Okay, doesn't this photo just make you want to go spend time with these fun-loving folks? I love it and it was the first photo Laurette sent to me. Then she had second thoughts and figured she'd also send a photo in a more 'normal' pose. I have included that one at the end of this post. But really now, don't you think this one is the best?
Laurette is known as The Unplugged Mom and has her own weekly radio show by the same name. On her show she talks passionately about education, homeschooling and freedom.(NOTE: 8/19/2012 Links removed by request.)
I recently listened to two shows where she interviewed Wendy Priesnitz and Linda Dobson, who have also participated in this blog project. So if you've read Linda and Wendy's answers to questions here, you can now go to Laurette's site to listen her interviews where both ladies share loads of useful and inspirational information based on their many years of experience.
Laurette has many more shows on her site as well as other helpful information for homeschoolers, so "unplug from the ordinary" and connect with Laurette.
But first, read on to see how her family managed to morph A Midsummer Night's Dream and Harry Potter into their own unique skit...
1. How long have you been homeschooling?
I've never homeschooled. I've never schooled the kids at all.
I've been schooled myself by the NYC system, but I survived and now I'm healthy and cured. Whew!
I have been a parent since August 28th 2001 and helping my kids learn about the world through, life and literature, nature and nouns, divinity and decimals, humanity and history etc... have always been a natural extension of parenting. For me, Mothering includes math and much more...
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)?
The fact that we are not enslaved to a system that dictates what, when, where, how and by whom my children learn - allows us to enjoy the liberty, peace, inner joy and freedom that is supposed to accompany being human. We are free to unlimited potential in our learning and living experience. I recognize this freedom on behalf of my kids, but thankfully the kids do not know any other way, so freedom is simply part of their lives. Having unlimited access to fill our intellectual cups until they floweth over, and then filling them again... this is the essence of freedom; and thus the essence of being alive.
Without the walls of a classroom or boundaries of a schedule, our time is free and flexible enough to enjoy a solar eclipse at 1:00 am or watch a 5:15 am sunrise on the beach. We can enjoy the museums without crowds or take a month long road trip through a dozen states and linger as long as we like at any given place. We are free to explore the rich tapestry that being alive offers in the depth that can only be truly appreciated through living it, touching, feeling, tasting, smelling and hearing an experience...beyond (albeit sometime including) the one-dimensional interpretation of some elusive board of strangers in text.
Without the invisible prison that a canned curriculum imposes, we are free to linger on whatever captivates us for as we like and truly absorb all of the richness of any particular topic that excites us.
Rather than be rushed into memorizing Egyptian trivia within a 25 minute space, then regurgitating that trivia as if we're on some sort of game show circus - we can explore the ancient mysteries for months if we so choose; and in incredible detail by visiting websites, museums, libraries etc..
Rather than examine rock samples in a lab, or see historical tools behind a glass case, we are free to spend the day with a real life archeological team on an actual dig site - and not have to worry about being marked 'absent' from class.
It's hard to truly capture or pack the reality of true freedom and flexibility that exists outside of school - but that's really just the point - like life, it cannot be explained, it can only be experienced.
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?
This one is hard for me. Our life is just generally really fun. On a daily basis we laugh and play and explore. We read together, we learn together, we travel together.
I can recall many sunny afternoons walking through the park, laying on a picnic blanket, flying kites or riding bikes together. I can recall many winter days sitting by the fire reading some whimsical novel or acting out scenes from our favorite play.
During a snowstorm last year we had a pancake breakfast on the living room floor and giggled uncontrollably for long periods of time, simply because we were making funny faces and inappropriate noises :).
Recently we put on a skit acting out scenes from Midsummer Night's Dream and everyone wanted to be Puck so we all took turns being Puck, and it somehow morphed into Puck meets Harry Potter and before you knew it we had the whole family involved in this bizarre role-play where we switched back and forth between Shakespearean characters and characters from Harry Potter. King Oberan became Draco Malfoy, Titania became Hagrid, Puck became Hermione and other ridiculous improvisation comedic situations.
There are so many more fun-family times it's really hard to single any out. It's just part of our typical day. And this doesn't even include the parties and field trips and sports and more that we enjoy with friends and in the community.
I can tell you for certain that we love summer baseball season! Both my boys play and we bake under the hot southwestern midsummer sun, but dang it - there is something incredibly wonderful about spending a summer evening at the baseball field cheering on your sons team!
Fun is life, life is fun. When you are not locked into the cattle drive that is the processed life, fun ceases to be something to achieve or plan for, and just becomes part of your existence.
4. We all have funny experiences while homeschooling. Can you share one of yours with us?
Again, it's hard to pick out just one. There was the time my three year old wanted to bring home a duck feather and I was a bit skeeved out by her touching it so I said it was dirty. She said "we'll wash it" Scrambling for excuses I said "you can't get it wet, you'll ruin it" and she said "but it's a DUCK feather!" and my attempt at logic was defeated. We brought home the duck feather and I overcame my germ-o-phobia.
Another time my 7 year old son in the Nature Exchange at the Zoo corrected the park ranger in his math. He laughed at first and told my son he was wrong. My son insisted and said "No! You don't understand, I'm really good at math and you are not right!" A double check revealed my son was in fact correct and the blushing park ranger laughed and was forced to concede. It was my sons adamant and confident insistence that made the situation very funny.
There are dozens of funny moments but I think the funniest are the ones that every home educating parent experiences that while funny in hindsight are embarrassing in the moment. It's when your kids do something that is so blatantly and obviously out of balance with 'norm' that it draws immediate and pressing attention.
We find ourselves blushing and looking around, scrambling in our mind for a way to compensate for the seemingly out-of-ordinary situation. But then the juxtaposition of the light-hearted and free behavior of our kids against the dull, glazed over flow of the mainstream, makes us remember why we do what we do.
There are moments, like when my 6 year old stood up in a shopping cart and began to bellow loudly "Hey there Deliliah" in the middle of Target.... or when my 9 year old daughter decided that an impromptu gymnastics floor-show was necessary while waiting in a building lobby, or when my 8 year old son asks a perfect stranger in Toys R Us if he would recommend one Lego set over another.
It is in these moments that I notice they've shaken up the system and otherwise bored-to-tears "normal" folks begin to look at me for some explanation. I shrug and smile and say "We home educate" :)
And we wouldn't have it any other way.
Labels: Homeschooling Family Interviews