[Podcast] Gentle Parenting, Natural Learning, and Simple Living with Rachel Rainbolt

Brave Writer Podcast

Meet Rachel Rainbolt, the visionary founder of Sage Family and one of my favorite homeschoolers.

With a master’s degree in marital and family therapy, Rachel has spent years guiding overwhelmed families toward peace and joy.

Rachel Rainbolt
Rachel Rainbolt

Living on an idyllic island in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three spirited children, Rachel embodies the essence of a life well-lived, focusing on:

  • gentle parenting,
  • natural homeschooling,
  • and simple living.

Show Notes

What is Gentle Parenting?

Gentle parenting isn’t just a philosophy for raising children; it’s a lens through which we can view all human interactions. Rachel emphasizes that the first step to gentle parenting is self-improvement. Parents should aim to be emotionally intelligent role models, fostering empathy and patience. Importantly, Rachel frames this approach as part of a relay race in intergenerational change. Parents don’t have to be perfect, but they should strive to pass the ‘baton’ of improved parenting and relationship skills to the next generation. This long-term vision aims to improve familial relationships over time, transforming how families interact with each other across generations.

Natural Homeschooling

Homeschooling, in Rachel’s view, is more than an educational choice; it’s a lifestyle that balances educational responsibilities with nurturing family connections. Parents should see themselves as supportive companions in their children’s educational journey rather than dictatorial overseers. This ties back to our idea of “awesome adulting,” a reminder that parents are individuals with their own needs and aspirations. This perspective allows parents to strike a balance, providing necessary guidance without losing sight of their own identities.

Simple Living and Discipline

For Rachel, ‘simple living’ is intricately tied to minimalism, which extends beyond just decluttering physical spaces. It also involves a disciplined approach to finances, relationships, and even mental chatter, all aligned with one’s core values. Managing a business, homeschooling neurodivergent children, and active community volunteering require what Rachel terms as “ruthless efficiency.” 

But what if all of that sounds a bit overwhelming? One practical tip she offers for sustaining this lifestyle is to set a 15-minute timer for cleaning tasks, ensuring that housework doesn’t become an endless time sink. Rachel also makes it a point to acknowledge the privilege inherent in her lifestyle choices, particularly in the arenas of parenting and homeschooling, highlighting that her ability to be present and attentive is in part due to her stable living conditions.

Neurodiversity, Compassion, and Learning

Raising neurodivergent children gives Rachel unique insights into the world of neurodiversity. She notes that neurodivergent individuals often engage in “deep-dive learning,” becoming intensely focused on subjects that interest them. Understanding that children are not mere reflections of their parents but individuals in their own right is key, particularly for neurodivergent kids who are more significantly affected by their environment. Rachel’s advocacy doesn’t stop at neurodiversity; she also champions for greater understanding and compassion in transgender issues, underscoring the intersectionality between neurodiversity and gender diversity.

The wisdom Rachel shares calls us to extend love and support beyond our immediate family circles. Whether we are parents, siblings, or community members, applying the principles of gentle parenting, natural homeschooling, and disciplined living can catalyze a transformative change in our communities. By taking an empathetic and intelligent approach to life, we can make the world a more accepting and compassionate place for everyone.


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Produced by NOVA Media

Brave Writer Podcast

Make Learning Stick: Emerging Writers

Brave Writers Emerging

You know what feels like magic to kids?

Seeing their own words on a page!

That magical moment when thought gets preserved in writing is as big as the first word your child spoke. But this time, the CHILD is as enamored of their own linguistic power. They get to feel the wonder of seeing their ideas and words valued on the page!

This process can begin even when a child is still learning to handwrite, read, and spell. It’s possible to have the experience of being an author as a little rascal!

Introducing Brave Writer’s Emerging Writers Bundle!

The Emerging Writers Bundle:

  • Provides a compelling read aloud for every month of the school year
  • Supports the growth of your early readers and hand writers
  • Gives meaningful writing activities that kids love (like secret codes, designing their own island chain, and creating a catalog for a history research project)
  • Teaches YOU how to teach original writing—from soup to nuts—every step from idea generation to first drafts to revision to editing and polishing!

This program is our most flexible. My kids did these activities all together when the age range was 6—13 years old. It’s also our most popular bundle!

Brave Writer Bundles

We have materials for every age and stage of development. Join Brave Writer this year for an amazing writing program!

Psst: Do you have new-to-Brave-Writer friends? You can get a discount for them and for yourself using our Refer-a-Friend program!

Brave Writer Bundles

Whole Life Education

Brave Writer Whole Life Education

Homeschooling is more than an education for kids. It’s a life-practice. It’s a path, a way, a philosophy of living that guides, well, everything while you are living a homeschool life.

What would happen if we stopped seeing learning as confined to “school hours”? What if all of a child’s life could be celebrated as the laboratory for learning?

In fact, even if you don’t homeschool or aren’t any longer, education can continue to be a way of life rather than something “done to your kids” six hours a day away from home.

When I call homeschooling a life-practice, a path, a way—I mean that we, the adults, remain curious about who our kids are becoming. We keep bringing our attention to the whole person who is learning EVERYTHING all the time.

We don’t divide how they are doing into:

  • “They’re fine academically, but socially awkward.”
  • “She’s bad at math, but loves writing.”
  • “He’s obsessed with video games so I’m going to put him in soccer.”
  • “Homework always comes first.”
  • “I wish my child would read better books, not comics.”

All of Life Teaches

Education as a whole life means that we’re as curious about a child’s fascination with cooking as we are supportive of their struggle with multiplication. Once we see the struggle and we identify the joy, we look for ways to bring those two together—where is this difficult lesson, concept, idea a part of this child’s real life? How can we bring them together to make meaning, to help connect the dots between abstract lessons and hands-on learning?

  • We see helping a child learn to make friends as valuable—as important as learning to read.
  • We take time off of a difficult subject in order to shore up the child’s confidence in their strengths before returning to it.
  • We notice that tonight, our youngest child is whiny at bedtime—and then recall that this child got the least amount of conversation, eye contact, and attention today. So we come alongside this child to talk, to listen, to connect.

Homeschooling, education as a way of life means: ALL of life teaches. Our only task is to slide into that slipstream, notice where our kids are, and meet them there.

This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!

Stages of Growth in Writing

Mechanics & Literature: September 2023

Brave Writer

September’s Dart, Arrow, and Boomerang selections show what’s possible with courage and the support of a trusted sidekick or family member—all while exploring the writing, mechanics, and literary devices featured throughout these stories.

And this month’s Quill is designed to spark interest and ingenuity! Get inventive as your family reads picture books, sizes up schematics, and explores biographies!

Brave Writer Quill
Quill (ages 5-7)

Inventions & Inventors

Are you ready to get inventive with a brand new Quill? Check out our Inventions and Inventors book list to start curating your September read-aloud stack!

In this Quill, we’ll:

  • scour the pages for schematics and sketches;
  • take an up-close-and-personal look at biographies;
  • spell out some step-by-step instructions;
  • invent a writing implement;
  • tally kitchen-related math-inspired inventions; and
  • get our wheels turning with a close look at circles!

Get the Quill.

Brave Writer Dart
Dart (ages 8-10)

Ra the Mighty: Cat Detective by Amy Butler Greenfield

Can a lazy cat and his sidekick, a beetle, really crack a mystery? Find out when you read this comical mystery brimming with historical details and wacky fun!

This month’s literary device is red herrings.

Inside this Dart we’ll also:

  • make some hoopla about a terrific opening hook;
  • explore a setting full of palm trees and papyrus;
  • click some onomatopoeia into place;
  • contemplate context clues;
  • unpack articles;
  • enjoy a good action beat as we discover dialogue punctuation;
  • deploy some dots in an array of end marks; and so much more! 

Purchase the book.

Get the Dart.

Brave Writer Arrow
Arrow (ages 11-12)

Wildoak by C.C. Harrington

Join Maggie and a snow leopard named Rumpus in Wildoak Forest. This beautifully written story—a triumphant celebration of the interconnectedness of the human, animal, and natural worlds—is a perfect read aloud.

September’s literary device is Alternating Points of View.

In this Arrow we’ll also: 

  • pause to ponder the prologue;
  • savor the suspense that hooks us as readers;
  • keep things short and sweet with sentence fragments;
  • listen to the rhythms of alliteration, assonance,and consonance;
  • sniff out the power of sensory details;
  • immerse ourselves in the imagery and lyricism of the writing; and so much more!

Purchase the book.

Get the Arrow.

Brave Writer Boomerang
Boomerang (13-14)

Brother’s Keeper by Julie Lee

This work of historical fiction provides a rare look at North Korea on the brink of war in 1950. We’re confident this important story will inspire thoughtful conversations in your homeschool.

In this Boomerang, we’ll:

  • feature flashbacks;
  • savor sensory detail;
  • bask in the book’s back matter;
  • compare characters: main, secondary, and minor;
  • hear about the hero’s journey;
  • highlight historical fiction; and so much more!

Purchase the book.

Get the Boomerang.

For ages 15-18, check out the Slingshot.

Brave Writer

Friday Freewrite: Three Kittens

Friday Freewrite

You wake to find three kittens (that you’ve never seen before!) on your bed. What happens next?

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.