Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

John Taylor Gatto

In the realm of educators, John Taylor Gatto is somewhat of an anomaly. He was a New York City school teacher for thirty years. Over his career he earned many distinctive accolades including New York City, and State School Teacher of the Year many times. What is different about Gatto is obvious if you have read any of his  books and essays published over the years. He feels we need less schooling, and real choices in how we educate our children.

I am a huge fan of his, and with each of his books  I read, I am more convinced that our decision to home school our children is the right one.


Recently I picked up Dumbing us Down, The Exausted School and I have just finished reading  A Different Kind of Teacher. The latter is a perfect description of John Gatto. His ideas and appreciation of what young people are capable of is an affirmation of what I have always believed.

Genius is an exceedingly common human trait..”

In A different kind of Teacher Gatto asks just how public are our public schools?

He writes;

I feel ashamed that so many of us can not imagine a better way to do things than locking children up all day in cells instead of letting them grow up knowing their families, mingling with the world, assuming real obligations, striving to be independent and self-reliant and free

He goes into great depths writing about what the true history of compulsory schooling actually is.  Do people know they have a choice? The hows and whys of  “public schooling” is an education in itself.

The oppressive influence of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, and their determination to build an efficient industrial state, led them to a plan to systematize the rearing of the young.

“At the core of this social strategy was the removal of important decisions from the familial and individual control and their reassignment to the legion of specialists.”

Without personal command over time and without the rights to associate freely with others and to speak freely, life begins to lose its meaning.”

“.. important life choices are not the proper province of any professional establishment

Whole people resist being told what to do and so are natural enemies of schooling

Gatto encourages people to seek the truth, for themselves and their children. He asserts that schools are not designed to encourage independent thought, creative or scientific minds. Look at history and you can plainly see that the school system is not broken, it is functioning exactly as it was designed to. The real problem is that we have surpassed the old design and need a new model to overcome the society of mindless consumption and bankrupt morality that persists in the west today.

To be free you need to celebrate your own history, humble and tormented as it might be, and the history of your own parents and grandparents, howsoever that history be marked by scars and mistakes. It is the only history you will ever have; reject it and you reject yourself.”

Live free or you won’t really be alive at all.”

Originally published November 2009

~call of the wild~



Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.  ~Kahlil Gibran

As you are


One day not too long ago I was walking past the local elementary school and noticed something in the tree. It was a wooden sign nailed on the tree that read “AS YOU ARE”

I looked at the other tree’s around me and noticed something, more signs, they all included messages. Who were they intended for? Who put them there? It turns out that these questions don’t really matter. The only thing that matters was that I saw them, other people saw them and will see them.

These messages are for everyone.

They read; “AS YOU ARE”






What better message to give or receive?







(Originally posted January 13 2009, some things are worth repeating)



who needs toys”R”us?

Keeping it fresh

No matter what your age, it is likely when you were young you carried a lunch box.  It may have been  a standard metal dome lid or a stylish plastic or vinyl one.


It could have had displayed Fraggle Rock, fraggle

Star Wars, vintage-1977


Superman lunch-54superman11

or even something else.                            lunchboxshop_hendrix

Whatever you carried, it was not only practical and necessary, but a fashion statement to boot! I clearly remember my plastic dome lid, Care Bears lunch box with matching thermos! It was the highlight of the day to see what Mom had packed into my treasure box, fruit roll up? candy bars? Most likely raisins, regardless, everyone loved their lunch boxes!

As time passed we lost the lunch box in favour of a brown paper bag or a cafeteria bought lunch (you can’t beat the fries and gravy from my high-school cafeteria, YUM!).

These days most students and adults resort to a fast food lunch. If they do choose to bring a lunch, the brown bag is still quite common but what if you want to bring something other then a sandwich? How about  something hot  or messy? The lunch box has become hip again, and not just for kiddies!

You can still find hundreds of boxes with the old flair, many of them now boast a lead free lining, are ecologically produced, and many  are reproductions of the old Snoopy or Wonder Woman ones of days past.

For the environmentally conscious consumer there are many options on the market today. We use all of the following, and not just to pack a lunch but also to use instead of the disposable Styrofoam (why is this still legal?) option to take away some fast food.

Our first purchase ( and still favourite)is the To- Go Ware two tier stainless steel tiffin box. We have the original style, it has been revamped, with what looks likes clips instead of the original closing mechanism. The handle makes it easy to carry and when getting hot food at the food court the server has something to hold on to when serving and handling it.  The new design has a fold down handle which would make it easier to pack. The lid doubles as a plate and the size is sufficient to hold a decent amount of food.

togoNew design To-Go Ware Stainless Steel Container.

Another option in stainless steel is this container from Sanctus Mundo

ssThis simple design is practical and straight forward. It also has a silicon seal to make it water and air tight. We have all the sizes and have found these to be very handy for travel and storage of leftovers.


Anther option is the Zebra containers. These are light weight and  made in Thailand. The clasp is easy to open and close so kids can use them. The size is the only limitation on this one, but for a snack or left overs this container fits the bill.

For hot items we use these lovely little containers from thermos called FooGo. foogosmpinkfoogosmblueThese containers are leak proof, keep food cold or hot, light, stainless steel inside and out, with a wide mouth opening they are perfect for kids and adults alike.

The lunch box has evolved into many forms and these four are the ones we use in our house and on the go.  Whatever you choose, chances are you will have the fond memories of lunch times past.  When you choose to go with an environmentally sound option of reusable containers you can be sure your choice is the “green one”.


We have worms!

On our balcony we have a worm composter. When we first got it we added 300 red wigglers. We have been feeding these little worms for almost a year. I have left them alone for a few months. I  heard that the worms will eat less in the winter as they go dormant for the cold season.

Well, this winter has been quite snowy and colder then usual, but at last it seems like we are seeing signs of spring!

We saw the first flowers of the season just yesterday! springfeb08-004

I think these are called snow drops, a sure sign that spring is around the corner.

With the sights and smells of spring in the air my attention turned to the worms, and upon checking them this afternoon we were happy to find they are alive and multiplying!feb-6-09-008

We also did a little maintenance and removed more than one litre of

“compost tea”


This is amazing fertilizer that the worms leave behind along with the rich soil in the container.

We use a turkey baster and remove the liquid from the tray under the composter.


The worms look happy in their little home.  We are happy to reduce our garbage, help the planet, and enjoy some nature right on our balcony!

Instead of Education

John Holt quote passage is from Instead of Education:

Next to the right to life itself, the most fundamental of all human rights is the right to control our own minds and thoughts. That means, the right to decide for ourselves how we will explore the world around us, think about our own and other persons’ experiences, and find and make the meaning of our own lives. Whoever takes that right away from us, as the educators do, attacks the very center of our being and does us a most profound and lasting injury. He tells us, in effect, that we cannot be trusted even to think, that for all our lives we must depend on others to tell us the meaning of our world and our lives, and that any meaning we may make for ourselves, out of our own experience, has no value.”

On children’s rights and position in society:

On children’s rights and position in society:

Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children published by Dutton in 1974.

From page 1:

This is a book about young people and their place, or lack of place, in modern society. It is about the institution of modern childhood, the attitudes, customs, and laws that define and locate children in modern life and determine to a large degree what their lives are like and how we, their elders, treat them. And it is about the many ways in which modern childhood seems to me to be bad for most of those who live within it and how it should and might be changed.For a long time it never occurred to me to question this institution. Only in recent years did I begin to wonder whether there might be other or better ways for young people to live. By now I have come to feel that the fact of being a “child,” of being wholly subservient and dependent, of being seen by older people as a mixture of expensive nuisance, slave, and superpet, does most young people more harm than good.

I propose instead that the rights, privileges, duties, responsibilities of adults citizens be made *available* to any young person, of whatever age, who wants to make use of them. These would include, among others:

  • 1. The right to equal treatment a the hands of the law- ie., the right, in any situation, to be treated no worse than an adult would be.
  • 2. The right to vote, and take full part in political affairs.
  • 3. The right to be legally responsible for one’s life and acts.
  • 4. The right to work, for money.
  • 5. The right to privacy.
  • 6. The right to financial independence and responsibility-ie., the right to own, buy, and sell property, to borrow money, establish credit, sign contracts, etc.
  • 7. The right to direct and manage one’s own education.
  • 8. The right to travel, to live away from home, to choose or make one’s own home.
  • 9. The right to receive from the state whatever minimum income it may guarantee to adults citizens.
  • 10. The right to make and enter into, on basis of mutual consent, quasi-familial relationships outside one’s immediate family-ie., the right to seek and choose guardians other than one’s own parents and to be legally dependent on them.
  • 11. The right to do, in general, what any adult may legally do.
  • end of John Holt passage

    Homeschooling Resources

    Academic Distribution Services- New West, BC Homeschooling Curriculum

    Shop at Smart- Abbotsford, BC Curriculum Supplier

    BCHLA’s Used Curriculum Board

    The Upside Down School Room- An Ontario Based Curriculum and Resources
    Store specializing in finding material that works for all learning styles.

    A Canadian Used Homeschooling Resources Site

    Elijah Company. American Curriculum and Resource Store This site has a great catalogue with articles about starting out homeschooling.

    Researching Homeschooling


    Here’s a page to answer’s those Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.’s)

    A to Z Home’s Cool

    Homeschooling: The Ever-Changing, Never-Ending Story
    An essay from The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child by Linda

    Alison McKee Articles- Homeschooling Teenagers, Dealing with Doubts and


    Homeschool, Teens and College

    Canadian Specific University and College Information

    Alternative Learning

    John Taylor Gatto’s writing on the Web

    Article: Why Teachers Choose to Homeschool

    Life Learning Magazine

    Canadian Alliance of Homeschoolers

    Several articles on homeschooling (mostly U.S., but some Canadian)

    Jon’s Homeschooling Pages- Links to Every Style Availablel

    A Charlotte Mason Education or Living Books Method

    A Classical Education Approach

    URBNgreen is committed to education and environmental stewardship. Our objective is share information about what people are doing locally and around the world to create a sustainable future.
    delicate little plant in need of freedom. Einstein quote at