Join our family of rabid unschoolers (frothing at the mouth) as we quit our day jobs, skip the country, and live, love and learn in the "real world"! Mom, Dad, two teens and a toddler traverse Thailand.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Flat Stanley does Thailand!

Our niece, Portia, sent us a Flat Stanley to take around Thailand to see the sites. Here are a few places he's been...

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hair dying continues...

Otto's brilliant purple hair has gotten plenty of attention here in Thailand, but it's starting to fade, and time for a new color. This time we're going for bright red. We found it at one of the numerous beauty supply stores that seems to be on every street in Phuket Town....and I think we paid around 30฿ for it (around a dollar!)

Since we're in one room studios and have none of our normal hair dying tools, bowls, brushes, etc...we had to improvise. Otto's awesome idea was mixing the dye in an empty water bottle and poking a hole in the top, to squirt the dye onto this Mohawk...

His idea worked great, and here he is in his hard-core glory, waiting for the dye to...well, dye.

It looked purple while waiting, but it washed out to a nice red/pink/plum. He also wants it to be here he sits with curlers...

And here's the finished product! Ready for plenty more attention on the streets of Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand!

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Location:Phuket, Thailand

Sunday, August 28, 2011

First two weeks!

Things are finally getting settled and I can start blogging again. We are currently housed in two studio apartments about a 15 minute walk from the beach. Patong beach is like any other tourist beach--sticky with bars and souvenir stands and taxis hassling you every 3rd step. Apparently, if you are white and here, you shouldn't be walking. Sorry to disappoint, I walk everywhere!

Behind our apartment.

Otto and Miranda are getting way more than their fair share of attention. The massage girls at every massage parlor we walk by hoot at him and point to his purple hair. Everyone wants to take their picture with Miranda-luckily she isn't shy. Lots of hugs and kisses for her. The rest of us just get offered taxi rides ;).

The beach is really freakin' awesome! WARM, clear water. Delicious!!

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Location:Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Monday, August 15, 2011


Lauren and I are hanging out here in the Taipei airport...almost to Bangkok!

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Location:Strangely enough....Taipei!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tickets bought! Class reserved!

Two important things on our to do list Checked Off!

Otto and his friend Silas flew to Las Vegas last weekend. Otto is now not afraid of airports. Another important hurdle jumped.

Craigslisting still needs to applications go out unit is acquired...

Omg, people, this is really going to happen!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

"If we treated another adult the way we commonly treat our children, we would be subject to criminal and/or civil action. Imposing one's will on another person is considered a crime in our society. Yet with children, it is actively encouraged. The only conclusion is that children are not seen as persons." - James Kimmel, PhD

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

"An adolescent does not rebel against his parents. He rebels against their power. If parents would rely less on power and more on non-power methods to influence their children from infancy on, there would be little for children to rebel against when they become adolescents... parents inevitably run out of power, and sooner than they think." - Thomas Gordon

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Quote of the Day

"A child whose life is full of the threat and fear of punishment is locked into babyhood. There is no way for him to grow up, to learn to take responsibility for his life and acts. Most important of all, we should not assume that having to yield to the threat of our superior force is good for the child's character. It is never good for anyone's character."

- John Holt

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Quote of the Day

You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again. ~~Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, 1762

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quote of the Day

"To anxious young women, I want to say what I wish more older women had said to my generation: Relax, enjoy the journey and do not worry about the future. There are no wicked witches. It is all good. Really, really good." -- Naomi Wolf

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Anytime that, without being invited, without being asked, we try to teach somebody else something, anytime we do that, we convey to that person, whether we know it or not, a double message. The first part of the message is: I am teaching you something important, but you're not smart enough to see how important it is. Unless I teach it to you, you'd probably never bother to find out. The second message that uninvited teaching conveys to the other person is: What I'm teaching you is so difficult that, if I didn't teach it to you, you couldn't learn it.
This double message of distrust and contempt is very clearly understood by children, because they are extremely good at receiving emotional messages. It makes them furious. And why shouldn't it?" --John Holt, "Learning All the Time"

I found this little gem highlighted in green marker from the copy I've had since the year my eldest was born, 19 years ago. I tip my hat today to the young mother I was then, that even then I knew this to be true.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quote of the Day

"If there is one thought that will help you understand unschooling and respectful parenting it is this: The primary goal is joyful living. All other goals are secondary." ~ Joyce Fetteroll

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
- Howard Thurman

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Quote of the Day

"There is no difference between living and learning... it is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as being separate.” ~ John Holt

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Quote of the Day

"In the end, the secret to learning is so simple: Think only about whatever you love. Follow it, do it, dream about it... and it will hit you: learning was there all the time, happening by itself." --Grace Llewellyn

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quote of the Day

“So many people have said to me, ‘If we didn’t make children do things, they wouldn’t do anything.’ Even worse, they say, ‘If I weren’t made to do things, I wouldn’t do anything.’ It is the creed of a slave. When people say that terrible thing about themselves, I say, ‘You may believe that, but I don’t believe it. You didn’t feel that way about yourself when you were little. Who taught you to feel that way?’ To a large degree, it was school.” ~John Holt

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Good-bye STUFF

This is what my living room looks like right now...

Most of this stuff, plus the 4 garbage bags you can't see to the left, are going away. This is AFTER an enormous garage sale two weekends ago. That means there's progress, right?

It is amazing to me how much STUFF a family of five can accumulate.

Since we've started paring down for the trip, I have been hyper-aware of the pervasive marketing of crap by every store, every commercial, every sign...I mean, yeah, I'm normally a pretty aware person. But wow. We are supposed to buy new tablecloths for the Fourth of July, did you know? And special drink holders. And wouldn't it be nice if we had a new this or that this year, this season, this's all making me feel a bit claustrophobic when I go into a store.

We plan to get rid of most of our stuff, and put the rest in a small storage unit. I take my parents as a cautionary tale: they have had an entire household in a storage unit for very nearly 20 years now, making monthly payments on it ever since. I am sure we can find better things to do with our money in Thailand than spend it on keeping stuff here in the states that we're not using.

So, GOOD-BYE, STUFF! I will not miss you when you're gone, although sometimes I think I will. I am happily divorcing you. We can visit cordially, but I'm not taking you home with me again.

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Location:Bellingham, WA

Monday, June 6, 2011

Saying goodbye...

Yesterday we had a belated third birthday party for Miranda at the zoo in Seattle so we could say goodbye to both sides of extended family.

Me with my parents....

It was a sunny, warm day, something we have not had enough of lately, and it was great fun to relax and chat with brothers and sisters and numerous cousins...

Otto and grandma...

Miranda with Uncle Paul....

Silly cousins....

So, if we don't see you again before we leave, family and friends, know that you are loved and we will be thinking of you while exploring Asia!

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Location:Seattle, WA

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blogging via iPad....really?

Well....editing previous posts looks evil from this app....I'm going to try to post something new so I can see how THAT works. Please ignore my mess!

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Garage sale #1, DOWN!

Lord love a duck, as my dad would say. We garage-saled long and hard this weekend, and man....people are rabid dogs! On the plus side, though, we made a lot of money and got rid of many years of accumulated crap.

Saturday's crowd were the professional garage sale circuit players, it was obvious...bothering us in the pouring rain at 7:30 when we weren't starting until 9, digging though boxes of books on the porch with their UPC readers on their phones, buying to re-sell. It was raining for the first hour of the sale, so some friends had come into the house to visit...and soon our living room was full of people I didn't know! "If I don't know you, get out of my house right now!" I yelled from the front door, and 10 or 12 people sheepishly shuffled out. You can't make this shit up!

Sunday's crowd was much better, though. Not nearly as many people, but they wanted to visit, ask about the story behind items, tell me about their plans. I talked to many people who had been to Thailand, or wanted to go to Thailand, or just to travel with their families. I talked to a public teacher, who bought a box-full of books for her classroom, that complained about the school system and lamented not having home schooled her own kids. She was amazed at our collection of books and told me I had obviously given my kids a very well-rounded education. Actually, I told her, they had very far-reaching interests and had simply followed their passions.

She's coming back on Tuesday to chat.

(please excuse any mess this post might be in...I'm learning how to blog from my iPad!)

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Question of MUD...

We visited the Skagit Valley for the Tulip Festival this weekend.  If you have never seen acres and acres of tulips in bloom, it is a must see, and a fun family outing.  The sun was shining for a change and we headed out to see the flowers.  Miranda wore jeans, a sweater and a pink tutu...

When we arrived, the fields were muddy from the recent rains, and the mud puddles were calling our girl, so into the puddles she stomped.  Her boots were soon stuck, so off they came, pants rolled up, and she squished through the puddles with wild you can see in the picture above.

This is a day ending in "y" in our family, and we thought nothing of it...but the reactions of those around us were so sad, and so telling about what the lives of children must be like!

Children looking at her wistfully, guiltily..."Mama, did you see that girl!  She was playing in the mud!"--they wanted to be, too, but knew it wasn't allowed....

Parents laughing uncomfortably...glancing at us...weren't we going to stop her?

A few actually stopping to take pictures of her--because it is such a strange thing to see a child playing in the mud, we must take pictures of this rare creature!

One man went on an on about HOW COOL it was, HOW AWESOME Miranda was and HOW GREAT the whole experience was....he took pictures....stopped his wife and child....they just looked uncomfortable and hurried on.

Who knew you could actually draw a crowd with a toddler playing in the mud?  

Let you children stomp in mud puddles today, will you?  They won't melt.  They will only get dirty.  Bring a change of clothes.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I love teens!!

I am tired of hearing people complain about teens.  Just yesterday I heard it again--”Thankfully only one of mine is a teen...How do you do it with two?”


Do people not remember what it was like to be a teen?  Do you have partial amnesia when it comes to remembering that YOU, adult now, wanted to do things, wanted to be things, that your parents or teachers DIDN’T?  Did you forget how passionately you felt about things, how alive you felt, how every day was filled with wonder and excitement?  And don’t you remember how people, OLDER people, teachers and parents and the media, poo-pooed your feelings, told you you had no idea what life was really about?

They were wrong.

When you were excited and passionate about life, that was the rightest time there was for you!  Get back there again!  Embrace your inner teen!

When you were willing to rebel against to status quo to be who you really were, that’s where you need to be again!  Don’t look to mom or church or society to tell you who you are--YOU KNOW!  Be her!

And then, when you are happy and glowing in your own, well-adjusted, self-assured teen-ti-tude, look at your own teens.

They are awesome, aren’t they.  I mean, REALLY AWESOME!

They’re excited about so many things, and so deeply!  They’re funny and tell dirty jokes and LAUGH....join them!  They want to keep odd hours and hang out with friends and listen to music and eat too much or not enough (perfect for them!)--help them do that!  Sure, sometimes they don’t  look at the “big picture”, sure sometimes they just live “in the moment”....


Sometimes they do something until it’s not fun, and then they stop.....


Sometimes they act like being happy is the most important thing....


Find your joy--and please, go hug your teen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Live in Freedom, Live in Love

My kids live in freedom.  They learn what, and when, and how they want.  I don’t decide what “needs” to be learned, now, by a certain age, or by adulthood.  I respect my children’s autonomy the same way I respect my husband’s, or that or my friends.  My children don’t have bedtimes, or limits on television or video games, and they can eat whatever they want, whenever they want, in whatever amounts they want.  My teenagers don’t have curfews. I don’t know how to spell it out any more plainly--I am not in control of my children.  

This is one aspect of radical unschooling--complete freedom, both over one’s education AND over one’s own body and life choices.  But that can look awfully cold, if that is the only side of unschooling you see.  Freedom?  You mean you just abandon your kids?

So, on the flip side, my children also live in love.  Their passions and interests are supported wholly and enthusiastically by myself, my husband, and their father. I find articles, and classes, and books and programs and trips that I think would interest them, and I joyfully give them the information, without any expectations on my part as to whether it will be used.  They are accepted for who they are at any moment in their lives, exactly as they are.  My kids sleep with us until they are ready to move on, nurse as long as they wish to, and are able to choose the foods they want at every meal.  I help my kids when they need help, and they, in turn, help me when they see I need help.  I enjoy sharing books, or movies, or games, or tv shows with my kids--watching, discussing, imagining alternate scenarios--even into their adulthoods.  We laugh and cuddle and chat and discuss....I listen and handhold and support and love.

I do not control my children.  I love my children.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why Thailand?
Start with a daughter who loves Asia.  Lauren (18) has studied Japanese for a few years, and last summer headed off for three week to Japan.  She came home even more delighted with Asia, and more anxious to explore it. Add a friend who has been to Thailand.  My friend TC has been to Thailand a couple of times, and is closely affiliated with a group called Power of One, that organizes trips for teens from around the world to Thailand, for volunteer projects.  We went over for dinner with TC and Myn, and by the time we left Lauren was excited to head to Thailand after Christmas, 2010.  Mix briskly with a jealous mama pining away at home.  Lauren is not a caller.  She goes away to a foreign country, and she ENJOYS that country.  She doesn’t think about home.  So mama sat at home....and read a travel book about Thailand.....and checked it out on the internet....and plotted her daughter’s course through the country....and found a link to teaching English in Thailand....and read it...
I should back-track a bit here.  Paul and I had been talking about quitting our day jobs and taking off for a few months before this. We are an unschooling family of 5--Lauren, 18, Otto, 13, Miranda, 2 1/2, and mom and dad. Paul works as an IT guy, and I’ve been a coffee roaster with my own company for the past 7 years...but lately we felt we'd been spending too much time working, and not enough time hanging out as a family.  Sooooo....when we started reading about teaching English in Thailand, and looking at pictures of warm, white beaches, and imagining swimming and caving and shopping and eating and boating and exploring....well, it seemed like a no-brainer that THAILAND is where we would go, to have an adventure together as a family. 

Stay tuned for further adventures from the rabid unschoolers!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Have to start SOMEWHERE....

As some of you know, my family and I are preparing for the adventure of a lifetime--we're quitting our "day jobs" and skipping the country! As a way of keeping you all abreast of our adventures, I'm finally getting this blog off the ground. WELCOME! Yes, you! (I mean you!) If you are interested in LIVING life to its fullest, LOVING your family and really enjoying their company, LEARNING about everything that comes your way, TRAVELING to far-off exotic lands (with family in tow!), and MAKING a living while doing so--this is the place for you! We can learn along with each other, dear reader. Please feel free to leave comments with questions, or just with support. Thanks so much for coming along with us on this WILD RIDE!