Now my blog and my new gorgeous website have merged. Kind of. I may continue to post about family on this blog. But if you're looking for more writing about learning, unschooling, or my coaching practice, it will be at SuePatterson.com/blog. Also, I've been really into making graphics. So I may be sharing them here … Continue reading MY BLOG MOVED!
It's time again for my kinda-annual cookie exchange. Last year we skipped it, with Ron having a heart attack two weeks before Christmas. But not this year! 🙂 For those that are new to this cookie exchange idea... You make a whole lot of one kind of cookies...8 dozen total. It's not that hard really, … Continue reading Cookie Exchange! 2015
If you're creating a new gratitude project, don't overlook your own five senses: sight smell hearing touch taste Sometimes we're in our own heads too much, list-making and over-thinking. I invite you to take a deep breath – oh, go wild, and take three! Breathe in and hold for a few seconds, then release. Continue … Continue reading Gratitude & Your 5 Senses
I think I may have been a graphic designer in a former life. Notice that I did NOT say a good graphic designer... But I love creating them, tweaking them, playing with them. And with my new Gratitude Challenge, I've made yet another graphic. I'd love to really learn how to make InfoGraphics - so … Continue reading Gratitude and Graphics
I've decided that I need to focus on gratitude. I've noticed that I've been suggesting that others focus on gratitude more in their lives - and perhaps that's exactly what I need to do! So, over on my coaching facebook page, I've started a little challenge. Wanna join me? Each day, I will post a link … Continue reading My Gratitude Challenge
I'm feeling a little nostalgic today. It's Halloween 2015 and my kids are all grown and off on their own Halloween adventures. We had soo much fun when they were little - tons of activities to prep for Halloween and then the big day! Usually a party! And, tonight, we'll go to Alyssa's house where she … Continue reading Patterson Halloweens!
Here we are in the holiday season celebrating with friends and family, some of whom we haven't seen in a while. While that's exciting, it can also be a little nerve-wracking. No one can push our buttons like family, right? When your sister asks why your 9-year-old isn't reading yet or your uncle wants to … Continue reading Naysayers at the Holidays
The world can bombard us with negatives: frightening news events, inconsiderate people, disappointing interactions. But research is showing that cultivating a sense of gratitude can help us switch our focus and remind us of the good things happening in our life right now. Establishing a daily practice of identifying “What Went Right Today,” and feeling … Continue reading Gratitude and Journals
Selfies seemed to emerge with the younger set crying out, "Look at me!" And why not? Life is exciting and fun - and they look great. But then I read about the 365 feminist selfie project. This seemed to be women in their 20-30's reclaiming "beauty" and showing people what they look like without make-up in … Continue reading Taking Selfies to a New Level
Studies are showing the importance of playing. We've read Peter Gray's fabulous work on the topic. Research is indicating that not only will play lead to more creativity, but it also will help with problem-solving and critical thinking skills. When Michael, now 25, was forced to sit in a classroom all day for Kindergarten and 1st … Continue reading Your Brain on Play
"Buy this, and your kids will be smarter!" "Use this, you'll be more organized!" "Get this series and you will unleash their inner genius!" Or something like that. Ahh... the lure of curriculum. Marketing has targeted our community for some time now. Advertisers realize that while we are an independent lot, we still harbor a lot … Continue reading The Curriculum Crutch
Back in the '90's when the internet was still young... We had loaded up our car and we were moving to Alaska. Really. We were. My husband was in the Air Force and we had decided that on this move, we'd make the break with the school system and set out on our homeschooling adventure! An … Continue reading Our Own Curriculum Wars
Over the years, moms have shared ways to cleverly remove themselves from awkward situations. One of these methods is frequently referred to as, “Pass the Bean Dip.” The saying was circulated a lot on message boards from the late 1990's and early 2000's. Some attribute the saying to someone named Joanne at The Well-Trained Mind … Continue reading Pass the Bean Dip?
Sometimes it helps to hear from those a little further down the path. When unschooled teens and young adults were surveyed in Homeschooled Teens (over 60% of the survey respondents were unschoolers!), they shared candidly about what their lives were like during their teenage years. Instead of seeing their family's educational choice as putting them at any … Continue reading Listening to the Teens
We don't live in an unschooling bubble, do we? Our kiddos have to get out there in the community and brush up with people who have no idea what we're trying to do. And while that's a good thing, in general, it can be tough when you're new to unschooling or feeling like you're on … Continue reading When People Quiz Your Kids
Someone asked me, "How does a parent who is fairly mainstream, transition to something as fringe as unschooling?"` I told her that that's our story! 😉 I shared how Michael went to school for Kindergarten and 1st grade, Katie went for Kindergarten only, and Alyssa did a little time in part-time preschool, then later, high school … Continue reading Are You Looking for A Sign?
This time of year, the whole country is focused on giving up playtime and getting kids ready to go back to school. Some unschoolers take advantage of the sales, others plan their own NOT-Back-to-School parties, and others head off on adventures with no nod toward society's preoccupation whatsoever. Regardless which camp you fall into, I'd … Continue reading Back to School is A-OK!
Three weeks ago, I was online with friends and we were talking about how many questions we have from people about unschooling. Since it was nearly time for school to start back up, many moms were struggling (and lots of kids were panicking) about the prospect of returning to school. I had spoken to a … Continue reading Unschooling Mom2Mom Facebook Group
Normally, I don't write anti-school blogposts. Many wonderful families who love their children use the school system and many more see school as their ticket to the American Dream. That's fine. I'm usually perfectly okay with people making decisions that differ from mine.But this time of year, I have twinge that doesn't want to go away. It … Continue reading Don’t Do It!
Father's Day has come and gone - it's 3 minutes until midnight as I begin to write this. Alyssa asked me today if it's weird to not have a dad on Father's Day. For a second, I didn't even understand the question. Then I realized she meant, since my dad is dead. My dad died … Continue reading Father’s Day… 2014
I'm getting excited! After 3 years (plus some) I'm finally at a place where I can show my chapters to someone and we can build the book! The writing is complete. Whew! I surveyed 75 teens and young adults from the ages of 15-39, asking them to answer questions about their lives as homeschooled teens. … Continue reading My Homeschooled Teens Book!!
For about a year, I wept over my kids moving out. I mean WEPT. I'd be in a conversation with someone and they would ask a fairly innocuous question about how it's going, and I'd feel the tears welling up. Sorrow was upon me like an overcast day. Granted, it was a tough year: I went … Continue reading Funny Thing About an Empty Nest…
As I prep for the Texas Unschoolers' conference this weekend, I find myself reading a lot more Facebook posts. Parents write desperately about wanting their kids to learn more, show more initiative, stop playing computer games. They have this image of what they think learning looks like - and their children are not fitting that … Continue reading Swim with the Tide
I think I do blogs like I do furniture. I get a little unsettled and everything moves around. Ron doesn't even notice when the couch isn't where it was when he left in the morning. I guess he's just used to it after 27 years of marriage. I have multiple blogs - some I even … Continue reading Blogs, Procrastination, Clarity…for now
I planned a three-week trip to California - the longest I've ever been gone. But with Katie's birthday on Feb. 28th, her live show closing its run the following week, and my Martha Beck Life Coach conference from March 13-16, I just decided to tie it all together. But we all know what happens to … Continue reading California – What a Ride!!
Our beloved Hank the Cowdog was laid to rest on March 5, 2014. Alyssa and Ron were with him to the very final heartbeat. Hank's health was deteriorating and just before Christmas, he was unable to walk and barely lift his head. He was out in the backyard near the fountain. He seemed to have … Continue reading Goodbye, Hank – RIP
No more teens at our house. Well, technically, she hasn't been in our house for a little while, but now, adolescence in our family is a thing of the past. I feel a lot like Billy Crystal's mother on City Slickers when she called at 5 a.m. to replay the story of his birth. I … Continue reading Alyssa Turns 20
Today the cold front blew through and that really makes me happy. Not necessarily the cold, but the fog. I watched the birds go from bird feeder to bird feeder through the mist all morning. Loved it. #100HappyDays
Starting the day off with the Belated Birthday Breakfast. I wish we had a picture from our table. But we went to our favorite Mexican food restaurant: Then Ron ran a few errands as I cleaned the place up for my little get-together with friends. We had such a great time together! We hung from … Continue reading 100 Happy Days – Day 4
Today, my happiness came from so many things! I bought the most beautiful comfy cushions for my backyard! Here's the pattern: And then after Kathya got off work, she and Michael drove down for a quick visit. They arrived at Alyssa and Josh's house around 9 p.m. in their new car. We (Ron, Grandma and … Continue reading 100 Happy Days – Day 3