When People Don’t Get it

Alright. You just started doing something you love, and are passionate about. Maybe its unschooling your kids. Maybe its moving to a faraway destination. Maybe its about becoming an entrepreneur, artist, juggler, or whatever floats your boat. You are nervous, but damnit it feels good!! This is it!!

Then, Debbie Downer comes along and makes you feel like the worst human alive, like the parent from hell.

If you live outside of the box ( or even if you don’t) you probably are nodding your head going ‘I HATE DEBBIE!!’ This person ( or people) makes you second guess everything, and feel like a failure before you have even begun your journey. You see, people will listen to CNN or BBC before they listen to you about your stance on vaccines or home education. They will put you down if they don’t understand ( and don’t want to) what you are doing. They have to take somewhat out, so it may as well be you because you are doing things differently.

I think homeschoolers of all varieties deal with the pressure from family, friends, neighbors, and co workers on how they are a bit…odd. Maybe you get some vacant nods when you try to explain yourself to these people, or you get flat out stink eye. Maybe your mom just shouts into the phone for hours going ‘I DIDN’T RAISE YOU TO BE A HIPPIE!!’

The bottom line: how to handle it?

I think social networking has a downside, but it also has a wonderful upside: it connects like minded people. I have met so many amazing unschooling, homeschooling worldschooling, APing….people who have encouraged me. You have to accept that if your family or neighbors don’t understand what you are doing, that isn’t your problem. You need no one’s approval to parent how you want to, or to work from home or whatever.

We all face struggles and failures.

Not one of us is perfect. NOT ONE. We are not avatars. We all make stupid mistakes and have down time. I know someone ( not saying who because she/he will KIL me) who it took 25 years to succeed in their profession. Maybe longer. This person was literally insulted NONSTOP by family and friends. Only one person I know understood them…and no, it wasn’t me. It was someone else. I too doubted them because she/he was the source of many arguements that I witnessed, so I grew doubtful. Boy, was I wrong: that person is set to be a millionaire, and this year. They had the break they needed and it was literally a miracle how short of a time period it took them to achieve their goal, when they finished their project.

Everybody screws up their kids too. Don’t pretend we unschoolers don’t; let’s all just admit it!! Because life is a curve, not a straight path. It works for us, and we are happy to be doing it. But come on, we all have days where we feel we are going insane, even if we are doing our best for our kids.

Because, as Louise Hay says, we do the best we can with the knowledge we have.

Learning never stops, right? It is perpetual. I bet when I die and go somewhere heavenish, it will continue there. Why shouldn’t it?

But we have to get over appeasing others. We need to only appease ourselves, and find support in our community or online. We are all in this together. All of us, you know, hippies…

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What I am Thankful For

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Unschooling in Asia: A Dad’s Perspective Part 1

As being the dad of the Sattvic Family, I’ve been reminded that my 2 cents count more than… well, 2 cents so I’ve decided to write a series entitled Unschooling in Asia: A Dad’s Perspective. My wife, soulmate, and Angel Bear has been churning out stories and interviews and posts and pictures and I’ve yet to add squat to our adventures and relay how utterly thankful that I am to have been able to become part of our family once again, out of the rat race.

You see, one year ago, I was spending most of my waking hours involved in teaching English to Korean middle school students. You might have heard that English as a Second Language teaching, or ESL, is a breeze and mostly for post university kids who want to pay off their student loans while continuing their college habits of drinking pint after frosty pint of asian beer til they recount why the Detroit Red Wings are the best sports team in history to people who’s english doesn’t go beyond “Where are you from” and “Nice to meet you”. Okay maybe that part was just me… except without the pint cause I’m allergic to the wheat in beer… yes! It gives me asthma, okay??!? Read more at Holistic Dad. But NO! ESL is not the easiest thing in the world, especially in countries where the educational system saps the life-force out of budding adolescents. I am also a perfectionist when it comes to putting myself on the line, like teaching, acting or even writing a blog post! Maybe that’s why its taken so long…

Anywhoo… The big problem with ESL teaching overseas is that recruiters are not employed by the schools. There is no communication between the person doing the hiring and the school that wants the teacher! After a presentation I gave to some english heads at other local schools, I was asked why most ESL teachers have no teaching ability and why do they lack the knowledge of educating students? I sadly said, because you never asked and you didn’t hire teachers that came with that knowledge. Most of the ESL teachers being under 30 have to learn how to teach in one powerpoint themed weekend. So wanting to be the best I could, I devoted my whole being to powerpoint presentations, lesson plans, and finding ways of engaging exhausted physically burnt out 15 year olds who probably understood 30% of what I said. Imagine if you had to learn Geometry Proofs again, but you only sleep 5 hours a night and you understand 30% of the information. How far into the class do you think you could go without giving up? One month? One week? Maybe even one day? And what happens when you give up, and your best friend is sitting in-front of you and the boy next to you has reallllly cool hair and his eyelashes are long and he’s got such a cute smile… wait did he just look over at me…. OMG! But the point is, I learned a very important lesson.

In other words. I never saw my family. The 9 to 6 almost killed me and my marriage, and my daughter barely new me. She wanted to only be with her mom. Now, that has completely changed and we are beyond pals. But back then, I lived to work and so did everyone else.
Overworked kids, means overworked adults. I was fighting for attention with every step! Now… let’s fast forward to the present time. I’m no longer working. I’m ‘teaching’ only Kaya, a little 3 year old who tells me what she likes and doesn’t like. “Papa, no likey!” Or “I like it, I like spicy!” No Kaya, you never like spicy, but you always try. And that’s why we love you so much. You see unschooling kids choose what to learn and when! We don’t force learning on them. That’s not the point of education. It creates a resistance in children when they are forced to do something they don’t want to do. It’s a rebellion of sorts. I don’t want to wear my uniform correctly, I don’t want to learn about something I’ll never use in real life, and NO I don’t want to say thank you to some person I’ve never met who is holding the ice-cream out of reach just to hear me say THANK YOU!!!

I’ve now taken education to a different level; not of necessity, but of opportunity. It’s not necessary that Kaya learns to go number 2 in the potty when we are out at a restaurant. I have no doubt that in time, Kaya’s own time, that it will stop! Instead, how about, it’s such a great opportunity that we live here in Phuket eating at an empty restaurant at 4:30pm watching the tide come back in along Rawai Beach as the fishing boats are being tied off and the workers are lazily cleaning their ropes and shellfish baskets to a calming breeze and slowly setting sun. For these are Kaya’s moments of education. What she chooses to watch and learn from is up to her. Whether she asks me about the water coming closer and closer or if she questions how the men are coiling the lines, I know she is actively using her senses and mind growing as a child should. And for this I am grateful, grateful to watch and grow along side her. And maybe while watching Kaya see life unfold, I am being unschooled as well. For I’m only 31 and I’m not done learning.

So that’s it for part one of Unschooling in Asia: A Dad’s Perspective. Keep a look out for more posts from the Sattvic family!

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Holistic Dad

Of course I have to plug my husband’s blog ( or he may divorce me….kidding!!!), Holistic Dad. He wants to write daily on holistic living and parenting, and do reviews on products we use, movies we watch, health information, peaceful parenting , as well as unschooling and avoiding the 9 to 5. He is now working with Billee Brady in Infinity Downline, so he has some info about that on his site ( for people looking to work from home).

If you have time, check out his blog! :)

Blessings,

The Bradley Family ( aka The Sattvic Family)

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Reflections on a worldschooled life

The above picture is of my mother and I in France in 1992. As you can tell, I was ( and am) a complete geek! ;)

I have read several blogs by families about to embark upon long term journeys, and I can’t help but reflect on my own. I know the ups and downs of nomadic living, because they are what I encountered from an early age. You see, some people view travel as being strange and frequently ‘only for the wealthy’, or the polar opposite: for hobos. Both are incorrect. Travel can fit all budgets, and all lifestyles.

I was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to a British mother and Texan father. My mom almost gave birth to me in Switzerland ( I am severely pissed she didn’t, just for the record). Because my dad was a salesman, we traveled extensively, but had three main basis: Antibes, France; Singapore, and Wisconsin. The States was never home to me, and I felt very alienated there. I felt that word kids hate, different. Not in some snobby way, as I felt that I was less then my classmates. I had plenty of friends in France and in Singapore, where we spent half of every year, just not many in Wisconsin. In fact, I didn’t have any at the school I went to. I then came to know the US as being like Wisconsin, and that meme stuck with me until I moved from the UK to Los Angeles. My perspective changed, as that is what travel does: it opens you up.

I was not homeschooled or unschooled as a kid, and I feel strongly my life would have been much happier not having to fight off bullies or take pills to stay up all night studying. Nonetheless, I became an autodidact-on-the-road, as I loved to read and learn about life. I particularly enjoyed conversing with people. We stayed in hotels all the time, and my friends became the staff, whereever we went. I enjoyed playing with children my own age, but always seemed to gravitate to the stories and lives that adults had to tell. Asians Love kids, and I remember one man at a hotel in Hong Kong spending hours with me, and I would help him relay messages to guests who were expecting phone calls. In Europe, I wanted to be a maid, as they were always so cute in their uniforms and loved to play with me.

My real home was ( and still is) the airport. I can’t tell you how many times we flew into Amsterdam or Paris. Because my dad flew so often, we got upgraded ( oh how I wish we could do that now…) and so we got to be in the lounges, where my dad would mingle with other businessmen. My mom and I would walk around the airports and find a place to eat. When I got older, I would go find a cafe and read, or a pub. I loved reading and writing, and from an early age I knew I was a writer. But the cafe scene in France brought elevated my enjoyment of the craft so much so I never thought leaving the EU was possible. I didn’t care what the cafe was like: I loved seeing how happy people were eating and drinking and enjoying life.

Every summer, I would go to a summer camp in a country of my choosing, and follow whatever subject I wanted to. One summer I was studying anthropology in Kenya, the next Archaeology at Oxford. All the experiences were amazing, but some were suffocating. Rules, rules, and more rules. In Kenya, one girl came with her mom, and I wish my dad had come along with me. He wasn’t able to, but he did buy a Kenya guide book and followed the routes we were taking as we traversed the Masaai Mara.

By the time I was 19, I was on my fifth passport and had been to over 20 countries. I wanted to keep traveling, keep learning, and keep meeting people. Eventually, I worked in the UK and ended up in Los Angeles, as I mentioned. And now, my family and I are traveling like I did. The cycle returns!

What did I learn from all the traveling I did as a child?

1.) That we are all the same. We may appear to be different, but there is beauty and suffering everywhere. It just takes different forms.

2.) that cliques and rules tear people and society down. Every country has its memes, only some are more open to people who are different. The Native Americans wanted to share their land with the Europeans. They did not understand that the invading people wanted to keep it for themselves, and thus they lost everything. This constant killer consumer attitude is our downfall. Travel can’t cure evil but it can kill an ego. Maybe people will buy less if they see where they are buying it from.

3.) that if you change a person’s environment, you change the person. Not completely, but close. So a person who is unhappy in one place may be much happier by a change of location. This is due to the people living their, the culture. Is the culture more friendly? Well, there you go.

4.) that travel is by far the best education available. Even if you don’t travel very far from your hometown.

5.) that sadly, large corporations and governments do not want the 3rd world to rise and become a first world; they want to hold them down. I stress that whatever you hear on the news about some conference or politician’s speech, or statistics, are false. Go to a 3rd world country and learn from the people there. Also, watch what the IMF does.

6.) that you can make a difference in this world. You are not a drone. Everyone matters, not just the elite or people from 1st world countries. There are crimes going on worldwide that we must stand together to fight.

7.) that food is so important, on many, many levels. It brings people together. It nourishes and gives life, or curses and brings disease. Food should be shared an enjoyed. Cooking is incredibly important as well, especially for a family.

8.) that the world’s future depends on us thinking outside of the box, and not being indoctrinated.

9.) that we can all get along. That the world does not have to be the way that it is. That if we can have just media, which is happening because of the internet, we can learn the truth about the world and not believe lies.

10.) That love, really, is all you need.

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The Beauty of Phuket

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The Best Travel Apparel for Moms

Since we travel so often and have a toddler, it is integral that I wear something that is a.) nursing mom friendly B.) comfortable and C.) looks nice. I have been in love with Bobi tees ever since I met Kara Lusardi, the designer of this chic, affordable, and uber comfortable brand. Kara works incredibly hard to make sure that customers love her brand and feel good wearing her pieces.

Bobi has a lot of wraps, v neck dresses and tops, as well as leggings and jumpsuits, all of which are made of top quality cotton. Since airplanes can be either really cold or stuffy, I love wearing the wraps over a maxi dress.

You can learn more about Bobi at http://www.bobitees.com/ and buy their amazing pieces from Revolve Clothing, which ships internationally.

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