Dreams

I don’t like the term ‘bucket list’. Therefore I have not titled this post so, and it will most likely refer to the things I would like to do in my life. Knowing me, it could end up being a post about how much I love nature. Usually my posts gravitate towards that topic.
My dreams are fluid. At the moment I feel so strongly that I would love to do these things but really, in a few years, they might be different. I’m very open to change πŸ™‚Β They are also very much not in order, because, let’s be honest, my brain will simply not come up with them all in order and prioritize them perfectly.

1. To be content with whatever happens (even if it’s not happy, not good, just let it happen). Not think that just because I have little money that I cannot be happy.

2. Travel. I want to wander the world, not as a ‘holiday’ as such but to immerse myself in other cultures, experience the natural world fully, spend time with indigenous cultures and get to really know the places I go. Learn lots of languages.

3. Live on my own in the wild for four seasons. This is something I’ve always dreamed of, I don’t know if it’ll ever happen, but even if not for a whole year for some weeks at a time.

4. Learn natural/native skills. I dream of learning to track, to gather wild food, to know how to live completely off the land. It relates to 3 a lot! I also would love to learn about permaculture, building structures, pretty much anything in that area.

5. Write a novel. Even if it’s not published, the experience is something I’d love.

6. Get completely familiar with a camera and make a film (most likely with the DSLR I’m planning to spend my savings on this christmas/solstice), Experiment with different types and styles of photography.

7. Record an album. (Write a wealth of songs first, obviously)

8. Get really good at guitar, piano,cello, and/or voice. I would love to be proficient in at least one instrument!

9. Live in a self sustainable community for a while.

10. Experiment in different types of art.

11. Become an environmental/human rights activist.

12. Live in a tree.

13. Build my own house.

14. Discover more about Irish myths, culture, pre-christian religion, and language.

15. Become fluent in French (And some other languages preferably)

16. Learn how to track really well.

17. Visit every continent in the world.

18. Set up something awesome.

19. If I have kids, unschool them, spend all our time in the woods, and travel the world with them.

20. Make the world a better place!

21. Love life.

22. Be crazy.

23. Grow my hair really long (Random but it’ll probably happen anyway…)

24. Be mindful.

25. Spend many, many nights singing around a fire in the forest…

Advertisements

Home education (aka unschooling, life learning, etc)

Yes. It is true.
I no longer attend school.
It is beautiful.

I am fifteen years old and I have only been in school for two years. I think it was really great for me to try. I learned a lot about myself and I made some wonderful friends.
But why?
Why?

Why are children made to spend fourteen years of their life in a BOX, treated like sheep, not given any trust or responsibility, stressed out to the highest level and given practically no interaction with people outside their age range?

I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. I could probably rant incorrectly for a while but I don’t really have the stamina.

I can tell you this, however. Today, if I was in school, right at this very moment, I would be preparing for the last class of the day, exhausted, awake since half six, having spent eight hours in a classroom cramming in ten mostly unneccessary subjects and with three hours of homework already piled upon me for the evening. There are, I can tell you, thousands of things I love to do. I would go home, sit, staring blindly at pages that make no sense, procrastinating furiously out of tiredness, when the outdoors was calling me, but I had no motivation to do anything. When I was in school, I did not want to play music. I did not want to draw. I did not want to write, or walk, or learn.

Today, instead of spending eight hours sitting in a classroom, I have spent two hours up the mountains, walking, taking photos, listening to trees, learning invisibly about the world. I collected hawthorn berries. I noticed that a particular species of spider was common of the trunks of ash trees. Getting home, I played guitar, figured out the chords to a few songs, and I continued writing a song. I helped cook a delicious lunch (Butternut squash, chickpea and sesame seed falafels with cucumber yoghurt raita if you must ask), ate, and now I sit, speaking to people across the world, learning Irish online, drinking ginger and turmeric tea and eating the hawthorn berries from earlier.
I am not tired after this. I am energized. Which mean that my day can continue, and get even better after three o clock, whereas in school that was the end of being able to do anything. I intend to continue the scarf I’m knitting. I intend to continue the crochet hat I started yesterday (I couldn’t find a crochet hook big enough so I found a stick and carved a surprisingly functional crochet hook in fifteen minutes) If I do end up watching TV, which generally doesn’t happen, it will most likely be a Ray Mears documentary on bushcraft (Although most of my attention while watching TV is usually on my knitting)
Tonight, I will probably go to bed early, as I spend my evenings drawing these days. I’ll continue listening to a lecture about global warming I got out of the library yesterday, and if I get tired of drawing I’ll continue the book I’m reading about food waste. Is there anything there that I did not learn from? I am calm, happy, relaxed. Today is one of my more fallow days, spent mostly at home and relaxed. Other days in the week are more busy. I do maths with another homeschooling friend one day, I meet a school friend and go to an environmental/peer leadership course/group another day, I go to French class another day, I help my mum with her Forest School work one day a week, I try to get to my writing club once a week too sometimes. I’m also starting my Gaisce award, an Irish award for young people which involves a skill, community involvement and a sport. I’m going to take up the Viol for my skill, do my environmental group as community involvement and either do yoga, tai chi or archery for my sport.

Now, answer this question. If you were/are a fifteen year old, which one of those days sounds more appealing? Rich? Full of true, life learning and skills?

I didn’t attend primary school, and yet when I went into school I got on as well as the people who had spent six-eight years in there already. And I was bored by the work given, most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good things too, but the drudging routine, the sheer pointlessness of it was not something I fared well with.

Some people may argue that school is very important, because without school, you can’t get into college, and without college you can’t get a job, and without a job you can’t get money, and without money you can’t have a family and a house and a pension and therefore you can’t be happy.

…….

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and I’m sure there are many other reasons that you might think school is great. You might actually be one of the rare people who really thrive in school and love it, and if you are, that’s great!

But I’m just going to make a few points here, going through the thing I said before.
1. “Without school, you can’t get into college!”
You can get into college without going to school. There are many, many, alternative routes, and there’s also different types of homeschoolers/unschoolers, some with a strict curriculum and exams and some with completely free child-based learning. Most are somewhere in between the two. It does differ in different countries, but here, I know that if I want, I can study myself and do the leaving cert, or I could do A levels, or I could do FETAC level five courses, or many other things. School and college do not go hand in hand.
2.”Without college, you can’t get a job!”
Ehh… no.
There are certain professions, such as teaching, medicine, etc. which would be very difficult to pursue a career in without college. In this day and age, however, there are thousands more thing you can do with your life. Home education gives people time and space to develop their true interests and passions, so that when they do decide to go into the world, they are generally pretty sure of themselves and what they love.
A lot of unsure kids are coming out of the school system who are forced to pick what they want in life within moments and then an extremely large sum of money (that they then have to pay off for the rest of their life) is spent educating them in something they might not even be passionate about. Why??
I can reasonably confidently say that if I wanted to, right now, I could probably make a reasonable amount of money off what I love to do (With some effort and enthusiasm, which is currently somewhere not too accessible within me) Because I haven’t been in school for my life, I have a rather large range of interests and passions. I could not put any one of my passions above the other. (Although nature, environmental issues and human/animal rights are very, very important to me)
3. “Without a job, you can’t get money”
Well, depending on what you call a job. I don’t even like the term ‘job’. It indicates something you don’t want to do. And why would people throw away their lives doing something they hate? It’s a little beyond me, but it’s too common.
There are many ways of earning money. As I said before, homeschoolers often have superb skills and resourcefulness. Why have a ‘job’ when you can earn money doing what you love? And you can, if you want.
4. “Without money, you can’t be happy.”
Well, money does help in terms of things like food, shelter, travel, etc. Probably, getting older, money is handy. But it’s not necessary to hoard giant amounts of money to spend on things you’re going to throw away. There are ways of living without money, or much of it. Happiness does not depend on money. No.

Happiness. That’s what a lot of this is based on. No, you cannot have eternal happiness, it is impossible. Sorry. But you CAN live a fulfilling life, helping others and truly loving everyone and everything. No, homeschooling is not the answer, not to your life’s happiness and worth but I can definitely say that my life is the greater, the happier, the better, the funner, the brighter, the calmer, and the more beautiful for it.
(This post is based on my experience and thoughts, please don’t take it as personally attacking school or anything! I’d just like for people to see that there are many sides to life and that school is not the only way forward)

If you are a teenager or parent or carbon-based life form interested in homeschooling I would recommend you read The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn, I had it lent to me by a friend and am reading it and finding it really interesting!

A few thoughts on nature…

This morning I went up the hills for the usual hike, and wow. It was so beautiful, you wouldn’t believe. Argh, it was so perfect.
I really want to live in the woods so badly it hurts. It’s like this feeling that just pulls at my heart and soul and it’s just so strong that it is the most deeply embedded thing I have.

Recently I started seeing nature from a whole new perspective. Nearly a spiritual one, I think. I’ve started to feel the earth moving and breathing beneath my feet and I can feel these presences in the trees that just pull me.
I saw a really nice stone this morning. I felt this weird thing… I thought it was that I wanted to sit on it, but I wanted to be it. I wanted to blend with the stone, become the stone.
You already know I’m weird, right?
I feel nearly more comfortable sharing these thoughts with strangers, even though I know that friends and family also look at this blog. Even so it feels less personal… Yet more personal…

Yeah but a few months ago, I had this really powerful experience with a tree. It was part of a nature camp. Basically what we were to do was go out into the woods and find a tree and sit with it for about an hour or so.
I found this beautiful beech. I said hi, and she let me in. She was definitely a she.
So I sat there, and I really connected with this tree. After a while, I was lying among her roots, and I really wanted to sing to her. So I did.
I never forgot that tree. I think it changed me a little. Because, I could feel her presence so strongly that it spoke to me.

A little while ago I started getting this urge to draw spirits, shamans, people on the verge of each world… I don’t really know why. I suppose that sort of thing has always enchanted me, drawn me in. I don’t know, do some people feel that way about their religion? I’ve never been religious, I’d say, but I follow many Buddhist teachings and I do believe in many Buddhist traditions.
Is this what some people would consider a religion? I’m not sure, as it is simply a connection with the earth and spirits, for me.
I don’t really know any more. All I know is that I want to be out there.

I really want to find someone my age whom I can share this feeling with. Nobody I have ever met in Ireland is quite as obsessed as nature as I. In Scotland I met a few… And it was the best time of my life. I just want someone to understand 😦
Personally, I believe that if more teenagers were connected to nature, the world would be a hell of a lot better. I love life. I love being me. I love everything and everyone.
And I think it’s because of nature πŸ™‚

Life

I want to go back to real life.

Sometimes everything just feels so false. So dead. So… Unreal.
I wish there was a way to just be.

My life, by most peoples standards, is perfect. I have a lovely family, good friends, enough to eat, a place to live, happiness and laughter.
But I’ve been given a taste of what it is to fully live.
It’s those moments. The ones around the fire, when people who really know what it is to be true, to love, to be themselves, are singing out their souls and hearts to the world. When you see someone you barely know and you can see their love for you beaming through their eyes. When you know that everyone loves you, really loves you, for just being yourself. When although to most people, everything is miserable, it’s raining, you feel rubbish, you hurt, you’re cold and you’re carrying half your weight for miles, you are still with the people who care for you and sing their way along and everything is really perfect. When you see what may be a simple plant to some but yet when you look in the eyes of another, you see the same passion for the earth and the awe at the beauty of nature. When you can feel really, truly at home in the wild.
So from those moments, back to ‘real’ life, everything just feels so stupid.
I have come home, from a place where all those things are real, and all the time.
What seemed so normal before seems false now. I love my family, and my home, and my friends, but all day, all night, I long for that beauty, that community. That love.

I just wish that there was a way to live that way all the time. I mean, at the moment I’m on a week long camp in the woods, for the day at least, and that gives me a tiny taste of Scotland. But only a little.
Soon, in eight days, school starts again.
I liked school so much. I still do. But being in Scotland… It just seems so bland in comparison. So false.
Even with my best friends, who I really love and trust, I feel like I act, I’m someone else. I don’t sing. I don’t talk to them about nature, even though to them it probably seems like I do. But certainly not as much as I think about it. I don’t express my feelings, my happiness, my joy.
Because that’s just ‘weird’.
If I burst out into song all the time, the way I wish I could, if I talked to trees more, if I stalked up on people more, if I talked about the things I really, truly loved, if I danced in joy at the beauty of this world…
Who would talk to me then? Maybe one or two, but still.
Not to get you wrong, my school is incredibly open to different people. I mean, I’m really strange, to most peoples standards, and I’m totally accepted.
But I hear what people say about other people. And I know, although it’s probably said about me anyways, as it always is with everyone, that I don’t want people to think of me in that way. I hear the scornful remarks about little things that shouldn’t matter. I hear so much, and I know that that is only the tip of the iceberg.
But then, if I go back to homeschooling, will the negative aspects of that outweigh the negative aspects of school?
For one thing, I’ll probably have not many friends again. When my two best friends left Ireland a few years ago, I was alone. Occasionally I would visit someone, be happy, then go home.

But now, with all the things I know, will that bother me any more? No more would I be stuck at home… I would be able to experience the world in it’s fullest, make things, discover, write, create, live.
Now I feel as if I am stuck in school, a little.
So maybe. I will stick this year through… But after that, who knows? πŸ˜‰

Blog Birthday!

So, today, one year ago, I made this blog! I didn’t think it would last this far, to be honest with you.
I started then with the idea of making stuff and putting it online. I suppose it still is. But now I post about more than just my crafts, usually.
Then, I didn’t go to school, and had no intention to. But with my friends gone, and my being rather lonely, I did decide to. But you can thank that for my crafting, as my lack of friends prompted to stay in the house more, therefore make more, bake more, and blog more. Those who have followed me since then have probably noticed how my posting has considerably dwindled since September. But for me, school has been a blessing, not because of the homework and schoolwork, but because of the amazing people I have encountered there. I am so lucky to have met the people I now, after a few months, love so much.
But I still craft, even though I have less time. It is still my escape, where I go into a crazy meditative trance while crafting and making jewellery. If I have music on while making things, it is even more relaxing. Some days, when I have too much homework, I just don’t do it and sit in my room twirling wire for hours. Even though homework detention is looming the next day, I don’t care, because I made something.
I think that’s why I started crafting in the very first place. A world of freedom where my mind can soar is the best gift I could have.