poetry, unschooling


They started with Pokemon watching and animal mazes and lego play.

We spent quite a bit of time watching construction on the street outside our house.  “What are they doing now?”


Gavin worked on more letters to friends, each with a drawing, while Lilah wrote a message and drew a picture on a card she started yesterday for her friend.

There were spinning like a top in the living room breaks and an Ironman Uno game.  They made a maze out of cardboard and clear plastic packing for the stuffed animals, stuffies as they call them.  Then more letter writing.


We followed a conversation round and round (as I like to) beginning with horse riding, then horses riding us, then horse writing, which was explained by Gavin as writing letters to horses.  We spent many minutes telling each other what we’d put into our letters to horses.  “Dear Horse, do you prefer apples or carrots?”  “Dear Horse, do you like bunnies?”

There was lunch and then good friends visiting, with lego play, stuffed animal festivals and an imaginary school session before goodbyes.  Gavin did some research online about how to make a robot.



I read Pippi Longstocking to the kids.  She went to the circus and then danced with some would-be burglars.  We love Pippi.  She went up against the strongest man in the world, but as she pointed out, she’s the strongest girl in the world, so of course she came out on top.


Afterward, there was dinner and poetry reading: Margaret Atwood, William Carlos Williams, T.S. Eliot.  We all took turns choosing and reading.


You Begin

You begin this way
This is your hand
This is your eye
That is a fish, blue and flat
On the paper, almost
The shape of an eye.
This is your mouth, this is an O
Or a moon, whichever
You like. This is yellow.

Outside the window
Is the rain, green
Because it’s summer, and beyond that
The trees and then the world,
Which is round and has only
The colours of these nine crayons.

This is the world, which is fuller
And more difficult to learn than I have said.
You are right to smudge it that way
With the red and then
The orange: the world burns.

Once you have learned these words
You will learn that there are more
Words than you can ever learn.
The word hand floats above your hand
Like a small cloud over a lake.
The word hand anchors
Your hand to this table,
Your hand is a warm stone
I hold between two words.

This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,
Which is round but not flat and has more colours
Than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,
This is what you will
Come back to, this is your hand.

Margaret Atwood

It was a peaceful day full of reconnecting with friends and small important moments.



They began with computer games and pokemon watching.  Then puzzling and a bit of balance play on the balance beam.

There was oatmeal muffin baking.  And talk about rising batter and baking powder and falling as the muffins came out rather flat.  But they tasted delicious anyway!

While Gavin worked more on our latest puzzle, Lilah glued some flowers we pressed from a hike earlier this summer onto card stock to give a friend.

Gavin wrote some thank you letters for friends.  He embellished one with a Spiderman illustration.


Lilah read several Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems to me.  They are some of our favorites!

There was lunch, more writing and balancing.

We did some silly walking, inspired by Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks and some more lego play.

Then off to City Creek Canyon to go up to the top for the last time before they close the road for the season.  We went two miles up, to the snow data collection whiz-gigs.  Right near the bottom we spotted a lynx cub a little bigger than our pug heading down toward the creek.  No pictures as I was busy watching and pointing it out to the kids.  I didn’t expect unschooling to pay off like this, but I was very excited! I’ve never seen a wild lynx close.  It looked like a big cuddly cat with a short tail.  Amazing!


We saw many kinds of mushrooms that I hope to research later based on pictures we took.  We climbed and tossed rocks in the creek.  We saw a snake, lots of grasshoppers and butterflies.

On the way down, the kids were world-spinning, each choosing a weapon to master and having their own school to master it in, with elaborate backstory.  “I learned to use the sword as a kid from my father.”  “Well, my mother taught me to use a staff.”  Then they were bears, eagles, rhinos and a rhino-corn, evolving into different forms.   They found curved sticks and used them as pretend bows to hunt, “but not really, Mama, because I don’t hurt animals in real life.”

Finally, back home for dinner and evening rituals.

It was good.



They began with lots of lego building…. trees, castles….



There was more Where On Earth? kids atlas reading.


We picked out some new shoes for new adventures.

How does our garden grow?  Tiny lemon cucumbers are starting.  Squash are getting bigger and there are lots of sungold tomatoes to pick and eat.


We walked up City Creek Canyon, stopping to throw rocks in the stream, look at plants, float bark boats down, saw some water striders and even spotted some fish. We admired milk weed pods and acorns, maple leaves and hollow stumps.

We came home and worked on a bit of a new puzzle.



Then had dinner and a game of Dominion, our new Intrigue expansion.



And it was fun.



We began by building with hexbugs and legos.


Then we looked at national flags in a book.

“Can we listen to the Dreamland cd, Mama?”

There was a game of zombie dice.

“Mama, can we build a zipline for legos?”  “I bet you can!  Try that yarn.”  “Whee, it’s going down!”

I put together an unschooling interview and interviewed the kids.  Then Lilah interviewed me.  I wrote them up here.

We took a trip to the aquarium and enjoyed many animals.  We read about extinction and endangered animals in Utah.  We spotted sea turtles and sharks, penguins and toucans eating fruit.  They crossed the rope bridge.

Then, back home for brownies and more legos.

We read eachother jokes.  “What kind of school do you go to to greet people?”  “High school.”

Gavin read to us about carnivorous plants.

Then Lilah and I were off to gymnastics class for pull ups, balance beam jumps, handstands and then back home to show Daddy and Gavin the “broken monkey leg” maneuver.


There was Civilization playtime with Dad for Gavin during gymnastics class.

Back home for dinner, books together and cuddles.

interviews, unschooling


I thought an interview with the kids about how they feel and what they are thinking about would help us begin our unschooling journey.



With Gavin:

1. What do you and I do together?

Ummm.  Play games.  Make puzzles.  Watch movies.  Play soccer sometimes.  Play Magic The Gathering.  Cuddle time and choose one song for you to sing.  Sometimes play frisbee. We adventure in Yellowstone and we saw geysers.  Like, Goblin Valley and California.

2. What do you like most about your life?

Everything.  Games.  Legos.

3. What things would you change in your life?

Sometimes you guys shouting at me.*  Being not cold in the winter.

4. Are there things you’d like to do more of?

Play Magic The Gathering.  Umm.  I want to play more games.  I want to do more biking.  Watch more movies.

5. Are there things in our life you really dislike?

When things are unexpected.  Like sometimes there’s certain games I want to play on certain days and you play different games and I don’t like that.

6. What would you like to know more about?

Science.  More science.  How to make games on the computer.

7. What are you really good at?  

Math.  Adventures.  Playing games that are older than eight.  Magic.

8. What are you not as good at?

Aiming at targets.  Nothing else.

9. What do you like most about your family?

Because they play games.  I like birthdays because I can invite friends.  We get to read books together.

10. What do you like least about your family?

I don’t know.

11. How is your life different from other kids your age?

Because other kids like different things.  People do different things at different speeds like S last year gets to do three math strips.  I’m not in school.  I’m homeschooling.  I get to do stuff at home and do other things at other places.

12. If you had more love in your life what would that look like?

I don’t know.  More time with friends.


With Lilah:

1. What do you and I do together?

Hmmm.  We play games.  And we read books together.  And we’re still working on a puzzle.  Sometimes we fly kites.  Sometimes we play soccer together.

2. What do you like most about your life?

I like it because I have lots of stuffed animals to sleep with and we get to play lots of games.  And sometimes I get to play all day.

3. What things would you change in your life?

I don’t know.  When people hurt me; I don’t like that.

4. Are there things you’d like to do more of?

I’d like to read more books and play more games.  And I also wanted to sew a lot.

5. Are there things in our life you really dislike?

Sometimes when someone yells at me.*  I don’t like that at all.

6. What would you like to know more about?

I wanna learn more cooking and also I would like to learn more about art and I also would like to learn more about birds and animals.

7. What are you good at?

I’m very good at reading.  I’m sometimes good at baking and cooking.  And I’m very good at hiding presents.

8. What are you not as good at?

Creating things and planting plants ’cause sometimes they don’t grow.

9. What do you like most about your family?

I love Mama.  And Daddy.   And I also like about my family that they like me too.  And I also love Gavin.

10. What do you like least about your family?

I don’t know.

11. How is your life different from other kids your age?

Cause sometimes (a friend) is not nice to me.

12. If you had more love in your life what would that look like?

I don’t know what it would look like.  Maybe like a hundred times more than the universe.


*It hurts to hear the kids say this, and it hurts to admit that I do shout and speak in anger and frustration sometimes.  Shouting and speaking unkindly is something I am working so hard to end right now.  I am making progress but I have a way to go.  Obviously this is incredibly important to everyone in our house!


With Mama:

1. What do you and I do together?

Hmm.  We read books and we draw and we cuddle.  Sometimes we do yoga and dance.  I like hula hooping with you.  And I like to laugh with you.

2. What do you like most about your life?

I like being able to spend time with my family and enjoying one another and the world.

3. What things would you change in your life?

I wouldn’t change much.   We might have decided to invite you home for school earlier so we could have more time together and less stress in our lives.

4. Are there things you’d like to do more of?

Yes!  I’d like to do more yoga, more hiking, more reading, more drawing, more painting, more camping!  I’d like to tickle you more.

5. Are there things in our life you really dislike?

Yes.  I really don’t like speaking unkindly to you or anyone.  I want to do better at always, always using non-violent communication.  I wish I could spend more time with my sister.

6. What would you like to know more about?

Lots of things!  Like, how to identify the squash in our garden before they have squash, what kinds of mushrooms are edible, anything about animals, how brains develop, constellation names and positions, new words.

7. What are you really good at?  

I think I’m pretty good at reading, drawing, having fun, hiking, gluten free & vegan baking, being a mom.

8. What are you not as good at?

Keeping all the dishes clean all the time, memorizing dates, talking to people I don’t know, being on time.

9. What do you like most about your family?

That we like to be together and do fun things together.

10. What do you like least about your family?

I’m not sure.

11. How is your life different from other kids your age?

I don’t have to earn a living right now so I have the luxury of spending time with my kids and looking for opportunities for us.  We don’t follow a rigid schedule like most people who have to be at school and work at specific times.  I have so much less stress without the outside schedule worries.

12. If you had more love in your life what would that look like?

More love for myself (my inner voice) and my body the way it is today.  I would feel lighter, be more readily able to happily connect with others without the dark shadow of worry about myself that occasionally affects my interactions now.  I would be more confident.  The love I have from others is already full to the brim!




Unschool Kick-off

“Mama, I’d like to do the puzzle.  Would you help me?”  We puzzled.  “This could be a monarch but it doesn’t have enough white.”


“Mama, can we get Mung Daal?  And some other new things?”  We picked up our Community Supported Agriculture share and the Indian Market.  And picked out some new foods to try.   Then drove past new library in our neighborhood, looked at construction progress.

We made brownies – fractions and chemistry!  “How many 1/4 cups are in a 1/2 cup?  How can you tell the difference between a Tablespoon and teaspoon measure?”

We put up the tent in the living room to dry after our rainy Yellowstone adventure.

And read Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, which they both adore.


We read a book about history, geography.  Learned that the lowest sea on Earth is Ross Sea in Antarctica.  And that in India they speak 22 official languages but only Hindi and English used by the government.


They made a pokemon deck together and cross referenced with our pokemon sticker book.

The kids made crowns, necklaces, climbing ropes out of pipe cleaners.

We had some computer time.

We picked thai chiles, tomatillos, tomatoes, eggplant of two kinds in the garden.

We looked at butternuts, dumplings and pumpkins growing at different stages and compared squash leaves.  We talked about ripe versus unripe tomatillos, jalapenos.

Then we finished off our day with dinner together, brownies, card from Mama, a song and a tiny bit more puzzling for our Unschool Celebration.

And there was love.

poetry, unschooling

Yes Is A World

love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skilfully curled)
all worlds

E. E. Cummings

I named the blog for an E. E. Cummings poem that speaks to me about the kind of parent I want to be and the kind of environment I hope we can create and nurture for the four of us, as unschoolers, as a family, as four close friends.


was the word that began a relationship between my partner and I, our world together.  Yes is the word that takes us to the beginning of our journey in learning outside of school.  Yes is what I want to fill each day with.  And yes, I adore poetry.