Friday, August 26, 2011

We moved!

So the hippies felt like "Hippys" was calling all of us fat so we had a vote and changed the spelling to HIPPIES!

Find our new location at

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ask a Homeschool Hippy: How do I decide what method of homeschooling to use?

Dear Homeschool Hippys,

We have decided to try homeschooling. There are so many choices out there and my head is spinning. How do I decide?


Dear Overwhelmed,

I've been there and you are right, it can be overwhelming. Here are a few ideas:
  • Ask a few homeschooling friends for advice. What have they tried and liked? Why did they like it?
  • Check the laws in your state or country and determine what the minimum requirements for your child's education must be (your friends may know this too, take advantage of their experiences).
  • Decide if you want to create the school yourself or if you want a "school in a box" experience for your first year. I consider a "school in a box" program to be a great set of training wheels for people who are trying to wean off of public school without their kids getting "behind" (we'll talk about that another day).
  • Don't lock yourself into a method. If you start one method and it doesn't work, switch. You are learning too and it will be okay if you have to test drive a few different styles.
  • Maybe your method will be no method. Hey, nothing wrong with that plan, embrace it!
  • If your child is learning something wonderful every day then you don't need to stress. Just keep swimming and don't compare your kid to anyone else's kid. We're all on different paths anyhow.
  • When I get overwhelmed I use the "knee jerk reaction" method. I have someone ask me what I want to do and then I don't think I just blurt and whatever I say is what I do. Works great for big life decisions, less for dinner choices.
  • Once you pick, don't doubt yourself. Put on a pretty set of blinders and just move forward. Remember you can change what you are doing later, but if you keep going back and forth you won't make any progress. 
You can do this. Don't feel overwhelmed because you are very capable and you are going to do amazing! We're rooting for you!

With hope,
(Mountain Hippy)

Monday, August 8, 2011

West Coast Hippy - Meet the Tunnells

We are a homeschooling family living in San Diego, Ca. Our family consists of me (mama) a attachment parenting, full-term breastfeeding, wanna-be natural mom. I teach Hypnobabies® Childbirth Hypnosis classes and soon breastfeeding classes as well as lead our local babywearing group. Gamer Dad is a salesman and proud geek. Grandma is a Montessori elementary teacher and we keep her in the back room ;). Bouncy Boy is my current homeschooler and he is entering First Grade. Dancing girl is 4 and attends 3 day Montessori preschool. Godzilla Baby is two and is unschooled ;). We are a secular family and are almost unschoolers. My blog about our family and homeschool adventures can be found at That's us in a nutshell.

For the sake of getting to know me I thought I'd port this in from my blog. :) This should help you understand where we are coming from.

A little about my educational background. My mother is a Montessori teacher. She currently teaches 1st and 2nd grade. So I was raised Montessori. She was a SAHM until I was 5 and was making a lot of her materials at the time. So I got to play with them. This is how I learned to read :). I went to Montessori schools from preschool until 5th grade when I was transferred to public school. I got bored with that fairly quickly and didn't really go to high school. I was enrolled for 4 years, but ditched a lot and really only showed up to what I was interested in. I got my GED the same year I completed my AA. I used to be embarrassed about that until I started reading about educational theory and unschooling and realized that it was the school system that failed me, not the other way around. I'm sure I'll write a whole post about that someday.

So fast-forward a few years and I have babies now! Decisions must be made. I assumed they would go to Montessori preschool, which they have, and after that I wanted to find a charter school. I didn't like the idea of private school because of the lack of diversity. I don't want my kids growing up with all wealthy kids, but want them exposed to lots of people. Eventually, as described in a previous post I decided to homeschool. So now what? Do we do Montessori at home? Jump on the Classical bandwagon or what? We decided to remain eclectic and find our way over the first year. We signed up with a wonderful charter homeschool here in our area and charged ahead with an eclectic curriculum I had picked out after cruising around the internet for awhile. We bought Young Scientist Club science kits, Shiller Math, Explode the Code, All About Spelling etc. Insert active, rebellious child --> yelling mother --> breakdown. Suddenly my previously excited child who loved school and learning and was excited about reading etc hates reading, hates writing and we're pissed at each other. Ugh. What is happening here? So, we took a break - deschooled a bit. He watched a lot of tv and played on and I started reading about homeschool philosophy. I read a lot online, enough to know that the hard-core academic and core type curricula need not apply here! No TWTM for us.

I picked up a copy of Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto. And wow was my mind blown! If I was attracted to homeschooling before, now I knew I could never put my children in school. (Warning - do not read this book if you don't want to be talked out of schooling!) Then I read How Children Fail by John Holt and was fascinated. My mom has been bouncing ideas off me and generally venting about miscellaneous children and problems in her classroom for years. I saw so many of those children represented in this book! And hers is a forward thinking Montessori based private school, these things shouldn't be happening there. So I became convinced that the nature of the school environment forces wonderful, well-meaning teachers to treat children in certain ways that are not helpful to the learning process at all.

So I started reading about Unschooling. I cruised the blogs, watched the youtube videos and joined a couple discussion groups. I was immediately turned off by some of the more dogmatic folks out there and decided unschooling wasn't for us. (I'm not much of a joiner). So I started trying to find our own way. (I've since then found some much less fundamentalist unschool groups and have the utmost respect for this way of life.) And this is what I've come up with. :)

Our Family Principles of Education:

1. All Principles are in fact guidelines and are of course flexible -lol

2. Parents and family should matter more than friends or so called "socialization".

3. Always question authority - even me!

4. Learning is most effective when child directed.

5. A child's interests should never be put down, but adults should seek to understand them.

6. A child's primary method of learning (whether behavior lessons or "educational" ones) is through play. Play should be actively encouraged - even if I don't "like" it or think he should be doing something "more important".

7. Children don't know what they don't know.

8. Therefore, an educators job is to expose children to a variety of age appropriate topics to encourage active learning. This should, however, be done gently and without coercion. Do not be offended if your child has no interest in learning about Egypt this week. Keep your book/craft/website available for when he or she comes back to it.

9. Math and Reading will be learnt naturally when the child is ready if resources are made available. However:

10. A child's natural curiosity and desire to learn will not be squashed by a few minutes of directed activity a day.

11. Children have the right to say, "No, Thank you." to directed activity.

12. Treat children the way you would treat an adult whose opinion you value.

13. Long term feelings about a subject are far more important that short term obedience. Brushing teeth in a forced, argumentative, fighting way is far more damaging than a cavity. Staying up late but feeling good about going to bed is better than fighting and threatening. Memorization of math facts is far less important than enjoying math and seeing it's practical applications. Early reading is less important than enjoying the magic of books.

So I was going to write ten, but like I said not much for rules around here - and I've always like the number 13. What can I say, I'm a rebel ;).

So that's our philosophy in a nutshell. We have ended up calling ourselves Relaxed Homeschoolers. I'll write about what that looks like in a practical day to day way soon. For now, these are my ideas. :)

~~The Southern Hippy~~ Meet the Garrett Gang

Nice to meet y'all. I am Robin, the Southern Hippy. My southern roots are buried in Alabama but I reside in the Sunshine State. My family has been in Florida for 4 years and we love it!
HMMM, about me? Southern born and Southern raised. Hippy from way back . I am a foodie and believe whole heartily in food for healing and proper nourishment. I am a runner, cyclist and swimmer making me a NUT for doing anything like that in our heat ! I love being outdoors. Does anyone want to date me now? just kidding......I am happily married.

I am a homeschooling mother of 4 kiddos. My oldest is 15 (10th grade), almost 12 (8th), 11 (6th) and almost 6 (1st). And, boy does our life keep us moving and going all the time.

All four of my kiddos are completely different. My oldest, Delanie, is one of the most avid readers you will ever know. She always has her head in a book. Now, she does get the love of reading honestly. Both my husband and I can be found at night piled up somewhere reading. Delanie is a bubbly and positive girl. Her heart and soul is seen in all she does (can you tell she is right beside me telling me what to type?). She is as laid back as they come and a delight to be around!
And, our youngest daughter, Rosie. Well, her talents are she can run faster, talk more and sleep less than any of my other children thought about ! And, gets a gorgeous tan! A true miracle to Pat and I. We say if she had been #1 there would be no other Garrett children...nuf' said.

Then come our boys(they are in the middle of sibling sequence).
Jon Tyler is the child who can work as hard or sometimes harder than I can. He has no problem cutting grass, washing cars, rounding up cows, and working up a sweat! He is an avid baseball player and good in school!
And, then comes my Nathan. I wish every parent could have a child as him. I love the moments he has given me when I can look through his eyes at the world. My Nate has dyslexia and medical issues. Life with him has not been easy but has been the most rewarding part of my life!

You have met me and the kids . Now, I give you a chance to meet my main man! 21 years ago we were married. I married my cowboy! I am more in love with him today than all those years ago. He supports me and all I do(bless his heart), even if he has to grin and bear it! He goes by many titles in the Garrett Home but our favorite title for him (as we reap the benefits) is the Pizza Man! He makes the best homemade pizzas in the world. AND, the best gluten free pizza EVER!

What does a southern hippy bring to the blog? Not much in real value of schooling(just kidding again ) but a lot in living in the real world with challenges! And, A LOT in humor as my life pretty much resembles a funny farm.
Ya'll sit back and enjoy. Take your shoes off and pull up chair. Life with the Garrett Gang is never dull!