Wild and Free Book Review

I post a picture like this with my kiddos playing on the river and I’m so #wildandfree right? #charlottemason? #adventurelearning ? or whatever else. I don’t know about all that.
Sometimes we go to the river when we feel like it.

Whatever.

Can I just leave it at that? 😂

Sometimes this homeschool mom gets caught up in all the educational philosophy jargon. Today I heard a mom describe herself as wild and free but does Classical Conversations. The term “wild and free” doesn’t seem to go with “rigorous education”. for my literal-thinking brain. I’ve read the latest book on the Wild and Free movement to understand what is really meant by that phrase, because it has been a bit of an enigma to me since I first heard it years ago.

You will usually find the buzz phrase Wild+Free hashtagged under an Insta pic of kids in the woods. It’s been a bit of an enigma to me as I know many friends who lay claim to this style of hs while also implementing other philosophies. I’ve noticed there are very few purists in any philosophical educational camp and blending methods is the M.O. these days. But for an absolute person like me, I find it hard to hear relative terms being thrown around.

I was excited to see the woman who coined the term Wild+Free write a book to explain her theory. After reading it, I understand why I have always been confused by the term. The term is a misnomer. Her method isn’t wild and it isn’t free in the sense a person assumes when hearing the phrase without any explanation. Many descriptive words were used repeatedly in the book. I wish she would have called her lifestyle Intentionally Passionate. That doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, though.

Wild+Free is this: her kids go outside a lot, then she has them do typical school, then gives the kids lots of time in the afternoons to pursue their interests. It is clear her kids aren’t running amok like the “Wild+Free” label lends itself too. She is intentional with her kids and listens to their desires to cultivate an education that will prove useful to their unique skill sets and interests. Which we can all agree to that! A huge part of her lifestyle is nature. She “found myself in nature”. This is where I would argue that I find myself in Christ. I do not need to walk in the woods to find myself. However, I want us to love nature in light of God creating it and using it to His glory. If you aren’t fully discerning, her book can lean towards nature as an idol; she prefers to quote Confucius and not the Bible.

2 of her kids are tech heavy
The W+F idea is not new, but she’s packaged it in a way that is relevant and easy to follow in today’s world, which is awesome. By her definition, Ben was raised #wildandfreechildren while doing Abeka.

Now knowing her definition, I don’t know a single homeschooling family who isn’t wild and free. A huge part of homeschooling is to allow time for interest lead learning.
Also, there’s nothing in the Bible that describes what a proper childhood is. And if you are someone who doesn’t like nature, you are not wrong for not being in nature. Don’t let others lead you to believe that childhood=nature adventures. The only example of Jesus as a child is him studying.

There’s a lot of useful things in the book, but read it with a lot of caution.

Body Image and Memories

We got our family photos from NYC today! So many fun pics that I want to share. Naturally, I’m ripping apart my appearance 🙄

I’m constantly fighting a loosing battle to not be a critical person. I pick apart every single thing in life, which makes it hard to enjoy things sometimes. It also makes me a great resource for things because I research to high heaven to get to the root of anything

Just now as I looked through the online gallery with the kids for the first time together, I had to make a conscious effort to be complimentary of everything. I don’t want them to pick up on my never-ending critiquing.
Yes, we were a full week into our trip, had woken up at the crack of dawn and taken a 3 hour train ride to get to these photos; so maybe my hair and wrinkled shirt were not in top form. But who cares?! It’s how life was that day. I want to remember life as it was- not the perfect image (as a photographer in an Instagram world) wants it to be. I think this picture we will the big one we put in our entryway

And now that I’ve made the purposeful mindset change, I’m loving the pics more and more.

Minimalism?

It’s National Coffee Day! Well, that’s exciting. As you can see, I am not a minimalist. It is fun collecting stuff. What is even more fun is having something when someone else needs it! It brings me so much joy to have something on hand in the time of need. Chances are if there’s a computer part, book, coffee something, art supply, or thingamajig… we have it and are happy to lend it to ya in a moment’s notice. I only get rid of things when I honestly think none my friends will ever need it.

Anyway… back to the elephant in the picture: the Starbucks coffee mugs. We get one for every state and country we visit. These are our state mugs. Our country mugs are on a shelf you can’t see. The funny thing: I pretty much drink iced coffee and rarely use the mugs!

Most of my friends love hot coffee, and they enjoy grabbing a mug from their favorite place. The kids and Ben use them all the time. Adelaide makes single serving microwave cakes in them. That seems to be all the rage lately too! My college years were spent working the opening shift at Starbucks in Montecito, California, so Starbucks holds a special place in my heart. I have some great memories from the time!
It snowed up on the hills today, so I guess it’s officially hot chocolate season!

Essential Oils and This Homeschool Mama

This isn’t your normail Essential Oil blog post! I have a deep dark secret to share with you all: I don’t have an essential oil company preference.
That’s about as awkward to have to share that piece of information to a homeschooling community as this photo is of my children trying to “smile big for the camera”! 😂 Adelaide’s face!! I can’t even.
Isn’t is just a weird culture we live in where essential oil preference is a thing? Ha! Just like, think about it for a moment: this is a real thing that gets discussed online… daily! People have time to argue this. We live in a country where my biggest problem today was what oil order I needed from what company (I am am member of both). Is it weird to be thankful for this? We are all SO blessed to be in a 1st world country

Tin Whistle Cases

Hey all you Classical Conversations people! Have you bought your tin whistle for the school year?  Are you soooooo excited?! 😂😂😂

If you don’t feel like DIYing a tin whistle case, you can head on over to our Etsy page and snag one for yourself! You know you want one!

But in all honesty, do you enjoy tin whistle “season”? Being that we just started CC last year, I didn’t have to go through the 6 year olds class and all that. The older kids did it pretty well, so it isn’t that bad for me!

Hi! I am Molly. I Like to Wear Make Up

Messy hair don’t care? The cool “authentic” thing to say these days is that I don’t care, but the truth is, my authentic self does care. I am a pastor’s kid, went to a high school with a dress code, and lived in Geneva, Switzerland in my early 20s where the way I presented myself greatly mattered. My entire formative years were spent making sure I took ownership in how I presented myself.

Today’s homeschoolers disapprove of the still lingering 1990s physical stereotype cast on them, but what are we doing to break the idea? For those that are like me and do honestly enjoy being a little girly now and then, what if we started taking 1 minute to do that one thing? Take a moment to think about that one thing that gives you an extra strut in your step. Nicer shirt, cute earrings, fun shoes, lipstick instead of lip gloss, jeans instead of yoga pants….

I’ve been inspired by my friend Shaye over at The Elliot Homestead with her #farmgirlchic challenge.

Let’s change the image of what people think homeschooler style is.  On those days when you feel a little extra and you have a minute to do that thing that makes you feel great, snap a selfie and tag me! Use the hashtag #homeschoolchic

If you are a bit like me and have felt pressure to feel bad for enjoying getting all  gussied up: here’s your permission to keep dressing up just because you feel like it! I’ll be the first to start.

Hi, I’m Molly and I like to wear make up any time I leave the house.

 

Our Summer Homeschool Schedule

What does our summer schedule look like? We do a little bit of all of it year-round, minus July. I love the chill 4-school day a week schedule! There’s no uber long break that makes the kids and I forget what we learned and we’re not so stressed out that we absolutely need a 2.5 month break. In the summer months it’s fun to work on some other projects that we didn’t get to do throughout the regular school year. Even with only four days a week we can easily finish the “core” studies and do more fun things. We are doing Institute for Excellence in Writing’s FixIt Grammar and love it! It’s reinforcing the English we learned this year with a fun story. Anyway, happy Tuesday everyone! Get ‘er done, wether you are trying to finish your school year strong or continuing on through your year round schedule! You’re doing great, mama!

College Admissions: Don’t Do This!

This is the cliff notes of our podcast with Hannah Tung past college admissions counselor and now a professor at a major Christian college.  If these cliff notes look interesting, listen to the podcast for the full details!

 

1. Unprofessional References- like Jesus. References are very important to the process and colleges take them seriously. This is not a time to do creative writing. Also, know that the people you write down on references will be very honest. Take them out for coffee before they write the reference you can communicate your desires and your heart for your future to your reference.

2. Only give what is asked for. If they ask for three references, give only three.

3. A big part of the application process comes after you submit your application. Visiting the campus, phone calls

4. Be professional and respectful in all circumstances.  Address the college staff by their full name and don’t be too familiar with the staff you have just met.

5. Dress appropriately.

6. Be open enough to ask your friends what they think of your teenage student to see if there are character flaws that may hurt his college admission interview. Treat a friend to Starbucks and ask them to do a mock interview with your student.

7. Essays matter. Both in content and grammar.

The biggest takeaway is that essays, academics, and life experiences all matter. Don’t pay attention to only one area, assuming that will get you into your 1st choice college.

 

 

 

Does Curriculum Matter For College Applications?

With Guest Speaker, Hannah Tung.  Hannah was first a college admissions officer and is now a professor at an accredited private college. She has experienced all sides of college admittance and student performance in college.

Our ultimate goal may not be to have our kids go to college, but it doesn’t hurt to think towards that goal until it becomes clear which direction your student will go.

  1. Unless you are going to an Ivy League college, the school doesn’t care what curriculum you used. All they care about is did you learn the subject to the entry level standard for college.
  2. If you plan on doing a heavy math degree, then yes, you should choose an upper-level math program in high school to help with that.
  3. It is more important to keep a record of your student’s subjects and transcripts the moment the kids are in 9th Start in 7th grade to practice and get it down by 9th grade. You can ask for a sample transcript from your local high school.
  4. Your school name doesn’t matter, so have fun with it! What matters is that you stay consistent with writing the name of your school on all forms and application. The one piece that connects all random documents together is the original application, with the school name on it.
  5. The professionalism of your transcript is much more important! The formatting and look of the transcript is important and you should do what you can to make it look as professional and “mainstream” as possible.
  6. It is evident when students have been given higher grades on their transcripts than what was the appropriate grade once the student is in class. Give your kid the correct and honest grades!
  7. Homeschoolers fail in being able to listen to a lecture, take notes, and write a paper on the lecture. Due to mom sitting across the dining table with a reading based program, it’s important to train your upper-level high schooler to be able to do lectures. Watch Ted Talks or listen to Podcasts and assign a paper on them. This will greatly help their college-level learning.
  8. Running start or Dual Enrollment programs are wonderful! Most universities look at transfer students differently. It really differs on the college and degree desired on if they prefer transfer students or not.
  9. Take your students to the schools they are interested in! It really helps to make decisions.
  10. Call the college to ask what they are looking for in good applicants. Colleges are happy to give you all sorts of information!

Super Practical Meal Planning

This is the quick notes in written form of our podcast on February Slumps! If you’d like to listen to the full talk, please find us in your podcast app!

First things first… don’t use papyrus or comic sans font. Hahaha! You have to listen to the podcast for more on that.

  1. Get an InstaPot. It seriously is worth all of the hype. It is a legit pressure cooker that saves so much time.
  2. Get Dollar Store clear plastic bins. Gather all the dry ingredients for dinner and label it “Monday”. So on Monday, you can grab the bin and know all the ingredients are right there. Also, the kids know that what is in the plastic bins are, without a doubt, not for snacking!
  3. Prep all fruits and veggies on Sunday night. Meghan dices and chops all veggies and puts them into Ziplock baggies. She can pull them out quickly on that night’s dinner, ready to be thrown into the InstaPot!
  4. Do a themed day meal: Taco Tuesdays, Spaghetti Saturdays, Meatless Mondays. This narrows the “what should we eat?” questions. Plus, kids love routine, especially if it’s a favorite meal, they don’t mind eating it every week.
  5. Stick to the grocery list and stick to your budget. It eliminates extra decisions made if you try to wiggle where there is no room. Keep it simple!
  6. Go shopping less but buying both fresh and frozen fruits and veggies. We eat through fresh produce first and then towards the end of the grocery shopping weeks we will eat meals using the frozen produce. This will allow going grocery shopping less often and still get proper foods.
  7. If you are new to meal planning, start with just one day a week of meal planning. Then work up to multiple days a week of meal plans. Start small and build on it over time so you don’t get overwhelmed. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or waste food if you go all out the first time meal planning. Start small and work from there.