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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......

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Imagination Tribe

Imagination Tribe has been pimped! Stop by and join an art trade or create your own profile.:) See you there!

Find more photos like this on Imagination Tribe

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Amazing peeps

I have to stop and pinch myself for a moment. I am not only surrounded by unschoolers and other cool people, but I have a sister that is a radical unschooler too. My witty and brilliant nephew Kevin recently wrote about his unschooling views after attending a year of high school, by choice.

Go to her blog and read it in it's entirety, it's worth your time! The picture of Kevin is at the peak of "The Butte" in Palmer Alaska. It's hard to describe the view from up there,but just know that even in this amazing photo it doesn't do it justice. What can I say? Alaska rocks!

Here is a brief excerpt:

Education From the Free Eye
Written by Kevin Snavley

All my life I have unschooled. The only thing that could be remotely considered school that I attended was pre-school, and of course, that was all fun and games. That was just life, how things were. I always wondered in the back of my head what it was like to be there, in a school building all day. How horrible it was to sit there for hours on end being lectured by crazy teachers and doing hours of homework. And then somewhere in between most of my friends going to school and me wondering, I got caught up in "catching up" to everyone else.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Learnin' Nuthin'

We started early on the "Learn Nothing Day" challenge. By having out-of-town guests and a potluck at my house on Tuesday evening (the 23rd).

Where there are unschooling gatherings, there is always good food........

This pretty mama taught us a few belly dance moves later in the evening, to some hip-hop music no less!

The awesome twosome...S & S.

Most of the Georgia crew with one of the Tennessee crew.

Kelli and Wendy...

Lotsa talk and laughter and music and learning. How on earth are we going to cram it all into one night so we quit learning the next day? HOW I ask you?

So we decided we couldn't. We are made of fail.

Some of the Mums.

See no learning, hear no learning, speak no learning. Did it work? Did we fool anyone? Nah.

So we quite pretending and had lotsa fun.

Rowan helps Aleah get ready to swim.

Let the wars begin!

Sibling luv...

...and mama cuddles on "the blanket". This blanket has been at several of our summer gatherings so it has been dubbed "the blanket" and now we're thinking of ways to decorate it and commemorate get-togethers.

It was handy today for Heather's tired wee man.

Mary Beth's girls spent some time drawing. I don't think that counts ladies!! Uh-uh...step away from the drawing pad.

We even found learning inside the dang Snapple lids. Note to Jess: Do NOT bring Snapples along for Learn Nothing Day! Tyler exclaimed "it's so cool that there are so many answers in the world" :) Yeah, it is.

Tyler has some special power to attract interesting bugs and critters. He managed to find a whole snapple bottle full of crawdads. I'm not sure if he's finding them or they're finding him!

Aleah shares my S'more. Yuuuummmm...

We had a fly-in guest. Maybe it was looking for Tyler. Silas befriended it and dubbed it "Goliath". I'd look up what it was, but I should probably wait until tomorrow since Learn Nothing Day is still in effect. Maybe we messed it up so badly that it doesn't matter though.;)

Getting more ammo for the battle.

Laura convinces Silas that Goliath really did need to go free and just wouldn't be very happy as a pet.

Unschoolers do learn by living. Heck, we all do. There was a lot of living today....so the learning followed. Danged if I know how to make it stop. OH, I do know one way. Force people to learn what you think is important when they don't want to learn it.

But you know, they'll still be learning. Learning that you suck. Haha!

Saying goodbye is always hard. But most of us will be at Live and Learn in September so that took the edge off. Several of us see each other pretty regular too. Have I mentioned how many cool people live here?

Group hugs!

It was a beautiful, messy, noisy, fun, wet, happy, amazing Learn Nothing Day...
filled with learning. Like every day.

So happy Learn Nothing Day everyone!! Hope it was as amazing as ours.:)

And Happy Birthday to Sandra, who brought this fun idea to us!!

My friend Laura posted her pics over at her main blog: sssmommy

Another awesome friend who is also a writer, challenged her readers to give
Learn Nothing Day a try: Kindling
Be careful over there, you'll learn a lot about writing and inspiration! Oh wait, it's ok
now...until July 24th, 2009 anyway.:)

Hopefully Kelli will have something up soon over at Our Joyful Life. C'mon Kelli, we want
to see your cool pics! She had the fab camera.

Zenmomma decided that in relation to Learn Nothing Day, they were made of fail too...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Music lesson

So tonight we were messing around with the guitar (which is a common thing because Sierra loves playing now) and I showed her the G chord again. I know exactly two chords on guitar and because of that I learned "Down in the Valley" a few years back. It was great entertainment while recovering from the near death experience of birthing Jalen.

I am not a guitar player and I wanted her to see how to strum it, so we got online and found this video. This guy had such cool views on music and how to share with children in a natural way. I thoroughly enjoyed his point of view and figured some other unschoolers would appreciate what he had to say.

That song brings back childhood memories for me, singing with my Mum (though she couldn't sing in tune to save her life). After almost bleeding to death when Jalen was born, I had a road to recovery that involved a lot of rest. I played and sang to my wee babsy boy while resting in bed and it made me feel very connected to life and my children during a very difficult time.

Most recently, we tried to sing and play that song at a gathering Laura hosted for her Scott's birthday. We had some real guitar players that night, who were sweet enough to humor me.:)

So where IS that harmonica? I'm sure it's around here somewhere.....


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More support for Radical Unschoolers

Just wanted to pass this along...
my friend Laura just started an amazing forum for radical unschoolers. It's got a lot of great features and places for discussing the RU lifestyle and philosophy. You can also add people to your "friends" list, leave comments for each other etc...

In fact, it's such a great space I'm thinking about closing down the new lilaguide list and asking everyone to move over there.

So come on over and join the party!! See you there.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I was reading about Nicole Kidman giving birth 7-7-08 (congratulations to them!) and how the baby's name was chosen. In reading about that, my interest was piqued by a quote from the artist Sidney Nolan:

“Art was always to me a means of getting in contact with another world… you could never see that other world and were never told about it, but art seemed to always be kind of touching it.”

In perusing his art (which is fascinating and ethereal with a dark Dali twist and an occasional hint of Picasso to it) I came across information about Ned Kelly and a play I'd really like to watch now. Might be hard to find a DVD of it over here. I swear, all the interesting people got sent to Australia!

His art seemed to lead to all sorts of rich historical references. This piece, connected to the battle of Gallipoli was especially haunting and beautiful. I remember watching the film Gallipoli many years ago and crying my eyes out. I may need to rent that one again, it's an incredible film that very well may have influenced my anti-war views at a tender age.

After I read this article about Nolan, I knew I was in love. His delving into the mythical, his non-conformity, his willingness to experiment with the unusual...all of it awakened a desire to do MORE. He is my muse for today. Oh, and I learned about the poet, Arthur Rimbaud whom Nolan had great admiration for. I found a few of his poems translated online...don't let the first one throw you off, there are others less disgusting (though I admit, I found it highly amusing). Here are some more if you're really interested. I really love this quote by him:

"And again: No more gods! no more gods! Man is King, Man is God!
- But the great Faith is Love!"

So my final question for this morning, was who influenced whom? Which surrealists affected Nolan or was it the other way around? Picasso was born in 1881 and Nolan came along in 1917, while Dali was 1904. Not that these are the only surrealists worth looking at, just two of the artists I thought of while perusing Nolan's work.

This article delved into the surrealist movement in Australia
which has me searching for his piece titled "The secret life of birds".

I'm no expert on surrealism, so I'll leave you with a quote from Salvador Dali:

"There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad."

What WAS the point of sharing all of this? It's connections folks. One little interest or article or reference or new sight or sound can lead to anything and everything. This is how we humans learn. Your children will too...IF you trust them.

Look at this wild connection I found today, all while searching for information on art and Nolan. It's a blog that chronicles the makeup and hair trends from years past. Now THAT'S a connection directly related to my work. Fascinating how these things work eh?:)

Happy connecting-the-dots everyone. That's really what unschooling is all about!

Post Script:
I just now found this as part of an email by Robert Genn, one more connection for the day. Apparently, he wrote this as his personal prayer:

The world's engagement of beauty is my bible,
And Art is my religion.
I come to it as a child.
I add all the grown wisdom I can gather.
Creativity is my salvation.
My easel is the altar.
My paints are the sacraments.
My brush is my soul's movement,
and to do poorly, or not to work, is a sin.