"Doing all day what they love lets them become their true
Richard Bach, Jonathan
This book is dedicated to those who are dedicated to
raising their own
> "All the things that truly matter
> beauty, love, creativity,
> joy, iner peace
> arise from beyond
> the mind."
> Eckhart Tolle
> My sixteen-year-old daughter works on the dress design
> while her ten-year-old sister reads a book about a girl and
> her horse. My seven-year-old son hunts for treasure,
> accompanied by his canine friend Fifi LaPue. We live
> in the desert, at least we do right now.
> Nearly three years ago we stepped into our dream of
> traveling throughout North America. Raised in Hawaii,
> my three children were curious about that place called the
> mainland. And so we moved into a van and began our
> Twenty six states later, we look back on all the fun we've
> had, all the challenges we've overcome, and all the lessons
> we've learned. Not lessons from some curriculum but
> rather, lessons that life presents when we allow life to be
> our guide. Following someone else's definition of
> education denies the depth that true education
> requires. You can study a book on the dynamics of the
> desert, or you can wander through the desert. One
> leaves you with a superficial guess as to what it's like,
> while the other finds you immersed in its reality.
> Primal education is about immersion...a life experience
> rather than an academic perception. Short-term memory
> is often the result of academia. Life-long memories
> accompany real life experiences.
> I worship the individual interests of my children. I
> want them to live a life that reflects their passions.
> In order to live a passionate life, they need to put in the
> An aspiring artist must draw
> An aspiring writer must write
> An aspiring designer must design
> An aspiring dancer must dance
> An aspiring fisherman must fish
> An aspiring gardener must garden
> There's only twenty four hours in a day, with eight hours
> spent in slumber. In order to put in the hours for
> nurturing an interest, there must be hours available.
> It takes time to beoome our true selves.
> "Primal" means first in importance.
> "Primal Education" means learning that which is most
> important. It is most important that our children
> learn what matters most to them. And, with truth at
> the helm let's get honest about parenting.
> So often we hear parents bark out, "Do as I say, and not as
> I do!"
> Sorry folks, that's not the way it works.
> Children learn by what they see, not by what we say.
> What they see is the sacrifice of dreams, unfulfilled
> talents that lead to unfulfilling lives.
> People-turned-parents who buy into the belief that you can't
> have your cake and eat it too...then why have the cake?
> How can our children become their true selves if we don't
> give ourselves the same freedom?
> This morning Jasmine woke up, brushed her red hair, put on
> her flannel nightgown and crawled back into bed to resume
> reading her book about a girl and her horse. Matthew
> was already out in the dry wash searching for pretty rocks,
> Fifi digging for lizards nearby. Sarah Lee was tucked
> under the covers with her newborn, Delilah Faith. Each
> of my children began this day in their own chosen way, doing
> what they love. And they learned what it is they love
> by having the space and freedom to know their selves clear,
> true, and bright!
> All the days of their lives they have observed me doing
> what I love. The very first thing I do when I wake up
> is reach for my journal and pen. It's my
> wake-and-bake, curled up in bed with fresh thoughts for a
> fresh day on a fresh new page of my journal. I start
> my day doing what I love.
> Little Delilah Faith was tired, so I slipped her in my Cozy
> cradle baby sling and we took a walk in the desert.
> While singing her to sleep I thought about what passion
> really means. Among the many definitions found in the
> dictionary, the one that most reflects my experience with
> passion is this:
> Passion - intense enthusiasm for an object or cause,
> usually as displayed in vigorous and untiring activity in
> its support
> When I heard the sweet coos of my sleeping grandbaby we
> returned to our camper where I found my daughters cutting
> out inspiring photos and words from a collection of old
> magazines. Sarah Lee had her scissors ready to cut out
> the following sentence...
> "It's more than a feeling, it's a PASSION"
> Sarah Lee has intense enthusiasm for fashion design and
> country western music. When she's not sewing up a new
> idea she's writing a new song. She is untiring in both
> Society offers many careers, including fashion design and
> song-writing. But freedom is seldom a part of
> society's curriculum.
> Creativity defies constraint. English 101 has nothing
> to do with fashion design, and songwriters don't need
> That's the beauty of homeschooling! Our children
> learn what THEY deem necessary for bringing about their
> desired lifework, a reflection of who they are and what they
> love. They have the freedom to weave and integrate at
> their leisure, to their heart's content and with the
> constant support of family. We don't burden them with
> the belief that work is drudgery or that education is
> mandatory. We remind them that as family we are all in
> this together...the singer and the dancer and the musician
> and the writer and the weaver and the gardener. We
> honor the individuality of each family member and then
> surround them with whatever they need to feel happy, joyous,
> and free.
> Matthew is a nature boy. No matter what, our physical
> environment must be nature. Whether forest, grove,
> desert, or ocean shore Matthew wakes before the sun and
> communes with nature until the day is done. In the
> forest he carves wood. In the grove he collects wild
> flowers. In the desert he hunts for pretty
> rocks. At the ocean shore he fishes all day
> long. When darkness comes he looks at the moon and the
> stars, then resigns himself to the fact that he must wait
> several hours before he can once again live his passion of
> playing in and with nature.
> Jasmine starts her day with a book in her hand. It
> was two winters ago that the passion took hold. Prior
> to that she wouldn't sit still long enough for me to read
> even the shortest children's book. She was like a
> butterfly that only landed long enough to take off again,
> with her passion being people. Young or old, she loved
> nothing more than meeting and visiting with people.
> Our first winter in the desert found Jasmine a bit
> disoriented because passersby were few and far
> between. Since most of our days were about
> song-writing and learning old classics on the guitars she
> started going through the sheets of music and to our
> surprise she was able to decipher the words and know the
> melody. She couldn't transfer this ability over to
> reading the newspaper which was something she really wanted
> to do: the classified ads intrigued her.
> For me, the only rule in primal education is to remember
> that each mind learns in its own special way, and that
> includes learning to read. Because of Jasmine's
> adversity to staying with anything very long we agreed that
> she spend the first two hours of each day in bed with the
> book of her choice...she chose Jonathan Livingston Seagull
> by Richard Bach.
> Within a month she was reading to the family, sounding out
> the words and putting it all together. She's been
> reading prolifically ever since.
> When I think of a primal education I imagine someone
> equipped with all the tools needed for a life of authentic
> joy...human values like generosity, compassion, and
> respect. One need not be literate to be loving.
> One need not know math to be fair.
> Perhaps my favorite value to nurture in my children is
> gratitude. With gratitude they can navigate themselves
> through rough terrain and not fall prey to self-pity or any
> sense of powerlessness. I witnessed their
> comprehension of gratitude on Thanksgiving day, two years
> Camped in the desert with a cold chill blowing, we looked
> in the cupboard to find nothing more than six packages of
> chinese noodles. We laughed at our plight and were
> glad for what we DID have. It wasn't long after
> putting the pot of water on to boil that we noticed the
> flame flicker out. No more propane. So we
> bundled up against the cold and gathered sticks for a
> fire. The chill wind made it nearly impossible to get
> the fire started, but we placed the pot of lukewarm water in
> the pit and hoped for the best.
> Giving up on the idea of reaching boiling point we opened
> the packages and poured the noodles into the water.
> They never really softened much so we went ahead and dished
> up bowls then sat together in thanks. Just as we began
> to eat Matthew asked, "What's that swimming in my
> bowl?" We all looked down into our own bowls and
> someone said, "Ah, those are boll weevils, they won't eat
> much." Everyone smiled and gratitude permeated the
> Gratitude for what?
> The food?
> Gratitude for each other
> For family
> A bond that begins
> with the dawn
> Takes us all
> through the day
> And cradles us
> through the night
> A bond that
> begins with
> a mother and
> her baby
> MARSUPIAL MOTHERING
> "All babies look forward to
> a womb with a view"
> Ashley Montagu, Touching: The Human
> Significance of the Skin
> Home education has no beginning and has no end. We
> are always living and learning, even a babe fresh from the
> Mothers have always known the need to wear their
> young. How else could they get their daily work done
> while meeting the continuous contact needs of their young?
> Securely nestled in their womb with a view, babies resume
> the bond upon birth. Feelings of trust and security
> are their birthright as they ride around in bliss on their
> mother's body. Everything mother does, baby
> observes. Observation is a primary ingredient to
> I'm leaning out my camper door while my grandbaby sleeps
> against my body. Soon she will wake up and look out.
> Observing from a loving place, she starts to stir.
> Any moment she will be wide-eyed and alert.
> She stares at the campfire
> She stares at the beauty of her mother
> She stares at me when I speak
> She stares at her daddy in delight
> She is always in someone's arms
> She is always held
> She is always talked to
> She is always loved
> She is learning about life
> Music plays in the distance
> Laughing faces
> laughing at
> her laughing face
> Mama reads to her
> Birds chirp happily
> She rubs her eyes
> The first thing Delilah Faith learned since the moment of
> her birth is to trust that her every need will be met with
> kindness and love. Her mother is her source, and we
> are the significant others in her developing world. By
> observing every action we make she is formulating a feeling
> about life and absorbing knowledge through the very process
> of observation.
> Securely tucked in the baby sling she absorbs cooking
> lessons, guitar lessons, fire-making lessons, carving
> lessons, reading lessons, writing lessons, art lessons,
> singing lessons, dancing lessons, shopping lessons, lessons
> from nature...and all the while being talked to, touched,
> cuddled, nursed, and loved. And when she's taken in
> enough she turnes her face to my chest and nestles ever
> closer, closing her eyes for another blissful sleep.
> Babies in slings are in a constant state of bliss, either
> alert and learning or asleep and cooing. Boredom is
> not a part of their reality, a primal fact I knew nothing
> about until my firstborn came into my life sixteen years
> I was finishing up my college degree with sights on
> graduate school. Cross-cultural studies had led me to
> the subject that ignited my passion...infant-carrying
> practices. Regardless of the differences between
> cultures around the globe one thing was constant. All
> mothers recognized the child's need for continuous contact
> throughout infancy. My research into the subject of
> infant carrying practices led to further proof as to the
> wonderful benefits derived from marsupial mothering.
> The constant rocking motions created when wearing a baby
> actually stimulate the baby's brain, especially the part of
> the brain where pleasure hormones are produced. This
> explains the reason for a carried baby's state of bliss.
> Upon the birth of my daughter I designed the Cozy cradle
> baby sling and tucked her in. With her securely
> against me I headed on to graduate school where I spent the
> next two years writing about marsupial mothering and founded
> the Mother and Child Reunion Project. With my baby
> sound asleep in the sling, I sewed up and delivered many of
> these cozy cradles. The first sling of its type on the
> market, it wasn't long before others began making and
> selling variations from my original design.
> People urged me to get a patent on my baby sling design,
> but such an idea defeated the purpose of the Mother and
> Child Reunion Project: getting babies where they
> belonged...next to mom.
> Babies not only need to be a part of what's going on, they
> also need to be the center of our loving attention.
> Nothing is as entertaining for a family as being mesmerized
> by the beauty and presence of the little ones.
> Appreciating our young keeps us all young at heart and
> teaches our babies from the very start that they are special
> and sweet, adored and loved.
> FAMILY TOGETHERNESS
> Time stands still in our neck of the woods. This
> desert is our home until the heat and rattlesnakes tell us
> to go come spring. It's a perfect place in the winter,
> when we are not in Hawaii.
> Home sweet home
> Doesn't matter where
> Doesn't matter the
> day or the week
> the month or
> the year
> We're always
> here at home
> No bills to pay
> everything's cash
> or trade
> Getting down to
> basal need
> so we can be
> Jasmine makes a pot of food, Matthew plays cards on the
> floor while listening to a story that Sarah tells while
> reading to little Delilah. I'm in the loft, the family
> bed, overseeing the beauty of family while I write, think,
> and relax.
> Our life flows from one pleasant task to the next, sun
> starting in one place and appearing to move across the sky
> becuse we feel like we are standing still. Be
> still and know that we are whirling through forever, always
> knowing the darkness and the dawn.
> The birds singa at certain times day after day. The
> coyotes howl at the same time night after night.
> Jasmine reads to Matthew by candlelight, Sarah dances for
> Our family is our home.
> Matthew burns twigs in the fire. Jasmine reads while
> under the covers. Sarah Lee is sound asleep with her
> Being a grandmother is about being present, always ready to
> help with the baby. Being a family is about honoring
> the love each member brings to each day.
> Family togetherness is all but lost in today's world.
> Everyone is physically off in different directions,
> sometimes even before dawn. And they don't return
> until sometimes way after dark, returning to a house that
> has been empty all day long. Just enough time to make
> dinner, do laundry, take baths, and listen to the drone of
> the television before going off to bed to an alarm that will
> go off so they can get up and do it all over again.
> "What about the importance of socialization?"
> That's a common fear I hear from people who question
> homeschooling; that somehow our children won't know how to
> make it in the world if they're not thrown together with a
> bunch of strangers. And, somehow we adults will go
> crazy if we don't get away from our children for hours at a
> A woman becomes pregnant and talks to her growing
> baby. With birth comes the sweetest bond two people
> can ever know. And the bond grows deeper with
> time. Socialization is the byproduct of bonding, not a
> skill developed through mandatory education.
> A free mind functions best in freedom. Waking up to
> our loved ones, jumping into our favorite activities, and
> feeling our family's support throughout the day - that's the
> direction for helping a free mind to remain free. And
> the socialization of that free mind comes with every moment
> of being loved and supported by family...people who are
> always there...people who always care...moms and dads,
> grammas and grampas, aunties and uncles, brothers and
> sisters, cousins and friends...that's what makes
> family. Smiling faces from morning to dark, kisses and
> hugs all day long, sleeping together through the night.
> And little squabbles in between
> No big deal, just part of the scene
> VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY
> So, if everyone is hangi ng out at home, who's going to go
> out and work?
> Who's going to pay for everything?
> Enter family business.
> In order for a family to remain intact we must go about
> being a "family" as if that is our business. We stay
> busy staying together. And this is where
> resourcefulness and creativity come in.
> The first step in making money is to spend less.
> Shifts in lifestyle make way for the freedom to be
> together. The first step we took in lowering our
> overhead was to let go of the house. We learned to
> live in a home-on-wheels, beginning with an old Dodge
> van. In it we had the family bed and plenty of storage
> beneath that bed. We had a little one-burner propane
> stove and a cooler for things requiring refrigeration.
> My children each had their favorite things and we lived a
> free and happy life traveling around the island of Maui,
> then moving on to travel North America.
> Saving a dollar here and there makes a big difference when
> your cornerstone is family togetherness. Money and
> supplies come to us one way or another. Today the kids
> are wire-wrapping all the precious stones they find along
> the way. We sell the books I write, the cozy cradle
> baby slings we make, our PEACEFUL SIMPLICITY music cd, and
> the jewelry we create. A little here and a little
> there, having fun all the while, doing the best we can with
> what we've got.
> PARADIGM SHIFT
> Once you've had a paradigm shift you can never go
> back. You can't forget what you have finally
> learned...finally un-learned after lifetimes of
> Once you've observed learning in the context of freedom you
> can never again think along the lines of scheduled
> lessons. Tonight is friday, when most people celebrate
> the end of another grueling week including children who are
> so happy that school is out for a couple days. My kids
> are doing math by candlelight just because they are in the
> mood to do so. A pregnant moon overhead, coyotes just
> beginning to roam the desert, our own sweet canine Fifi
> sound asleep beside my children. Jasmine and Matthew
> work with passion on things that most kids are forced to
> It's not whether the answer is right; it's the process of
> learning...so what if their numbers are backward? So
> what if that's not the right way to spell a word? Zen
> education, allowing our children the pleasure of trying
> things on for size, staying with that which holds their
> attention, leaving alone that which they easily walk away
> from, and being there to support them if and when their
> interest ignites again.
> Self-discipline is best learned in the mood of
> passion. To love something so much that you show up
> over and over again. This is the way I write
> books. I wake up wishing I already had a pen in my
> hand. Jasmine wakes up ready to read. Matthew
> wakes up with the great outdoors in mind. Delilah
> wakes up to tell her mama it's time to wake up.
> Nobody here has to be somewhere.
> To be loved and feel needed, therein lies the basic human
> When you find out who you really are, it's really
> What do you love so much that you could do it all day
> Tinker with cars?
> Tend to a garden?
> Sew pretty fabric?
> Feed the crew?
> Write a new song?
> Work on learning new guitar chords?
> Beat on a drum?
> Dance to your heart's content?
> TRUE WEALTH
> It's hard to convince someone of something they are missing
> when they have never had it in the first place. Prior
> to mothering I had lots of things but inner peace was sorely
> lacking in my life. Then came my first child and life
> took on new meaning.
> True wealth is being surrounded by the ones you love,
> family and friends whose morning sun is the same.
> Peaceful simplicity
> The good life
> Satisfied by a diet of family
> each doing their own thing
> all working together
> Welcome home!
> SEVENTH GENERATION MOTHERING
> Tradition and patriotism emphasizes the need to maintain
> the status quo, to not offend society in general and elders
> in particular.
> But an elder is only worth listening to when that elder is
> Enter another paradigm shift.
> Listening to people who have walked wrong for so long
> ensures our continued state of being lost.
> Embrace your family and let the generations unfold in
> Babies constantly held
> Toddlers constantly adored
> Children constantly listened to
> Mothers constantly respected
> Grammas constantly protecting
> Family members together
> through all kinds of weather
> Heaven on earth...
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