The Effects of Traveling from a Young Age

The Effects of Traveling from a Young Age – as told by the voice of Rockonliving’s eldest daughter, Kayah (age 16) for her English 101 Class.

Our family trip to Stonehenge, England

            Everyone, at some point in their lives, has to take a history course. One reads and learns of the absolutely horrific events of the Holocaust and the conquests of the Roman Empire, but it is a completely different experience to stand at the entrance of Auschwitz or to see the Forum from the Colosseum.

They become a part of oneself.

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Rockonliving Damn Delicious Meal Planning

When we began homeschooling, one key element to our day that wasn’t even a blip on my radar and I totally underestimated was being the cafeteria lady. While this subgroup of humans (homeschoolers) poses a unique challenge to meal planning, this topic is relevant to any one that, well, eats food. So, I guess everyone, right?

If you homeschool, or stay at home with children it can feel like you are in a constant state of food prepping, serving and kitchen clean-up purgatory – hell. Too dramatic? Stay with me…

Ya’ll, this book has revolutionized our kitchen! Meal planning always seemed so overwhelming, daunting, and this book has delicious recipes with easy to follow directions. Have food restrictions? No problem! Like many, we have several family members with various dietary concerns (gluten-free, vegan) and I have found it easy to substitute and modify as needed. It is simple. (my love language.)

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BHAG’S & Teens – Ten reasons you should say “YES!”

Kayah on steps at Oxford

Our teen on the steps of Oxford University. She had been on campus less than 24 hours and looked so happy! BHAG achieved.

BHAG’s – ever heard of that acronym before? If not, let me share.

Backstory: BHAG is a term I was introduced to by my homeschool-mentor-guru, Julie Bogart. I believe it originally was coined in the business world, but it stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goals.  Awhile back, Julie did a talk on her top ten must do’s when raising teens and BHAG’s were one of her recommendations. She shared that every teen should be given the opportunity to tackle one before they graduate from high school.

BHAG’s are exactly what they stand for…big, ginormous, difficult, bold goals.  They usually start with the words, “hey mom, I was thinking…” They are going to sound CRAZY when they share them with you! Your mind is immediately going to scream “danger, danger…” Your brain is going to immediately turn into a calculator adding up the costs! But, if they are sincere, if they are for real, if this is something they really really want to do…say “YES!”

Some of your friends and family are going to think you’re crazy or insane for spending the amount of money or time necessary to dedicate to helping your teen achieve their BHAG, but do it anyway! I promise, it is completely worth it! Regardless of the outcome of their efforts,  the experience of chasing a BHAG is where their grit and ability to follow through on a dream will emerge.

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The Jump

Hey Friends!

Happy summer!

Although my blog doesn’t reflect it, I have been diligently writing. I have almost completed the revision, additions and changes to my first book – well, book may be a stretch…how about a collection of thoughts?

The book is in the final stages. I am excited to see this process through to the end. This book is specifically for families hearing the whisper or feeling the nudge for a possible change. This is a book for parents who are not only questioning if the current education of their children is really meeting their personal needs, but if their lifestyle is allowing them the type of connection and joy they desire, too. This is a book for all those considering homeschooling.

I will be learning how to format and transition the material for publishing soon! This is the first time I have done anything like this. It is a cool process to learn and fun to witness the book take on a voice and shape.

Quinn and I spent many hours reminiscing and discussing the time leading up to our decision to pull the trigger and bring the girls home from public school.

Quinn recalled the very day I withdrew the girls from public school. He described a feeling of dread all morning – like for real, dread ya’ll. He said he even called to tell me to wait so we could talk a little more about it (we had been talking about it for TWO years!) but I had already done it.

We are happy we made the choice, but it was not (and is not) without worry, anxiety and stress if we were making a huge mistake. Some comfort I have found is that every parent, regardless of the choices we make, worries a little! Right?

Five years later, our only regret? That we didn’t do it earlier…

My hope is this book will serve as some inspiration, encouragement and food for thought for a family contemplating a big change. This is for all of you out there who question the status quo and entertain different and new ways of being. This is not a “How-To Homeschool” book, but more of a guide to support you in determining if home schooling may be the right fit for you and your family.

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The Ultimate Goal of Childhood: Finding their Voice

I believe we all just want to be seen – heard. In a world full of business, achievement, confusion, social media, disconnect, technology and fear we can feel so insignificant and maybe frustrated that our true selves are not being heard…

Our voices – heard.  Our hearts – seen.

As many of you know I embrace what has been coined “the Bravewriter Lifestyle.”  This lifestyle has been created and described by Julie Bogart.  Bravewriter is an online writing and language arts program for families.  Her philosophy on teaching children (and adults) to write is simple and SO completely backwards from anything I ever learned about writing.  The goal of teaching writing to our children should be to help them find their voice…their unique, beautiful voice.

Writing, nor life,  is sentence diagraming, editing, revision, spelling, grammar rules, blah blah blah…those are tools or mechanics, not writing or living.  For rich writing and living one needs to focus on the inside life of the child and partnering them to write or express themselves.  Not to focus on paragraph structure and the stuff that bored us to death in school!  The ‘mechanics’ will come later. They can even be hired out or autocorrected on computers!

How beautiful is that?  Helping your toddler, school-aged, middle and highschooler find their voice without fear of ‘mechanics’…they will come…they will…

Writing,  like childhood, should be about helping us find our voice.  Discovering what excites us, inspires us, hurts us, scares us.  Using our rich life experiences and perspectives to offer to the world something never heard or seen before.

Can you imagine if we as a community began encouraging our children to cultivate and exercise finding their voices from young ages? Not just in writing, but in their life.   To end conformity, judgement and standardized education to embrace the unique gift each child was put on the planet to offer.

What struck me this morning was how this is the metaphor for what I want my girl’s childhood.  I do not want to focus or devote too much of our precious time together on ‘mechanics’ – I trust they will come.

My hope is to nourish their bodies, love their hearts and explore their minds to give them freedom to play to start the exciting process of discovering their voice.  Each of our girls has such a unique set of qualities that challenge and delight me and I want to honor that girl.  Her voice.

Part of their growth is witnessing mine – I feel so unprepared for the task of parenting at times and I hope by me owning this truth with my daughters it will allow them the safe space to be themselves, even when it is not “pretty.”  My definition of unconditional love…seeing all the parts of a person and loving them fiercely.

Your childhood set the stage for your journey as an adult. No matter what it looked like it shaped the way you learned to use (or not use) your voice.  I am in love with the idea of transforming child and young adulthood into a time of finding your voice…making mistakes, discovering passions and learning how to communicate.

Even if you are not a ‘parent’ you participate in either the expression or silence of our children. Let them know you see them.  You hear them.  Don’t worry about their ‘mechanics’…what are they saying??  Who are they wanting to be?  Mechanics, will come…

I trust we all desire connection and authentic relationships – to accomplish this we must know our own inner landscape and complexity – this requires a safe space or home for the expression to begin.

I want to see you.  I want to hear you.