Ya'at'eeh (Hello) everyone! We are the Cogliser family from the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance Arizona. Our little tribe of five consist of myself (Dawn), my husband Bob, our 13yo son Sage, our 11yo daughter Jemma, and our 9yo son Zane. We are originally from New Jersey but last fall moved across country to live and work here on the rez. We have unschooled all of our children since birth and are thrilled to be able to attend the symposium this year! So here is a little more about our family.
Zane is a very active young dude which you would not believe when you first meet him. He starts off very shy out of the gate but finishes strong! He is a ball of energy and loves to talk. His hobbies include anything Lego and building with Minecraft. He also loves riding bikes and just about any type of play outside.
Jemma is our creative soul. She loves to take recycled items and create out of them. She draws her own designs and brings her designs to life with items that would otherwise be thrown away. She has been known to make fashions out of recycled paper, scrap cloth, and duct tape. She is also into music and often fills our home with her singing, guitar playing, drumming, and when we had a piano that too! You typically find her with one or more of our 5 pets draped across her lap or her shoulders.
Sage is our science, computer guy. He can often be found with either a lap top or a controller in his hand. He has been known to master games in a single day. He enjoys learning to program and hopes to create his own computer games. He is a master of winning contests and the UPS man knows us by name because of it. He is best known for his dry sense of humor which keeps his mother laughing a lot!
Dawn is the resident medical mama in the family. She is a registered nurse at hospital on the rez where we live. She is currently in graduate school becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner. She has worked most of her life with underserved communities and loves what she does for a living. Her hobbies include repurposing old furniture (she loves freecycle!) and hiking. She can often be found taking on some new activity especially on the rez. She is part of the Heal the Healers group at the Tsehootsooi Medical Center where she works and can often be found in or around the Hogan talking with the traditional practitioners.
Bob is the awesome dad who takes care of all those listed above as well as the furbies in the family. He is a computer programmer by trade but after being laid off several years ago he decided to take a new journey and became a EMT. He worked as the healthcare provider at YMCA camp which was an amazing experience that allowed him to take the kids to work with him. He is often found around the fire pit cooking up some amazing creations. He is famous for his homemade whole grain pizza cooked over the open fire. He shares Sage’s dry sense of humor and is a friend to everyone.
As far as homeschooling, we have historically tried almost every approach and it became very obvious early on that we were unschoolers at heart. Of course our children made this decision for us. Sage is a very high functioning Aspie guy and as such we needed to follow his lead and teach him the way he learned. When our other two children were born we did the same with them. Here we are 13 years later and it works just fine. We are excited to meet other unschoolers and to learn what has worked for other families. Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!