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Learning in Freedom

Welcome to Learning in Freedom, a blog all about the learning adventures (and mishaps) of the Allen family. My four children are unschooled, following their interests and passions every day and living the lives of their choosing. The purpose of this blog is to share our every day lives (and my not-so-humble opinons) with anyone interested in stopping by. We hope this will give a glimpse of how natural learning unfolds from day to day......

Friday, July 28, 2006

Another post and storytelling

We met John and Mary at the Storytelling Center yesterday for some delightful Irish folktales by Pat Speight, who has the strongest Irish accent I've heard! He's an energetic and most entertaining storyteller. You can tell he loves what he does.

When we were getting ready to head into Joneborough, Jalen asks about coming along. I explained that we were sitting and listening to stories. "Oh, I'm tired of sitting still, that's stupid" he says. It made me laugh because he has rarely EVER sat still
in his entire life, not even when we eat out.:) But it convinced him to stay home with Dad and Trevor which was better for all parties involved.

Here is a fantastic post I collected from AlwaysLearning today. Not sure why I've been into collecting posts lately, but there's so much great writing out there and it's fun to pull bits of it back here to share:

From Joylyn at AL:

~"If you ask a surgeon if surgery is necessary, I bet she or he would
agree it is. But if you asked a holistic healer, she or he would have a
different opinion.

Schooled parents HAVE to buy into the myth that diplomas
will be the answer to everything. What choice do they have?
If they stop believing that, then their children are wasting
time in school.

Many years ago someone explained to me that parents who were
spanked as children have to go on spanking as parents themselves.
IF they say that spanking is wrong, then they are admitting that
what their parents, whom they love and trust, were wrong. Many
people cannot admit that their parents would make such a wrong
choice, a choice that physically and emotionally hurt them as
children and as adults, and a choice that they are making and
that perpetuates that violence on their own children. So
they go on living the lie, hurting their own children...

School is like that. There is a myth that in order to be
successful one must go through the process--k-12, all the
right classes, college prep, standardized tests, scoring high,
sports or other activities, etc. then college... If this is
all wrong, then the parents wasted their own time
in school, as their children are wasting theirs now...

Years ago I realized that many students were being taught
math, the same math, over and over. It was as though if we
repeat a thing often enough students who were not cognitively
ready to get something would get it anyway. Instead, we have
a lot of students who have no understanding of math failing at
higher math. Those millions of problems they did as children
did not help them gain understanding. It was just busy work
and memorization. Years ago I took kids who had failed at math
for years and in two or three months taught them basic math--
1st grade through 9th grade math, without them doing hundreds
of practice problems. I learned that if a student was ready to
learn something, it could be learned quick, without all those
practice problems. The next step in my thinking was that if people
just waited until a student was ready to learn something and
wanting to learn it, and had a reason to do so, then maybe all
that practice was unnecessary. So, this led me to realize--all
those problems I did, every day, hundreds a week, every
week, for every grade, for 12 years--that was unnecessary. A
waste of my time! It was hard to admit that.

So, I guess my point is that these parents, and their children,
MUST buy into the idea that school, graduation, college, graduation,
etc. are the ONLY way to success. For them to accept their are
alternatives that would be less difficult for their children
would make all they have done and all their children have done,
and will do, a waste of time, is too much for them to comprehend."~

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Thoughts on unschooling

We just got back from swimming, where I took great joy in watching Jalen, Sierra and Jared play together, care for each other and have a great time as I chose to sit this one out and get some writing done. They really have a special sibling bond and it's wonderful to observe.

Here are some posts I gleaned from various lists today, that I really enjoyed:

From Dawn at AlwaysUnschooled, where swimming lessons vs. learning to swim naturally is being discussed:

~~~"When my daughter was 3 we were offered free swim lessons and alot of
our friends were going. We went two times and quit. They asked us
to do things that were uncomfortable for me and my daughter like
pushing her head under water - yuch! She didnt want to play in the
water for several months after that. I questioned why I hadnt
applied the values of unschooling to swimming.

Then we bought a house with a pool and I just relaxed about the entire
process, bought her alot of floaties and toys and we just played.
Didn't try to teach her a thing. She then started guiding me to help
her swim. She would ask me to hold her waist and she would try to
swim to the stairs.

The profound part for me was that she would start this 'mantra'
of "Dont push me, dont let go" over and over and over again - I
mean it, like hundreds of times a day! For me that is what
unschooling is - not pushing and not letting go."~~~~

From Shinewithunschooling, where the topic of trusting our children's interest in guns is being discussed:

Amy Carpenter-Leugs wrote:

~~~~~~~~"Some items are just powerful, mysterious, full of history and the
secrets of the human heart. They resonate with us on so many levels.

Guns, for instance (since that is the topic at hand ):

First, there's the cold steel wrapped around a tiny, amazingly
powerful bit of fire -- in elemental terms, that's not unlike our own
Selves -- the Earth/Body wrapped around powerful Spirit, and all the
responsibility that goes along with that.

Then there's the pure satisfaction of hitting a target square on -- a
satisfaction honed through the genes of our hunter/gatherer ancestors
for eons. That satisfaction ties into a survival skill that was
essential for much of the human race until quite recently.

And then there's the Hero factor present in guns and weaponry of all
sorts. I see in my own son a huge desire to save the world, to use
his own competence and strength and bravery to right all the wrongs.
Right now, that translates into lots of interest in weapons and
fighting -- that interest may last, or it may transmutate into
championing a particular cause. Either way is fine."~~~~~~~~~~

And from UnschoolingDiscussion, Sandra was posting about the insanity plea of Andrea Yates, and pondering some related issues:

~~~~~~~~".........just earlier
today I was thinking about how some people's personal preferences
(passions? obsessions?) get played out on their kids. It happens to
kids in school too, of course, when parents pressure them to be
perfect, or to be paranoid, or whatever. Sometimes we hear stories
of homeschoolers or unschoolers getting their kids into some kind of
extreme situations because the mom is anti-something (deforestation
or meat-eating or TV or automobile transport or R-rated-movie-
watching or Christianity or internet access or something) so she
builds an environment and a mystique and a set of threatening stories
all based on living out her extreme view. Some of them are anti-
school, and that can be scary. If those kids do end up having to go
to school for some reason, the mom's warnings might make them WAY
more fearful than they should be.

When people do positive things for positive reasons, that's good (by
simple definition "good"), and when they do negative things for
negative reasons, that's dark and bad, no matter how much Bible and
Jesus are cited on the way there.

If we limit our worlds and our children's worlds to smaller and
smaller places, physically or intellectually or any other way, we end
up in a hole from which we can't see the whole sky, can't see the
whole world. Give them MORE, not less. Let them think, see and do
MORE, not less."~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, July 24, 2006

Word beads

Brandie posted this link at Imagination Tribe today: Word Beads on Sentence Strings
I clicked on her "in other words" meme and found this quote as a writing prompt:

"When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest." -- William Hazlitt

We watched "The Libertine" last night with Johnny Depp. Brilliant film in my opinion, with Depp at his finest (which is saying a lot, because I think he's an amazing actor) as the irreverant, passionate and self-centered Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot. Talk about a controversial figure. Apparently controversy is a healthy way to edge yourself into the history books, because here we are over 300 years later, making a movie about him. I found him intriguing.

Controversy IS interesting. That might be why unschooling is getting so much attention recently.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Dontcha just love connections? While the kids are sleeping, I'm sitting here scanning through music on Pandora.com and looking up lyrics while listening to new music. I came across this Finnish group called Nightwish that has a really great sound (reminiscent of Evanescence and perhaps a dash of Seal) and started looking up information about them.

One of the bandmembers listed "MoominMamma" as one of his heroes. I had to know just who this being was....and found a whole set of "Moomins" and the stories surrounding them. They sound like a bunch of radical unschoolers, I was cracking up!

So now I want to find one of their videos so we can all check out the very radical and funloving Moomins.:)

Friday, July 21, 2006


Amy Steinberg shines SO brightly, right here in JC once again!!
I just had to share with you all because I know there are some wonderfully passionate and beautiful souls that drop by here occasionally.:) I delivered your hugs Kelli and Diana. She received them graciously and said thank you.
I hope you all get a chance to see her in person....if not in your area, then head up here to the mountains, where the shine is INTENSE!!

Sierra and Markus accompanied me tonight, chatting happily and drinking beer and smoothies together. It's a joy to see Sierra's happy face as she sings along to one of her favorite musicians.

I believe Amy is going to have a lot of unschoolers as fans. She probably didn't realize it when she was writing her music, but songs about being "exactly where I need to be" and "wide sky life" speak directly to the spirit of an unschooler. So rock on all you hip, fun and passionate people. And got to an Amy Steinberg concert or at least buy her CD for a jolt of fun and encouragement.

"I am exactly where I need to be, I need to be exactly where I am, I am a blessing manifest.........."


After I got home from work, Trevor and Jared suddenly appeared and helped me clean the kitchen in about 5 minutes. Apparently, Markus had asked them to come help, but I was unaware...it just felt like the clean-team had appeared out of nowhere and swooped down upon the mess. They're very efficient! They claimed that they were in a fabulously great mood from killing Alliance on WOW (they belong to Hord) from a vantage point where nobody could reach them.

I brought a platter of food to the gamers in the basement (we've dubbed them the basement boyz) later on, where they excitedly showed me their evil plans and all how the death toll was rising due to their devious scheme.:)

Jalen was scrolling around on Google Earth and honed in on the Grand Canyon. This started a series of questions about where it was and how deep and can-we-please-look-at-pictures of it sort of stuff. We went from the Grand Canyon to China and Chinese people, then to Eskimo tribes, Brazil, Moscow, a world map ("have I ever been to Stralia Mom?", "no, we haven't been to Australia yet, but we'd like to go"), skyscrapers, big cities and eventually a request to see cities and places closer to us.

When I started showing him places like Boone NC and Grandfather mountain, he was not very impressed. "I don't like little towns, I like big cities" he claims. So we set off in search of skyscrapers. Touched on the twin towers and 9/11, pics of tall buildings from all over the world and then ended at my sisters website. They're always happy to see familiar faces traveling to interesting places.

How on earth do children learn without school? I almost snort out loud when I hear those type of questions! My thought is "how on earth do they learn anything of value IN school??"

While I sat here and blogged just now, Jalen decided to "fix the bed". Sierra joined in and they folded and brushed and straightened until they had the perfect bed (I don't belive in making beds, so this is straight from their sweet hearts). Sierra and Jalen held up a blanket to block my view. "OK Mom, look now"
And in a dramatic voice Sierra announces "Presenting the NEW beautiful bed!!" and they drop the blanket.
Yep, it's beautiful...not sure where they learned to make a bed in this house. Must be some osmosis thing from Markus.

Jalen bathed and dried and tucked his otter (whom he calls a beaver) stuffed toy in bed tonight. A bed out of a tiny blanket and paper sack. He spends a lot of time caring for all his animals. Sierra washed and walked and fed her Nintendogs before bed. The real pets were left for me, after Jalen walked Freebs around on his shoulder for a bit (one of our rattie girls).

He just put my weights back, after showing off how strong he is now. Sierra calls out "how do you spell ________" every so often, as she draws or writes or types at the computer. They both drew pictures on the floor, as we were turning off lights and getting geared towards sleep. I received a wrapped gift from each of them (things that I already owned) and when I went to my bed, Sierra even had jammies laid out for me on my "new, beautiful bed".
There was a card on top that said "Happy Kids Night!"

Yeah...not sure how they learn anything at all, poor, sheltered creatures that they are. I've heard over and over again, how television limits creativity. I'm still scratching my head on that one, because these children have unlimited access to movies and tv, but they're some of the most creative, interesting people I've ever met.

Nope, I don't think tv is the culprit. I think it's the regimented, controlled lives most kids lead that limit creative thinking. Here's to freedom!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Unschooling trust

The unschooling carnival has been officially revived. It's interesting to read the variety of posts collected at one carnival. I've decided to blog about the topic for this month, whether it's part of the collection or not, because it's a great topic and rolls around frequently on the lists.

~~August topic: Do you extend the principles of unschooling (trust, freedom, etc) into any other areas of your child's life? ~~

I think the question for me, is how does an unschooling parent NOT extend the principles of unschooling to all areas of life? It just doesn't make sense to me. If a parent says that a child is capable of learning what they want, when they want, then how does that NOT apply to areas like eating, sleeping, household tasks and other topics?

For us, learning is about everything in life. Learning how your body feels when it takes in different foods is part of learning. Learning how to wash dishes or do laundry or any other household task is...well, part of learning. It's ALL part of the journey of life, it's all an individual thing. How does one apply trust to only certain parts of the learning a child does?

It's like saying "I trust you...but not really" to a child. Saying I trust my child to learn all these things in their own way and time, does not mean I am relegated to some imaginary back seat. Children DO need avenues to explore these things, and I am their avenue until they're old enough to know there are avenues available.

I read this at another blog recently, where television was being controlled and limited: "The fact that your instincts are warning you that you may not be doing the right thing is excellent–but the culprit here isn’t unschooling. It’s allowing your kids to watch non-stop cartoon network/TV."

Why are the children watching non-stop tv? Are there other choices available? Has it been doled out and limited by the parents so that it's seen as a forbidden fruit and the children want more, more, more? In our home, the television would not be limited any more than books would be! They are simply two different forms of communication, not better or worse, just different. I wouldn't lock up the books, we don't lock up the television either. Interestingly enough, in a home where the children all have tv's in their rooms, it isn't on constantly, nor does it hold their interest more than other activities. That's the result of freedom in choice. When a choice isn't limited, there's no reason to gorge, it's just another option among many options.

They don't learn these skills in a vacuum. But they do learn them with a parent that is aware, assisting, offering opportunities and being a support. They learn all these things in their own time and way, because that is what humans do. They learn about all of it, because it is all a part of their lives. Learning is living is learning....I can't possibly separate out one kind of learning over another.

Unschooling is all about living well. So when an issue arises, my main concern is not how to get any kind of information or behavior into my child, but how to address the concern in the most helpful manner possible for all parties involved. Looking at our journey in this way, changes everything about our family dynamics. Life is short. Our focus is about relationships and how to live each day fully....it's about
seeing the beauty in everyday occurances and taking pleasure in the simple things.

Living well. What does that mean? When a person looks back over their life story, will it be with regret or a sense of fulfillment? I believe that in applying the philosophies of trust, freedom and awareness to all aspects of our lives, we are creating the environment that leads to a life well-lived.

Great picture

Diana took this pic of the guys (Jared, John and Trevor with his new mohawk) while we were all hanging out at Rock Creek last week. She does great with photos! I adore this one.:)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Feeling the music

This line from an Audioslave song:

~I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the sky here
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night~

makes me wanna be a travellin' fool.......

Feel like being a free wind blowing through the universe lately. Ever feel that way?
Some days I want to put down roots as deep as the earth itself, other days I think I just want to be free an unrooted, drifting and exploring this world as an eternal traveler. I'm beginning to think that great passions make a person a bit neurotic.;)

I discovered a really cool website today. At Pandora.com you can choose a favorite artist or song and they'll create a radio station based on that style. You can have several "radio stations" , it's VERY cool!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Robert Genn

I get an email twice weekly from an artist named Robert Genn. I've never met him, someone referred me to his twice weekly letters (thanks Kelly) and I've found them to be insightful, interesting and quite often, uplifting. This paragraph grabbed me today:

~The writing of notes, letters and journals is good for
creators. Writing is learning. Writing shares joy, delight,
triumph, struggle, disappointment and disaster. The free
exchange of ideas and processes helps us to think about what we
are doing and where we're going. This mutuality is part of our
self-education. In a lifetime of painting I've learned that
subjects taken for granted need often to be revisited and
re-examined. And like all of us, I have minor epiphanies and
esoteric insights. As if they were mosquitoes, I swat them down
into this magic box. Sometimes, as you've probably noticed, the
stuff gets a bit weird.~

The interconnectedness of art and writing is made apparent for me, in this paragraph. What I find hard to put in words, he did so well. There are many times that the writing process clarifies what is muddled, or inspires and uncovers things that want to be created. Just as often, color and images lend themselves to inspiring words. Writing and art are just two forms that help me excavate that which is within in different ways. Thanks for the words today Robert.

You can also subscribe to his twice weekly letters if you choose. Just click here to sign up.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

More creek moving

Well, they did move the creek around some more.:)
Picked John up this afternoon and brought him back here. Just as I was packing up food for Rock Creek, a big, black thundercloud moved in with some dramatic lightning and rain. The kids were really bummed, thinking we wouldn't go.
I pulled out the pasta machine and made some sheets of pasta with Jalen and Sierra for lasagne. It's been so long, that Sierra couldn't remember having homemade pasta! Our new kitchen is ideal for it, with the island counters that stick out just enough.

They helped sprinkle cheese, stir ingredients and layer pasta. The best part is rolling the blobs of dough through the Atlas machine of course. By the time it was finished, the rain had left and a cloudy haze remained. We decided to take a chance and loaded up the van.

Rock Creek was perfect today. The cloud cover made for a very comfortable (but damp) temperature. The creek moving went beautifully, with everyone building layer upon layer and restacking stones for the best dam.

In the end, they decided to make a small opening down the series of dams, forcing the water to rush very quickly through the opening. At the bottom, it spilled into a pool they dammed up with a log. It looked really cool. I'd venture to say they figured out how rapids work, but maybe not. The important thing is, it was FUN.

The rainbow trout had a small snack of old bread and after 1.5 hours of swimming, creek moving and "competitions" (like see how long you can sit in cold water) we were hungry enough to give up on grapes, and head home for lasagne. Oh, and the sun even made an appearance towards the end, shining right over the swimming hole.

Tonight's feast was declared the "best lasagne ever" by all children (other than Jalen, who does not eat lasagne). We also adapted a recipe for a strawberry tort and turned it into a blackberry thingamajig instead. Man, was it GOOD!
I wish I could say it was the blackberries growing around the perimiter of our property, but alas, they were frozen. We did pick enough for our crepes yesterday morning though.

I read something about how to attract wildlife to your yard recently. It said "plant a native species garden" and I had to LAUGH! PLANT ONE? How about leave your yard alone for long enough and you'll magically have one.:)
I have wild blackberries surrounding our yard, honeysuckle, yarrow and other wildflowers everywhere. I can't keep the wildlife OUT of my garden, who needs to plant anything? HA.

Speaking of wildlife, there was an adorable rabbit hopping around my garden and up my mown paths (through my natural wildlife habitat thank you) and we have seen three deer this week...though not in our yard. Also spotted a fox coming home from work the other day. Hopefully, whatever is tearing up my large garden bed will find somewhere else to dig, I'm tired of finding holes each day.

After dinner, we went to jump on the trampoline, right as twilight set in. The fireflies started to come out and I laid down to watch the evening unfold. I mentioned sleeping on the trampoline, which they thought was a great idea except for the bug problem. So we set up the tent instead. I sat out there with them in the dark, watching the lightning, now off on the horizon. I said "look at the show we're getting" referring to the lovely lighted clouds that flashed.
"Look at the stars givin' us a show too" Jalen says. Sure enough, it was clear enough to see stars overhead.
"And the fireflies" adds Sierra.
Yep, mother nature offers quite an array of lights, with the added benefit of a cricket chorus. Beautiful evening on many levels.

Two small people are out there waiting for me, with blankets and flashlights now. Maybe I can catch the garden thief tonight (insert evil laughter here).

Moving a creek

Spent Monday hanging out at Rock Creek again, with some friends. After daring each other into the frigid water (mountain creeks just never get that warm) for some swimming, they all went to work stacking rocks up on the small waterfall that feeds the swimming hole. Every one of them, from the oldest to the youngest were hauling rocks, shouting ideas and rearranging rocks. I figured if a ranger came and questioned us, I could use the "we're doing a unit study on water movement, this was part of their assignment" and they'd leave us alone.:)

Something assigned seems to hold more value with this world, rather than spontaneous play, the activity of true value.

But they continued uninhibited, creating a diversion in the center, so the water flowed around it, splitting the stream down the middle. When it was time to leave, the rest of us had the van packed up and everyone ready to go, but couldn't find Jared or John.
I heard the clunk of rock hitting rock over by the actual creek (the swimming hole is several yards away) and sure enough, there were two 12 y.o. heads moving up and down as they diverted the creek into small pools they had created with rocks.
We're going back this afternoon, so they can continue moving the creek.

On Tuesday, we joined the same group of friends to explore Bristol Caverns. They aren't Carlsbad, but still beautiful and enchanting. The stories about Native Americans using the caves to escape settlers during battles, was especially interesting. There were Cherokee skulls and bone fragments found many years ago (before they opened it to the public). At the very base of the cave (180 feet from surface) there is a creek that runs through. It was very still and mystical looking. All the kids exclaimed "Hey, that's where Gollum lives!"
It did look like something from LOTR. I think it would be really amazing to find a chunk of property out in these hills that had caves beneath it. I want to build a cave hideaway!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Music on the Square

Had a mellow day yesterday, preparing an area for pumpkins and corn and basically just hanging out. In the evening, we headed downtown for some folk and bluegrass. First stop was the Sweet Shop though. My kids have been eagerly awaiting it's re-opening since we moved here in October. You can't get ice cream until summer, as the owners are windsurfing in Australia (according to the sign on the door).

When we got to Music on the Square, Jessica's dh was playing with his band, a nice surprise since we hadn't been told they'd be there! (HINT, HINT Jessica...if you read this!!). Little Aleah was so cute in her little pink dress, running and bouncing and hopping to the music.

Some of the kids brought sidewalk chalk with them and Sierra joined in, coloring the brick sidewalk a variety of colors. The whole atmosphere is so festive and free...we love it down there.
Couldn't leave without a quick stop to the Lollipop Shop, where we picked up edible blowing bubbles, local root beer and a few other treats. It was a lovely evening.

Markus is out showing houses tonight, never thought I'd be so glad to have him gone when I'm not mad at him!!! It's just nice to know he has some clients.:)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July!!

On Sunday, we met in downtown Jonesborough for "Jonesborough Days" and spent the afternoon exploring a civil war re-encampment, little Limestone Creek, a jump-thingy, drinking shakes and listening to music. It was fairly HOT, but we had a great time.

Went swimming with the crew yesterday...minus John and Trevor, the all-night video gamers!:) Picked up some anime films on the way home, but Sierra was ticked off because I didn't get a movie she wanted. I explained that it was checked out, but my alternatives weren't her choice either, so she stayed pissed off all the way home. I had run into the video store alone due to time constraints (I needed to get to work).

While I was working last night, she called and said "I really like Kiki's Delivery Service Mom" in a very happy voice....so all was well in the end.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Autodidact shirts

I was sad to see Genius Tribe close down a few years ago, BUT, they're selling the Autodidact shirts again! I always thought it was the coolest quote, but never bought one. Click on the quote below to find them:

~~~On the front: "unschooler, n : one who learns from life and love and great books and late morning conversations and big projects and eccentric uncles and eyes-wide-open and mountains and mistakes and volunteering and starry nights—instead of from classrooms and exceedingly dull textbooks and sedative lectures and interfering homework. Synonyms: homeschooler, self-schooler, autodidact, rise-out." On the back, this quote from the Teenage Liberation Handbook: “The most overwhelming reality of school is control. School controls the way you spend your time (what is life made of it not time?), how you behave, what you read, and to a large extent what you think. In school you can’t control your own life. Outside of school you can, at least to the extent that your parents trust you to. ‘Comparing me to those who are conventionally schooled,’ writes a 12-year-old unschooler, ‘Is like comparing the freedoms of a wild stallion to those of cattle in a feedlot.’”~~~

Sunday, July 02, 2006


On the way home from work, I found the little town of Jonesborough swelled beyond it's borders with people! Cars lined the Hwy., folks carried chairs and children towards the main streets, making it difficult to drive home. It was nearing 10pm, so I assumed that either a night-time parade or some fireworks were coming our way.
It was the latter. We all gathered on the back deck, watching the showering, sparkling, booming lights while fireflies danced in the yard, providing their own display of light. I felt so privileged to have a good seat without fighting crowds or looking for a parking space!

Later, I watched part of VH1's "Storyteller" series, with Pearl Jam as the featured band. All of it was great of course, but there was a remake song they did, the original was titled "Here's to the state of Mississippi" but they slammed the current administration instead of MS and said things like "George W, go find your own country to be part of". It was a fabulous remake (original was by Phil Ochs in the 60's).
I loved hearing some of the stories and feelings behind their music. Pearl Jam is one of the all-time great bands that has been true to themselves and their own way of doing things. Free spirits in an industry of soul-selling, slick packaging and prescribed formats. If anyone knows where to find the Pearl Jam lyrics, drop me a line!

As I was searching for the lyrics to their remake, I stumbled across a blog by a scientist whose political views were refreshing to read. Check out "The Questionable Authority"

Another item of interest that I came across this week, is a short film about art and inhibitions. "Winter of the Dance" provokes a lot of self-questioning (just how free am *I* with self-expression? How much does society train inhibitions into us?) Thanks to Amy at Imagination Tribe for sharing that link!

This quote can be found at the film link:
"We are fools whether we dance or not...so we might as well dance."

~Japanese proverb

Sierra and Jalen have been working on a hole in the backyard. Providing the tools a child needs (in this case a sturdy, small shovel) opens many avenues of expression and learning. Not only do we need to be aware of the tools our children need, but the tools that we ourselves need in order to open the doors of passion and interest.
Maybe it's just a shovel, maybe some paint or glue, beehives or a pen. Whatever it is you need to tap that vein of creativity, get it! For the dancers in the film, warm clothes and a street corner were the tools. For others, a seed or a plant or a piece of paper will do. Once upon a time, the gifts of nature provided me the tools I needed for art at the beach. The tools are there if eyes will see.