I’m Karen, an Aussie mum of 4 amazing (aren’t they all?) kids (plus one in heaven). My kids have been unschooled since 2005, and it’s been one of the best decisions I have ever made as a mother. I honestly believe I have learned as much or more than my kids have, as I’ve learned to trust their natural learning instinct, and to partner with them and support them in their learning journey, without succumbing to the temptation to “teach” them or play schools at home. I love to read (often online!), write, cook, design, dream, grow things, create, play, solve all the world’s problems, and above all spend time with family and friends. Being a full-time Mum (and opting out of the school system) is an absolute dream, allowing me to be with my kids, facilitating their life learning adventure, and being able to explore my own passions too. I feel so privileged. My husband would be a STACKS better house keeper than me lol, but at least I’m good at other stuff. 🙂
This is my husband, Geoff. He is a mental health professional (sounds pretty fancy, hey). He spent a lot of years working in the public hospital setting (emergency, then ICU, then psyche) and is now fortunately moving out of that and into adult education, which he absoulutely LOVES! He runs a training business called This Healthy Life. He teaches a course called Mental Health First Aid, or any other subject to do with mental health that companies or organisations like to throw at him. He particularly loves promoting the idea that the medical model is very rarely the best way to approach mental health issues, and that it is far better for people to take control of their own health, and work holistically to achieve good mental and physical health using exercise, good food, meditation, etc. When he’s not at work or running his training business (which often involves jet setting all around the country), he loves to potter around in the garden, and enjoy a nice quiet steady pace to life (when he’s not out for a run or a bike ride!).
This is my “baby”, Travis, my first born. Travis was unschooled from the age of about 11, and has since completed a Certificate at the local TAFE College. He has had various jobs and is currently working casually at a local supermarket and in between courses at TAFE (community college). He is planning to work in the medical profession, hopefully as a neurologist, and is working his way up to that in stages, having recently completed an assistant nursing certificate. He has planned to study nursing at university and then do a post grad degree in medicine, but is now considering working and studying as a paramedic as his stepping stone to medicine. In his spare time, you can find him tinkering with his car, or out for a drive or bike ride (yes, he has a motor bike), but more often than not you will find him out catching a wave or two.
This is our sweet baby boy, Cody Luke Ahern. Cody was born with a ruptured umbilical cord and sadly died a short nine hours later. We fought hard for his life, and he was flown by helicopter with the Newborn Emergency Transport Scheme, but it was all in vein. Having him taken from my womb and my arms and then burying his body in the ground was absolutely, without doubt the hardest thing I have ever had to do. And I hope I never have to do anything harder. My pain and sadness at his loss has served to remind me of the preciousness of life and has increased (if possible) the love I feel for my living children. My hope of heaven has helped me to reconcile his death. His death brought us to a crossroads of faith, vocation and location, and our lives have never been the same since. I have written about his story here.
This is Brady. He was born before the first anniversary of Cody’s death, so his life came with extra meaning and significance and joy. His name (Brady Matthew) means “spirited gift from God” and how true that is! He’s a sensitive soul, and a good friend to his mates, often giving a listening ear to someone needing to talk. In recent years Brady has trained as a barista and works in hospitality casually. He is now studying at our local TAFE (community college) with his eye on going to university and possibly doing neuropsychology. When he’s not working or studying, he’ll be relaxing at home, or skating at a local skate park, or exploring the local streets on his new “postie” motorbike, or working out at the gym, or enjoying time with friends. It was Brady that first led us to homeschooling, which you can read about on my Unschooling Page.
It’s pretty hard to get a normal photo of Declan (he’s somewhat whacky!), but I managed to snap this one the other day. Declan has never been to school and I am sooooooo thankful. Something tells me loud and clear that if Brady hadn’t led us to begin home education, Declan certainly would have! He is a unique soul with a great sense of who he is and what he likes, and a strong aversion to anything resembling “busy work”. He gets bored with repetition and I honestly feel 100% confident that he would have found school tedious and limiting. He has reveled in the freedom to be himself, and to grow and learn naturally, in accordance with who he is and what he loves. And what he loves is, for the most part, anything to do with computers. Yes, he is our resident geek. 🙂 He is beginning to develop a website, Youtube channel and Facebook page.
Yes, we finally “got a girl”. But honestly, I was happy with either. Having lost one baby, there was no way I was making a fuss over whether it was a boy or a girl! And yet, when we found out she was a girl we were certainly ecstatic! That being said, Molly is her own person and doesn’t conform to stereotypes. She is very comfortable in her own skin, and lives true to her passions and convictions. She dreams of being an animal rescuer and really making a difference in the world, caring deeply for animals, people and the environment. I am never able to walk past a donation bin of any kind without being asked if she can put some money in. And yes, if she has her own money with her, she joyfully gives that. 🙂 Molly has also never been to school, and it’s lovely to see the way that she marches to the beat of her own drum. She has a bit of a blog here and once upon a time she made a website. 🙂