would already be cranky about it.

I was gritting my teeth every night waiting for the bedtime screaming to begin.

I was putting off bathing her and changing her nappy because I didn't want to hear her wail about it.

I was telling her older (and very patient) sisters to just "leaver her ALONE!!" to keep her happy.

Instead of finding ways to make life easier for all of us I was digging in my (stubborn) heels.


Thing is Harper is a delight and I was overlooking it and only seeing the parts of her that make her high needs.


Sure she does take up a lot of my energy and we try to make certain scenarios happen a certain way to avoid distress-but that is not all that she is. She is also clever, funny, affectionate, determined and charismatic.

And I love her, just as she is.

To change any part of her personality would mean that she wasn't our much loved Harper Bliss-and I don't want that.


I have decided to just accept that she has some issues and triggers over certain things. I can make some of these easier for everyone by being more predictable and by employing more rhythm into our day. I am finding that she gets upset at nap and bed time regardless of if she crashes out on the couch at 10:30pm or if I take her to bed at 9pm and lie with her until she falls asleep. Having a bath every day at the same time seems to be working better that springing one on her once a week. I can try to leave her with Luke when I need to go to the supermarket and as she is very verbal I can talk to her about situations before they happen and give her warning. I can be more careful about her diet and try to avoid triggering food.

But mostly I can just accept that she is who she is and meltdowns over things will happen. Getting all cross about it does not make them happen any less in either frequency or duration. It doesn't mean I have to love it but it's easier on everyone if I just accept it rather than getting all bitter and twisted about it.

And I can love on her, and her sisters, every chance I get

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Things I Know

Happy Friday and welcome to the Things I Know linkup! If you want to play along add your link at the bottom and don't forget to link back to me :)

This week I know-



-Clever friends do cool things like make buttons! Why don't you grab one from the sidebar?

-it may only take a picture in a childrens book to frighten a three year old so badly she refuses to be alone anywhere

-sisters can be equally nasty and affectionate to each other

-BBQ chicken and corn chips can be classed as a meal

-you should try to look less amused when your 2 year old swears in public

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We may have been given great toys from Megabrands, Zimbler, Pink Poppy, Little Tikes, Playskool and Zapf at last Friday's bloggers brunch (thanks to Room To Grow TV, Kids Business and Kleenex Mums!)-but the Play Doh was by far the favorite from the day!

-If you want to see some lovely photos from the day go and check out Little red Photography's Facebook page.

-putting lots of links in a blog post makes the baby jesus cry and my iPhone induced RSI hurt


-I do not understand why someone would put their child in a beauty pagent


-you should really reconsider the request of a 2 year old with little toilet awareness for wearing underpants if she has not done a poo for a couple of days.

-it's so lovely to watch your 6 year old be delighted by her first piano lesson


-I'm getting in early to beat the rush! You bloggers who know stuff like to blog early!




KLA Thursday-the road trip

I love getting insight and inspiration from other bloggers on home education (amongst other things)so I thought I'd start this weekly post to share how we have covered one of the KLA'a over the week without using curriculum.

The 8 Key Learning Areas are English, maths, science, technology, health and physical education, the arts, studies of society and the environment (SOSE) and language other than English (LOTE).

If you want to join in there is a linkup below.


Most of you might know that I've planned a spontaneous road trip up to visit my grandmother while my parents are visiting her. It's a 13 hour drive and I'm flying solo as Luke has to work. I'm half really looking forward to an adventure and half freaking out about the drive and taking 3 kids away for that length of time on my own. But it will be fun right? RIGHT??

The trip will involve stopovers and we are spending some time in Sydney on the way back. All the talk of trips and where we are going has really excited Tannah and she could fill in a whole folder of KLA's on "project roadtrip" so I'm doing this week a little differently. I'm showing how a simple planned holiday covers so much.

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MATHS
-counting down the sleeps before we leave on an abacus, her fingers and by writing the numbers down each morning
-estimating how many times we could watch "Tangled" in the time it takes to drive to our destination
-saving her pocket money so she has some money to spend while we are away

ENGLISH
-writing her name on her "checklists" of what to bring
-having me read parts of the website about our booked accommodation
-writing letters to her grandparents about how excited she is


TECHNOLOGY
-browsing fun things to do in Sydney via webpages
-all the hours she will spend playing her DSi in the car!


THE ARTS
-drawing maps of Australia
-drawing pictures of what she would like to do
-packing lots of easy art supplies for the drive
-picking which movies and music to take for the trip

SCIENCE
-discussing what the weather will be like where we are going
-talking genetics and family trees
-researching dolphins and pelicans as they are both in abundance at our destination


SOSE-
-all things Sydney! We've been having many discussions about what Sydney.
-looking at our map of Australia



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I know I'm a blogger

It has occurred to me that I do things a little differently now I'm in the blog world more than just chucking a few words up every so often..

Now I

-set up some play and art scenarios for the kids to enjoy.....and for me to photograph and blog about

-my kids know how to take a "just pretend I'm not here and go back to what you are doing" shot of said play or art

-the kids ask "is this going on your blog Mum?" about said photo

-I refer to people by their twitter handle even when I know their name.

-If you say a day of the week I can probably tell you a meme that falls on that day

-my google reader has a scary amount of blogs in it

-I "know" other bloggers that I've met only a couple of times in the real world

-I do a little fist pump when my monthly stats reach a new high number

-I get excited to see another blog when it's relaunched with a new look

-I have a notepad that I jot down post ideas when I think of them

-my husband asks what keyword searches have found my blog lately (we have been very amused by "my tiny house is a shitfight", "homethings dildo" and "what does it mean when he says cracks the shits at me?")

-you write blog posts about blogging


How is it you know you are a blogger??

Sunday, May 8, 2011

To my Mum

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Mum with me 1979

Dear Mum,

Here are a few things I want to thank you for.

-for my name! I've always loved it.

-for all those books you read and re-read (can I get a Green eggs and ham?) which has inspired my life long love of the written word

-for dressing me cute, though I'm still unhappy about the gross overuse of bowl hair cuts and socks with sandals
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-for driving me to netball, swimming, brownies, drama etc etc and for listening to me strangle a cat-aka play the clarinet badly.

-for choosing to stay home though it meant a big financial sacrifice to you (and Dad!) I always loved having you there.

-for being outwardly cool when I went through my heavy metal phase.

-for not kicking me out when I called you "the world's biggest mole of a mother" when I was 15

-for trusting that I was big enough to live away from home when I was 17

-for coming down to Melbourne look after me for 2 weeks after Tannah was born. I'm not sure you know how much it meant to me or how much it helped.

-the time Harper was in hospital and you asked if I wanted you there and I knew you would make it happen if I did.

-for making me laugh


But there are some things I'm NOT grateful for...

-the time you sang Rage Against the Machine "fuck you I won't do what you tell me" out the window at full volume out the front of high school when I suggested that you might be too embarrassing to pick me up from the front gate

-introducing me to cooking magazines and shop bought coffee

-my arachnophobia. I blame you entirely.

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But mostly I wanted to say I love you and I'm glad out of all the Mums you are mine. I know we've had disagreements over the years but they've always been resolved-and I publicly apologize for the "biggest mole of a mother" remark and most of the things I said as a teenager-including the eye rolls.

And now that I have kids of my own I know that when you have said or done things that I have found hurtful in the past it's because we don't, as mothers, always have the answers or even know what the hell we are doing at times. As Tannah is my "practice child" I know that I am yours. And I don't hold a grudge ;)

Happy Mothers day Mum!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Things I Know

Happy Friday everyone! Welcome to the Things I Know linkup. If you want to tell me what you know this week link up below and don't forget to link back to me.

Things I know this week-


-I am a guest blogger over at the fabulous Childhood 101! Read my post about making the decision to homeschool HERE


-the excitement of my big girls at seeing a real princess (duchess, whatever) get married was almost eclipsed by their disappointment that the queen was much less Disney that they imagined.

-If your child has a dry night nappy all night for 2 weeks the first night out of nappies will be the night they wet the bed. Twice.


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-when you do the above for an hour and a half over getting into pajamas your Mama will want to lie down and join in.

-if you plan an evening of "marital relations" for after the kids are in bed the kids will not go to bed until AFTER you libido has

-changing any song lyric to "poo" is guaranteed a laugh

-I'm committed to Things I Know because I set an alarm to get up early and do this before going to the much anticipated Bloggers Brunch!




Thursday, May 5, 2011

KLA Thursday-THE ARTS

I love getting insight and inspiration from other bloggers on home education (amongst other things)so I thought I'd start this weekly post to share how we have covered one of the KLA'a over the week without using curriculum.

The 8 Key Learning Areas are English, maths, science, technology, health and physical education, the arts, studies of society and the environment (SOSE) and language other than English (LOTE).

If you want to join in there is a linkup below.


This week I'm sharing how we covered the arts

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-we went to see a movie at the drive in

-lots of creating with different meduims and tools like
pastel on large paper
paint pens
watercolour on proper artists pad
cutting and pasting
chalk on the footpath
whiteboard markers on whiteboard

-listening to the score from Tangled and discussing how the music makes you feel and which instruments they can hear


-going to our regular classes. Tannah to Irish dancing and Willow to ballet

-watching television

-singing along to CD's in the car

-making time to meet teachers so Tannah can choose an instrument. Very exciting-she is so keen!



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Responsibility-part two

I got a few responses to this post on Monday and one of them really got me thinking.
Leah said-

but I honestly think they don't realise what they do automatically to support their kids at school and learning everywhere, and give themselves no credit

It's so true.

I feel that we, in western society, have our power and innate knowledge as parents taken away before our children are even born.

We are told to rely on ultrasound to know when our babies were conceived, even if we know *exactly* when it happened. Our pregnancy gets an expiry date, regardless of the health of the baby and mother. If we choose the hospital system we may be induced or sectioned to suit blanket protocol rather than on the wishes of the parents and the health of the mother/baby.

When our babies are born we are encouraged to schedule our babies eating and sleeping habits with little regard to our own parental intuition and the cues of the child. We turn to books and TV shows with their "experts" to tell us what to do because we feel like we are not qualified. Often we listen to them more than we listen to ourselves in the spirit of "doing it right". We lie and feel guilty about doing things that are easy and that suit our babies (like feeding to sleep, co-sleeping or full term breastfeeding) because it's against the "rules".

So it's little wonder when you have children at school it can feel like this

I think a difficulty with parents being "supportive" at school, it is maybe seen as being very Type A and hard on the kids' academic performance.


The school system becomes another "expert" and you are expected to check your opinions at the door.

So if your children go to school know this. Just like birth and early childhood they are YOUR children. You are able to make decisions that experts disagree with that are right your family. You are able to be responsible and involved as much as your child and you are comfortable in. All of the things you do outside of school hours is part of their education-give yourself credit! Don't be afraid to be the expert on your child.

Home education and the school system doesn't have to be an "us vs them" situation. We're all in it doing what we think is the best for our kids right? That means we are all on the same side.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

We Play! At the drive in

We Play


Want to take your child to a movie but kind of worried at how it's going to go? If you live anywhere near a drive in theater I highly recommend it!

I have taken Tannah to the cinema twice. Both times she enjoyed the film but was put off by the volume (why does it have to be so LOUD?)and the idea of sitting still for an hour and a half.

Willow and Harper are FAR more sensitive to loud noise and the thought of taking Harper anywhere where with expectations of still or quiet makes me want to lie down and weep.

But they had all seen the ads for RIO. All three were keen-even Harper "birdy birdy moofee Mummy!"-to go and see it at the cinema.

We are fortunate to live near a drive in cinema. I thought a place where control of volume, ability to get up and walk around as well as still being able to drink my weight in frozen coke could be fun. Then I found out kids under 12 were FREE. Bingo!

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We have a station wagon (of course we do) so we backed it up and made a "nest" in the boot for the kids while Luke and I sat in fold out chairs we had bought.

The movie was delightful, the kids were entertained, the frozen coke was delicious!
And as an added bonus this is what the scene was when we arrived home.

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I'm playing along with Childhood 101's WE PLAY! Check it out for other great play ideas.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Responsibility



A comment I get pretty regularly when people find out that we unschool our children is "I could never do that! I couldn't be responsible for my child's education"

Guess what-EVERY SINGLE PARENT is responsible for the education of their child.

That means YOU. Regardless of where your child goes to school, if they go at all, the responsibility for your child lies with their primary caregivers.

I often feel insulted when people are flabbergasted that I am not "checked up on" regularly to make sure I'm not screwing my kids up. Most parents (and I say most because you only have to read a newspaper to see that there are some parents who do not have the best interests of their child in mind)want what is best for their children. When we chose to keep our children at home we did not do it with illiterate, unemployable, miserable social outcast as an end goal. The same as people who send their children to school.

Dropping your child at the school gate and picking them up 5 days a week with little other involvement in school does not ensure a happy outcome. Children who do the best and are most satisfied from institutional education do so with their family on board, being involved and active in the process.

Just as home educating families can get it wrong, so can families in the school system. Just as leaving your child to their own devices to the point of benign neglect is not unschooling, nor is using school as a babysitting service an education.


I'm joining in with Owlet for unschool Monday
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