Drawing With Thread

I guess I really am drawn to artists who are not only exceptionally talented, but to those who also express themselves in unconventional ways. I am so impressed by Paula Sanz Caballero, whose work I was introduced to today thanks to WhipUp. Her use of textiles and emboidery to illustrate is amazing!!! Here's just one example:
You can see more of her work here. ENJOY! :)


Searching for the Truth

With the wonderful abundance of information available at our fingertips today using the Internet, it has become even more critical to think critically than it ever was before. So many things that were taken for granted as "fact" because they were printed in texts of yesteryear, have since been brought to light as wishful thinking by the "powers that be". So how do we know what is really the truth anymore?

Everyday people like me must be more like investigative reporters, checking facts, and seeking multiple sources for reliable information. One of the most interesting new information sources to me is Wikipedia. The ability for anyone to contribute and edit to this resource has led many skeptics to discredit it as unreliable. I think that this demonstrates a reader's resistance to seeking more information. Some people just want to be given "the undeniable truth", without any effort on their part (not unlike being told exactly what will be on an upcoming test at school). It would be nice and easy that way, but quite boring. Life is so much richer than that!

I just read an example of the "richness" of the world we live in this morning, while reading
this article about Wikipedia. It was discussing the doubts raised by the fact that there are "anonymous" editors of the entries at Wikipedia, and how that is used as one of the criticisms of this sites reliability. A graduate student at the California Institute of Technology developed the Wikiscanner to track just where edits to different entries were coming from. Here's some of what was found, "Somebody at Halliburton deleted key information from an entry on war crimes; Diebold, an electronic-voting machine manufacturer, deleted sections of its entry about a lawsuit filed against it. Someone at Pepsi deleted information about health problems caused by the soft drink. Somebody at The New York Times deleted huge chunks of information from the entry on the Wall Street Journal. And of course, the CIA has been editing the entry on the Iraq war." The scanning site doesn't tell exactly who is editing the information, just the location where the edit came from. So, "It turns out that the people who are hiding behind anonymity online for nefarious or selfish reasons are not little guys in pajamas but the very bastions of accountability that haters of the Web have deified. "

I just love finding out things like this, things that remind me it's worthwhile to keep questioning, and "seek and ye shall find"! If you know me in person, you'll often hear me saying, "Wow!", " Did you know?", "Guess what!" and other phrases of wonder and discovery. I am glad we live in such an information rich world! I wish that more people would choose the joy of searching for the "truth". Sadly, so many become overwhelmed by it all and just choose a "camp of knowledge" and sit in it. I'm so grateful to be part of an unschooling family, so there are five of us to share the searching and discovering together!


Unschooling Gifts

This is taken from Today at The Daily Om:

August 14, 2007

Being A Container

Holding Space For Others

We have all been called upon at one time or another to help a loved one through a difficult time. When the help required consists of concrete actions, such as running errands or making phone calls, we know what to do. But sometimes we are called simply to hold space for the person as they go through whatever they need to go through. They may need to express anger or grief; they may need to talk or be silent. They may need us to hold their hand; they may need us to give them time alone. Whatever the case, when we hold space for someone, we offer ourselves up as a container for the overwhelming feelings they may be encountering due to their circumstances.

When we offer ourselves in this way, the more centered and grounded we are, the better. Our steadiness allows our companion to lean into us for support, as our presence provides an environment in which they can be free to move. We can also help by being responsive, allowing them to dictate the flow of action from talking to not talking, from anger to grief, and back again. By being aware and open, we can help them confront their feelings when that feels right, and back off from them when they need a break. Holding space requires humility, conscientiousness, and the ability to step out of the way, to honestly understand that this is not about us.

When we love someone in this way, we provide a space in which they can simply be. Able to feel what they need to feel without worrying about how they are being perceived. We can provide this offering in person, over the phone, or even from a distance, through meditation. However we do it, when we hold space for someone in need, we are offering a gift of the highest nature.

I'm feeling very, very grateful today for the gift of time that unschooling gives us to be with our children in such a mindful, meaningful way. I have been through many times like this with my children. I know I would not have been able to be there for them if we had to live our lives according to a school schedule and all that entails. Sometimes, it takes quite a while to work through strong feelings, and being flexible with our time allows us to address what is going on PRESENTLY, instead of always getting ready for, going to, or working towards, something in the future. It's not that we don't make plans, or set goals, it's just that they don't run our lives. We run our lives, and we are able to adjust our plans as needed to ensure that people and relationships come first. That IS a gift!


Summertime and the Learning is Easy

It seems like summer is such a busy time for us, with so many special activities and trips going on, and naturally, so much learning occuring. That's why it's always funny to me when people start asking in August if we're getting ready to "start back with our studies" again. I usually say that we never stop learning!

Anyway....... here are just a few of the things that have been keeping us busy since my last post.

My husband and I took our youngest son canoeing on the Peace River, pictured above, because it is supposed to be one of the best places in Florida to search for fossilized shark teeth. Joseph NEEDED to find some more to add to his collection. So, after some internet research, and construction of our sifting screens, off we went into "the wild". We only saw 2 other boats during our entire 4 hour trip down the river. It was peaceful, alright! We were all quite relieved that we only saw one small alligator sunning itself, but were pleased to see many birds, turtles, and fish. Best of all, we came away with about a dozen shark teeth and a few other fossils! This was not even the best time of year to be fossil hunting, so we are already planning to return when the river is nice and low.

Our downstairs guest bathroom has also been busy quite a bit too, LOL! That's because it has been taken over as a laboratory. Angelica and Joseph named it the "Non-stop Lab", made a sign for the door, and created their own lab shirts on which they draw a picture of each experiment they've done. There are also safety rules posted, like "Long hair must be tied back to keep it out of the experiments." The inspiration for many of their experiments came from the book "Mad Professor", but they also create their own experiments like comparing how different materials soak up colored water, and which glue makes the best "goo". Results are recorded in the "lab notebook." I don't think I could have come up with a more fun science curriculum if my life depended on it!

As if we hadn't done enough in July, we also celebrated our oldest son's 16th birthday. Part of the celebration included driving him and 5 other friends to see The Warp Tour in Miami. While the teens were outside rocking and sweating, and then soaking in the rain, the older and younger crowd went to the Miami Science Museum. There we were able to see an amazing collection of some of our favorite things, dinosaur fossils, from China no less! Of course the biggest draw for my kids were the hands-on exhibits, especially the "conservation of angular momentum" exhibit where my kids took spinning around in circles to the extreme. We also really enjoyed the electricity demonstration and the planetarium show.

Oh, and before July could end, we squeezed in a trip to Maine to visit the Grandparents and many cousins. We had lots of elemental fun - earth, fire, water, and fresh air. :)

So now you know why I laugh when people ask if I'm getting ready to have the kids start "school" again. That was only some of what we did in one month of this summer! Phew! Here's what I envision when others talk of getting ready for school........