Pulse of life - unschooling unfolding

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Read along to get insights into how unschooling unfolds when life is peaceful, slow, and yet a party.

A week of peace

This week has been a week of peace.

In contrast to the life we normally live, this week, we chose to stay home Monday through Friday. The week before, we had guests from Malaga, very close friends of ours, living in our house most of the week. Time spent with them is meaningful, even precious.

As a grand finale, we had a great birthday party for our sons on Saturday with friends who stayed over, and a family arrived on Sunday.

Normally, we would move on, but this time, we actually did stop and pause to give ourselves some peace.

Read this week-story, and learn what peace looks like in our life.

History, mythology, and Evolution for Breakfast

A week of peace has been a great week. We sat at the table from breakfast to noon, reading our great book about the history of inventions and enjoying two daily videos from PBS’s Deep Look or Eons or It’s Okay to be Smart. We have learned about the praying mantis, the squirrels' frustration, poisonous mushrooms, and the evolution of snakes …

Well, I can’t actually list it all, but it has been fun. We have hungry brains in the morning. We have also been studying Nordic history and mythology. We can’t seem to get enough of this theme: The Vikings, the sagas, the ancient poems, an interesting insight into the Viking life in Greenland came to us (it seems the Vikings lived there before the Inuits but did not adapt and therefore died out – interesting, calling for a deeper investigation into the ancient history of Greenland).

We have been looking up so many questions deriving from The Book On Inventions and from the other book we study about world mythology. Having no curriculum and no deadline, we do not care if one day we only read three lines in the book, talk for 1 hour and look up seven things on Wiki, watch three youtube videos, and sing a song. It is of no great importance. We study in the mornings just like we eat our oats: We need something for the mind and body.

Know your history

"Why would we want to learn about the whole world if we don’t know our own story?" My nine-year-old daughter asked.

I somehow picked up this quote, which should be Goethe:

"If you don’t know your history 3000 years back, you are only living for today."

The insight my daughter has is the same, somehow: It is valuable to know our own cultural background, an important study for our souls. I am grateful to have such an insightful child. It is just like the basics: The more we know about our own language, the easier it is to learn another. And another. And one more.

Eat, drink, and be happy.

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One morning, we took out the cookbooks, tired of the eating habits – I honestly love to cook, but sometimes, I honestly hate it and get so sick and tired of it: Typically, when we have been eating the same over and over, and cooking is no more an adventure, but more a job I have to do. So, we took out our Indian vegetarian book, the yoga cookbook, and the big salad book, and we all flipped through it to find something new to try out.

We wrote a list and hopped on our bikes, defying the awful March weather. People in Denmark seem to deny it, probably suppress it: Our winter is the most annoying in March – in the month when light is coming back, and we have the equinox, we have low temperatures, lots of snow, and many freezing nights, many gray days. So, the whole Inuit gear, helmets on – we went to the greengrocer’s (and the shop with natural food for the dogs).

Oh, the joy of biking – the freedom, the wind (and sleet) in our faces. It is fun, even when it is not an adventure. I have said it before. One of my favorite Danish authors said:

If you can’t make an adventure of going to the supermarket for bread, there is no need to travel anywhere”.

I.e., The adventure is in your attitude, not in your context. I agree to some extent and must say: “There is more adventure in a new beach/forest/capital/market/culture than my local greengrocer and the very (extremely) well-known local area.”

But we had fun. We bought all we needed for the week and the new recipes and came home with red cheeks and high spirits.

The new recipes were fun to check out throughout the week. We created a new marble-style cake from one of the recipes, adapting it to something we liked more. And we made new Indian dishes, which is always a blast.

Spring cleaning

One evening we made the great mistake of putting the dessert on the table before I walked the dogs and the children put away the laundry. When I returned from the walk, I helped the kids with the bed linen, totally forgetting the dessert on the table. The dogs were fast, and the young dog was sick all night. Poor dog.

This, and the fact it was about time, made us do a cleaning day. Does this count as a week of peace? In our world, it does. Normally we are so busy living we can hardly find time for anything but a quick fix, and for that reason, it was a relief to make and take enough time to really clean and organize our home, wash the bedding, the floors, clean the corners of normal mess, clean the bathroom thoroughly, listening to music and actually having fun.

Grandparents

On the same day, we started the spring cleaning. The plan was for my parents-in-law would come over for dinner. But as Grandpa was a bit sick, we decided to visit them instead, bringing the vegan brownies. It is always meaningful to spend some time with people you love, even if it is just a short dessert visit. We talked and played a few board games, the boys got their birthday presents and were happy about them, and we had some cake and tea. Came home late and ate dinner even later. A privilege of the self-directed: There is no bedtime since we do not have to get up at any particular time in the morning.

But I will admit: On this day, we were tired.

Knitting, sewing, and Nordic Mythology on a silver plate

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The afternoons in our week of peace were spent doing a wonderful project: We are knitting The Weasly blanket, as we are great Harry Potter fans and also love a good woolen blanket.

We make a fire in the fireplace, bring tea and snacks and spend a few hours knitting, sewing, and listening to an audiobook.

Talking into the general theme of our interest at the moment, we were happy to find Rick Riordans’ Magnus Chase series. Perfect.

This is a very American adaptation of the stories from our mythology, but they are very funny, and it is totally okay.

Reading Lounge

Another very peaceful activity this week has been various versions of our reading lounge. A real lounge is a time set for the joy of reading, with books all over the place, a fire in the fireplace, blankets, pillows, even mattresses, huge chairs, and everything ready for reading for hours.

This week we made less of a project of it and spent a good amount of time reading on in the sofas and beds: My nine-year-old is on her first journey through the Harry Potter series, reading number 4 now, and my 12-year-old is reading 'Magical Beasts and where to find them', and my six-year-old is flipping through books while listening to audiobooks. I usually “cheat” and listen to an audiobook when it is not actual lounge time and do some chores when the children read.

Peaceful Warrior

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A peaceful warrior is someone walking the talk. Someone brave enough to have integrity, strong enough to do inner work, peaceful enough to send out vibes of inspiration and joy. This is our great ideal, as we all want to free the enslaved kids in school and parents in the matrix. There, I said it. Read above: Brave enough to have integrity. This is what I believe: Everyone would benefit from inner work, real personal freedom, real value-based choices, and a self-directed life (not just education).

Anyway. We love to do yoga time and did so many times during this week of peace: We do the sun salutations, some basic poses and stretches, and we love the warrior because it represents in posture our core values of integrity, honesty, and courage. We also do yoga-playing as yogi-sais and some singing and playing instruments, breathing exercises, and meditations. This is the best! I wish I could find that hour every single day – but I must admit, often, I can’t. Or, the truth is: I don’t. It is always a choice.

The weekend blast

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Now, the weekdays were extremely peaceful, slow activities, home time, inner work, togetherness inside the family, i.e., me and the three youngest, as my husband worked a lot this week, and my eldest just moved out. So, weekdays of slow time, mostly just the four of us – not inactive, but peaceful.

In contrast, the weekend was full of people, parties, places, and the museum. Saturday morning, my husband went to the driving school, as he is upgrading his driving license to a bus license, and I had a study morning with the children before I went for a walk and talked, doing some great coaching with a highly sensitive mother – very meaningful work.

I find motherhood so deeply important, and I find people are not ready for it, as we live in a society where most people have no natural connection with children in their everyday life and development since they are all institutionalized. This makes mothers extremely insecure. Combine this with a highly sensitive person, more often than not also highly intelligent, and the mind becomes a trap. I find it great to work with these women, and I am grateful to be in a position where I can help.

Just after this, we had lunch, packed the car, and cleaned the house. All this in two hours. Daddy came home, all smiling and happy, and packed a lot of musical instruments because now we were heading out of town to spend great partying hours with dear friends.

On the way out of town, though, we spent a few hours at the science museum. Interestingly, this museum always has more to offer, more corners and insights, and even whole exhibitions we have never really studied. This time, we played with brainwaves, Chinese water bowls, and life-saving systems at the beach.

Off to the party, picking up our grown-up daughter and our son-in-law: The children talking on top of each other to tell her everything on our way to the farm, where we were celebrating a friend who finished her university degree and celebrating her 40th birthday, these friends are fellow homeschoolers and very dear to us - inspiring, fantastic, special people.

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We all enjoy time spent with this family, living three generations together, and we are grateful to be allowed to feed their animals, pet the chickens and enjoy their whole setup. This time it was with loads of fantastic people at the party, we all met someone new and also enjoyed old friendships. The food was all “safe” for our special needs, which is such a great luxury – almost everywhere else, I have to bring food for everyone, but here it is handmade, gluten-free, and vegetarian with all animal products on the side. If anything has even a risk of containing animal products, the husband explains it to me with a deep respect for our need to know.

So, all night all night, all night. A 2 in the morning, my 6YO was ready to go to bed, and so was I! My wonderful husband played music with his friends, and it was all fantastic.

The next day, we were the guests that never went home. We stayed until 9.30 in the evening. We all enjoyed this the day after together: Cleaning the house, cooking food for everyone, feeding the animals, walking the dogs, going for runs, discussing farm life, free life, travel style, our bus conversion project, homeschooling, playing board games, playing, reading stories. It was a slow, meaningful, wonderful day, ending very late in our home, where we unpacked sleeping gear in moments and jumped into bed.

What a wonderful week! What a wonderful life.

Love and light

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Cecilie Conrad

Earlier comments on this article from my old website
Sonja Kunštek Pantar
I am so grateful for finding this web and blog of yours. I am a homeschooler from Croatia, planning to come live in Kopenhagen with my husband and two children. We love to travel, and I love your writings about world schooling so much!!!! Thank you for sharing!!! I hope I will meet you one day..


Audra Claffey
Hello Cecilie. I have been binge-reading your blog posts over the last week and cannot get enough. I love to hear your stories. I live in Virginia in the United States of America. My family and I love to travel and learn through experience. I began homeschooling my two kids last year (8 and 10) and would love to eventually road school with my family. Your stories inspire me, and I just wanted to let you know. I cannot wait to start learning about the bus journey. Thank you.

Thank you for reading
It is a core value for me to share, be honest, and dare to be vulnerable. I am grateful you are reading my blog, and I would be even more grateful if you comment, send me an email, or otherwise engage. I respond to all; give it a bit of time. Thank you.

Deschooling and free play
Always Choose The Most Beautiful Path

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