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19 One-Sentence Reminders To Help You With Your Depression

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    9 of these statements apply to each and every one of us.

  • Reflect On:

    Nobody has all of the answers, but we can continue to share information and thoughts that have helped us in our own life, in hopes that they may resonate with another.

Life undoubtedly features its fair share of hardship. And given the strength and sudden speed with which these challenges can strike, it can be easy to put greater focus on the more negative aspects of our existence than the positive.

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But no matter who you are or what your current situation is, there are always things to be grateful for and to appreciate in life. In an attempt to remind you of just how wonderful your life has been thus far and will continue to be, I’ve put together a list of 19 one-sentence reminders I feel we can all benefit from being told.

I truly believe that all 19 of these statements apply to each and every one of us, but even if only a handful of them resonate with you, let them inspire you to strengthen the love you have for this blessing that we call life.

(Note: I’ve compiled this list in both written and video format to give you the option to process it via whichever medium you prefer.)

1. You’ve been through a lot and you’re still here.

As I mentioned off the top, we’ve all been through hardship in life. Whether your life has been relatively easy on you or has been a constant struggle, we’ve all been through things that could have laid us low. But we are still standing here today, and that is something to be proud of.

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2. Being different is a blessing, not a curse.

Even if you’re among those who make a point of modelling themselves after people they admire, we are all unique in this world. And that uniqueness, whether or not your traits adhere to the currently praised ones in pop culture, is something to embrace and celebrate.

3. You’re as young right now as you’re ever going to be.

No matter how old you currently are, you are never going to be as young as you are right now in this moment. So if not now, when?

4. You’re your own biggest critic in life.

This may sound negative to some, but it can also be quite empowering to remind yourself that if you learn to reel in your self-criticism, you’re bound to face less criticism overall each day. It’s important to be reflective, but it’s unhealthy to take that introspection to the point of self-hatred.

5. You always have at least 10 things to be grateful for in life instantaneously.

Don’t believe me? Try it out! Be broad (ex. I am thankful to be alive) or be specific (ex. I am thankful for the way my dog Sparky looks at me when I get home from work) and you’ll hit 10 quite easily.

Want to make gratitude a part of your regular life? I recommend The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day.

6. You have many skills and talents that others wish they had mastered.

While you may not be a gifted painter or a pro basketball player, we all have skill sets and talents that we’ve mastered either by choice or by circumstance. Successfully running a household, cooking well, and being a great listener are three easy examples of things to be proud of that most of us give little or no credit to.

7. You’ve smiled and laughed a countless number of times.

Even if you consider yourself a serious person, we’ve all cracked a smile and broken out in laughter countless times in our lives. Each of those moments, whether they were triggered by an experience, a comedian, or a funny movie, deserve to be cherished, and there are plenty more to come.

8. Relationships are an extension of your happiness, not the basis of it.

Because of how stimulating relationships can be in a number of ways, many of us allow our happiness to be dictated by the quality of the ones we have in our life, especially when it comes to our significant others. When you remind yourself that happiness starts from within, you remember that relationships only offer opportunities to extend your happiness — they don’t determine it.

9. You are loved and admired.

Most can agree to this one easily, and as a result, it is a heartwarming reminder of how valued we are. But for those of you that genuinely feel unloved and un-admired, dig a little deeper. We all have people in our lives that are grateful for our existence in theirs, and we also all boast characteristics that others admire.

10. Every day you come to understand yourself better and better, and care less and less about whether or not anyone approves of that.

It’s one of the naturally occurring benefits of aging, and it’s something we should all be really happy about. The older you get, the less likely you are to get caught up in a lot of the things that previously pulled you away from being yourself.

If you’re looking to understand yourself even better and expedite your journey to this point, I highly recommend Get a PhD in YOU: A Course in Miraculous Self-Discovery.

11. You’ve learned something from every failure in your life.

They may have sucked to go through, but I can guarantee you’ve learned a hell of a lot from every experience that you perceived as a failure in life. To be beyond that experience and to have that understanding under your belt is a wonderful thing.

12. You have so many wonderful memories and are going to create even more of them.

Whether it be the birth of a child, a fun trip with your partner, graduating from school, or anything else of that nature, we all have wonderful memories in life. Take some time regularly to reflect on how wonderful those moments are and let them inspire you to fall in love with the reality that you are bound to create more of them moving forward.

13. You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can always control your reaction to it.

The exact same experience could happen to three separate individuals, all with identical repercussions, yet affect each one differently. While one may find themselves enraged and another annoyed, the third might have no reaction at all. You are always in control of your reaction to every circumstance, so you choose how long to be upset or down about things.

To further explore this theory, I suggest listening to the audio from Tony Robbins on The Power to Shape Your Destiny: Seven Strategies for Massive Results.

14. A lot of the greatest things in our life came from our biggest challenges.

Along the same lines of number 11, you can persist through tough times by keeping in mind that great things often result from these experiences. Remembering this can be integral to loving all aspects of life once again.

15. You’re the biggest thing holding you back from pursuing your dreams.

It may seem like your commitments and obligations are your biggest hurdles to pursuing your dreams, but it’s actually your mindset that rises above them all. If we want to go after a goal, we all have optional things we can take time from to make that possible. Believe it or not, the countless hours you spend watching Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead can actually be put to better use.

Looking for some motivation and clarity to go after your dreams? I highly recommend Awaken the Giant Within : How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!

16. You care about personal development.

This article undoubtedly falls under the category of personal development, so the fact that you found it interesting enough to not only click but also read this far shows some definite signs of commitment to improving yourself.

17. You have and are connected to so many people in this world.

Thanks in large part to the wonderful world of social media, we can all connect to hundreds, if not thousands, of people pretty well effortlessly. This is a truly special time to be alive, and the connectivity we have access to is an element to our daily life that is always available for us to love and appreciate.

18. You have the courage to do so much that others are scared to do.

Doing pretty well everything in life requires a level of courage that many others shy away from. Whether your comfort zone is narrow or broad, it’s certainly bigger than it was when you were born, and every time that it got bigger was a clear sign of courage.

19. You actively look for positive reminders about life.

You made it to the bottom of this list! That clearly suggests that you not only know deep down that life is beautiful, but you are actively looking to remind yourself of this fact.

For more positive reminders and a take on personal development that strives to make it both more brutally honest and interesting for all of us, I encourage you to check out my YouTube Channel.


Ready to change your life today? Get my FREE eBook on 5 Quick Daily Hacks for a GENUINELY Happier Life sent straight to your inbox by signing up here.

Free: Regenerate Yourself Masterclass

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New Moon In Pisces: Seeing Things In A Different Way

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We are having a New Moon in Pisces on February 23rd and in the early hours of the 24th in the countries furthest East. This is initiating a new 29.5-day lunar cycle and a new wave of energy for the coming month. However, the astrological configurations mentioned in this article will be more prominent over the coming two weeks. This cycle will include a Full Moon in Virgo on March 9th/10th.

This New Moon is occurring a week into Mercury Retrograde which is also in Pisces for most of its duration. You can read more about that here. Generally speaking, this is a period of re-orientation around how we incorporate Piscean energies in our lives and this New Moon kicks this into gear even more so.

Pisces is the last of 12 signs and is associated with spirit and oneness as a reflection of its place in the zodiacal evolution. As a result, it is the least compatible with the physical-material and mundane world.

Pisces is oriented around emotion, compassion, energy, spirituality, imagination, and dreams. It is highly intuitive and even psychic, sometimes unknowingly. Pisces can be divinely inspired, idealistic, healing, tranquil, mystical, empathic, and highly creative. It is forgiving and self-effacing.

Negative qualities of Pisces can be delusion, deception, confusion, escapism, addiction, intoxication, flakiness, evasiveness, and having issues with boundaries. It can lack rationality and mental acuity. The line between reality and fantasy can be blurred.

New Moon Sextile Uranus & Mars Near South Node

In the days leading up to the New Moon, Mars in Capricorn has been in a trine with Uranus which are both in a sextile to this Lunation and get carried into the Lunar cycle. This can be good for taking a different approach towards something or asserting yourself in an area of life in a new way. It can also reflect action that is unusual, innovative, progressive, metaphysical, experimental, liberating, rebellious, or independent.

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However, Mars is also moving towards the South Node which is strongest from February 24th-26th.  This can reflect some sort of purging or releasing and/or things from the past may come up that need to be changed. Perhaps something may come up that can get in the way of our growth. For some people this can be a period of needing to let go of negative expressions of Mars that can be holding us back. If so, it can be connected to anger, aggression, force, competitiveness, or aspects of sexual behavior or relationships.

Mercury Inferior Conjunction

This Mars aspect is happening during the most significant part of Mercury’s retrograde which is when it joins the Sun, known as the ‘Inferior Conjunction’. Mercury will also be in a direct sextile with Mars and the South Node which makes it more significant. This can be a period of increased insights, and the themes or circumstances pertaining to how this retrograde is affecting you may come up more during this period.

Complications and frustrations can also be stronger at this time depending on your circumstances or how you are applying yourself. This may also be a period of ridding yourself of certain thoughts, ideas, perceptions, old interests, expectations, or other things that are not serving you while the potential for new ones may be seeded.

Jupiter Sextile Neptune

Jupiter is making its first of three sextiles to Neptune that are happening in 2020. This one is strongest from February 14th-26th. Considering that Neptune is associated with Pisces (also currently in that sign) and Jupiter having a broadening effect on it, this energy accentuates all the Pisces energy that is already occurring at this time.

It can be expansive, explorative, educational, philosophical, and ambitious in a creative, artistic, spiritual, mystical, or compassionate way. With Jupiter being in the Earth sign of Capricorn, many people can experience this around ambitions, career, business, or practical matters. This energy can also be good for visual media efforts. Capricorn can help bring groundedness, practicality, and realism to this idealistic combination of planets.

Venus Square Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn

Venus in Aries is in an exact square with Jupiter at the time of this New Moon. This energy can be excessive and impulsive when it comes to spending money, fun, pleasure, love, or anything sensual. However, it can also reflect growth or learning around relationships, values, art, or perhaps connected to aesthetics.

Venus then builds up towards a square with Pluto which will be strongest from February 27th-29th. At best this can reflect depth, regeneration, passion, or some sort of empowerment in our relations with others. This can also play out as power struggles, possessiveness, intensity, manipulation, or changes within friendships, in social situations, or amongst lovers. Fears or suspicions around these areas can come up or hidden matters may surface considering that Mercury is also retrograde.

Following this, Venus is in a square with Saturn which is strongest from March 2nd-4th. This can reflect difficulties, obstacles, delays, seriousness, dullness or restrictions either socially, financially, or aesthetically. We may need to be realistic, cautious, or more responsible in these areas.

Making Intentions and Things To Consider

What can you be doing to help you become more spiritually activated and bring more magic into your life? Do you have any self-sabotaging or escapist tendencies that could be traded in for creative, spiritual, or inspiring practices, efforts, or projects? Do you need to develop your intuition? Should you be meditating more often? How can you be integrating your visions, imagination, inspiration, creativity, or even visual media into your career or any projects that you are doing? Do you need to be more compassionate?

These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time. However, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. The exact moment it will occur is 3:32pm Universal Time on February 23rd.  You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology-related content.

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Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. 

Free: Regenerate Yourself Masterclass

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32 Thoughts That Can Help You Achieve Anything

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9 years ago I made a choice, that choice changed the rest of my life. What I realize today is that same choice is one that many face and are very afraid to consider. I want to help shift that today.

In today’s world, most seem to be chasing success, wealth, an opportunity, fame or something of that sort. And I can’t blame anyone. We live in a world where ‘things’ are flashy, fun, and exciting. Where money holds us back from being able to have basic experiences.

Of course people want to have access to the world! But in many cases to get that access means we may need to work hard. We may need to work through challenges.

Now I think we can go on talking about how much of the time we get caught up in looking for material wealth to make us ‘happy’. But today I’m going to pull focus away from that and simply look at what can inspire us to achieve our deepest desires, passions, and the things we feel we’ve been put on earth to do.

Not everything comes easy but if we have the right mindset approach with ourselves and take action, I believe we can achieve anything. I proved this to myself 9 years ago when I made my choice to drop out of school for good and pursue my passion. I’m still doing it and there is much I learned along the way.

Words have power. The story we tell ourselves and the power of the mind comes into play everyday in our lives. Audit your current story, how much do you doubt yourself? Talk poorly about yourself? Talk down to yourself? What about when you are talking to others about yourself?

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Here are some thoughts and phrases to really reflect on and internalize to help you achieve anything.

1. You are in control of your life, at a deep level!

2. Take your dreams seriously. Others will tell you they are not possible, but they are. Always.

3. What does your ideal day look like? Start creating it!

4. “If you don’t have room to fail, you don’t have room to grow. — Jonathan Mildenhall

5. If someone asks you why you do what you do, you better have a good reason.

6. If you are doing what everyone else is doing, there is a good chance you will end up where they are too.

7. What you do and who you are is unique and no one else in the world will do it like you. For that reason alone you must do it.

8. There is no such thing as failure, it’s simply a learning lesson you were brave enough to reach.

9. You already have all it takes to create anything! It all comes from within you, it’s about what you choose and expose yourself to.

10. Change for yourself, not for others.

11. Change starts within. Don’t look outside yourself to get things started. Look inward.

12. There is so much to be said about DOING. You can’t achieve anything if you don’t DO.

13. A setback is a setup for a comeback” – Dr. Willie Jolley

14. Be genuine! Your true self and true story holds much more power than a fabricated game.

15. Connect back with your initial passion and desire weekly. Getting lost in the chase is highly detrimental.

16. Surround yourself with others who support you. Limit time spent with those bringing you down.

17. Don’t completely shut out the nay sayers, they bring feedback you often won’t get otherwise.

18. There is no positive and negative when you see things for what they are. This allows you to stop fantasizing about outcomes.

19. Visualize! Each day you can benefit greatly from visualizing what you want to achieve. Seeing yourself doing it.

20. Be grateful for where you are no matter what. Check in with yourself to refuel the realization of gratefulness.

21. “Your problem isn’t the problem. Your reaction is the problem.” — Anonymous

22. Don’t subject yourself to other’s idea of how things ‘have to be done’. If your way works, do it!

23. On that note, learning from your mistakes is great but learning from others is even better. Use your FEELING to determine which path to take.

24. It’s not about the destination as much as it is about the journey, enjoy every step of the way and don’t judge it.

25. Pay attention to YOUR dream and not the dreams of others. Audit yourself, who’s dreams are you really after? Yours? Your parents? Societies?

26. Give a damn. Care. What you put in is often what you get out.

27. “The most important thing to remember is this: to be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.” — W. E. B. Du Bois

28. And on that note, who are you? Truly? Do you know? Spend time getting to know you!

29. Do or Do Not. There is no Try — Yoda.

30. What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while.

31. We often start off terrible at things, no problem. Mastery comes in continuing.

32. No great person simply picked something up and was the best. Everyone put in time, energy, hours and in fact, 10,000 of them. Be gentle with yourself, but remember to work for what you want.

Many of these thoughts, wise words and quotes have been huge themes in my life in following a passion. Climbing a mountain most thought I couldn’t climb. But the key after all these years is not to judge others, ‘prove’ anything to them or revel in accomplishments. It’s realizing that this was my path. This was my journey. I chose this.

Stay present, stay humble, stay in line with your passion and your ego will stay quiet. Connect to your heart.

Photo credit Tim Bogdanov.

Free: Regenerate Yourself Masterclass

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Consciousness

Why I Chose To Un-School My Son

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Now more than ever before our society is seeing the need to take matters into our own hands and not rely on others to get the job done for us. The topic of un-schooling has become quite popular and with good reason.

According to Wikipedia:

“Unschooling is an educational method and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning. Unschooling students learn through their natural life experiences including play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities initiated by the children themselves, believing that the most personal learning is, the more meaningful, well-understood and, therefore, useful it is to the child. While courses may occasionally be taken, unschooling questions the usefulness of standard curricula, conventional grading methods, and other features of traditional schooling in the education of each unique child.”

I couldn’t agree more. It’s about taking the reigns in our children’s education to ensure that they are not just getting a good one but they have the opportunity to see the great joy of learning. After six years of leaving it up to the system, my son lost that great joy.

All Children Love To Learn

All kids love to learn and my son was not excluded from that. After a couple years of school, I noticed that school didn’t feel like a place of learning for him. Learning was something that naturally manifested into his life. I taught him sign language before he ever said his first word. He loved books, songs, art, counting and all the stuff a child his age liked to learn about.

As early as grade one, he began showing signs that he would prefer not to go there. Recently I saw an episode of The Simpsons titled, ‘Lisa’s Sax’ from Season 9, which shows a flashback to Bart’s first day of kindergarten. Some of you PicMonkey Collagemay know the one. In the episode, Bart starts his first day saying, “School will be fun.” Shortly after, his initial enthusiasm is crushed by an uncaring and bitter teacher who says that he would be a failure at life, and he draws a violent sketch of his feelings. I feel that’s what it was like for my son (and many other kids) when they entered school for the first time. They go in with enthusiasm and excitement and end up with disdain and confusion.

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In grade four, he began to ask me questions regarding the structure of school. He told me he didn’t like that the kids were constantly being told to be quiet and sit still. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t eat when he was hungry. He was confused why he couldn’t learn about the things that he liked or was interested in. He asked why the teachers stopped using games and songs and kept play time to a scheduled time once a week. Prompted by my son’s inquires, I was compelled to do research about public education and its origins which I will share my findings later in this article.

When my son was in grade 5, I noticed that he didn’t understand basic math concepts. Concerned, I reached out to his teacher who told me that she hadn’t noticed. She said she would look into it and I put my faith in her that she would get to the bottom of the problem. She never did and before I could follow up with her as to why nothing had been done, the teachers went on strike until the following school year. My son entered grade 6 and more problems regarding school began to arise.

The Move That Changed Our Lives

By February of this year, school had created a horrible rift in our home life. When I would try to help my son with his homework, he would become extremely emotional and shut down. This made it almost impossible to help him. Eventually he had an emotional breakdown. He began by telling me that he was not going back to school. After asking him why he felt so strongly about this, he listed numerous reasons over the course of two hours. The things he brought up were that he felt like school was militarized. When asking why he felt like that he said because of the rules, the loudschools-as-factories sound of the bell and that they made them run outside in the winter rain and cold everyday even if they didn’t want to. He felt like school was boring because he never had the opportunity to learn what he was interested in. How many of you reading this ask your children what they learned about in school when they come home and they reply with, “Nothing” or “Boring stuff”? My son disagreed with how the kids were treated, specifically that the teachers were above the students and that they were like masters and the kids were like slaves (his words). He didn’t feel like what he was learning about would benefit him in any way, not now, not ever. He felt stupid and the pressure of “competing” with his peers was unbearable.

This incident deeply saddened me. From what I could see, my baby was suffering and as his mother, it was my duty to find a solution to this and I feel I have. I had been toying with the idea of home education for years. Every day after school, I would tutor my son on things he would never learn while attending school which I think was the basis for him to be able to have an awareness that something just wasn’t right at that place. I so badly wanted him to see the joy of learning and how beneficial it is to be educated but felt with the lack of funding and set curriculum that was not possible. After laying out my options with home education and studying the philosophies and methods of un-schooling, I pulled my son from the school.

The Teachers Know That Public Education Is Horribly Flawed

I sent an email to his teacher explaining a bit about why I was taking my son out of public education which prompted the teacher to call me. We had a very long, enlightening conversation regarding the school system. The teacher told me that he completely supported and agreed with my decision to educate my son at home. He knew that the system was out-dated at best and the kids are not benefiting from it in anyway. He stated that most kids in his class were having meltdowns at home and in school regarding it. He agreed with me that the system doesn’t teach the kids how to be critical thinkers and that can be very dangerous for a society as a whole. He told me that he will not be putting his kids in public education. That statement alone was enough to tell me I was doing the right thing. My son was in a split class and had two teachers. Between the two teachers, they shared 65 students. That is unbelievable! The teacher stated that he so badly wants to teach but it’s so conflicting because as a teacher, his hands are tied. He has to stick to a set curriculum and can’t really go outside of it. He said that there literally is no funding. Most teachers pay for a lot of school supplies out of their own pockets. This morning I read a Polk county public school teacher’s letter of resignation. To me it’s more proof that the teachers know that the system is horribly flawed!

How My Son’s Life Has Changed

 cartoon-thinking-outside-box_final

Since we started our journey of un-schooling, he now understands basic math concepts. His mood has also improved greatly. When I first caught wind to him being behind, I knew that it stemmed from his grade two year and he couldn’t get caught up because the teachers unfortunately don’t do one-on-one help. He got behind in the first place because he was being bullied and his teacher at the time was also doing questionable things like not letting him go to the bathroom. That was a bad year for him. I know that experience had a part in his perception of school and him falling behind. Regardless, nothing was done on the teacher’s part to rectify the problem and how could they if they don’t have the time or resources to give one-on-one help. The principal of my son’s school said that they don’t offer one-on-one help at that school and most public schools.

The change from my son while he was in public school to un-schooling is like night and day. Now, he has complete say in what he learns about and because I know his interests, I can incorporate them into all subjects that he’s doing for that week. For example: he is completely obsessed with Samurais. So he completed math worksheets that had samurais on them, we explored the science of making katana swords, the geography of Japan, the history of the Edo period (time of the Samurais), writing assignments based on monks and Buddhism, the culture of Japan throughout history and now, and lots more. I couldn’t believe how I could incorporate samurais into every single subject.

Eventually, he started having self-directed days where he is his own teacher. He has the reigns and can decide what pace to go at and how much he wants to complete in one day. Some people have asked me if he does anything on the days when were not working together. Through un-schooling he has learned the importance and magic of learning. It’s all centered around his interests, passions, and curiosities so of course he does. He has the awareness that learning can manifest in anything. Whether it’s practicing his archery, tending to the plants, cooking, travelling, engaging in his passions and spending time with the ones he loves; he knows anything he engages himself in can teach him. When he was in school, he never set goals. Since we’ve been working together he sets goals and achieves them all the time. We have no set curriculum; he is in control with me as a guide.

The greatest thing that I’ve learned through this experience is that we must be engaged in our children’s learning. Even if un-schooling doesn’t seem like an option. We can’t expect that all their education needs will be met at school. For example, the things he has learned through un-schooling that he could not learn while attending public education include: cooking, the Japanese language, Nikola Tesla, how to take notes, the power of one, philosophy, philosophers, astronomy, Gandhi (and other greats like him), quantum physics, Buddhism, Jesus, yoga, meditation, critical thinking, archery, how to grow food, laws of attraction, the power of gratitude, wilderness survival, various conscious documentaries like “I Am”, in depth political history and how society was built, natural healing and medicines, knowledge of self and so, so, so much more! As a parent and an enthusiastic student of the universe, I believe all these things and more should be taught through public education! We must fill in the gaps whatever way we can in our current situations. The system is broken and the children are suffering.

The Evidence That Something Needs To Change

Aside from my son’s personal experience with school, there are other reasons that pushed me to make the move into home education. The most important one is the origins of public education. I truly believe that if parents knew what public education was really created for, they would never enrol their children in it.

Horace Mann

I wrote an article regarding the origins which you can view here. I highly recommend that you read this article which highlights John D. Rockefeller’s investment of and his involvement in it (to the outcry of parents and education professionals alike) as well as Horace Mann’s (“The Father of Education”) role in it and his ties to Prussia.

A notable person I have come across who has actually taken the time to study the long term status of the un-schoolers is Peter Gray. He is a Boston College research professor who has studied how learning happens without any academic requirements at a democratic school. In 2011, he decided to conduct a study with his colleague Gina Riley regarding a question he had that was centered around the outcome of the 10% of un-schoolers from the estimated two million children who are home schooled. He was prompted to conduct the study after finding no academic studies that adequately answered his question.

“In 2011, he and colleague Gina Riley surveyed 232 parents who unschool their children, which they defined as not following any curriculum, instead letting the children take charge of their own education. The respondents were overwhelmingly positive about their unschooling experience, saying it improved their children’s general well-being as well as their learning, and also enhanced family harmony. Their challenges primarily stemmed from feeling a need to defend their practices to family and friends, and overcoming their own deeply ingrained ways of thinking about education. (The results are discussed at length here.)”

Prompted by his own curiosity about how un-schooled children felt about their education experience and how this may have impacted their ability to pursue higher education and obtain gainful and satisfying employment, he conducted a study in 2013 in which he surveyed 75 adults ranging in age from 18 to 49; almost all of them had 3 years of un-schooling experience. The results and Gray’s remarks on the findings of the survey are quite long. You can read the entirety of the article and results here. Below I will paraphrase some of the points that really stood out for me in regards to questions I have been asked regarding my son’s future (going to college or finding employment).

All but three of the 75 respondents felt the advantages of unschooling clearly outweighed the disadvantages. Almost all said they benefited from having had the time and freedom to discover and pursue their personal interests, giving them a head start on figuring out their career preferences and developing expertise in relevant areas. Seventy percent also said “the experience enabled them to develop as highly self-motivated, self-directed individuals,” Gray notes on his blog. Other commonly cited benefits included having a broader range of learning opportunities; a richer, age-mixed social life; and a relatively seamless transition to adult life. “In many ways I started as an adult, responsible for my own thinking and doing,” said one woman who responded to Gray’s survey.”

“Very few had any serious complaints against unschooling,” Gray says, and more than a third of the respondents said they could think of no disadvantages at all. For the remainder, the most significant disadvantages were: dealing with others’ judgments; some degree of social isolation; and the challenges they experienced adjusting to the social styles and values of their schooled peers.

What stood out, he adds, is that “many more said they felt their social experiences were better than they would have had in school.” Sixty-nine percent were “clearly happy with their social lives,” he says, and made friends through such avenues as local homeschooling groups, organized afterschool activities, church, volunteer or youth organizations, jobs, and neighbors. In particular, “they really treasured the fact that they had friends who were older or younger, including adults. They felt this was a more normal kind of socializing experience than just being with other people your age.”

Three people were very dissatisfied overall. In all three cases, the respondents said their mothers were in poor mental health and the fathers were uninvolved. Two of the three also happened to be the only ones who mentioned having been raised in a fundamentalist religious home, though the survey didn’t ask this question specifically. It appeared to Gray that the unschooling was not intentional—the parent had aimed to teach a religious curriculum, “but was incompetent and stopped teaching,” he notes. In all of these cases, the children’s contact with other people was also very restricted; moreover, they were not given any choice about their schooling and therefore felt deprived of school.

Overall, 83 percent of the respondents had gone on to pursue some form of higher education. Almost half of those had either completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, or were currently enrolled in such a program; they attended (or had graduated from) a wide range of colleges, from Ivy League universities to state universities and smaller liberal-arts colleges.

In the words of one woman: “I already had a wealth of experience with self-directed study. I knew how to motivate myself, manage my time, and complete assignments without the structure that most traditional students are accustomed to. … I know how to figure things out for myself and how to get help when I need it.” Added another: “I discovered that people wanted the teacher to tell them what to think. … It had never, ever occurred to me to ask someone else to tell me what to think when I read something.”

More Evidence

Hackschooling Makes Me happy | Logan LaPlante | TEDxUniversityofNevada

High School Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling

4th Grade Student Sounds Off On State Testing

What Is The Solution?

I’m all about creating sustainable solutions that we can start implementing today. I wanted to share my story about my son in hopes that it will help other parents who are watching their children suffer in the school system and to know that there are other options. I believe that our children are the future and as such, it is our duty to make sure they have not just a good education but an inspiring and enlightening one so they don’t make the same mistakes my generation and generations before me have made. There has been a large increase on discussions regarding public education and the effect it’s having on our children. I personally believe that the whole system needs to be changed. It’s outdated and has sinister roots. We have the power to change things and talking about the solutions is a good start.

Recently, I read an article titled, ‘Why every parent should consider un-schooling’. In it, it states that with programs519dde98cf479_image_ like No Child Left Behind (millions of children have actually been left behind) and Common Core (otherwise known as Common Conformity) in the United States, parents are finding the educational climate so unacceptable that they are willing to take a radically different path. Upon reading that, I was reminded of another article I read regarding director James Cameron (Titantic, Avatar) and his wife Suzy Cameron creating an innovative school called Muse. The concept behind MUSE came about after Suzy, a global environmental activist, mother of 5, and proud wife, grew tired of watching her older children struggle in the traditional education system, and sought an alternative and more environmentally aware option.

I definitely think creating new schools with the basis of the “un-schooling” philosophy is what we need but for many parents that can seem like light years away especially when our children are suffering now. I’ve written many articles on how any parent can adopt the philosophies of un-schooling or home education even if they have to work during the day. There is always a way. It really depends on how much work you are willing to put in.

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