Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category

Brave Writer Podcast: What About Technology? with Lindsay McCarthy

Brave Writer Podcast

We’re so connected to technology (ahem blog!). We carry these magic little screens with us everywhere – and if you’re anything like me, it can start to feel like a third arm! We use them for work and for entertainment, and when our kids see us using these tools, they want to use them too.

What feelings come up when you hear the phrase “screen time”? Do you ever wonder:

  • How much screen time is too much?
  • Are my kids getting any value from screen time, other than entertainment?
  • Am I modeling my own tech behavior appropriately?

Explore the answers to these questions–and more–as I talk with Lindsay McCarthy, our special guest of honor in this episode of the Brave Writer Podcast Season 5: Ask Julie.

We discuss strategies for fostering a family culture that values what technology offers, without letting it take over.

Brave Writer Podcast S5E3 Lindsay McCarthy

I share fun, simple tips & tricks for shifting technology from a burdensome habit to a tool that complements your lifestyle.

Pour yourself a warm cuppa and settle in—I’m excited to have you along with us!

What about technology?

Technology is a great tool, and Lindsay acknowledges that. However, their family also values reading and spending time outside – and it’s hard to find where that line should be!

For starters, we want to demystify the romantic notion of a physical book. There are certainly benefits to reading from physical books, but there are also benefits in using the resources like Kindles, Audiobooks, or Gutenberg.org.

If you value reading, strip away worries about the delivery system. Reading matters, and today it comes in so many more formats and opportunities than ever before! As homeschoolers, we have a tendency to romanticize the past. Sometimes we devalue our onslaught of options because they don’t match our idyllic view of what homeschool “should be.”

We also need to join our children in their technology time. It can be convenient to give your child a device when you need to get some work done – and this is a completely fair and reasonable thing to do – but if that’s their only time with screens, it can give technology a certain “taboo” feeling.

So if you, like Lindsay, give your kids two hours of screen time while you do your work, follow that up with together screen time. Ask them to show you their favorite YouTube video or what they’re doing in their favorite game.

This also allows your child some time in the driver’s seat, giving them an opportunity to teach you!

Julie’s Advice:

  • Start quantifying how much reading your children do each day in total, books and otherwise. Start observing and making a list when you notice reading showing up in your child’s life. For example: reading comments/discussions online, reading a grocery shopping list, or reading instructions. Where else is reading showing up in your child’s life?
  • Get interested and become a partner in their interests. After tech time, ask what your child’s favorite video was and why. Really value what they learned in your absence. Your child’s work in Minecraft is every bit as real as your work. It just looks different to you! Showing interest in their tech time will also remove “taboo” feelings.
  • Integrate what your child watches (like Minecraft or unboxing videos) into everyday life when possible. Be curious, but let them lead! Create shared experiences. You could film your daughter or son unboxing something. You could use an interactive YouTube video to create something like slime, water beads, baking, etc.
  • Pay attention to how you talk about tech. If it’s emphasized as something needing control and management, or a reward and entertainment, then it’s giving it more power as an exciting thing.
  • Let tech complement your lifestyle. Parents support their children’s interest in the following ways: resources, research, transportation, and money. On the back end, use educational language to keep track of the observations that encourage you – in a list, a journal, etc.
  • Let Minecraft be a friend for learning, rather than as a reward for after your kid is finished learning.
  • Instead of focusing on the amount of tech time, focus more on your level of engagement within their own lives. You will start to build a craving for more shared experiences.
  • Add elements of surprise into your everyday lives. Like strewing – once your kids go to bed one night, lay out something they can discover in the morning. Act like you don’t know anything about it. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Videos are endlessly surprising, so adding these types of activities will bring more joy, surprise, and mystery of early childhood into your family.

Download the FREE Podcast Transcript


The Homeschool Alliance

Brave Writer Podcast: Growing a Mind & Cultivating Curiosity with Christa Gregg

Brave Writer Podcast

Have you ever wondered if you’re teaching your kids “all the things”?

Do you worry that they’ll reach age 18, and they won’t have some piece of information or some subject studied well enough and it will be “all your fault”?

Join me while Christa Gregg and I discuss the weighty responsibility of being a homeschool parent.

Brave Writer Podcast S5E2

We talk about how to create a family dynamic that naturally explores all manner of subjects without that “school teacher voice” so many of us resort to. It’s a wonderful conversation and ends with a particularly poignant worry that I think many of you will understand. So listen to the end!

Making the Shift

How do we shift us from a “this is school time” mindset to a “we can be learning all the time” mindset – without turning EVERYTHING into a lesson?

Christa, like so many homeschooling parents, wants to create a culture of learning and engender curiosity in her children. But how do we do this without forcing it down their throats?

We need to remember that sometimes trying to create a lesson or plan, getting into “teacher mode,” is the very thing that makes it feel stale. It can be scary, it can feel like flying blind, but learning moments arise around us naturally every day – we just need to get into the habit of capitalizing on them.

When we trust our engagement with our children and the world around us, these learning moments foster what Julie likes to call Big Juicy Conversations!

So, practice being self-aware in these moments and pay attention to your children’s reactions. If you feel distraction and disinterest from them, be aware that you need to shift out of that current mode… and your children will guide you if you let them! This isn’t an issue of not having enough ideas, this is an issue of trusting your children.

Remember you are growing a mind, not establishing beliefs.

Julie’s Recommendations

  • TRUST. Trust the natural process. Stop teaching, get curious, and let your children guide you.
  • Make a note on your calendar and keep track of the patterns where you move in and out of teaching mode and curiosity mode.
  • We’re looking for peace and progress in our homeschool. You can achieve that by toggling between skillwork and fun application. For example: for math, practice skill work through a workbook, then apply fun through a game, cooking, etc. — some way to encounter math in a real tangible way.
  • Don’t become too deeply rooted on either side. Try to have a good blend of skills work and fun.
  • Make the challenging skill work more of a collaboration. Remember the shoulder-to-shoulder concept with things you want your children to learn. Don’t just check boxes – collaborate and learn together!
  • You are a deep person and what you want is depth for your own children. Trust that this is already happening!

Download the FREE Podcast Transcript


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The Brave Learner

Brave Writer Podcast: Embracing Elements of Home with Tammy Kim

Brave Writer Podcast: Ask Julie

Welcome to Season 5 of the Brave Writer Podcast!

I’m delighted to share with you the personal, warm, meaty conversations I had with parents just like you in this season of the podcast. In fact, I can’t wait for you to listen.

This collection, titled “Ask Julie,” is comprised of episodes I’m particularly excited to share with you. We put out the call for your toughest homeschool dilemmas…and a whopping 200 of you responded! My team and I have assembled what we consider to be a representative group of the issues parents face when they want to be a meaningful part of their kids’ education.

My guests are smart, kind, caring, and creative. They were open and vulnerable, sharing about their fears and insecurities.

In short: I admire every one of them.

Episode One is called “Embracing Elements of Home” (with Tammy Kim).

Brave Writer Podcast S5E1 Tammy Kim

If you wonder why your kids balk at your best efforts to ensure a great homeschool experience, this is the episode for you!

The Parent & The Dilemma

Tammy Kim is a homeschooling mother of three girls, ages 13, 11, and 8. She reached out expressing a sense of overwhelm and worry over her effectiveness as a homeschool educator.

Tammy said, “I’m struggling with managing the time to create fun, interesting lessons the girls can all be excited to learn from, while trying to take our homeschooling to a higher level.”

Along with the “normal” stressors of everyday life, Tammy’s family has recently uprooted and moved to Paradise, CA, the town where she was born and raised, in order to be closer to family and to receive more homeschool support for herself and her girls.

Before we start answering some questions, we just want to make one thing clear: it’s okay for us to feel over overwhelmed and reach out for support! All of us have felt that way at some point or another, and no one makes it through this journey entirely alone.

What about managing your time and keep your children’s’ interest, while also taking homeschooling to the next level?

In homeschool, we want to figure out how to make learning come alive for our children – and how we do that is not the same for every child.

This is why many of us first shied away from the cookie cutter approach to public school, but still many of us have the pernicious ghost of our own public school past, influenced by expectations set by the curriculum, whispering not-so-sweet nothings into our ears about what school is and where our children should be.

The structure of public school doesn’t take individuals into account, and you don’t have to feel pressured by your memories, other parents, or anything else to import that structure (or the institutional expectations that come with it) into your home.

Instead, you get to use the properties of home to transform your children’s learning experience!

Julie’s Recommendations for Tammy

To help make the most out of home school, Julie offered three suggestions:

  1. Let go of morning chores and warm up to the day with a little more coziness.
  2. Allow your kids to have more say in how much of their assignments they have to complete (maybe doing 20 math problems sounds daunting today!). At the same time, give them room and breaks.
  3. Don’t go past noon. Use your afternoon to pursue the things that live in your mother and teacher imagination! Seek out those meaningful opportunities and feather learning in naturally.

Download the FREE Podcast Transcript


Please post a review on Apple Podcasts for us (here’s a handy guide)?
Help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey. Thanks!


The Brave Learner

Season 5 of the Podcast is Coming Soon!

Brave Writer Podcast

We have exciting news that we’re just chomping at the bit to share!

Are you ready?

Drumroll, please!

Season 5 of our podcast launches on Monday, November 5!

As I thought about this season of the podcast, it occurred to me that it would be fun to put some homeschool coaching skills into action—for FREE!

This collection is called “Ask Julie” for a good reason—my new book, The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life, is about to be published on February 5, 2019. It’s designed to coach you in your homeschool and parenting experience.

Last spring, we put out the call for your toughest homeschool dilemmas. You know: the yuck that seems to be stuck on your homeschool like a wad of bubblegum. A whopping 200 of you responded with heartfelt questions. Thank you so much, by the way, to everyone who participated.

We painstakingly selected 11 parents and one gaggle of homeschooling friends for this season’s series of episodes. My team and I have assembled what we consider to be a representative group of the issues parents face when they want to be a meaningful part of their kids’ education.

We recorded the conversations, I gave each parent some homework to try over a period of months, and then we visited with each other again to discuss how it all turned out. Beginning Monday November 5, you get to come along for the ride!

The topics of this podcast series dovetail nicely with The Brave Learner and I can’t wait to share each and every episode with you—I think you’ll find these conversations meaningful and relevant!

Mark your calendar and polish your headphones, because you won’t want to miss this season!


Please post a review on Apple Podcasts for us (here’s a handy guide)?
Help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey. Thanks!

Podcast: The Complete Season Four

Brave Writer Podcast Season Four Recap

Season four of the Brave Writer Podcast is over, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop there!

Did you miss an episode from the fourth season of the Brave Writer Podcast? Did you want to listen to an episode again? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are the episodes from season four of the podcast in one convenient place so that you can listen (or re-listen) to them whenever you want.

Tune in to the Brave Writer podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher (or your app of choice), and here on the Brave Writer blog.

Season Four Podcasts

S4E01: Morning Routines that Support Your Homeschool & Family

S4E02: 55 Things I Did NOT Do as a Homeschooler

S4E03: 61 Things I Did RIGHT in My Homeschool

S4E04: Diversity, Inclusion, & Literature with Charnaie Gordon

S4E05: Natural Stages of Growth as a Home Educator

S4E06: The Scourge of Perfectionism

S4E07: Adding Adventure, Community, & Collaboration to Your Homeschool with Dachelle McVey

S4E08: Back to Homeschool

S4E09: Integrating Cultural & Language Learning in Your Homeschool with Anne Guarnera

S4E10: The Split Between Structured & Unstructured Learning

S4E11: Developing Cultural Literacy & Empathy Through Books with Sarita Holzmann of Sonlight

S4E12: Being an Awesome Adult & Living Your Most Fulfilling Life

S4E13: The Ages & Stages of Awesome Adulthood

S4E14: Permission to Party School

S4E15: Brain-Based Learning Part 1

S4E16: Brain-Based Learning Part 2

S4E17: No Silver Bullet

S4E18: Family Dynamics in Your Homeschool: Roles Your Kids Play

S4E19: Partnership Home Education

S4E20: Are You One Big Happy Family?

S4E21: Exploring Learning Differences

S4E22: Top 10 Things to Have Done by the End of High School

S4E23: Unschool Undefined, and Other Home Ed Philosophies

S4E24: Learning How to Learn with Barbara Oakley, PhD

S4E25: Break the Cycle of Homeschool Despair: Don’t Let “What If” Get You Off Track

S4E26: A Modern Miss Mason with Leah Boden

S4E27: 6 Writing Myths Busted

S4E28: How to Be Your Child’s Partner in Writing

S4E29: Making Money as a Mom and Homeschooler

S4E30: Homeschooling High School: Real Talk about Teens, Writing, Wonder, and Weirdness

S4E31: The Same Page with MacKenzie Koppa


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Help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey. Thanks!