Tag Archives: unschooling

cardboard superheroes, March 13th

March 13th

cold, high 20’s, sunny, few clouds. Large snow storm expected tonight. Full moon yesterday

This weekend we made cardboard superheroes. Wil helped the boys cut them out and then they colored them and have been playing with them non-stop. The process got me thinking.

I believe that civilization is killing the planet.  I believe that this civilization, and the western consumer culture that even at this moment spreads farther and farther across the globe, is completely at odds with delicate ecological structure of this planet. I believe our civilization, and our culture as it exists right now, is doomed to fail, and indeed is failing now. Even as we speak we are losing species. Even as I sit here typing this the planet’s very climate shifts in ways completely out of our control.

But, I also believe wholeheartedly in the earth’s capacity to create. In her ability to roll with the punches, in her ability to change, to adapt, to stun us with her resiliency and creativity. She truly is the mother of invention, and the mother of us all.

As her children, we too, carry her bold instinct for survival, her desire for life, and her ability to create.

At our worst we are mean. We are small. We act out of fear and in a blind kind of panic.

But at our best? We are fully alive. We envision. We make, we  generate, we re-generate. We mimic. We invent. We love.

At our worst we are very bad.

But at our best? We are a wonder. A creature like any other, with an enormous capacity for adaptation and change.

I believe our civilization is killing the planet. I believe it is completely at odds with the ecological processes that must be able to happen here for us all to survive, for the earth to survive. But does that make me sad? No, not really.

Because I look at my child, the kids in my life. I spend time with them. I watch them making things. Drawing, inventing, crafting, creating. I see them playing, how their brains have an endless capacity for invention, and how their spirits are not yet dimmed by the the toughness of life.

There is a way forward here, I just know, I feel it. In order to transform our culture, if there is a way to truly change this civilization, the blueprint of a new world, and the map for the journey is most certainly held in the earth beneath our feet, woven among the stars in the sky and written in our very own hearts.

Another way of living is possible. Truly it is. It has existed before and can exist again.

So make, create. With abandon. Let’s sharpen our minds, and busy our hands. Let’s teach our children to do the same.

Because if a  mind can see a superhero in a box made of cardboard, certainly that same mind will have a chance at helping to lead us out of this box.

That’s the stuff that superheroes are made of. They’re scrappy. They’re bright. They’re brave.

And they most certainly are what we need right now.

cardboard superheroes by Wil and the boys

March 7th

March 7th

warm, rainy in the morning, damp, 50’s. moon phase: waxing gibbous with 74% of disc illuminated

My favorite thing about unschooling, is that there is no distinction between “learning” and “living.” Learning can happen anytime, and does happen all the time, in a million different ways.

Today, unschooling looks like going to the local natural history museum to play with friends.

It looks like wearing pajama pants in the afternoon and making art .

Revel art:

Revel making a painting of his favorite animal, an American Bison (Bison bison)

And mama art:

Sketching a Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio troilus) we picked up off the forest floor last summer, already had died. It fluttered out of a book we had pressed it in the other day, a little reminder of summer. by natasha

And it looks like finding some of the first flowers of spring:

Painting of Common Snow Drop (Galanthus nivalis) we found near the creek at one of our favorite park. by natasha

Will unschooling be the right education option for Revel’s entire school career? I have no idea. We will just evaluate as we go. But I do believe humans love to learn. And experiment. And adventure. And we thrive when our lives are full of rich experiences, friendship, nature, and love. So for now, unschooling suits us very well, and fits into our lives in a way that feels very natural and quite beautiful and delightfully wild.

Nov. 17th

November 17th

We had the baby today (one of the adorable little girls I watch during the week), so we decided to head over to the little park, Buchanon park, on the edge of the city. I ran over, and my muscles felt good and strong as I pushed our double stroller over uneven sidewalks and through crosswalks. The baby sucked her thumb and Rev worked on his mental map of the city, offering me suggestions on which way we should go. The sun was extremely bright and the leaves, although there are less of them now still on the trees, are still incredibly brilliant. There has been very little rain this fall and the show of colors is endless, wild and amazing, even though the dryness concerns me.


Rev is learning the trees, and he pointed out the oaks today, which he often calls acorn trees. The trees in the city have been a pleasant surprise. They are many, and many of them are quite old and large. “Grandads” we call them as we pass. Because we pass the same trees everyday on our walks, they have become very familiar to us. It seems a perfect place to learn the patterns of leaves, and bark, branches, and twigs, the opposite and alternate, the toothed and smooth, the rough and furrowed as we wander around on errands or for fun. I encourage Rev to give them more familiar names, “like we have” I say, and so he often names them Revel Alvarez, like himself. It’s a city forest of Revels, a concept that delights both of us.


Rev’s imagination was going full tilt this morning and he spent a long time playing a very involved game that involved an old hemlock stump as a “pirate ship”, and a “laboratory” on top of the statue of the soldier with the musket. The baby and I alternately wandered through the rose garden and assisted “Captain Rev” in his adventures. Standing atop the statue, he asked me if there was a real man inside the giant metal figure. “No, no.” I explained, “it’s a statue.” and went about the business of describing how the statue was made. “But does the statue get up at night and walk around?” Rev asked. “What do you think?” I asked him, my usual response to questions like this. Who am I to tell him what’s real and not? What do I know?  “Yeah, I think he does.” He said after a few moments of pondering. And we spent a few minutes imagining all the things the statue probably did at night, like take baths in the swimming pool, eat apples from the trees, play in the dog park, and fight bad guys. After that he was ready to go.

On our way home he noticed a metal grate slightly ajar in front of the big old catholic church on the corner. When we checked under the grate, we discovered a paver with an “x” stamped onto its’ surface. We decided it was a clue to buried treasure obviously, although we disagreed over whether it was a “bad guy” who put it there, or a “good guy”. I really felt it was  probably a good guy who left it there, but Rev was sure it was the opposite. Wil told me later it was an old border marker for the property line, but Rev’s still pretty positive there’s a mystery somewhere there, and I choose to agree.