Unschooling and Sustainable Living: A Real Lifestyle Change, by Kimberly Scheimreif

Eighteen years ago I would never have thought that I would be practicing sustainable living and unschooling on a homestead. When our first child was born in 1994 we lived in New Jersey in a very populated town, trying to keep up with the rat race. While I was pregnant, I was still unsure if I would go back to my full time job working forty to fifty hours a week. However, after holding my newborn for the first time, I was able to make a definite decision: how could I leave this precious being, and trust her welfare to a stranger? It did not seem natural for someone else to take care of her. We decided that I would stay home and my husband would continue his work with his marine construction business.

After a year at home with my daughter, we were planning to add to our family again, but there were some changes that we had to make. Our fifty by one hundred foot lot felt too small, and we were concerned about our financial situation. We knew we would need to be more independent if I wanted to continue to be at home taking care of our children, and a larger piece of land would help us achieve that. Moreover, now that we had a child it was important to instill in her meaningful principles, such as self-reliance, which we believed could be attained with a homestead. We started to seek other properties in New Jersey, but everything was too expensive. It was discouraging, so we started to contemplate moving to a state that had more affordable land to foster our independence. My husband had family friends in Maine who encouraged us to look at some properties there. We could have settled for the status quo and simply grown potted vegetables on our deck, cut our own hair, and performed various other tasks of sustainability, but we envisioned that for our family, a total transformation was needed to be free from the ties of consumerism and dependence on others. After visiting Maine over a couple of weekends we knew that this was the place where we wanted to raise a family, be more self-reliant, and break away from consumerism.

Read Kimberly’s full story of sustainability in our March-April issue. Subscribe.


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