Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category

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.


Podcast: How Do You Balance Being a Parent and a Teacher?

How Do You Balance Being a Parent and a Teacher?

How do you balance your roles as a parent and a teacher?

There’s a funny thing that happens on the road to becoming a home educator, and it happened to all of us — you were a home educator! Wait, that sentence makes no sense.

Let me help you out.

Remember when your baby was a newborn? Remember that scary feeling when you drove home alone from the hospital? Or perhaps you gave birth at home and suddenly the midwife packed up and LEFT!

That’s an unnerving moment, isn’t it? You are entrusted with that baby’s total care without any training, without certifications. Heck, you need to pass a test to drive a car, but you’re expected to grow a baby from scratch just because you’re called parents?

And so it begins. You become the educator while you are a total novice. You learn as you go and you impart all that wisdom to the baby from feedings to burpings to sleeping on her back.

The way you began is the way you continue and I talk all about it on this week’s podcast!

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Show Notes

Cast your mind back to when you were raising small children. Whether you worked full-time, stayed at home full-time, or something in between, hours of your day were dedicated to parenting that baby. And while you were with that child, you were teaching them to do all of the things that people do: talking, eating, tying shoes, drinking out of a glass without making a mess, going to the bathroom without making a mess, and on and on.

None of these things were on a syllabus. They weren’t scheduled. Some of them weren’t even intentional! When a need arose, you met the need; you used your natural parenting, love, and kind voice to guide your child into the skills they needed to be successful.


Podcast: Love + Collaboration

Love + Collaboration in Learning

You might be coming to the Brave Writer podcast to learn about:

  • teaching six kids six different subjects,
  • dealing with cantankerous children,
  • or sharing your love of reading with a kid who doesn’t seem interested yet.

But if you want to achieve any of those things, you need to consider a few things about love.

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Show Notes

Love: A View From Different Angles

Julie compares our expectations around love to that moment when you have a bad itch on your back that you can’t reach. You’re sitting on the couch, you contort your body as you move forward, and your partner starts to scratch your back. It can be so difficult to get them to scratch the right spot without just grabbing their arm and moving it to the right spot.

A part of you imagines that the person who loves you so much should just know where to scratch your itch, and if we’re honest, this is often what it feels like to be in love; it’s that irrational desire to be merged, to be known, to have your needs met. We endeavor to find someone who is willing to divide the burden of being ourselves, splitting all of our tasks and emotional needs with the person who loves us.

“We want love to help us with our messy imperfections without any judgement,” Julie says. “But that kind of love is a lot of pressure to put on someone at all times.”

When we’re forced to confront that this “I know you better than you know yourself” kind of love will inevitably fall short of our wants, one polarizing word will inevitably come up these days: self-love.