Monday, April 28, 2014

The Benesh Family

The Benesh Family (Saint Cloud, Minnesota)

Only the parents will be attending.

My name is Bret Benesh, my wife is Christy, and we have a four-year
old son and a 2.5-year old daughter. I am a mathematics professor,
and Christy is a former mathematics professor. The main reasons why
we are planning on homeschooling our children are because we think we
can do it better than a school (if only because their education will
be customized to their needs), we want to spend as much time with our
kids as we can, and because our children have been expressing a
preference for homeschooling.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chris and Zoe Sanders

We traveled to Italy in September 2013. Zach is not pictured
because he was studying in Germany at the time.

I'm Zoe's (16) and Zach's (23) mom, Chris. We live in West Des Moines, IA with their dad, my husband, Rick. Zoe and I are excited to be attending our third Always Learning Live (ALL) Symposium!

Our family has always homeschooled and we've been radically unschooling for the past 11 years. Zach is now working on finishing up his undergraduate degrees in History and German at the University of Iowa and preparing for graduate studies after that.

Zoe loves singing, dancing, playing video games, drawing, tumblr, swimming, cooking and cleaning "clean" meals, reading and learning about astrophysics, and watching TV with the family. She's busy most weeks with our local Unitarian Universalist church choir, youth group, dancing on a Hip Hop competition dance team and skypeing with her friends across the continent. She's considering getting a job this summer at a local grocery store. Finally, Zoe adores her pet dog, Ginny.

I have many irons in the fire at any given time - I work part-time for Pearson VUE as a test administrator; I recently retired from my 23 year freelance bookkeeping business; As an Iowa licensed teacher, I help other homeschoolers by serving as their supervising teacher; I facilitate an online and in-person local unschooling support group as well as a group for Central Iowa homeschooling teens; I enjoy reading and doing all things on the internet—keeping up with technology, current events, politics and social networking.

We are fortunate that Rick's commercial photography business is based out of our home so that between the two of us, there is almost always a parent home and available to hang out, talk, drive, prepare food and host social events. We're a stay-at-home team! Rick also enjoys bicycle touring (his goal is to ride border-to-border across each state—he's riding across Alabama at the end of this month) playing volleyball, watching football and spending time with his large family of origin.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bragdon—Tina, James, Stephanie and Jonathan

We are the Bragdon family, from here in the southern part of the province of Manitoba, Canada….within a days drive away from Rochester. Our clan consists of dad James, (myself) Tina, and our children Stephanie (turning 14 the day we hit the road on May 29th), and Jonathan who will be 11 a few weeks afterwards. We are looking forward to attending…I attended the Toronto Unschooling Conference in 2007 by myself and remember what an impression it made on me to hear the words of people I only “knew of online” like Pam Larrichia and Anne Ohman, to talk to other attendees, and what a boost that was to me when I really needed it. I am excited to bring my family to attend this symposium (after very longingly reading reports on Sandra’s site about past ones), and for us to be encouraged and share with you all.

We go a fair ways back with unschooling, with our children never attending school. We came to unschooling by practicing attachment parenting. Unschooling was a natural extension of that for us once our children reached school age, and especially once we quickly realized, in turn with each of them, that neither of them would fit the expected mold at all in a traditional structured school-ey setting.

I found a few of my past words about unschooling immortalized here at Sandra’s site, down along the side of her “getting it” page, This was written when my children were 8 and 5…I am TinaB/canuckgal on this page. Funny to read these words as my children are now older. I would vouch my feelings are still as true as what I wrote then. Even so, as my children reach new stages, James and I (especially ME more so…I so love my husband for “getting it” in the areas that I find more difficult and vice-versa, and for helping me to straighten out my head over the years) still have some things that creep up that we see we need to examine and change and deschool on.

Over the years I have seen how valuable it is to “read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch…” as Sandra says. When I see my posts from message boards years ago with the same type of questions….a few months later….(!)…..I can see that it is sage advice Sandra gives, to let stuff “digest”, then DO IT, and evaluate and repeat…not just keep reading. I continue to strive to get better at that!

As far as a little bit about us individually, I am a registered nurse at our local hospital, who works an average of 5-8 shifts or so a month. We have always been fortunate be able to arrange and tweak my schedule over the years, so that the vast majority of the time, one of us has been able to be at home with the kids. I love to cook and bake, exercise, read, and flex my novice green thumb by (attempting!) gardening.

James has had a varied life, having been everything from a health care aide/orderly, to a security guard in a gold mine, to now working in a pharmaceutical plant, and loves things like camping, survival skills and outdoor lore, and an eclectic mix of Netflix documentaries ranging from war movies to tattooing, LOL.

Stephanie has a wicked sense of humor that we love to share and leads to all sorts of interesting discussions (think of things like the Oatmeal, Sanitaryum, and Cyanide and Happiness), loves animation/anime/cartooning both on paper and by computer, online games of all sorts (the more logic and strategy games the better), storytelling in all forms and ways, and reading a mix of all sorts of things. She also LOVES interacting with babies and young children, so if you have some, she will probably not be too far behind!

Jonathan is currently into things like playing Mario, Roblox, and other computer games and board games, loves going to his Scout troop, is a deep thinker delving into all sorts of world issues, and has a sweet tender heart that is uncannily intuitive towards any sort of anyone with hurts or troubles around him and he freely gives the hugs and helps out! Both are looking forward to meeting other kids and sharing their interests and learning from each other.

That is us in a nutshell….we are looking forward to meeting everyone!