Unschooling: What I Know About It

Have you heard of unschooling?  If you have, do you truly know what it means? I’m sure you’re heard of home-schooling but may not have heard about unschooling.

What Is UnSchooling?

My daughter, Akilah Richards, who recently appeared on the Steve Harvey Show regarding this very subject, explains it best.

IMG_4170She says it is a growing movement and considered free-range education and encourages exploration of activities initiated by the children themselves.  She further says “For our daughters, the unschooling philosophy is helping them develop as confident, creative, curious people who know how to get information, process information, and move toward goals they set for themselves. Imperfect and profoundly life-changing, motherhood has certainly raised me. And helped me and my husband raise happy, curious people. Every child has that same capacity, and some of them can be supported through alternative learning environments like homeschooling, or like my family, unschooling.”  See her recent blogpost here at: http://www.radicalselfie.com

IMG_4108I have seen the wonders of unschooling displayed right before my very eyes.  My two grand daughters, children of Akilah and her husband, Kris, are astute, witty, very sharp, inquisitive, self-reliant, multi-lingual, great conversationalists, very active and are up-to-date on current affairs.  Unschooling did this!  They have learned more than they would in a traditional classroom.  They started out attending regular schooling but kept feeling left behind as the pace was too slow for their sharp, inquisitive minds.  They even got picked on by other students because of this.  With the inquisitive minds these girls were born with, their parents then made the smart decision for them to learn at a pace that was comfortable for them – and THAT was unschooling.

Mr. Harvey took a poll during the show and the below were the results.  I can guarantee you that in the months to come, the amount of “yes’s” will significantly increase, as people begin to understand more of the wonders of this great movement — unschooling.IMG_4176

Want to Learn More About UnSchooling?

Here are the links to some of Akilah’s offerings regarding unschooling:



On Amazon, you can find a book called Our Transition Into Unschooling: Raising independent thinking, information seeking, self-directed lovers of learning and life all through school-free living.”

Stress Management Particularly As We Age

What Stress Can Cause

Stress management is super important for us middle-agers. I’m sure you’ve heard over and over that stress can actually lead to death and I’m here to tell you that I’ve seen that happen. I’ve seen where some traumatic event in a person’s life ended leading to their ultimate demise. And not just once nor twice either. We must learn to manage this killer as best we can.

My Own Recent Experience

I had my own test of stress management as recently as yesterday. I left the office at midnight, got on the elevator to the garage and got stuck on the third floor. The doors were jammed and there was no one around at that time of the morning. At first I was in denial that this could be happening, so I kept pressing the #3 button as well as the door-opening button.

Next, I located the emergency telephone in the elevator which is used to contact their emergency maintenance personnel.  They told told me not to worry and that someone would be there to release me as quickly as possible. I wasn’t sure what that meant so I used my own cellphone (thankfully it was fully charged) to call my building security to let them know what happened. He rushed to the third floor and stayed outside the elevator to keep my company until help arrived.

A half-hour had gone by and no help had arrived so I again called the the people at the elevator company. This time I was being told that help would be there in 20 minutes. I wasn’t happy about that because I had taken “as quickly as possible” to mean some time very, very soon.

I decided to call 911 since it seemed as though things were taking a bit longer than I had anticipated. They told me that since I was not hurt nor in pain and this wasn’t a real emergency, I should just wait for the elevator personnel to come to release. Another 20 minutes went by and nothing happened. The building security guard kept calling the elevator personnel also to sort of push things a little faster. By this time they had become very discourteous and unprofessional and started straight up lying to us about the status of my request. Each time I called for help, I was told:

“Someone will be there shortly”.  “Someone will be there in 20 minutes”.  “Someone will be there in 45 minutes”.  “Someone is just around the corner, should be there shortly”.  “He must have gotten lost but should be there in another 20 minutes”.  “Ma’am, I said he’ll be there in 45 minutes”

By this time, my subsequent calls to them were either disconnected, placed on hold with music playing or simply just went unanswered. They refused to communicate with me at this point. I waited for another 30 minutes and when I called again, a man answered and yelled at me on the top of his lungs “I told you someone will be there in 45 minutes, he’s a ways away!!” That was when I decided to call 911 again and and this time they agreed to come out to get me.

How I handled This Stressful Moment

When I came to the full realization of what was happening, my first thought was – what if I don’t get released until in the morning? This would mean I’m going to die in here! But, I quickly grabbed a hold of myself and said “Hey, worrying and stressing is NOT going to help you right now. Instead, manage this by keeping as calm as you possibly can, so you can strategize your release from this elevator.  Take deep breaths, don’t panic and don’t cry.”  

TweetIt was a small elevator with a capacity of about 20 people and was very cold and stuffy. I took my cellphone out, tweeted about what had happened, called my loved ones and one of my coworkers who had gone past me in the stuck elevator, not knowing what was going on. I then placed a limit on incoming phone calls from relatives to preserve my phone battery life.  I started taking deep breaths, pacing the small floor back and forth to help manage the coldness, and popped a stick of Orbit chewing gum in my mouth. I was never in panic mode – not once, because I know the stress that comes along with that. By this time, it was now 2:52 am. My legs had become tired and frozen and so were my hands. Even with winter boots and a jacket on, I felt extremely cold in this small, stuffy space.

By this time, I had stopped calling the elevator people and they NEVER called me back. My phone battery was now running low and I simply decided to make one more call to 911 Emergency. This time they agreed to come since it was now going to be 3 hours that I had been stuck in the elevator. By 3:03 am they arrived and I finally walked out of my temporary prison. Those were the longest 3 hours of my life!

I know for a fact, that if I had gone into stress and panic mode, the outcome would not have been the same. I kept myself calm with positive thoughts of how to formulate being released and it paid off. The treatment I received from the elevator personnel was enough to send my stress level way up but I chose instead to not let that be the case.

This morning, my daughter reminded me to stay out of the stressful space that a situation of this magnitude can bring.  It’s not healthy, nor is it helpful, she said.

Downsizing: The Thing To Do As We Age

Downsizing is a growing trend for us 50-plusers.  Time for shedding, minimizing…. downsizing!  There’s so much “stuff” that we’ve accumulated over the years and we’re all wondering when did it all happen?  I know I am!  Mind you, I’m nothing near the folks that are on that television show “Hoarders.”  Hell no!!  I just love having lots of nice things and even though I do, I’m seriously organized.  I however, love to have everything in its place as much as I possibly can.

What I Did To Start Downsizing

As the years went by, I found myself becoming disgusted with having a large living space (not to mention the expense of maintaining it) and recently moved to smaller living quarters.  I’m here to tell you that I feel as if I’ve lifted a ton of bricks off me.  One of the best moves I’ve ever made.  I even rented a storage space to assist with the unloading and storage of some of the “stuff” I’ve accumulated over the years.  This will give me a place from which to leisurely sell and donate some of these items from.

Downsizing helps you and your loved ones as well.  Who wants to get old having accumulated so much that when you’ve passed, your family has the daunting task of getting rid of all you’ve accumulated over the years?  My daughter has begged me (she really didn’t have to, though) not to accumulate too much so that it all falls in her lap when I’m gone.  I’ve seen what that does to the some families and really wouldn’t want to put any of my loved ones through that.

Reasons for Downsizing

Here are some of the reasons I can think of for downsizing:

  • Letting go of items for the children you’ve saved, claiming sentiments attached
  • Pieces of furniture that are dated and you no longer use
  • Those clothes you haven’t worn in ages because you’ve either lost or gained weight
  • The children are grown and have gone off either to college or on their own
  • You can no longer find the time to take care of that large living space
  • The yard has become too much to take care of
  • The expense of utilities for a space where it’s just you that’s living there

These are just a few but there are so many other reasons we can think of to downsize our living conditions as we age.  It makes sense that we are being urged to do just that and I’m in total agreement.  Let’s free up our space and our minds as we age.Downsizing_1

Uncertainty. Do You Embrace the Wisdom It Can Bring?

Chatanooga TNUncertainty can sometimes be a good thing, giving room to open up a whole new world.  This picture of me is an excellent example of how an unplanned trip to Chattanooga, TN turned out to be one of my best one-day trips ever.  A truly exciting trip it was!

This past year went by with quite a bit of uncertainty with many things, the results of which proved to be quite rewarding.  In prior years, my life was just one big having-my-ducks-all-in-a-row circle for pretty much everything I did.

Quote from Dr. Chopra About Uncertainty

Deepak Chopra, MD, founder of the Chopra Center for Well Being once said: “I embrace the wisdom of uncertainty, because if everything is certain, where is the creativity?’

After reading that quote in the May 2015 issue of Oprah Magazine, it opened up a whole new world for me. Such truth! Creativity is a wonderful thing. It means ingenuity. Inventiveness. Resourcefulness. Vision. Innovation. Originality. Inspiration!!

Living your life in a way that everything you do or want to do must be certain, planned or scheduled can be crippling. A really cool friend helped me realize this, as throughout my younger life, that was my normal way of living.

As I age and have now become this 50-plus woman who is a bit more wiser, I leave room for creativity by working very hard to let go of being certain, scheduling or planning every single move I make.  It’s actually working well and it feels great! It has opened up my world!  So many new things have now come to mind. Things I can now do, places I can now go, people I can now see, things I can make, instruments I can and have always wanted to learn to play, activities I can participate in — my cup runneth over!  Lol…

Have I been my own drill sergeant?  It looks that way, doesn’t it?  It’s just that I’ve always loved having almost every aspect of my life carefully planned and scheduled.  So much that I was often teased about it by my close friend.  My profession in the legal field over the years is partially to be blamed. Lol!!  Mind you, there will still be things that do need to be planned, organized and/or scheduled.  I’m actually talking about no longer doing so in every single aspect of my life.  Enough already!

It is now time for creativity!  Yes – the time has come.  Now that I’m approaching my 60s, this is a time when I want to be doing new things and in particular, things I’ve always wanted to use my creativeness and resourcefulness to accomplish.

Dr. Chopra was right and his quote was timely. I most certainly embrace the wisdom of uncertainty.

What are your thoughts on his quote?  Have you been doing that in your life?  Share your thoughts with me.

Good Eats!

Yes, friends.  As I get more accustomed to eating less meat and more vegetables (I’m already a fruit freak), I’m totally enjoying the ride.  VegetariCurryVeggieCookup1an and vegan meals are super delicious, something I thought I would never be able to say!

Take for example this dish of curried cooked-up veggies, rice and kidney beans, avocado and plantains.  Let me tell you!!    This tofu cook-up I did sometime ago was excellent as well.  TofuCookUp

I’m finding that having several meatless days in the week is really helping to keep my weight in check to an extent. In fact I’m only tempted by some good Jamaican-style curried goat or oxtails.  Other than that, the vegetarian way of eating is mostly what is done.

Bravo!  Kinda proud!


Embracing Technology As A 50-Pluser

Surprisingly, many of us 50-plusers are refusing to embrace technology! Take for example, something as simple as having an e-mail address.  I’m still meeting people who are saying they’re not interested, they don’t have the time, that’s all young people stuff…  Really?  In today’s world? Keyboard1

Now, no one is asking that we all go out and get a Master’s Degree in Computer Technology or Computer Science.  All I’m saying is that we at least should be somewhat technically savvy.

I remember being reluctant to join the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest crowd, but it got to a point where I simply had no choice but to do so.  Everyone I know, including my three little granddaughters ages 11, 9 and 8, are quite up-to-date technology-wise.  They have their own little gadgets, know how to access the various websites for programs that are appropriate for them, how to post something, research, play games and even have their own email addresses.  Now THAT woke me up! I wasn’t going to be left behind!

Most contact these days are made either via text or email as everyone is quite busy with one thing or another.  I understand that because that certainly is my story.  Therefore, I very often don’t have time for a lengthy phone call with anyone and I’m finding that sometimes sending a touching-base-with-you text right quick, works, and it appears to be the general feeling of many of us out there.

Facebook allowed me found some of my long-lost friends – from childhood days – and I’m oh so happy that I found them.  How else could I have found my little playmates from way back when?  I now even have access to pictures of family members and friends that I wouldn’t otherwise have, due to their posting and sharing on Facebook.  It’s the best thing ever!  I’ve often reflected on what I would have been missing had  I not made the decision to embrace technology!

As for Instagram – what a joy!  Pictures and musings of things as they happen are posted and I get to be friends with people from all over the world.  I’m quick to post pictures of my salads, smoothies, juices and other meal items for the world to see, and not to mention selfies! Lol! The moment I get all dressed up to go out, a selfie is in order.  It’s so much fun!

What if at 50-plus I hadn’t decided to embrace technology?  What if I had ignored the request of my children to “get with the times, mom!”  Then I was simply going to be left behind.

Folks, it’s nothing but fun.  Social media is not meant to share your personal and private business with the world.  It’s meant for fun — and it is indeed fun!!

If you’re one of the 50plusers who still can’t see the need to get onboard the Facebook, Instagram, email, Twitter, or Pinterest bandwagon – think again.  If you don’t want to be left behind, you really, really should.  They will open you up to a whole new world.