Life, Unschooling

Movies as literacy

Where would our homeschool, our life really, be without movies?

We have spent so many hours watching movies, discussing moves, having heated debates over movies, and simply enjoying our time together as a family.

Homeschooling is family time, family education.

Building memories and adding net to those mental scaffolds are what unschooling is about.

One of my education units at university discussed the role of debate, of language, of arguing, of comparing and contrasting and sharing ideas in building students’ capacity for intellectual thought.

Hey, I thought. That debate and discussion over movies describes our unschooling,

Families have different standards for movies and children have different sensitivities so I won’t list favourite movies here.

I will say that you may be surprised at the depths of movies and qualities of movies that even young children can watch and discuss.

And I will add note that we did spend a whole season watching and discussing romantic comedies in our homeschool.

Here is a link to a legal studies curriculum, related to the movie Legally Blonde. We found it fascinating to read after the movie! Legally Blonde

And a blog post about media and movie and discussion questions.
Movies and media literacy

And, finally, a link to some unschooly movies! Yay!

Unschooly movies


The way of the happy, healthy woman.

A fitness instructor, one whom I respect, one whom has energising, feel good workouts, wrote a post about the ways of skinny women.

I felt disappointed. Betrayed even.

When will we stop categorising people, and most especially women, according to their weight?

Since when is skinny a compliment, a goal to which to aspire?

I’ve had eating disorders. I’ve been thin, very thin, but never thin enough to please the significant others in my life.

I’ve had exercise addictions.

I’ve been a “normal” weight.

I’ve been obese.

I am “overweight”.

But I am no longer obsessed about weight and appearance. I am no longer cold and tired and achey all the time, in retrospect the side effects for me of dieting and exercising to maintain a “good” weight. My health and blood tests are good. I’m healthy. And I am no longer willing to maintain the level of obsession needed for me to have a certain look. For there was a level of obsession. And now I have other things to think about, other dreams to follow.

I take care of myself, or at least I aim to. I aim to look like me, a good enough me. I aim to be heathy and happy. I love working out, for my health, for my “me” time, for fun, as a challenge. I aim to spend time on my looks but more time on who I am, on prayers, in using my mind, on my vocation, my work, on others, on my dreams, on the me that is more than weight and looks.

I think I can be me and still look good.

And so do “Intuitive Eating”, “The Rules of Normal Eating”, “Beyond Chocolate”, “Nice Girls Finish Fat”. (You can find those books on Amazon or Kindle or the groups on Facebook.)

It’s the way of the happy, healthy woman.


Mirette on the High Wire

The picture book “Mirette in the High Wire” describes Mirette facing her fears and walking on the high wire, the trapeze wire.

Have you had times when you feel like you are walking on that high wire? That balancing act, looking down for the safety net.

And sometimes that safety net is not there.


It’s weird. I never thought I would feel this.

This sense of being without a safety net.

I grew up in a feminist world. We are strong, we are told.

Yet now sometimes I feel a bit untethered. Unprotected.

I never wanted to be protected. But maybe, I knew it was always ok. Because even though I was a strong, independent woman, I felt, somehow unconsciously, that lurking in the wings, was a safety net.

For me, the illusion of having a safety net somewhere there was my safety net.

My feminist self cringes.

My wanting safety net self feels unsure.

Yet there is trust.

As St Teresa of Avila points out, we do have a safety net. It is trust in God.

“Let nothing disturb you
Let nothing frighten you
For all things pass save God
Who does not change.

Be patient, and at the last
You will find all fulfillment.
Hold God, and nothing
Will fail you, for God alone is all.”

Our feminist selves can trust in God. He is our protection.

Not quite Leonie on the high wire.


The Book Whisperer

“Because reading has more impact on students’ achievement than any other activity in school, setting aside time for reading must be the first activity we teachers write on our lesson plans, not the last. It is said that we make time for what we value, and if we value reading, we much make time for it.”

From a recent read. “The Book Whisperer” by Donnalyn Miller.

And it is true.

Reading impacts thinking.

Reading impacts experience.

Reading builds relationships.

And so, if reading is so important, are we making sure that there is time for reading?

Snatches of time, here and there, interspersed throughout the day.

And concentrated time, when we sit, and our children sit, and our students sit, and our families sit. And just plain read.

I can search Facebook . Or I can read,

Or I can do both.

But is reading first?

It is a challenge to choose a book, e book or otherwise, over the ease of more immediate information on the net or on TV.

However, if what we do forms who we are and speaks of that which we value, let’s sometimes, at least, choose the less easy path.

Let’s read. Let’s enjoy.

Our actions shout out our values, as mothers, as educators, as colleagues.

“Reading ultimately belongs to readers, not schools, and not schoolteachers.” The Book Whisperer.

If we believe this to be true, then we should read.