S3E56: The 5 Hour School Week: Kaleena Amuchastegui
The 5 Hour School Week with Kaleena Amuchastegui "It's about us living our best life so our children know what that looks like. They can't see us miserable and not learning and not fulfilling our purpose because that will be how they design their lives." From The 70 Hour Work Week To The 5 Hour School Week Kaleena Amuchastegui called herself a workaholic. She ran a successful real estate business working over 70 hours a week. Her kids attended traditional school full time, they had a nanny at home and Kaleena held the position of PTA president for many years running. But she came to a point where she said, enough. No more PTA president and no more school. No more 70 hour work week. Kaleena's life now involves working less, spending time with her family, travel, and unschooling. Kaleena, her husband and their 4 children are on their growth journey to living their best life. Through this journey they are learning about themselves, connecting with their children and inspiring others along the way. They are questioning everything; mindset, learning, work, school and fulfillment. What they have found is a better way to learn and live. In This Episode..... In this episode Kaleena spoke candidly about the steps they took to get there. Her growth journey and the shift that had to happen The conditioning she has had to unlearn The freedom and bravery that goes along with their travels What happens when you choose to "bring" instead of "take" The challenges she has faced and continues to face (a fear many homeschooling parents share) Passion Projects Self Care Building a relationship with our children How they structure their 5 hour school week Kaleena and her husband have created the 5 Hour School Week to not only inspire and support parents but share the infinite paths that are available for us to take. Life does not have to be about the drudgery. It can be about joy, freedom and delving into our passions. What if our kids lived that with us everyday? Here are some of the amazing resources that Kaleena suggested on this episode along with links to the 5 Hour School Week 5 Hour School Week Website: fivehourschoolweek.com FaceBook Instagram YouTube Book: The 5 Hour School Week: An Inspirational Guide to Leaving The Classroom to Embrace Learning in a Way You Never Imagined Resources Tim Ferris-4 hour work week Compassion International Hands and Feet Project Book: When Helping Hurts Homeschooling Support Free To Learn: Peter Gray John Taylor Gatto Free Range Kids-Lenore Skenazy Time For Learning Curriculum Most Likely To Succeed- Ted Dintersmith and Tony Wagner Kaleena's daughter Maddie has a passion project that is a huge part of her learning journey. Check out Maddie's YouTube Channel Maddies Life AG and Instagram account. If you would like to learn more on your journey into homeschooling, self direction and alternative education check out my interviews with Peter Gray and Lenore Skenazy. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
23 Aug 2019
S2E25: Trust Your Kids With Natural Learning: Leah McDermott
Natural Learning is an Idea Whose Time Has Come Somewhere along the way, we began collectively believing that kids wouldn't learn unless we strongly intervened. Even though we see them natural learning in all areas of life, we believe that in literacy and numeracy we need to intervene and drill from early. Remarkably, nobody seemed to foresee the unintended consequences of this adult meddling in the natural learning capacity of the child. My guest on the podcast, Leah (like Princess Leia from Star Wars) McDermott saw these unintended consequences first-hand in her 5th grade classroom. She had migrated to teaching fifth grade after many years in kindergarten. The first thing she noticed was that the vast majority of students had hardened and closed themselves off to learning. And current studies on the topic confirm Leah's experience. The majority of students in the public education system, by grade four, have decided that they hate school. Unfortunately for those students, and for society as a whole, there is also significant evidence that the majority of those who've identified that they hate school by that age will never change their mind. Seeing these jaded fifth graders was an eye opener for Leah. She had just left kindergarten where students were still bright-eyed and excited to learn. When she invited her kindy students to listen to her read, they came running. The fifth graders knew they were in for an interminable period of testing, leveled reading, and cramming. This radical change in the kids' learning attitude was what informed her educational philosophy and mindset more than anything. When she had kids of her own and started home educating them later, her beliefs were only confirmed. Today, Leah is one of the strongest advocates for natural learning that I've come across. She teaches natural learning to both home educators and schools both in person and online. Her website is an incredible resource for all things natural learning, and this podcast episode reflects her wealth of knowledge. I absolutely loved this one. We talked about so much, and I learned enormously from her. If you're at all interested in natural learning, this episode is a must listen. Leah will put any fears you might have about natural learning to rest, and you'll learn much about how to do it at home. Mentioned in This Episode Leah's Website Your Natural Learner Facebook Group (7000+ members) ACEs Study -- Adverse Childhood Experiences Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs More Episodes About Natural Learning and Unschooling Sage Homeschooling Wild and Free Deschool the Adult MindSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11 May 2018
S3E47: Free To Learn: Peter Gray
Free To Learn Peter Gray's book, Free To Learn is about the human nature of education. This book caused a shift in my own life. It had me reflect on my beliefs on childhood. My beliefs around free play, screen time, schooling, how kids learn and parenting. On this episode Peter Gray shares his ideas, research and insights on those subjects. He addresses the fears and doubts that surround self directed learning and unschooling. The Shift To Democratic School Years ago Peter Gray found himself in a situation that may sound familiar to some. His son was being destroyed by the traditional school structure. He was fighting it every step of the way. Peter came to a point where he needed to be on his son's side and support him, not fight against him. They decided to leave the school and look for other options. What they found was Sudbury Valley democratic school. Sudbury Valley was completely unlike any other school around. No subjects, no bells, no curriculum, no classrooms. Unstructured, unhindered free play. The school was not divided by grade or age segregated. It was a democratic community where everyone at the school, no matter what age, had a vote. The philosophy: Adult's do not control children's education; children educate themselves. His son flourished. But Peter had concerns. Will this environment actually work? How will the children become educated? Will his son learn the skills needed to be an independent person? What about college? Free To Learn Those fears are what lead Dr. Gray to dive into the study of self directed learning and unrestricted play. He studied graduates from Sudbury Valley School as well as other unschoolers. The evidence, he says, was compelling. The graduates were doing well. They had successful careers. Many went on to College and excelled there. They all credited the self directed learning environment they grew up in. In this episode we talked about how kids in a self directed learning environment acquire their education and go on to lead a successful life. How can you become educated through such a different method? What are key parts of the self directed learning environment? Are there benefits to age mixing? What happens when you follow your passions from a young age? The Importance of Free Play and what happens in its Absence The 'Schoolish Mentality" Parents Irrational Fears Do Kids Need Structure? Democracy and Democratic Schools I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this interview. Do you share any similar fears? How much free play do you support in your home? You can contact me here. If you would like to hear other episodes on the importance of play check out my interview with Lenore Skenazy. Research studies: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/experts/peter-gray-phd Observational study Jay Feldman https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED453128 Study of Grown Unschoolers https://www.psychologytoday.com/sites/default/files/Published%20Grown%20Unschoolers%20I.pdf https://www.psychologytoday.com/sites/default/files/Published%20Grown%20Unschooles%20II.pdf Brian Sutton Smith Play Scholar Play Theory Democratic Schools Sudbury Valley School Peter Gray's Book Free To Learn: Why Unleashing The Instinct To Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students For Life Alliance For Self Directed Education See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
5 Apr 2019
S3E44: The Brave Learner: Julie Bogart
The Brave Learner: Julie Bogart Julie Bogart is a veteran homeschool mom to 5 kids. She is the creator of the award winning Brave Writer program and founder of the Homeschool Alliance. Her new book, The Brave Learner, is a must-have homeschool companion. Talking to Julie is like having a friend over for a cup of tea (or coffee). Her excitement over finding the love of learning is contagious. The Idea Of Homeschool Julie was pitched the idea of homeschooling in 1984 by a friend of her soon-to-be husband. Even though she had never heard of "homeschool" he sold her on the idea. It was the idea of creating a learning experience with your children that could be tailor-made to their aptitudes. An experience that could be creative and bonding as a family. After this, Julie was ready to homeschool. Today Julie supports thousands of homeschoolers in their homeschool journey. Her writing program supports and guides families in writing. The Homeschool Alliance is a vibrant support community for homeschool parents. Her podcast gives a voice of encouragement. I find myself nodding my head to the stories that Julie shares. In This Episode In this interview Julie continues the conversation around learning, homeschool and family. She tackles the fear many homeschool moms have- how will the kids really turn out? Julie's shares so many personal stories in this episode. The biggest concern that she hears from homeschool parents- How do I know I'm giving as good an education as what they're getting in the schools? Julie's answer is in the anecdote she tells of her husband's textbook contract. Why Julie thought she had failed her son Noah in math. But how homeschool-tailoring the educational experience to the child's personality and needs- supported him in just the way he needed. The experience of going on a dinner "date" with her son Jacob when he was 14. Only to find out his purpose was to tell her how homeschool was limiting his potential. She shares the realization he came to later. The biggest gift of home education for her family. We did not miss talking about Julie's new book, THE BRAVE LEARNER. We focused on the 3 Levels of Learning (Reading. Experience. Encounter) that Julie talks about in the book and how this impacts learning. Are you a Brave Learner? You don't have to be a homeschool parent to model brave learning. Do you want to rekindle curiosity, courage and enchantment? I'd love to hear your reflections from this interview. What parts of the interview did you connect with? Book: The Brave Learner Website: https://bravewriter.com/ Podcast: http://blog.bravewriter.com/category/podcasts/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bravewriter Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliebravewriter/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/bravewriter Other Episodes: Why Self Directed Learning is Important: Madison Kanna The Unschool SistersSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 Feb 2019
Most Popular Podcasts
S3E63: Top 5 Questions I Get Asked About Homeschooling & Unschooling
The Top 5 questions that I get asked about homeschooling and unschooling Not sure what the term 'Unschooling' really means or how it differs from traditional homeschool? Are you uncertain how kids can actually learn if life looks nothing like the traditional schooling structure? Would you love to homeschool or unschool but you just don't know how you can afford it? Would you love to homeschool but your life partner is not on the same page? What do you do then? These are questions that I receive often from listeners of the podcast. Questions and fears are natural, especially if you are creating a life of your own design that doesn't follow the normal routine of others around you. As much as I try to address these questions in interviews with my guests, there are times when it seems best to answer them directly. Which is what I am doing with this episode. So grab a cup of your choice and listen in on the top 5 questions that I receive on homeschooling and unschooling. Throughout the episode I reference many others, including past episodes and resources. All of those I have included at the bottom of this page. Question 1: What is unschooling? Question 2: Why did we move from traditional homeschooling to unschooling? Question 3: If we unschool how do we know if our children are actually learning? Question 4: How do parents afford to stay home and homeschool or unschool? Question 5: What happens when you want to homeschool but your spouse or partner is not on the same page? What did you think about the top 5 questions about homeschooling and unschooling that I receive? Do you need more explanation on a few things? If you do, write me and let me know. If there are other top 5 questions that you have about homeschooling and unschooling, let me know those too! For Show notes go to~ http://imhomeschooling.com/?p=3464 Support me through Patreon~ https://www.patreon.com/honeyimhomeschoolingthekids Resources Mentioned In This Episode Resources For Parents ~ http://imhomeschooling.com/homeschool-resources/ Pat Farenga~ https://www.johnholtgws.com/pat-farengas-blog/ John Holt~ Website https://www.johnholtgws.com/ Honey I'm Homeschooling The Kids Episode with Pat: http://imhomeschooling.com/pat-farenga-on-homeschooling-and-education/ Leah Mcdermott~ http://www.yournaturallearner.com/ Rachel Rainbolt~ http://www.sageparenting.com/shop/ MicroSchool Builders Facebook Group~ https://www.facebook.com/groups/622539617933686/ MicroSchool Builders Website Past Episodes that I mentioned: Ranan Lachman~http://imhomeschooling.com/life-of-their-own-design-ranan-lachman/ Jaime Salonen~http://imhomeschooling.com/hihtk-episode-7-jaime-salonen-escaping-the-rat-race-and-worldschooling/ Leah McDermott~ http://imhomeschooling.com/natural-learning-leah-mcdermott/ Rachel Rainbolt~ http://imhomeschooling.com/natural-learning/ Mara Linaberger~ http://imhomeschooling.com/micro-schools-mara-linaberger/ Michelle Goulet~ http://imhomeschooling.com/wild-child-forest-school/See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
6 Dec 2019
S3E53: Unschool Yourself First: Mark Beaumont
Unschool Yourself First: A Parents Gateway to Self Directed Learning Mark Beaumont is a professional educator that is passionate about self directed learning. He is a middle school principal at an international school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Mark is an artist, husband and father. His daughter attends the school he works at. And even though she attends school, Mark raises her with the principles of self directed learning. He "finds it nothing less than fascinating and challenging." With his professional background and experience as well the story of his personal struggles in school Mark offers great perspective. He reminds us it is important to unschool yourself first. In this episode we discussed: Where his belief in self directed learning came from Why Mark and his friends started a small unschooling centre in Chiang Mai for their own children Unschooling and attending school. Mark explains why this is not a contradiction and how he is able to continue to unschool his daughter while she attends school How he has found his way in the struggle between the two worlds of traditional education and self directed learning Why he wrote his book Unschool Yourself First: A Parents Gateway to Self Directed Learning and the 3 main themes he lays out for readers. The fundamentals that took him from progressive educator to unschooler The educational research that explains why unschooling works so well The personal learners profile that helps parents to empathize, understand and support their child Questions Unschoolers Face I also asked Mark to answer some key questions that many unschoolers hear. Questions like; Does unschooling start with the parent or with the child? Is unschooling or self directed learning for everyone or only the select few? Self Directed Kids-will they really be productive? Mark is an excellent advocate for self directed learning. Through his work as an educator and parent consultant he has worked with countless families on both sides of the coin. And yes, Mark says it starts with us, the parents. Unschool yourself first. Mark's Advice To Parents Mark offers advice to parents that may be struggling to understand self directed learning. He says trust your child to know what is best for them in their life and learning. Support them in their learning. Have conversations. Figure out how to help them go deeper into what resonates with them and what they are interested in. Support your child. While Mark shared his childhood schooling experience (which he describes as nothing less than traumatic) I noticed that he had a lot of support in his life. Whether it was his parents, an aunt, or his grandparents, they all played a part in offering choice and freedom to Mark. He didn't have to stay confined to the school structure that was not serving him at all. Mark leaves us with his top 2 book recommendations for entering self directed learning. You can find the recommendations at the bottom of this page or you can tune into the episode to listen and learn more. You can connect with Mark through his email firstname.lastname@example.org where he offers free consultations to parents. You can also look for him on FaceBook. My episode with Kerry McDonald and Peter Gray were brought up in this interview. You can check out both interviews here. Unschooled: Kerry McDonald Free To Learn: Peter Gray Mark's Resources Mark's Book~Unschool Yourself First: A Parents Gateway to Self Directed Learning Sir Ken Robinson Dan Pink- The Puzzle of Motivation Dayna Martin Understanding By Design Curriculum Top 2 Book Recommendations For Entering Self Directed Learning Peter Gray-Free To Learn Kerry McDonald-Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well Educated Children Outside The Conventional Classroom Howard Gardner-Multiple Intelligences Sugata Mitra Kents Hill School Landmark College Goddard CollegeSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10 Jul 2019
S3E64: Play, Purpose & Unschooling
Play, purpose and unschooling. Roya Dedeaux is a licensed marriage and family therapist, professor and grown unschooler. She and her husband also homeschool their 2 children. Roya believes in the importance of play for all ages. Through her work, she inspires others to become more playful and create stronger connection. She doesn't just talk about it, she lives it. Her expertise and hobbies are many but they all intersect to make a beautiful, meaningful life. Roya credits this to growing up unschooled. She also credits her parents for supporting her interests, passions and play. By doing this, she says, they were a large part in helping her reach her greater purpose. Play, Purpose and Unschooling In this episode we talked about: Growing up Unschooled Why her parents chose the unschooling life for their family. The benefits and challenges that growing up unschooled brought. The joy and creativity. Being able to do all the things with a large amount of time. Friendships with varied ages and entire families. What has changed in the homeschooling community. The reasons why Roya's family is creating their own unschooling path. The Importance of Play, Mental Health and Relationships The greatest impacts on a child's development, success and resilience; the relationships that surround them. The benefits of free play. Gamefulness (the feeling of being able to take things on as a challenge as opposed to a threat). Why having trust in your child helps them to learn to have trust in themselves. Neural pruning. Video games and why playing violent video games and watching violent shows are not the same. Her Advice To Parents That Are Trying To Do It All In Roya's practice she works with many families that are juggling the pressures of the world. She helps families reconnect. Roya talked about choosing what is important and helping your child feel supported. Relationships and mental health. Homework and how to deal with it. How important is high school? The Pressure of High School and The Changing Face of College. Her life mission. Roya's passion and excitement for life and helping others is clear. I can hear it in her voice. Her dedication to her family and to the families that she supports are evident. I see the connection between the trust her parents gave her and how that has helped develop her life today. It's an encouragement for many of us that may doubt this natural learning path. Resources https://www.royadedeaux.com/ Connect With Courage Protect Their Passions Workbook Free To Be Unschooling Conference Jane McGonigal Ted Talk Jane McGonigal Website Reality is Broken Super Better Peter Gray Peter Gray episode on Honey! I'm Homeschooling The Kids The Decline of Play and Rise in Children's Mental Disorders- Peter Gray Pam Sorooshian on Unschooling Support me through Patreon~ https://www.patreon.com/honeyimhomeschoolingthekidsSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 Dec 2019
S1E13: “Advice From Dad” Part 1 - Chip Franks
Chip Franks– insights from an entrepreneur, homeschool dad and author. The tipping point to homeschooling his daughters, the lessons the process has taught them and the legacy he wants to leave for his children. Family Man Chip Franks is a family man with 3 children. He is also an entrepreneur, author and home educator. His oldest, Mandy is 17 years old and entering college this year. She started homeschooling last year and during that time completed her entire high school requirements. His middle daughter Aly is 13 years old. Aly is a self proclaimed “nerd” and his partner in crime. Chip’s youngest, the amazing Alec, is 5 years old and just started kindergarten. It was actually his first day of kindergarten the day of this interview. Alec is a beautiful soul that has Down Syndrome and has truly expanded their capacity to love. The Family’s Learning Journey Their family learning journey is unique to them. Chip felt that the education system was not working for his girls. They have tried public school, homeschool and private school. They do what is best for the child and family. Mandy was a sophomore in high school and Aly was in 6th grade when they decided to homeschool. Everyday Chip drove his girls to school and everyday they cried before they had to go. Chip talked to others about homeschooling and decided to try it out. His wife who believes in the traditional education system agreed but not immediately. The Tipping Point There were a few circumstances that caused a tipping point for Chip to try homeschooling. Chip had butted heads with his school district because his girls had missed so much school. His oldest daughter was sick quite often. The district they live in only allows a certain amount of days missed of school and if you go over that amount students must make up that time on weekends, over lunch or during the summer. His daughter that was sick quite often would have to make up these days. She would come to school, sit in a room and stare at her phone just to clock in the hours. He also saw that she needed more real life experience to help prepare her for her career and life. So many times students spend years in school or getting ready for exams but they never really explore the fields of interest they like. Chip felt she was getting a lot more from going out and experiencing life. Homework was also taking up a lot of time. His daughters would come home and be up until late completing homework to get back up again early the next morning to restart the cycle. What If My Spouse Doesn’t Agree With Homeschooling With this tipping point he decided to try out homeschool. He asked many friends who were homeschooling or unschooling entrepreneurs how they did it. He and his wife came to an agreement. The girls would complete their school year. They would try homeschooling over the summer as a test and if it didn’t go well they could always go back. It wasn’t an incredible success at first but it was good enough. They girls loved it and were happy to continue homeschooling. Chip’s wife is still not completely convinced but one thing that did help her to feel more certain was watching the documentary Class Dismissed together as a family. What Their Day Looked Like When the girls started homeschooling Chip set up a schedule for all three of them. They went to the library and got a private room where he would work while the girls worked on school. He had to be on site at his office only once a week. In the morning the girls completed school subjects. They used programs like Khan Academy for a lot of it. Mandy wanted more in-depth material so they ordered textbooks for her. Aly wasn’t excited about Khan Academy so they tried an on-line curriculum. Unfortunately it became too restrictive and just a repetition of school but at home. Not only that, it also ended up straining Aly and Chip’s relationship because Chip felt he had to become an authoritarian in order to get Aly to get her work done. In the afternoon they did “Daddy Projects“. They made a list of 30 big projects to get them to learn on their own and be resourceful. They kept a journal, created Evernote accounts to keep track, defined their own morning routine including reading The Miracle Morning, watched the Dead Poets Society and learned about the philosophers and poets. Chip also had his daughters right Idea Lists (taken from James Altucher). An example of an idea list is 20 ways to make my life better without a lot of effort. Chip loved this time with the girls. He says they had fantastic insight and he loved seeing how their minds worked. Learning While You Go As their journey progressed they realized that what they were doing was not working for both of their girls. One was quite independent and self-driven. The other needed more guidance. Since both Chip and his wife are entrepreneurs their schedule didn’t allow them to be with her all of the time. The family came to the decision that Mandy would continue to homeschool but Aly would not. They searched their area and found a private school that best suited Aly. This year is now her second year attending an Acton Academy affiliate. Aly now thrives in school. The Time We Have With Our Kids Is Finite “We only have 18 summers with our kids.” The time we have with our kids is finite. One of things they wanted with their eldest was to spend more time with her. And now they have that. This is what has led Chip to the book he wrote for his children–“Advice From Dad.” All the things that you should talk about but we never really seem to find the time to do. Advice From Dad, The Book Chip wanted to leave a gift for his children that could appreciate even when he is no longer on this earth. The book is divided into 4 main parts–Body, Mind, Heart and Soul and is filled with great examples and anecdotes to living a better life and being a better person. Just the kind of advice a dad with great life experience would give. Actually, a dad with great life experience and a lot of love for his children. One of these examples is about business but it still reflects well to our life. He says a lot of businesses are built like a hobo shack. Many go out and build without giving a lot of thought to what the foundation is like. Not a lot of thought is given to sequential order. In our life we want to build fast. We want different “shiny” things and to try out different things. The trick is to make sure that you first have your foundation laid. “If I had one thing to tell my kids what would it be? What could they learn? That they need to learn to love themselves.. That they should follow their bliss and do something that thrills them and they will always have a place to turn to and they will always be loved unconditionally. They will never get that in school” Chip, I think you are doing a fantastic job. You are well on your way. Check out these links and insights Chip Franks Daddy Projects ESTEAM Academy Class Dismissed MovieSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
24 Nov 2017
S2E28: Freedom Thinkers
Do you feel that education is in need of a transformation? Sandra Cushway, founder of Freedom Thinkers School would say YES. She felt there was a better way to teach and reach children and chose to make that change happen with her school. I contacted Sandra for this episode because everyone kept asking me about this unique school only 2 hours from where I live. This school feels like home. Ages are mixed, students are free to create and the kids are heard and respected. I knew I needed to get Sandra on the podcast, and am I ever happy I did! Sandra reminds me of an educational revolutionary (and past guest) that I know~ Mara Linaberger. Both are former educators from the public system that decided to take personal action and create a new path in education for kids. Sandra Cushway wants to see the whole system change. She became so discouraged one day that she decided it was time to quit teaching. But before she did that she realized that she could be part of the change in education instead of giving up on it. So she took the leap and stepped out on her own creating Freedom Thinkers. Freedom Thinkers At Freedom Thinkers kids are supported, respected and are given space to create. The age group ranges from about Grades 4-9 but there are no separate classes. Sandra stresses the importance of teaching real life skills such as money management and time management. For example, there are jobs for the students in the school. The jobs are not assigned. Students apply for the jobs that they want. They create resumes and cover letters and apply for the job. Sometimes they compete for a position. The school uses project based learning. In project based learning the students explore real world challenges and problems that are important to their personal interests. Many of these projects take them beyond the school walls and into their life. Students monitor their own time. Freedom Thinkers does not have set class schedules or bells. Teachers can and do teach specific subjects or programs but that is done in small groups, as they see fit. No day looks the same. Learning is collaborative. Success at the school is not based on a grade or mark. It's based on where the kids are learning and improving as individuals. One former student that suffers from Dyslexia felt such a change at the school she is going on to speak and blog about her experiences to bring awareness. What Kind Of Students Attend? Freedom Thinkers has a growing wait list with not enough space to meet the demand. Last year the school had 48 students. This year there were 61 students. When I last checked in with Sandra she said told me there are 23 spaces available for next year. But she already had 74 applicants for those spaces. They do not select a specific "type" of student. Students are chosen from a wide spectrum of learning abilities and interests. Sandra really wants people to understand that when you have a program and environment that allows children to learn, create and be themselves- the program will work for anyone. And the feedback is what makes it worthwhile. Parents and kids say there is a whole different feeling there. They are a family. The students leave thankful at the end of the day. Parents say that their child loves being at school now and they see positive differences in their children. Some families drive an hour each way to get to school everyday. Sandra holds open houses all of the time and if you happen to find yourself in Fort St. John BC, I encourage you to look in. If you can't do that, at least listen to this episode where she shares some remarkable stories of the effects their school is having on the kids and community. As Sandra says, "Let kids learn and support them in it". www.freedomthinkerseducation.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/freedomthinkerseducation/ My Life With DyslexiaSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
13 Jul 2018
S2E19: Micro Schools Builder Mara Linaberger
Are you in love with what you do? Do you inspire others to live a better life? Today’s podcast guest does that in spades. And she does it by helping to build micro schools.Meet Mara Linaberger.Mara was one of my early guests on this podcast. I’m thrilled to have had her on the podcast again, this time to talk about her new book.She has incredible will, drive, and passion to make this world a better place. These are always inspiring traits. And to see it in education is all the more inspiring, especially because she’s providing a unique alternative not found elsewhere.100 Micro SchoolsMara spent over 25 years working in the Pennsylvania public school system. But she eventually realized that her work from inside the system wasn’t best serving her students or herself. That was when she became a consultant for those struggling in learning and eventually an author. Through this work, Mara witnessed the successful emergence of micro-schools. These schools have become Mara’s mission. She plans to create a global network of 100 micro-schools.To help her achieve this mission, Mara wrote a new book, The Micro-School Builder’s Handbook. This book offers the steps and tools for parents to build their own micro-school.What’s a Micro-School?A Micro School is a small school, like the old one room schools of the past, but with a modern twist. A micro-school have no fewer than 12 kids or no more than 150 kids. It is an intimate setting with instructors or guides and small student to teacher ratios. Micro-schools are child-centred rather than parent-centred. The smaller the school the more intimate it can be.Micro-school founders often begin as homeschool parents. These parents either want to do more for other kids, or they want to create a community for their own children. Why Choose a Micro-School over Homeschool? Micro-schools are flexible. You can decide the flavour, space, and school schedule like homeschool.4 day school week? Road trips? As long as you’re accomplishing your hours of learning, how you go about that is flexible.Mara has met many parents that want to homeschool but don’t have the resources, or the confidence to do so. She has realized that micro schools present an opportunity not only for kids, but parents too. They can create a fantastic learning environment for their kids as well as a business of their own. Micro Schools- Schools of The Future? Micro-schools personalize learning and have small classes at a much lower price. They are starting to challenge private schools and the feelings of entitlement. There are micro schools focused on the outdoors, computer programming, the arts, service learning, business incubation…Mara feels that micro schools are the schools of the future. They are proving to be innovative and effective. Plus they make learning fun. The Micro School Builders HandbookThe Micro-School Builders Handbook helps make micro schools happen. The book covers the how and what.Do you want and need a curriculum? If so she helps you find what best suits your school. What location you choose. Teachers to hire? Will you do it yourself? Legalities in your area? Location you want to secure. For profit or non profit? How will you secure funds? How to make the business plan.There is so much flexibility and Mara says someone motivated will be able to go and do it themselves.Learning Needs To Be Fun Again Mara realizes that not everyone is ready for Micro-schools. There was a time that she wanted to effect change on a grand scale. Now she focuses on the small, meaningful and rich changes. She is already seeing the exponential growth. Learning needs to be fun again.So many of us want to do something meaningful and build a lasting legacy. We “think big” but we forget that service happens on a very personal, one by one basis. We may not see the effects right away, but we are preparing the next generation of leaders. The Super Hero Summit Along with helping to build 100 micro schools globally, Mara has another vision for kids. In 2017 she attended The Archangel Summit in Toronto, a gathering of mission driven entrepreneurs. Mara realized kids need the same kind gathering. So she and the founder of the Personal Greatness Project are working on the Super Hero Summit. A place for “superhero” kids to explore who they are, why they are here and figure out a mission they’d like to tackle. The Summit will be open to all kids that are looking into their personal greatness. It’s not an event, it’s a learning experience. “What the best and wisest parent wants for their own child, that must community want for all its children.” John Dewey Are you ready to build your micro school? You can order the book here.Visit Mara on Facebook or her website http://maralinaberger.com/See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
14 Feb 2018
S2E29: Unschooling Sisters
Amy Cahoon and Jacqui Alexander are the unschool sisters. Yes, they both unschool their kids. How cool to be able to share this journey with a close sibling! Not only do they both unschool their kids but they both share a blog together about their unschooling lives. Amy and Jacqui are the eldest two siblings in a family of 6. Growing up they attended public school but had vastly different experiences. One thrived as an academic student and the praise that came with it. The other struggled with classes and felt inadequacies because of that. But even though their school experiences differed, Amy and Jacqui feel that their mom was an unschooler at heart. Conversation was rich in their home and freedom to learn, play, and do was encouraged. This “unschooling” outside school was an early introduction to the concept. Now, even though they live on opposite sides of the country, they have chosen to follow a similar educational path with their families as unschoolers. They were already close, but now their bond through this shared experience brings them closer. In this episode The Unschool Sisters shared why they both decided to unschool, how they approach learning with their kids, and how this is influenced by their own personal experiences with school. They also share what life is like when viewed through an unschool lens. They don’t claim to have it all figured out and feel the anxieties and pressures that were familiar to my own. But they do understand that the basis for learning and family, no matter how you choose to school, is a loving relationship with their children. Make a cup of tea, and find a cozy spot to listen in on their life reflections of school, family and their shared love for the teachings of John Holt. Blog: The Unschool Sisters Recommendations: John HoltSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 Jun 2018
S3E60: The Call Of The Wild+Free: Ainsley Arment
The Call Of The Wild + Free Ainsley Arment is the founder of Wild + Free, a community of mothers that are changing the preconceived notion of what it means to homeschool. Ainsley is also co-founder of Wild Explorers Club and the Wild + Free Farm Village, and host of the Wild + Free podcast. Her new book, The Call of the Wild + Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child's Education was published in September. She and her husband Ben homeschool their five children; Wyatt, Dylan, Cody, Annie, and Millie, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. When Ainsley began her motherhood journey, homeschooling was not something she ever considered. It wasn't until her oldest began school that she started to reconsider. She noticed as he spent more time in school he started to become distant and began to care more about what the other kids thought of him. And his desire and innate curiosity to learn started to dim. Ainsley decided that instead of letting his light dim she wanted to give him wonder, freedom and curiosity. She wanted him to have his childhood back and homeschooling looked like the best option to do that. "It's less about the childishness, and more about the child-likeness. It's about that natural born wonder." How They Became Wild + Free Ainsley shares how the first few years of homeschool unfolded for them. The joys they experienced, the wonder and their early concerns. The joy came from doing life together at home and in nature. Ainsley saw her son's love for learning ignite again and wonder began to form his education. She saw his childhood coming back. At the same time Ainsley also understood the loneliness that arrives when you feel like you are the only one doing what you do. When you don't have your tribe. Or the uncertainty that you feel when you want to keep going but feel like you are fading out. It was the joys and the concerns that led to the creation of the vibrant Wild + Free community. In This Episode In this episode Ainsley shares how the Wild + Free community that began as a space on Instagram quickly spread to other parents throughout the world that wanted to reclaim the wonder of childhood. Wild + Free offers a common language for a certain set of values that many parents share; the wonder of learning, being out in nature, and the joy of living in the freedom of homeschooling. It also provides a place to hear from other moms in the trenches that are doing the hard work everyday. Ainsley's beautiful new book, The Call of The Wild + Free is an extension of this life. She gets into the why, the myths, and the how. How do you set up a rhythm in your home? How is the wild + free way different? I found Ainsley to be another kindred spirit and we chatted well past the time we stopped recording. Her passion is evident and the love for her family and the values she sees in giving kids freedom is clear. As for her challenges, they are similar to what many of us face; trying to juggle it all with a growing family, making room for quality time and quality education. But her advice is simple but powerful~ find what works for you in each season and embrace it. If you would like to learn more about the Wild + Free community or order the book go to: Wild + Free Website: bewildandfree.org On Instagram instagram.com/ainsl3y instagram.com/wildandfree.co If you would like to hear more about families that are reclaiming childhood and finding freedom through homeschool check out my episode with Rachel Rainbolt http://imhomeschooling.com/natural-learning/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
18 Oct 2019
S2E31: University~Is It The Right Choice For Homeschoolers?
You Unschool? How will your children get into University? I am asked this question many times and as my kids get older, I am asked this more.In this episode I reflect on my personal opinion around this topic. Why this can feel like this is a question about my parenting, not education. Why University should be the student's choice, not the parent's. Is University an extension of life long learning or a reflection of your success as a parent? If your child chooses to go how they can enter as a homeschooler or unschooler. The downside of University. Ready to carry debt? Why Universities are recruiting homeschoolers. If University reflects our fast paced technological world and the access it gives. What our family learning goals are. OECD education report data on post secondary schooling. Previous Episodes about homeschoolers or unschoolers and UniversityChip Franks Part 2~ Advice From DadChip talked about how his daughter got into the College of her choice. She did not have a high school diploma or used curriculum.Judy Arnall~Homeschool Advice From An ExpertJudy spoke about how 4 out of her 5 unschooled kids entered completed University. (The 5th is currently high school age).Jim Sheils~How One Entrepreneur Is Overturning The Traditional Education ModelJim questioned if University fulfills what you need to meet your dreams and passions.Pam Laricchia~Exploring UnschoolingPam reflected on the REAL reasons why you would be attending University. “College is a tool that can be used to meet a goal, not a goal in and of itself. It’s an option on the learning platter.”When Pam's daughter looked into college she found that many of the courses in her major she already had a firm knowledge in. Unschoooling had allowed her the time to the time to pursue her passion and focus. She chose to move to New York City where she could find mentors and collaboration.I hope you are having fun in your learning journey. I hope this includes creating and exploring. And remember there are many options on this learning platter of life.I would love to hear your ideas on University and this episode. You can write me- my email address is email@example.comYou can also go to the contact page.Follow the podcast and message me on Instagram~ Honey I’m Homeschooling The KidsOr check out my family's unique learning journey at my personal Instagram page @unschooling robyn See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10 Aug 2018
S2E27: Lenore Skenazy
How Lenore Skenazy Became 'The World's Worst Mom' Imagine being dubbed 'the world's worst mom' by not just one disgruntled person but by the media as a whole. That's exactly what happened to Lenore Skenazy, when, in 2008, she had the 'audacity' to allow her 9-year-old son ride the New York City subway home alone. Of course, she didn't have to advertise this fact by writing a column in the New York Sun about it, but she did. Lenore's trade was already a successful columnist, and finding the reactions of her friends and peers to be so fascinating she knew it would make for a great column idea. Of course, she couldn't have predicted the media storm that would follow. Almost immediately she was making appearances on all the major TV networks and before she knew it was dubbed 'the world's worst mom.' In her column she explained her reasons for letting her son ride the subway. The main reason was that he desperately wanted to. In fact, he begged her to let him off somewhere in the city to let himself find his way home. The resulting media explosion combined with her growing sense of mission helped launched the free range kids (and free range parents movement). Free Range Kids (and Parenting) It's ten years later now, and the movement has grown enormously. So much so that the first state (Utah) has protected parents with the so-called 'free range parenting law.' Basically, it means that parents don't have to fear arrest or legal action for allowing their kids some measure of freedom. Kids can do simple things like walk to the local park or to and from school. Parents can send their kids to the store alone to pick up bread or milk. Or, as in Lenore's case, to let kids come home on public transportation. As you can imagine, Lenore's story resonated with me a great deal. I'm not sure if I'm officially a 'free range parent,' but like Lenore, I believe that kids benefit from being able to have free time to play. We share in the belief that the best learning is when kids are exploring the world with other kids. We both believe that kids can and should take care of themselves some of the time rather than being constantly under the watchful eye of their parents. Where is The Movement Now? It's been ten years since Lenore 'went viral' after writing her article. Since then, she perhaps more than anyone (with the possible exception of her 'Let Grow' board member Dr. Peter Gray) has been working and advocating for a sensible approach to parenting. Lenore and her organization are pushing hard to ensure that kids get what they need the most, which is actual free time to play without the constant guidance and planning of adults. And she shares some incredible stories on the podcast about of how being a free range kid benefits. I absolutely loved this episode. Lenore is one of my personal heroes, and I've been following her and her message for years. Having her on the podcast is a dream come true, and I'm sure you'll love this episode as much as me. She shares a lot in this episode, and Lenore has a wonderful personality. I hope you enjoy this episode of Honey! I'm Homeschooling the Kids Mentioned in This Episode Lenore's Website "Let Grow" Lenore's Original Website "Free Range Kids" Dr. Peter Gray "Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone" by Lenore SkenazySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
8 Jun 2018
S2E23: My Son’s Life As A Homeschooler
In this episode my 11 year old son Ronan joined me to talk about what life is like as a homeschooler. Ronan is an active young person that loves sports, the outdoors, good books and travel. He talked about some of the key sports that he loves like soccer, swimming, parkour and skiing, books he recommends, the business he owns and why he started it, his current research project and travel. We talked allowing our kids to take risks and giving the time to explore the things that interest them. Episode References Warriors Harry Potter Family Board Meetings Unschooling Robyn InstagramSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11 Apr 2018
S3E58: Homeschool: Milva McDonald
Can homeschoolers get "real" socialization? What happens when your spouse no longer supports your choice to homeschool? Is University one of the best measures of a successful homeschooler? Milva McDonald joins me on this episode. She shares her homeschool experience and knowledge. Milva is the mother of four adult children and proud grandma of one. She said goodbye to school and the PTA and began homeschooling in 1991. For three decades she worked for The Boston Globe and boston.com writing and reporting about arts and cultural events in the Boston area. She is a founder of Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts (AHEM) and served on its Board of Directors for more than a decade. Milva has two books, Unschoolers and Slow Homeschooling. She blogs at www.apotlucklife.com Homeschool Fears In this episode Milva tackled some of the biggest homeschool fears and criticisms. An unsupportive spouse, socialization, community and getting into college. Milva brings to this discussion her 21 years of experience homeschooling and raising a family. She shares her own personal stories of how she worked through her obstacles and fears. What happens when your spouse no longer supports the choice to homeschool? Milva's family changed after she and her husband divorced. How did their family and homeschool adjust? Socialization~ Is this a real issue for homeschoolers? Or does the question of socialization border on intolerance? Milva references her own blog post that she felt compelled to write~ Is Socialization Overrated? Well? Is it? Community was extremely important for Milva's family, especially because their homeschool journey began soon after homeschooling was legalized in the US. Is community still as important today? How does community help us to flourish? Slow Homeschooling~Making conscious choices about how you spend your time. What does this mean to Milva and her family? How did they focus on relationships and pursue their passions? Unschooling~ Does the current meaning of unschooling reflect its original use? We have a vast amount of choice for home education and alternative learning now. How is this effecting the legal and political realm in her state? Success~What does it mean to be a successful homeschooling family? Because her children attended college and one graduated from Harvard, does Milva feel they have reached success? Is graduation from a top university the best measure? Do you need to go to college to lead a fulfilling life? "One of the great things about homeschooling is that it opens you up to the idea that you can do things differently" Milva ends with advice for parents that want to try homeschooling but are scared to take the leap. She encourages us to prioritize what's important. She says "homeschooling was successful for us because it's a great lifestyle. That spirit of curiosity and excitement that pervaded their childhood, continues." Resources Milva's blog: www.apotlucklife.com Milva's books, Unschoolers and Slow Homeschooling Boston Magazine~ Our Kids Don't Belong In School Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts (AHEM) John Holt John Taylor Gatto Interested in John Holt? Listen to my interview with Pat Farenga, writer and education activist. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
19 Sep 2019
S3E46: Self Directed Learning: Blake Boles
Blake Boles is an advocate for self directed learning. He is an author, speaker and podcaster. He is also the director of Unschool Adventures, a one of a kind travel adventure program for self directed teens. The day we chatted I bundled up for the cold Alberta winter while Blake was enjoying the sun in warm New Zealand. I first learned of Blake through his podcast, Off Trail Learning. Who was this person that speaks so passionately about self directed learning? Yet he never grew up home educated himself?I found his website, watched his videos and came across articles he wrote. I liked his idea of the importance of consent in education and learning. His nomadic lifestyle resonated with me. I knew I wanted to have him on this show. I wanted to hear what he has learned from spending so much time with self directed teens. On this episode Blake addressed the many questions that I have heard on unschooling and self directed learning.Are self directed teens any different from those that are not? If so, where does this difference come from?What does it mean to "be educated"? The difference between unschooling, learning and education. Is unschooling unrealistic? What is he hearing from unschooled teens that enter formal education? Is unschooling and self directed learning only accessible to a small minority of families? What shifts are happening in education and where?I ended the episode asking Blake his advice. What would he say to families that are open to exploring self directed learning? Blake offered many resources and left sage advice even for the skeptics. I am looking forward to hearing more from Blake Boles.Resources: Blakes Website: blakeboles.com Unschool Adventures Alternative Schools or Self Directed Learning Centres Sudbury Schools NorthStar Liberated Learners Network Village Home Blakes article on the difference between Agile Learning Centres, liberated learners and Sudbury Schools Self Directed Learning and Unschooling Books, Articles and Research Peter Gray: A Survey of Grown Unschoolers John Taylor Gatto Grace Llewellyn The Self Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience Self Determination Theory Alliance For Self Directed Education Drive: Daniel Pink Outliers: The Story of Success- Malcolm Gladwell If you would like to hear more about self directed learning: Why Self Directed Learning is Important: Madison Kanna See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 Mar 2019
S3E49: Play: The Vehicle For Learning
Play: The vehicle for learning Phil Johnson is a strength and conditioning coach and human performance specialist. He describes himself as a neuroscience nerd. Phil is a dad, an independent researcher and scholar and PLAY advocate. He works as an adjunct professor at the University of Iowa. During this episode Phil and I explore the dynamic relationship between play, evolution, learning and the brain. We discussed: What is missing in education and why it's important to be self driven in learning The factors needed in your environment to support play How fear, stress and nutrition impact play. We also discussed the personal impact that the forced educational environment had on Phil growing up. This impact is a "why" behind his PLAY advocacy. Play Across Studies In University Phil fell in love with his studies. His love of learning sparked. He was pursuing his interests. He also found positive mentors that encouraged him to appreciate his unique differences. But a class called "Perspective on Leisure and Play" caught Phil's attention. In this class the connection between the science of play and the science of adaptation (Strength and conditioning) was made. It was the first time in Phil's life that he was introduced to play on a biological perspective. That was the start of Phil's research journey. This journey has linked play to psychology, anthropology, social sciences and neuroscience. Phil says that play is not unique to just humans or mammals. It is a primary system deep within the brain. Play is the vehicle for learning. Phil encourages parents to help support play and to model playful behaviour. "Humans are meant to be playful. Exuberant. Curious and question asking until the day we die". If you would like to learn more about Play and Self Directed Learning listen to my episode with Peter Gray. References Phil's website: Got Strength Ashley Montagu Growing Young- Ashley Montagu Jaak Panksepp- The Importance of Play Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions The Archeology of Mind: Neural Origins of Human Emotions Paul D MacLean-The Triune brain Dayna Martin Stuart Brown M.D. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
3 May 2019
S2E26: Educational Freedom with Akilah S. Richards
Akilah S. Richards came to unschooling by, in her own words, "banging her head against the wall." Her journey began when their first daughter was labeled as 'gifted' at her public school. The entire family was soon initiated into a bizarre and bewildering educational experience. First, the school moved her daughter forward a grade. And soon they resorted to creating a special program for her. But, the whole family soon noticed a pattern. Regardless of what solution they tried, it was always an attempt to mold their daughter. It was never an attempt to facilitate her natural learning.There was no thought given to her own unique interests, or even what was best for her. They assumed that a gifted child should simply do more, faster of what the other kids were doing.The entire family, especially their daughter felt the program was too limiting. And Akilah's daughter questioned it. She wondered why she was allowed to talk about certain things at certain times but not other times. Her brain was making connections and she wanted to explore things. But her 'special' program didn't allow for much freedom.Taking the Leap to Educational FreedomThis experience of frustration led the family to pull their daughters out of the system. They went to Akilah's home country of Jamaica, and her plan was to school her daughters with textbooks. It was a similar experience to our family's. We also went to Jamaica. And we also planned on bringing school to the home. And, like us, Akilah and family soon realized that the idea of bringing school to the home was not going to work. She tells a funny story of bringing textbooks to the beach to do a schooling session. But, in that beautiful Caribbean environment her kids rejected the textbook approach. They wanted to explore and learn about their surroundings instead.She was doing the same thing as the school.So, she decided to wait and allow everyone to acclimate to the new surroundings. But after experiencing a bit of educational freedom, they never went back. And eventually they settled on unschooling. But she didn't even know such a thing existed. They thought they were inventing a new way of education. And when she found others already doing it and discussing it online, she was surprised and delighted. This was the beginning of her family's path to educational freedom. And her own family's journey has led Akilah to see this freedom as essential. The traditional education system is restrictive and prescriptive. Akilah believes everyone, including children, thrive in a free environment. And she's made it her mission to spread this message of freedom. Akilah's goal is to inspire and support other families, especially people of color. Akilah believes that unschooling is a right everyone should have. Akilah and I share some great laughs on this episode. We connected about our mutual connection to the great island of Jamaica. And she has a strong message of freedom to share.Give it a listen. And as always, I'd love to hear what you think. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.Learn More About Akilah Her Website Podcast Fare Of The Free ChildSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
25 May 2018
S2E16: Sage Homeschooling Wild and Free (Natural Learning) — Rachel Rainbolt
Natural Parenting With Rachel Rainbolt Rachel Rainbolt is the Sage Parent Coach and a natural learning mama. She believes in the power of trust and connection. Rachel wants to elevate mothers to believe in themselves and act on their power to create and live a joyful natural parenting, learning path. Rachel has her Masters degree in family therapy, is a parenting coach, writer, and home education mom to her 3 kids. Honestly, she has a list of letters and titles behind her name, but her academic background almost seems counter to how she lives today — living in a state of parental flow. Rachel runs her business Sage Parenting from her computer in their home in the Pacific Northwest. But more often you can find her hiking through the forest with her family. Rachel and I talked about her new book — Sage Homeschooling Wild and Free, their natural learning journey and why she says connection and trust is the foundation for all other learning. What Does Rachel’s Background Bring? Rachel’s background is in psychology and Family Therapy. She’s also a certified infant massage educator. She’s an advocate for natural sleep, breastfeeding, parenting, and learning. Rachel feels her degrees have value and do inform much of her life, but as she shared on the podcast, they also helped indoctrinate her with a mountain of beliefs, assumptions, and expectations she says she had to shake off to adopt the natural learning method of parenting. She says the field of psychology was valuable and taught her how to sift through data and do research. But she’s since noticed that her choices and beliefs differ quite a bit from her fellow graduates. Her life now relies on connection, trust, and the natural unfolding of life. Her Family’s Education Journey Rachel started her family journey using attachment parenting. When her oldest turned 4, she started looking for schools for her son because that is what, “we’re supposed to do.” She didn’t even know there were other options. Her and her husband put their son in Kindergarten at the public school where he stayed all the way to the start of 2nd grade. When they started homeschooling they stayed with their local public district. This meant the same work as the school classroom — which was an eye-opening experience. Soon they switched to a charter homeschool, then switched to independent homeschooling, before diving fully into unschooling. Rachel’s oldest loves homeschooling. He didn’t enjoy most aspects of school, especially the routine of getting up early, rushing off, and sitting in a desk all day. The family also saw that his natural learning fire was extinguishing. It only rekindled when they started homeschooling. Rachel says she sometimes wishes she’d slowed down and listened to herself more and just started homeschooling right away. But as she also said, “We have to walk our journey and be patient with ourselves.” Today, her oldest son brings gratitude and wisdom to the younger kids that only know unschooling. Rachel’s believes unschooling is a lifestyle of learning and connection. She practices learning with her children and trusts in her own journey as she does in her children’s. Why Write Sage Homeschooling? Many people don’t know this kind of lifestyle exists. She meets people at the playground who have no idea about natural parenting or natural learning. It’s a passion piece for her and she feels there’s less information available about the natural learning mindset. What information is available is mostly dated. Rachel finds that there aren’t many families living the natural learning process today. She wants others to know natural is an option and what it can look like. This is why she wrote the book. Does A Natural Learning Environment Include Screens? Rachel and I discussed what the natural learning environment can include, especially the debate around kids and technology. Rachel says people have a misconception that you can’t live a natural-minded life while owning technology. Her family lives close to a forest and sound and are outside constantly, but they also have access to an infinite amount of knowledge because of technology. She gave me a few examples. They can be walking through a forest and discover a tree that interests them. Rachel will take out her phone and reference what it is and information about it all in a matter of minutes. Her oldest is video chatting with a group of friends he met at an unschooling conference. They are currently writing a screenplay together using Google Docs. It wouldn’t be any more valid if it was on a piece of paper. People are judgemental about screens, but Rachel says the out-of-balance feeling is usually more about the parents. Research shows that children escape more into a virtual world if their real life doesn’t have much to engage with. If they are alone for hours for example, without access to the outdoors. If you are feeling out of balance, the best place to focus your efforts is on building your life and placing more engaging things in your environment. Focus on engaging and not limiting. Screens Are Tools Screens are powerful tools in the learning process. In the Rainbolt home, they have one adventure day and 2 home days for their balance. On home days, when the kids are on screens they more often watch and then create. The screen may or may not be one piece to that learning. The word “screen” encompasses so much and Rachel has found that the research does lag behind a bit. A lot of the data still pertains to kids watching TV shows. But that can be misleading, and Rachel knows from her own life example what the TV created for her as a child. Your kids may be getting positive things out of it that you may not be aware of. She told me about the Robin Hood cartoon that she watched as a child and how much she loved it. It was a show she resonated with, because it came at a time when she felt disempowered and she didn’t have much of a voice. That movie empowered her. Rachel and I talked about her placement of screens in her natural learning environment section of the book. She asked, “Do you bake online? Use Online music classes? ‘Screen time’ is so much more integrated into how we can tap into the world as opposed to before.” Screens are tools that go along with paper, LEGO, books, and paint. They are a tool kids have to draw from in their environment. The Natural Learning Environment The homeschool environment is a powerful force in natural learning. Especially if you promote self -directed learning. With the right materials in the home environment her kids can play, act, and create what’s going on in their mind. It also makes her job a lot easier. She doesn’t tell them what to do but she creates an environment that supports their interests. She sets up invitations which they can use or decline. There is a misconception that if you are not controlling and instructing there is no learning. But there is so much learning that happens in place of control. Instead of an enforcer, Rachel’s is a supportive guide. By role-modelling you can foster the qualities your children need later in life. They are responsible for their own learning when you’re not responsible for it. And the trust — the more she trusts them, the more their amazing qualities blossom and flourish. Connection Is The Foundation For All Learning It creates a safety where everything else springs from. This important piece can be absent from schools but it’s the first level building block in natural learning. Rachel feels that in the future, education will turn to more alternative schooling opportunities. But it’s important to be clear on the role and purpose of those schools. Be clear on the function so the environment can be designed around that. Schools can be built around how children learn. You Are The Creator of Your Life Story But what if you are in a situation where you can’t be home with your kids? Or you’re having a tough time dealing with other things? Rachel says it is important to remember you’re the one that gets to write your story. We don’t control 100% of our lives, but we do have power over most things in our lives. 90% of things in your life that feel immoveable are actually moveable! When you know you can make and become the person you want to be, you look at where you want to go. Write it out. What would your priorities be? Your intentions? She uses the word intentions rather than goals, because goals tend to be focused on an outcome. We can’t necessarily control outcomes, so goals are more often disempowering. But intentions are different. What direction do you want to set your compass? If you are not setting it, society will set it for you. Be The Student of Life That You Want Your Children To Be A desire to learn is contagious. Your children will be inspired by the way you live your life, connect with your community, grow, and learn. If you’re only demanding of them, then there is no inspiration and role modelling. There’s a misconception that when you start homeschooling, the parent’s role becomes top-down teacher. Living a life that fills you with joy and purpose is one of the greatest teaching gifts you can give your children. When Rachel finished graduate school, she wanted to continue doing her work but in a way that connected her to her own children. She did what she suggests others do — get out of the “current” and live your own story. Radical Acceptance — Deschooling to Unschooling The Rainbolt family calls themselves unschoolers, but more so natural learners. In any movement people can become dogmatic, even with unschooling. Rachel believes in radical acceptance and doing what works for her family. Even deschooling can be rather prescriptive. Their family didn’t follow the deschooling suggestions when they left school, it was different for them and it should be unique for each family. Deschooling means unpacking the education baggage you inherited. There really aren’t any wrong ways. It looks different for each family but the point of deschooling is being able to shake off old beliefs and question everything. Be brave and engage in that process. Advice For Us Rachel left me with heartfelt advice –lean into trust. It feels hard at first and uncomfortable but the more you do it, the more rewards you get. Every time she’s been unsure, she unlocks, grows, and flourishes once she leans into trust. Trust in your children, the natural learning journey, and the joy you have together. Find Rachel on Instagram, Facebook and her website: Sageparenting.com Get her new book– Sage Homeschooling Wild and FreeSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
5 Jan 2018