Response to Uncle Jack

uncle Jack

Here’s my husband Michael, son Luke, Jack Spirko and oldest son Erick at Jack’s tree planting day. They learned a lot and came home and got stuff done 🙂

For some strange reason our grand daughter Paisley looks at this picture and can name everyone, even “Uncle Jack” who’s not her uncle, who she’s never met and she won’t be convinced that he’s not but the two uncles in the picture don’t get to be called uncle. Who knows how the mind of a three year old works 🙂


On The Survival Podcast January 18, 2016  with Jack Spirko at the 1:08 minute mark he ponders how homeschooling can alter the landscape of the nation. I believe there is nothing else that will and I’d like to convince as many people as possible that the future of our nation hinges on removing as many children from the control of the state as possible. Doesn’t that sound alarming!??

My goal here is to convince every single person reading this that ALL children should be returned to their parents or guardians for their education and upbringing. However in the interest of maintaining my freedom to homeschool I’ll settle for 20%!

While I wish everyone was alarmed at the state of our nation I’d like to remind you of this most basic piece of our history. How a once fierce independent nation of the strongest people who ever existed began this journey:

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

The political bands of the government school today amount to a straight jacket and any freedom loving person should feel impelled to figure out how to separate themselves from its clutches. Is there one area of your family’s life that doesn’t fall under the control of the school district in some way?

What time you should go to bed, get up, what you should eat, when you should eat, when you should poop for God’s sake, when you should take vacation, holidays, days off, which vaccinations you should get, who you hang out with, and then after hours of sitting in class do you have homework or is it like our local government school that doesn’t send homework home because it’s unfair to the kids who’s parents won’t help. EVEN if your kid doesn’t go to school or you have no children you get to pay taxes.

Then there’s the supposed purpose of government school which is learning, yet they control what you learn, what you think about what you learn, how you learn it, when you learn it and all the political correctness that permeates this massive putrid system. If you want to find out how we got here in less than 100 years there’s a great read, “The Underground History of American Education,” by John Taylor Gatto

At the 1:08 minute mark Jack Spirko says, “We the people that actually want liberty in our lives have to do something, for ourselves and our families.”

The problem is the solution

Problem #1 – Family: Due to the influence and prominence of public school in the lives of families the family system has been broken down over time and people don’t even know it. We have one of our 7 kids who went to government school for 1 year and before he ever went to school for one day he started saying he was a “Bulldog.” I hate sports with a passion, not games like baseball or basketball but the sports mentality that robs people of their personal and family identity and makes them one of the group. I pretty much feel the same way about religion when someone says, “I’m Baptist,” vs “I go to a Baptist church.”

The family is the primary system of any healthy community, city, state or nation. The more we separate families and legislate families the worse our nation will become.  Even at church the government school dominates the calendar. Try having an event at church for the youth on a Friday night when there’s a football game. sheesh! Even the church who you’d think is about family puts the school at the center of their agenda. That’s how controlling we allow it to be.

I hate to say it but even homeschoolers are slaves to the government school calendar when they participate in church, most sports or other events, even our scout group’s calendar isn’t about seasons but about school calendars. Yet homeschoolers largely will tell you that they put their family first.

In the time when families worked together it wasn’t the nuclear family of today but grandparents and other members working toward a common good for the family unit. Family members had to work out their differences to continue to work together because their wasn’t the “all caring state” to look out for them if they couldn’t get along with their family. There are many homeschool families with family businesses that are highly successful as a family and in business.

Then there are the friends and neighbors! We’ve been so blessed with people teaching us and helping us and I can’t say enough about looking around you for people to be part of your community. If your bio family sucked develop a new one! If in the problem lies the solution and the family is the problem, 1-fix your family situation, 2-start by fixing your own issues, 3-can’t fix your family, gather a new one.

We lived for a time with both sets of in-laws and my mom lived with us for 10 years and it was awesome and helpful for everyone involved.

Maybe you went away to college and you love the town where your job is but it doesn’t put you near family that will work with you, maybe you can rethink your location?

The Problem is the Solution

Problem #2 – I Don’t Know How to Educate Kids

The problem is neither does the government school. Not if you’re talking about real learning so that you can continue learning for a lifetime. Not if you’re talking about real skills verses testing and scoring for pay increases.

Think about how you learn new things and you’ll find out how learning takes place. If you don’t know how to fish can you teach your kid to fish? Maybe you can youtube it and figure it out, you can go to walmart and ask the guy behind the counter who loves to fish, you can go to a free state park fishing day. Now repeat that for whatever your kid wants to learn!

Everything you could possibly want to know about learning is somewhere in the vast google universe so the solution here is for you to love learning and pass that on to your kid.

The Problem is the Solution

Problem #3 – I Can’t Afford it

1-You can’t afford to not work to take time to homeschool your kids? Look around you and see who’s homeschooling. More and more homeschoolers are taking in a kid and trading skills instead of funds. I loved Jack’s idea about a group of families who don’t have to work full time pooling their resources. This is a great idea to think about with friends!

Seriously, if your parents will let you move in or you buy a different house together so that you can help each other out do it! We have friends who sold their house and her mom’s house and bought one house together so that they’ve reduced their expenses. Do you have older kids that have moved out that might move home and you guys can pool your resources where everyone wins?

Our 25 year old daughter is getting divorced and lives at home, she goes to work everyday and I watch her awesome 3 year old. I also watch a 4 year old and get paid a bit for that so we can go on fun field trips. Our 21 year old is saving up for a house, has a real estate investment, 401k, pays all his personal expenses, car, insurance, phone etc and lives at home so he can save up AND handles all our IT issues! ALL wins and work because we get along.

2-You can’t afford to buy curriculum?  This is really ironic because the curriculum isn’t the solution you might think it is. I was telling our 28 year old how I was trying a different unschooling Montessori style approach with a Permaculture Student  twist using Matt Powers, Unschooling, with our 8 and 9 year old and while I was explaining the different things we were doing he said, “That’s exactly what we used to do.” That is before we could AFFORD curriculum! Today the inner webs have literally thousands of resources for subjects that are free. Start learning

On a personal level you could work on what Jack talked about 1-enabling ourselves to do more with less, 2-Taking ourselves out of the debt system.

The Problem is the Solution

#4 – I want to but I can’t. If you want to you can find a way. start looking around you for a community of people that feel the way you do. Ask the other parents at your kids school.

Some other topics Jack touched on:

What Binds Us to the System

You’ve got to start by freeing yourself from what you’ve been conditioned to believe learning is and what real learning is. Instead of looking at replicating the government school into your home or small community start thinking about all the free classes that are offered around your area, the public library where the librarian will give you a starting book list at your kids level and then help you develop an entire reading program. They LOVE to help kids read and it’s free. Except for the part about not turning your books in on time.

If you’re thinking, “The only way for me to homeschool is for us to give up one car and I’ll be stuck at home.” Again start looking around you and what’s in walking distance. What neighbor is doing cool stuff? We were a one car family for many years and are again (because my husband traded his car in for a plane) so once a week we take my husband to the van pool have a great adventure and then pick him up from work and all go to our homeschool scout group together. It takes effort, planning and communication but one car works. We have a neighbor that keeps bees and he taught us how, a neighbor that builds airplanes that lets the kids use his tools and gives them little scraps of stuff they made to take home. You’d be surprised and whenever anyone mentions anything close to not really liking homeschooling I remind them that I’m saving the tax payers a minimum of $10,000 per kid and that $10kx7x13 years is alot of savings, and that it’s in their best interest for everyone to homeschool 🙂

If like Jack mentioned, we want to raise independent self reliant thinkers, it’s going to have to start with the grown ups growing up and being independent self reliant thinkers of their own. Figure this out!

On Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands

So, you’re in the system and don’t see a way out. Try some civil disobedience inside the system! It’s crazy to me when I hear a parent say what’s wrong with their school but they can’t do anything about it, even when that parent knows there are more people who feel the same way. If there’s a problem stand up! Let’s say there’s a bad 2nd grade teacher and you know your kid is going to have to be in that classroom. Stage a protest and get as many parents as possible to take time off, enlist the grandparents and don’t send your kids to school until that teacher is fired, or principal or whatever the problem is. Just one year of government school taught me that the sacred cow of the system is attendance. You want to make a change? Get a group to not attend for a day or week especially during testing season 🙂 Be sure to let them know and follow through if they don’t listen. Do this over and over again and you’ll start seeing change. Government School is a business and they’re in the business of taking home a paycheck which comes to them by way of your kid showing up at school. As a school teacher my mom would recommend this to parents but they didn’t think it would make a difference. She said if parents knew how precarious every decision was to the whims of change and how much control they really had by just not showing up one day the system would be entirely different overnight.

If you can’t move out, stand up for your kid where you are.

Homeschool Infrastructure

I’ve only been homeschooling for 25 years and all of that in Texas but the idea of a central homeschool location or infrastructure to me is anti what the freedom to be had in homeschooling is about. I’m not talking about true cooperatives but most of the infrastructure is the same controlling overlord type system that school is and it doesn’t facilitate the independent self reliant thinkers and these larger groups are driven by the same, get to college, syndrome as the government schools. In our town we have the only homeschool  501c3 nonprofit with it’s own building that I know of in the country and it sits empty most of the time because the group that manages it has a very narrow view of “exceptable.” Again they’re focused on all the things that government schools are, including testing.

If you’re looking for independent self reliant individuals, it’s going to be up to others like them to join together where they are and use the www to make the learning happen. I’ve learned over time that it doesn’t take a dozen families (my former dream number for co-op) to make it happen 4-5 families can put together a great experience for their kids and focus on things they’re really interested in.

Removing One Child is Better Than Voting

I’ve been a hardcore, you must vote, voter since I turned 18, so 35 years and I can’t believe I might not vote in November! But I do know that removing kids from the system is what’s going to change our nation. When we adopted a 10 year old just after Obama’s first election, this little guy came into an extremely conservation homeschool co-op and said that he’d voted for Obama, that he helped get Obama elected. The other kids just were blinking their little eyes at him . . . . “You can’t vote until you’re 18,” they said. But he insisted that he’d voted for Obama at school and wouldn’t be persuaded that his vote didn’t count.

A few weeks ago while at the children’s museum I was privileged to have a conversation with an Obama voter that homeschools – for some reason she didn’t like my friend and I. We didn’t care at all that she had a different opinion than we did but she needed us to agree with her. She said you couldn’t take all the people that were in “care” of the state and make them self reliant. I agreed and told her I just took three of them.

Where We Are Now

I’m tired. Tired of having a dream of time doing what we love and torn between that and cooperating in the homeschooling community without the government school guidelines breathing down my neck because to many people think their kid can’t “graduate” from highschool unless they have the full four year course load on their transcript. They think their kid can’t get into college unless they have that transcript perfect and pass the SAT. The truth is they’ll take anyone’s money. To get into our local college at 15 our oldest took a math and writing placement test, placed AT the college level so the law says they have to let you in because they can’t discriminate based on age. This thanks to a law suit by some 8 year old’s parents I believe.

We were part of homeschool  co-ops for 15 years on the government system/schedule and 2 years ago I quit and have been pondering how I get back to a community without the “curriculum” eating up all the time for the individual learning activities my kids would like to do. Actual skills within a society of free thinkers. Not 36 weeks on the government school schedule! I want to be in the garden in March and September when the weather is beautiful here! So our 8 & 9 year old can sell basil seeds they harvested at the farmer’s market with my mom and our 16 year old can make quail tractors and work at the local pond builders to learn some skills.

But I know I’ll figure it out and I don’t need a dozen families, just a few friends who want to try something new and different in a community that’s already known for different. My friend Bill tells me I always manage to find a niche in a niche!

You’ll all probably raise children very much like yourselves which is ironic for all the rebellion in the world, so be a better you and start thinking how your problems can become solutions.

Tipping to Homeschooling

Tipping to Homeschooling

Are you for freedom? Are you aware of the gap between the freedoms you think you should have verses what you’re willing to grant others?  Throughout history it seems that freedom comes when the masses rebel against the queen, in our case the bureaucrats, and demand their freedom OR as in the case of Ghandi you simply refuse to participate in the queen’s games. In any case, my freedom depends on the willingness of those around me to allow it. It’s crazy but true! Our neighbors vote our freedom in and out of style in an ever shifting scheme to control people. Well, let’s be honest and say we vote for 4% of the rules while 96% is decided by the un-elected bureaucrats.

I want the freedom to homeschool my children and grandchildren. You might say, “Well, you have that.” What you may not know is, I have that temporarily, right up until one single bureaucrat decides I can’t. Even though the law in my state says I can legally homeschool there are many, many cases where the state has stepped in and removed the children from a family because they don’t like homeschooling. Or a neighbor lies about what’s going on or . . . . . in the freest homeschool state in the union, homeschool parents live in fear of the state.

The state wants to regulate that children don’t belong to their parents and I’ll agree with that if they’ll also regulate that THEY don’t own the children either. We’re ALL wanting to be free 🙂 My children don’t belong to me, they’re a gift and a blessing that I’m responsible for teaching to be a truly productive, thinking, contributing member of society.

Freedom, is it safest when it’s practiced by more people? Imagine if the state of Colorado decides to revoke the freedom to smoke weed. People have moved there to have this freedom so I’m thinking it will be pretty hard to pull that back, even though I believe smoking weed is stupid, I’m for freedom. According to the 80/20 rule from Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point,” protecting my freedom to homeschool means I have to convince 16.6% more kids to talk their parents into freeing them from the government school and joining the ever growing homeschool movement. Current numbers seem to rest at 3.4% of kids are homeschooled a growth rate of 61%+ in the last nine years which means at the current pace we’d reach the magical freedom rate of 20% homeschoolers in . . . I don’t know that math BUT I do know that if we could double the homeschool rate this year to 6.8% and again next year to 13.6% on the third year we’d break the freedom barrier!

How does one convince 16.6% of the kids to walk away from school? I’m not even talking about the national average of drop outs that’s at more than 25%.  If you really want to know your school’s 9th to 12th grade drop out rate find the number of 9th graders and subtract the number of 12th graders and you’ll get the real number. Some schools are using their “dropout” number from 11th-12th grade. Our local highschool last year said they had a 25% drop out rate but the 9th grade to 12th grade difference was almost 40%.

Actually how do you convince the parents of the kids who hate school to free them? In Jack Spirko’s The Survival Podcast from Monday January 18, 2016  he asks some great questions at about the 1:04 minute mark and on.

“What do we do as individuals? How do we start making a bigger difference, cuz this is what’s going to happen. The ability of the state to influence our lives is going to do what it always has, it’s going to grow.”

Having been through the state adoption system for our three youngest kids the idea of the state gaining any more control is terrifying. By force of a gun they can take your children and really do just about anything they want without consequence to the actual perpetrator in the state bureaucracy.

In response to Jack Spirko’s podcast, this blog I’ve just been thinking about is going to have to happen if I want freedom for my children and their children. In order for the state to loose it’s grip we have to remove ourselves from their grasp.

Join me in freedom, in the freedom we have in Christ, or of Ghandi’s civil disobedience, Martin Luther King Jr’s voice, Rosa Parks refusal of stupidity and this, this  unknown man

Tianamen square 1

Together, without the “assistance” of the state, let’s figure out how to take back control of our lives and give our children the freedom that all of mankind longs for in their soul.

Clown Training

Clown Learning

Is your child’s school working for them? Do you get the sense that they are safe, happy and loving learning, progressing at a healthy pace of their own, developing their sense of self in a positive way? If you’re answer is yes then you should go back to whatever it was you were doing before you clicked over to this link. This article is going to be about the Clowns and Jokers that run your kids school and you probably don’t need that kind of stress where you might have to reevaluate what you’re doing. These aren’t the articles you’re looking for, move along.

This Steelers Wheel song came out in 1972 Stuck in the Middle With You but it wasn’t until I got older that it seemed to apply to so much of what’s going on in the world around us. There’s a line, “Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.” The year it made sense was 1982 when I started what I thought would be a journey to teach kids in school even though I hated school growing up, I was going to be different. I was right about the different part.


Do you have an experience that you can think of and say, “Exactly! This is how it feels right now.”? Clowns & Jokers are running the asylum, and Donald Trump wants in on that too?

When I think of Clowns & Jokers in the area of “education” and learning there’s this excellent example of stupidity in what people consider learning that takes place at the gas pump. While driving through the tip of Oregon we stopped in Pendleton and had to fuel up. The pump at the station looked exactly like the ones in every other state including the pay at the pump card slider BUT I couldn’t slide my card, or pump my gas! A nice young person came out to do it for me. When I mentioned that that seemed pretty stupid he informed me that they had been specially trained to protect the environment. I’ve been pumping gas from all the various pumps that have come along since 1983, before this kid was born but he’s had special training? Really? Since 1885 people have been pumping gas for lanterns and cars but in 2014 with all the advances in technology we need special training to pump gas correctly?

My neighbor has an old time gas pump something like this:

This gas pump is complicated right up until someone explains that you have to actually crank and pump the gas up into that glass tank before it goes into your car. Simple? We’re on driver #5 in our family and we’ve shown each of them exactly once how to pump gas and they haven’t lite themselves up yet!  So, how do you convince an entire state of people that they can’t pump their own gas because they won’t protect the environment? Gas is expensive and I’m guessing not very many people pour it all over the place between the pump and their car not to mention if you’ve ever spilled gas even once you’re careful for the rest of your life because you smell and worry about a spark blowing you up. Sadly I speak from experience.

How do you convince people that things are good for them that aren’t? What it really comes down to is convincing people that they are inept and incapable of doing things so you can “help” them. While I don’t know why people choose to allow themselves to be treated like children I do know that we aren’t children and that the average 11 year old could pump gas if it wasn’t against the law (did you know that?) and the average 11 year old is far more capable than our current society gives them room to be.

It takes time to convince people that they can’t do something on their own and it takes lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of repetition where the empire reminds the children that they’re stupid but all will be taken care of for them.

Here’s a game for you to play. Make a list of all the things you do everyday and next to each one write where or how you learned how to do that activity.

Driving – Michael taught me 🙂

Cleaning/housework – my mom

Cooking – my mother-in-law (my mom makes great salad)

Baking – my mom – I did have a class in jr high but everything they taught I already knew from my mom

Computers – Michael 1983 compact lug-able, currently Greg my 21 year old

Grocery shopping – mom

Gardening – mom

Budgeting – mom

Piano – a few private lessons along the way

Assorted crafts – mom

Lesson planning – on the job

I know you’re going to say but you’re a stay home mom so it makes sense that the things you do every day your mom taught you. Well, I’ve had some jobs along the way and on the job training for all of those. But we’ll make Michael’s list

Van Pool – his mom taught him how to be polite

Computers – 1 computer course in college accounting school and the rest on his own, with friends, learning in community

Communication – through relationships with people

Speaking – a couple years of teaching at a Career Transition Workshop and being Scout Master

Business Objects – online training

Essbase – week class then on the job

Guns – the current fascination 🙂 which requires field trips, online resources, lessons from friends

Selecting, processing and cooking meat – dad

House Building – dad-in-law

Grilling – neighbor Mr. Cargill – best neighbor ever

Car repair – Mr. Cargill

Just since we were in college the world of technology has advanced and continues to advance at ever increasing giant leaps and the “educational” world can’t keep up but the good news is you as an individual can. Unless you want to be a very specific character on the stage, doctor, lawyer, indian chief, you can learn just about anything you want to know on your own, online or from someone who is actually loving what they’re doing. There’s something really exceptional about a lesson from someone with an accidental passion for a subject.

Are you in Clown Training Mode? Are you learning something right now? How are you learning about it? Do you have a choice as to what you’re learning, how you’re gaining that understanding and what the outcome is? If not, that’s very sad, you should find something new to learn. What about your kiddos?  If you want you’re child to be a life long learner, an independent self starting thinker you’re going to have to start by setting an example of being a learner, rescue them from the indoctrination camp and bring them into your camp of how real learning takes place. What do you really wish your child knows? What one thing do you know that they love more than anything?

If you’re kids in the government indoctrination camp try making a list of the things that worry you and take it to their teacher or principal and see how much they listen to you. I understand that everyone can’t train up their own child in the way they want them to go but maybe if you start thinking about what you really, really want for your child you might figure out how to free yourselves into a world of true learning in a state where the people are smart enough to pump their own gas.

If you’re homeschooling and you’ve just stuck school inside your house and are staying on “track” with an expensive co-op that is stressing you out. Stay tuned . . . . .