Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category

Podcast: The Educational Value of Video Games with Ash Brandin

Brave Writer Podcast

Raising five kids during the internet era, everyone is dying to know what my thoughts on video games are! How many hours, how many minutes, how many days? Are they too violent? Is it okay if they love Minecraft? Will they lose all motivation to work? Let’s discuss all this and more!

Ash Brandin (they/them) is a middle school teacher from Golden, Colorado. After researching the use of video games in classrooms, Ash found that there was very little research about how games compel people to play, and how this can be brought into the classroom — or any educational environment.

Since 2016, Ash has spoken across the country about how academic spaces can mimic game structures to make learning compelling, motivating, and engaging. They believe games, specifically entertainment based games, can help us create better teaching, more engaged learning, and motivated lifelong learners.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

How Much is Too Much?

When your kids are away at school for several hours of the day, there is less potential for video games to take up a large portion of their time. But when they are home most of the day, how much gaming time is acceptable?

With how many games being mobile, it can be tough to monitor and micromanage. In general, when kids are engaging in screen time, we need to be asking ourselves:

  • What is the quality of engagement?
  • What is the purpose of this activity?
  • Do we see this creating a problem somewhere else?

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

Brave Writer Podcast

The podcast has been dark for a few months… and for a good reason! I just wrapped up writing my newest book (out February 2022). Now that it’s in the hands of publishers, I’m ready to get back to the business of podcasting.

The theme for this season comes from the topic of the book: Critical thinking. Let’s peel back the layers and get a closer look at what it means to be a critical thinker.

Dr. Diana Hill is a psychologist and podcaster with Off The Clock Psychologists. At the beginning of the pandemic, when so many people unexpectedly had their children at home with them, Dr. Hill discovered Julie’s book The Brave Learner. She used the ideas in The Brave Leaner to become a home educator herself.

In today’s podcast, Diana talks about how to create a better relationship with ourselves. She has co-authored a therapeutic personal journal that features a practice called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is cutting-edge, evidence-based psychology that helps people develop psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility is one of the best indicators of effective parenting, and recent research shows that psychological flexibility reduces the impact of pandemic stress on families and kids.

Psychological flexibility involves directing yourself towards your values — even in the face of difficulty and challenges. It takes skills in acceptance, perspective taking, values, being present, stepping back from thoughts, and commitment to become psychologically flexible. The ACT Daily Journal breaks psychological flexibility into an eight-week program that helps people in each of these skills to get present, identify their values, and take committed action in the direction that matters most to them.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

Psychological Flexibility and the Six Core Processes:

  • Acceptance
  • Cognitive Defusion
  • Being Present
  • Self as Context
  • Values
  • Committed Action

Why do we need psychological flexibility?

Humans are designed to avoid pain and move towards pleasure, which can work well in the external world but leads to issues under the skin. If something matters to you, there is likely a degree of discomfort associated with it because our values are closely related to pain and discomfort. Psychological flexibility is required for critical thinking because it allows us to move outside of our comfort zone.


Podcast: The Complete Season Six

Brave Writer Podcasts

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

Not to worry!

Here are the episodes from season six 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 Six Podcasts

S6E1: Celebrating 20 Years of Brave Writers

S6E2: Love + Collaboration in Learning

S6E3: How Do You Balance Being a Parent and a Teacher?

S6E4: When You Have No Energy to Do Any of It

S6E5: To Parent or Not to Parent

S6E6: What Do You Do When Your Kid Has No Passion?

S6E7: Finding Common Ground in Homeschool Community

S6E8: Tips for Suddenly-at-Home Schoolers

S6E9: What are the Risks of Homeschooling?

S6E10: Out of the Classroom: Brave Schooling

S6E11: Marriage, Divorce, and Homeschooling

S6E12: Healthy, Diverse Homeschool Communities

S6E13: Joy-Centered Learning for the Reluctant Learner

S6E14: Creativity in Teaching

S6E15: Growing Minds

S6E16: When You Worry about Public School Standards

S6E17: Rigor vs. Relaxed Alertness

S6E18: That Pernicious Topic: Chores

S6E19: What’s Worth Fighting For?

S6E20: Overturning Overwhelm

S6E21: Teaching Your Children Shakespeare with Ken Ludwig

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Podcast: Teaching Your Children Shakespeare with Ken Ludwig

Teaching Your Children Shakespeare

On this episode of the Brave Writer podcast, we talk with best-selling author and award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig.

We explore our shared enthusiasm for Shakespeare and how to bring the Bard to life for our children.

Learn about:

  • memorizing soliloquies,
  • examining Shakespeare’s language,
  • and the details of how Shakespeare’s plays have been preserved for us to enjoy (it’s a great story!).

Show Notes

Why is Shakespeare still relevant today… and how do we introduce him to our children?

Memorizing Shakespeare

Knowing a little bit of Shakespeare to recite on a whim makes for a very good party trick, but Ken has taken it to another level. What began as a fun bonding exercise with him and his daughter turned into memorizing whole speeches from Shakespeare.

He started with lines that rhymed so that it seemed familiar, like a nursery rhyme. And then he would explain the meaning of a line and explain any words she didn’t know. If you can make sure that the kid understands every word of every line, it becomes much easier for them to memorize the lines and understand their meaning.

[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Sustaining interest in Shakespeare

Shakespeare has an entire world of plays, so it can be easy to dedicate an entire lifetime to studying just his work. There is such depth in his work that you could even spend a lifetime on just one play. It’s no hyperbole to state that Shakespeare may very well be the greatest writer in the world. 

Shakespeare can serve as an entryway into literature or as a lifelong pursuit, but it is undoubtedly timeless and our children can be served well by being introduced to it at a young age. Pick up Ken’s book “How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare” to learn more about ways to introduce this prolific work to your kids.



Brave Writer Podcast

Podcast: Overturning Overwhelm

Brave Writer Podcast: Overturning Overwhelm

It’s a little thing: that one comment, the nudge in the acceptable direction, the calm and carefully-worded reminder. You had the right tone of voice, the best intentions, the least egregious expectation. And then your child flies off the handle anyway. The resistance, the tongue-lashing, the pushing past whatever small boundary you set—putting on shoes to go to Target, taking the bowl to the sink, not licking the jug of milk with his tongue, not making that scooching sound with his chair…

When we face resistance or challenge, it’s so easy to abandon ourselves and declare: I’m overwhelmed!

Today’s podcast episode is all about overturning that overwhelm and reclaiming our power—especially for women (though men are welcome to listen along).

Show Notes

Focusing on Empowerment & Agency

When you are homeschooling, you may become overwhelmed and confused — legitimately so! — and this is doubly true during a pandemic. We hear it ALL the time in Brave Writer, parents that write us saying, “I feel lost. I’m overwhelmed. I’m confused.” And then they ask for help.

It’s not as though our children tell us what they are confused about. The confusion is declared as a state of being—a chronic sense of hopelessness and helplessness.

And believe me, I get it! When your small children and teens are unhappy, an easier feeling to hold is “confusion” rather than the feeling of failing them.

So let’s pivot.

Let’s get away from these two disempowering terms and think instead about what’s missing from our lives when we declare overwhelm and confusion. Rather than addressing the big emotions of little people, I want to talk to you about your super powers of adulthood.