BOOK LOOK – Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon – Chapter 12 Physical Educ/Health


~~~ BOOK LOOK ~~~

Review & Reflections


Free Range Learning:

How Homeschooling Changes Everything

by Laura Grace Weldon


~Review~


If you were to only have one homeschool, unschooling, life learning book on your shelf this would be my top pick. It is absolutely worth having this volume on your shelf to revisit again and again.

This book encompasses so many of my core beliefs on life learning and how to raise children (and yourself!) in a mindful and wholehearted way that I just had to write a series of reviews covering the chapters in this book and encouraging other folks to try out this lifestyle.

Revisit reviews of previous chapters by clicking on the Category – Homeschooling + Unschooling search tab on the right side of this page or linked HERE.

In Chapter 12 – Physical Education & Health Laura covers more of what some folks would view as the “core required subjects” of homeschooling. She emphasizes how building daily healthy habits for our mind and body will have benefits for a lifetime. Both movement and play as well as what we eat and how we rest all lead to how we experience our lives.

Be sure to try out the wide variety of options Laura offers with both activities and resources and see my reflections below on our own families lived experience and resources we used on our journey.


~Reflections~


Move More, P.L.A.Y. More, Get Outdoors, and Oh So Much More!

Our work as life learners is to engage with topics of interest, explore curiosities, and quite simply build a life of purpose and meaning through our daily adventures and this includes being active and healthy.

A Healthy Outdoor “Fall Leaf Pile Fly + Flop” Family Moment 11/2009

Healthy Activities –Here is a sample of healthy activities that our kiddos participated in over the years:

  • archery
  • biking
  • dancing
  • gardening
  • hiking
  • hip hop
  • horseback
  • ice skating
  • jogging
  • outdoor games at local park (w/shout out to our favorite Trevor the Games Man!)
  • raising goats
  • roller blading
  • running 3K races
  • soccer
  • skiing
  • sledding
  • singing
  • swim & gym
  • weight lifting

These activities were done in a mix of solo moments or in multi-age homeschool group gatherings or with the public at large.

Costs were kept down by borrowing or purchasing used equipment, approaching businesses to host homeschool sessions during slow daytime (school) hours at a lower price, and simply being selective with our activities so that many of them were cost free = just your time!

And the bonus benefit was so many of these involved time spent in nature – walking, photographing, sketching, playing, wandering, hiking, gardening, painting, sledding, laughing, engaging, listening, etc. = P.L.A.Y.-ing

Healthy Eating – Eating 3 or more times a day makes this an important relationship and connection for each person to figure out. How your body feels, fueled vs. fatigued, is directly related to physical activity and eating habits. As a homeschool family we had the opportunity to model what nourishes our bodies and learn together over time how to improve what we consumed to fuel and fulfill us daily. Over the years we have had many discussions on what we want to eat and why. The kiddos have been actively involved in the grocery trips and weekly CSA farm trips to pick our foods for over nearly 20 years – a skill for a lifetime of choices ahead. And with medical situations as a prompt we shifted together to a plant based diet, attended a conference as a family to learn more about this lifestyle, and over time we have stayed mostly plant based reaping the benefits and still having the flexibility for individuals to make adjustments to meet their own health needs.

And although both of my grown kiddos would say that our hours spent picking blueberries, strawberries, apples, and veggies at our local CSAs to fill our pantry and freezer were not always their favorite outdoor moments they do both value fresh local foods and love to consume them.

Healthy Body Awareness –  When it comes time for the conversations about the “birds & bees” I have three things to say:

  1. Look no further – go directly to the library, book store, or the link below and get the series by Robie H. Harris as the perfect story time and conversation launching point for all your healthy body awareness conversations at all ages and stages. We used these books together, one-on-one, and solo and have recommended them to families with kiddos ever since. She begins at age 4 with It’s Not the Stork! so it is never too early to get a copy and take a look to familiarize yourself with what is ahead!
  2. Be honest, be brave, have the courage to say I need to get back to you on that so you have time to think through your answers, and ALWAYS take your kiddos cues for how much information they are ready for by the questions they are asking. Too much information overloads the circuits and can get lost or misunderstood. Too little information may lead them to asking questions from other sources that provide myths or misinformation. Be present and be willing to revisit these topics again and again as your kiddos are trusting you to help guide their understanding of healthy body awareness. FYI -shaming is never welcome, especially to these talks as there is no such thing as a bad question and your kiddos curiosity is what will fuel healthy conversations and keep them coming back to learn more if they feel it is a safe space.
  3. We had the good fortune of also having some brave and compassionate parents in our homeschool co-op that were willing to take on the role of having challenging conversations with open and honest answers while teens explored these topics even further in safe and informed spaces.

Healthy Sense of Self & Relationships- Anxiety, stress, depression, have all become common everyday occurrences, especially for this technology driven generation. It is up to us as parents to model and help our kiddos have an awareness of coping strategies and building resilience. Three sources have helped inform how we have “raised” ourselves and our kiddos:

  1. Becoming familiar with the 24 Character Strengths & Values created by Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson who are pioneers in the field of Positive Psychology. Visit the Values in Action website so you and your family can take a survey and see which are your strengths and how you lead with them everyday. This is a game changer for making long lasting connected relationships.
  2. Wholehearted Living – The work of Brene Brown on shame and vulnerability and her sharing of it in her multiple books has made all the difference in how I am as a parent, partner, daughter, friend, and in all of my relationships and has rippled out to my family, community, and beyond. If you only have the chance to read one of her books I’d say her latest, Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts has all the basics for how to create trusting and vulnerable relationships while holding healthy boundaries = wholehearted living. I will be doing a separate BOOK LOOK series in the future to cover her amazing and necessary work.
  3. Conflict Resolution, Sociocracy, Compassionate Communication are all models that we have had experience with together as a family in our various homeschool co-ops and in our intentional community. What we have found over the years is that there are many great strategies and guide posts that are woven throughout these models and it takes time, trial and error, to figure out what works best for you, your family, and the communities you engage with over time. They all require effort and doing the hard homework and plenty of practice AND are all worth looking into and discovering what is a good fit for your healthy lifestyle.

Chapter 13 in this series can be found HERE.

As always, compliment this reading with the authors and resources listed below.

Visit and support your local library and request these books!


~ Recommended Authors + Resources ~


Robie H. Harris –

It’s Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends (age 4 and up)

It’s So Amazing!: A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families (age 7 and up)

Brene Brown –

 

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.Ryan Niemiec & Robert McGrath –

 

The Power of Character Strengths: Appreciate and Ignite Your Positive Personality

Marshall Rosenberg –

Nonviolent Communication: A Language for Life

Online – How to videos – Dance, Yoga, Tai Chi, Archery, Aerobics, Weight Lifting, etc.


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

and join the P.L.A.Y.-filled journey today!


 

BOOK LOOK – Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon – Chapter 11 Math


~~~ BOOK LOOK ~~~

Review & Reflections


Free Range Learning:

How Homeschooling Changes Everything

by Laura Grace Weldon


~Review~


If you were to only have one homeschool, unschooling, life learning book on your shelf this would be my top pick. It is absolutely worth having this volume on your shelf to revisit again and again.

This book encompasses so many of my core beliefs on life learning and how to raise children (and yourself!) in a mindful and wholehearted way that I just had to write a series of reviews covering the chapters in this book and encouraging other folks to try out this lifestyle.

Revisit reviews of previous chapters by clicking on the Category – Homeschooling + Unschooling search tab on the right side of this page or linked HERE.

In Chapter 11 – Math, Business & Critical Thinking Laura covers more of what some folks would view as the “academic subjects” of homeschooling. She clearly states “Math is Everywhere” and so are the opportunities for engaging with it. Pretty much all that you do can be easily connected to mathematical concepts in some way and she therefore encourages you to simply engage in a wide variety of every day moments with critical thinking, logic, and other concepts applied naturally.

Be sure to try out the wide variety of options Laura offers with both activities and resources and see my reflections below on our own families lived experience and resources we used on our journey.


~Reflections~


 Focusing on the “Math”of Play, Curiosity, and Our Very Nature

Our work as life learners is to engage with topics of interest, explore curiosities, and quite simply build a life of purpose and meaning through our daily adventures. Connecting to math and using our critical thinking muscle takes on a variety of looks as we each come to it from quite a variety of angles.

Giving family members the space to explore mathematical concepts in their own way has made all the difference in our relationships and their relationship to math.

Up until the age of 7 the kiddos simply encountered math naturally in their daily lives. Working in the kitchen with mom, telling time to know when we leave for a friends house or how much more time they had in a favorite activity, counting coins they received from the grandparents, figuring out what a half of a half was so that a family of four could split dessert evenly, and so many other routine moments where math arrived naturally.

Then as they got a bit older we introduced a few things to provide further exposure to the basic concepts of + – x / and eventually fractions and decimals <see resources listed below>. From the ages of 7-12 they had the opportunity to sit with one of their parents, grandparents, their sibling, or work solo to noodle through various problem/solution exercises progressing at their own pace. There were never tests, they always had the answer keys available to use as a reference, and they each made choices in how to go about this work.

Pressure and rushing were never a part of the equation for math or any other topic for that did not match our family’s vision for learning or our lifestyle. I had already learned long ago in my teaching career that everyone learns in their own time and way even in a system that says you must know something by a certain age.

So you might ask, “were your kids ever frustrated or upset with learning math? how did you handle it? or was it simple and smooth?” Well as parents we probably already know the answer to this. The odds of this process being smooth and simple are not likely, although possible for some. I have always said my kiddos are like night and day in so many ways and it was no different in this arena. Math came easily to one kiddo and yet they often challenged the way in which it was presented. My other kiddo very early on said simply ” I don’t do math”.

We had our moments in which I had to practice patience while explaining again “why” we needed to have some basic math skills and it was necessary, in time, to learn the basics to apply to future endeavors in life. There were tears at times, both theirs and mine, as we did the dance of connection and disconnection provided by math moments. However, some of the greatest gifts on this P.L.A.Y. journey were how we handled ourselves which more often built trust vs. breaking it down. Respecting each individuals learning path and the methods that worked best for them provided daily opportunities to lean into trust and having faith that each kiddo knew their true needs and I was simply there as a guide. Communication and listening were key. They taught me more than I ever taught them. A true gift.

Navigating “MATH” with your child may feel like a challenging labyrinth over the years however follow their lead and trust it will eventually unfold naturally.

And so what is their relationship to math today as they have both feet planted in the adult world? Well the artistic kiddo never felt comfortable with math as it is customarily taught and presented in a linear fashion. And yet they have found their way navigating through “math moments” because they are motivated by their passion pursuits. Does it come easily to them? They don’t seem to think so. Do they manage well enough and know when to ask for assistance? Absolutely, just as I ask for techie help with my computer or someone might ask a neighbor for handyman help. And for the kiddo that the mathematical answers came easy, well we often encounter routine household moments in which a question comes up, they generate an answer, and I will be amazed at how they arrived at it. The way in which they see and process the equation is vastly different from what I know and yet they arrive at the same place or more often are arriving at the answer that escapes me. We are all wonderfully different learners and we all make our way, independently and interdependently.

And what is their relationship to me after traveling this “math path” together? With compassion, communication, and our relationship always foremost on my mind throughout the two decades of homeschooling/unschooling I have gratitude that the homework has payed off and our adult parent/kiddo relationships are still filled with trust and continue to build and be maintained every day.

THE Best Math Equation I Know to Be True:

Compassion + Communication = Building Connection + Trust

Be kind to yourself, be kind to your kiddos. The answers will come, in their own time and own way, both math kind and so much more.

Chapter 12 in this series can be found HERE.

As always, compliment this reading with the authors and resources listed below.

Be sure to support your local library and request these books!


~ Recommended Authors + Resources ~


Math-U-See is an online and product based program originally designed with homeschoolers in mind by Steve Demme & Family that we used at times with the kiddos when they were ages 7-12. [Note: We used the book series over 10+years ago and can not speak for the online version.

Steve SlavinAll the Math You’ll Ever Need: A Self-Teaching Guide

 

DK Math Workbooks – optional inexpensive consumable offering for the early years

 

Cindy Neuschwander -Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi: A Math Adventure (engaging picture book series)

 

Scholastic Series – Everything You Need to Know About MATH Homework

Khan Academy free online classes for all levels of mathematics, business, and critical thinking (for the whole family) especially as you get into the higher level math courses. [Note: We only dipped a toe into these however, we have heard of many other homeschoolers who enjoyed access to these online classes.]


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

and join the play-filled journey today!


 

BOOK LOOK – Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon – Chapters 7, 8, 9


~~~ BOOK LOOK ~~~

Review & Reflections


Free Range Learning:

How Homeschooling Changes Everything

by Laura Grace Weldon


~Review~


If you were to only have one homeschooling, unschooling, life learning book on your shelf this would be my top pick. It is absolutely worth owning this volume to revisit again and again for both support and inspiration.

This book encompasses so many of my core beliefs on life learning and how to raise children (and yourself!) in a mindful and wholehearted way that I just had to write a series of reviews covering the chapters in this book and encouraging other folks to try out this lifestyle.

Revisit reviews of previous chapters by clicking on the Category – Homeschooling + Unschooling search tab on the right side of this page or linked HERE.

In Chapter 7 – Adventure Homeschooling, Chapter 8 – Field Tripping, and Chapter 9 – Full Spectrum Learning Laura highlights that homeschoolers have many opportunities to engage and explore individually, with their families & friends, and in a variety of community settings and reminds us that it is ALL connected. The life learning lifestyle provides the opportunity to carve out chunks of time to use as you see fit and to create a rhythm to your days and weeks that suit you and your family. Whether you opt in to “car schooling” and traveling adventures or prefer a “place based” mode seeking curiosities close to home or any combination of these you have plenty of options to keep trying until you find one that fits your family’s needs at every age and stage.

Take a look at the wide variety of options Laura offers with both activities and resources and see my reflections below on our own families lived experience engaging with life learning on the road.


~Reflections~


 At Home or Away – Life Learning is Everywhere

Our work as life learners is to engage with topics of interest, explore curiosities, express ourselves creatively, and quite simply build a life of purpose and meaning through our daily adventures.

And then there are those rare once-in-a-life-time field trips that puts all of our life learning into practice and true perspective and expands our view beyond all the familiar at home. And so begins the tale of our “big trip”.

Family adventures in the Badlands on the way to Yellowstone -2009-

The Road Trip to Yellowstone

Ten years later it still ranks right up at the top as a reference point when we speak of family travel and adventures.

Before the Trip – January to Mid-August:

Living in Massachusetts means our first opportunity was to figure out how we were going to get to Yellowstone National Park. Once we decided to make it a family road trip we then needed to have every family member provide their voice to the long list of choices in regards to possible destinations in numerous states all along the way.

There was much anticipation, planning, and family discussions. Months in advance we read countless blips and blurbs about all of the natural wonders to discover at Yellowstone and at destinations in-between. The kiddos were 10 and 12 when the trip was being planned and the eldest would turn 13 while out west. They left a lot of the logistics up to mom and dad and simply participated in the “curiosity conversations” as we discussed over countless dinners where we could go and what we could do and how it might look or sound. And since I had not traveled west of the Mississippi in my 40+ years and my husband had only flown to Colorado in his youth it truly was going to be an adventure and eye opening experience for all of us.

A few weeks in advance of our departure we began laying out clothes, layers and footwear for both warm and cool temps, travel foods and snacks, and showing the kiddos all the work it takes to prepare for an adventure of this size. I checked and rechecked the 21 paper folders that represented each day of the trip with itinerary, maps, and destination information all laid out to eliminate guess work when the miles became long and travel fatigue might make for difficult decision making. It was 2011 and yet I wasn’t going to leave the fate of our big adventure in the hands of technology so I had paper copies that proved beneficial in more ways than one when internet was sketchy and providing a place to journal thoughts and notes to later be transcribed into scrapbooks.

During the Trip Highlights – 3 weeks in August + September:

5, 231 miles and countless audio books and bathroom stops and never once did we hear “are we there yet?” or “I want to go home.”

What was the secret to our success? aka sanity savers? It was all about what we brought along with us and operating from a place of being in this together.

Day trip or lengthy trip here is what to pack:

Curiosity

Patience

Willingness

Openness

Clear Communication + Expression of Expectations

Flexibility

Kindness

Listening + more listening + always listening with an open heart and mind

AND above all else packing P.L.A.Y.-fullness as it will turn most moments into something lighter and easier to manage and you are more likely to feel connection to other folks experiencing the moment with you.

*HINT: notice the list above applies to daily living as every day can be viewed as an adventure!

We had three weeks in which we as a family of four were immersed together in an adventure of a life time 24/7. For some folks that may seem daunting, however our homeschool and life learning lifestyle had already incorporated and exercised many of the necessary muscles for how to function as a cooperative unit daily. We simply practiced using the tools in the list above. Every moment wasn’t perfect, it was simply perfectly as it was meant to be – an opportunity to learn and grow in a new environment using all our same tried and true tools.

Needless to say there were countless other “lessons learned” for all of us as we were surrounded by historical sites, natural wonders, mathematical curiosities, art & cultural immersion, and making connections from what we had read in advance to actually what we experienced onsite.

After the Trip September + beyond:

The wonderful ripple and long lasting effects of our adventure was seen when we returned and had the opportunity to share our stories with friends and family, using the few weeks after we returned to absorb all we had experienced and process it through both kiddos creating pages in their photo journal scrapbooks, and reflecting on our experience for weeks & months & years to come ” with remember when” stories.

And now 10 years later my husband and son had the good fortune to return to Yellowstone this year. They opted to fly and skip the lengthy drive so as to have more time onsite hiking trails and exploring wonders they missed the first time or decided to revisit. Their photos and stories of hours spent in nature simply bring a smile to my face. Ah-ha you can go back again and build upon the adventures which is simply another version of full spectrum life learning!

Whether it is a once-in-a-lifetime trip or routine outings or errands, they are all ripe with learning opportunities especially when you provide the space and grace so that things may unfold naturally in their own time and own way.

Happy Trails & Travels

Enjoy the P.L.A.Y. journey!

Chapter 10 in this series can be found HERE.

As always, compliment this reading with the authors and resources listed below.

Support your local library and request these books!


~ Recommended Resources ~


Listing authors and specific resources for these chapters would be a challenge as it is specific to your circumstances. Instead here is a sample list of the many outings that filled our days living here in Massachusetts with curiosity and wonder and discovering so many opportunities to make connections. Check out the many available P.L.A.Y. destinations in your local area.

Local Science & Art & History Museums- Look at the available passes at your library or the ASTC pass across the USA.

Planetariums – Local colleges may have special viewing sessions.

Local “living” museums -ex. Sturbridge Village & Hancock Shaker Village & Plymouth Plantation -MA

Reservoirs – ex. Quabbin Reservoir and the story behind the creation of

Audubon Sanctuaries & State Forests

Town/City businesses ex. Waste Management facilities

Local Colleges offering free science lab or computer lab or a wide range of onsite activities.

Local business ex. See how a soap maker creates bars of soap thru bike power(!) and brings a product to market.

Field Trip into another family’s kitchen for bread making, canning, etc. learning a new skill.

Weekly field trip to local CSA for picking, caring for the land, and workshops, and connections.

Weekly grocery trip is always ripe with life lessons if you approach it as an adventure and set everyone up for success so that they are not too tired or hungry when you arrive.

The list of destinations is truly, wonderfully, P.L.A.Y.-fully endless!


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

and join the play-filled journey today!


 

BOOK LOOK – Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon – Chapters 4, 5, 6


~~~ BOOK LOOK ~~~

Review & Reflections


Free Range Learning:

How Homeschooling Changes Everything

by Laura Grace Weldon


~Review~


If you were to only have one homeschooling, unschooling, life learning book on your shelf this would be my top pick. It is absolutely worth owning this volume to revisit again and again for both support and inspiration.

This book encompasses so many of my core beliefs on life learning and how to raise children (and yourself!) in a mindful and wholehearted way that I just had to write a series of reviews covering the chapters in this book and encouraging other folks to try out this lifestyle.

Revisit reviews of previous chapters by clicking on the Category – Homeschooling + Unschooling search tab on the right side of this page or linked HERE.

Or find reviews at these links – Chapter 1 (HERE), Chapter 2 (HERE), Chapter 3 (HERE), and continue the conversation below with Chapters 4+5+6.

In Chapter 4 – Connecting with Others, Chapter 5 – Collaborating Benefits Everyone, and Chapter 6 – Homeschooling Changes Everything Laura lists a wide range of ways for families, kiddos, and adults, to connect with one another on their learning journey. From friendships to homeschool groups, elders to interest based gatherings, accessing communities online to the number one classic homeschool gems – meeting folks at the library or local park, there are countless ways to associate and bond with people both near and far.

Best of all when you finish these three chapters you will have the answer to the most asked question of homeschooling folks “what about socialization?

Spoiler Alert – This myth of socialization deficit is debunked over and over again as you read these three chapters. Life long learners are actually more often fully engaged as social beings since they have the time to access and engage with people of all ages, at any time, in their own time and way, and in a wide range of locations. Our culture makes this an issue only because the life learning practice does not fit in the standard education system box and so it is simply an unfamiliar way for folks. Once you step into the homeschooling/unschooling arena and experience all it has to offer socialization becomes an obvious non-issue. Period.


~Reflections~


 Connections – All Ages, Any Time 

Now that our family is 20+ years into this life learning lifestyle I can candidly reflect on the myriad of ways that I have witnessed and experienced kiddos connecting to kiddos, kiddos connecting to adults, and quite simply people connecting to people!

Local Children’s Chorus singing at Eric Carle Museum -2008-

Our journey of making connections, human to human AND human to animal (equally as important), on a daily or weekly or monthly routine has included:

* =weekly          ** =monthly          *** =Bonus 24/7 daily access

*Neighborhood play group – parents & kiddos

*Library story time, programs, and volunteering

*Nature walking group affiliated with Roots & Shoots

*Archery lessons & mentorship & earning a coaching certificate

*Art Teen program

*HS Co-ops run by parents with classes from dance to meditation, astronomy to computer technology, felting to Olympic celebration, etc.

**Membership in state wide butterfly association

*Ice skating at local university (bargain daytime pricing)

*Children’s chorus & later college community chorus (at age 15 )

*Science project & play program w/ 3 homeschool families covering biology + environmental studies

*Local park gatherings run by homeschoolers: from carpentry to gym class, book club to barter days.

*Community College blended classes – mushrooms to hip hop

*Mentoring on the care & ownership of goats and raising ducks

***Online communities & social media (interest based) making connections around the world with lasting friendships as one of many by-products

*** Living in our home of 3 generations for 10 years

*** Living & participating in intentional farming community 8+ years – ongoing

Truth be told this is actually just a sampling(!) of the many ways and opportunities our family has had the chance for connection with a host of communities large and small. And regardless of the outcome, short lived moments or long term lasting relationships, there was learning and growth to be had in every one. They were all of value and all required social engagement to varying degrees.

And throughout our days engaging with these opportunities we operated as a family unit honoring each member of the family and acknowledging they had a voice and a choice. When parenting moments arose that felt like a struggle I had to remind myself that this was a time to self reflect and ask “what is this here to teach me?”. And more often than not it was quite clear that I was just here to guide my children and it was the kids who were the true teachers if I was simply present to receive this gift.

Connecting to family while connecting to a wide range of community learners is a wonderful process if we are able to be present and embrace the life lessons that make for a very full-filling P.L.A.Y.-filled  journey.

Chapter 7, 8, and 9 in this series can be found HERE.

As always, compliment this reading with the authors and resources listed below that I highly recommend and have used to inform my life learning experiences as a parent and as a human learning to live cooperatively with family, community, and daily people-to-people connections.

Support your local library and request these books!


~ Recommended Authors + Resources ~


Katrina Kenison –

The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir (my future review here)

Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment (my future review here)

 

Dr. Shefali Tsabary –

The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children (my future review here)

The Awakened Family: How to Raise Empowered, Resilient, and Conscious Children (my future review here)

 

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles (my future review here)

Raising Your Spirited Child (my future review here)


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

and join the P.L.A.Y.-filled journey today!


 

BOOK LOOK – Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon – Chapter 3


~~~ BOOK LOOK ~~~

Review & Reflections


Free Range Learning:

How Homeschooling Changes Everything

by Laura Grace Weldon


~Review~


If you were to only have one homeschooling, unschooling, life learning book on your shelf this would be my top pick. It is absolutely worth owning this volume to revisit again and again for both support and inspiration.

This book encompasses so many of my core beliefs on life learning and how to raise children (and yourself!) in a mindful and wholehearted way that I just had to write a series of reviews and reflections covering the chapters in this book and encouraging other folks to try out this lifestyle.

Revisit reviews of previous chapters by clicking on the Category – Homeschooling + Unschooling search tab on the right side of this page or linked HERE.

Or revisit the reviews by clicking – Chapter 1 HERE, Chapter 2 HERE, and continue the conversation below with Chapter 3.

In Chapter 3 – Work, Play, and Other Essentials Laura shares what I believe to be the true essence of being a lifelong learner – knowing that work can be play and play is work at any age and stage in your life long journey. My entire blog and website and P.L.A.Y. business is based on this idea. Simply read this chapter and be sure to read the reflections below. Then take a moment for your own reflections to see if you are weaving play into your own life and letting it ripple out to your friends and family. You’ll be glad you did!


~Reflections~


 Focusing on Challenges, Creativity, and the Importance of Play

Our daily work, engaging with topics of interest, curiosities, chores, creativity, family life, and quite simply building a life of purpose and meaning also includes encountering challenges of all sizes.

Challenges

Challenges – If you have read my blog post titled A Simple Gift: Problem = Situation = Opportunity then you are familiar with how I like to see the challenges life puts before us. Challenges are always opportunities to learn and grow and stretch ourselves in ways we never thought possible.

Sometimes these opportunities present themselves in small snippets and with hard work they will build over time into a true treasure trove of knowledge and experience.

There are other times where these opportunities hit us full on with no warning and there is seemingly no way in, around, or through them. And yet if we navigate the situation with curiosity and learn from what may be seen as a “failure” (no such thing) and continue to connect to resources and people to guide us through what at first seemed insurmountable this will often be in hindsight quite an amazing part of our life long journey.

These challenges are an opportunity to see your resilience and grit in action as that little voice in you calls out “Keep going! Onward! You can do this!”

And when challenges do appear and a few “mistakes” take place that is your wonderful reminder that “mistakes” simply show you are trying! Yay you! You’ve got this!

Creativity

Creativity – Creativity works hand-in-hand with challenges. Finding creative solutions or next steps for any challenge that comes your way allows for a less stress-filled atmosphere and also allows the learning environment to be open to possibilities. Innovation can take place in this space.

And by being open to possibilities you are also able to engage with a state of flow that encourages creativity where the experience is more important than the outcome. (see flow & creativity books below)

So much can be generated from a state of flow and creativity. In addition to the arts this applies to most any endeavor be it working on plumbing fixtures, caring for animals, trying a new recipe in the kitchen, or solving a computer glitch.

And one of the things that is most compatible with creativity and flow is time. Giving yourself and your family members the space and grace to explore and engage daily with work that is meaningful to them even if it doesn’t look like valuable work to others. Remember it is ALL meaning-filled. Creativity works in mysterious and magical ways building upon itself. None of us know exactly where we are headed at all times and yet in hindsight we can see where different pieces of the puzzle that we explore along the way become a part of the great masterpiece called our lives.

The Importance of Play

All I can say is P.L.A.Y. is everything.

Play and P.L.A.Y. is where it all comes together as we creatively work through our daily challenges.

Need I say more? Ok, then just read my P.L.A.Y.  blog and stay tuned. It is all unfolding right before you.

Then read Stuart Brown’s book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.(see below) This book provides the data and explanations on how play applies to everyone, every day, at all ages and stages. Simply always.

Trust me Stuart Brown’s book is a must read and game changer for the journey ahead.


Onward to Bonus Goodies Below!


Be sure to revisit my P.L.A.Y.  blog often as something new is being shared daily.

Pass the P.L.A.Y. forward to friends and family too!

Then walk the walk, get out, and P.L.A.Y.! You’ll be ever so glad you did!

For more inspiration and insight Chapter 4 + 5 + 6 in this series can be found HERE.

As always, compliment this reading with the authors and resources listed below and support your local library and book stores by requesting these books!


~ Recommended Authors + Resources ~


Stuart Brown – Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul (my review HERE)

Keri Smith –

Wreck This Journal (my future review here)

How to Be An Explorer of this World: Portable Life Museum

The Imaginary World of . . .

The Pocket Scavenger

Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (my future review here)

SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy) –

Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper: Gifting the World with Your Words and Stories, and Creating the Time and Energy to Actually Do It (my future review here)

SARK’s New Creative Companion: Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit

Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change into Gift and Opportunity


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

and join the play-filled journey today!


BOOK LOOK – Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon – Chapter 2


~~~ BOOK LOOK ~~~

Review & Reflections


 

Free Range Learning:

How Homeschooling Changes Everything

by Laura Grace Weldon


~ Review ~


If you were to only have one homeschooling, unschooling, life learning book on your shelf this would be my top pick. It is absolutely worth owning this volume to revisit again and again for both support and inspiration.

This book encompasses so many of my core beliefs on life learning and how to raise children (and yourself!) in a mindful and wholehearted way that I just had to write a series of reviews covering the chapters in this book and encouraging other folks to try out this lifestyle.

Chapter 2 – Nurturing the Learner truly highlights the key elements to the success of your life learning experiences with a focus on every facet of TRUST. Fasten your seatbelts – good stuff ahead! See below!

Also be sure to revisit the first review – Chapter 1 (here) and continue the conversation by clicking on the Category – Homeschooling + Unschooling search tab on the right side of this page or linked HERE.


~ Reflections ~


Trust & the Nature of Interests

Laura brings up the idea of trust in Chapter 2 which is a key component of life learning for yourself and especially as a family.

The way I see it the more you can lean into trust and have faith that you and your loved ones are learning and growing just as you were all meant to be the more likely you will have a full-filling experience that motivates you to keep creating, keep sharing your work, and encouraging others to do the same.

The minute you begin to “should” yourself or others you’ll start to feel a derailment, resistance, and often times resentment. My lived experience is that most everyone will learn what they need when they need it without judgment, shame, or blame (***must read Brene Brown’s books below).

So follow your bliss as Joseph Campbell, known for his Hero’s Journey work, would say. Nurture what feels right for you and listen to the requests of loved ones so that you may be of service to support their learning journey in the manner they need (vs. the way you want).

Truly listen and get curious and ask questions so that you may create a nurturing environment for all to flourish. The greatest gift you can give daily is to be present and the rest will follow.

And remember, there is no failure in life learning rather just a multitude of opportunities to trust that if you are authentic and explore the things that light you up from within then you too will continue to grow and be motivated to go forth and share your unique gifts with the world. Simply U-be-U as this is exactly what the world needs now.

This is your home-work and truly your life’s work.

Are you ready for this adventure?

Your very own one-of-a-kind Hero’s Journey?

Then P.L.A.Y. on!

Chapter 3 in this series can be found HERE.

As always, compliment this reading with the authors and resources listed below and support your local library by requesting these books.


~ Recommended Authors + Resources ~


 

Brene Brown –

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. (my future review here)

The Gift of Imperfections (my future review series here)

*Brene’s work has made ALL the difference for both hubby and I as parents and as people. Her work will lead you to a more compassionate, more connected, more mindful, WHOLEHEARTED way of living.

A MUST READ (+ daily practice) FOR ALL HUMANS!

John Holt –

Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling (my future review here)

Learning All the Time

Never Too Late: My Musical Life Story

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement in Everyday Life

Joseph Campbell look up his work online for A Hero’s Journey especially the monomyth structure and visual images of the story cycle = Great Stuff!


Click to purchase hereP.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

and join the play-filled journey today!


 

BOOK LOOK- Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon – Chapter 1


~~~ BOOK LOOK ~~~

Review & Reflections


Free Range Learning:

How Homeschooling Changes Everything

by Laura Grace Weldon


~ Review ~


Oh my, where to begin! 🙂

Quite simply just go to your local library, bookstore, or online and get this book. Now! ASAP!

If you were to only have one homeschool, unschooling, life learning book on your shelf this would be my top pick.

This book encompasses so many of my core beliefs on life learning and how to raise children (and yourself!) in a mindful and wholehearted way.

It has EVERYTHING you need from explaining why to take your first steps into the homeschool arena, providing you with continued support throughout your learning adventures, and truly underscoring all that is essential to this life learning life style.

Laura does a fabulous and thorough job of sharing both philosophy and practical thoughts on how you and your family can navigate through this learning journey together.

And since there is so much good stuff in this book I have decided to turn this into a multi-part series with a reflection section on each chapter and sharing with you my lived experience as a 20+ year veteran homeschool mom (aka homeschool visionista).

Truly this is a volume worth immersing in and exploring thoroughly. You and your family will be so glad you did.

Let’s begin this journey with Chapter 1 – Natural Learning Happens Everywhere.

Then revisit reviews of future chapters by clicking on the Category – Homeschooling + Unschooling search tab on the right side of this page or linked HERE.


~ Reflections ~


A Simple Gift – Learning Happens Everywhere

A truer statement could not be spoken. This is at the heart of it ALL.

This is also the very premise on which  P.L.A.Y. Passionate Learning All Year is based.

As the adult you are now, or even better when you were a child,  can you think of any situation in which there isn’t an opportunity for growth and learning? Nope.

Every day we have the chance to learn and expand what we know, how we know it, getting it into our bones, digging deeper, and playing with ideas to fully engage with the human experience.

Laura says on page 1 in Chapter 1 –

“And, of course, children play. Play is generative, transforming the ordinary into something unique. It also imparts advanced social skills and a creative approach to life.”

And there in lies the place in which she steps off from to lead you through this realization that kiddos have been playing, learning, and working side-by-side with their families since the beginning of time. Folks of all ages engaging together, indoors and out, naturally modeling for each other the skills they need to survive and thrive.

Work and play go hand-in-hand, at every age and stage of our lives, and now more than ever with the mindful and beneficial use of technology we can create lives that match our natural rhythms and earn a livelihood that allows us to be inspired and engaged daily. We can pursue our passions, play along the way, and share our hard work with the world naturally learning throughout the journey.

In other words, to both kiddos and adults, this book gives you permission to embrace your authentic selves, give yourself the space and grace to let your natural talents shine through, and bring these gifts forward to be of service throughout your lifetime.

AND if you can weave connecting to and engaging with nature into all of this work and play it will benefit you, your loved ones, and the planet ten fold.  Your authentic Work + P.L.A.Y. + Nature is a recipe for a full-filling life sharing your true gifts.

Sounds like pure genius right? That is what Laura call’s using one’s gifts – true genius.

So, what are you waiting for?

Time to experience P.L.A.Y. in action by picking up your copy of Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon and putting it into practice today.

You and your family will be ever so glad you did.

Sending Smiles ~ Karen 🙂

This series of Reviews & Reflections continues with Chapter 2 HERE.

If you are looking for more to support the ideas in Laura’s first chapter follow-up with a few of these awesome authors and click the link to read further reviews and reflections I have provided just for you.

Be sure to support your local library and request these books!


~ Recommended Authors & Resources ~


Stuart Brown – Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul (read my review HERE)Sir Ken Robinson – Creativity Expert with 2 top TED Talks and author of:

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (my future review here)

Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative

Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your LifeResa Steindel BrownThe Call to Brilliance: A True Story to Inspire Parents and Educators (my future review hereRachel Carson – The Sense of Wonder: A Celebration of Nature for Parents and Children (my future review here)Michael GelbHow to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day (my future review here)


Click here to Purchase P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

and join the play-filled journey today!