Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category

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.

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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?


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.

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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?


Podcast: When Your Kid Has No Passion

Brave Writer Podcast

What do you do when your child has no clear passion, or when the things they choose to spend their time on don’t appear to be “educational?”

Today’s parent question is the most common I ever hear!

Help: my child is not interested in anything academic!

When we exhaust typical school-style learning and then take the risk to pivot to our children’s passions—at least for a season—what do we do when our kids pick passions that look pointless?

  • Do you wish your child would spend less time on the iPad?
  • Are you wondering how on earth whittling wood could be considered educational?
  • Wish you could turn the school subjects into their passions instead of skateboarding?

Join me for a discussion about how to wave the magic wand: turning ANY passion into a gateway of learning.

It’s so easy to dismiss what looks like it’s a mere passing craze. But you never know where it might lead!

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Show Notes

One morning, my son Noah — who was 9 at the time — famously said to me: “I hate my life.” At that moment, I realized that I had been dragging him through a schedule and plan that met my needs to see progress and get things done, but I had forgotten to take into account how he felt about it.

At the time, I was a part of an independent study program in California that supported homeschoolers (back in the mid-1990s). I met with my supervising teacher desperate for ideas. I didn’t know how to teach the kind of learner Noah turned out to be. She handed me an article that featured brain research showing that children (and adults, let’s be honest!) learn best in deep dives — bursts. The typical school model of working through several subjects a little bit each day is contrary to how our brains like to learn best.

Brains prefer to immerse in the information—to wallow around, to make connections, to incubate the ideas, and they do it best when they are focused rather than spread thin.


Podcast: To Parent Or Not To Parent

To Parent or Not To Parent: That is the Question

In this season of the podcast, my goal is to give you a chance to pause and consider ways to improve the experience of learning in your home and in your family by answering questions you’ve sent to me.

One theme is clear as I glance through the list of growing topics: parenting!

You want to know

  • how to get your kids to cooperate with the plan or the lack of a plan,
  • how to prepare them for their futures when they don’t seem to imagine life past age 15, and
  • how to help them fall in love with learning, and you want to do it without provoking resistance or anger or boredom or lethargy.

So often we believe that the issue we are facing in our homeschools is about learning itself or the subject area (like math, writing, or science). What we are facing, though, is more universal in nature. Even parents of kids who attend traditional schools struggle to get their children to finish homework or to care about their grades or to feed the dog or to brush their teeth and make their beds.

Effective parenting—that’s the skill we want to gain.

But what is parenting?

We know so well that we assume we know what it means. Parenting has been presented in many ways to us: the strict disciplinarian, the coach, the best buddy, the wise adult leader…

The term itself is problematic in my opinion. Parenting implies “doing something” to our kids (we “parent” them—turning that noun into a verb with an object of its action—our unwitting children!).

We ARE parents. But the question I want us to consider is: do we do an action called “parenting?” Do I do an action that can be described as “parenting?”

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Show Notes

Parenting is different from other relationships we have because it implies an enormous responsibility. Not only are we charged with the two primary duties related to raising children (keep ‘em busy, keep ‘em alive) we’re also expected to civilize those children — to show them the ropes of how to behave in groups, as friends, and eventually as students — so we want our kids to be self-sufficient, kind, brave adults. We feel morally clear and justified in our actions that require our kids to cooperate with our goals — parenting is our duty. It’s a duty to perform on behalf of our children.

What is the child’s experience of all this parenting, though?


Podcast: When You Have No Energy

Today’s question will likely feel very familiar to pretty much any parent:

“What if you just don’t have the energy to do all the stuff? The magic-making, the planning, the execution of all the tasks? I know what needs to get done, but I just can’t get myself to do it all. Help.”

I get it. There are seasons of life that make the ordinary tasks feel like bench pressing a truck. When you’re in a season like that, you can’t imagine ever getting out of it.

So, to address this topic, let’s identify a few of the reasons we lose heart or energy for the tasks of homeschooling, as well as some solutions for finding your normal self again.

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Show Notes

1. The Babyhood stage of life.

When you are growing your family, there comes a breaking point for many of us. Sometimes it is the third child. Other times, it’s when you hit that magic number six or when the twins are born or you have a surprise pregnancy ten years after your last child was born. Or maybe you decided to foster out of the lovingkindness of your heart once your youngest turned five—and now you are suddenly back knee-deep in laundry and middle-of-the-night feedings.

The babyhood stage of life eventually wins in the chess game of energy. Combine sleep deprivation with around the clock baby care and your life points will evaporate. But there’s good news: that stage is usually one solid year (give or take six months). So we’re just talking about how to get through that 12-18 month season, okay?

Part of what’s going on is that you are devoting your creativity to troubleshooting the unspoken needs of a new human being. Your vigilance, kindness, and quick wits are being siphoned off to the newest person’s needs, which are not academic in nature. Meanwhile, the other kids are growing up. They require new skills from you—to stimulate them, to teach them, to civilize them.

You offer these and, sometimes, with alacrity. Sometimes you stumble on the magic day when it all goes so well, you imagine that you’ve arrived in the new reality of reciprocal energy—they give something back to you after all that you are giving to them.

Alas, it never lasts—because you are a parent and parenting is harder with a baby in tow, even though wonderful.