What is liberty? I know, I could go the “Webster’s says that liberty is defined as…” but that is not where I want this to go. For me, and my family, liberty is being able to do what we want, how we want to do it, when we want. It is financial freedom (debt free is the way to be, man). It is providing ourselves with food grown in our own garden. It is educating Little Man outside of the government-mandated curricula.
Financial freedom is huge. When you owe debt, it is such a burden, and it seems that you will never be free of it. These past three years, we have paid off a car and several small student loans. We are working on that last big loan, and some months it seems like we are no closer to finishing it off than we were three years ago. We know that every little bit helps, and we pay more than the minimum payment, or else we will never be done with it. We follow the Dave Ramsey snowball method of paying off your debt – pay the loans smallest to largest, making minimum payments on all but the smallest, and then rolling that payment onto the next and the next as they get paid off. It has been great motivation to see the smaller debts get paid off, but this one is a bit of a monster and will take some time until it is all gone. When we paid off Squatch’s car earlier this year, it was a huge relief. This last loan, when it is paid off, will be the best feeling ever; sometimes we do wonder though, could we just turn in that degree and have the loans erased?
I have always wanted a garden of my own; somewhere I can nurture and cultivate the food that I will later serve to my family. We are not at that stage yet, but it has not stopped us from planning what we want to grow, and how. We have researched composting, keyhole gardens, raised gardens, straw bale gardening, you name it, we’ve checked it out. There is something about going out to your garden, picking some veg, and being able to eat it that just gives you a sense of accomplishment, and it just feels good. When we go shopping for groceries, we have a list, and we try to shop local to support our community. When we lived outside Chicago, our town had the best farmer’s market. We picked up eggs, sausage, bacon, veg, and baked goods there each weekend it was open. We enjoyed getting to know the people who grew the food, and they appreciated us supporting their families.
I have long wanted to homeschool my children. I am not a fan of the current school system and the constant testing. I was always a good test taker, and did quite well on the standardized tests, but I know so many others who were smarter than me, but just did horribly on those tests, and they felt like they were no good because they did not get the scores their parents felt they should be getting. I also do not see a reason to be teaching kids so much, especially in math and science. Seriously, when do you need to know those super specialized topics in physics or chemistry or the advanced calculus and algebra once you are an adult? I want my children to know how to balance a check book, change a tire and oil, write that resume and ace the interview, teach someone a difficult topic. These are not skills that are readily taught anymore, and I want Little Man to be able to do all that and more. He will know how to cook and bake, how to use the tools in the shop or garage (power tools are my favourite!). He will learn math and science and history, he will read the classics (there will be no banning of certain books in my home; To Kill a Mockingbird will be read and the film watched). His education may be considered unorthodox, but he will be an independent thinker and an independent human being.
I am excited for this journey to liberty, and I hope you join us on this path. We may even inspire you to forge your own path, to whatever your definition of liberty is.