Chat with Ren Allen

February 12, 2009

Faces By Ren, makeup blog, and the post that was new the day of the chat was What I Did on my Lunch Break, photos of Ren herself by a photographer friend of hers.

SandraDodd: Hello, Ren!

Ren Allen: Hey works!

LauraB: hey guys!!

RinaG: My neighbour told me today that if her son was unschooled, he'd just go out into the fields all day (we live in Ireland)

LauraB: are you speaking from 12 times experience??

SandraDodd: Ren, thank you very much for being here today!

LauraB: out in the fields all day, how awful!!!!

Ren Allen: Irish fields sound lovely....what's wrong with spending all day in the fields?

RinaG: I thought that might be a new one for your "my child would..." sandra

SandraDodd: I appreciate those of you who’ve come to chat, too.

momto12: well no we only tried planning 6 of them.... after that we just decided to not control it any more LOL!

Ren Allen: haha

SandraDodd: There are fifteen people in the room. That's a good number.

RinaG: that's what I thought - I think most parents would love it if their kids were out in the fields

Ren Allen: Heck, *I'd* love to be out in the fields all day

momto12: ok thanks

SandraDodd: Ren, for the benefit of those who will read this in a year or two, could you please give a quick rundown on the ages of your kids today and how long you've unschooled? Then we'll get to more interesting questions for you.

Ren Allen: Maybe she'd appreciate his leaning towards the natural world better if she read Howard Gardner's "The Seven Intelligences"..though I think it's eight now.

momto12: BTW - I am still fairly new to unschooling -homeschooling for 14 years tho

RinaG: I'll recommend it

Ren Allen: I have four children...Trevor (19) who lives across the border in NC, Jared (15), Sierra (11) and Jalen ( 8) We learned about homeschooling back in the early 90's and took Trevor out of school after Kindergarten. I made the transition to unschooling in 2000.

NancyMachaj: is Jalen being called Jalen again ..

SandraDodd: What kind of homeschooling were you doing before your unschooling phase?

Ren Allen: No, he goes by Scott with everyone else, I'm allowed to call him Jalen.

LauraB: i've taken to calling him jalen scott

Ren Allen: We were pretty eclectic/hands-on from the beginning, doing a mish-mash of projects and using different books/tools as we chose. I tried the whole flash-card thing and it failed miserably...but we never bought any packaged curriculum.

Cidlicious: Hi, All! So excited to get here (had a minor issue with making sure the new Survivor was on the Tivo season pass list)...jumping in and reading now, lol

Ren Allen: Hi Cid! And everyone else who's joined....

SandraDodd: Ren, I know you were raised in a fundamentalist church, and not even a mainstream one. Was that still a strong effect when your children were small?

Ren Allen: Oh yes. I should post a link

SandraDodd: I can add links later, too, and photos. So after the chat, anything you want to send as sidebar links can be added.

Ren Allen: It's hard to describe without getting too wordy, but I'll try

SandraDodd: Sometimes the chat will get going so fast that people can't read it all, so even those in here might need to re-read it to see what they missed.

Ren Allen: It was a hard-core, fundy, home church. I never really fit in, but tried so hard. My older boys remember attending church as little other two missed all that fun.

SandraDodd: click the triangle by your name at right. It will let you add a nickname.

Cidlicious: I loved re-reading the letter from your dad (about not spanking) on Sandra's site...brought me to tears. [ /s/ren]

Ren Allen: Unschooling actually helped me make that final transition to letting go of those church voices in my head. Very helpful to my entire family!

SandraDodd: And later you can register for the site and then your name will be there without guestxx (all this side chatter can be deleted later. Very sorry for it now.)

Ren Allen: (archived copy added in 2023; site was gone)
That's a pretty accurate synopsis of the church for anyone as fascinated by religions as I am. Funny thing about all two older boys who started out churched are both agnostics... Jalen claims to believe in God and he's been to a Unity church maybe twice in his life.

Cidlicious: I think we each find our own way, eventually, no matter our church upbringing...some of us just take longer to find ourselves and our own beliefs.

Ren Allen: Yeah, and my family's church really got in the way of that journey for me. I just want my children to always know they can explore any and all ideas without fear of judgement from us. So far it's worked pretty well.

SandraDodd: Were your parents or other relatives critical or did they shun you or something when you first started moving away from those behaviors/beliefs? Did you husband grow up in that faith too?

Peter (Guest68): I fully support (and try to implement) the freedom of exploration for our children.

Ren Allen: I was lucky in that my family was different from other church families. They are very loving and open even if you leave the church. Even with that, I knew the judgement behind closed doors (of people that left) and it was too much to bear for a lot of years

Cidlicious: At some point, I'd like to chat about your partnership with dh and how you worked through disagreements (if there were any) as you found yourselves moving into radical unschooling...

Ren Allen: My husband grew up with a family that didn't go to church (explored some when he was younger, but very open) and made a decision to attend church when he was fairly young. So all his exploration and ideas were more from within himself. It was very different. He had a very hard time understanding the cult-like behavior in our family.... That's a whole book Cid! It took years...and a break-up and a lot of ups and downs

Cidlicious: wow...didn't realize that!we've been doing a great job of being very respectful of each other and talking about concerns, but I'm getting a little tired of re-visiting the same issues (sleeping right now) over and over

Ren Allen: There are still some disagreements but they are mostly minor things...he's really evolved into a cool unschooling Dad.

Zamozo: I see that T.V.'s and computers are discouraged—as well as wearing makeup. I imagine these were interesting hurdles to overcome on your journey to unschooling.

Ren Allen: WEll, the break-up wasn't about unschooling. That came before unschooling actually! Fortunately, I was already past the makeup/tv and computer thang as far as using them. I definitely wrangled with the not limiting part. 2001 was a big year for that.

Cidlicious: we have these talks, each express our own ideas and opinions, and then each continue to "do our own thing" when we're with the boys...

Ren Allen: That's part of the journey I think...letting the other parent BE who they are in the moment. But, it's a hard thing too.

Cidlicious: and I wonder how that will affect them...they seem to be pretty damn flexible and know what's okay with which parent

Ren Allen: I could see how he was damaging his relationships with the kids, but pointing it out wasn't helping OUR relationship either.

Peter (Guest68): That is very hard; but you're right: it is critical.

Cidlicious: yes, that's exactly where I"m (finally) at! i just took a lil bit to get there [sigh]

Ren Allen: In our case, my dh and oldest son came to a very bad place where they were very disconnected. They've finally begun the healing process this last year and are becoming closer again.

RinaG: I just feel so sad for my dh that he's missing out on that part of relaxed parenting while our children are younger

SandraDodd: It might not be any simple answer, so feel free to say "not applicable" or whatever, but did you get back together because of the kids? Or you missed him? Is there a primary or easy answer to that, Ren?

Ren Allen: I learned how to buffer, and just intervene without him feeling attacked....and he slowly learned to do the same for me. The other night, after Jalen had SUCH a rough day I was starting to snuggle with him and I was asking questions (trying to probe and figure out where things went askew) and dh walks by and says "I think he just needs you to hold him right now"

Cidlicious: yes, Rina, that's part of my thought process, too...but I can see my hubby relaxing, bit by bit, and I think if they come to it in their own time it will be even sweeter

momto12: I have two trks running in my head-the one I hear from family and friends that say be more rigid and the one I hear that says it is time for a lot more freedom..I truely believe my husband could/ would support either one if I would just quit being wishy washy

Ren Allen: I love that he can bring me back to center also.

SandraDodd: Keith does that for me and Holly, too-he'll point out where I could stop talking and just do something sometimes.

RinaG: Yes, we can't make them enjoy it - ve haf vays und means of making you into a radical unschooling father NOW

Cidlicious: love that's such a great place to be (partnership). That's what I"m wanting (because I could use someone to remind me once in awhile!)

Ren Allen: Yeah, that was huge for us. *I* had to be the calm center. I had to be utterly and totally convinced and passionate before he could start to really buy into this lifestyle.

SandraDodd: It took a few years, for Keith.

Cidlicious: YES!!!

Ren Allen: I wasn't always so great at it, but the more I just LIVED what I believed, the better things got for us.

Cidlicious: and how did you support him, so to speak, as he was finding his way, Sandra?

Ren Allen: Talking about unschooling didn't really help so much...

Zamozo: Defensiveness can interfere with hearing what needs to be heard, too, I've found. That's what I have to work on.

RinaG: Did you sometimes find yourself going over to what he wanted to do, Ren?

Ren Allen: Oh yes!

LauraB: scotty would come home and he would KNOW i'd read something new for him to adapt to

RinaG: How did you feel then? LOL, Laura

Ren Allen: Just at the early days when I didn't have the same strength.

SandraDodd: I think what helped most was finding ways for my husband to be around other kids our kids' ages, so he could really look at them "in context" and not against an imaginary ideal child, and to tell him happy stories of cool learning incidents.

Cidlicious: Dirk didn't even know we were unschoolers until we went to LIFE is Good last year...the look on his face as he read the program was priceless...I'd never used the word Unschooling before (and we'd been doing it for 8 years at that point...)

SandraDodd: (But I want to spend this time getting Ren's stories.)

Ren Allen: I hated it! I finally grew the strength to tell him that if HE wanted to punish the boys or create disharmony that was his relationship with them but I would not do it nor support it. One day I just looked at what he was creating and said "I'm not going to do this're on your own" And it got better from there

Cidlicious: I like the way you said that...and stayed true to yourself and your beliefs without saying he HAD to change, because we can't really make that happen, can we? can only choose for ourselves, really.

Ren Allen: When he got frustrated because the boys didn't clean up or some other trivial thing...I would just smile and say "C'mon guys...Dad is stressed about this can you help me?" so it made it HIS issue and we could then choose to help Dad with his issue or not. But it was his to own at that point.

Cidlicious: I say stuff like that and dh gets pissed!

Ren Allen: Really?

Cidlicious: yep...he doesnt' like to get called on his stuff. but I do play a good in-between without pointing at him for the most part

Ren Allen: I know Bleu didn't always love it when we allowed him to "own" it so to speak, but it eventually became apparent that other people weren't responsible for how he felt.

SandraDodd: Ren, if you get a chance... when you were separated, how long was it and why did you get back together? (I asked in a longer way up higher, but it was missed (as other things will surely be)—there are 25 in the room Those who entered and have a plain guest name, if you want to add a name, click on the little triangle by your name.

Ren Allen: We were separated for six months and we got back together because he really wanted to...and was willing to work hard to fix things. I was unsure at first but decided I owed the kids a shot at trying to heal our family.

SandraDodd: Thanks. When your youngest was born, were you already homeschooling? How old was the oldest? (trying to picture them at their youngest-full-set-ages

Ren Allen: That was a really difficult time and compounded by the fact that I was pregnant with Jalen. I often wonder if that contributed to his intense personality!

Cidlicious: things like that fascinate me! the idea that we could be molded from the womb

Ren Allen: Jalen was born into a family that was unschooling and learning how to change a lot of the parenting ideals. Trevor would have been 11 at the time, Jared was 7 and Sierra 3. Very possible...he was inundated with a lot of adrenaline. Poor guy.

SandraDodd: So I imagine that year, with the reconciliation and homeschooling upheavals and all was very rough.

Ren Allen: Very.

SandraDodd: What do you remember being some of the tools or ideas you used to move into your smoothest years?

Ren Allen: Looking back,I can see where all those experiences really helped me dig out a lot of garbage and grow hugely as a human. But it was a rough year for many reasons....good times too.

Wow. There are so many....probably one of the biggest things I learned (and still learning) is to really BE with whatever IS. I used to get so upset about things and want them to change, but I started learning to just accept what was right in front of me and then see what my choices were at that point. I learned to see many choices and get out of that narrow place where there weren't options available....

Cidlicious: Ren, how do you help your kids work through disagreements where they end up being physical with each other? (does that happen at your house?)

Ren Allen: Learning to see every situation throught the eyes of an infinitely creative person was so huge for me....knowing that I had LOTS of options and could make up more options at any time...that was huge. The physical is pretty rare these days. Jalen can be pretty aggressive at times though.... I learned how to get in between and ask one person to move away from the situation until the aggressor could calm down. Those situations are all so different....around here it was usually Jalen I needed to go to first. When he was/is volatile he needs someone right there The key in those situations though (and I think this is helpful for any family) is to not place blame but find solutions.

Cidlicious: my boys are so physical with each other...and I understand that they are comfortable with more physical interaction than I am (so I'm working on that....) but sometimes it happens so quickly and I just want them to separate. Hard to find a way without placing blame...

Ren Allen: The blame game was huge in my family of origin and we just don't do that here.

LauraB: i was just thinking those EXACT things blame!!

Cidlicious: AHHHHHH me too.

SandraDodd: For us, part of finding solutions is the side advice about what might be done differently next time. I think in some families they hear "don't place blame" and they think "no one did anything wrong."

Schuyler: Even if you reach for blame it doesn't help move away from the situation.

Ren Allen: It changes everything. If we are consciously seeking solutions together, then there is a space for everyone to be heard, to be cared for even when they've acted without regard for someone else's boundaries

SandraDodd: Probably EVERYone involved could've tweaked some choices that would've kept the eruption from happening.

LauraB: because they are figuring out boundaries to begin with

Cidlicious: it's hard for me to understand how they started the blame game (with each other) when I don't go "there"... am wondering how dh deals with them when I'm not here.

SandraDodd: And if that's discussed they can make better choices the next time.

Ren Allen: It doesn't mean that people haven't done something that was hurtful, it just gives you a better place to figure out new tools, healing etc....

Cidlicious: yes, to move past blame to a better way next time what tools have you helped Jalen put to use with his intense personality?

Ren Allen: Well, the kids sometimes do the whole "she started it" I think some of that is a natural human response to stress. But as we go into the space of "tell me what happened" rather than "you did _______" , they know that they are going to be heard and get some ideas about how we can make it better the next time that situation develops.

momto12: how do ou do that with a child who perpetually reacts with anger ?

Ren Allen: Jalen is one of those kids.

momto12: I feel helpless to understand/ react in a way that will move him beyond this.

Ren Allen: What I've learned is that the input can't happen until he's developmentally ready.... Which seems obvious, but his social development is on SUCH a different pace than any of his siblings were, I get reminded almost daily.... You really have to just be with him. Diffuse the situation...get him away from everyone and just let it be.

momto12: he is 12 but maybe not developmentally there yet

Schuyler: It helps a lot to know that the child doesn't want to feel bad, whatever else is going on, they don't want to feel bad.

Ren Allen: Because he isn't going to learn what he isn't ready to learn (duh....what we call unschooling right?)

momto12: true

Ren Allen: But it's hard as his parent sometimes, to trust the process when the process gets so stalled out.

KarenSwanay: But in the moment, when the boys are "he looked at me" and "he tried to hit me" I am not able to find a way to get them both to just stop, breathe and think. I know their reactivity is just a function of their development but It's still hard to know what to do about the fighting

Cidlicious: yes!

SandraDodd: Schuyler, I got bumped out of the room (by my ownself, I'm sure). Could you please cut and paste the chat and e-mail it to me? I have three prior collected files, so it's okay that some has scrolled by.

KarenSwanay: it's our biggest challenge with unschooling

Ren Allen: He can't even process situations the way other people do (though that's getting better) because he does see it as someone elses fault most of the time, even when he's clearly crossed someone's personal boundaries in big ways.

momto12: so does my son. always someone elses fault

Ren Allen: When the kids get tense with each other, that's my cue that it's time for a change of pace.

KarenSwanay: what if they don't want a change of pace the fights are ALWAYS over the xBox

Ren Allen: Fighting is often part of development, but it can also be communication that they need more time, a change of pace, some protein....whatever...

momto12: we go from a grat time for all to anger on his part with next to no warning

Schuyler: I step in the middle if Simon and Linnaea start fighting. I physically place myself in the middle.

Ren Allen: We own several games systems. .. There are good reasons to invest in several gaming systems.....

KarenSwanay: We have a wii as well But yeah maybe we need two xboxes

Ren Allen: Yeah, physically placing yourself between people can be very helpful I've found. All while asking the more capable of the two,to move away and give me a minute.

momto12: I guess I just realized we have made great progress! he mostly stomps away i anger.. yelling but do not think he as physically reacted in a few months

LauraB: options options options

kellitraas: I always had to check myself also, make sure I was staying calm

Cidlicious: my older son gets so tired of being the more capable one...

kellitraas: I could sometimes feel my calm washing over the others

Ren Allen: I try to find games that cause less stress...but he tends to be drawn to games that really make him mad. Lately, they've been playing Sims Kingdome on the Wii and it's gotten really peaceful. He can build castles all day and be so happy....

RinaG: You also need several tv's then

LauraB: kelli, that's me too, if i'm more calm it tends to trickly down

SandraDodd: (thanks, schuyler—got it)

Cidlicious: I need a basement, lol or some other space for us to have somewhere to spread out...time to look for a new house!

momto12: do you all cut and paste to a document to save the chat?

Ren Allen: That was Jalen's progress too...he went from being extremely physical,to just yelling and screaming a lot (long melt-downs) to brief screaming and yelling and faster turn-arounds and allowing someone into his space much more quickly.

SandraDodd: I'm saving it and will edit it to be more readable and put it on a page.

kellitraas: and it's gotten easier as they've gotten older, I know that doesn't immediately help but.. they learned better ways to handle things as we went along

momto12: I think it is harder for me as he is a big guy. I think i sometimes expect more control because of it..

Ren Allen: But it's up and down. We find that he can have a really great month and there is this collective sigh of relief....then he'll have four rought months. He cycles up and down with a constant upward movement overall.....I see it as upward or "better" because he becomes more comfortable with the world, with people and more capable of interacting in healthy ways with all of it.

momto12: Thanks Sandra-- have had a few ahhha moments and want to return to them ..

SandraDodd: momto12, I know there are parts I've totally missed, so I'll go "Oh cool!" when I'm editing the transcript, too. And I'll cut out things like this right here.

socal77: mine is an only, but sometimes we have situations where he is in a position of being older, bigger, more mature and I have to help guide him with that

Ren Allen: You should talk to my sis in Alaska...her Tristan was having a really rough time around the age of 11/12 and things are a LOT better for him now.

SandraDodd: I think it's great when parents help kids practice rough and scary interactions at home instead of those happening at school without parents around to help

momto12: sorry I should have said my name is Julie just wasn't thinking and used the name the children gave me

Ren Allen: I was thinking that same thought last night Sandra.

Cidlicious:'s so nice to be part of that process and not have it happen somewhere else and not be there to learn together from it...

Ren Allen: Jalen has a lot of rough moments and I often feel badly about how that might color his views of himself or the world Then I thought about this child in a traditional family, in school and where he'd be right now. Makes me want to cry.

momto12: oh I have had that thought so many times!

SandraDodd: And even when he's out away from home, he usually has a parent or older sibling there to advise or rescue or comfort him.

Ren Allen: No matter how tough a day is, he has hugs and is loved and people surrounding him who see him as loveable and intelligent.

SandraDodd: I need that too, sometimes, when the world is rough. Someone to advise or rescue or comfort me.

Ren Allen: I just called Heidi (Tristan's Mom) and asked her to join in this convo

momto12: cool

SandraDodd: Should we stay on this topic until she gets here, Ren?

Ren Allen: Yeah, and his siblings are incredibly understanding and patient most of the time. They truly love him even when he aggravates them to death....he wouldn't get that from other kids inschool.

Cidlicious: closely connected family is awesome like that

Ren Allen: She's signing in now. I told her there was a Mum with an intense older child and I figured she could be a calming presence for that... ..

momto12: my 12 year old lives passionately in whatever he is doing—we all recognize that and appreciate it

socal77: this is true of some of the teens from parkday too, they accept each other quirks and create space for one another

Ren Allen: Yes. Jalen is as intensely happy as he can be angry. It's cool to see how INTO everything he gts I love watching him play video games...the FACES. Oh so funny! Maybe that's a good talk about the positive aspects of the more "spirited" or "intense" children.

Cidlicious: great idea!

Zamozo: my younger is the more passionate but it is encouraging to hear her using more wordy explanations and requests for understanding for her feelings—turns out all those big emotions are based in real conflicts and misunderstandings, not just "over emotional”

Ren Allen: Ok, I cut and pated it to her email so she can catch up. She left the 2x2 church a few years ago herself. I'm a baaaaad influence. haha! Pasted that is.

Cidlicious: in such a gooooooooood way!

Ren Allen: It's amazing what isgoing on inside of their heads when you take the time to really explore, rather than be mad at them.

momto12: I would love to be able to get a real discussion going with this child.. but maybe I just really need to acknowledge his anger—I wonder if we try and control it to much—or teach him to control it and he just needs me to acknowledge it

Ren Allen: I find that much more helpful. You really just want to be heard when you're mad right/ ?

LauraBowman: i think acknowledging is one of the most powerful tools

SandraDodd: Much of traditional parenting is to tell kids to keep their problems to themselves, and "just go do your homework" and "you'll feel better in the morning."

Zamozo: acknowlegement—in a quiet, private place—helps a lot!

Ren Allen: Even if it's based on something we know as "unreasonable"...we want to be heard first and foremost. Very powerful.

Zamozo: sometimes acknowleging in front of the siblings is good too

momto12: he just left with an older sister-let me know he was going to play with the 4 and 6 year old so she could study—his idea!

SandraDodd: Not that people don't often feel better in the morning! But it seems to me that part of the change that happens with unschooling is people really caring and wanting to know what their kids are thinking

Cidlicious: younger one (6) just doesn't want to talk about it when he's in it. and that was a great thing to be able to acknowledge and respect...we may talk about what happened later, or sometimes not.

kellitraas: I think Alec just in the last couple years (when he's 13-15) he's been able to talk about the feelings and look back at outburst times... clost to the time that it happened

SandraDodd: Lately sometimes Holly will make herself laugh while she's explaining why she was so angry, because when she puts it into words it becomes apparent that it was about her wanting to control what the others of us said and did.

KarenSwanay: One thing I've done with my boys 12 and 10 yrs old, when they've been fighting is acknowledge their gripe "Yes your brother was being a jackass" "Yes your brother was trying to piss you off" (We don't have language rules here.) But I found it helped both boys to know that I acknowledge they were on some level "provoked"

Zamozo: Clever Holly - took me 40 years to start figuring that out.

Heidi: My ADD brain is having a hard time catching up with what is going on in the conversation

SandraDodd: Heidi, you can read the cleaned up version later. It IS hard, and there are over 25 people here.

Heidi: I was just talking with Ren about 12 being the most difficult age for Tristan

Ren Allen: You just jumped in! Yay. .. That's radically unschooling sis in Alaska (and hey, she went to church with Sarah Palin...weird eh?)

SandraDodd: Sarah Palin is a 2x2?

Heidi: Uuuggghhh, can we just forget that part of my life?

Cidlicious: KaranSwanay, do you do that in private with the child, or in front of the "jackass"?

KarenSwanay: I am finding the pre-teen years to be the most difficult

Ren Allen: I remember her calling me in tears, she was so frustrated with his intensity at times.

Heidi: No, she is a very fundamental Christian.

KarenSwanay: Depends on how the fight is rolling

SandraDodd: I wouldn't say "jackass" even in private about one of my kids, really....

Ren Allen: No, Heidi attended a church in Wasilla for a while, that was not part of our upbringing.

SandraDodd: Even the kid being awful was somehow provoked, or crowded, or something

KarenSwanay: sometimes they want immediate acknowledgement of the event It's reflected language

Cidlicious: it's helpful for my boys to use words like that sometimes

Ren Allen: Jalen loves to cuss too....calling names is a big part of how he deals with anger.

KarenSwanay: And I'm OK with it because really, we are all less than stellar sometimes

Heidi: I do know with Tristan, the calling names, frustration, etc. is usually do to boredom and lack of physical activity.

KarenSwanay: which is the point I hope they can some how get eventually

Ren Allen: We don't encourage that of course, but it's also part of development for the very intense personalities. Learning how to feel that someone is a "jackass" but not saying it out loud.

momto12: Jeffrey swears but more as a way to provoke a reaction.. We pretty much watch our language around here

Cidlicious: boys too, Ren. How do you help the others deal with the names...or what has the process been for your family?

KarenSwanay: LOL yeah we aren't to the "say that with your inside voice" yet

momto12: oh I really notice when jeffrey isn't getting enough movement

Ren Allen: For Jalen I think it's a lack of ability to have a trapdoor between your brain/emotions and your mouth. ..

Schuyler: What Sandra wrote "Even the kid being awful was somehow provoked, or crowded, or something," there are things I do that help to minimize the frequency of negative encounters.

Ren Allen: But yes, physical activity is hugely helpful

LauraBowman: I think the first time jalen scott told me i sucked it was a shock, but now i know what it means TO HIM

Ren Allen: Protein intake and physical movement

Schuyler: Those are big helps. Dancemat for Linnaea is good

momto12: we are so tired of ice and snow right now so reactions are more intense around here.

KarenSwanay: Oh that's really where it goes for us..."Yes he did XXX" and "Yes he did YYY"

Ren Allen: Yeah, "you suck" means "I'm really mad about __________ right now". He tells me I suck if we're out of a certain it isn't about me at all. You can explain that to him until you're blue in the face and he won't understand.

Heidi: That is the only thing that has really helped Tristan at all. He also needs a LOT of alone time, which is the main reason he stays up all night and sleeps all day- he doesn't have to deal with people as much that way.

KarenSwanay: they are both usually "right" and "wrong" when there has been a fight

Guest67: Just popped in to Unschooling Basics and noticed, (thanks Schuyler!) the reminder about Ren's chat!

momto12: our other children seem to know that his anger is not who he is and can really let a lot just slide

Ren Allen: Too much activity at our house is rough on Jalen. We try to keep the house a very calm environment most of the time.

KarenSwanay: I hadn't thought about offering a snack

JulieL (Guest27): yeah, me too, good idea with the reminder, schuler

Ren Allen: Food available and prepared is very helpful!

Schuyler: Snacks are important

momto12: they have been known to suggest he "chill out and eat something" so he feels better

KarenSwanay: I do ask about them going outside but usually they say no

Schuyler: Being present for tense things makes a big difference Guest67: Can I ask more about food issues Ren?

Heidi: Snack thing is huge! I find our days are much better when there are snacks on the counter all the time- easy things to grab such as cut up veggies, cheese, fruit etc.

KarenSwanay: Well they are free to graze at will

Cidlicious: that's how my 6 yo uses "you suck" too...

Ren Allen: away.

Guest67: I have a son who'd eat flour and sugar all the time.

Heidi: Keeps them on a more even sugar level all day.

momto12: ok so that brings up a situation question i have.. How do ou stay presnt for many chldren.. Guest67: We have a very whole, local, organic food focus in the house generally

Ren Allen: Have you prepared platters of easy-to-eat food that include, but are not limited to carbs?

Schuyler: I sat with Simon and Linnaea the other day playing a new game on the Xbox 360 and I was able to redirect a lot of tension that without me would have ended much more explosively

Guest67: And still he can find a way to mostly consume flour and sugar most of the time,

momto12: I used to think I was pretty good at time management but now I am unschooling or at least trying to- i feel like I never have enough time?

Ren Allen: A whole, local, organic food focus might leave a child craving what they don't get often enough? Maybe? Guest67: Yeah, I love the snacky platter thing ... do that quite regularly

SandraDodd: Don't try to manage time?

Heidi: Do any of you find that the arguing escalates when you aren't engaging with them?

Heidi: When I'm doing laundry etc. seems like it gets worse as opposed to when I'm playing games with them , etc.

Schuyler: Yes, arguing escalates when I'm not engaging with them.

Ren Allen: I try to find the healthiest version of things we all love, but sometimes nothing beats Doritos! yk? momto12: sandra can you expand on that.. later if need be

SandraDodd: : Instead of thinking of it as "time management," as though you can schedule the world around you, think more in terms of what FEW things are scheduled for a certain time, and then work around that making choices that make the most people comfortable. LauraBowman: and something made or bought or given to eat is transformed by love =)

Ren Allen: As to the being present's harder with multiples...which is why parents should be very mindful about bringing children into the family. But there are creative ways to meet the needs...

Sandra: Do you really have 12 kids? What age range? (I don't want to take away from the Ren info, but just as a clarification for help with how to be present)

momto12: 4,6,8,10,12,14,17, and then 22 through 28.. the 25 year old lives here and is a great big sister

Ren Allen: Bringing in a friend or getting out to the park, letting one or two olders help out etc.... depends

SandraDodd: So you have seven at home and three adults (counting the 25 year old)?

Ren Allen: Other family members can take one or two of them for an outing. That alone time is so important to my kids. Sierra spends a lot of time over at La's house when I'm working. Cindy (Guest67): Ren, good thought ... I'm not sure though ... cuz, we also don't say no, like, ever, about requests to run to 7-11 for Reese's, or slurpees, or DQ once a weekish for blizzards or whatever

Cidlicious: yes, Heidi, I try to avoid talking on the phone during the day because it's usually when they need me Cindy (Guest67): lol, Ren, yeah, I know

Heidi: I can remember one very ah ha moment when I was visiting Ren and the mood was beginning to feel like arguing, Ren, out of the blue, got a bonfire going. They never escalated into arguing and we had one of the most fun nights. Talking on the phone is the worst, even being on the computer.

Schuyler: Don't work so much for equal time with each child, try and engage each as they seem to need it.

Ren Allen: Ah, ok. Then it's not a fear-of-loss issue. He just craves carbs more probably. I know Jalen does too.

Cindy (Guest67): My Tristan has gained ... well, fat ... over the past year, 18 months ... and it concerns me

Heidi: Tristan has been very frustrated with me this week when I'm on the computer because he feels like I'm not actively listening to him when I'm sitting in front of my comptuer.

Ren Allen: kids often gain weight during growth periods,then slim back out. I know focusing on weight gain isn't helpful....maybe talking about nutrients and ingredients though.

Cindy (Guest67): He's 6, was six in October ... and before that always looked, um, healthy, like his older and younger brothers still do now ...

Heidi: Cindy- you just touched on a somewhat sensitive subject in our house.

kellitraas: my kids have done that from time to time, gained some weight then grew and stretched

LauraBowman: my daughter gained weight when i first let go of food control, i look at her now and i can see that starting to go away and also i see there being no need to gorge anymore

Heidi: My daughter is overweight

momto12: Oh I know a huge difference is felt around here if we chat outside around the bonfire!

Cindy (Guest67): and yes, I do have health/good weight orientations ... because I also was overweight once ...

Ren Allen: Fire is a great place for conversation and experimentation!

kellitraas: Kyra my 11 year old just did that, just grew and thinned

JulieL (Guest27): i think especially in the winter, when out door activity decreases, it is not unusaul for kids to gain a few pounds

Cidlicious: that is so true, my 9 yr old has been thickening up and I know it's time for a growth spurt, but the extended family (and dh too) is very concerned...irritates me.

SandraDodd: And if there's a fire outside, some will go there and others can have the house more quietly and "emptily" Cindy (Guest67): I so don't want to make food an issue ...

Heidi: Calista has been a good three years a little overweight and it just keeps getting worse.

Ren Allen: I found that Heidi's Tristan needs new input sometimes and when you can create that, he tends to calm right down. I made him a "poopy shake" once to alleviate stress. ..

SandraDodd: What was the poopy shake?

momto12: ok Ill bite a WHAT?

Heidi: I don't want to make food an issue either and I don't but I have been trying to encourage less ice cream, etc because when it is in the house she will eat the whole tub.

kellitraas: I remember going back and forth as a child, weightwise, winter and summer

SandraDodd: all-bran milk shake? (Hmmm..... thinking I might could use one of those sometimes now that I'm getting old. ..

Heidi: And it worked like a wonder.

Ren Allen: A chocolate shake actually...nothing amazing. But if you call it a poopy shake it's MUCH more fun. He still remembers that time.

Cindy (Guest67): And it's such a challenge to present great, diverse options all the time and watch four of us select a wide variety and one of us pick over anything that isn't flour and sugar ... poopy shakes! what an awesome idea!

Ren Allen: He laughed so hard

LauraBowman: ren, you've got all kinds of good poop stories!

Cindy (Guest67): love it!

Ren Allen: Food is all about the presentation, right?

Cidlicious: poopy shake!!! love it...we have swamp shakes sometimes (mint icecream or green foodcolor if i only have vanilla)

Heidi: He was in a full blow out tantrum and all Ren had to do was a "poopy shake" and he totally forgot what he was upset about. The rest of the day was great. He was about 3 years old at the time, he is now 13.

Cindy (Guest67): i can add hemp protein to a peanut butter chocolate shake for him ... awesome idea

LauraBowman: cid, lettuce makes a good green and you can hardly taste

Ren Allen: I remember him looking up through the tears when I said "poopy shake" like "is this going to be worth my time?" and it was.

Cidlicious: oooooh, cool!

Heidi: Although, even at 13 the same tactics work for him. Distraction.

KarenSwanay: anyone here an adoptive parent?

Heidi: I think Ren would have been a much better mother for him ..

Cidlicious: redirection does work (in different ways) for all ages....even dh

Ren Allen: Not I, but Heidi and I come from a family that adopted. So we have three adopted sibs.

Heidi: lol

SandraDodd: I've been criticized a couple of times lately for advising distraction, but that's what a bonfire in the back yard is, or a "look at the mountains!" or "Could you see if Lost is on tonight?"

Ren Allen: Hell, it works on ME!

momto12: me too

Ren Allen: When I'm having a melt-down, you can give me truffles and I'll shut up.

Cindy: i guess my wondering is how can i keep mindfully supporting good nutrition orientation without compromising relationship AND not being badgering to Tristan

Cidlicious: It's creativity at its best, I think, Sandra

Laura Bowman: Sandra, call it redirection instead...doesn't that sound better...LOL

Ren Allen: Keep offering. Have him come with you to the grocery and plan some foods...

Heidi: I find that leaving more nutritious food out all the time works great because usually its because they want food that is easy to grab and go and those foods tend to be higher in fat and calorie

Cindy: It's hard to watch him gain, well, it's maybe an ugly word, but it's true, it's fat, and watch him choose flour and sugar flour and sugar flour and sugar and not get really frustrated ...

Ren Allen: another thing that was very powerful for us, is growing our own food. Jalen will eat anything he least once. ..

momto12: my guys all like to find and make new foods

Cindy: like, how is it possible for a six year old child to be pudgy in THIS house?

momto12: mine too Ren

Schuyler: Try expanding on flour and sugar Make crepes

Heidi: I don't know about your Tristan but my Calista hasn't been a real active kid either. Lately she has taken up swimming and LOVES it so I'm hoping that it will help.

Cidlicious: fantastic, Ren...need to look into a container garden here

Schuyler: Try tortillas with butter and sugar

Ren Allen: Growing food is so cool. They have such a connection to their food that way, if you can do it.

Heidi: I get you. And my other two kids are ultra skinny!

Cindy: lol scuyler ... crepes are a staple here ... argh, with maple syrup

Schuyler: Make them with bananas and chocolate

Heidi: Crepes and fresh fruit is awesome!

Ren Allen: Veggie dogs are our fast food.

Schuyler: Or strawberries and powdered sugar

Ren Allen: Quesadillas are great, because everyone can put what they want on theirs.

Laura Bowman: bananas are the best fast food =)

Ren Allen: Hummus and bagel or pita chips.

Schuyler: I love Kenny Shopsins pancakes

Cindy: yes schuyler, we do tortillas, made with brown rice flour and the boys, even tristan loves that

KarenSwanay: I was wondering if any of you have wisdom about prior abuse and undoing it?

Cidlicious: my 6yo lives on hotdogs...i'll try veggie dogs and see if they fly here!

Schuyler: Pancakes with macaroni and cheese, they are so yummy

Cindy: we'll pop cheese on it, in the toaster oven, yum

Ren Allen: Laura is a banana FIEND. Bananas dipped in chocolate would be even better

Heidi: We do a lot of veggie dogs too but we've had to cut those out a little because of Kev's acne. The doctor is suggesting that he is eating WAY too many processed soy products.

Cindy: tristan loves veggie dogs too

Schuyler: Bananas dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts

Laura Bowman: karen, i can only speak about healing my own abuse, not about taking on a child with it

JennyC: Karen, can you be more specific?

Ren Allen: I don't think you can undo abuse. Our adopted sibs have lived with the effects of it their entire lives.

KarenSwanay: My daughter is 4, home a year

Ren Allen: It is simply a part of who they are.

KarenSwanay: she had a very bad time in china


Heidi: And it makes it tough for them too.

Ren Allen: You must eat chocolate La. You must.

Heidi: Fondue?

Ren Allen: Even on fruit. .. Chocolate y frutas

Heidi: You can dip all kinds of things in chocolate and cheese.

Cindy: ok, now i'm thinking maybe i just need to acknowledge how much variety we do actually get into tristan ... lol

Schuyler: Fondues are great!

SandraDodd: Not at the same time, I hope.

KarenSwanay: she has behaviors she defualts to that I'd like to "love" her out of but in the mean time I have to stop. Such as when she feels she's made a mistake she punches herself in thehead

Cidlicious: ren's good at making nachos in the oven...

Ren Allen: Ooh, fondue would be a fun thing to have out all day! Very cool for kids.

Heidi: Doesn't help with the calorie thing but with all the fruits and veggies being dipped they get the nutrition.

KarenSwanay: I know that the punching is something they did to her there

Schuyler: Cream cheese and chocolate is nice together

Ren Allen: Oh Cid. You bad, bad girl. No Ren's good at putting out nachos on fire in her oven.

JeanGlas (Guest46): What if you make up a dish of food that they asked or and then they say "I don't want it and never asked for that. Yuck!"

Cidlicious: oh, Karen...I wish I had easy answers for you. just keep loving

Ren Allen: You eat it, or save it.....cuz that stuff happens.

Heidi: Maybe giving her something else to punch like a pillow or something.

SandraDodd: Karen, if you want to schedule a chat on that, I'm willing to do that. If anyone here knows other parents with experience, I could invite them.

Cidlicious: couldn't resist

KarenSwanay: sometimes she cries and it's a primal sadness and I can't make it better

Heidi: Something that isn't hurting anyone but still allowing that outlet of frustration.

Ren Allen: Here's the link to a pic of the nachos that were previously on fire in my oven:

Cidlicious: we have lots of stuff here they boys don't like or eat...we save it for my lunch or Dirk's lunch. no biggie.

Schuyler: I think you can't make it better. How awful.

KarenSwanay: She's developmentally maybe 2

Ren Allen: scroll down several pics and there's Cid and I pretending to eat them

KarenSwanay: and has language issues but it's getting better

SandraDodd: Karen, could you e-mail me on the side, please? We can try to find others to come and brainstorm that in another chat.

JeanGlas: OFten we're someplace where that's what we have and I don't want them to be hungry or feel like they can't eat *sigh*

Schuyler: You can only make her now good, I guess.

Cindy: the other day noah and tristan came up with this on their own: brown rice tortillas topped with grated cheese and pine nuts, all roasted in the toaster oven ... was so yummy

KarenSwanay: Ok sandra will do

Heidi: Yum.

SandraDodd: thanks. SO REN.... We have half an hour. Let me have a moment for announcements.

Ren Allen: Yep. Let her be two.....the abuse is simply a part of her life and her story. It isn't undone I've figured out, but they can overcome a lot sometimes, once they know they're safe.

SandraDodd: When you were a kid your mom said "no makeup" (or the Bible did or someone did) and now you're a high-level hotshot makeup artist.

SandraDodd: Are you rebelling?

Ren Allen: Always....but I'm not sure who I'm rebelling against anymore. lol

Heidi: lol

Cidlicious: ooooooh, I would guess YES! I enjoy rebelling

Heidi: I purposely rebel anytime someone says I shouldn't or can't

Cidlicious: never know who against.... just "them" lol

Ren Allen: I'm doing what I was always meant to do...they just got in my way for a lot of years.

Heidi: Exactly

Ren Allen: Yeah, the "they" we can never quite name right?

Heidi: lol

Cidlicious: exactly

Ren Allen: Speaking of makeup, I'll be flying out to L.A. next week to do makeup at this event:

SandraDodd: Wow.

Cindy: Ren, can you say something conclusive to me about the food thing and Tristan's weight: Like, "Cindy, don't obsess over it ... continue providing healthy varieties of choices and trust Tristan's inner knowing to lead his own path of wellness"?

momto12: oh sounds fun!

Heidi: It's good to remind ourselves though, especially when I start feeling like I'm trying to steer my kids. I want them to be exactly who they are.

Ren Allen: Maybe I would have done that in my 20's had they actually supported my "worldly" interests But that's ok...I am where I am now. ..

Laura Bowman: cindy, sounds like you already have the words

Cindy: lol

Cidlicious: sounds like you said it perfectly for yourself cindy! good job! that's exactly what you need to do...

Cindy: argh

Zamozo: Are your parents supportive of your lifestyle now?

SandraDodd: Holly just joined. Says there are 31 users in the room

Cindy: lol

Ren Allen: You said it Sandra. Keep on giving lots of healthful choices and trust that they will get where they need to be for their own food journey. We're all so diffrent. My Mom died a few years ago, but was a totally different Mum at that point...very supportive overall and we became so close.

SandraDodd: Cindy, we can do a whole chat on that if you want. Write to me and we can schedule a chat.

Ren Allen: My Dad doesn't really "get" what I do but he's enthusiastic about it and sweet.

Cindy: Sandra, cool! Thanks!

Heidi: Uuuuh really? He has become quite unsweet about it lately.

Laura Bowman: a food chat would be good!!!

Ren Allen: About the makeup artistry? Or unschooling?

Heidi: unschooling. Are you talking about the make-up?

Cidlicious: glad you got to that place with your Mum, Ren...

momto12: Heidi, thanks for the input regarding intense chldren

Ren Allen: Cuz he used to be really supportive of unschooling...back when we used to talk.

JennyC: What would be the a good resource for a teen wanting to gain more knowledge in make-up?

Heidi: I wish I had more. I don't really feel like I always handled it quite so well. Ren intervened a few times .. Really, it was age that helped

Zamozo: So he is/was supportive of unschooling but not of your makeup artistry?

Heidi: Ren was pivotal in helping me see things from a different perspective. There were a lot of things I had my blinders on to.

momto12: sometimes having someone outside the situation just say it will be better helps most of the people I know in real life advocate more discipline YUCK

Ren Allen: I have lots of resources. The best thing for makeup-artists to be is to buy product, read reviews, watch tutorials online and play, play, play. There are usually willing guinea pigs for experimenting with makeup. ..

Heidi: Well, I was ignoring the needs of my other children in some ways too.

SandraDodd: If that's all they say, though, "It will be better," it's not much help, and it might not even be true!

Heidi: I'm not one of those willing guinea.


Ren Allen: No, he's been very supportive of both in the past. I think his new wife might cause him to question the unschooling though.

Heidi: It tickles my face, lol.

SandraDodd: What helps is to discuss concerns and being more calm and thoughtful.

Ren Allen: YES. Play can be a very focused learning time too....

SandraDodd: Panic rarely helps.

momto12: true sandra but offering ideas other than—discipline is a huge help

Heidi: Absolutely.

momto12: I know we are on the right path just need encouragement on that path

Heidi: For me, I was so wrapped up in wanting it to all go away that I wasn't really dealing with it at all.

Cindy: Sandra, lol

Ren Allen: Does everyone here know that "connections" ezine is now available for free online?

Heidi: Ren finally came to me and said, "Hey......................"

Cindy: Yes, this I have found too ... my panic just about never makes a situation better ... lol

Cindy: no, ren! really? cool!

SandraDodd: and Joyce's page, and some of my page

Ren Allen: Hey now, I'm so quiet and passive...never speaking my mind and such like.

SandraDodd: It's defunct, but the back issues are freely available. [was then, not now]

Here's an article by Ren I rescued before Connections was dismantled: Crystallized Learning

Heidi: Yes, because most of the time we just want to scream, "STOP IT!!"

momto12: Sandra I am learning much from your site

Ren Allen: I've done that.

SandraDodd: Thanks

Ren Allen: the "stop it now" thing

Cindy: ah. it's defunct? i'm sorry to hear that.

Heidi: uuuh, ya.

SandraDodd: So Ren, about this make-up job business.

Ren Allen: Yes. ?

Zamozo: Ren, can I ask about your oldest?

SandraDodd: You liked it and you did it more and people saw you were good or what?

KarenSwanay: I found my post about the monkey platters and my son Liam on your site I was so proud .:-D

Cindy: Your monkey platters post IS a good one Karen!

Karen, Liam, bottom of that page

Ren Allen: Yep, and I got a job with Estee Lauder and worked hard....started freelancing (doing things on your own is usually best) then got hired by MAC and still work there and freelance a lot these days.
Trevor ? Ask away....

Heidi: She is AMAZING!!!!

SandraDodd: So you learned a lot about the available materials by working at the makup counter in a department store?

kcbhsu: Ren - how old were your kids when you started work - or have you always been an unschooling working mom? I work full time from a home office (my husband's home with the kids) and am looking for new ways to not feel so stretched.

JennyC: When you freelance, what venues are you doing? Is it theater based or other, or is there a difference?

Ren Allen: Still learning a lot about makeup's an amazing profession.

Zamozo: Did his relationship with his dad contribute to his moving away? Or was that just a natural development of his growing up? Weird way to ask I guess?

Ren Allen: I went to work part-time when Jalen was a very small baby. But it was very part time until just two years ago.
I've always made an income in some way...even when we were separated and I was pregnant.
Good questions. I think his relationship with his girlfriend contributed to him moving away. ..

Heidi: lol Those girls!

Zamozo: .:-$

Ren Allen: Being away from her was killing him, so it made sense for him to move in with her family.

Cindy: How old was he Ren? When he moved?

momto12: oh but when those girls become daughters in love and start giving you granbabies! Wow

Ren Allen: He wrote to me last night. He wants to try college and is applying at a community college where he lives.

Heidi: On the subject, job interview? Did he get a new one or not?

heather (Guest31): Sandra - can we submit questions/ideas to a guest on an upcoming chat prior to the chat? I have one for Shuyler, but I'm not sure Wednesday works with kids schedules. ..

SandraDodd: Yes, heather.

Ren Allen: He's 19, he moved out last May. No job yet....but college apparently, which surprised me.

heather: Thanks!

SandraDodd: You could write to me or Schuyler or both

Cindy: cool.

Ren Allen: He was 18 when he moved out. If it wasn't for his girlfriend I don't think he would have moved away this soon.

Zamozo: Did you know her family, feel comfortable with his moving in with them?

Heidi: College surprised you? I've got Kevin on this four year highschool thing. I don't really get it but I'm being supportive. It will be interesting to hear his talk at the conference and where he takes it.

Cindy: how old are you ren? ... cuz you've got a 19 year old son? your pic looks like you're 20 ...

Ren Allen: He's talked about both of them moving back up here, but that seems stalled at the moment as they both plan to attend Blue Ridge Community College this year.

SandraDodd: (that's makeup, Cindy) JUST JOKING

Cindy: lol

Heidi: She is almost 40, just in case she doesn't answer. ..

Cindy: well she doesn't read like she's 20 ... she reads like a peer ... just saying, that teeny pic is, you know ... damn!

SandraDodd: Not a peer of the 20 year olds?

Cindy: a peer of me ..;-)

Ren Allen: Ye, they're an unschooling family we had attended a couple of events with in NC. Moira (his gf) and her folks are avid WoW players so he fit right in. They unschooled academically but the radical unschooling thing was foreign to them so that's been interesting

Cindy: and i'm not 20 ..

Zamozo: cool

Heidi: I'm 20 with 16 years of experience ..

Ren Allen: I'll be 40 in May and I'm having a HUGE party and you're all invited (May 10th is the party....19th is the real-deal but I'll be speaking at Life is Good that week).

Laura Bowman: partay

Ren Allen: Sunday May 10th, here in Johnson City
I'll post details soon!

Cidlicious: interesting how, Ren?

Laura Bowman: i'm 19....wait, no, that's my "on the inside" age

Cindy: Heidi. ah. lol And i've got near on 22 years experience then ...

Heidi: Party at the Life is Good conference, that's what I say!

Cidlicious: agree...LIG party for sure!

Ren Allen: Well yeah..that too! Cuz Amy Steinberg will be there.

JennyC: There will likely be a b-day party or 2 there

Ren Allen: Burned nachos anyone?

Cindy: amy steinberg the singer?

Cidlicious: awwwwwwww yeah....AMY

Ren Allen: Yeppers

Heidi: Ya, I'm the baby, as most people put it. Really pisses me off. I'm the mother of a 16 year old. I'm not a baby ..

Zamozo: So, did Trevor submit to more rules and control in order to be with Moira?

Heidi: Her real birthday is the 19th though, so definitely conference party.


SandraDodd: yes, cindy

Cindy: Are you freaking kidding me??? SHUT UP!

Cidlicious: she was there last year, too...incredible

SandraDodd: Cindy, go to the conference site and read there.

Cindy: NO WAY! ARGH!

SandraDodd: Calm yourself.

Heidi: She is awesome!!


Cindy: I know.

Ren Allen: Somewhat....they're pretty cool about most things (they're kinda figuring it out now) but the atmosphere of the home can just be a bit more tense over some issues.

Heidi: I'm working on getting her up here to Alaska this summer.

Cindy: .:-P sorry

SandraDodd: She'll be at the conference in San Diego in September, too, I think)

Zamozo: Thanks for sharing, Ren.

Cindy: Well Sheeeyte.

Laura Bowman: amy, the unschooler's mascot!

JennyC: which issues?

Ren Allen: Amy's a friend and she'll be at the Lovejoy's on April 4th as well...if you want to catch her before LiG.

Cindy: WHAT?

GailH: Amy seems to be everywhere ..

Cindy: Sorry ... having a moment ...

Heidi: A starstruck moment? ..

Ren Allen: haha

Cidlicious: she loves the unschooling place to be before kiddos, imho

Cindy: I had never heard of Amy before ... and then a few months ago, like three people, from three different unrelated sources referenced me to Amy's Exactly song and told me she should/could be my mascot, her song my mantra ...

Cindy: And then now here she is coming up in this chat that I almost missed ...

Ren Allen: I "discovered" her here in JC a couple years ago and brought her to the unschooling community....good fit for her.

Cidlicious: you rock, Ren

Cindy: And so now I am having this Law of Attraction vibe ... and well, because I'm also producing a cd of original music at the mo ...

Ren Allen: Ok, now I see the one that was here when I got on. That was weird.

Cindy: and I'm hosting the inaugral unschooling conference in calgary this september ... and ... sorry ... having a heady whoosh of congruence here ...

Heidi: She does rock! I'm a very lucky woman to have her as my sis.

SandraDodd: You could invite her (if it's not the same weekend as the San Diego) Ren, five minutes. What would you like to say that others haven't asked about?

Heidi: Instant resource all the time ..

Ren Allen: Unschooling conferences everywhere now. Crazy! Cool crazy...but crazy.:0


Heidi: No, Ren.

heather: Thanks everyone - great chat! I do more listening than talking, but I got a lot out of it ..

SandraDodd: Cindy: Heidi is Ren's sister. Amy is her friend. Give Ren the last four minutes.

Ren Allen: much we can't cover in a chat right?

Cindy: ok ..;-) sorry and thanks

Ren Allen: I want to talk about transitioning to less children at home (I'm sure you can relate Sandra) and some of the influential voices in my early unschooling years (I'm sure you can relate Sandra!!) haha

JennyC: good, I was just wondering about that

SandraDodd: Do you want to do that in a later chat, Ren?

Ren Allen: I think I'll do a talk about "three birds in the nest" at LiG. If anyone has questions about that part of unschooling, please write me because Mary needs talk descriptions soon.

SandraDodd: I do have some thoughts about life with Kirby gone, and Marty having a girlfriend with her own place (for the second time)...

Ren Allen: sure!

Heidi: That is a good subject.

Ren Allen: It's a strange thing...this transitioning stuff.

Heidi: Wow, instant tears just thinking about it.

kellitraas: kids growing up and being more indepent.. that kind of thing

Ren Allen: I need to dig out some old posts of things that helped me when learning about radical unschooling.

kellitraas: maybe? how we can be there for them

momto12: but watching thm launch out and embrace the world is one of the best things to happen. Relizing they can and will fly is wonderful

Ren Allen: I think that's one of the hardest things for me, watching him/hearing him go through so many things I can't help him with at all. I'm learning so much about being present and not trying to "fix".

Heidi: It is a wonderful thing, I'm just not ready

Peter (Guest68): thanks

SandraDodd: So if you don't check any of those regularly, maybe bookmark one of them.

Ren Allen: You really learn how to just BE with them. Listen and support without doing a damn thing.

Heidi: I don't let him know that though.

JulieL (Guest27): i am currently trying to understand my 19 year old who wants to take a year off from college...that's hard for me to accept right now

momto12: oh you can never be "ready" just try and enjoy it as it happens

Ren Allen: This is a huge topic...anyone coming to LiG, I hope you'll join me in a talk about this.

Heidi: I actually do enjoy watching the independence, it just all crept up so fast.

Cidlicious: yay...wouldn't miss it for nuthin

Ren Allen: Ha! I'm having a hard time with mine wanting to GO to college!! Everything in me is screaming "run!!! don't waste your money!!"

Schuyler: I'll be there, and this time I'll actually say hello...

SandraDodd: Ren, if you could choose another time that will work for you as a two-hour chat, I'd like to invite other moms with teens and young adults and discuss this thing

Laura Bowman: yep, my kids just all fixed lunch for everyone...they're getting so big!!

JulieL (Guest27): i would love to be there for that one!

Ren Allen: Ok! I'll have to figure it out after L.A. though.

Guest56: I was hoping to learn more about unschooling for my 7 year old who I took out of first grade in November

SandraDodd: About this room: It's here between times. If any of you ever just want to get a few friends in here, go ahead.

Cidlicious: cool! thanks, Sandra!

JulieL (Guest27): ah, that's really cool

Ren Allen: He probably already knows everything you need to know about unschooling. Just watch him and you'll figure it all out. lol

Schuyler: Read Qacei's book

SandraDodd: Thank you, Ren, for taking the time and energy to pour into this!

Ren Allen: Seven year olds are natural unschoolers. You're most welcome

Heidi: Absolutely!

socal77: Yes, thank you, Ren

JennyC: Qacei has a book?


SandraDodd: Thanks for coming to help, Heidi.

momto12: Thanks !

Ren Allen: I have children telling me my time is UP and they need help....thanks to everyone who came by!!

Cidlicious: this is such a fun method of comm. thanks to all!!

Heidi: Well, don't know how much help I am. Enjoy chatting with fellow unschoolers though.

SandraDodd: Bye, Ren. Tell your children thanks for sharing you

Cindy: Thanks Ren, Thanks Sandra

Heidi: ABsolutely. I tried Heidi and it said it was already taken.

Schuyler: Sorry took me a minute to find it

Ren Allen: Especially my sis and friends who are only here to be supportive of me...cuz they could run their own chat. You all rock!!

SandraDodd: Go, Ren, before your kids hate me!

Schuyler: Thanks Ren!

Laura Bowman: thanks ren, see you later!

kellitraas: thanks Ren!

SandraDodd: If anyone here hasn't seen Ren's latest makeup stuff, it's pretty wonderful. Just a minute and I'll put the link

Zamozo: Thanks, Sandra, for making this happen.

SandraDodd: And earlier in the chat, for those who came later, she said she's going to go to Los Angeles to do makeup for a show. The link will be in the transcript Thanks for being here!

Ren Allen, more links and writings

Parenting ideas for Unschoolers