Drop-of-a-Hat Flexibility: Heather Burditt's Interview

Heather and her husband TJ are raising three boys in Vermont. She blogs about her family's radical unschooling life at Swiss Army Wife.

By the time you're finished reading this interview, you will have a totally new image to go with the Star Wars theme.

As Yoda says, “Doo-doo or doo-doo not... there is no try.”

It all happened a long time ago, in a bathroom far, far away...

1. How long have you been homeschooling (or if finished, how long did you homeschool)?

We’ve been homeschooling Skylar, who is 10, since January 27, 2006. We began the journey to Radical Unschooling shortly thereafter. Milo who is 4.5 has never been to school and Phoenix will turn 1 on July 9th. Sometimes, I get ahead of myself and think we’ve been homeschooling for 4.5 years, rather than 3.5. It feels like longer, but not in a bad way, just in a “Wow, this lifestyle is so awesome, I feel like we’ve been living it forever!” kind of way.

For Mother’s Day my husband gave me a framed copy of the withdrawal letter I wrote to my oldest son’s then principal. That’s how I know the exact date.

2. One of the main benefits of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility it allows. Can you give us a few examples of how this freedom and flexibility benefited you (your family)?

Our family loves to travel. We love vacationing. Seriously, who doesn’t? We vacation so much that it doesn’t even feel like vacation anymore. It just feels like life. If the children were in school we would literally have to ask someone else permission to go on vacation! Plus we’d be limited to a certain number of days! Vacationing off-season also affords us the ability to travel more often.

Being flexible is a HUGE benefit of unschooling. We can make a decision or change our minds at the drop of a hat. If something really interesting is happening, we can jump in the car and go! Recently an empty warehouse caught fire in downtown, we were able to jump in the car and find a good place to watch it burn. The boys thought that was pretty darn cool!

Sometimes, when TJ takes a lunch break we can all go for a swim, or bowling, or for ice cream. Flexibility gives our family more opportunities to connect with each throughout the week.

3. Another benefit of homeschooling is the fun factor. Can you give us a few examples of some especially fun times you had as a result of homeschooling?

Believe it or not this is a hard question to answer. Our fun is a result of our lives, not necessarily of homeschooling. You could say that every moment of every day is part of our homeschooling. It never stops, so long as our lives continue.

Some of the most fun things we do, ironically enough, include other unschoolers. Conferences are so much fun and so magical for us all.

We do lots of fun things and take lots of fun daytrips. One of MY favorite things about that is that we can go during the week when most kids are in school. Places that are less crowded tends to make things a lot more fun.

4. We all have funny experiences while homeschooling. Can you share one of yours with us?

Oddly enough, this is a hard question to answer too! Since we are ALWAYS unschooling, funny moments just happen. Here is one of my favorite stories as of late.

TJ and I sometimes joke that as soon as our children were able to sword fight, they were making light saber sounds. Star Wars is pretty popular around here. Milo eventually learned to hum the theme song, and he did it often.

Then one day, after using the toilet, TJ and I hear him singing from the bathroom, to the tune of the Star Wars theme, “I went pee and poop – wipe my butt.” That was absolutely one of the most hilarious things that had happened in a very long time and we love sharing the story. Milo loves it too!

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