Joyful Liberation

Joyful Liberation

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mara's Driving!.. and more...

It's official.  I have 3 driving kids! Mara will get her license sometime this summer once she has wrapped up her drivers education class...which brings me to my rant...

ok, if you read my blog, you know I am not fond of public school.  I won't go into my opinions on the matter but will just say I am witnessing first hand the dumbing down of American kids through this system. Mara is dual enrolled in classes that she enjoys (drawing and ceramics) and one she has to take... Driver's Education ;)

In Utah it is mandatory to take Drivers Ed.  Josh and Aspen took it through SLCC one summer and it was a 2 week long course and cost about $200 per kid.  When Mara wanted to go to school this fall, we signed her up for drivers ed for a couple of reasons.  One, she was going to school anyway and two, it was only $140.  Big mistake.  This class is the worst by is on par with the horrible joke of a History class she was in for 2 months last term.

I had a sudden memory flash last night (while helping Mara with her homework) of reading the Utah Homeschool List and someone saying to never put your teen in the public school drivers education course.  That it was a semester of busy work and a total joke.  I wish I had remembered that!

Mara has only had 5 classes.  We were told numerous times that she needed to pay in full for the class and get her driver's permit before the start of class.  So, that is what we did.  In fact, I paid for her class back in August and she got her permit the week before class started.  Which meant going to the DMV at the break of dawn, waiting in line forever and paying $15.

Here is where it gets frustrating!  Mara goes to school for the first class and over half the kids did not have a permit.  So what did the teacher do? He gave them the test (less questions) and with an open book!!!  Mara was furious!  Yeah, I really want to be on the road with these slackers that can't even study for the test and go take it at the DMV.   Not to mention, who are the parents of these kids? I am sure they were given the same information as we were and so why wasn't your child prepared for class?

Last night I spent 3 hours helping my child answer 87, yes 87 questions from the drivers handbook.  The same book that she had to study to take the permit test.  The test that she has already passed.  She basically had to copy the freaking book!  And to top it all off, the teacher didn't even ask for the papers.  It was total busy frustrating and completely meaningless.   I would like those 3 hours of our lives back please....

Now, I could totally see if you were taking this class to prepare for the permit test needing to study the manual with a magnifying glass but she is taking the class to learn to drive. Apparently, she will get to drive 6 times in this class. And the 6th is a test to see if you are ready for the "actual" test.  6 times in 5 months! No wonder there are so many wrecks. 

What is this doing to our kids? No one is being taught accountability or responsibility.  Mara gets so overwhelmed in school with all the useless busy work.  The sad thing is, the reason her friends don't is because they just don't care anymore.  They are so burned out and disillusioned that they just don't do the work.  I can only imagine what 10 years of busy work has done to their minds. Already this year 5 kids in Salt Lake have committed suicide from the pressure of public school  And it is all for nothing!!  It is so sad and heartbreaking. 

So, why is Mara even bothering with public school.  Well, we gave up on the homeschooling community here in Utah long ago when it comes to teens.  Especially unschooling teens. Friends are important and when it came down to it our only option was public school.  Thank god she can dual enroll :)

She went driving today in class.  She had fun.  I guess that is all that matters in the end.  I will get off my rant and go back to my happy life of unschooling :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Willow has been going to the gym with me and hanging out in the kids care playing with the babies :)  The ladies that work there ask her lots of questions about being homeschooled.  They find her fascinating. I think a lot of people have this idea that homeschoolers are these "religious, sit at your desk in your home, shut down, shy people"  Well, if you have met my family you know we are a far cry from that!
I think she is pretty fascinating too.

It seriously has taken 4 months to undo what 5 days in a public charter school did to her. The anxiety is gone and her interests are taking charge. The fear of being wrong is gone and has been replaced with the idea that mistakes can turn into something really cool! The process of deschooling is interesting.

Willow's suspended egg :)

I am glad to have my self initiated learned back!

Life is good...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mara's first Advanced Tumbling Class

Mara finally agreed to moving up to the advanced level at gym. Unfortunately, that meant leaving her favorite coach, but she loves her new class and is totally in her element.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Free Day at The Hogle Zoo

Free day at the Hogle Zoo.  It was not crowded at all :) We headed out for some fun with our friends over at Dust Fairies and Darwin

Willow taking photos with her DSI

Checking out the Mara :)

The zookeeper was kind enough to take Willow's DSI into the bat enclosure and get an up close and personal picture :)

This one is for you Katrina...your friendly neighborhood Gopher snake ;)

 This was the coolest part.  The girls got to go in and feed the giant tortoise! He was having strawberries :)

 Then Willow took over my camera...

Us mom's hanging out...

Then it was off to Litza's for some pizza and then back to my house for homeschool swap :)  Life is good as a homeschooler.

The Living Planet Aquarium

There are river otters at the Living Planet Aquarium! So, we had to go :)  It had been a long time anyway.  Honestly, the aquarium here is great for a land locked aquarium, but having lived in Oregon for years and going to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Seattle Aquarium it doesn't even compare. They are expanding and moving into a new space so hopefully it will only get better. But, nothing beats driving to the coast for some Mo's clam chowder, touring the aquarium and then heading down to the docks in Newport to see the wild sea lions :)  This spring, when we drive Aspen's car back to her, I am taking Willow to see all of these great things! It has been 4 years, way too long!

 Her absolute favorite part is the Stingrays...

 These pictures are terrible, but this sweet sea turtle was rescued because he was attacked by a shark and then hit by a boat in the same day! He has air permanently trapped in his shell which means he can never be in the wild again because sea turtles eat sea grass on the ocean floor.  He constantly floats to the top :( He was amazing to see!

 We got to e them feed the sharks...

so, you can't really see from this picture but those little glowing balls on top of the water are eyes from these fish that have 4 eyes and swim near the surface :)

Then it was time to check out the otters!
 They are 3 brothers, about 8 months old and were born in the Long Island Aquarium.  They are so freaking adorable!
 And super fast, so again, crappy pictures :)


Willow wanted to feed the Sting Rays so we got her signed up.  She was a pro!

They are like vacuums and just suck the fish out of  your hand.

Seahorses are always cool :)

We got to see them feed the octopus too! She turned bright red and grabbed the fish.

 The bird eating spider was molting..she is huge!

Willow wants a pet thank you!

 The penguins are amazing! One day we will do the penguin encounter where you get to meet one in person :)

Willow took my camera at this point...

Then they had this guy out.  Willow loves snakes...what am i saying, she loves all animals.  She wants to be a wildlife biologist as of now...

After the aquarium, I had an acupuncture appointment so Willow came along.  The treatment room is so relaxing that she drifted off to sleep in one of the chairs :)  I seriously had a really hard time waking her up!  oh, how I love my acupuncture :)

We had such a great day. Especially since I have been "under the weather" so to speak, for weeks now and feeling the need to get out of the house!  But more to come on that later ;)

About Me

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I am a mom to 5 amazing kids and 2 partners and married to my best friend and love of my life for 28 years now! We co-habitate with 2 cats, Asha and Gustav, 1 dog, Juniper Wren, and 2 Chinchillas, Ozwald and Turbo. We have lived in Salt Lake City for 15 years by way of Tennessee and Oregon. I love to be with my kids, knit, run, craft, sew, paint, travel, hike and play :) I love our crazy life!