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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, August 29, 2008

Alaska in the news today!!

Front page news today pivoting around a small town in Alaska called Wasilla. Wasilla Alaska is a place with special memories for me and several family members and old friends still reside there.

The news is all about Alaska governor Sara Palin, a rebel, an outsider, a convention-bucker and the Republican nominee for Vice President. Holy shit!

She's a highly popular governor in Alaska, the place I was raised in. McCain was brilliant to choose her, I must say. Even die-hard liberals like me are questioning what to do. I don't agree with several of her political views, yet this woman has not been afraid (at her own risk) to expose corruption, take on some big dogs and basically do what she believes is best no matter the consequences. That's rare in politics. She seems more libertarian than anything really.

I just got off the phone with my sister Heidi, who works at a lovely coffee shop owned by some of our childhood friends called Pandemonium. Apparently the media has descended upon Wasilla already and there is quite a hubub at the cafe. Total mayhem.

They've been interviewing people at the cafe of course (Heidi used to go to church with Sara but she declined to tell that to interviewers because she wanted to stick to non-personal stuff) so if you're watching CNN tonight you just might see a radical unschooling Mum talking about the topic!!:)

It's all rather strange because Wasilla is such a small town and people just don't know much about Alaska anyway. It will be interesting to watch this all unfold.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A temporary pet

We have those from time to time. Most recently Sierra had a carry-along home for several crickets and a frog. They came with us on the birthday campout and amused her friends greatly. Their wing rubbing songs were too loud for me at night, but she didn't seem to mind!

I found the small bin that housed the crickets, under the deck opened up one day. When I asked her about it she explained that they needed to go free and she didn't want to keep them locked up anymore.

This next animal will be harder for her to release.

Our friend Jess had a party for her two sweet kiddos last week. During the event (which I missed most of due to work) their dog caught and slightly injured a baby rabbit. Someone managed to save it from the dog but nobody really wanted to be responsible for the rabbit (imagine that) and Sierra was looking at us with those big googly eyes of hers saying "pleeeez?"

I figured I could research wild rabbits enough to give it a chance at survival and then release it, so we brought her home. Sierra dubbed her "Sol".

She's the cutest thing EVER. Of course.

Doesn't this picture look peaceful? Baby bunny drinking milk and all....NOT! I bought replacement milk figuring she might be too stressed to eat or drink. She was. But she also didn't
want to drink the milk! I actually force-fed her for the first two days. Just enough to make sure she didn't get dehydrated or nutrient deficient. Lotsa fun shoving milk down a rabbits throat.

On Monday night she ate a little bit of lettuce. On Tuesday she ate whatever we would throw in the bin! Yesterday she started trying to run away from us. She went from docile to feisty in no time. The injury on her back is healing up and it probably won't be too much longer before she can return to the wild where she belongs.

Sweet Sol....

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Clark's Creek

Some of us spent an afternoon up at Clark's Creek recently. It's pretty remote and we have the creek to ourselves. Throw in some crawdad-hungry kids, watercolor paints and a few millipedes and you have a recipe for fun.

The water flows over solid rock at this part of the creek. It's a truly serene and beautiful location. I see photo opportunities everywhere I turn. Amazing.

A few of the pools are deep enough to jump in.

Rachel decides that standing IN the water is preferable to encountering any more of these creatures...

...millipedes. They seem to find their way onto our backpack or blanket every time. Really cool, longish millipedes with tickly,wiggly legs.

The reason Tyler loves this place is the crawdads though. This one is headed for a frying pan.

A teensy, weensy, adorable salamander. You've got to be fast to catch these guys!

Jess has some really fabulous ideas....not the least being about paint.
She brings watercolors for the kids to paint rocks when they go to the creek. I thought it was so awesome and brought some along to join the fun this time.

It's truly poetic, watching paint slide down the rocks. La kept touching a loaded brush to the creek surface to see little whirls of paint dancing through the water. It was a graceful ballet of color.


The colors here really make my mouth water. For real. Is that not the yummiest looking art? Temporary art. It rained the last couple of days so I'm wondering how they look now. There's not many things better than fresh paint. Especially fresh paint at a creek in summertime in Tennessee....oh yes.

I had the privilege of not only capturing Samuels first crawdad catch on camera, but his first crawdad PINCH as well. "Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh" is the caption here. The crawdad was wisely falling off his hand at this point...

Tyler heats up his cooking pan and fixes himself a fine lunch, southern style. Quite independent that one. We joke that he's the eight-year-old version of "Survivor Man".

Large rocks make the most lovely splashes. Do you know how many attempts it took me to capture this?? argh.
Reason number 252 as to why film is better than digital....no pause when you hit the shutter button. argh again.

I like my film. I'm not being stubborn about the digital thing. Really. I like my film. That's all.

Hope everyone is sucking up the joys of summer with all it's lovely creeks and sunshine and colors!

Monday, August 25, 2008

WJHL this morning

I did a style segment for a local show called "Daytime Tri-cities" on WJHL this morning. It lasted all of about four minutes but I had a great time doing it!:) The above is my before/after pics of Theresa that they had on air. You couldn't see the colors very well so I thought I'd post them here.

There wasn't enough time for them to show the other pics I'd done for the segment. Here's my friend Sarah showcasing a funky look I created for her in fall colors:

Jen sporting a softer look:

My interpretation of the new fall colors on myself:

Hosts Amy Lynn and Morgan King are super enthusiastic and fun. Check out their new live show on WJHL (channel 6 for those of you with Comcast in the Tri-cities area) Monday and Friday mornings at 10am.

Go check out my segment and let me know whatcha think!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Paul Bishop photo shoot

Results from the makeup and hair I did for the very lovely Kim. Photos by Paul Bishop of studio 5 zero 1.

Jessica's Birthday

We celebrated our friend Jessica's 40th birthday with a campout recently. A surprise campout actually! Her husband Rob wanted to do something extra special so we all collaborated secretly and planned behind her back.:) It wasn't easy. We all get together so frequently now that it's really HARD to keep a secret like that.

But we did it. We got everything set up, thanks to Laura's fabulous organizational skills. Then we waited....while doing some goofing off of course.


Jess thought it was a bit strange to see some familiar kids running through the woods when they pulled up. Rob had her convinced he needed to stop and use the bathroom there.

Can't you just see the "Oh my gosh" look on her face?

Some of the gals getting ready to swim.

The rock climbing crew. They loved challenging themselves up this small cliff near the river.

Silas and Jalen take a break on a rock. Two froglets enjoying the sun and water.

They swam so much their muscles ached for a few days afterwards. I love the look on Tyler's face here.

My honey comes down after work to hang out with our motley crew.

The beautiful photo collage Laura made for Jess. Later on we viewed a slideshow that Rob had put together. It showed pics of Jess all throughout her life...the 80's hair was awesome!! Totally tubular. Radical. You know, like so kewl.

Can you say pyromaniacs?

Oh yeah...nothing like some roasting marshmallows, warm fire and good music to top off the day. Except maybe a good beer.

Fine entertainment from the musicians. Above is Heather (who really needs to record her own CD soon!! hint, hint), below the Lost Mountain String Band.

Then the glowsticks.

Another magic gathering with beautiful people. I love making great memories.:)
Happy, happy birthday Jessica. I'm glad you were born and I'm glad to be part of your celebration!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Amy Steinberg concert! Oh yeah...

This actually happened one week ago today...

Jen, George and Trevor came up from Hendersonville for the day. Jen shows up with sewing machine in hand and starts a project in my dining room. If you knew her, this would not surprise you. Oh no.

Sierra and George are doing the very sisterly act of playing with makeup. They are so artful with it. I love watching them play with this medium.

Alice and her crew show up at some point. Then Amy.

The project is finished before we head out to the concert. Tadah! It's a Link themed quilt for Jalen (aka; Scott). He proclaims it "the most awesome blanket EVER" and has not left it behind ever since.

Did I mention he is Link's number one fan?

Amy takes a break from singing and Kelly takes a break from conference planning, for a brief moment. I mean BRIEF. Kelly was off to the conference site the next morning, after being up late with me.

George gets Amy to sign her CD. She was SOoooo tickled when Amy opened the concert with "Exactly", one of George's favorite songs.

Don't fall in boys!:)

Jess and Rob (who were kind enough to host this awesome party) have a wonderful waterfall and pond for tadpole searches. You know when a tadpole is sighted because Tyler let's out the most joyful shouts!

I was glad to see my sweet older boys together again. The kids miss their older brother terribly. We're happy for him to be following his own life path though. I can't imagine anything better.

Some wood nymphs swirl through the peripheral, dancing and flowing to the beat. Aren't they pretty?

The setting was perfect. Jess's house is tucked into the woods and we had an idyllic surrounding for music, laughter, dancing, eating and traipsing down trails.

I can just see Amy's fierce, goddesss, warrior spirit here. The sun was going down and everything was lit with that lovely warm light of evening.

Sometimes words are worth a thousand pictures.:)
You gotta love her guitar case.

Some of the goddesses present. It looks like I'm trying to molest someone! Sheesh.
There was some good energy that night....topped off with a walk up to the cow pasture in dim moonlight. It was magic.

Is that an orb I see, right above Kass and Amy?

I love these crazy people! Crazy in the best kind of way.:) The house concert was a fabulous day/night of feasting, dreaming and connecting. Once again.
Thank you Jess and Rob for hosting this amazing gathering and thank you Amy..for being the glorious soul that you are!