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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......

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Cremation of Sam McGee

I have fond memories of my Dad reciting this poem throughout my childhood. I grew up in the land of ice and snow from whence this poem originates. Now here I am in Sam McGee's original home (in the poem anyway) where the "cotton blooms and blows".
This video brought back some good memories.

One of the most interesting parts about this poem, is the fact that the real Sam McGee who inspired the poem was really from Ontario. Follow the link to see a picture of his cabin up North.

I think it's time to pull out my copy of Robert Service originals...not sure if my kids would appreciate it the way we did, living without a tv and all. Both "The Cremation of Sam McGee" and "Bessie's Boil" were my favorites.

~~There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.~~

**I just now tried to watch the video from my blog and figured out it doesn't allow embedding. Just go HERE to view it.**

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Day of the Dead fun

Jalen is ready for Halloween...he's been practicing his creepiest sounds.

Searching for Day of the Dead inspiration, I came across some fun websites. AZcentral.com has some recipes, crafts and tons of information. Bardoworld.com has a good list of fun ideas too, including traditional DotD bread. If we can make the time, we're going to try our hand at crafting our own sugar skulls.

We've got our Day of the Dead party planned. We've got friends and family leaving that morning (before the party unfortunately) and other friends coming into town to help us celebrate.

New Day of the Dead art is arriving daily, for the Imagination Tribe trade that I'm organizing. I need to create a piece of my own now, since I've decided to keep the first one.:)

Rockin' to Amy ...again

I dragged LeaAnn, Chico and Mary with me to Acoustic Coffeehouse this time, they didn't seem to mind! For those of you that haven't heard Amy's music yet, do yourself a favor and order her "Must Be The Moon" CD from CDbaby.com. You owe it to yourself. Trust me.

So we had our beer and our nachos and whatnot, did a lot of laughing and talking in between sets. It was jam-packed last night. Left a message on the bathroom wall (it's ok, they have chalkboard walls) that said "Free Your Mind" and then added my website, learninginfreedom.com.

Unfortunately, LeaAnn and Chico got sucked into the vortex that is Erwin Tennessee and didn't get back to their hotel in Kingsport until 2am(damn that going south when you're supposed to go North!). Happened again today. I'm beginning to think Stephen King could use that town for a setting in one of his novels. It has plenty of ghosts wandering the streets too. Some of the true stories from Erwin, rival the creepiest novel. Just go read about Murderous Mary if you don't believe me.

I'll stick with the ghosts here in Jonesborough, thank you very much.;)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cool song

Friday, October 27, 2006

Picture mosaic

I've been having fun over at Flickr, participating in a couple of groups with "tasks" like shooting pics of our house and what not. I've been paying more attention to the objects that I enjoy in our home and shooting pics of them. This is a mosaic (created by flickr toys) of a few more recent pics. Fun stuff!

Visitors from P'cola!

I just got an email from Tori, who is about three hours from us at a hotel. Some of our very best friends in the whole-wide world are on their way from Pensacola and my kids are beside themselves. It's not often you meet a family that you not only like, but you have philosophy in common AND you like every member of that family. It's even less common to have your kids bond with their kids....especially when she has three at home (yep, she's got two grown kids and grandkids to boot!) and I've got four and they love each other like family, ALL of them. I don't know what we'd do without LeaAnn's crew!

Now I can work on brainwashing them into moving here. That'd make two friends from Pensacola I talked into the Appalachians. I got Mary and John up here (ok, I'm giving myself a lot of credit, she really wanted to be back up in hill country) 50% isn't bad.

Sierra is sound asleep, with her little hand-drawn calender that marked off the days for them to get here. Tomorrow, all the waiting will be over and my house will be full of joyful laughter and constant commotion. Then my Dad and Stepmom will get here just in time for Halloween. I think Halloween is going to top Christmas for my kids this year!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Good stuff

Simple foods are so nourishing to the core on a cool fall day. I love the way our house smells right now, full of baking bread and smoky bean soup scent. I adore the feel of bread being kneaded, cool and smooth beneath my hands, pressing good thoughts into every turn of the dough. I cherish sitting with my family as sun spills onto the table and we chat about how delicious everything tastes and what our plans will be this evening.

Good things in life often center around soup and bread.

On the recently assembled Imagination Tribe recipe book I have a quote: "As the days grow short, some faces grow long. But not mine. Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy. It's time to start making soup again." ~Leslie Newman

And I love this one too:

"Breadbaking is one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells...there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread."
M. F. K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

So today, I putzed on the computer and made bread and soup. The kids? They were busy turning the living room into a gargantuan fort, bringing every blanket and pillow in the house out to assist in the project. There are remnants of their play, some leftover bits of blankets that haven't been hauled back to bedrooms yet. We have crumbs on the counter and dirty dishes but we feel so content, all full of soup, bread, writing and play.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

It's a Meez!

This is the Meez Sierra created in front of the St. Louis Arch. You can make your own Meez at Meez.com (must be 13...or say you are).;) She's had SO much fun with these things.

NOW we're officially moved in....

Unpacked the very last box on Thursday. We are officially moved in to this house, here in Jonesborough TN!!! Just thought the world should know....or at least the few souls that humor me and stop by here occasionally.:)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Barenaked Family on Nightline

For anyone that missed it, the Barenaked Family was on Nightline last week. The segment was really great! I thought it was very positive and honest. You can go watch the video at their myspace profile or go watch it directly at YouTube.

It's worth your time...very inspirational! When the BNF's meet up with other
unschoolers in the video, there is one family that answered the interviewers
question. That's the "FreeRange Family" I talked about at an earlier post.

Some people find their authentic life in homesteading, some find it in a foreign country or in philanthropy and some find it on the road!!

(The above photo was swiped from their myspace page, with permission:)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Perfect imperfection

I wanted to share this awesome bit of writing from a new blogring titled "Bas Bleu Salon". The specific blog is "Do I Contradict Myself?".

~~"I choose instead to reframe the question entirely, leaving behind imperfect/perfect in the same way I choose to leave behind Western patriarchal ways of dividing the world into either/or, us/them, inside/outside, self/not-self, mind/body, leaving behind a legacy of divisive thinking that twists the world into warring entities.

I choose to open my Self, to lay bare the being in full becoming. Grandfather Whitman! I sing the song of my Self, embracing all that is inside and all that is out as one and the Self-same.

Being. Life. Beauty."~~

I've added the "Tea With Ren" blog to their new blogring. Hope to see some other intellectual ponderings and musings over there soon!:)

Camping with FLT

The North Carolina Unschoolers run a sub-group called FLT (Families Learning Together) which has a campout-type get together twice per year. We got in on their fall gathering and met up at a 4-H camp in the mountains of NC about one hour from here.

The weekend was such a great affirmation of our lifestyle, as these gatherings usually are. We had the privilege of hanging out with many unschooling families we knew from the conference and meeting some new folks that we really enjoyed. The kids were SO happy to be there, having missed the Live and Learn conference this year (all but Trevor of course).

Our cabin mates were the Woodwards, a most interesting and inspirational couple that have raised most of their homeschooled children. Doug Woodward has a book out that I think many of you would enjoy, it's titled "Wherever Water Flows". It's full of the many kayaking and rafting adventures that Doug embraced throughout his life. I'm glad we got to share some time with them!

Jalen made a new friend too....a small man named Tavin that seemed to speak his language. His mother and I exchanged tales of challenging issues they seemed to have in common, which is always helpful when you're dealing with an "out-of-synch" child. Tavin's older sister was another Sierra...our Sierra thought that was pretty cool.:)

We made another small friend that is fascinated with vehicles and spent a lot of time in our van checking out all the features. He was so sweet. "When you say I can go in your van, that means 'yes' always?" he asked.
"Yes, you can go in my van anytime you want" I would reassure.
He looked so relieved, like he couldn't believe his good fortune in finding an open vehicle for his learning adventures!. His family's vehicle was old hat apparently, he needed some newness to make it more exciting.

Old friends from Pensacola came by (they moved away a few years ago) on Sunday. We haven't seen Alice and Pete for a loooong time and their kids had grown a bunch of course. They were the very first unschooling family we ever met in Pensacola! Now that they're considering a move to the mountains, we might be seeing more of them again.**

Felix (also known as Arielle) gave Sierra some green hair, it's still rather fluorescent looking. Very cool. My kids had a really hard time saying goodbye to the Kuipers, after all, they fulfill the sibling-type bonds that each of our families couldn't. Sierra has older "sisters" and the Triple A's (Amelia, Arielle and Autumn) finally have some "brothers". Oh, and I even got some Dominique tears on my shoulder, a required rite of parting at any unschooling gathering!

We're feeling rather refreshed after being with part of our "tribe" all weekend, but also missing them. The kids are scheming about how to get together again for Halloween. It will never be enough unless they all move to our street!

**that was a big 'ol hint for LeaAnn in particular (move, move!!) and anyone else that is thinking about moving to these beautiful mountains.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Family on the road

Unschooling video

This is a video of the Fuhkai family on the road, living and learning naturally. Affirmation of the beauty that the free life offers!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Connections Ezine is available!

The first issue of Connections Ezine is out. It's full of articles
about mindful parenting and unschooling lifestyle and I believe it's
the best value in unschooling publications anywhere!

A note from the editor and publisher, Danielle Conger:

I'm delighted to announce that the first issue of
*Connections* ezine of unschooling and mindful
parenting is online.

We have an amazing group of regular contributers
and several great feature writers this month,
covering topics from unschooling budgets to
the amazing conferences held this past month
in Texas and New Mexico.

I'm particularly pleased to announce the
addition of an unschooling dads
column by Ben Lovejoy, which promises to
provide lots more unschooling
insight for moms *and* dads.

Also exciting are the Hot Topics section that
covers unschooling and mindful parenting
highlights from several email lists and Rue
Kream's column "Ask Rue" where she answers
readers questions with the same
gentleness and insight she brought to her book,
_Parenting a Free Child_.

View the cover of Issue 1 at
http://connections.organiclearning.org and
click "Sample Issue" on the left for free access
to the preview Issue 0 of *Connections*.

Connections: ezine of unschooling
and mindful parenting