A call out to Moms (And Dads)!

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A call out to Moms (And Dads)!

Don’t let society (or certain politicians) tell you that you cannot stay home and raise your children, or that by doing so will cause you to get less wages when/if you do return to the workforce. Don’t be afraid of “losing” your status or place in a career field (if you are meant to return to that career it will happen). If it is about the money, there are options. And if it means enough to you or “you would give anything to stay home with them” (which I hear ALL the time) then do your research and take that step.

Now if you are currently working, and would rather be with your kids, step back and think about what your “job” is costing you. Emotionally (don’t you miss your kids?), physically (stress, sedentary lifestyle), money (what do you spend on gas, car, business clothes, childcare, etc), life experiences (you only get days off when your boss approves it, right?). Is that really worth it?

First of all, take away all that money you spend having that “job,” along with things maybe you don’t NEED to buy and see what you actually need for that 2nd income. It is probably not as much as you think. Second, look at the possibility of residual income as an affiliate with a great company. You can make extra money and have the freedom to stay home and live life in your own way (NOT the way a politician tells you is “good for America”).

Choose your priorities. Is shaping your children more important or do you want the government to do that (I certainly do not)? Is taking your children out in the world to learn more important or would you rather be sitting in that cubicle doing paperwork for some corporation (is THAT why you are here on Earth?)?

These are life-changing realizations. Let’s get real. The time is NOW. We don’t know what the future holds but I can tell you that if you don’t take the “risk” then what is the point of it all? I know people want change, I know we can work together as a community to create this change. Take action and Join me!

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Worldschooling love list!

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Thinking about how many fantastic opportunities there are out there and places I cannot wait to take my family as we worldschool more! We travel all the time but in short amounts at a time so I can’t wait to spend larger amounts of time really soaking up the different cultures!

Here are just a few top places on my list!

1. Mexico-Sayulita

We adore the mexican culture and even got married on the beach in Riviera Maya, MX. We also have gone to many other places including Tulum, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and one of my favorite places, Puerto Vallarta. About 45 minutes up the road from Puerto Vallarta is a perfect looking little Mexican town of Sayulita. It is a beautiful surf town and since Micah, our 3 year old, has already proclaimed that he would like to be a surfer, it seems like a fantastic fit!

2. Italy-Ummm…Everywhere!

I fell in LOVE with this culture the first time I stepped on the soil there! The Cinque Terre is like a place made from my dreams. Venice can’t help but be magical and all the little Tuscan and Umbrian towns are just perfect! I spent some time learning Italian in Perugia once and would love to be immersed back into the language, food and culture!

3. Germany-Bavaria area

Can we say Christmas markets?!!! Not to mention some fabulous medieval towns, mountains, and historical castles everywhere! I just love it here! There is just so much to do and embrace. It is a place I can see us settling for a good amount of time!

4. Asia-in general

Since I have traveled around so much but never made it to an Asian country yet, I feel that this is a must in the near future. I definitely have to put more research into where exactly to go but we will probably start with the touristy places (Great wall of China for example) and go from there! Suggestions are very welcome!

There are so many places out there that this is just a vague tip of the iceberg! How amazing is it that we DO have a choice for FREEDOM and this IS all a possibility?! Comment below and let me know what is at the top of your list?

Clarity…A self-designed life!

 

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As I stated in my last blog, I am going through a shift in how I have been living and how I want to live my life. Please bare with me as I continue my research and come to more realizations.

I have been doing a lot of research and truly appreciate the ideas of unschooling in many ways. I have been using the term unschooling in previous posts because my initial idea was that unschooling was living and learning through life without school or specific curriculum training. With that said, the word “unschooling” has always seemed to have a negative sounding connotation but I stuck with it since it seems to be a great concept.

After joining many groups in the area of unschooling/homeschooling online, I was confused and surprised by the approach that many take. I am also saddened by many of the adults behavior within some communities. I hate to make a general statement of the groups as a whole, however I do feel that many people who comment, have the need to come across as experts and knock others ideas and statements or parenting ideals down. It seems, according to some of these groups, that there is only a certain way you are supposed to unschool and, if you don’t do exactly that, you do not truly unschool and should not be in that community. In a way it seems like it is  just another variation of an educational type of institution, not true unschooling freedom.

In my research I came across this blog post (by Desiree Alonso, April 9, 2013, in Liberated Family, https://web.archive.org/web/20130729181854/http://thelivingfreeproject.com/time-to-rethink-radical-unschooling/#disqus_thread) and I would like to quote a portion of it because I think it is well said and expresses the ideas I would like to get out.

“Unschooling simply is living life without school. Woohoo!! I am all for that.  It didn’t mean UnEducation and it did not assume to have some enlightening monopoly on proper parenting.  It simply meant living life as if school did not exist. The schooling system was the problem, not the parents or brushing teeth for that matter.  It trusted both child and parent to make the best decisions possible. A truly beautiful and liberating concept indeed. But, like any opinion or suggestion, like anything that us human beings can get our grubby fingers on… it devolved into a believe system, a new ‘ism, authorities on the topic arose and we had to take it to the next level and market it as some revolutionary act  of freedom based entirely on narrow views, over-complications and semantics.”

Another quote, from a great post in whole, that I think explains things better than I can (also from the Admin of Liberated Family, April 20, 2013, https://web.archive.org/web/20130729182449/http://thelivingfreeproject.com/liberation-from-the-unshooling-gestapo/) is:

“John Holt coined the term circa forty years ago and it was a beautiful ideology that recognized the individual freedom, style and needs of each child and each individual family dynamic. Folks, education is part of living and living is not supposed to be classified, identified or compartmentalized by any method, brand or label.  The human need or desire to identify with a particular mode whether it be “unschooling” “classical” or any “ism” for that matter in politics or learning or religion – that human need for classification is merely a symptom brought on by the indoctrination process.  If we do that then we are not truly unplugged and if we are not truly unplugged, then we are not free; whats worse, we may still find ourselves enslaved to another preacher’s paradigm.”

I have been reading as many books, blogs, websites, etc, as possible on the unschooling concept. There are FANTASTIC ideas within these areas but keep in mind that these are simply someone else’s theories and we need to do what is best for each of our own families. There is no right or wrong so take what you want and leave the rest.

My husband and I are both educated teachers (not that you need to be to homeschool). Every intention we have is to let our children learn and passionately live and perform in society. However, what society should or does look like to some and what it should or does look like to others can be drastically different. Because of that, giving them a world view and optimal ways to learn is important to us and not by someone else’s standards. 

We may not use a specific curriculum but they will be given ample opportunity to learn and find out what passions they are drawn to. If we were not to give them LOTS of experiences/activities to draw from, I believe it would be harder to find that spark of what they want to learn. As parents and learning facilitators, I think it is very important to see how we can get creative and encourage math, reading, writing, science, etc into that sparked interest.

My kids will still be involved in extra classes or events such as gymnastics or music-whatever interests them (whether it’s here at home, or away on our travels). We will still have plenty of playdates and chances to hang out with friends. We will just be living with more travel, freedom and life experiences through it all! Free-play/discovery time is so important and there are also plenty of places for them to do that in addition to at home. I don’t believe that unschooling, for us, would be simply sitting at home day-in and day-out waiting for my kids to tell us where/what they want to go do (not that that is what all unschoolers do).

 As I have said in the about me section, I don’t like being part of the dogma of society and I certainly do not want to feel guilty about if I am living up to a certain groups expectations. I love the ideas of unschooling but I think, for my family, I will just be using the term loosely. For the purpose of writing, it is important to have a word or terms to explain our lifestyle so that you, as my audience, can relate to what I am talking about. For that purpose we will still be worldschoolers, life-learners, homeschoolers, unschoolers, self-directed learners, and basically just living a self-designed life!

Oh and by the way, we will most definitely still be doing teeth brushing, regardless of if they are passionate about that or not!

Unschooling IS for grown-ups too!!!

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Unschooling is for grown-ups too!!!

In my last blog post, I reflected on the idea that with my business and unschooling my children, I get to be unschooled too. The definition I quoted was: “An unschooled adult, or parent, is one who is loving the self designed life they have created for themselves. They may be entrepreneurs, travelers, create large incomes or small, simple ones. They know what foods, friendships, work, play and spiritual connections allow them to feel alive and challenged and satisfied.” -unschooling.com

To back up even more, let me explain. When I started my Network marketing business, I never realized that something like “it” was possible. How can you make an income that way? The idea of doing something and then continually getting paid over and over for it seems completely unreal. The truth is that it works.

Quickly, I realized that this was my vehicle to true freedom. Everyone I have ever met in network marketing shares a passion for life that I have never seen in any other business. Even our motto involves freedom. I see people succeeding and following their dreams. It has actually opened my mind and become a huge personal self-discovery experience. I have the ability to live where I want, run my business how I want, and continue to spend my days learning with my children-amazing!

As I became increasingly passionate about being an entrepreneur in my network marketing company, I still had been feeling like I was missing an aspect of where I wanted to take it. I knew I was passionate about helping people become healthier and I wanted to gain more freedom but I really still want to make even more of an impact. After a discussion with my friend on how she wants to unschool also, it hit me. I realized what my passion is all about. I want families to have the same opportunity that I have found to live the life they imagine. I don’t want kids to be forced through school or adults through corporate America. I don’t want people to feel like they have to send their kids to daycare if they would rather be the one’s taking care of them. I have read somewhere that when your true passion is realized, you will cry and in this moment I actually cried.

I feel like more parents would be open to new ideas of unschooling/homeschooling and a family centered approach to life learning, if they had a means to be free themselves. Many parents that I talk to say they wouldn’t have time to spend with their kids to do any type of homeschooling or can’t afford to quit their job to take them out of school or daycare. I think the biggest problem is that people may have trouble expanding their mind to understand a new (well it’s not actually that new) concept. They are so deep into the dogma of society that they can’t imagine doing things different than anyone else. Maybe they are afraid of being judged, as they probably have been their whole life or maybe they just don’t have enough information of what this lifestyle can be. At the same time, maybe some crave this lifestyle but don’t know how they could possibly achieve it. That is where I come in.

I want to educate parents/adults on the idea that they themselves CAN become unschooled and free, just as their children can. I want to show them that, with a company that pays them a residual income working from anywhere, they can all be together, unschooling as a family. Children can have both parents present (and why not soak up those short years with your babies). No one needs an alarm clock. Why spend the best days of your life waiting for this “magical age” of 65 to hit so you can finally pursue other things you love?

Of course there are other ways, aside from network marketing, to quit a mainstream/corporate job and be with your family but many of those may require a lot more money upfront, product ideas, certain training, etc. With network marketing, there are low costs to start your business, anyone can open a business center, and you get paid on the amount of effort you put in (verses the amount of hours you put in). You are working towards your dreams, not someone else’s up on the hierarchy. Instead you have a built in team of people supporting you. We can work joyfully on our business knowing that everything we do in working towards our dreams, also directly supports the dreams and goals of others on our team, without taking anything away from ourselves. How amazing is that?!

As my husband is freed from his lifelong career, we will spend many portions of the year worldschooling. When I have looked at other worldschool family websites online, I notice a common question from others is “how can you afford to do that?” Well, in my opinion, network marketing is the answer. Anyone can continue to get paid while simply learning about the world with their family (my company, USANA, is located in 19 countries too so you can also keep growing your business along the way, which means you can potentially write off those aspects on your taxes). Not too many jobs that offer that.

I now realize that, as it turns out, I have been unschooling my kids in many ways since they were born but never related it to any specific terminology. These have just always been my ideals. My children are well behaved and I consider them to be very imaginative and smart already (at 3.5 and 1.5 years)! They know their Alphabet and numbers (well the 1.5 year old know many of them) without spending a day in school. It has come simply through playing. I hope that I can touch lives and inspire other parents (or non-parents) to unschool themselves and start living and working on a life of true health and TRUE freedom. Do it for you, do it for your kids. I am so excited for where this journey is taking us and invite you all to come along!

Oh and don’t forget to follow my blog, especially if you would like to virtually come along on our worldschooling adventures! Also, if I inspire you at all, share my love for freedom with others so they might be inspired as well!

Blog: healthandfreedomjunkie.com

Business website: amylavallie.usana.com

Or please feel free to contact me using this form!

Unschooling with Usana!

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I feel like I have been searching my entire life for “more.” For freedom to learn what I want, when I want and for the freedom live a more creative, adventurous life. I have been gong through a paradigm shift with many ideas, beliefs and even values lately. I am becoming passionate about nutrition and how it has amazing abilities to heal the body, about creating my own USANA business to obtain freedom for myself and others, and since my kids are growing up way too fast (almost 4 and 2 years), I am thinking of what to do about schooling.

Two years ago I was determined to be in a “good” school district for my boys. Now that we are, it still just doesn’t feel right. I have finally figured out where these feeling stem from and that is my own terrible experiences with school conformity. I tried to forget my experiences thinking it might be different for my kids. However, I realize now that there are much better alternatives for my family.

Let me give some background. If you know me, you may not know these facts because it is not something I have widely discussed before. To put it bluntly, I am a high school drop out. I was always made to feel bad or guilty for not being successful in public school. Up until recently, I may have said “I failed at school” but now I realize that was not the case at all. School failed me, as it does for so many others. I did get my GED and then later in life, after traveling through Europe and experiencing real-life learning, I pursued and received my college degree, receiving a very high academic GPA, ironically in Education.

In early elementary school I suffered a lot of anxiety about being away from my parents. I would leave notes at my table every time we left my classroom because I was afraid my mom would come to get me (I always hoped she would) and not be able to find me. I was shy and didn’t like being there. This was just the start of my struggle with school. One particular experience that haunts me was from 4th grade. I had a specific teacher who, it seemed, did not appreciate anything I tried to do. As a punishment for doing poorly on an assignment she made me call my mom in the middle of class (in tears) to explain to her that I had not done good enough. My mom reamed her out for this, but still, as a child I felt terrible and like a failure.

In middle school I failed at math. It was not that I wasn’t trying but all those numbers on paper made no sense to me. It was like learning Chinese without ever having the opportunity to try speaking it only looking at it on paper and having to figure out what it meant. Maybe if I had spent time doing math in a real life activity it would have made more sense but it was just all workbooks and tests. I always did well on projects that put you in real-life situations (studying another country and doing different things like cooking a meal from there, dressing like a person from that area for a project, etc is one that comes to mind) because I enjoyed the real-life aspects of learning it. For the most part, I felt like I struggled through middle school.

Then high school came. Since I was already certain that I would fail academically, I wanted to be involved in the things I knew and loved. I grew up in theater and did many community plays. This was my creative outlet and I learned so much doing it. When I tried out for the high school plays I was never cast though. That left me with the feeling of failure in everything. I was going to fail my classes, fail at the creative outlet that I loved, fail at life. I started hanging out with other kids who were “failing” and that grew concern for teachers and my parents. Because they wanted me to stop hanging out with my friends, I only wanted to conform less and less. Sure, this could be called rebellion but maybe I was just sick of being told that what I was doing was never good enough for someone else’s standards. I gave up and stopped going to school.

My brother, who is actually one of the smartest people I know, struggled in school as well. He learned at his own pace and dealt with bullying. My husband had his own struggles with being labeled as having a learning “disability” in reading when the reality maybe he just learned in a different way. Lots of people have their own stories.

I don’t blame anyone, just the system itself. The education system is broken. It was made for people to conform, to learn only what and how society/government wants them to learn and behave the way society deems okay. You have to get permission to go to the bathroom, to take a break, to eat. You can only work on a certain subject when the teacher says it okay. How can that be right? Of course I realize that some people may have had great school experiences, and I am happy for that. However, it does not change the predicament of what those schools do to the creativeness and freedom of children. School is an institution and so is jail, which is what school feels like for so many kids.

When I was in school, people did not realize they had other educational options or, if they did, it was highly frowned upon. Now that I know what the school system is actually about, and after internalizing my own experiences, how could I want to send my own children to participate in such a system? At one point I played around with the idea of sending my 3-year old to preschool and even toured it but he was so anxious about being left there without me that I decided to wait. Now I realize how great of a decision it was. Why should I put him in that same anxiety situation that I felt as a child. Many children just need to gain that independence from their parents when they feel ready. Sure, you can force it but you never know how that traumatic experience will effect them later.

Growing up we took many family road trips and vacations to historical places. I loved learning in those situations and learning right in the middle of it all. Those are real life experiences. Why not teach like that? There are many alternative ways for children to learn, like Homeschooling and Unschooling, that are becoming more and more well known and accepted now. If you are not familiar with Unschooling, it is a method of homeschooling that puts the desire, drive, motive and responsibility for life-learning (or education) in the hands of the learner without an actual curriculum. Think of it like a combination of Montessori style learning combined with homeschooling. There are many books and resources available on this method if you are interested in more information.

As I have stated in my blog description “about me,” I searched relentlessly for jobs for my husband in other areas. My search was so wide though. Italy, Germany, Mexico, Florida, Hawaii were some of the places but I could never decide how to narrow my search down so I looked everywhere of interest hoping that something, anything, would present an opportunity. It hit me now that, with Usana as my income, and unschooling for my kids, we don’t have to choose. I know how to make a residual income through a great network marketing company, where I can work and earn money from any location. I can still spend time in our “home state,” giving my kids some roots and time with family, while also taking my kids to live for any length of time in different locations where they will be experiencing and learning through immersion in other cultures. The other HUGE bonus is that my husband will be able to enjoy the freedom of spending time with our kids and not working more than he sees his family.

I realize now that this is my path and the best part is, I get to be unschooled too (“An unschooled adult, or parent, is one who is loving the self designed life they have created for themselves. They may be entrepreneurs, travelers, create large incomes or small, simple ones. They know what foods, friendships, work, play and spiritual connections allow them to feel alive and challenged and satisfied.” -http://unschooling.com/what-is-unschooling/)!

After starting Usana and my health and freedom junkie blog, I have been conflicted on what focus I am really drawn to in my business. I knew I wanted health and I knew I have always wanted freedom. Now I also know that I want to help families break free from the chains of society-schooling. If you have been contemplating how school is actually working for your kids but are not sure how you can make a living and homeschool/unschool them at the same time, join me. I can show you how to make it a reality! Ready? We are embarking on an amazing life and journey together as a family. Join us!!!

This is life!

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I LOVE this entire motto. When I first read it I thought how it really summarized how I have felt my whole life. I spend many years growing up feeling stuck and wanting so much more of of life. Stuck in a society that wants you to conform. I never wanted anyone to tell me how things should be done, when I should do them, or how much I should know about something.  I NEVER EVER wanted to sit at a desk and do  work for some boss that only cares about their own paycheck (and never have done that).

Instead I backpacked through Europe alone, took Italian in Italy, skydived in the Swiss Alps, got married in Mexico,  learned trampoline, trapeze and ariel fabric, coach gymnastics, and have taken every chance I can to be adventurous.

In between all of that I got a degree in health and human performance and now I have two small children. I want to expose them to the world and as many adventures as I can. I don’t want to be held back and I don’t want to hold my kids back so I am on a mission to teach them to live life healthy and to the fullest. I am so thankful to be involved in a company that fully supports and helps me obtain this type of lifestyle!