Honey I'm Homeschooling The Kids! - A podcast that steps into alternative education, parenting, and living a fun, fuller family life.
Honey I'm Homeschooling The Kids! - A podcast that steps into alternative education, parenting, and living a fun, fuller family life.
Look For The Helpers: Village Home Learning Community
Look For The Helpers-Village Home Learning Community with Lori Walker
Lori Walker is passionate about the idea that learning is a natural process, and is an inherently fun process. It feels good to learn, so why are so many students bored and disengaged? Lori is the founder and Executive Director of Village Home, where learners actually enjoy learning. Village Home is a learning community that is built on the idea that learning is ultimately self-directed, and we, as teachers, are here to encourage learning as a process. Learners are all unique, with unique interests and learning styles. The Village Home model allows learners to pursue their interests as an individual while also participating in a family-friendly, community learning environment.
Prior to founding Village Home in 2002, Lori was the Director of Training and Curriculum at Learning Forum, based in California, where she designed academic and life skills curriculum, trained teachers, and facilitated programs for teens. She also served as a facilitator herself at programs in the United States and abroad. Lori has over 18 years of experience teaching and training adults and children in a variety of subjects, from psychology to accounting for REITs. She earned degrees, graduating summa cum laude with distinction and honors, from SMU in Business Management and Psychology, with an emphasis in child development. Lori’s two daughters provided the initial inspiration for Village Home, and her job as mom is the best job she will ever have. She lives in Beaverton with her husband and an assortment of animals.
Village Home Learning Community with Lori Walker
Lori Walker is part of my special series Look For The Helpers. Lori saw a need in the homeschool community that was not being addressed and she set about solving that problem. She saw engaged homeschool parents that were close to burnout. Their children were involved in a multitude of activities that required them to spend endless hours in the car, along with many hours organizing. They wanted their kid's interests and need for knowledge adequately filled but to do that were sacrificing too much of their time and energy. Lori also saw that the one part of school that she enjoyed and valued most as a kid, which were the experiences and camaraderie that school activities and clubs offered, was not readily available to homeschool kids. As a homeschool parent herself, she wanted all of that for her daughters but she still wanted to enjoy the benefits of the homeschool lifestyle and the freedom to learn. So she created Village Home.
Village Home has made a difference in the lives of many homeschooling families. It has also provided an example of a learning space that engages learners, allows them to own their education and lets them lead, while being part of a broader learning community. Learners are passionate, families are welcome and educators are inspired to work there.
In This Episode
In this Episode Lori and I talk about how Village Home meets the needs of natural learners, supports teachers to inspire kids and creates a community space for the entire family.
the natural learning process and nurturing the desire to learn
why it is important for learners to be engaged in their learning
the difference between measurement in education and the intrinsic motivation to learn
choosing to homeschool and why Lori saw homeschooling as a better chance to be in the world compared to the 4 walls of the classroom
what happens when we pay attention to the human being as opposed to the curriculum
Lori's "aha" moments that came through homeschooling her own children
the rewards she has received through homeschooling and creating the Village Home learning community
What Lori described as the rewards she has received really stuck with me. She said, "it's noticing kids being themse
Decentralized, Democratic and Self Directed- The Genius School
Decentralized, Democratic and Self Directed- The Genius School with Karema Akilah
In this episode Karema Akilah and I talk about her journey from public school teacher to unschooling parent of 6, to the creation of The Genius School. Karema is an advocate of children learning in freedom. She brings not only passion to this episode, but she clearly explains the practice of self directed education and the myths that surround it, as well as the the framework of a "school" that is decentralized, democratic and self directed. She asks, "what is really the end game of this k-12 education?"
If you are looking for inspiration and clarity, I encourage you to listen.
In This Episode
Homeschool Burn-out almost drove this mama of The Half Dozen to the edge of depression! Being a slave to her curriculum, Karema Greene, felt like a failure; always behind with apathetic kids who lacked a luster for learning! It took 3 strikes; a trip to the craft store, a “slap in the face” from a 16 year old and the idea of “a fish climbing a tree,” to finally convince her to try something she said she would NEVER DO; Unschool!
Karema is the founder of The Genius School, a decentralized, democratic, self directed school. Karema champions other mamas and papas to discover the Genius of their children by encouraging kids to do something they would enjoy, do well and be proud of, thus leading to their Strengths! Once strengths and interests are identified and articulated, Karema believes kids should be invited to dream up disruptive and scalable solutions housed in marketable systems that are nurtured and funded by successful entrepreneurs with the intent of bringing a child’s gift to the world. That’s a world she believes we all would like to live in!
The Genius School
With her teaching background and her oldest in adulthood, Karema saw what was lacking in the conventional learning experience. That is the reason why she created The Genius School and the 5 pillars that frame. We delve into:
The foundation of trust
Having good experiences
What it means to be decentralized, democratic and self directed and why she chose this model
Karema and I also spoke of the obstacles that self directed learning schools face which are; lack of awareness, lack of diversity, lack of funding, lack of documentation and how we can go about overcoming these obstacles.
If you are inspired by Karema and what she is creating with The Genius School and would like to offer your support or learn more, you can go HERE to register for the virtual open house.
And please, spread the message of self directed learning.
Resources and Links
The Genius School
Register for the Virtual Open House- https://www.thegeniusschool.org/events
You can contact Karema directly- info@genius
Dr. Glenn Doman - Institutes For The Achievement of Human Potential
Homeschooling Global Summit 2020 https://2020.hgsummit.com/
Getting It Together Parent Summit July 15-17
If you would like to learn more about the Sudbury School Model, check out my interview with one of the founders, Daniel Greenberg http://imhomeschooling.com/sudbury-valley-school-daniel-greenberg/
If you would like to hear more about decolonizing education and liberated learning, listen to my interview with Akilah S Richards http://imhomeschooling.com/educational-freedom-akilah-richards/
Look For The Helpers: Mothering The Mother
Look For The Helpers-Mothering The Mother with Amanda Curmi
Amanda is a mother of 3 beams of energy and resides on the east coast of Australia. They are an unschooling family moving through life as gently and consciously as they can together. She loves supporting and diving deep into a gentle approach towards education and sees herself as a facilitator rather than a teacher, aiming to hold space for the children to lead the way and develop through self - directed learning. The process of choosing to home educate has also sparked a journey of deep self exploration, healing and tapping into her own creative power.
Amanda also teaches yoga and meditation. She is also currently studying to become a Yoga therapist and Ayurvedic Post- Partum doula. She is passionate about creating community for women and mothers and believes the way we parent can create deep emotional and social change. Amanda loves spending loads of time in nature with her family, creating, studying, cooking and gardening, practicing yoga and considers herself to forever be a student in this lifetime.
The Power of Self Care in Home Education
In the space of home education there is a side effect that is not often spoken of. Parents that put so much time and effort into their children to prove they are enough. Without school, we feel 100% responsible for what we provide our child not only as a parent but as their educator too. We want to make sure we are providing 'enough' opportunity, are a good 'enough' parent, and are setting the right example for the community. That is a lot to place on our shoulders. The needs and self care of the parent, in particular the mother, becomes the last need that is attended to. Burn out is a concern.
I asked Amanda Curmi to be the helper for this episode in the series because I wanted to talk about the power of self care from a holistic perspective and how that ties into the family's learning journey. As an unschooling mother, yoga teacher and yoga therapist, and soon to be Ayurvedic Doula, I knew Amanda would have fantastic insight.
Mothering The Mother in Life and Unschooling
Amanda and I talk about the importance of Mothering the Mother. She explains clearly why caring for the mother is also caring for the child. It is a connection to ourselves that has been lost or stolen along the way. Listen in to hear us delve into;
The tools that are an important part of this practice
How yoga and meditation became an important tool to helping her deal with her anxiety and depression
Guiding beliefs around learning and parenting
A day in the life of their unschooling family
Their unschooling foundations- talking and communication, being in community, nature and time outside
Encouraging the creative process
The practice of yoga
What it means to Call A RESET in their family
The power of focusing her energy on what she wants the collective future to look like
Amanda leaves us with fantastic advice and practical tools on trying to balance life and learning from home. It's about planting the seeds that you want to grow later in your life.
If you are interested in getting in touch with Amanda Curmi, you can reach her through Facebook or Instagram.
Facebook- Awaken Through Motherhood
You can also check out the first two Helpers in this series; David Irvine http://imhomeschooling.com/look-for-the-helpers-parenting-and-being-human/ and Homeschool Mom Teresa Wiedrick http://imhomeschooling.com/look-for-the-helpers-thrive-not-just-survive/
Become a Patron- https://www.patreon.com/honeyimhomeschoolingthekids
Alternatives to School-SHINE Together, a Holistic Learning Centre
"Children really learn best when they are able to pursue their own interests and follow their own timetable."
Alternatives To School
Mandy Spiczka has been helping kids learn and grow all of her life. Through mentoring, a summer program counsellor, an after school coordinator, tutor and then as a public school teacher she has always been drawn to work that allows her to support kids.
But once Mandy became a parent herself, she decided she wanted her daughter to "have an education that is as unique as she is". She wanted an education that aligned with everything she had learned about in child psychology and development, everything that she had studied as a teacher and as a person that has always been connected to children. The education that aligned with her values was not found in the school. It had to be an alternative to school. It was homeschooling, or more specifically, self directed learning. And once Mandy made the decision to homeschool her daughter, she knew it was the right choice.
Mandy has spent the last decade leading groups for parents and children, including the St. Cloud Unschooling Network. The St. Cloud Unschooling Network links over sixty families in central Minnesota who believe learning cannot be separated from life and who value play, exploration, growth, and following their children’s leads.
As Mandy met more families that shared her views on self directed education, she also met families that were not able to put this type of learning into action because of varying obstacles; a spouse that didn't agree or a work schedule that could not support learning from home or a parent that needed a little extra help. Mandy knew she could help these families by offering what they were not able to do. She has now founded SHINE Together, LLC, a holistic learning space that supports families that wish to home educate or unschool full-time, but for individual reasons, cannot.SHINE Together is a flexible space where each child’s interests, needs, and strengths take center stage and where academic learning is fully integrated with real-life experiences.
In This Episode
In this episode Mandy shares why she is an advocate of self directed learning and holistic learning. She shares her experiences as a teacher and and did not want for her daughter; an environment that is "creating so many kids that are out of alignment with who they are as human beings". She also shares her own struggles as a parent on the self directed learning path and explains why deschooling is such an important part of the self directed learning process.
What helps to keep her focused on the self directed path?
The challenges of conventional schooling
Reading and why so many children have lost the joy to read
Why children should be at the centre of education
How she approaches testing in a state that requires homeschoolers to test every year
What a week in her holistic learning community, SHINE Together looks like
The advantages of home education
Advice to parents that are new to learning at home with their children
Why it's important to help your child establish a rhythm and not a strict schedule
Many more families are beginning to question the model of schooling and if it is where their children learn best. If you are a parent that is looking for alternatives to school and how you can best support your children on their life learning path, there's no time like the present to start. Mandy suggests, "Think about the values and educational philosophies that are specific to your family. Find the groups and communities that are out there that can support you." I am sure you will find more alternatives. If you need a little more help on this path, don't be afraid to reach out.
SHINE Together Facebook
If you would like to learn more about Micro schools, or other alternatives to
A Case For Self Directed Teens: Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids To School?
Blake Boles is a writer, speaker, adventurer, and advocate for self-directed learning. He has spent more than a decade working with unconventionally educated teenagers through the trip-leading company he founded, Unschool Adventures. Originally from California, Blake has lived and traveled across the world. His previous books include The Art of Self-Directed Learning, Better Than College, and College Without High School, and his work has been featured in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Psychology Today, Fox Business, USA Today, NPR affiliate radio, and the blogs of Wired and The Wall Street Journal. Visit blakeboles.com to follow Blake’s work and adventures.
Self Directed Teens
Blake Boles was in University, unsure of which major and path to pursue when he discovered John Taylor Gatto. John Taylor Gatto's critique on the school system led Blake into learning more about unschooling, democratic free schools and self directed learning. Really, Blake had entered the alternative learning rabbit hole. He became convinced that this was much more important than what he had planned to pursue before. He ended up designing his own major at Berkeley University. (He called it Alternative schooling and Science). After graduation he eventually found his way to Not Back To School Camp and became a staff member there. Surrounded by self directed teens, Blake was inspired. He is known for being the go-to person on self directed teens.
Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids To School?
Blake Boles returns to Honey! I'm Homeschooling The Kids podcast to talk about his fantastic new book, Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids To School? I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it to any parent that is looking at other options than traditional school. This book is not about reforming the public education system. It is a resource for parents that realize that traditional school is no longer working for their child and are ready to try something different.
In This Episode
Even though this book is not about reforming the public education system, we do discuss public education, the importance it plays for society today (it may not be what you are thinking) and how Blake sees it serving our future world. We also talk about the list of different options that parents have outside of the traditional system and aside from homeschooling. We go further to discuss;
Why there is no one solution that fits all
When alternative methods in learning and education can become dogmatic
Why the burden of proof has been on those that have taken the alternative path
The battle of nature vs nurture and intensive parenting. How much influence do parents really hold over shaping their children's lives?
Why we invest in building up trust with our kids
Our current education situation in the time of COVID. Is this really a boom for homeschooling?
Baby steps to becoming self directed
Blake's 'Model for Life'
If you are a self directed teen, a parent of self directed teens or would like to be one of these, I suggest that you check out the fantastic resources that Blake offers. Books, videos, podcast~you can find these on his website. If you would like to listen to another interview of Blake, you can check out his first appearance on Honey! I'm Homeschooling The Kids here.
Blake Boles Dot Com
Book: Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids To School?
Podcast: Off Trail Learning
John Taylor Gatto
Not Back To School Camp
Grace Llewellyn- The Teenage Liberation Handbook
If you enjoy the show and it has provided value, you can support the show through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/honeyimhomeschoolingthekids
Look For The Helpers: Work Schedules & Family Rhythms
Work Schedules and Family Rhythms: Jim and Jamie Sheils
I went looking for helpers and I found Jim and Jamie Sheils.
Jim and Jamie Sheils help busy professionals create deeper, more connected, more meaningful relationships with their spouse and children so they can have the family life they've always imagined. As successful entrepreneurs with a family of six, Jim & Jamie speak all over the world, guiding others in igniting their family life, as they grow and nurture their business life. Through their book, the Amazon best-seller “The Family Board Meeting,” and their entrepreneur family-serving organization, 18 Summers, Jim & Jamie are helping to transform families and show them how to make the most of the time they have together.
Jim and Jamie believe in honesty and connection and aren't afraid to incorporate a life of adventure into their large family. They have 4 kids from ages toddler to teens, run 2 businesses and do this while home educating, alternative schooling and experiential learning. It sounds pretty spectacular, doesn't it? But the Sheils family is quick to point out that they are not perfect. Perfection is not the goal. Schedules and Rhythms, consistency and communication are the tools they utilize. They celebrate their wins, focus on what's going well and build on that. They are the first to recommend taking the pressure of perfection off of the table.
In This Episode
In this episode we talk about many of the concerns that families are facing during this pandemic;
Learning From Home - What kind of environment do we provide to learn?
The Education Matrix- The grassroots foundation of success that they created, use in their family and teach to others -(The 3 key skills that people always use and need in life but are not taught in schools.)
Working from Home -Creating boundaries and expectations and sticking to them. The importance of having a separate space to work.
Schedules and Rhythms. What is the difference between schedules and rhythms and how do these play a part in their home life, learning life and work life?
'Work Puking" :) Why Jim is good at "Work Puking" and how he is able to control it, feel less overwhelmed but more present and connected. (A new word I'm enjoying)
Taking the pressure of perfection off. Start where you can and if it's not working, then you can change it. Revise, revise revise.
The Enterprise of Family Life. Are we cheating connection or enhancing our connection?
Dealing with Conflict in the home. How to avoid turning a 10 minute issue into a 3 day issue.
Why it's not the time to put your head in the sand. Take inventory and assess~Does your business need work? What about your family?
"If our children can see us look for help, then they will know that they too can reach for it when they need it."
Connect with the Sheils and the 18 Summers Tribe
Private Facebook Group
Jim was one of the first guests on my podcast! You can check out the interview here to find out more about their family and why they chose the alternative learning path.