Come with me if you want to learn about Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Get to the choppa!

Come with me if you want to live!

I’ll be back!

These are quotes we hear almost daily in our house, because Sarah is an absolute devotee of bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-governor-turned-activist Arnold Schwarzenegger, and that’s why, in honor of Ah-nold’s 69th birthday later this month, we’re talking about him as part of the iHomeschool Network’s celebration of July birthdays.

Unschool Rules unit study guide to Arnold Schwarzenegger

All about Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born July 30, 1947, in Thal, Austria.

He served mandatory military service in Austria after he finished school, following in the footsteps of his father, who was a local chief of police and who had served in World War II. In the Austrian army, Schwarzenegger drove a tank, and in fact he today owns the exact model of the tank he drove in the Army.

Disclosure: This post has some affiliate links, which will make me a little bit of money if you choose to purchase any of the products I’ve mentioned through them. I only link to things we legitimately use and recommend, so if you see such a link, it’s because we really do believe in the book or item!

Most interestingly in his early life, Arnold first played soccer and then started weight-training in his early teens, which would later lead to a career in bodybuilding that would net him 7 Mr. Olympia titles and 4 Mr. Universe titles. It was bodybuilding that allowed Schwarzenegger to fulfill his dream of coming to America. “The Mr. Universe title was my ticket to America – the land of opportunity, where I could become a star and get rich,” he is quoted as saying.

Schwarzenegger did move to America in 1968, when he was 21, despite speaking little English at the time. He started training at Gold’s Gym, the chain where he still trains today. Eventually, in 1983, he became a naturalized American citizen.

While training and competing, Arnold had a goal to move into acting. His first movie, Hercules in New York, was pretty much a bomb, and his lines had to be dubbed later because his accent was so thick. He was credited as Arnold Strong because no one thought “Schwarzenegger” was a pronouncable name in America. “It was very difficult for me in the beginning – I was told by agents and casting people that my body was ‘too weird’, that I had a funny accent, and that my name was too long. You name it, and they told me I had to change it. Basically, everywhere I turned, I was told that I had no chance,” he said.

Obviously, Arnold proved those people wrong. He got his big break starring in Conan The Barbarian in 1982, and in 1984 began what would be a 30-year run as a cyborg from the future, from 1984’s The Terminator to 2015’s Terminator: Genesys, made after he came out of retirement from acting.

Interestingly, Schwarzenegger was a millionaire even before his movie career took off, thanks to several entrepreneurial ventures like a brick-laying company, a mail-order bodybuilding equipment business and other projects.

In 2003, after working in politics in positions such as chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under President George H.W. Bush, Schwarzenegger announced that he was running for governor of California as a Republican, and was re-elected in 2006. Many people have even asked him about whether he’d ever consider pursuing the presidency, a role he cannot currently hold as a non-U.S.-born citizen.

Personally, Schwarzenegger is known for marrying Maria Shriver, the niece of John F. Kennedy and daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, in 1986, then later separating from her in 2011 after news of his having an affair and a child outside their marriage became known. Schwarzenegger and Shriver have four children together, in addition to his other son.

Since leaving the governorship, Arnold has been busy with activism in a variety of environmental and health causes. He’s sold Come With Me If You Want to Lift T-shirts and other items to support the After School All Stars program, he’s volunteered extensively with the Special Olympics, and he’s continued a trend of environmentalism that he began during his terms as governor.

In addition to all his other awards, Arnold has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is in the WWE Hall of Fame.

Sarah is modeling her "Come With Me If You Want To Lift" Arnold Schwarzenegger T-shirt. Arnold is pretty much single-handedly responsible for Sarah starting a daily exercise routine in the past year.

Sarah is modeling her “Come With Me If You Want To Lift” Arnold Schwarzenegger T-shirt. Arnold is pretty much single-handedly responsible for Sarah starting a daily exercise routine in the past year.

Arnold and our family

As we worked together on this post, Sarah wanted me to particularly note that it is Arnold’s influence that has motivated her to start her own workout program.

She was already doing dumbbell weight lifting, situps and pushups on her own, and a couple of months ago we all joined the gym together to build on that.

“He always makes time to work out no matter how busy he is, or where he is,” Sarah said, “and I think that’s kind of what motivated me. It’s that point of mind that he has… I kind of wanted to get that point of mind.”

Read more about Arnold Schwarzenegger

Movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger

As we talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movies, it’s probably a good time for me to remind new readers that our daughter, Sarah, is 16 and we’re very open about watching movies together and talking about them as a family. These are not recommendations for all ages, nor are the ones for older teens even something I’d suggest sending your 17-year-old off to watch alone. But there are also some fun picks for everyone!

  • Kindergarten Cop: This is Arnold’s favorite of his own movies and one of our favorites too! It’s funny – but there are some stressful parts, so I would not suggest this for any small children.
  • Jingle All the Way: Arnold. And Christmas. And comedy. How much better could it get? This one is pretty unobjectionable to all ages.
  • Last Action Hero: Another that’s appropriate for most ages.
  • Twins: This is another comedy, but it’s more appropriate for adults.
  • The Terminator series: Definitely less appropriate for younger viewers, but a TON of great stuff to talk about in this series.
  • End of Days: This is one of Sarah’s favorite Arnold movies, but definitely targeted toward an older audience. It’s a bit of a horror mystery.
  • Eraser: Sarah likes the plot twist in this; it’s also definitely for older audiences.
  • Total Recall: This sci-fi/fantasy movie has a lot of violence with what Sarah says “is really a pretty interesting story.”
  • True Lies: A super-funny Arnold movie that involves him doing the tango. How could you pass that up?
  • The Running Man: This is definitely a dark one, and we are not recommending it to kids of any age. It’s an adaptation of a Stephen King short story. If you have older teens who can appreciate the comparison, there is a lot to talk about here, but it’s DEFINITELY not for everyone.
  • Hercules in New York: Sarah says, “Don’t watch this one. It’s really terrible. Really funny, but really terrible.”

Ideas for discussion

  • How do you feel about environmental issues? Arnold Schwarzenegger is noted for taking a stand on issues such as not eating meat and climate change. What are your thoughts on environmental issues? Do your everyday choices match up to your personal values or your family’s values in this area?
  • Don’t have a Plan B: One of the biggest pieces of advice Sarah gleaned from reading Arnold’s autobiography was his controversial admonition to “Never have a Plan B.” Having a Plan B, he says, implies that you think your Plan A won’t work, so you don’t go out of your way to make it work. If you know it’s your only option, you make it happen. That definitely flies in the face of conventional wisdom. What do you think of it?
  • Making time for fitness: Another thing that has really impressed Sarah about Arnold is his commitment to fitness. No matter where he is, he makes time to ride a bike, take a hike, go to the gym, or do some other activity. Sarah’s trying to live out that same commitment, but it’s definitely a lifestyle adjustment. What do you think about being “too busy” to work out or eat right?

Join the birthday party

If you’re interested, there are many more cool “July birthday” lessons from my fellow iHomeschool Network bloggers. Click the image below to check them out!

Unschool Rules July birthdays
And thanks for stopping by to help me wish Arnold Schwarzenegger a happy birthday!

You can check out more posts in our Learning Party series here!

The bookshelves of a house of unschooling bibliophiles

We have a lot of books. And a lot of bookshelves. That said, this post might have also been titled “people who love IKEA Kallaxes” or “people who love stuffed animals,” and you will certainly see a lot of those in today’s post as well as the aforementioned books.

It was good timing that the iHomeschool Network decided to hold a linkup sharing a peek at the bookshelves of several homeschooling families, because we’ve recently re-sorted many of our family’s books. I was excited to work with our whole crew to share our shelves.

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

These aren’t all the books in our house by far, nor does a “book showcase” even begin to cover all the things on our shelves that make our unschooling lifestyle work – that kind of showcase would also have to include art supplies, movies, video games, board games and a ton more – but I hope you’ll have fun taking a peek at the book part today!

Sarah’s bookshelves

The title image for today’s post shows Sarah’s James Bond shelf. She owns every Ian Fleming James Bond book! Here’s a look at some more of her shelves.

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

These are some of Sarah’s fiction books. She collects the Goosebumps Horrorland series, Star Trek novels, and some favorites from when she was younger, like the Shel Silverstein series including The Missing Piece and the Mo Willems Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus set. Also included here is a book titled Zombie Apocalypse, which is told through emails and letters, and that gave Sarah the idea to write a zombie story of her own in the style of a set of journal entries from different characters!

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

I should mention that Sarah loves “presentation”-style shelving, with decorations and book covers facing out, where at all possible. Hence the great Poe shelf up there. Below are two series she has liked for years – the Percy Jackson series and The Alchemyst series.

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

This is Sarah’s set of books by fable and folktale author Ruth Manning-Sanders (more about her under Chris’s shelves). The custom bookends are dragons and inside, there is a tiny dragon hatching out of an egg! (At the other end is a wizard.)

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

Here we come to Sarah’s nonfiction shelf. This includes a huge set of Guinness World Records books, a big Van Gogh table book, some Sabuda pop-up encyclopedias of various animals, stuff about castles and forensics and the Titanic, biographies, and much more.

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

These are the books that Sarah either wants to read most immediately or still needs to organize. Do you see a trend? (She is currently reading More Matrix and Philosophy: Revolutions and Reloaded Decoded.)

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

Ah, the Batman shelf! Also a biohazard cup, a brain stress ball from my work, and some Batmobiles. The Star Trek series seen here was moved over from the fiction shelf because it’s the series she’s currently reading and she wanted it closer.

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

This is the zombie, biohazard, apocalyptic fiction section. Most of these are unread so far. Note the KEEP OUT tape on the closet door.

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

This is World War II history, some general nonfiction, and Things Related To Arnold Schwarzenegger. She read that entire huge Arnold autobiography at right over the course of a couple months, too!

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

This big Kallax sits at the end of the “Friends Bed” in Sarah’s room (she has the house’s master bedroom, with a queen-sized bed covered in stuffed animals, as well as her own twin-sized bed). The books here are new ones she got for Christmas, including huge Smithsonian history and wildlife treasuries.

Sarah also wants me to note that if anyone has any questions about her books and how she sorts them, she would be glad to answer, so please comment! She also said she’d answer ANY other questions you have, while she has your attention, about her interests and things like that, so fire away!

Chris’s bookshelves

Chris submitted his own photos for today’s post, and they are much more artistic than mine. They also show only a small part of his large book collection.

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

Chris really loves older books, including those by his favorite author, Ruth Manning-Sanders. Chris is basically a biographer of Manning-Sanders, and writes about her extensively. You should definitely read more about her on his blog!

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

Here are more of Chris’s books, including multiple versions of J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings books and some older textbooks.

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

This is the “Ghost Shelf” in Chris’s room, hence its artistic black-and-white treatment! You can actually read much more about all of Chris’s books here.

Mom’s bookshelves

My mom has very few books (she reads a lot from the library, and on her iPad using the Kindle app), but even less shelf space for them, so my apologies for the crowding!

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

Most of Mom’s books come from her involvement in a ton of ministries and groups at her church. She also is very interested in all things Ireland (we were able to send her there for her 70th birthday!) and has always been a birdwatcher.

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

Mom”s biggest project is her leadership of the Stephen Ministry program at her church, and her books and folders for that sit atop her desk. (This is an amazing program that I highly recommend you read more about if you’re not familiar with it!)

Dan and Joan’s bookshelves

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

So these are almost all of mine and Dan’s “keepers,” books we’ve read and will likely reread. There is a rigorous order to these – fictions together, nonfictions together by topic, sizes and authors taken into account, and categorizations such as “fiction about computer-related things” in full effect. These keepers are vastly outnumbered by what you will see next.

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

These are Dan’s and my to-read books. (The two at left are my to-reads, and the rest are his, minus a few of mine living in the manga/graphic novel section, second from right on the top.) Also, all of those friends are excited that they got to be in a picture, especially Fwoops, the fabulous pink owl at left, and Swoops, the equally amazing brown owl above the graphic novels. Also, the Kallaxes are probably pretty excited too, but we decided a long time ago not to anthropomorphize things we might have to get rid of at some point.

Unschool Rules bookshelves of an unschooling family

What, another Kallax? This one is upstairs in our spare alcove (it’s like a spare room, except it doesn’t have any kind of door), and has some of our finished scrapbooks, all of our finished graphic novels/manga, some childhood favorites of mine, and some other miscellany. I’m sorry it’s blurry; the alcove barely fits this and a full-size bed, so I was bending off the side of the bed to take the picture.

A side note: Some of the book links above are affiliate links, where I will make a little bit of money if you purchase the item after clicking on it. I am in no way an affiliate of the IKEA Kallax, however, if anyone from IKEA is reading this and would like to hire me as your Official Kallax Spokesmom, PLEASE YES.

Keep up with our reading lists

We use Goodreads to keep track of what we’ve read, and, sometimes, what we’re in the process of reading. I definitely would love to invite you to follow us!

More bookshelf fun

Unschooling BookshelvesI’ve actually written about our bookshelves before, in 2012. Check out that post, titled But Where Do We Keep the School Supplies?, for a look at what our shelves looked like four years ago!

Also, if you want to see ALL of Chris’s current books, you might enjoy All My Books (or A Perfectly Ridiculous Way to Spend a Sunday), in which, as of this past January, he listed, as you might expect, all his books.

Finally, this post is part of the iHomeschool Network’s “My Organized Bookshelves”.

Click the image at right to read more about various homeschoolers’ shelves!