On the Life as a Lifeschooler podcast, Danielle Papageorgiou will seek to explore this definition in all its aspects, and to bring exposure to the educational value of the simple things we do every day with our children. In this podcast, she will interview other lifeschoolers, as well as popular homeschool leaders to discuss the idea of lifeschooling and what it looks like in various family situations. Some of her favorite guests are the "homeschool pioneers" who educated their children quite differently than according to the traditional model...wisdom that has been largely forgotten in today's homeschool culture.
Danielle has been homeschooling, or “lifeschooling,” for 14 years and started the biennial Lifeschooling Conference in 2016. She has a passion for helping other homeschoolers learn how to homeschool in a way that does not compete with family life, but actually enhances it and draws out each child's unique gifts.
Best of Life as a Lifeschooler: Self-Sacrifice in Lifeschooling – Dr. Jill Butryn
Enjoy one of my favorite interviews on this rerun of "Self-Sacrifice in Lifeschooling - Dr. Jill Butryn."
How much self-sacrifice would you be willing to practice? Would you give up a six-figure career in medicine to be "just a mom"? My friend Dr. Jill Butryn did just that. She went from a practicing MD to a present mom. Listen to one of our most popular episodes, this inspiring interview about how the Butryn family made it work and how lifeschooling and "staying out of the way" played a key part in "letting their boys be wiggly boys."
Passionate about living and loving, Jill Butryn, MD, left a thriving medical practice to rededicate herself to faith, marriage, and family. When her verbally precocious eldest child made it very clear in no uncertain terms that being away from home all day to attend kindergarten was completely unacceptable, Jill and her reluctant husband began homeschooling and never looked back.
Bucking convention by not using a curriculum, Jill has home educated two wiggly and willful boys on a steady diet of Legos, literature, and labor, with a dash of mentoring. Committed to "staying out of the way" and allowing each child to develop at his own pace in his own way, the Butryns stress spiritual and relational development over academic achievement, where all that boy energy is channeled into meaningful activities and work projects instead of pointless busywork.
Jill believes parents ultimate responsibility is to turn out healthy adults who love and serve others, and this can only be achieved by modeling and facilitating personal growth through relationship and experience. It is an imperfect process carried out by imperfect people. Thankfully, there is grace.
Here is what I asked Jill during this episode's interview:
So, you were a family doctor before you had children. Tell us what led to such self-sacrifice: the decision to leave your practice and start homeschooling?
What was the most difficult part about leaving your practice and did you ever doubt that decision?
To remind our listeners, the definition of lifeschooling is “the individualized process of discovering your child’s God-given gifts and talents through real life experiences that happen within the context of your family’s unique situations and missions.” Is there a part of that definition that particularly speaks to you?
What are some of the gifts that you saw early on in your children and how did you tailor their education around development of those gifts?
Tell us about a typical day in your homeschool?
Now that you’ve graduated and married off one child and can look back on the entire journey, what would you say you did right, and is there anything you wish you would have done differently? Was the self-sacrifice of giving up your career worth it?
I feel like many of us, as adults, are just now learning what our passions truly are and what we were meant to do. I think lifeschooling is such a wonderful way to allow our children to find out who they really are and what gifts God has put into them when they are young. You recently started an online business that provides life coaching in several aspects. I know that came about as a result of some self-discovery of your own, so tell us a little bit about what led you to start that.
You can find out more about Dr. Jill and her services by visiting her website, www.jillbutryn.com.
And that’s Life as a Lifeschooler! Subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. Hope you’ll join us next time!
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5 Lifeschooling Tips to Freedom in Your Homeschool!
I often say that lifeschooling is about freedom. But how do you achieve that freedom in homeschooling? Here are five tips that will help you find freedom to homeschool in a way that fits with everyday life and brings peace. These tips will help you find the heart of lifeschooling and what that can look like in your home!
LIFESCHOOLING TIP #1: Encourage reading by letting your children read books they love after bedtime.
Reading is one of the foundational skills to learning. (Before you moms with late readers freak out, let me assure you that reading late is really no problem. Most late readers catch up to the reading level of their peers in very little time, and in the meantime there are many other ways to learn.)
Once a child learns to read, they can learn independently. Allowing them to read after bedtime makes them feel privileged and can be a great way to encourage this important skill! I'll always cherish the picture of the time I found my son asleep on his Narnia book.
LIFESCHOOLING TIP #2: Let the early years be focused on play!
It is scientifically proven that children learn a LOT through simple play that we adults think looks pointless. Being given time to play allows your children to learn independently of adult direction and input. It builds problem-solving and creativity!
Our youngest is 7 and is not yet ready to sit for more than about an hour or two (max). That's okay! He's learned so much on his own! Even hobbies and crafts are a form of playing that is considered okay for adults to do.
If you need more encouragement that play really is okay, one of my favorite resources is Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, a book about how children really learn, written by two scientists. It will give you confidence to just let your children play!
LIFESCHOOLING TIP #3: Give them plenty of free time!
Free time is one of the best gifts your can give your children. When they are adults, they will no longer have so much time to explore, create, and learn about their world to discover who they really are. They may also surprise you with what they do with their time.
I have found my children working on Algebra; learning about genetics; and researching facts about Wales simply because they were interested. The constantly surprise me with what they know!
LIFESCHOOLING TIP #4: Invest in your children.
We often don't have any problem forking out money for expensive curriculum, but when it comes to our children's gifts and passions, do we provide them with the necessary resources and materials?
Fund your children's projects. They may only stick with them a short time, but they are learning valuable lessons about who they are...and who they aren't. That is worth the investment!
You can teach them about perseverance and a hard work ethic through other areas, such as chores and service to others. But give them freedom to learn who they are. When they find their passion and what God put into them to do, they WILL stick with it! In the meantime, think of these changing interests as courses...and feel free to record them as such!
LIFESCHOOLING TIP #5: Do one subject or project a day.
One of the difficulties with traditional school is that they are constantly changing subjects. A child may be fully engrossed in a project, but when the bell rings, it's time to move on!
Missions, Movies, and Lifeschooling (Part 2) – David Cook
On this episode of Life as a Lifeschooler, Danielle wraps up her interview with David Cook, a former MK who was homeschooled and now works in the Christian film industry.
David grew up on the mission field in Spain. A homeschool graduate, in 2001 he started working in media, both radio and television in Spain. In 2009 God placed it on his heart to get involved with feature filmmaking. Moving back to the United States, David started working with Advent Film Group to start the learning process and get hands on experience on film sets. Since that point, David has worked on 18 feature films in various capacities, including The Screenwriters, Polycarp, Princess Cut, Beyond the Mask, Badge of Faith, War Room, Like Arrows, and most recently the upcoming films Overcomer and Once Upon a Time in Mongolia. David also helps with the annual Christian Worldview Film Festival in Franklin, TN, where he enjoys sharing with others what he has learned and encouraging them to follow what God has placed on their hearts to do.
Here are some of the questions I asked David on this second part of the interview:
Tell us about your journey into the Christian film industry.
When did you start to develop an interest in Christian film and did your parents tailor the education around the development of your gifts and interest in film?
What has been the most exciting thing about being in film? What has been the biggest challenge?
What was your favorite film set to work on?
I know you do a lot of traveling with your work. How many countries have you traveled to while working in film?
For those who may have children interested in getting into film, what would you suggest?
If you want to find out more about the Christian Worldview Film Festival, you can visit their site here.
And that’s Life as a Lifeschooler! Subscribe to our podcast so you never miss an episode. Hope you’ll join us next time!
How to Raise Children Who Love God
It’s easy to slip into the thinking that if we just homeschool, all will turn out fine. Our children will grow up to love God; they will be well-educated and spiritually mature, always following the Lord and living godly lives.
A quick search of the internet will prove this is simply not the case. I loved the blog post Israel Wayne posted not too long ago addressing the current trend of homeschoolers who are rejecting their parents’ faith and basically dishonoring them.
(Can I just say that I literally laughed out loud when I read this line: “I just want to say to everyone who wishes that I was writing blogs about how badly my life sucks lollipops…I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you by having a happy and satisfied life.”).
And then, of course, there’s the story of Josh Harris, who grew up a zealot of homeschooling, courtship, and so many good things, only to recently divorce his wife and leave his faith, rejecting all he supposedly once held important. What a sad time for his parents.
Oh, dear homeschoolers. Once again, we have to be reminded that life is not about a checklist. We so easily forget, don’t we? There are no secret formulas, no magic bullets. You can’t manufacture a genuine relationship. There is no amount of work you can invest that will guarantee your children will turn out fine.
Homeschooling is great. I personally think it’s the obvious best option for educating and investing time into one’s children to build strong relationships. But it’s not the secret formula and relying on that alone will only bring frustration and disappointment.
But fret not. God doesn’t want us to just throw up our hands and sing Que Sera, Sera. We can look to Scripture and look to godly examples around us to learn some ideas for helping our children grow into spiritually mature adults who love God. We cannot force them to love the Lord, but we can entice them towards a deep relationship by showing them how precious it is!
Here are some ideas:
1. Make your relationship with the Lord your top priority.
How can you expect your children to love God if you don’t love Him with all of your heart? The very best thing you can do is lead by example. Spend time with Him daily and share what He is teaching you. When your children see that God is a priority and when they hear you speak about Him, they will be drawn towards Him.
I could probably end this entire blog post with this first point because it is just that important and impactful! But I won’t… ;)
2. Start early encouraging your children to spend time with the Lord daily.
We have always made daily devotions a part of our children’s required “daily chores.” That might sound terrible, but the Bible does talk about “disciplining ourselves unto godliness.” Part of the Christian walk is self-discipline and if we want them to truly love God, then we must teach our children to be self-disciplined early. They need to learn how to “own” their faith.
When they were young, they read this Learn to Read Bible, among other Bible story books. They also enjoyed these a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0736903623/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?
Lifeschooling and Books – Konur Papageorgiou
I always love sitting down and having a good chat with my son, Konur. I feel blessed that we connect so easily on so many topics and this boy is wise beyond his years! On this episode, I wanted to talk with him about his lifeschooling journey in general, and then specifically talk about what books he feels have been most beneficial in his learning.
Part of my goal was to encourage moms of high schoolers to consider all that can be done through a lifeschooling approach, and that even kids who are headed toward college don't necessarily need to have their high school years look "traditional." I promised to put a link to this book, College Without High School: A Teenager's Guide to Skipping High School and Going to College, in these show notes, so there you go! (Disclaimer: I am still reading this one, but so far I think it's brilliant!)
One of the ironies about this interview is that even though our topic of discussion was books, we forgot to even mention that he and his friend, Emma Grace, are actually in the process of writing a book together! I guess that means we'll just have to set up another interview when it finally comes out! ;) Anyway, I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!
Here are some of the questions we discussed:
* What are some of your favorite kinds of books to read? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
* I know you’re a history buff, so tell me what books have been most enlightening on that topic?
* So, you are heading into a career in IT doing contract work, God-willing. Tell me what books have been most helpful from a business/entrepreneurial standpoint.
* Lifeschooling is not the same as unschooling, but there are a lot of similarities. The definition of lifeschooling is “the individualized process of discovering your child’s God-given gifts and talents primarily through real life experiences that happen within the context of your family’s unique situations and missions.” We definitely fall on the “unschooling” side of the spectrum, partially because of our particular family situations. What has been your favorite part of lifeschooling?
* The most important book of all is, of course, the Bible. Tell us a bit about your Bible studies and how just being in the Word so much daily has helped you in everyday life.
Blessing the Next Generation – Pat Fenner
Have you ever wondered why we don't take the Bible more seriously when it comes to the topic of blessing our children and what it might look like on a practical level? What a fun talk I had about this topic with Pat Fenner, author of Blessing the Next Generation, on this week's episode!
Pat Fenner loves talking and writing about the topics closest to her heart: parenting and homeschooling. Her books, Blessing the Next Generation and Celebrating the Feast: A Christian Guide to Passover —evolved from family traditions she and her husband Paul have enjoyed in their 30+ years of marriage. Another e-book: Homeschooling Outside the Box, originally published by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, describes some of the real-life activities she incorporated over the years in their own homeschool. She writes regularly at her blog breakthroughhomeschooling.com, where she shares parenting and homeschooling encouragement and tools and is a regular contributor to various other faith, parenting and homeschool blogs.
Here are some of the questions that we chatted about:
I love the concept of blessing our children and I’ve always wanted to study this more. The Bible talks so much about this, particularly with regard to fathers and their sons. Tell us what first inspired the idea for this book.
Tell us, in practical terms, what this blessing event looks like and how you carried it out in your own family?
I love at the beginning of chapter 4 where you tell mothers to start studying their children, and how God seemed to highlight certain Scriptures for you related to each child. I believe it is so helpful in the process of lifeschooling, also, to be students of our children in order to guide them with their callings! Did you find that this event helped in finding their calling and life’s purpose?
One of your other books, Homeschooling Outside the Box, intrigues me because you talk about the real life experiences you incorporated in your homeschooling. I’d love to hear more about that!
How did homeschooling strengthen your relationships with your children?
What are some of the gifts that you saw in your children and how did you tailor their education around the development of those gifts?
If you want to learn more from Pat and purchase any of her books, be sure to visit her at patfenner.me. You can also visit her author page on Amazon.