Learning Isn't About Feeding Kids Factoids: Kelli Traaseth's Interview

Today we get to meet Kelli Traaseth and her family.

She lives in Georgia with her husband Tim and their three children. Here they are in a picture taken last Fall when they went to see the musical Wicked. You can read about her family's adventures at her wonderfully-named blog Our Joyful Life.

WARNING: If you do visit her blog, make sure you move any drinking glasses and breakables a safe distance away from your computer area because you are going to quickly find yourself up out of your chair singing and dancing.

At least, I hope I'm not the only one that does that. If you're reading this blog, I know you like to have fun, so I know you did it too. Right? Right?

Well, anyway, read on to discover what Kelli learned about the futility of feeding kids factoids...

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

We've been unschooling for 8 years, since 2001. Alec was 8 at the time, Abbi was 6 and Kyra was 4. I can't believe it's been 8 years!

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)?

Gosh, there are just so many benefits for us from living a free flexible life.

My kids have been able to delve deeply into their passions, not worrying about time limits or constraints from a school schedule. I've seen such happiness and joy in their faces when they've accomplished something they're doing. It's just wonderful.

They are able to get the sleep they need, when they want it. If they want to stay up later, they can. If there's something going on early in the morning, we can do that too. Just last week my daughter Kyra asked if I wanted to get up to see the sunrise. It's so cool to see the choices they make.

Also, my husband's job has changed a few times in the years that we've been unschooling so not being tied to school has been so helpful in our moves. And.. those moves have brought us new friendships and closer to other friends. We are now near lots of other unschooling families and we're loving it!

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?

There are so many fun things! One that really comes to mind is playing video games together, we've played several online games together. Playing those games has been a blast, helping and adventuring together is so much fun. We have these wonderful experiences to talk about and connect over now.

Going to unschooling conferences has also been an awesome fun event that we've experienced. When we traveled to different conferences we were able to sight see the surrounding areas, from the Grand Canyon when we went to a conference in Albuquerque, NM, to whale watching when we went to a Boston conference.

Playing and having fun is a major component in our life, we wouldn't have it any other way!

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

A life changing event that we laugh at now took place before I found unschooling.

We had just started homeschooling and I thought it would be a good idea to do unit studies. It was February and I thought we'd do a Mardi Gras study. I looked up all sorts of info on Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Fat Tuesday.. all of that. We read about it, we watched videos and we made things. I was pretty proud of myself.

Then someone asked me how our homeschooling was going. I responded with an excited, "Great!"

I turned to the kids and said, "Wasn't the Mardi Gras unit great??"

Looking for a resounding nod or yes from the kids, I got a quizzical look, from all 3kids. "Remember Mardi Gras? New Orleans?"


"Remember... we read about the parties, the church stuff, the celebrations?"

Still nothing...

"Remember the masks we made?"

Then the girls both replied with "oh yeah!"

Alec, my son, still was looking at me with a "what the heck are you talking about" look.

Right there I saw and understood that I needed to find some other way to "homeschool".

So it's not really laughing funny, yet to us now we see I was pretty funny trying to get my kids to blurt out some factoids or information that I fed them. They showed me!

I then went on to read more about homeschooling and I found unschooling. I'm so glad for the whole experience.

We laugh every day with each other. Seeing connections in what we do from day to day is one of the most fun things about living this unschooling life. :)

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