Trailer Park Unschoolers

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


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Happy Halloween!

By the time you read this it probably won’t be Halloween anymore, but for us it still is, and what a Halloween it’s been! This has been perhaps the best ones yet. We had a great time.

Before the festivities began we went into the city to see the library there. I wanted to look for jobs online and Oz needed to put in an application for a permanent position at his job. He doesn’t want to be a temp forever. We thought we would check out one of the bigger libraries. The kids loved it. There was a large toy area where Luca did puzzles and Sander played with blocks. Beekee looked at books on Halloween, of course. Corde read some of the next Naruto manga. They didn’t want to leave. The good news is $25 gives us a subscription to the library for six months. That means we can each get our own cards. Each card can have up to ten DVDs and ten ebooks. There’s also a limit of two players. As if that weren’t incentive enough, the library has a pretty neat interactive learning center with a computer and microscope. It’s totally worth weekly trips into town. On top of that, there’s plenty of space to play outside.

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The kids then went to trick-or-treat in the city too. We had fun there too. The kids played on two bounce houses. They did a cupcake walk. They got a ton of candy too. Of course, the dentist gave out toothbrushes, pencils, and rings (as well as pretzels and candy!) They had cotton candy. It was a good time had by all.

This is a huge change from what we planned. We intended on canceling Halloween festivities because everyone was sick. Because of it I hadn’t planned on costumes. We had no idea what we would do. It turned into last minute improvisation as we were about to roll out the door.

Corde’s idea was cute. She dressed in pajamas and wings. Her idea was a dream fairy. It turned into a sleepy fairy as she was always hinting that she was falling asleep.

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Beekee decided he was going to be a pirate again. He’s such a cute pirate! It totally works for him.

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Sander wanted to go as a zombie killer, but he looked more like a pirate too. He was super cute! It was really funny towards the end. You could tell he was tired because he kept falling behind. His bag got so heavy he could barely carry it. He was very excited about that. He dropped right off to sleep when he got home.

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Luca was the hard one to outfit. I couldn’t come up with anything for a while. We had considered making him a zombie, but I didn’t have my makeup. Then it hit me! We made him into a D&D gamer. He had an elf hat and two dice bags. We put his tail on from fairy fest. Most people thought he was a goblin, troll, or gremlin. Everyone thought he was so cute. He loved taking candy from buckets and putting it in his bag. I don’t think he even cared that it was candy. He was filling a bag! That was the coolest thing! It’s fun to watch him enjoy something so simple.

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The kids all crashed hard. They were exhausted. It was a good day. We’re thinking about getting a library membership now. I got two leads on jobs. The kids had fun. Oz got some time to play with the kids outside in the cool fall air. It was fantastic. I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday as much as we did!


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The First Week without Co-op

This is going to be brief, but not bad. We missed co-op for the first time this week. The kids were sad, but they took it well. Sander was the most upset. He was sad to miss his friends.

Oz’s first day of work exhausted him. He was late, thanks to forgetting to set his alarm, but overall it was a good day for him. He’s looking forward to this being a step in the right direction.

The kids also got to do something fun. Grocery shopping may not seem like fun, but we always enjoy it. It was just the kids and me. Oz wanted to stay home and nap. We rocked out to music in the car. We talked a lot. We joked around in the store. Then we rode home and Corde and I sang along to the radio with all three boys attempting to chime in. We all have sore throats, so we must have sounded horrible, but we didn’t care.

Sadly, it’s probably best that the kids were home today. Sander ended up throwing up in the toilet at the end of the night. It’s probably a good thing he didn’t have dinner. I don’t mean to imply it would have wasted food because I’ve heard some people say that. I’m just relieved food didn’t make him even more uncomfortable, poor guy. I know food can make an upset tummy worse.

Oh, and for anyone who is interested in helping to support our family, no, I’m not looking for handouts. However, look us up on Facebook to see our cool knit goods for kids! Bear Foot Knits is my new project. I have a couple arm warmer and mitt designs up there and more will be coming. I’ll have a link as soon as I can figure it out on my phone!


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I Hate When Things Are Over

Well…so much for that idea. I hate to ne bitter, but I’m really not a fan of my ex right now. The kids got to visit for the summer. Not only did he try to convince me to let him keep them because all he cared about was the money. I’m not going to go into all the lies and deception, or how the kids, especially Corde, feel they were stolen from. However, refusing to pay child support is kind of the last straw for me. He won’t give up his rights to his kids. He won’t be a part of their lives. Now he won’t even help with their living expenses because he’s refusing to pay child support.

I’m extra bitter about that one today. All I’ve heard from him about it is how I want that money for me. What he doesn’t see is the way it benefits the kids. Oz shouldn’t have to pay for every single expense for two kids that aren’t his on top of raising them as his own, and if he does, he should be able to adopt them. He’s only been asking for the past four and a half years. However their dad refuses to give them up, so he owes it to them to do his part, financially and in other ways. He should be calling regularly because he wants to be there for his kids. He should also be paying his child support because it goes towards their wellbeing. He should want to know they’re well provided for and are happy.

So, why do I hate all of this? We’ve finally hit the point of needing to give up even more. Between having to drive to Georgia to get the kids, the required costs as a result of CPS interference, and the added cost of co-op this year, we’re really struggling. We moved in with Oz’s dad because our rent was just too much. Now we’re finally losing co-op. It’s gotten to the point where the kids are really going to suffer, no matter how hard we try to make it work. Things may even get more crazy as I have to start looking for a job. That may mean we have to give up homeschooling all together. I really don’t want that, but it all depends on what I can find for work. In the mean time I’m trying to put together a knitting business for some income on the side.

I haven’t talked to the kids about leaving co-op yet. I know Luca will be happy. He hated co-op. Sander is really going to miss all his friends. Beekee’s going to miss it too. Corde might just be relieved. She was put into fourth grade and was dropped even lower in writing and math, not because she couldn’t do the work either. She’d been refusing to do all her homework. She hated the timed math tests and was struggling as a result. On top of it all she was bumped back into the third grade writing class because she writes slowly, not because she couldn’t do the work. She just couldn’t keep up with the speed in class. At home she was fine.

We have the option to try again next year. Early enrollment begins in January. I should know by then if we can afford it. Luca will be two by then and hopefully better able to handle the separation from me. Sander will still be in pre-k, though it may not be the same group of kids. Some of his friends might have gone on to kindergarten. Beekee will move into the second grade class. He’ll hopefully have the writing skills to handle it by then. Most of his class will have moved on to third grade by then, but there’s a huge kindergarten class that will be moving on. Corde can work hard and bring herself up to the sixth grade. If they join fifth and sixth again, she’ll still be with all her friends again.

That is, if the kids even want to go back next year. They may decide it’s too much work and they’d rather stick with unschooling. I’d actually be a bit relieved to move on to something else, somewhere I’d feel more appreciated for being myself and more at home. The decision is still a few months away.

So, that’s why we’ve been absent. I’ve been busy trying to figure out how to work everything out for co-op. I haven’t had time for much else. It’s been a bit crazy.


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It’s Been a Long (and Short) Week!

I am exhausted! Where did the time go? With job hunting, co-op, school work, grocery shopping, and a million learning opportunities, I feel like I’ve run a marathon. I think the kids are feeling it too. We’re all wiped out.

Yet the time also flew by. Somehow the week got away from us. We barely got going and it was over. What’s up with that? I’m not complaining, not really. It’s fun. It’s just exhausting.

This past week we’ve been reminded just how many friends we have. Things are looking up. We’re feeling super positive about the future. I can’t wait to see where this leads us!


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And We’re Back

Fairy Fest was so much fun. The whole weekend was small and pretty intimate, not at all like it was hoped to be. However, we all had a lot of fun.

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The first day was quiet. We got to know a few of the vendors. There was another homeschool mom with her kids, though her son didn’t stay for the weekend. The kids, of course, didn’t want to sleep. Sander kept taking his shoes off and got cactus spines in his feet, poor kid, but I warned him!

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The next day the kids had a blast. They explored the fairy garden. They ran wild through the whole festival area. There were plenty of events, but their favorite thing to do was play in the dirt by the fire pit. They were all filthy by the end of the weekend, but they were happy!

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There were a bunch of activities for the weekend. I won the baking contest by default because I was the only one to bring baked goods. My cookies were apparently fantastic. No one could get enough of them. The kids enjoyed tea while coloring. Oz did tarot readings. It was such a relaxing time.

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After the tea party was the talent contest. The kids were the only group entry. They had a skit called The Pirate Who Saved the Fairies. It was completely improvised and very silly. The pirate kept forgetting to save the fairies! Then Luca decided he wanted to play, so they had to be rescued from a rampaging bear, or so the story goes. The whole thing was pretty funny. I think they want to put together something in advance next time.

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They had a costume contest, but neither of the kids won. Beekee still had the best story. He was the Bunny Pirate of Doom. He had a magic sword so he can destroy all the evil on Earth. His ears give him the power to make good things happen after the evil has been destroyed. He’s too funny!

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There was plenty to do, see, and explore. The whole place was full of new and interesting things. The place was completely off the grid, which meant there was limited electricity and everything else. There were huge solar panels around the place. They even used compost toilets. The shower is designed to use with your own solar shower bag. It was so strange and different for them. The new environment was made all the more unique by all the decorations up in the trees. It was so beautiful, and so inspiring for our own future hopes.

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Thankfully, the weather held. We were supposed to have rain, but it was sunny and beautiful. It got a little warm, but that was better than cold and wet. Camping in the rain can be fun, but it’s much better than bad weather.

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The night ended with fire performance. I didn’t get to join in because my knee was in rough shape. Walking was enough of a challenge. However, I did drum for them. Oz got to do the fire thing, something he always enjoys. The kids didn’t watch, but I guess that’s what happens when you grow up with it. It’s so normal you don’t stop to notice anymore. They were too busy playing with their friends. Who can blame them?

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By the end of the weekend we all were ready to say our sad goodbyes. We were all exhausted, but we had fun. Plans are in the works to see our fairy fest friends again soon. We all live close enough that it seems silly not to! We’re also planning ahead to the next festival, this time in the spring. Hopefully we’ll all be decked out in fairy style by then!

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All photos on this entry are by Ronald the Bald. He was our fantastic weekend photographer. We can’t wait to see him again at other fairs and events!

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Tomorrow We Leave for the Fairy Fest!

There’s so much to do when getting kids ready for camping. It’s so much more than just packing. You have to prepare them just as much as you have to prepare your gear.

Maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal if we camped more. The kids would be used to it. I always wanted to get to that point, but that means time, money for gear, and someplace we would like to camp, none of which we really have right now.

When I was a kid camping was a big deal. We would pack everything up the night before. The next morning we would start out bright and early. Along the way we would hit some entertainment. We went to all kinds of places, from Six Gun City (a wild west history park) to the Polar Caves. We would play while my patents set up the tent. The next two days were usually spent camping while my dad played his summer volleyball tournament. The last day was another early morning. We packed up and went somewhere like Story Land or Mount Washington. We always came home completely exhausted, but felt it was worth it.

My kids are getting a little taste of that. They’re excited. They’re ready to go. I have a feeling they’ll barely sleep all weekend. It’ll be fun.


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A Three Mile Hike and then to the Park

What a day! Today we were busy. There’s been a lot on our list of things to do. I can’t imagine how things would be if we could affording do it all.

Our first order on the list was feeding chickens. One of Oz’s coworkers asked us to feed her chickens while she was away. This was mostly fine, until we were cornered by a rooster. This wasn’t just any rooster. He was a mean rooster! He decided to attack Oz. Who knew a chicken could be so aggressive?

Then we went to our new hiking group. Of course, the rooster made us late. We tried to catch up to the group, but Sander and Luca slowed us up. Life hasn’t been the same since we lost the BabyHawk. Luca managed to go almost a full mile on foot! Minket had to come along for the hike. It was a long three miles, but it was worth it. We saw deer and coyote tracks. The kids got to see the wetlands. We had a nice, quiet walk in the woods. By the end of it all the kids were ready for a nap.

After a short nap in the car we went to a park day with one of the local groups. It was fun. The kids had a blast. It looks like the kids will have a whole bunch of new friends soon. They’re really our type of people. It’s not that I don’t like the moms from co-op, but the moms in this group are more my speed, relaxed, fun, and very chill about what their kids are learning. The older kids are fun, unique, and incredibly talented. It makes me miss my old co-op.

Then it was back to the chickens. We had a nice chat with the chicken’s neighbor. He’s a nice guy. It was fun to be out in the country where the only sounds were cows, chickens, the rooster, and a couple of dogs. They apparently have a bobcat out that way that sneaks in at night and messes with the chickens. It was kind if nice. I think Oz is a bit more sold on the idea of living in the country.

The kids had a good day. I hope we can do it again soon. We had so much fun and made some new friends. It’s definitely a good change.