Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category

Podcast: Brave Schooling

Brave Schooling Podcast

Is it possible to work from home while doing homeschooling?

This school year is different from any other. We are not going into it with the same sense of confidence or the same tools, resources, and experiences that we rely on to be good homeschoolers. Instead, we’re coming in with a lot of uncertainty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This has caused parents to think about the fall in a new way, and in addition to the garden variety homeschooler who chose this lifestyle long ago, there’s a new crop of homeschooling parents joining the community. Welcome.

In this podcast episode, we will cover what learning is NOT, how homeschooling differs from traditional school, and the essential steps to facilitate learning at home.

Learning is not an activity that is confined to just school, and I want to teach you how to make learning a natural part of your life.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

There’s a question that a lot of people, especially new homeschoolers, have right now: Is it possible to work from home while doing homeschooling?

For many of you, there was delight when our schedules all came to a grinding halt. For the first time, you were considering that you could do your work at home even though your children were in the same space. This is something homeschoolers have known for a while — many homeschooling parents have side gigs or full-time jobs that they perform from home while they homeschool. It seems like something nobody would choose to do, but suddenly many of us are forced to do this… and it isn’t so bad!

Another thing that many new homeschoolers discover is that much of the work our children do in schools can be done in a fraction of the amount of time they normally spend in a school building: somewhere between 1-3 hours compared to the 6-8 hours they would spend at school.

How to begin homeschooling today

It’s an interesting question: How do we embark on the theory of education that combines personal tutorial with a program, online school, or curriculum while weaving it into a family life that may or may not include working for money?

The three key admissions of learning

From the moment you bring your kids home for learning, you are making three admissions about learning:

  • Learning does not happen in a building
  • Learning does not live inside a textbook
  • Learning is not sourced in a teacher

Kids are learning every minute of every day. Learning is not confined to a single location.

It does not lie in the pages of a textbook. A textbook is a tool, a resource, an answer key, or a set of problems or suggested activities so you do not have to start from scratch. It can be incredibly helpful, but it is not where learning comes from.

A teacher does not decide what a person is and isn’t going to learn. Kids do not need us in the way that our worldview leads us to believe. Learning is always taking place, so we need to rethink the ways we look at teaching.

How do we know that learning has taken place?

As an adult, what proves to you that you’ve mastered something new? Mastery is elusive. There’s never a point where you think, “I’ve played guitar for 20 years and now I’m a master.” No matter how much energy you put into any topic, there is always more to know.

Let’s say I realize I want some indoor plants. I see an African Violet at the supermarket and bring it home. Then I realize I don’t really know how to take care of it, so I decide to learn about caring for African Violets. We have the entire world in our hands with our cell phones. And the proof of learning is in seeing those violets bloom.

How useful is it to know the information about multiplication tables and yet never see it bloom in lived experience? Even if I had studied and aced a test on African Violets, I still wouldn’t know if I could get one to bloom.

When we are thinking about subject area, there are three essential ingredients in learning:

  • Triggered interest
  • Find a meaningful use
  • Immerse (deep dive) into the topic

When we think of learning as consuming information, we miss the first essential ingredient: a triggering interest. 

It can’t be leveraged for a future goal. It has to be a meaningful use for today, which is the second major ingredient. Trying to make something fun does not work if there is no underlying interest. 

Lastly, you want to immerse yourself fully in that topic, or what homeschoolers sometimes call a “deep dive.” Traditional school doesn’t really permit this, but at home, there’s no rule that you have to cover several topics in one particular day.

This is the secret of homeschooling: Apply the same learning style you use for your hobbies to the school subjects with your children. You will be shocked and amazed at how much more meaningful their educations become, both to them and to you.

If you’re stepping into homeschooling for the first time this fall, ask yourself: What could instigate or trigger curiosity? What would be a meaningful use for this subject area for my child? And what kind of immersive environment could I create that would allow my child to risk exploration?

Be intentional to create a space where this natural learning could bloom; test it, refine it, and tweak it until learning is part of the way you live together.

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Podcast: The Risks of Homeschooling

Podcast: What are the Risks of Homeschooling

Millions of families have been forced to educate at home due to the pandemic of COVID-19. Millions of families also educate their kids this way by choice. Whether you are the former or the latter, all are welcome here.

In the midst of this pandemic, Harvard Magazine published an article titled “The Risks of Homeschooling,” and I certainly have some thoughts about this. These are my own personal views, and I may push some buttons or challenge some ideas that you have, but I mean to do that.

When we are confronted with someone who wants a presumptive ban on homeschooling, I want us to dig a little deeper and discover what this article is attempting to do.

Listen to the Podcast (S6E9)

Show Notes

Why this hurts

In a time where many parents have been forced to adapt instantaneously with the demands of a traditional school system and the challenges of balancing work, school, and childcare, Harvard Magazine decided it was a great time to drop an article into our world called “The Risks of Homeschooling.” The timing could not be worse.

Most conflicts that engender this level of passion have to do with lifestyle choices: Birthing at home or in a hospital, breastfeeding versus bottle feeding, keto or vegan. These choices cause the most conflict in our culture because they are personal — they go to the heart of our identity and match up with the stories of who we choose to be. 

Education is itself a deeply personal lifestyle choice. Private or public education are the default, status-quo choices in our culture, but there is a large body of parents challenging that status-quo. Our community identity is around the notion that a child can receive a custom, tailor-made education that will be for the better. They will be more nurtured. They will be less likely to be bullied. They will experience an educational freedom that will lead them to discovering their passions that will lead to meaningful careers in adulthood. That’s the dream.

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Homebound Interviews: Homeschooling Support during Confinement

We Can Do It

Rosie the Riveter was an American icon of female strength and our symbol in Brave Writer of what it means to use that strength for good.

I found the lunchbox in the photo above last Christmas in a shop in Columbus OH. What struck me as much as J Howard Miller’s illustration of her were the words at the top: “We can do it!”

We can! In this moment, we’re pulling together to do this remarkable thing—making the choice to social distance in order to protect one another.

To help provide support during this out-of-the-ordinary time I’ve been sharing how to homeschool during the pandemic in the following places:

For more resources (many are free!), check out our Homebound page.

Remember: We CAN do it! Together.


Brave Writer Podcast

Podcast: Suddenly-at-Home Schoolers

Tips for Suddenly-at-Home Schoolers

Let’s address this global, unique moment where homeschooling is suddenly center-stage and millions of families are experiencing a lifestyle change that is in some ways similar and in some ways different than the choice many of us made to do this homeschooling project.

The move from having kids in school to having their education thrust upon you is creating a serious amount of:

  • anxiety,
  • confusion, and
  • disruption to ordinary life.

If that weren’t enough, parents who used to send their kids to school and then drive to an office are now also at home, trying to conduct a 40-hour workweek while they educate their children using a school system that they didn’t create.

What I want to do today is look at homeschooling as a philosophy, and looking at the dynamic of what happens when you combine working from home with education from home.

It is no easy thing to:

  • be confined in your house,
  • not have access to much of the entertainment and distractions we’re accustomed to, and
  • be so uncertain about what the future holds. 

For all of us in this conundrum, I want to talk about ways we can foster learning and play and cooperation while parents are trying to get their jobs done. I’m going to break this up into tips for those of us who are suddenly-at-home schoolers and then some tips for working from home while schooling.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

Tips for Suddenly-at-Home Schoolers

You’re at home, not at school. Home is where you get to be yourself, relaxed, not pressured. School is where you perform for standards and follow the requirements of the institution. When you bring the school into the home, it’s a mismatch, which is why kids rebel against that feeling of imposed learning. What should we do instead when we are teaching, and learning, from home?

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Podcast: Finding Common Ground in Homeschool Community

Brave Writer Podcast: Finding Common Ground in Homeschool Community

Today’s question on the Brave Writer podcast comes from an encounter I had at a homeschool conference several years ago.

It echoed a feeling I’ve experienced myself in the homeschool space as both homeschooler and homeschool speaker/business owner. And then, as we ramped up to this new podcast season, and I asked for your current questions, the same wish resurfaced. See if you relate to this fundamental heart cry of so many of us.

How do I find my people in the homeschool space?

Why can’t being a “homeschooler” be common ground enough?

We are built to have close ties with other people. When you embark on this lifestyle that challenges the status quo, the need for friends escalates because, let’s face it, it’s lonely in a world of institutional schooling filled with traditions and school mascots.

Let’s talk about the ways you can find community, the different ways community breaks down, and the merits of wide or narrow tents.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

What does it mean to form a community of homeschoolers?

Community is what we crave. Sports and music teach us that. But what is it that we get out of these communities? Validation and support for our choices. Sure, there are skeptics who resist being fans—these are the self-titled individualists who define themselves against the norms. What’s interesting to observe, however, is that even those who prefer to go their own way gather together. Community seems to be inevitable, even for self-proclaimed independent skeptics.

This is the first challenge of community. We typically gather around shared beliefs or shared enthusiasm. Ruptures come when a member challenges the core ideals and beliefs of the group. Imagine a breastfeeding mama coming to a La Leche League meeting and declaring that she has found true liberation using formula and bottles. The very goals of the meeting would be undermined by that changed perspective. Can she still attend? What happens to the friendships she formed in that space?

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