Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category

Podcast: The Bermuda Triangle of Education

Brave Writer Podcast

Teaching children a life skill is harder than it seems. As a parent, this can be extremely frustrating. The positives, though, are worth the trouble. Consider this, the sooner our kids know how to help around the house, the sooner they can help us around the house! 

More importantly, and beyond our own benefit, ensuring they’ve got the most recent software update on self-sustaining skills like tying their shoes and reading a clock provide the daily boosts of confidence and personal growth that a child needs.

This comes down to one question we receive again and again when it comes to teaching children. It falls into something I call The Bermuda Triangle of Education. It’s a place where so many of us go wrong, and yet the principles to get out are actually quite simple.

There are three parts of this triangle. Our own desire to teach leads us to believe that we should already know how to teach. When a child fails to learn, we pull in the other two aspects of this triangle of doom. Children are smart: they feel the pressure and obligation that parents add to their teaching.

These three features: a desire to teach, thwarted by pressure and obligation, lead to the cranky learning experience so many of us are trying to overcome in our homes!

Listen to hear exactly where we’re going wrong and how we can approach teaching tasks and tools in a way that helps kids want to use them.

Show Notes

Learning and Loving

Think about the energy you bring to teaching – is it joy and excitement or pressure, shame, and anxiety? Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. They pick up any emotional undertones present, even if they’re not quite sure what to do with the information.

Don’t force it. Set aside time where both you and your child can be emotionally and physically invested in whatever the learning challenge, and keep your mindset in the right place – supporting them with love, patience, and variety.

The Back-End Commitment

For instance, if you show a child how to make their bed, they know you’ll expect them to start making the bed themselves every day. It might seem like a simple task to you, but the looming responsibility can feel like a lot for a child to take on. On top of that, they may feel pressure to showcase themselves as having learned the skill well to be worthy of your invaluable praise. The pressure and obligation can lead to a meltdown of willingness.

The Worry

You don’t want to turn up the heat of pressure and obligation, which is not a good environment for learning. For parents and caregivers, the key is to not give up when a skill doesn’t sink in right away. Remain focused and calm. Just because the child gets something one day doesn’t mean that it’s going to come naturally every single time they try it. Using a new skill is reliant on a lot of factors, and some days will come easier than others. The last thing you want is for your child to sense you’re worried or disappointed in them during the learning process.

What if we change our approach to one of play? No obligation, no pressure. Tune in for additional ideas for how to take a skill and nurture it rather than require it.

Listen to the episode for a full rundown of the pitfalls I see parents stumble into time and time again, and some of the best tactics for instilling a skill, as education, alongside a true sense of joy or pride in using it.


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Brave Writer Podcast

Podcast: Overcoming Frustration & Teaching Kids With Actions & Intent with Dr. Natasha Beck

Brave Writer Podcast

Today’s Brave Writer podcast episode is packed with well-researched methods for bringing your family’s habits and home life back to reality.

My guest today is Dr. Natasha Beck, a parenting expert and Founder of Dr. Organic Mommy, an online resource for non-toxic parenting. She leans on her background in clinical psychology and public health to deliver important information and insights to her tens of thousands of social media followers. She’s a great example of someone doing good with a truly influential social platform.

We talk about the variables in a child’s education that go unseen or underestimated, like sleep and eating habits. Specifically, we go over how to get past food ruts and expand their palettes with variety and agency in the grocery shopping process. Not to be left out, every parent’s rival, frustration, goes under the microscope to be dissected into rational bits of wisdom and ah-ha moments.

Common throughout the episode, though, is communication. One area of the parent-child dynamic that’s always in our favor, subtle communication techniques can make all the difference in any range of issues:

  • educational,
  • nutritional,
  • social,
  • behavioral,
  • and so on.

Dr. Beck and I connect on many topics, not the least of which being my mom’s propensity to scan nutrition labels. And JOY – the missing ingredient in childhood nutrition – and a great word to describe this interview.

Show Notes

Building a Solid Foundation

In teaching kids, academics is only one piece of the pie. Sure, standardized testing and other classroom measurables get all the headlines, but it’s the unseen habits and environmental factors that have the biggest impact on our kids’ ability to learn and grow.

Sleep, for one, is often overlooked as a pillar of children’s education. Diet, too, down to the time of day meals are consumed, can impact:

  • mood,
  • attentiveness,
  • and other critical emotional tenets to learning.

How do we teach a child to eat and sleep like an adult? By being a good example. Modeling good behavior and habits leaves a huge impression on kids who are predestined to follow our lead. 

Food Ruts 

Everyone gets into food ruts. We slide back to what’s comfortable, what’s easy, what’s cheap. Food ruts in kids are harder to pin down, but present (sometimes loudly) nonetheless. One tool we discuss involves giving your kids agency in the grocery shopping process. Let them pick new products and be creative, and watch that keen interest carry through food prep all the way to dinner time.

Changing their perspective on food isn’t limited to the food itself, either. We can change the environment to shift their headspace somewhere more appealing or fun, like having a picnic in your backyard, eating on the floor, or at the park.

Communication is Key 

Presentation, data framing, and subtle communication cues are more effective ways to educate your kids, even, and especially, when they don’t know they’re learning. This can come in the form of asking questions, too. For instance, how does a certain food make them feel afterward?

Dr. Beck shares a good example in her intentionally steering the shopping cart away from the interior ailes of processed food at the grocery store. I share a dishing trick my mom used to use to get us excited for (sour) yogurt sundaes. Pick your spots right, and how something is said can be much more important than what is said at all.


It’s important that we check in with ourselves to determine why something our child says or does makes us feel a certain way. Is that reaction rational? Is either side correctable? We carry the burden for both psyches at the onset, and it’s critical we approach the relationship in a nuanced way – even when one party is kicking and screaming on the floor.

Dr. Beck breaks down her jobs as a parent as falling into one of three baskets:

  1. Making sure her kids are safe,
  2. Making sure they grow, physically and intellectually,
  3. Ensuring they’re a kind person.

These steer her on everything she says and does with them. Simplicity can be elegant. Don’t overthink it.


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Brave Writer Podcast

Podcast: The Complete Season Seven

Brave Writer Podcast

Did you miss an episode from the seventh season of the Brave Writer Podcast? Did you want to listen to an episode again?

Not to worry!

Here are the episodes from season seven 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 PodcastsStitcher (or your app of choice), and here on the Brave Writer blog.

Season Seven Podcasts

S7E1: Practicing Psychological Flexibility and ACT with Dr. Diana Hill

S7E2: The Educational Value of Video Games with Ash Brandin

S7E3: Homeschool Unrefined with Maren Goerss & Angela Sizer

S7E4: How Enneagram Types Think Critically with Leslie Hershberger

S7E5: Preparing Your Homeschooled Kids for College with Dr. Adam Clark

S7E6: Thinking Critically, Aging Gracefully & Being a True Influencer with Lyn Slater, Accidental Icon

S7E7: Critical Thinking for Toddlers with Susie Allison of Busy Toddler

S7E8: How to Face the Facts When Discussing Politics with Sharon McMahon

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Podcast: How to Face the Facts When Discussing Politics with Sharon McMahon

Brave Writer Podcast

When it comes to politics, keeping your facts straight can feel nearly impossible. It seems as if every outlet has some political bias, and misinformation can run rampant on social media and take hold of millions without question. That’s why critical thinking — especially in this realm — is incredibly important.

Sharon McMahon of SharonSaysSo has so much to teach me — and all of us — about government, history, and whales. She’s a former high school government and law teacher who earned a reputation as “America’s Government teacher” amidst the historic 2020 election proceedings for her viral efforts to educate the general public on political misinformation.

Through a simple mission to share non-partisan information about democracy, Sharon launched her Instagram account to explain the facts without the political bias and clickbait that often go along with them. Her community of governerds have raised over 1.3 million dollars for people with needs and to relieve medical debt. She’s here to discuss the art of critical thinking.

In this podcast episode, we talk about the importance of unpacking biases, how to identify facts, when to defer to the experts, and how to think like a scientist.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

Facing the Facts

There’s a lot of debate about what a fact actually is. Part of being a fact is that it really happened, which seems obvious. It should also be substantiated by multiple sources. It’s when you choose to interpret those facts in a certain way that things become more complicated. That’s when bias creeps in.

Bias does not negate the facts, but when it comes with an interpretation that is not our own, our job is to separate the fact from the bias and come to our own conclusions.


Podcast: Critical Thinking for Toddlers with Susie Allison of Busy Toddler

ritical Thinking for Toddlers with Susie Allison

As we talk about critical thinking, the conversation tends to skew towards teenagers and high schoolers, but you’d be amazed at the powerful wheels turning in the minds of our little ones. We can prime the environment for them to be quality thinkers at as young as preschool or even toddlerhood.

Susie Allison has a lot of insight into this age group. She runs the popular Instagram account, Busy Toddler, and she’s created a wealth of experiences for her own children and other families. Busy Toddler has grown up to become a worldwide brand, with Susie authoring “The Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting.” She has a degree in Elementary Education and is currently earning her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

Activities for Critical Thinking

Everything that toddlers do is designed to acquaint them with the world, so that they can discover, learn, and grow. That all requires critical thinking, which is something we can encourage through specially designed activities.

One of Susie’s favorites is “the pouring station.” You put out a large empty container and various cups of water – potentially in different colors – for kids to pour into. They learn pouring skills, they have the sensory experience of the water, and it requires barely any equipment to set up. They’re also learning hand-eye coordination, capacity, volume, and cause and effect.

Another great accessory for toddlers are pom-pom balls. Believe it or not, they actually survive being wet! Putting a kid in the bath with some wet pom-poms invites so much play and sensory exploration.