Weekend Review: Breathing a Sigh of Relief

Early this week, I realized just how close standardized testing and evaluations are, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Remember that panic I went through a couple months ago? Well, I had a slight relapse. Homeschooling in Pennsylvania can be a bit stressful because of all the requirements we have to deal with, but being an unschooler here is new to me, and I started freaking out with worry over how we’re going to comply with these rigid laws. Our state requires us to keep portfolios with work samples, and since my kids are more hands-on, I became quite fretful.

I even went against every instinct I have about learning and started having the kids do an activity with me everyday, just so I’d have some sort of work samples. They really didn’t mind it, as we just incorporated a lot of what we learned from our nature walk on Saturday and went from there. On Monday, we examined, drew, and labelled a wild onion that Arianna brought home. We also studied some moss that Bailey brought home and discovered that moss does not have actual roots but little root-like structures called rhizoids. Arianna actually got really into it and went on to dissect a pine cone, a nut, and a wild potato from our outing. We never even knew that wild potatoes existed before this. I mentioned to her that the root of a yellow flower she was looking at looked like a little potato. She cut it in half, and we smelled it…definitely a potato. Google confirmed our suspicions.


The kids also painted little wooden butterfly cutouts.


On Tuesday, we discussed the differences between plants and animals, and the kids each drew their own version of a plant/animal hybrid. Dillon and Devin have been playing WOW often, and Arianna is still into her theatrical makeup. We made fruit salad for dinner that day, so the kids had a great time helping me cut fruit. (Actually, I didn’t have to cut any of it- they did it all!)


Wednesday we watched a cute YouTube video of a photosynthesis rap song. Afterwards, we discussed the root words of photosynthesis and chlorophyll, and the kids made word scrambles using plant vocabulary words. The kids enjoyed watching a documentary about insects on Netflix called “Microcosmos.” We’ve also been reading Farmer Boy and have been discussing the many responsibilities of pioneer children. I’m hoping this will help to curtail their whining over their chores…
Wednesday night some of the kids went to Kingdom Builders, and Arianna went to youth group. I had nursery duty, so I stayed in there with Kenzie.


On Wednesday evening, I got some exciting news…I found an evaluator who also has ten kids and is an unschooler. It was like a big weight lifted off of my shoulders. Part of the reason I’ve been so nervous about work samples is because of evaluations. I’ve always turned in extremely thick portfolios before, and I wasn’t sure how my evaluator would react to a much thinner binder. This new evaluator is much more relaxed, and since she is also of the mindset that children are always learning, the amount of samples makes no difference to her. Hallelujah. Big exhale.

On Thursday, I informed the kids that they no longer have to do activity time with me, unless they want to. They all said that they actually thought it was fun and will probably continue to do things with me sometimes. That made me happy because I really did enjoy it; I just didn’t enjoy feeling compelled to do it to please the bureaucracy. Learning should not be forced. Period. Ireland was the only one who opted to work with me today, so she made a plant lapbook, and we talked about why plants are important. Speaking of learning by choice, today was my third day of learning German through Mango Languages. I was able to start at Chapter 6; I took a placement test because I did take six years of German in school. I’m having a lot of fun with that. The younger kids have been on coolmathgames.com and Khan Academy brushing up on their math and logic skills. Ireland has been requesting math “schoolwork” quite a bit, so I’ve been printing a lot of Pre-K worksheets for her. Arianna still likes to cook, so after baking a cake, she helped me make stuffed peppers for supper. Yum.


Kenzie has started pushing her little stroller around the house. She’s not going to be a baby much longer. Sniff.


Friday will probably be a low-key day. Saturday, Devin has drawing and painting class, and Sunday is her art show. And Caollin and London will finally be getting baptized on Sunday! The water heater for the baptistry had broken, but the replacement was supposed to come in today. They’re so excited.

What have you done this week? Leave a comment and tell me all about it!

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Highhill Homeschool



Weekend Links- 3/21/14

This has been one of those weeks where we haven’t really done much. Everyone (except my husband) has had some form of the stomach virus this week, so we’ve kind of just been existing. Anyway, here are some links to earlier posts I’ve written.

Pregnant or a New Mom? I’ve Got Just the Thing for You!

An Unschooling Day- Our Way

You Want the Truth about Homeschooling?

Sorting Things Out- This Christian’s Thoughts on Birth Control

An Unschooling Novice’s Approach to, Well…Unschooling

I hope you find something you enjoy. Have a great weekend!

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Weekend Review: A Visit from the Stomach Bug


This is what my house has looked like this past week. Starting last Friday, a nasty little stomach virus has decided to stop in for a visit. Suffice it to say, this will probably be my shortest review post to date. The weird thing about it is that it started with Summer, the second youngest, and progressively worked through the rest of the children in exact order of youngest to oldest. Weird, right?

There hasn’t been much going on around here this week, other than lying around watching Netflix and some reading. On Monday, I scheduled an appointment for a tubal ligation, something that I never thought I would do, and I’m still not 100% sure I’ll go through with it. I wrote a post about it to help sort through my thoughts, but I did leave one crucial piece of information out. I’m scared to death of surgery because my father passed away from a gastric bypass. There, I said it. Hearing my doctor warn me that a risk is that they could puncture another organ or I could develop an infection will affect me more than the average person, considering what happened to my dad. His stomach leaked, and he got an infection that went to his brain. See where I’m coming from? I’m also petrified of being put to sleep because my father was put in a medically induced coma, and he never woke up. You can tell me that those two things are completely different until the cows come home, but all I keep thinking is I might not wake up. My dad didn’t.

Tuesday was pretty low-key. We read some poetry from Longfellow, and then the kids went about their own more subdued routine because of how everyone was feeling. By this point London was feeling better and was able to play with some dinosaurs that were given to us.


Wednesday was, by far, the worst day.Devin, Dillon, Arianna, and I all got it, and the rest of the younger kids were all still recovering (poor Luke has had a belly ache since Monday. I think a doctor appointment is in his future.) We all lounged around watching “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” and Tad the Lost Explorer (this is actually a really cute movie on Netflix, in which the kids will learn about archaeology and the Incan civilization).

Thursday I woke up feeling much better, so after Arianna and I took Kenzie for her well visit, we went to the library.

Here Arianna was pretending to be the doctor and was asking me all sorts of preliminary questions. She'd be great in the health care field.
Here Arianna was pretending to be the doctor and was asking me all sorts of preliminary questions. She’d be great in the health care field.
Don't mind the hair- remember March winds!
Don’t mind the hair- remember March winds!

On Friday, Devin, Dillon, and Arianna will be going to March Madness at our church for youth group. It’ll be five hours of playing games with kids from other churches. Hopefully, nobody will have a relapse and have to miss it.

Saturday Devin will go to her drawing and painting class again. She has some work being displayed at the art show right now, but we won’t be going until March 31 for the open house.

Devin at her art class
Devin at her art class
This is a drawing Devin made of her friend for her birthday.
This is a drawing Devin made of her friend for her birthday.

Prayers going your way that none of you have or had a week like this one. Have a great weekend!

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Sorting Things Out: This Christian’s Thoughts on Birth Control

Image courtesy of BrandonSigma / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of BrandonSigma / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yesterday I scheduled an appointment to have a tubal ligation, and I’m not sure how I feel about the idea. I’ve been repeatedly told by my doctors not to get pregnant again because of my history with blood clots. In this post, I talked about how my nurse practitioner had basically lied to me by omission by placing an implant in my arm that she knew was an abortifacient, despite the fact that I’m pro-life. I had it removed a few weeks ago after I discovered the truth, and I was basically told you shouldn’t get pregnant again because you could die. You need to do something.

After many, many prayers, I decided to go ahead with the doctor’s recommendation, and schedule the surgery, which brings me to today.

I’m still not thrilled about this idea, and I keep going back and forth between two things: God’s sovereignty and the fact that God gave man the intelligence to intercede in situations like this. There tends to be two camps among Christians- the nothing beyond natural family planning faction and the birth control is okay as long as it is not an abortifacient faction. Of course, I have to be difficult and jump back and forth.

Here’s what I think:

Most of the people who are completely against man-made birth control believe that trust in God’s will trumps all, and I completely agree with that. But, what if…

We were created in God’s own image. Not only did He give us the intelligence to manufacture these products, but He also gave us all the resources we would need. Think about it. Plastic is considered to be a man-made product, but it is still made from products naturally found here on Earth. All man-made products are. What if He gave us this technology for a reason?

Now on to my bigger point- the NFP faction is probably reading this post, open-mouthed and wondering what I’m thinking. But I’ve got some honest questions for those people, and please keep in mind that I am alluding to the use of birth control as a life-saving medication/surgery, not to actually control the amount of children I’m blessed with. (That should be obvious. I’ve got eleven kids.)

– When you have a headache, do you take ibuprofin?
– If a family member would fall seriously ill, such as a heart attack, would you allow surgery?
– When your child has a fever, do you give him/her Tylenol?

Do you see what I’m getting at? Most people who are against birth control would probably admit that, yes, in those circumstances, they would use those medications/procedures. Those are man-made, aren’t they? I don’t understand what the difference is between using birth control because of valid health issues and getting an angioplasty for a heart attack. Why is one okay while the other is not? I’m on blood-thinners for a DVT I had over the summer. Am I failing to trust God by taking these everyday? No, I am trusting that He knew what He was doing when He gave man the intellectual capacity to create these things. Are they all good? Of course not, but that’s why we have to exercise discernment when choosing to use them.

Now on to the other side of the argument. God is sovereign and omniscient. He knows what’s going to happen already. He also has a plan for me and my children. What if He has a plan for a child I haven’t had yet? And, as a good friend pointed out to me- God already knows when your time is up. Regardless of what you choose to do, He will take you when it’s your time. Period.

And now I’m back to where I started from. I may have scheduled the appointment, but I’m far from sure that I’ll go through with it. I’ve got three weeks to decide.

Have any of you been through this? I really need to get this sorted out.

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Weekend Review- The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I can finally tell that spring is coming. We had several warmer days this week, including Tuesday, which was over 60 degrees! I’m not even going to complain that the wind chill was in the single digits today because spring has announced its imminent arrival, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yay!

We had another busy week this week, but busy is good because it means that we actually left the house. I’ve gotten so used to being stuck inside that every little outing is exciting for me.

Sunday we made it to church, despite losing an hour. Although we did miss Sunday School and attended the later service, we made it. Sunday night was the first Awana and Ladies’ Bible Study that we’ve attended since before Christmas, so the kids were ecstatic, and I enjoyed spending time with the ladies.

On Monday, I had to get my blood drawn, so Arianna walked to the hospital with me. I had some sort of trainee drawing my blood, and she must have done something wrong because my blood was leaking out everywhere. Arianna even pointed out that it was dripping on the floor. Note to Phlebotomy instructors- keep your trainees away from people on blood thinners. Just saying. I made it out of there alive, and we enjoyed walking home in the warm(ish) weather.

Tuesday was just an awesome day. Shawn took a vacation day because he knew that it was going to reach 60 degrees, so we took the kids to the trout nursery. We had an amazing time, and we all learned so much, despite the fact that we’re there several times a year.


They’ve set up a bunch of information boards, which we really enjoyed reading. They really made a difference in that we learned more on this visit than we have in the last several years of going there, combined.


Afterwards, I took Devin to the local camera store where she got a very detailed lesson on her camera. I posted about this day right here because it was such a good illustration of what unschooling is all about.

Wednesday we were back at church. This time the kids went to Kingdom Builders, while I helped in the nursery. Again, the kids were so psyched to go because we have’t been to church on a Wednesday night since December, either.

Thursday was too cold to go anywhere, but we actually needed the down time, so it worked out.

So what about the schoolish stuff?, you might be wondering. We started the Life of Fred math curriculum this week. We all love it. I wish we would have known about this curriculum years ago. Since I have so many kids, I bought almost every single book in the series, including the new language arts set.

See? I wasn't kidding.
See? I wasn’t kidding.

Ireland and Luke have actually initiated a lot of seat work this week, so Luke has been completing some basic addition problems, while Ireland is getting familiar with her letters and numbers.


Dillon is still going strong with his gaming, but something great has come out of it…he’s found a like-minded friend in Taiwan who’s been helping him with the mods, so they’ve been emailing back and forth about Minecraft. Sunday they plan on chatting via Skype, so Dillon’s really looking forward to it.

Today Arianna and Caollin were learning French, Irish, and Japanese, thanks to Mango Languages. This is the same free program that Devin is using for Swedish. We also created some chalk pastel sunsets today, thanks to a tutorial over at Hodgepodge. Chalk pastels can get a little messy, but it’s usually the messy stuff that creates the best pieces.

On Friday, Devin is going to a sleepover/tea party at her friend’s house, and then she’ll be headed to her painting and drawing class on Saturday afternoon.

These past two weeks have been such a boon to our souls. I can feel our cabin fever slowly melting away…

How about you? Have you been enjoying getting out of the house?

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Natural Learning Vs. Assigned Learning


Today I’m going to address the third and final question of a commenter on my post My Answer to a Common Concern about Unschooling. [The comment has since been removed at the request of the author.]

3) It [unschooling] is premised on the idea that people don’t “love learning” if discipline is involved. My experience & observation of others is just the opposite – people tend to come to love those areas of life in which they apply the most discipline – and not just self-discipline, but where adults have taught them discipline.

On this particular comment, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. Unschooling takes a lot of discipline- on the part of the child and the parent. The question is, what is that discipline being applied to? Remember that I haven’t always been an unschooler. Our homeschool has evolved from school-at-home to unit studies to eclectic and then finally to natural learning, so I’ve seen the outcomes of all of these methods. With regard to my children, they have retained the most information from topics that they themselves pursued on their own. Pursuing their own interests, in itself, takes discipline, so discipline is certainly not an issue. And whether the discipline is coming from the child or being taught by the parents is not the issue. The issue is what path will their education take? Yours or theirs?

When we were still doing unit studies and would be learning about a particular subject, such as American Indians, they really seemed to have a good grasp of what I was teaching them, and they did have fun doing it. We made false face masks and headdresses and visited a Lenni Lenape museum. They had a ball. Fast forward a few months- I asked some questions about the American Indians unit, and they hardly remembered anything.

Contrast this with a perfect example of my son, Dillon. He loves spiders- especially wolf spiders. I have never covered spiders, specifically, other than that they are classified as arachnids. So Dillon took it upon himself to find out everything he could about wolf spiders- books, websites, documentaries, YouTube videos, you name it. What did he get from all this? I now consider him to be an “expert” on wolf spiders. He can tell you where they live, what they eat, how long they live, how big they get- I could go on and on.

We spent four weeks on that American Indians unit, and even though they seemed to enjoy it, now they remember nothing, other than a few things. On the other hand, Dillon still remembers everything about wolf spiders and has increased his knowledge of them even more since then.

This is not surprising to me. I did the same thing when I was in public school. I remembered what I was supposed to long enough to make the honor roll and graduate in the top 10% of my class…and then I forgot it. It was no longer needed. What do I remember from school the most? The subjects I chose to take- mythology, theater arts, parenting (thank God I remember that, 11 kids later), cooking, nutrition. What do these have in common? My interest.

And I will go even further to say that, unless you have a need to learn something- and by need I’m not referring to a need to fulfill state requirements, but a need to learn something in order to achieve a goal- a lot of what is taught in schools is unnecessary. In the majority of cases, people will pursue a career in something that they’re drawn to- interested in. Is it really important that an astronomer knows that laissez faire means “hands off”? Does a historian need to know what alliteration is? And who exactly decided what is important to learn? This is why homeschooling is the ideal choice because these things should be decided on a case by case basis. Not everyone is the same. God created us to be unique individuals, and we should nurture that.

Before you jump the gun, let me just interject that I love learning. I’m learning all the time, and it is a good thing to be knowledgeable, but why you’re learning something is as important as what you’re learning. Alluding back to my high school days,- sorry for all the trips down memory lane- I took six years of German. Six. I should be a pro, right? Not so much. I could probably help someone in their first year of German, and it would end there. Why? I haven’t had the need to use it.

Do you see what I’m getting at? It’s great to report to the school district that you taught your third grader Euclidean geometry. It’s awesome to look back at those old homeschooling journals and see that your seventh grader completed a course on quantum physics, but are they going to remember it? Unless they have an interest in those fields, I’d say probably not. Why? Because they won’t need to use it.

This is why it’s so important to let your children’s interests come into play. This time is precious. Let them spend time pursuing things that they’re going to retain and possibly use in their future endeavors. I myself know how hard it can be to realize that our children may not care about the things we care- or think that they should care- about. Let them lead the way. Trust that they have the ability to increase their knowledge in the things that are important to them and that they will have the discipline to do so. That’s the best kind of learning- the kind that they won’t forget.

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Can a Christian Be an Unschooler?


Today I’m continuing on with the second question posed to me in the comments of this post.[Please note-I have removed the comment at the request of the author. She was not intending to appear judgmental. She was just curious.] Here’s the question:

2) The method seems to put the child instead of the parent in the leadership position -which doesn’t mesh with my understanding of Christianity

This is not the first time I’ve heard the inference that unschooling is disobedient to God’s word. Again, as I answer this, this is how we do this in my family.

My children have boundaries. They also have responsibilities that I fully expect them to accomplish everyday. We have ten kids still in the house, so obviously, there are rules they are expected to follow. Believe me, my children know who the authority figures are in the house- and it’s not them!

I give them freedom in learning, not a free for all. My children are encouraged to pursue their own interests to their hearts’ content. I am there to guide them, offer suggestions, and ensure that they are treating each other with respect. I do not put them in a room and say, “Okay, kids- have at it! I’ll be back in an hour or four!” I jest when I say this, but I get the notion that some people truly think this is what unschooling is all about. If anything, unschooling requires even more parental involvement because we have to have our eyes and ears open all the time and pick up on the tiniest clues that tell us what our children are interested in, so that we can find resources and activities that our kids may like.

Another comment I’ve seen in many a blog post is (I’m paraphrasing) that “God’s word teaches us to train up our children, and unschoolers don’t do that because they are not giving their children formal lessons.”

Okay, let’s stop right there. The verse they’re referring to is this:

Proverbs 22:6-
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

What is this verse speaking of? Certainly not how to teach math, grammar, or geography. It’s speaking of training up your children so that they are obedient to God. So that they do His will. That’s it. And, unless the four versions of the Bible I have are wrong, there’s no addendum that says:

And be sure to use Abeka or an another quality curriculum when you do this, so that it’s done properly.

Please don’t think I’m anti-curriculum. I have tons of it. I’m just making a point that there are many ways to teach your children about the Lord or any “school subject” that do not involve textbooks. There’s nothing wrong with using them for that purpose; there’s a lot of really good literature out there, but it’s not the only way. Another great passage that gives credence to this is:

Deuteronomy 6:6-7
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

This is what unschoolers do! We don’t view learning as being done at certain times- it is happening all the time! And specifically speaking of teaching our children about God, this happens throughout the day, and, as I’m sure it is with traditional homeschoolers, as well, it is a natural thing.

Read the Bible to your children. Talk to them about sin, redemption, and grace. And do it in whatever way you choose because, no matter how you do it, God knows your heart. And He knows mine.

What are your thoughts?

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Weekend Review- We Got Out of the House!

This has nothing to do with questions, but Kenzie looks cute, doesn't she??
This has nothing to do with anything, but Kenzie looks cute, doesn’t she??

As far as the past couple of months have gone, this has been the busiest week inside the home and outside of it in a long time. Snowfall has finally come to a standstill (I hope I didn’t just jinx it), and we’ve actually been able to get out of the house. Progress. Yay! I’m actually really excited from the change of pace. It was loooong overdue.

On Sunday we finally got to church after missing a full month because of the snow. We had a guest speaker who talked about her years in foster care and an abusive marriage, but how through it all she was triumphant because of God’s grace. I’m glad that my kids were there to hear her testimony.

Monday our church had free haircut day- a Godsend for our family. I took eight of the kids with me, but only four of them actually needed haircuts. The other children like to go because there’s free food,


free stuff,

You can kind of see the free tables behind Arianna and Caollin.
You can kind of see the free tables behind Arianna and Caollin.

and there’s a huge gym to play in.

This really is a great ministry because they advertise it throughout the shelters in the area, so we get to provide some comfort to those who need it the most. Besides that, the hairdressers give great haircuts!


Some of the hairstylists are church members. Others are generous people who donate their time every month for this good cause.

On Tuesday, Arianna, Devin, and I all got to go to WIN- Women’s Inspirational Network, also at my church. We always look forward to this because it’s a great time to hang out together. The younger kids all play in the nursery with volunteers. Bless their souls. I alone always dump seven kids off with them. Anyway, we get to see friends,

Devin with two of her friends
Devin with two of her friends
When God made Arianna, he broke the mold.
When God made Arianna, he broke the mold.

eat from a delicious pot luck meal, and hear a guest speaker. This month we had a beautiful woman from the Philippines speak about growing up as a squatter only to have God do amazing things in her life.


We always have a wonderful vocal performance, too.
We always have a wonderful vocal performance, too.

And to put the icing on the cake, this was our raffle night. Proceeds will go to scholarships for women who cannot afford to pay for the women’s retreat. There were so many prizes, and my daughters and I all won something. Arianna won three necklaces, Devin won a basket of jewelry, and I won a basket of medicine and first aid supplies (always needed in this house), a basket of toiletries for my husband, and a toy kitchen for the kiddos.

Just a glimpse of the raffle prizes
Just a glimpse of the raffle prizes
My prize stash
My prize stash

Wednesday Devin had to go back to the eye doctor for a contact lens check and to order her contacts. It was pretty packed there, so Devin had her nose buried in a book, while Luke just had fun browsing.


The rest of the week was, as always, filled with gaming and creativity. Arianna is going strong with her theatrical makeup.


Lapbooking and making story books were also hits this week.


Lastly, Arianna made a flower headband, and Brendan came for a visit when he dropped Dillon off. Dillon has been with him since Tuesday. Brendan even took him for a haircut because he didn’t feel like going for the free haircut Monday.


Isn't he handsome??
Isn’t he handsome??
Just kidding.
Just kidding.

Friday will probably just entail some more grocery shopping and more spontaneous learning.

What have you done this week?


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Share the Wealth Sunday

More Unschooling Questions Answered


Boy, my recent posts on unschooling have opened the floodgates for questions, and that’s great because I’m still new to this whole unschooling thing, too. Please don’t mistake my passion on the subject for expertise because I’m surely no expert here. Having said that, I’m excited to attempt to answer these inquiries the best that I can. Always remember, though, that unschooling looks different in every home, so I can only refer to our experience with it.

Here is part of a comment that was written for yesterday’s post.[Please note that the comment has since been removed at the request of the author.] I will follow it with what I hope is a satisfactory response.

1) The majority of unschoolers I know have grown up to be rebellious young adults. I cannot help but wonder if this is related to them not learning school-related discipline. They might learn certain academic subjects quite well, but I am concerned about the character development.

I’ll start with the section on rebellion-

I really can’t answer this in a completely factual way because I have never met any other unschoolers. This homeschooling method is rather rare, so I’m surprised to hear that anyone has met so many formerly unschooled adults that an opinion like this could be formed in the first place. I have, however, met many, many rebellious young adults who graduated from public school, so this is where I believe the lack of “school-related discipline” theory is flawed.

My oldest child graduated from public school. He used to come home daily with tales of the “discipline” taking place in his school. Kids texting, painting their fingernails, listening to music, and doing each other’s hair during class was a rather commonplace thing. My son’s science teacher actually gave up halfway through the year and would just sit at his desk for the entire period because the kids were so unruly. Obviously, discipline in the schools is becoming quite the rarity. So, rebellious adults from public schools-check.

When I was in public school, the local Catholic school was well-known as a haven for rebellious teens, and I’m pretty sure they were given much discipline there. So, rebellion in private schools-check.

I don’t know any homeschooled adults, but I have read plenty of anti-homeschooling tirades written by none other than people who were formerly homeschooled. And I mean traditional homeschoolers, yet traditional homeschooling is full of structure and discipline.

So from this information, I can come up with these points:

Public school kids can become rebellious adults.
-Private school kids can become rebellious adults.
-Homeschooled kids can become rebellious adults.

And I’m going to take a gamble and say that

-Unschooled kids can become rebellious adults.

Notice the broad spectrum of learning and discipline styles. Rebellion can happen in any kind of environment, certainly not just unschoolers.

Now onto the section about character development.

I think it’s important to note that we are not radical unschoolers. Radical unschoolers do not enforce rules in their homes. In this form of unschooling, children can decide when they go to bed, what they eat, what they will do with their time, whether or not they will brush their teeth, and are not expected to do chores. THAT IS NOT WHAT WE DO. We have ten children; that’s a lot of cleaning and laundry and dishes to do, and we all have set jobs that we do. My children make messes, so they will help clean up. My children eat, so they will help with dishes. I am very strict about this aspect of our life because a family of this size will not function if we are not a team, which brings me to the other aspect of character development.


We live in close quarters with each other, so learning to get along is crucial to a peaceful (as peaceful as you’re going to get with twelve people under one roof) life. My children are also being raised as Christians, so serving others is a high priority here. You will often find my children weeding the neighbor’s garden, shoveling her driveway, or helping their Grandma at her house. I can assure you that character development is not an issue here.

Some of you may notice 11 kids here. Our oldest is 20 and no longer lives at home, which is why I always refer to just 10 kids.
Some of you may notice 11 kids here. Our oldest is 20 and no longer lives at home, which is why I always refer to just 10 kids.

As for character development in public school…well, I wrote a little about that here.

If you’re interested, I wrote a post back in January giving a basic rundown of a typical unschooling day. Feel free to browse my archives, as well, because I frequently write about what our days are like.

I hope this has given you a better picture of what our unschool philosophy- our life philosophy- is all about.

Any other questions? I’d be more than happy to address them.

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When God Answers…Make Sure You’re Listening



     Last month I wrote a post called ”When God Answers.” It was, in essence, about a question I had posed to God and how he answered it…or I thought he answered it. I was having second thoughts over a birth control implant, called Implanon, that I had gotten. After having a DVT in my tenth pregnancy and being on blood thinning injections throughout my entire eleventh pregnancy, my doctors sufficiently scared me into it.
     I prayed that God would give me a clear answer regarding whether I should have it removed. A week later, I went to the ER with pain in my right calf. There was no DVT there, just some superficial clots, but they did find a newly formed DVT behind my right knee…a place where I never experienced any pain.
     I took this as God’s answer to my prayers- I still do- but I know now that I was completely wrong in my interpretation of it. You see, I so wanted, out of fear, for His answer to be, ”Yes, Shelly, you did the right thing,” that I believe I took His response and conformed it to mean what I wanted it to. Here is what I assumed: God had led me to the hospital as soon as this clot had formed to save my life and to warn me that this is what would happen in any future pregnancies. I truly did believe that, so I was at peace with my decision.
     Until someone pointed out that one of the effects of Implanon is that it prevents implantation. I don’t know about you, but, to me, that’s abortion. I denied it at first. I told myself that the woman who told me this was misled, but I decided to research it anyway.
     Not only was she right, but a rare side effect of Implanon is blood clots! I got another DVT two months after I had it implanted! I told myself that this was God’s way of telling me that I did the right thing, but I now know that this blood clot was probably caused by the Implanon! That was my answer, and I got it completely wrong!
     To make matters worse, the reason I agreed to get this implant was because a. The doctor told me this would not increase my risk of blood clots and b. I had told my doctor that I didn’t want an IUD because they prevent implantation, and I’m pro-life (obviously, I have 11 kids), but she conveniently omitted the fact that Implanon does, too!
     I’m furious that my doctor lied to me and put something in my body that goes against everything I believe in, and I’m furious with myself for not seeing this situation clearly from the beginning. I guess discernment is something I still need to pray about.
     Next week, I have an appointment to have this thing removed. I was literally sick to my stomach when I found all this out and waiting this long makes it even worse. I’m not looking forward to going there because I know that my doctor is going to give me a hard time, and she will badger me about alternative methods. Suffice it to say, this will be my last appointment there.
     The point of this post is to plead with you to listen objectively and wholeheartedly when you’re waiting for an answer from God, and never, ever, assume your doctor will voluntarily give you information you haven’t specifically asked for. Unfortunately, we can’t even trust them anymore.
     On a final note, if you’ve decided to peruse my archives to read the original post, I’ve deleted it. I don’t want to mislead anyone else into thinking that this was God’s will for me. It was mine.

Have you ever misinterpreted God’s will, only to discover it later in a big way?


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