Discovering Walt Disney

26 Sep

Dear Unschoolers,
This week was our daughters 9th birthday.  She decided to celebrate it by bringing her best friend Kelly, her  sister and brother to Disney Land.  The girls got Rock Star make overs and spent the day going on rides and eating junk food.  LOL we had a great day!!


I decided it would be a great week to immerse ourselves in learning all about Walt Disney, all about his childhood, how he got his start as a cartoonist, how he overcame so called failures, when and how he created Disney Land and so on.


Already the girls wrote stories about their favorite ride at Disney Land, they wrote a story about their favorite Disney Character.  We watched the first half of a documentary about Walt Disney s life and today we had a discussion about one of his so called failures.  Walt could have given up, but instead he saw it as an opportunity to try something new and grow from that hard time.

I’m amazed how in one subject there’s so many lessons to learn!

Autumn Begins

26 Sep

Hello Unschoolers,

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, we were busy with Summer Fun!  Last weekend we attending Guru Singhs Fall Equinox class in L.A. and I felt eager to celebrate the coming of this new season.  Even today I stepped out side and could feel the change in the air, that sweet Fall breeze and leaves have begun to fall from the trees.

With a new season comes renewal, new ideas, healing, letting go of the old and bringing in the new.

My husband and I spoke last week and decided this season I will focus on core studies with the kids.  Each week or month we pick a new theme and dive into it.  For instance… if we learn about certain country, we will cook food from the country, visit a museum about that country, meet people from that country, watch documentaries about that country, read books about that country, make crafts that support traditions in this country.

The possibilities are endless!!!

I used to think that Unschooling meant we don’t actively teach any subject, but now I believe Unschooling means we open up the real world to them and learn all we can.  My narrow thinking in the past made me feel confused about how to Unschool.

For all Unschoolers, a new season means it’s a fresh start.  You can breath life into your home and transform how you work with your kids.  Try getting input from your children too, ask them what subjects they want to learn about and work with those.

Happy Autumn!!

Playing In The Bay With Children!

27 Jun

Yesterday we had such a wonderful day, we took our three children to China Beach.  We got there around three, the kids immediately joined in on a tour of the old shrimp fishing village.  They finished the tour with a fun activity, drawing, and then each of them received a Junior Rangers Badge.  It’s amazing how exciting a Silver Colored Badge can be to a child.

Afterwords many of our close family members joined us for a beach Picnic, and a swim at the beach.

As I watched our  children play with their many cousins, in the Bay, I tried to see that moment through the eyes of the children.  All the kids played in the water, laughing, splashing, playing, digging, not caring for a moment what they looked like in their swimsuits.  And all the adults laid up on the shore, sitting, laughing, talking, but not playing.

I wondered, “Should I be like an adult in the moment, or like a child?”  I decided to join in on the fun by getting into my swim suite, and playing in the water with my 2 year old son.  Actually I didn’t have much of a choice, I had to keep up with my son, he’s 2 and fearless in water.

As I played in the water with my children and their cousins, I saw little thoughts pass through my head, “I wonder how I look in my swimsuit, I wish I could go sit and lay out, I don’t want to get wet.”   Every time I saw one of these thoughts pass by I giggled at myself, I mean how funny it is that when we become adults we begin to think these thoughts.  I just put those thought behind and played some more.

I think playing takes practice for us adults.  I think one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves, and one of the best examples we can give our kids is to play and explore with them.  So next time you begin to think those rigid adult thoughts, just set them aside and see that moment through the eyes of your children.  You may end up really enjoying yourself, just like I did that day!

Finding Your Families Recipe

25 May

Over the past few years I’ve struggled with the fact that my eldest daughter wasn’t coming to reading yet.  This was one of the big things that attracted me to Unschooling.  I read story after story about children naturally coming to reading from ages 4,  up to 14.  Either way eventually each child read.

After a talk with my teacher Guru Singh, my next step suddenly became very clear.  Although he agreed in the Unschooling principles of allowing children to learn how they learn, he seemed to feel that there was a level of fear happening for my daughter.  That in the past I had pushed her so much to learn reading, and now she was scared to even try.  I must admit from ages 5 to 7 I tried every technique I could imagine.  Now at age 9 she came to me and said, “Mom I’m different, my brain is different, I can’t read, I just can’t.”

That was all I had to hear, now I knew it was time to shift gears.

I ended up talking to my Step Mother whom is a firm believer in Public School (yucky)  Although we disagree on that point, she did have some help full advice.  She told me to start from the basic.  The goal was to start with Capitol letters, she would learn the names and sounds of each letter and we don’t move on until she masters them, this will build confidence.  Then we do lower case letters, and then we move onto the Bob Books.  And that is just what we did.  I’m happy to say it’s been two months and she is already on the beginner Bob Books.  We have had a lot of fun.  We dived into work books, we use a white board, play letter games, watch letter videos, and do flash card.

And I must admit there was so much joy in my heart when I heard her read her first Bob Book.  And my 6 year old wanted to do this with her, and she too is beginning reading.

Last week she said, “Mom, to read you must feel it in your heart.  I feel the ABC’s in my heart, and a little reading in my heart.”  When I asked her if she wanted to continue to learn reading, she said yes!

I hope this story encourages you to find the recipe that works for each of your children.  If that means doing a hands off approach then so be it, and if that means having more structure then go ahead and do that. Every child is different and need different things.

With love and Joy,

Guru Shakti

In my opinion this is just what Unschooling is, it’s the ability to do education on our terms.  It’s the joy of seeing what our child needs and guiding them to it in a way that delights them.  A year ago I would have never thought I’d pull out work books, but now I see that sometimes work books have their place too.

Family Meetings!

2 Mar

I recently read a great book called, “Deschooling Gently.”  Id have to say it’s my bible of Deschooling at the current moment.  I just love the content, and all the great lessons she shares in re training your schoolish mind, and taking on a new way of life with our children.

One great lesson is to have a weekly family meeting.  I decided to take that advice and decided to make a simple outline for our family meetings.

In my opinion this weekly meeting would be a check in for the whole family.  A chance for everyone to share ideas and plans with one another.

Here’s a list of topics we talk about in our meeting:

1.  What are our family goals for this year.  Like what kinds of things do we want to do, where do we want to visit, what do we want to achieve together?

2.  What do you want to do this week?  Everyone gets to add to the list.

3.  What do you want to learn this week?  Everyone gets to add to the list.

4.  What has happened this week that you really likes, or didn’t like so much?

(The rules for the  meeting are simple, “No one can interrupt when someone else is sharing.”

Go ahead and come up with your own ideas for your family meeting.  Give it a spin and let me know how it turns out!

Also if you want to leave a comment could you leave it on my blog, Thank you so much!!!

Love,

Guru Shakti

Play Play And More Play

27 Jan

As I sit in the living room with my 2 year old son, I can hear little whispers from the next room.  I already know what’s going on because this is one of many morning that our two daughters rolled right out of bed and into a world of play.  They carefully set up each doll.  We don’t have much furniture for the dolls but they don’t seem to mind, instead they improvise by creating doll beds out of wash cloths and a pool out of a big bowl.

I’m sure you can all relate to me when I say, “There is nothing more beautiful than the sound of children having fun and playing make believe.  This is the most powerful way that children learn.  They play, and learn, play  more, and learn more.  They get to pretend, try on new roles in life.  One minute my daughters are fashion designers, and the next they are farmers.  And I love the voices they create for each character.

This month I’ve been doing a lot of growing, a lot of re organizing of our family life.  And I’ve pretty much left the kids to play.  Believe me, they don’t mind at all…  they are happy happy as can be.

Isn’t that what parenting is all about, to encourage happiness!

So what are my to do’s today?  I have some things to get done and then I will be playing dolls for about an hour.  How could you connect even more with your child today?  How could you jump into a world of play and make believe with them?

Love and Joy,

Guru Shakti

Keeping Track of Progress

21 Jan

One thing I realized really quickly in Unschooling, is that progress looks very different than it would in school. It’s even different than traditional Homeschooling. Why? Because we are not following a curriculum, and we don’t have lesson plans nicely laid out for our kids.

At first this was really hard for me to let go of. There was a lot of comfort in seeing daily progress. I’d sit them down, make them do their work, and once it was done I felt a sense of achievement. Even if I had to force them to do the work I still felt like I was a good mom for making them do what needed to be done.

Now that we are an Unschooling family I wanted to have some way of charting our progress. I ended up buying a nice spiral binder with lined paper. Each day we go about our life without much thought of, “How can progress happen?”

At the end of the day, after the kids are in bed, I sit down and write out what we did that day. I try to remember all the little things that occurred, where learning was involved. It amazes me just how much we are learning together. In fact learning is happening all the time, and you wouldn’t see it happening if you weren’t being consciously aware of it.

I really enjoy recalling what happened in our childrens lives each day. It’s re training my brain to see what is happening instead of what’s not happening.

Give it a try, I bet you will love it!

Yogi Bhajan and our Unschooled life!

31 Dec

Hello dear friends,

Some of you may wonder why I wear a turban, why Dan and I do what we do?  Well here’s the answer.  We follow the life teachings of ancient yogis  These are teachings passed down from Yogi to Yogi, the power of Kundalini Yoga.  This form of yoga life style was held secret until Yogi Bhajan a Master of kundalini brought it to the west.  We use this ancient wisdom in our modern life, in our Unschooled life every day.   Here’s his amazing and beautiful story.

Yogi Bhajan touched the hearts and opened the minds of people in all walks of life. Equally at home in a boardroom or teaching in a park sitting on the grass, he was mentor to statesmen, politicians, and CEOs and confidante of religious leaders, media personalities, and simple seekers.

Yogi Bhajan’s motto was “It’s not the life that matters, it’s the courage that you bring to it.” His bottom line, printed on the back of his calling card: “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.” And Yogi Bhajan lived it well.

Yogi Bhajan didn’t just teach physical exercise, meditation, and yogic breathing techniques as such, he taught people how to live, how to relate to each other, and how to relate to God. The 3HO way of life offered an alternative to the drug culture prevalent among young people at the time.

He taught students how to access their intuitive awareness, how to experience higher consciousness without drugs, and how to build a future for themselves and their families. Dedicated to promoting the welfare and equality of women everywhere, Yogi Bhajan inspired women to lead, uplift, and heal through their inherent grace and power.

Although he himself was a devoted Sikh, Yogi Bhajan never tried to convert anyone. However, his example of unshakable faith and commitment to God and Guru was contagious, and many of his students recognized they were destined to walk through life on the Sikh path. In 1971, at Amritsar, India, a prominent Sikh leader honored him by giving him the first-ever title of “Siri Singh Sahib,” with the responsibility of establishing Sikh Dharma in the West. While promoting world peace throughout his very active lifetime, he met with religious and spiritual leaders all over the world.

Yogi Bhajan left his body on October 6, 2004, at the age of 75. To many people, he hasn’t actually “died” because his presence is still so vibrantly with us. His divine wisdom and inspiration live on in the enlightened legacy of the vast Library of Teachings he created to serve us now, and for countless generations to come.

All information on this page summarized from Khalsa, Shakti Parwha Kaur. Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power. New York: Berkeley Publishing Group, 1996.

Who is your family?

31 Dec

For a long time I felt envious of one of my Unschooling friends and her family.  Her family has a different quality than ours and I continued to attempt to make our family like that.  Each time feeling more resistance in my family life and in my relationship with my children.

For instance this friend of mine does not allow computer games in the house, she allows her children to have computer and video games as a treat when they go out to a cafe.  I thought that sounded to nice.  But for my family that was no good.  Computer happens to be my eldest daughters favorite thing to use in her learning and education.  Plus I have a toddler so when will I have a chance to sit quietly at a cafe with my three kids?

My point is sharing this is that each family has a personality.  One family is different from the next.  Some families are high energy, love to joke, love to be silly, other families are more calm and like to be in a more serious type of manner, and some are both.  One family my dislike technology and want to be out doors a lot, or reading more often.  Another family may love technology and use it daily.  And, one family may have spirituality as a very important part of life, while another family finds it not as important.

All of these things play a huge role in shaping a family.  And once you discover the personality of your family, you can find what will work and what will not work for your families Unschooled life.

Here’s an example of notes I took just last night…

My family is fun and up beat.  We enjoy joking but also respect a balance of quiet and calm.  We find a lot of joy in creative en devours, We are a yoga family, living by a yogic life style.  Spirituality is at the front of our life style, very important.  Our personality is loving, friendly, wile, quiet, and sometimes very loud.  I think people see our family this way, and I would hope people see Dan and I as Wise Adult Parents.

We have two family philosophies, “Don’t be a human, be a leader of humans, ” and, “Sharing Joy is sharing love with another.”

Here’s four questions to answer for yourself!

1.  What makes your family unique?

2.  What is your families personality?

3.  How would someone see your family?  How would you want them to see you?

4.  What is your families personal philosophy?

Have fun with this and re discover who your family really is!  Don’t try to be something you are not meant to be.

Love,

Guru Shakti

School within the Industrial, Information, and Cenceptual Age!

16 Dec

Last night while listening to the recording of the Unschooling conference of 2010, the speaker dived into the coolest topic.

100 years ago our world was very different. We were in the thick of the industrial age. With the Industrial age schools became basically what they are today. The point was to create respectful, knowledgeable, and law abiding citizens who could work at a job, follow the mold and not try to break out of the box too much. Basic Curriculum were made for all kids to follow. (That means somebody decided what was and wasn’t important to learn, and started teaching it to our kids.) It drives me crazy to think that our education system has changed very very little over the past 100 years, yet our world has transformed.

After the Industrial Age we quickly moved into the information age. This came with the fast growing technology, and computers. We became more valuable by memorizing and learning lots of information.

So what’s happening now? We are swiftly moving into the conceptual age, but 97% of the population still is being educated for the information age. Here’s the challenge. Our schools are still teaching us information for the industrial and information age, but those jobs are becoming obsolete. Most of those careers are either gone, computers took their place, or we have moved them over seas, we out source them.

What about all those millions of teens graduating, going to collage, only to find out the jobs they were studying for are no where to be found? Most will be un pleasantly surprised and have to make a lot of big changes in their career choices.

So what does this all mean? You see the Conceptual age is emerging and we are quickly seeing skills that once seemed un important, becoming very valuable. In fact many experts say the right brain which is Random, Intuitive, Holistic, Subjective, and creativity will be the source of great success for any individual, instead of the left Logical, Sequential, Rational, Analytical, Objective part of our brain, which was used way more in the information and Industrial age.

I can see it first hand in my own children. My two daughters are creative beings, as all children are. But instead of trying to shove information down their throat, we use creativity to explore any topic, any subject. It’s in this very creative way that they are learning so much. Believe me I tried the typical sit down and learn method. I tried spoon feeding them schoolish ideas, and quickly realized it wasn’t going to work for these kids. Not only does it not work for my children but now I see this is the same experience that millions of parents are having with their own kids, all over the world. We are not alone, at all!!!!!

So many parents are taking their kids out of schools, and into home schooling. And now many of those parents are moving into Unschooling after learning how beneficial it is. It is a way of learning that really sets our kids up for this Conceptual age. They really learn to trust in themselves!

I could go on forever about these topics but instead of doing that I will leave you with my point. “The world is shifting quickly, we are approaching 6 billion people. The people who will really thrive are those who have wonderful and innovative ideas to benefit humanity. It’s time to think out side the box as parents, support our children passions, and have a whole lot of Faith and Trust, not fear and worry.”