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Monday, September 14, 2015

Unschooling: What if I Don't Have the Right Answer?

Recently, I was confronted with this question by a parent who was interested in unschooling her child: "What if I don't have the right answer?". She continued by highlighting children's inquisitive nature and her limited knowledge of things in general.
"I am highly passionate about my field," she said, "but what about the things I don't know? What if my child asks me about history, which I know very little about?"

The notion of the One Right Answer and the Summit of Knowledge is very much part of the school paradigm. In a school setting, the teacher holds the Right Answers, all of them, and each question just has one. This is possible because the information seen in the span of a lesson is controlled and pre-established.

There is no such thing in unschooling.

First of all, we break through the notion that there is just one answer. Sometimes there are none, sometimes there are many.
In unschooling, there is also no top down transfer of knowledge such as is attempted in a school setting, so sometimes the answer comes from the parent sometimes the answer comes from the child but it can just as easily come from a third party a book or the internet.

What is important is the process, the stimulation of seeking the answers. The feeding of the mind.

Whenever I don't have the answer, I will ask my child what she thinks. You will be surprised at the vast array of answers that come up. They might not al be 'true' but they will stimulate learning. Stimulating the way of finding answers is also much more important than just handing a clean cut answer to your child. And before you object to this method of learning, it's actually an established method of learning, called the Socratic method. After Socrates, who would entice his students to learning by answering each question with a question. Though I must admit I'm not as good as he was, I have to remind myself not to just answer the question every time. Then again, I was conventionally schooled.
Showing your child how to discern scientific information from hearsay, how to find the right references, discerning fiction from fact, that is what is important, and that is something you don't have when you're concerned of always offering the 'right' answer.

Furthermore, it is important that your child sees that you don't hold all the knowledge that you too are learning all the time. This may be a most stimulating notion. Monkey see, monkey do, also works when learning is concerned. If an unschooled child is confronted with an eternally learning parent, he too will wonder about the world, and seek out knowledge about the things that grasp his interest.

Unschooling requires a change of paradigm. If you can accept that answers will be found in due time, if you can grow that trust, then you're almost there.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to Maintain and Improve Your Garden

Gardening is a great way to spend time together as a family, and it can also be an important part of improving your health and your quality of life. One of the best ways to turn gardening into a relaxing and enjoyable pastime is by making your garden a peaceful and beautiful place where you enjoy spending your time. So if you’re looking to improve your garden, here are a few tips to get you on your way.

Start composting

Composting is not only an environmentally friendly practice and a great thing to teach children about conservation, but it is also a fantastic way to provide your garden with important nutrients that plants need to flourish and very easy to set up. You will also find that composting cuts down on the costs of buying soil-enriching products, as the compost provides your soil nutrients in a natural and organic way, plus without any nasty chemicals your garden is safer for any inquisitive children or pets.

Utilise household objects

Household waste or unwanted object can be great ways to spruce up the look of your garden. Old mirrors can be used to create fun visual effects, colanders make for great and stylish plant pots or hanging baskets, and even things like hanging shoe racks can be used to create your own small herb garden. Before throwing something out, always think if it has a use in the garden.

Save rainwater

Another great way to conserve resources and to make your garden a more environmentally friendly place is to purchase a few rain buckets that you can use to collect water for your garden. This is another task that will not only help reduce your carbon footprint but will also reduce the cost of maintaining a beautiful and verdant space.


The decorative aspect of a garden is a very personal one, some people enjoy perfectly manicured spaces while others like to feel a little more in the wild when they enter their gardens. Either way, some great options for sprucing up your garden’s look include laying a dry creek bed of rocks, which is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functions as a way to divide up your garden, as well as setting out at a pathway, which functions similarly to the creek-bed, but allows you and visitors to stroll through and admire your work.

However you decide to go about creating your perfect outdoor space, remember that if you get stuck check out Tesco’s garden guide for some helpful hints and tips.

Image by DncnH used under the Creative Commons License.


Friday, July 10, 2015

How to Properly Approach Co-Parenting After a Divorce

A divorce is not easy on anyone. No matter if it is a clean breakup, or a messy one, it is especially
hard on the kids. Trying to be a good parent during a divorce is difficult, but it is also essential. How you handle the divorce will impact your child for a long time to come. If you are about to go through a divorce, or have recently gone through one, the advice below should help you when it comes to co-parenting.

The first thing to remember is that the divorce is between you and your spouse – the child should not be involved. If you are having any issues with your ex, you need to keep these between the two of you. Involving your child in the issues, or arguing where they can hear you, will be rough on the child. You can talk to your child about what is going on when they are old enough, but keep the dirty laundry stuff to yourselves.

Along these lines, don't ask your child to choose sides or try to turn them against your ex. Just because things did not end well between the two of you, does not mean your child should have a bad opinion of them. Even if, in your mind, your ex is not a good person or a good role model, it is important to not project this onto your child. You can explain to them in more detail when they are older, but for now, let them keep the good image of their parent.

During a divorce, chances are you are going to feel frustrated, upset, angry, or any number of other unpleasant feelings. When this happens, you need to keep them to yourself and let out your emotions somewhere else. If your child sees you crying or getting angry, they are not going to be able to handle it well. Go to the gym if you need to relieve some stress, or talk to a therapist if you need to let off some steam. You don't have to bottle up your emotions, just try to keep in them in check for the time being if you have children around.

Lastly, as long as your ex is not a danger to the child, be sure that both parents get enough time with them. Even if you are mad at your ex, taking time away with their child is not the solution. Set schedules in which each parent will see them, and split up holidays. Make sure that the schedule works for both parties, and that you stick to it. Also be sure that both parents have time to do fun activities with the child, so that no one gets preferential treatment. This will make everything run smoother, and make your child happier.

While many divorces are amicable, some are not. Issues may arise, and the child may become involved. If you need help dealing with the legal issues, it is recommended that you hire an attorney. Getting yourself a family lawyer will make everything run more smoothly, and as a result you'll be less stressed. Too much stress can have an impact on you, and your child will be able to tell. For everyone's sake, let an expert handle it. For those of you on a budget who think you can't afford a family lawyer, trying looking for one on an average tier. This means they may not have went to the most prestigious law school, but they still know what they are doing and they will charge less for it.

We hope that these few tips will help out you and your family. Just remember that divorce is hard on everyone, not just the child. Put as much thought as you can into how they might be feeling, and try to keep the divorce between you and your ex. If you can do this, then you and your family should be just fine.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

3 Ways to Afford Fun Activities for Your Kids

Are your family finances tight? You are not alone. Many of the families across the country live
paycheck to paycheck with little disposable income. With this type of lifestyle, it is difficult to find extra income for recreational activities, travel, and food. Unfortunately, a lack of things to do (or the money to do them) can cause many kids and parents to suffer from boredom and depression. If you are tired of streaming movies and TV shows, these tips can help you afford some fun activities for your kids.

1 - Search for Free Activities

There are several free activities that you can participate in with your kids. Nearly all of the local libraries have a calendar of free events. You can also take your kids to the library to check out books. It may even be fun to do this weekly, so your children develop an interest in reading. In addition to visiting the library, you can find a park, pool, splash pad, or museum to spend the day at. Depending on the venue, there may be periods when entrance is free. To find these free deals, research online. You may even discover new options you haven’t heard of before.

2 - Cut Back in Other Areas

In some cases, affording fun family activities may require a little budgeting. If you make an effort to cut back in other areas, you can free up funds for entertainment purposes. For example, you can eat in more often to save money for a movie. You can also go through your bills to make sure you are not paying more than necessary. Insurance, in particular, is one area that you may be able to save money. It is a good idea to talk to an insurance agent to make sure you are not over insuring and paying for more coverage than you need. Cutting back is not easy. After all, who wants to go without? Fortunately, a little extra work on your budget is a great way to help your cash flow. You may even promote a better long term financial future for your family because of your efforts.

3 - Look for Coupons

Another great way to afford recreation is to take advantage of coupons. You can use coupons to help you save money at the grocery store. This extra money can be applied to your entertainment budget. There are also coupons available for the exciting attractions in your area. Finding them sometimes requires a little effort and patience. To increase your chances of finding a deal on a fun activity, it is a good idea to connect with coupon sites. This way you can receive details about the latest deals and discounts. If there is a specific venue you are interested in, you can always ask friends for advice on finding the best price. Chances are someone you know on social media has scored a great deal. You can use their feedback to help you do the same.

Plan an Affordable Activity Today

It’s nice to do something fun with your kids every once and awhile. It will help improve your sanity as a parent and provide joy to your kids. Even better, it does not have to cost a fortune. Plan one today that you and your kids will love.