Wild Schooling natural mama, I inspire others to slow down and connect with the world around them, especially their own family. With an MA in Child Development, I support others on their own parenting and homeschool journeys.
I hope we can connect & grow together!
Autumn is my little family’s favorite time of the year. My daughters and I try to make the most of it with outings, crafts, baking, learning, and lots of celebrating. As a child led homeschooling mama, I find the changing of the seasons are a great guide to creating yearly flow, learning opportunities, and happy little traditions.
Emergent learning is all about letting the curiosities about the environment take the lead in prompting learning! Seeing pumpkins, leaves falling, apples on trees, and all the fun fall themed environmental changes can be a great prompt for your child’s learning. Children learn better and more effectively when when the learning process is hand on and interest based!
“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.”
Fred Donaldson, Ph.D., play researcher
We love to integrate supplemental curriculum in our fall activities to learn more while having fun! Carving a pumpkin? Learn about the pumpkin lifecycle and parts of a pumpkin!
[Not an affiliate for this craft guide, just love it!]
I do my best to not make celebrations all about consumerism, so the gifts I choose are second hand or something the girls need or can learn with. For Autumn equinox, I am gifting my little ones organic fall pajamas and lovely fall books I want to read with them this season. You can also find lots of fun fall themed gifts at your local thrift or toy stores! [click the image to purchase]
Comment and let me know what fun activities you’re doing this fall!
Enjoy the free fall memory matching game and the fall scavenger hunt!
As a single mother who travels full time, the most common question I get is “how do you afford it?” While I’m happy to share my own story, I think the answer everyone is looking for is how can THEY do it. While I love making videos (if you don’t know what I’m referring to check out my TikTok!), this topic is nearly impossible to cover in three minutes and I would love to help as many people as I can to achieve their dreams of traveling full time. I always say anyone can do it, but people assume that means I’m saying it’s easy, but that’s not what I’m saying: it is challenging, it takes commitment, it takes open mindedness, it takes willingness to change, but if you can navigate the challenges, you can travel full time!
All of our stories will be different because we are all starting our story with different resources and levels of support. Some people have people that can build out a custom van with them, some people have a family member who let them use their RV, some people have jobs that will allow them to work remotely, and some people will embark on this journey with very little resources. If you are one of those with little resources, don’t fret, you can travel full time, however you may need to be more flexible and patient than someone who had resources available to them.
I am going to start this out by saying I am NOT a financial advisor. There are thousands of resources dedicated to making money, budgeting, and becoming financially independent. My blog is not one of them. However, I do want to share the resources I found help and suggest some possible paths that could work for others.
Before I knew or had decided I wanted to travel full time, I knew I wanted to be financially independent and be able to stay home with my children. When I became pregnant with my first daughter, I was working 60+ hours a week as a teacher in a toddler classroom at the University of California Santa Cruz. We lived in a bedroom of the house my father-in-law rented out so we could save money for a down payment on a home. By the time I was 7 months pregnant, we were buying our home! We had timed everything to a tee so that I could go on maternity leave as we moved into the house (although life had other plans and I slipped two discs in my back and had to go on disability before going on maternity leave). The house we chose was with the intention of making a profit – the basement had been turned into a separate living quarters with its own entrance so we could rent or Airbnb the space for extra income (which we did for years). We also made sure to buy in an area where housing prices were on the rise. When my baby was born, I was just finishing my masters degree. In fact, I took my finals online while she laid in my lap two days after giving birth. I knew I wanted to stay in the field of child development and motherhood, but I was set on staying home with my baby. I started by being a nanny and watched other littles while I was at home with mine. After finding that challenging with low pay, I decided to start a parenting coaching business. I created a website, coached some local classes, and worked with some parents, but my passion was with creating content and resources for others so I focused on that which eventually became profitable!
I am not fully financially independent with a multitude of income streams from Pinterest, a self published book, affiliates, and more. [learn how here].
My story on building my finances to travel full time starts years ago by living in a way that saved money and prevented debt and slowly built independent income streams, but each one of us will have our own story of how we made this lifestyle work! It doesn’t mean you have to invest years into your transition into a lifestyle of travel!
Your work history and resources are the first things to consider for your income options. For example, do you have a skill that can be transferred to an online job? If you were in the education field you could teach English online, tutor online, or create educational resources to sell online. If you were a fitness coach could you transition this to online? There are so many pre-existing skills that can be used to fund your nomadic life!
For myself, I turned my parent coaching and years in the child development field into creating online support, a blog, and providing online content. (You can find my first blog here).
The quickest and easiest travel jobs I suggest are doordash and instacart! You can make plenty of money in nearly any city without prior experience!
What about start up costs?
My suggestion is to live below your means. For example, when we bought our home, we rented it out and lived in a cheaper area as well as lived in a camper trailer. At one point we lived in the studio basement of the house with two kids while renting out the house to save money. Whatever this may mean for you, living below your means can help you set some money aside for your vehicle or travels. Van Life can be very cheap but I always suggest having a savings or an emergency credit card on had because issues, such as a transmission going out, can arise.
I personally recommend buying a cheap, older van cash, but financing a van is also a good option. After all, it’s still cheaper to pay a monthly payment on the vehicle than to pay rent!
If you have a house full of things, time for a sale! Selling lots of your things can also help you set aside money for your travels!
Everyone’s story will be different. Find what path makes the most sense for you and start taking little steps to make it a reality.
“All I am saying can be summed up in two words: Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.”
Unschooling is a method of homeschooling that is child-led and interest based. It does not follow a set learning schedule, it does not have a set curriculum, and it doesn’t have learning goals the children are supposed to reach. Unschooling is allowing a child to take charge of their education through the pursuit of their own interests and curiosities. Unschooling is the lighting of a fire rather than the filling of a pail – it is creating intrinsically motivated learners who know their own passions. Unschooling is play. It allows children to dive deep into subjects, work on long term projects, and learn the interconnectedness of the different topics they pursue.
This idea that children won’t learn without outside rewards and penalties, or in the debased jargon of the behaviorists, “positive and negative reinforcements,” usually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we treat children long enough as if that were true, they will come to believe it is true. So many people have said to me, “If we didn’t make children do things, they wouldn’t do anything.” Even worse, they say, “If I weren’t made to do things, I wouldn’t do anything.”
John Holt, How Children Fail
We all know the importance of free play (or is that just my child development degree speaking?)- it supports emotional, cognitive, and social development. A child can not develop to their full potential without unstructured play. But at what age did we decide this is no longer valuable? As children age, we step away from seeing curiosity and play as a necessity. But the truth is, even as adults, play is healthy. The New York Times even wrote an article on adults needing to play, stating play has immense benefits, “including improved stress management and an improvement in our overall well-being” (NYT). Depression and anxiety are at an all time high in adolescents, yet research has found that number is lower in homeschooled kids. We have to take the pressure off children and adolescents and allow learning to unfold.
“Our rapidly moving, information-based society badly needs people who know how to find facts rather than memorize them, and who know how to cope with change in creative ways. You don’t learn those things in school.”
Unschooling focuses on allowing the child to develop their critical thinking, research skills, and their role within the world. Unschoolers learn real world, life skills daily, rather than memorizing or regurgitating old information from a worksheet or text book. Learning is hands on and builds on past knowledge rather than following a set curriculum. This allows children to engage deeper and create useful life skills.
It is important to note unschooling IS NOT leaving your child alone. It is not isolating a child. It is not ignoring their needs. Unschooling can only be effective when a child is well cared for and has support in their learning process. The unschooling adult should be available regularly to answer questions, provide resources, or to scaffold learning.
Ready to Unschool but don’t know where to start? Check out my resources!
Little ones can quickly get bored on long drives, but there’s a lot of fun ways to keep them engaged and entertained! As a mama traveling full time, I wanted to share my children’s favorite activities to do when we’re on the road!
When you travel with your children you are giving them something that can never be taken away – experience, exposure, and a way of life.
And most importantly, books! The thing we use most on our car rides are interesting picture books. My kids love to “read” to themselves. You can find my book recommendations here!
When traveling with kids, no matter what fun activities you have, it’s important to remember everything will take longer and patience is key. Plan to make extra stops. Plan for their to be delays and learning experiences. Make sure every day includes big movement! Traveling with kids is definitely an added challenge, but it’s also added fun and joy!
Autumn is my little family’s favorite time of the year. My daughters and I try to make the most of it with outings, crafts, baking, learning, and lots of celebrating. As a child led homeschooling mama, I find the changing of the seasons are a great guide to creating yearly flow, learning opportunities, and happy…
As a single mother who travels full time, the most common question I get is “how do you afford it?” While I’m happy to share my own story, I think the answer everyone is looking for is how can THEY do it. While I love making videos (if you don’t know what I’m referring to…
“All I am saying can be summed up in two words: Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.”John Holt Unschooling is a method of homeschooling that…
Little ones can quickly get bored on long drives, but there’s a lot of fun ways to keep them engaged and entertained! As a mama traveling full time, I wanted to share my children’s favorite activities to do when we’re on the road! When you travel with your children you are giving them something that…
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Hi, I’m Birdie. I’m a mother of two, a farmer, and dedicated to natural and sustainable living. Join me and my family in our journey of organic farming and homeschooling.
Unschooling is all about the child learning through engaging with their surroundings and then pursuing more deeply the concepts that spark curiosity and interest. The environment is key for learning to be a natural and smooth process. The environment should encourage children to explore their interests, learn from experiences, and pursue project based learning. Everything in the learning environment should encourage experimentation, problem-solving, creativity, and open-ended play.
Vertical gardening is an aesthetic way to create more space to grow food, herbs, or beautiful foliage. Instead of growing spread across the ground or in garden beds, plants are grown on top of each other. It’s an effective solution for those of us trying to save some time and space in our gardening endeavours.
Vertical Gardening Benefits:
More Sunlight: Each plant on a vertical bed gets exposure to sunlight without being crowded out by its neighbors.
More Space: Vertical gardening allows for more space in your garden or indoor grow area by utilizing space above. This can be great for growing herbs and flowers on balconies and windowsills.
Easier to Care For: Instead of crouching down to care for everything in the garden bed, you can tend to all your plant-babies much easier. Also, there will be way less weeds- if any at all.
Aesthetics: Vertical gardens are popular in office spaces and hotels for making a plain wall a lush, green garden. A vertical garden of flowers or succulents can liven up your backyard. It’s one of the most decorative ways to grow!
Please note plants with lots of bulk like melons and squashes may be more challenging to grow vertically however almost everything else is on the table! A vertical garden is also effective for a medicinal herb or tea garden!
Vertical Gardening Ideas:
The trellice, commonly used for bean stalks and grape vines, is the most common example of vertical gardening, but there are a lot of effective and aesthetic ways to utilize vertical gardening!
Tiered Garden Planters: These tiered planters from Greenstalk allow you to grow way more plants in a much smaller amount of space. We love how convenient it is to water and care for our garden this way!
Hanging Baskets:Hanging baskets like these are a great choice for using your garden as a decoration for an outdoor space. Usually, hanging baskets are used for things like flowers, but they work great for things like tomatoes and herbs. I prefer these baskets because they self-water and come with a water level indicator. But if you have some of your own baskets baskets and thin, sturdy rope, you can make your own unique hanging baskets as well.
Leaning Ladder: Stabilize an old wooden ladder and fasten planters onto each rung of the ladder and plant whatever you can think of!
Grow a Green Wall: If you’ve been in any hotels or office buildings recently, you may have noticed a new trend of a “green walls” that bring life and fresh air to indoor and outdoor spaces. A simple DIY way to do a green wall is to get a vertical hanging planter bag with pockets. Leafy plants in each pocket grow outward until they cover the space behind them and become one wall of lush green!
Interested in vertical gardening? Share and inspire with what you’ve done or are planning to try!
Starting a homestead can feel really overwhelming. It will feel like there are endless projects to do and things to learn, but don’t worry, there are people who have been in your shoes and have created beautiful and successful homesteads. There are so many resources on starting a homestead and homestead skills that it can be hard to figure out where to start. My suggestion – start with what interests you most! Are you most interested in raising animals, growing a garden, preserving food, making homemade goods or in creating natural remedies?
Chamomile has been used since ancient times by Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans for its medicinal properties. It’s been used to treat the symptoms of flus, colds, digestive issues, and hormonal imbalances. When concentrated into a balm or tincture, many use it to treat irritated skin. Chamomile is most well known as a tea for a flowery taste and a calming, relaxing effect that soothes stress and anxiety. This is why it’s often one of the main ingredients in “sleepytime” teas.
Lavender is lovely plant to grow that adds great color to any garden. This flower, full of anti-oxidants, is also said to reduce blood pressure, lower heart rate, and improve your sleep. It brews a very flowery cup of tea with the same powerful flavors of its smell.
Dried lavender buds can also be used to make lavender syrup, lemonade, and herbal seasonings as well!
Calendula, part of the marigold family, is a beautiful flower and the perfect addition to a tea garden. Calendula extract is actually still used in many creams sold in stores today! High in anti-oxidants, calendula boosts the immune system and supports the healing of damaged skin. It’s the perfect herb to mix with chamomile for a healing, pre-bed tea.
As a tea, it can ease the symptoms of ulcers, IBD, and GERD. The same skin-healing properties treat irritation of the stomach. It has a sweet aroma with a spicy, earthy taste. Many recommend throwing fresh calendula petals into a salad for extra flavor.
Mint leaves can relieve indigestion, improve brain function, and boost your immune system. As a tea, the menthol and hot steam can relieve tension and clear out your sinuses. This is especially soothing when you’re having a cold or allergies.
Mint leaves also make a great addition to salads and beverages. You can also make Peppermint oil extract to use to relax muscles and as a bug repellent like stink bugs, spiders, and ants.
Bee balm is a plant with bright and beautiful flowers that attract pollinators like birds, bees, and butterflies into your garden. It’s actually part of the mint family, so it has a minty spice but smells more of citrus. Bee balm is often made into a salve to treat skin infections of wounds. As the name suggests, it can be very useful for bee stings in particular.
Bee balm tea can relieve digestive issues and nausea, and many claims it even helps with gingivitus, fever, and PMS.
Roses have many great uses! Not only a medicinal and tasty tea, they are also great for attracting pollinators and making dried bouquets. They also can make a great garnish for many dishes.
Rose tea has a tangy flavor and a pretty pink hue. It is said to help specifically with menstrual pain and general hormone balance. Both the petals and rosehips are used in preparation for the tea, with rosehips having the highest vitamin C content of all fruits and vegetables.
Rose tea can be made with just about any rose, but least bitter and most flavorful for tea and cooking is the pink “Damask Rose.”
Holy basil contains the compounds eugenol, camphene, cineole, and camphor. You might recognize cineole and camphor from Vick’s Vapor Rub for soothing a bad cough. Holy basil tea can also reduce inflammation and stress.
Holy basil is also a nice addition when cooking or simply eaten raw for its medicinal properties.
Echinacea, like other herbs, is also effective at reducing inflammation and symptoms from respiratory infections. The Blackfoot Native Americans chewed on echinacea as a painkiller to treat toothaches.
They have a beautiful cone-shaped flower and produce a very strong, floral flavor of tea.
Elderberry has tons of researched benefits coming from its polyphenols- a kind of antioxidant. It’s been found to lower blood sugar, reduce blood pressure, improve the immune system, and even reduce risk of cancer.
Remember, elderberry is not safe to eat raw! If you’re making tea, boil the dried elderberries in water and allow them to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Elderberry tea is sweet and tart, with slightly bitter undertones. Many suggest throwing a few cinnamon sticks into the tea while brewing as well.
There are also lots of fun recipes with elderberries like jams, jellies, and syrups.
How to Harvest & Preserve Your Tea Herbs
While fresh herbs are fantastic for tea, drying herbs is a way to utilize the bounty of the summer garden! All herbs, once dried, should be stored in non-plastic containers that are well-sealed and out of the direct sunlight. There’s nothing more beautiful to liven up a pantry or counter than storing your dried tea herbs in mason jars.
Chamomile: Chamomile is ready to harvest whenever the flowers are at full bloom. Their medicinal properties are really only in the flower- so no need to keep the the stems or leaves. Just pluck them right off at the base of the flower. You can shake any debris or dirt off, or gently rinse your chamomile blossoms under some water and dry carefully. To dry, just spread them out on a dry rack and leave them some where very warm, dry, and dark for a week or two until dried.
With a dehydrator, set it to the lowest settings and let the chamomile blossoms sit for 12-18 hours until dry.
Lavender: The best time to harvest lavender is in its early bloom. Although the more mature buds are brighter and more full-bodied, its medicinal and aromatic properties are less strong. (Fully-open lavender flowers are better for preserving bouquets, however, just not for brewing strong tea!) Find the lavender flowers you want to cut and follow the stem all the way down to the “junction,” where it branches off from other stems and leaves. Cutting the stem at the junction helps the plant grow more blossoms to replace the one you’ve cut.
To air-dry, make small bouquets of the lavender by tying the stems together. Make sure you tie enough to keep them held snug, but not so tight you’re damaging the stems. Hang them upside down in a warm, dark, and dry place until they are fully dry. This could be anywhere from one week to a month, but it’s worth the wait. You can also use a dry rack!
For the dehydrator, use the same lowest settings for the chamomile. Lay flat in a single layer and let dry for 24-48 hours. To make sure they’re dry, try crumbling a large bud and make sure the interior doesn’t have any moisture.
Calendula: Calendula can be harvested like chamomile, picking the heads off of the stem. Pick calendula blossoms before they enter in to full maturity, while the petals are still “half-open.” Make sure to pick them early in the morning when they’re dry of dew but not too warm from the sun.
Lay the blossoms flat on a single layer on a drying rack and let them dry for a week somewhere dark, warm, and dry. Make sure the green flower heads at the bottom of the blossoms are dry as well (the will lose color).
In a dehydrator, lay the blossoms flat in a single layer and dehydrate for 14-18 hours on the lowest settings. Check the moisture around 14 hours and leave longer if parts of the plant are still soft.
Mint: Mint leaves should be harvested just before the plant begins to flower while they have their strong smell. If you only want a few leaves, just pick off as much as you’d like. If you want to prune the whole plant and get a big harvest, cut the entire plant off just above the first or second set of leaves at the bottom.
Wrap the stems of mint together the same way as described for lavender and let them hang 1-2 weeks in a warm, dry place.
To dehydrate, spread mint leaves in single layer and dehydrate for 2-5 hours on the lowest settings. Since the time can vary, check your mint at 2 hours. If it’s not crumbly to the touch, then keep checking every 15 minutes to make sure the mint doesn’t over-dehydrate and then brown.
BeeBalm: Harvest bee balm by clipping at the base of the stalk. You can either dry it the same way you would with stalks of lavender, or by plucking the leaves and petals off and drying them out like you would with chamomile or calendula.
If using a dehydrator, lay the leaves and petals out in a flat layer and dehydrate at the lowest settings. Check every 30 minutes to see if they’re done.
Rose Petals: When harvesting rose petals, make sure to put the petals on a single layer and not put them in a bag. Rose petals can heat up and bruise very easily. Dry the rose petals in shade, since the sun can fade the pretty colors. Rose petals are very delicate. If you choose to dry them like chamomile on a dry rack, make sure you lay something directly on top so they don’t blow away in any breeze.
If using a dehydrator, set to the lowest settings and check every 30 minutes until done. You can also bake the rose petals in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit until they are dried but not burnt. This should only take 10-20 minutes.
Rose Hips: Pick rose hips off the bush then wash clean and dry. There’s two types of rose hips: Rosa Rugosa, which are very large, long, and associated with “wild”roses, and Rosa Canina (Dog Rose) which are smaller. For the rugosa variety, cut your rose hip in half and scoop out the seeds. For the rosa canina, just snip the bottom and top of the hip off.
Put in dehydrator at lowest settings and check regularly until they are hard and a dark color.
Holy Basil: Cut holy basil above the bottom two or three sets of leaves. Pick off any leaves that look yellow or discolored. Wash the stalks, dry them, then bunch them together and hang to dry like you would with lavender. Dried holy basil will lose its smell and flavor after one year, so use it up!
With a dehydrator, put it on the lowest setting and check at 6 hours. It could take up to 24 hours if you live somewhere more humid, so check periodically after 6!
Echinacea: Cut above the lowest set of leaves of the plant. Check all the leaves and petals for discoloration. Lightly rinse the petals off in water and pat dry. When drying, either bunch the stalks together like lavender, or dry the petals and leaves on a drying rack until brittle and dry.
If using a dehydrator, follow the same method for calendula, checking periodically.
Elderberry: Just to reiterate- elderberry should not be eaten raw! Make sure you cook down your elderberries before enjoying them!
Harvest elderberry by cutting off the entire clusters. Wash the elderberries, dry, then pick them off of the stems. Lay them in a flat layer on the drying rack and let them dry in a warm and dry place for 4-5 days. This can be done in direct sunlight if you live somewhere dry, but if your climate is more humid, make sure to do this indoors somewhere dry.
To use a dehydrator, lay the clean and dried berries in a flat layer in the dehydrator at the lowest settings. Check around 10 hours to see the progress.
Best Herbal Tea Combinations:
A dash of honey or a stick of cinnamon will elevate any of these tea herbs when brewed. Here are some of the tastiest combinations of the different tea garden herbs as well to inspire you to get creative:
You can create a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle regardless of where you are – an apartment, a frat house, or on a farm, there are little changes you can make to make a big difference.
Sustainable living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earths natural resources, and one’s personal resources.
Grow Microgreens & Sprouts
Don’t fret, I promise it’s easy! All you need to start growing sprouts is a mason jar, a draining lid, and seeds that work for sprouting! I also like to keep a drain stand and tray so I can keep them on the window seal, but they’re not necessary. Each seed pack will typically have their own variations but typically you soak the seeds for about 12 hours, drain and rinse, and continue to rinse twice a day for a few days until you have a lovely jar of sprouts! Seriously, it’s that easy!
“While their nutrient contents vary slightly, most varieties tend to be rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper”
Grind Your Own Flours (Especially Gluten Free Ones!)
You can save SO much money by making your own flours, especially when you’re making organic, gluten free, or unusual flours. I love using quinoa flour for baking, but it’s usually ten dollars a pound! When I make it myself, it’s usually under three dollars a pound! You can also save money and get a better quality flour by making your own wheat flour. While a larger initial cost, a grain mill is a fantastic investment. While saving money on flours, you also get fresher flour with a higher nutrition content. While store bought flours are typically lacking nutrients, fresh ground flour is actually a super food!
“Grains are the seed-bearing fruits of grasses. The fact that grains are the seeds of the plant as well as the fruit and that life-giving nutrients are contained and perfectly stored within, make grains an incredibly nutritious food. In fact, of the 44 known essential nutrients needed by our bodies and naturally obtained from foods, only 4 are missing from wheat–vitamin A, B12, and C, and the mineral iodine.”
Sue Becker (Source)
Sow A Garden
Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can have a garden! My first garden was on a table inside my apartment!
Add a small grow light and you can grow a lot of things indoors! Some easy starter plants are basil, rosemary, oregano, lettuce, kale, and radishes. If you have a small patio you can grow all of your own greens and maybe even more! Vertical gardening can extend your usable space to be able to grow more of your own produce.
Make Your Own Teas & Tinctures
Studies have found that some teas may help with cancer, heart disease, and diabetes; encourage weight loss; lower cholesterol; and bring about mental alertness.
Making tea is probably one of the easiest and quickest methods to living healthier while saving money! Teas have endless healthy benefits from lowering anxiety to preventing cancer, but as with all plants the nutritional value is highest when fresh.
What are your favorite ways to practice sustainability?