Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!


2 Comments

Attack of the Pill Bugs!

I’ve finally started a garden. It certainly took me long enough in the year. If it wasn’t for the free plants I scored on Freecycle I probably would have given up this year. As is I stopped just in time for it to get dark.

I have to admit, I should have planned better. I would have been wise to prep the garden plot before I brought my new plants home. I’m not sure how many will take as a result. The morning glories and four o’ clocks seem to have survived okay, but the basil was starting to wilt by the time we got it home. I stuxk the roots in water to hopefully revive the plants a bit, but we’ll see how it goes. At the very least, I tried.

Originally I had planned to have the kids help with the gardening. I’m really glad I decided not to. I love my kids. They’re incredibly capable. They can handle a lot of hard work when they put their minds to it. I don’t think having them help this time would have worked out as it did in my mind.

First I had to move the friendship tree, which seems determinded to look dead. I’m starting to think I somehow killed it. The spot underneath was the easiest place to clear. Even that was hard work. The grass here is one clump of root that develops a whole section of grass. This tangles with other clumps, making it a pain to clear. I ended up having to take a knife to cut the clumps into segments small enough to pry up and pull out. Several pieces had long root offshoots going well under our stairs. Worse still, under the tree was infested with ants that took none too kindly to my efforts. I don’t think I destroyed a nest because none of the other signs were there, but I might have disturbed a source of food they were going for. It may have also been where they were going for water. Then there were the giant stalks of grass I had to cut with a knife to get through. Breaking it or pullng it up wasn’t an option. I had to chop it back, then work at the roots once I could see them. Scott, our house guest, gave me some help by doing the second half for me. I still ended up having to expand it more, and I’m not even done. I wouldn’t want the kids messing with that kind if situation.

However, this and the rain we’ve had have made some interesting creepy crawlers appear. Yesterday we saw a caterpillar. Some day it will likely become a painted lady butterfly. They’re very common around here. We found wasps nesting on our porch. Scott wants to smoke them out and relocate them. I sure won’t be near when he does. The rain always brings geckos and the frogs will soon be out. Today we saw fire ants in swarms, beetles, a couple of skinny earth worms, three different wolf spiders, and whole messes of pill bugs. Sander sat on the stairs to watch the bugs. He thought they were attacking at first. Then he decided they were just making friends. He was all upset because one balled up and he thought I killed it. When I explained it was just scared and defending itself he had to watch it for a while until it unballed and went back about it’s business. There were hundreds of them, more than I’d ever seen. It was quite a day.

I’ve also decided to relocate some stinging nettle when I get some good gloves. It grows wild all over the park. Apparently it has a ton of uses, so we may as well make use of the natural resource, right?

Today was an eventful day. Hopefully the plants will take and I’ll be seeing some pretty new growth soon.

We’re planning to transplant Beekee’s plants soon too. Sadly, between wind, bugs, and the local cats, his plants aren’t doing so well. We repotted the ones we think will make it. Those will go in the ground as soon as the next section is ready.

For now I’m pretty beat. I think it’s time for bed.


4 Comments

A Change of Circumstance

Well, I did everything possible but straight up tell Oz I wouldn’t allow it. Now on top of everything else we have going on, we have a friend coming to stay with us while he gets back on his feet. It’s hard to say no when it’s Oz’s best friend, especially since they met through the military.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling we’re going to butt heads. He has a very different parenting philosophy. He also has the belief homeschooling isn’t a great choice. He was all thrilled to suggest we should move up by hom where the curriculum is provided and the kids would be subjected to yearly standardized testing. He thought that was fantastic. I’m sure anyone reading thos knows how I feel about that. I’m not interested in living with anyone that isn’t a homeschool supporter.

It’s not just that. I also get the picture that he plans on moving his girlfriend and kids into our little trailer. For starters, management would flip. We’re already maxed out in occupancy. Having one long-term guest is hard enough. He’d be introducing a woman we’ve never met, a 1 1/2 year old, and a 2 1/2 year old into the mix. That’s just too much for me. It’s too many small people for one house and our parenting styles are too different. It’s just not going to work even if management wouldn’t flip.

So for a while things are going to be tight and stressful. I’m going to do my best to keep up with what the kids are doing, but I really don’t know how much I’ll be writing. I don’t do well when I feel like other people are invading my home.


4 Comments

I’m Too Young to Die!

The title? Nope, no one died, or even got hurt. The winds got pretty scary. The wind got fierce. However, we had nothing more than that, not even hail.

So what’s with the title? I had to listen to Corde yelling that any time Beekee would say he was looking for a funnel cloud or tornado. It was a long storm watch. The brief time we were at risk seemed like an eternity.

Of course, my experience with tornado warnings are much different. Every time I would look out to see a funnel cloud way up in the sky. The kids don’t remember it. I think they slept through the last one.

Now they’re actually dissapointed that they didn’t get to see a tornado, can you believe it? A force so destructive it could have turned the whole trailer park to rubble in no time and they wanted to see it! Go Figure!

However, now I have to research emergency kits/bug out bags. I know it makes me sound paranoid, but it’s better to be prepared. It could be a fun project, especially since Beekee is into zombies. Maybe his can be a “zombie apocalypse survivcal kit” just for fun. The idea is to be practical, but there’s no reason to be all gloom and doom about it. The chances of needing a survival kit or bug out bag are incredibly slim in this area, so slim that it’s almost a joke to have in the first place. However, if that slim chance should happen, it’s best to be prepared. I’m not thinking about being able to live off the land for months on end because we’re facing the apocalypse, but at least being able to fend for ourselves for two or three days if we get trapped in by flooding or are forced to relocate due to fire or a tornado might be nice.

This is also a practical exercise for the kids. We don’t know what the future will bring. I keep hearing about this wild and crazy weather everywhere. If this keeps up it may not be a bad idea to be prepared for severe storms. They seem to be increasing all over the country. The US hasn’t faced war on our home soil for quite some time, but it could happen again. Many emergency kits can accomodate for most situations, since survival is survival, and there are only a few changes to be made for circumstance when the plan is for something short term. You just never know when these skills may come in handy, aside from the obvious adventures into the wilderness.

And on a less paranoid sounding level, I found two more free events for Corde and Beekee to attend. Home Depot and Lowes both have free craft project days for kids from 5-12. Corde will be outgrowing them before too long, but just as she is, Sander will be ild enough to go. In four years when Luca is old enough to go we’ll be able to take all three boys. These events have been around since Oz was little. It would definitely give them a good start if they want to help us out in the future. It looks like we’ll have a trailer to fix up, a chicken coop to rebuild, a garden to fix up, and eventually an Earthship to build.

Anyhow, we’re all safe and sound. I’m going to do some of that research and take some more time to read the Bible and make my notes. I’m starting to think reading the Bible is one of the worst things that I could do as a part of giving Christianity a second chance, or at least starting from the Old Testament. Somehow I’m starting to think I was reading a dumbed down children’s version in Catholic school, or maybe that they just glossed over things a lot more. I don’t remember the Bible being like this when I read it before. Then again, the last time I read from the Bible was over twenty years ago. I have a feeling if I want to let Corde give Christianity a fair shake and to decide for herself, I may just have to keep my mouth shut on a lot of things…but I may change my mind when I get back to the New Testament, as long as those stories are as I remember them, or at least close.


Leave a comment

Twister

We just got word that there is a chance of some serious twisters heading our way. Just yesterday there was a tornado that took several lives, including children in Oklahoma. We’re not far from the border of Oklahoma ourselves. Now it looks like the storms are headed our way.

This news never would have arrived, but Oz is listening to the news at work. He’s supposed to call and get us mobilized if there are any tornadoes in our area. Trailers aren’t much better than a cardboard box in a tornado, so we’re planning to head to anywhere more secure than here. We’ve got to find out where the local sgorm shelters are. Oz may not even be able to come with us. If he’s at work it won’t be safe for him to leave, and it’s all supposed to go down soon.

Because of all this we’re having a slightly scary lesson. Corde is packing up some diapers. Beekee is collecting water bottles. Our shoeless hoard is pulling up their most comfortable, sturdy shoes and warm clothes, just in case. We’re pulling together a couple blankets and the like. It’s all going to be stuffed into Oz’s ACU backpack from his military days. Anything that still doesn’t fit can go in a second, smaller backpack.

While I don’t think we’ll have much to worry about. Tornadoes generally hit in open fields, not in town. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. If we have to walk to a storm shelter because Oz can’t get home, I want to be able to grab our bags, strap on Luca, and go. I don’t want to have to waste any time. Thankfully there are plenty of places we can go without spending too much time in the open. If Oz can get home, the stuff is going to be thrown in the car and will stay there in case there’s any need to leave. The less time wasted, the better. Besides, it never hurts to have an emergency survival kit on hand.

After this is all over I think I’m going to do some research on emergency survival kits. Given we live in tornado alley, it can’t hurt. Hurricanes generally don’t make it this far north, but flooding sometimes happens, as do brush fires. It’s not paranoid to be prepared. In a worst-case-scenario setting, we’ll be glad. Hopefully we’ll never have need.

The goal is to make a personalized kit for everyone in the family. It’ll probably be mostly the same stuff, but it can’t hurt to have extra and some of it, like water, is consumable, so it helps to know each person will have their own.

I know it sounds paranoid, I really do. At the same time, I really want to be prepared because you never know what could happen. Heaven forbid we end up at war on our own home soil, but if it happen a lot of families would probably be displaced. Storms happen all the time, fires, flooding. Even in the case of a regular old fire, we’d have everything we need in a single grab. It would be a huge relief to know we don’t have to worry if something did happen.

When I lived back in Mass, I developed this habit of having a well stocked pantry in case of hurricane or blizzard. I was already prepared, so I didn’t have to contend with the crazy hoards liading up on milk, bread, and eggs. At best I’d go help clear out the canned goods, which were always comically untouched in a snow storm.  You would think canned goods would be sought after in case the power goes out, but instead the bread, milk, and eggs disappear. However, I try to always have enough canned goods to feed us for a week in case of emergency. That really came in handy when we got snowed in for three days. We had power and could still cook, but the electricity had threatened to go out on us a couple times.

Anyhow, we have a few things to finish up to be ready to head out. I should get going. I’ll post again once we’re in the clear, hopefully announcing we were worried over nothing.


2 Comments

Homeschoolers Everywhere

I have to say, I love one aspect of living in this area. There are a lot of homeschoolers. We just met another homeschool family last night while hanging out with the hoopers. I’d love to meet up with them for tonight’s movie, but I think we all may be too tired. Besides, we’ve already seen this week’s movie.

Hooping was fun for the kids last night. Sander is still too young to get it. Beekee is just starting to pick up the skill. Then there’s Corde. I can see her doing all kinds of crazy tricks when she’s older. She’s gotten pretty good. She can even do two hoops at once! I’m really impressed because I was never really all that good.

Even Luca had a blast. He was walking around, taking it all in. He even tried to help clean up the hoops, but they were much too big fot him to handle. That didn’t stop him from trying, of course! It was a learning experience for him.

I know the kids can’t wait until next week. They love this event, and having friends there just makes it better. It’s just too bad it only runs in May and June. Well, by then we should have made some friends to plan other things with!


Leave a comment

Mother’s Day Off the Cuff

Mother’s Day came with actual plans this year. Corde was supposed to sing me some song at church. We would come home to dinner. Everything would be easy and relaxing.

Well, Im sure you know how this family does with plans. We have an inspection this week, so all our plans went right out the window. We were supposed to pace ourselves with cleaning for this inspection, but that never happens. Too much fun gets in the way.

Friday, for example, we went to see a movie in the park. Saturday we met Oz’s mom. She’s cleaning up her life and he’s trying to give her a second chance. The kids all really like her. Yesterday the plan was to go to church, but some psycho in front of us kept slamming on her breaks, cutting in front of us every time we tried to change lanes to get away from her, and went creeping through an intersection to annoy us with a line of cars honking behind her. If Oz wasn’t such a good driver and our car didn’t handle so well, we surely would have hit her. It seemed like she was trying. What’s worse is we found out later that her car is well known for that kind of wreckless driving. She even uses her car to herd cattle. She could care less what happens to it because she’s rich by inheritance and has never had to work a day in her life.

Anyhow, I’m getting sidetracked. After getting away from that psycho, we needed to stop so Oz could calm down. Having the kids in the car meant he was even more shaken than he normally would be. However we met someone who grew up in Mass like I did, so it was kind of nice.

Being super late, we missed church. We decided to grab some snacks and pack up for a walk instead. We went to this lovely park that’s going to have to be a regular part of our journies. The cottonwood trees made it look like some enchanted fairy woods. There were painted lady butterflues everywhere. We saw wolf spiders, two kinds of caterpillars, beetles, and hoards of baby grasshoppers. It was one of the most beautiful things we’ve done since we got to Texas.

Unfortunately, the path was gravel. Normally this wouldn’t phase me, but the kids dumped the diaper bag and my shoes with it. I had no option but braving it in bare feet. It wasn’t that bad, thankfully. Even with the added weight of Luca it was pretty tolerable. However, I bet I looked pretty out of place being barefoot in a dress with a baby on my back!

We’d only made it a quarter mile or maybe a half mile down the path when Oz’s shoes started hurting him. I jokingly told him he should take his shoes off and hack it barefoot like I was. We were planning to head back anyway since Sander isn’t really ready for long hikes yet. We want to slowly work up to it, especially since there are no bathrooms on the trail. Much to my surprise, knowing we didn’t have too far to go, Oz chucked his shoes too!

While we were waiting for Oz to deal with his shoes, the kids poked around at the edge of the trail. With wolf spiders at the least, and copperheads and water mocassins at the worst, we told them not to actually venture off the trail, but there was more than enough to interest them. They looked at the cottony seeds that fell from the trees. They checked out the tree bark and any leaves they could see. They looked for bugs and chased the grasshoppers. It was great to see them just enjoying nature.

Of course, not to be outdone by Oz, they all decided to ditch their shoes. We got odd looks as Oz carefully picked his way along. At one point he was asked if he lost his shoes, then the family came around the bend to see we were all doing it. The kids thought it was interesting to see our varying degrees of tolerance for it. Oz kept having to stop to rest his feet. Corde and Beekee could hack it better than Oz. I was able to walk in the rocky middle without much notice, which impressed the kids. However, they decided that toddler feet are meant to be without shoes as Sander ran to the front of the line or ofc ahead with more grace and speed than when he has shoes on! He didn’t trip once, which is a big change from his usual of tripping two or three times on every walk.

With unschooling, everything can be a lesson, from studying cottonwood seeds and chasing grasshoppers to walking barefoot on a gravel path. We got to watch a kayak ready and launch down the river. We met some lovely horses and some very friendly dogs. The whole day was quite an adventure. This is why I love unschooling. Learning shouldn’t be about facts and memorization. Knowledge isn’t a destination. Learning is a journey, following one path to the next. If you just rush to the end, you miss all the beauty, all the opportunity, and all the experiences along the way.


Leave a comment

Mother’s Day Off the Cuff

Mother’s Day came with actual plans this year. Corde was supposed to sing me some song at church. We would come home to dinner. Everything would be easy and relaxing.

Well, Im sure you know how this family does with plans. We have an inspection this week, so all our plans went right out the window. We were supposed to pace ourselves with cleaning for this inspection, but that never happens. Too much fun gets in the way.

Friday, for example, we went to see a movie in the park. Saturday we met Oz’s mom. She’s cleaning up her life and he’s trying to give her a second chance. The kids all really like her. Yesterday the plan was to go to church, but some psycho in front of us kept slamming on her breaks, cutting in front of us every time we tried to change lanes to get away from her, and went creeping through an intersection to annoy us with a line of cars honking behind her. If Oz wasn’t such a good driver and our car didn’t handle so well, we surely would have hit her. It seemed like she was trying. What’s worse is we found out later that her car is well known for that kind of wreckless driving. She even uses her car to herd cattle. She could care less what happens to it because she’s rich by inheritance and has never had to work a day in her life.

Anyhow, I’m getting sidetracked. After getting away from that psycho, we needed to stop so Oz could calm down. Having the kids in the car meant he was even more shaken than he normally would be. However we met someone who grew up in Mass like I did, so it was kind of nice.

Being super late, we missed church. We decided to grab some snacks and pack up for a walk instead. We went to this lovely park that’s going to have to be a regular part of our journies. The cottonwood trees made it look like some enchanted fairy woods. There were painted lady butterflues everywhere. We saw wolf spiders, two kinds of caterpillars, beetles, and hoards of baby grasshoppers. It was one of the most beautiful things we’ve done since we got to Texas.

Unfortunately, the path was gravel. Normally this wouldn’t phase me, but the kids dumped the diaper bag and my shoes with it. I had no option but braving it in bare feet. It wasn’t that bad, thankfully. Even with the added weight of Luca it was pretty tolerable. However, I bet I looked pretty out of place being barefoot in a dress with a baby on my back!

We’d only made it a quarter mile or maybe a half mile down the path when Oz’s shoes started hurting him. I jokingly told him he should take his shoes off and hack it barefoot like I was. We were planning to head back anyway since Sander isn’t really ready for long hikes yet. We want to slowly work up to it, especially since there are no bathrooms on the trail. Much to my surprise, knowing we didn’t have too far to go, Oz chucked his shoes too!

While we were waiting for Oz to deal with his shoes, the kids poked around at the edge of the trail. With wolf spiders at the least, and copperheads and water mocassins at the worst, we told them not to actually venture off the trail, but there was more than enough to interest them. They looked at the cottony seeds that fell from the trees. They checked out the tree bark and any leaves they could see. They looked for bugs and chased the grasshoppers. It was great to see them just enjoying nature.

Of course, not to be outdone by Oz, they all decided to ditch their shoes. We got odd looks as Oz carefully picked his way along. At one point he was asked if he lost his shoes, then the family came around the bend to see we were all doing it. The kids thought it was interesting to see our varying degrees of tolerance for it. Oz kept having to stop to rest his feet. Corde and Beekee could hack it better than Oz. I was able to walk in the rocky middle without much notice, which impressed the kids. However, they decided that toddler feet are meant to be without shoes as Sander ran to the front of the line or ofc ahead with more grace and speed than when he has shoes on! He didn’t trip once, which is a big change from his usual of tripping two or three times on every walk.

With unschooling, everything can be a lesson, from studying cottonwood seeds and chasing grasshoppers to walking barefoot on a gravel path. We got to watch a kayak ready and launch down the river. We met some lovely horses and some very friendly dogs. The whole day was quite an adventure. This is why I love unschooling. Learning shouldn’t be about facts and memorization. Knowledge isn’t a destination. Learning is a journey, following one path to the next. If you just rush to the end, you miss all the beauty, all the opportunity, and all the experiences along the way.