[Podcast] Gentle Parenting, Natural Learning, and Simple Living with Rachel Rainbolt
Meet Rachel Rainbolt, the visionary founder of Sage Family and one of my favorite homeschoolers.
With a master’s degree in marital and family therapy, Rachel has spent years guiding overwhelmed families toward peace and joy.
Living on an idyllic island in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three spirited children, Rachel embodies the essence of a life well-lived, focusing on:
- gentle parenting,
- natural homeschooling,
- and simple living.
What is Gentle Parenting?
Gentle parenting isn’t just a philosophy for raising children; it’s a lens through which we can view all human interactions. Rachel emphasizes that the first step to gentle parenting is self-improvement. Parents should aim to be emotionally intelligent role models, fostering empathy and patience. Importantly, Rachel frames this approach as part of a relay race in intergenerational change. Parents don’t have to be perfect, but they should strive to pass the ‘baton’ of improved parenting and relationship skills to the next generation. This long-term vision aims to improve familial relationships over time, transforming how families interact with each other across generations.
Homeschooling, in Rachel’s view, is more than an educational choice; it’s a lifestyle that balances educational responsibilities with nurturing family connections. Parents should see themselves as supportive companions in their children’s educational journey rather than dictatorial overseers. This ties back to our idea of “awesome adulting,” a reminder that parents are individuals with their own needs and aspirations. This perspective allows parents to strike a balance, providing necessary guidance without losing sight of their own identities.
Simple Living and Discipline
For Rachel, ‘simple living’ is intricately tied to minimalism, which extends beyond just decluttering physical spaces. It also involves a disciplined approach to finances, relationships, and even mental chatter, all aligned with one’s core values. Managing a business, homeschooling neurodivergent children, and active community volunteering require what Rachel terms as “ruthless efficiency.”
But what if all of that sounds a bit overwhelming? One practical tip she offers for sustaining this lifestyle is to set a 15-minute timer for cleaning tasks, ensuring that housework doesn’t become an endless time sink. Rachel also makes it a point to acknowledge the privilege inherent in her lifestyle choices, particularly in the arenas of parenting and homeschooling, highlighting that her ability to be present and attentive is in part due to her stable living conditions.
Neurodiversity, Compassion, and Learning
Raising neurodivergent children gives Rachel unique insights into the world of neurodiversity. She notes that neurodivergent individuals often engage in “deep-dive learning,” becoming intensely focused on subjects that interest them. Understanding that children are not mere reflections of their parents but individuals in their own right is key, particularly for neurodivergent kids who are more significantly affected by their environment. Rachel’s advocacy doesn’t stop at neurodiversity; she also champions for greater understanding and compassion in transgender issues, underscoring the intersectionality between neurodiversity and gender diversity.
The wisdom Rachel shares calls us to extend love and support beyond our immediate family circles. Whether we are parents, siblings, or community members, applying the principles of gentle parenting, natural homeschooling, and disciplined living can catalyze a transformative change in our communities. By taking an empathetic and intelligent approach to life, we can make the world a more accepting and compassionate place for everyone.
- Find Rachel’s work at sagefamily.com
- Follow Rachel on Instagram: @sage.family
- Read: Sage Homeschooling
- Bucket System
- Listen to the Sage Family Podcast
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