Honey! I'm Homeschooling The Kids
Summary: Honey! I'm Homeschooling the Kids is a podcast that steps into self-directed education, alternative education, unschooling, home education, parenting, and how to live a fuller family life. Parents do have a choice of where and how to educate their children. Unschooling mom Robyn Robertson explores the many choices available and creates a space for families to listen, learn, connect and be inspired. Enjoy interviews with experts in education and parenting, and hear from families that are living full out in the arena of life and education.
Other ways to enjoy this Podcast My Son’s Life As A Homeschooler In this episode my 11 year old son Ronan joined me to talk about what life is like as a homeschooler. Ronan is an active young person that loves sports, the outdoors, good books and travel. He talked about some of the key sports that he loves like soccer, swimming, parkour and skiing, books he recommends, the business he owns and why he started it, his current research project and travel. We talked allowing our kids to take risks and giving the time to explore the things that interest them. Episode References Warriors Harry Potter Family Board Meetings Unschooling Robyn Instagram Other ways to enjoy this Podcast
Kelly Airhart has lived through every parent’s nightmare, the death of her 3-month old baby, Elijah. In this interview we talked about how she’s dealing with grief. We also talk about her family’s educational journey, which they chose largely due to the intense sense of loss and grief the entire family has been through. The Intense Pain of Infant Death Kelly was out of the house when it happened. Her son Elijah was 3-months old. For all appearances, Elijah was a healthy baby boy. There were no signs of sickness or ill health. Yet, he died suddenly. The subsequent medical investigation turned up no signs of suffocation. Thus, his death was ruled a case of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). These cases are heart wrenching. There is no indication, no explanation, only a beautiful young life snuffed out when it was just beginning. When Kelly returned home, she saw her husband trying to revive Elijah. When I asked her later in the interview if she would change anything about her grieving process, Kelly shared that she still thinks about the fact that she was away when it happened. The Grieving Process and The Family’s Response Kelly doesn’t sugarcoat it or hide behind a veil of false positivity. Elijah passed away two and a half years before Kelly and I spoke, and she’s honest about the fact that she’s still dealing with the grief, because, as she says, “I have to wake up every morning knowing I’ll never see Elijah again.” She doesn’t put on a face of false positivity, but at the same time Kelly isn’t filled with doom and gloom either. She sees the mysterious way in which Elijah’s passing has been a blessing for her family and the world. For one, they decided immediately what was most important. They came closer together and prioritized each other. They committed to deepening their love for each other and act it out every day. They also commit one act of kindness in Elijah’s name every day. It’s their family’s belief that kindness has a ripple effect and even if it starts out small will eventually create a much larger effect on the world. Another change they made was to live life entirely on their own terms. This has meant several different things. For one, her husband decided to go after his dream of becoming an MMA fighter. He began training intensely and has had two amateur fights. Kelly also left her work, because during the grieving process she knew that she needed to be with her family. The same can be said of their decision to home educate. They were in a Montessori school before Elijah’s passing, and when the next school year came around they decided not to re-enter school because the kids, too, needed more family time while grieving. These life changes allowed them to take the mission deeper. She became an author and illustrator and has published two books. More on that below. Their Mission Elijah’s death was tragic. No two people grieve in the same way, but for Kelly and family, an important part of their grief and recovery has been to ensure that Elijah did not die in vain. They created Elijah’s Family Changes The World as a vehicle to spread kindness one act at a time. Which brings us to the topic of Kelly’s book titled Elijah Loses His Smile. The main character of the book is Elijah. He loses his smile due to other kids’ teasing. And the rest of the story is about him getting his smile back. His parents get him an ice cream, which helps, but on a deeper level they teach him about self-acceptance and kindness. These are the main values Kelly is seeking to spread through her book and her mission. The book is already published, which is the hard part for most independent authors. Now, her task is to spread the word about her book to get the message out. Which is why she’s launched a Kickstarter campa...
What happens when a passionate entrepreneur experiences a spiritual awakening at the same time his kids are nearing school age? He creates a conscious school, of course. Other ways to enjoy this Podcast Gordy Bal is one of those entrepreneurs you hear about in the news. You wonder how he can be involved in so many incredible projects. But entrepreneurs do entrepreneur things. But Gordy did something that might seem ‘off script,’ unless you got to know him and his personal journey. He started a nature-based school he’d dreamed up after being exposed to a brilliant mind. The Path of Purpose After speaking with Gordy, I think I understand how he does it all. It comes back to purpose, that deep-seated sense that what you’re doing really matters. The most purposeful people I know wake up in the morning excited by the opportunity to work and live in this world they are creating. I can’t speak for you, but for me this is the golden goose of alternative education. Regardless of the specific path, I believe this is what most alternative education families really want for their kids. With a deep purpose, the practical concerns of academic education hardly matter. If you have a deep enough purpose, you’ll learn what you need to learn when you need to learn it. Without purpose, the greatest on-paper education in the world won’t save you. There are few things less attractive than an over-educated Starbucks barista living a purposeless life. Meanwhile, plucky and “uneducated” entrepreneurs all over the world are getting things done and learning what they need when they need it. The Xploration Centre I brought Gordy Bal on the podcast because I heard about his school from my husband. It’s called the Xploration Centre and it has a unique vision, like a cross between a forest school and a technology-based school with some unique philosophical underpinnings. Gordy believes deeply in exponential technologies, but he also fears the current relationship most of us, kids especially, have with technology. Meanwhile, we’re more and more cut off from nature. I share Gordy’s fear on that front. A child without any connection to nature is a very sad thing. But more than sad, it holds them back from living a full life. A week in nature is a cure for most ailments, and nature is the greatest (and only?) true teacher. And beyond nature and exposure to exponential technologies, two other paradigms guide the school. Both stem from the teachings of Dr. Shefali Tsabary, the world famous psychologist who writes on the topic of conscious parenting. Dr. Shefali’s Influence Gordy was exposed to Dr. Shefali’s after he became a parent. Her teachings resonated deeply with Gordy and his wife, so they reached out to meet Dr. Shefali. They would eventually become friends and she would remain influential in his life as he moved along his journey towards opening the Xploration Centre. So influential, that the school is founded on the principles she teaches.
Jo Watt was a teacher with a Master’s degree in education. In this episode of Honey! I’m Homeschooling the Kids, you’ll hear how she learned to deschool the adult mind. How does a teacher and master’s degree educated person learn to deschool the adult mind? It comes down to careful observation and acceptance. Keep reading to learn more. And listen to the episode to get the full story. Other ways to enjoy this Podcast Jo Watt is English. Very English. At least to my prairie Canadian ears. I could listen to that accent all day. I think she might have lured me into a trance. Do English people know the power they hold over us North Americans? But accent aside, I loved Jo’s story and the lessons she shared. I’ll walk you through some of these lessons below. But the big takeaway, was how she went from being a teacher with a master’s degree in education to a full blown unschooling mom. As with most of us who choose this path, Jo had to deschool the adult mind before she could truly understand her kids. Jo is a friend of Rachel Rainbolt (Sage Parenting) who you heard from on Episode 17. Like Rachel, Jo lives in the Washington state, although her journey there was a bit different. We cover that in a bit of detail in this podcast as well. Jo writes a great blog about unschooling called Girls Unschooled. You can also follow her on Facebook or Instagram to stay in touch. Please do so. Anyone pursuing alternative education needs to form a community. Community is virtual not just geographic. Let’s be honest, you don’t need to see any more political rants from your crazy uncle. But you could use uplifting and interesting stories from an inspiring unschooler like Jo. So go there and link up with her now. Deschool the Adult Mind Jo Watt, teacher and Master of Education. It’s a formidable title. She sounds like the kind of person who could instill education into children. This narrative has changed. She is that — a formidable person with talents. But, as an unschooler, what’s the real benefit of her background and titles? Jo claims it’s useful when dealing with prickly questions from well-meaning family members and friends. “I don’t know how you do it? Are you even qualified?” As unschoolers, we hear this all the time. Many parents I hear from would love to pursue alternative education, but they don’t think they’re up for the challenge. “I’d love to do that but I’m not a teacher and I wouldn’t have the first idea where to start.” Well, Jo has more than enough education. But she told me on the podcast that she doesn’t think it’s all that useful in unschooling her two daughters. Where it does provide a major benefit is talking to others. They often seem skeptical at first, but when they find out she’s a master’s degree educated teacher they relent. They trust that she can handle it and stop questioning her.
Are you in love with what you do? Do you inspire others to live a better life? Today’s podcast guest does that in spades. And she does it by helping to build micro schools. Meet Mara Linaberger. Mara was one of my early guests on this podcast. I’m thrilled to have had her on the podcast again, this time to talk about her new book. She has incredible will, drive, and passion to make this world a better place. These are always inspiring traits. And to see it in education is all the more inspiring, especially because she’s providing a unique alternative not found elsewhere. Other ways to enjoy this Podcast 100 Micro Schools Mara spent over 25 years working in the Pennsylvania public school system. But she eventually realized that her work from inside the system wasn’t best serving her students or herself. That was when she became a consultant for those struggling in learning and eventually an author. Through this work, Mara witnessed the successful emergence of micro-schools. These schools have become Mara’s mission. She plans to create a global network of 100 micro-schools. To help her achieve this mission, Mara wrote a new book, The Micro-School Builder’s Handbook. This book offers the steps and tools for parents to build their own micro-school. What’s a Micro-School? A Micro School is a small school, like the old one room schools of the past, but with a modern twist. A micro-school have no fewer than 12 kids or no more than 150 kids. It is an intimate setting with instructors or guides and small student to teacher ratios. Micro-schools are child-centred rather than parent-centred. The smaller the school the more intimate it can be. Micro-school founders often begin as homeschool parents. These parents either want to do more for other kids, or they want to create a community for their own children. Why Choose a Micro-School over Homeschool? Micro-schools are flexible. You can decide the flavour, space, and school schedule like homeschool. 4 day school week? Road trips? As long as you’re accomplishing your hours of learning, how you go about that is flexible. Mara has met many parents that want to homeschool but don’t have the resources, or the confidence to do so. She has realized that micro schools present an opportunity not only for kids, but parents too. They can create a fantastic learning environment for their kids as well as a business of their own. Micro Schools- Schools of The Future? Micro-schools personalize learning and have small classes at a much lower price. They are starting to challenge private schools and the feelings of entitlement. There are micro schools focused on the outdoors, computer programming, the arts, service learning, business incubation… Mara feels that micro schools are the schools of the future.
Tuan Nguyen’s family has a rule: They Don’t Talk About Grades. Other ways to enjoy this Podcast Tuan understands the importance of communication, life learning and connection. He’s also working to build the creative mindset within his own family. His Blended Family Tuan and his partner have a blended family that includes two daughters and a son– ages 15, 12 and 5 years of age. Being part of a blended family has taught him many lessons, especially now that he has two daughters. From the beginning the kids fit well, but it took some work for him to build the relationship with his daughters. It was clear that the key to their success would be good communication and connection. What puts his family apart are what they put into practice to build that connection. Communication Tools A game changing tool for their family as been Jim Sheils Family Board Meetings Strategy. Listen to my episode with Jim here. This includes specific scheduled time–four hours minimum, one on one with each child. And no technology during that time. This strategy created a remarkable space for communication and connection. As well, a space for his daughters to teach him how to deal with the emotional situations of adolescence. They have given him their own name- “Sedad”- which he embraces. Extended family Tuan’s wife owns a restaurant with her siblings so this means all the family kids come to Tuan’s after school. From 3:45pm he is helping with homework, cooking dinner, and being a support to them. It is a busy home but one that has created strong family bonds for all the kids. He is part of their learning which he says extends far beyond homework and school. When I refer to the kids, I’m talking about all 7 of them. The Power of Sports Sports have been the saving grace to some of the challenges the kids have faced. Soccer was the choice for their oldest daughter, Athena who was shy and hyper-focused. The soccer team has helped with her communication and collaboration skills. She now shines as a major player on the field and is being scouted by soccer coaches from the US. Their other daughter is a social butterfly with less focus. Tuan decided to enrol her in Tae-kwondo which he also attended with her. He saw that Tae-Kwondo would help her cousins with their lack of confidence so he enrolled them as well. They all practice and train together. What About The Grades? Tuan’s family does have a rule around grades. He says they don’t talk about grades. What they talk about is where they are at the moment, and they ask if there is any place in their life that they can do better.
The stories we tell ourselves become our ‘first creations’ and play an integral role in our family’s educational journey. Other ways to enjoy this Podcast This year didn’t start out with a so-called bang for me. I didn’t feel like goal setting or visualizing as I have other years. So much happened last year that I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to ‘accomplish‘ this year. I felt a bit intimidated by what I’d created. Instead of creating more I ‘just‘ wanted to manage what I have going on. But instead of hiding from it (well, I hid from life for the first week of the year) I started to reflect on what I’d created. Or, more accurately, I looked at what I had created and what I had let others create for me. First Creations “It’s a principle that all things are created twice, but not all first creations are by conscious design. In our personal lives if we don’t develop our own self awareness and become responsible for first creations, we empower other people and circumstances…to shape much of our lives by default.” ~ Stephen R. Covey It’s so much easier to let things happen to us. What’s hard is taking responsibility for our actions, thoughts, and lives. How often do we blame others instead of taking responsibility for ourselves? “My parents didn’t raise me right.” “I’d be better at school if my teachers were better and liked me.” “I’d be successful in life if the education system hadn’t failed me.” “My boss has me too busy and stressed out to take care of anything else.” This blame does not come from a place of ownership. It comes from our dependencies, our search for love and acceptance. We don’t have control over 100% of our lives, but we do have control over how we respond and react. How we choose to respond shapes our world. It applies in relationships, health, learning, education, and our very being. I’m not perfect. I do it too. My fears and insecurities cause me to doubt myself and blame others in anger. That causes turmoil in my mind, which then reflects in my life. I end up living those thoughts out. How does this relate to education? Because my family home educates does not make me a better or worse parent than one who sends their kids to school. Every parent (and person) must develop our own self-awareness, principles, and values. From there we can build a creation of our own design. This affects our whole life, including the creation of our family’s educational life. Maybe traditional school works. Or an alternative program. Or homeschooling. A few questions to guide you:
Natural Parenting With Rachel Rainbolt Rachel Rainbolt is the Sage Parent Coach and a natural learning mama. She believes in the power of trust and connection. Rachel wants to elevate mothers to believe in themselves and act on their power to create and live a joyful natural parenting, learning path. Other ways to enjoy this Podcast Rachel has her Masters degree in family therapy, is a parenting coach, writer, and home education mom to her 3 kids. Honestly, she has a list of letters and titles behind her name, but her academic background almost seems counter to how she lives today — living in a state of parental flow. Rachel runs her business Sage Parenting from her computer in their home in the Pacific Northwest. But more often you can find her hiking through the forest with her family. Rachel and I talked about her new book — Sage Homeschooling Wild and Free, their natural learning journey and why she says connection and trust is the foundation for all other learning. What Does Rachel’s Background Bring? Rachel’s background is in psychology and Family Therapy. She’s also a certified infant massage educator. She’s an advocate for natural sleep, breastfeeding, parenting, and learning. Rachel feels her degrees have value and do inform much of her life, but as she shared on the podcast, they also helped indoctrinate her with a mountain of beliefs, assumptions, and expectations she says she had to shake off to adopt the natural learning method of parenting. She says the field of psychology was valuable and taught her how to sift through data and do research. But she’s since noticed that her choices and beliefs differ quite a bit from her fellow graduates. Her life now relies on connection, trust, and the natural unfolding of life. Her Family’s Education Journey Rachel started her family journey using attachment parenting. When her oldest turned 4, she started looking for schools for her son because that is what, “we’re supposed to do.” She didn’t even know there were other options. Her and her husband put their son in Kindergarten at the public school where he stayed all the way to the start of 2nd grade. When they started homeschooling they stayed with their local public district. This meant the same work as the school classroom — which was an eye-opening experience. Soon they switched to a charter homeschool, then switched to independent homeschooling, before diving fully into unschooling. Rachel’s oldest loves homeschooling. He didn’t enjoy most aspects of school, especially the routine of getting up early, rushing off, and sitting in a desk all day. The family also saw that his natural learning fire was extinguishing. It only rekindled when they started homeschooling. Rachel says she sometimes wishes she’d slowed down and listened to herself more and just started homeschooling right away. But as she also said, “We have to walk our journey and be patient with ourselves.” Today,
Diana Frost’s mission is to share First Nations culture and spirituality. The goal is to foster reconciliation and help indigenous and non-indigenous to better understand and appreciate each other. Other ways to enjoy this Podcast Indigenous Art In Education There aren’t a lot of Indigenous culture resources available for students. Diana says it’s important to get kids excited about indigenous art and language. Exposure to art, stories, and history leads to appreciation, naturally. Who is Diana Frost? Diana Frost is from Sherbrooke, Quebec. She is Metis. Her background, beliefs and life are diverse. Diana’s parents raised her in the Bahai faith. She was born in Quebec, but she later relocated to Gabon, Africa. Her micro-biologist father moved there to set up a research station. So, Diana spent her teen years in Gabon. When she returned to Canada for University she studied chemical engineering. She worked as a water engineer for over 20 years in South America. Diana started to question her work every time she boarded a plane. She asked herself why travel so far to help other people when Indigenous people in Canada need help? Diana’s mother and uncles grew up in residential schools. Her mother was 8 years old when the government took her from her parents. Diana’s uncles went with the priests and her mother went with the nuns. They never returned back home. The goal of the government sponsored residential schools was to assimilate indigenous culture into Euro-Canadian culture. Because of this many indigenous peoples have since lost their culture and language. Due to this upbringing, Diana’s mother felt being First Nations was something shameful. To this day the ripple effects of the residential school affect them. The connection with her mother is not easy. Her uncle has suffered with mental illness since he left the school. Her other uncle became a member of the FLQ–a militant part of the Quebec sovereignty movement. When Diana was a young girl her mother told her that she is First Nations but did not know which nation she belonged to. Through genealogy study Diana found out that her ancestry is Algonquin. She felt a need to look for others but had a hard time meeting other indigenous people until she moved to Alberta. Reconciliation and Understanding Project Diana has been on a journey to reconnect with her roots and support reconciliation. This has brought her to her current business project–Colouring It Forward. She said the idea came to her in a dream. Diana wants more material about the wonderful parts of indigenous life. So much of the material now talks only about the sadness an...
Other ways to enjoy this Podcast This is Part 2 of my interview with Chip Franks— entrepreneur, family man and home educating dad. In this episode Chip talked more about how they have learned to meet each of their children’s learning needs, how his daughter Mandy was accepted into College as a homeschooler, and advice he has for other parents looking to home educate. Homeschooling To University Chip’s oldest daughter was a junior in high school when they started homeschooling. They both decided that a part of her home education would be getting a job. She found a job as a barista at Starbucks. The experience has been fantastic for her. She is learning life, and how to deal with people. Even with her job, Mandy still completed her last two years of high school in one year. The day of our interview was her first day of college. Attending post secondary has always been Mandy’s goal but they were unsure how this could be possible as homeschoolers. So after a speaking at a Harvard University event Chip spoke with a college application counsellor. He was worried that homeschooling may hurt her prospects getting into a good college. The college counsellor told Chip that it’s actually benefit. He told them that if they concentrate on the experiences they have learned, and the things they have done then package it up beautifully she can get into any college she wants. (For the US, this package also includes a good SAT score.) His biggest recommendation to Chip was to make the application interesting, make it fun and show how Mandy learned. Schools see the same applications every time. When they see a unique application, that’s what gets you in the door. The College Application Process For Homeschoolers Mandy looked at Harvard and found out she would not have a problem getting in but Mandy wanted to stay fairly close to home. For her college application they had to make up a curriculum and create a transcript for her. They figured out which classes she had to have in order to graduate. She completed those with independent focus. They knew their outcome and focus–to get into college and have fun while learning and enabling her to become a great person. Mandy applied and got into quite a few colleges. Since she is young she decided to do her first year at community college while living at home before she moves off to a larger school in two years. She plans to attend Texas A&M. Alternative School Aly, Chip’s other daughter now attends an Acton Academy affiliate – ESTEAM Academy which fits Aly’s learning style well. The school focuses on the Hero’s Journey because they know each kid can change the world. The school day starts with a Socratic circle. They start with a question, the kids answer as they see fit and then defend their answer. The first day Aly started at the school the question was-“what are the biggest problems in the world and how can we solve them?”
Other ways to enjoy this Podcast Chip Franks– insights from an entrepreneur, homeschool dad and author. The tipping point to homeschooling his daughters, the lessons the process has taught them and the legacy he wants to leave for his children. Family Man Chip Franks is a family man with 3 children. He is also an entrepreneur, author and home educator. His oldest, Mandy is 17 years old and entering college this year. She started homeschooling last year and during that time completed her entire high school requirements. His middle daughter Aly is 13 years old. Aly is a self proclaimed “nerd” and his partner in crime. Chip’s youngest, the amazing Alec, is 5 years old and just started kindergarten. It was actually his first day of kindergarten the day of this interview. Alec is a beautiful soul that has Down Syndrome and has truly expanded their capacity to love. The Family’s Learning Journey Their family learning journey is unique to them. Chip felt that the education system was not working for his girls. They have tried public school, homeschool and private school. They do what is best for the child and family. Mandy was a sophomore in high school and Aly was in 6th grade when they decided to homeschool. Everyday Chip drove his girls to school and everyday they cried before they had to go. Chip talked to others about homeschooling and decided to try it out. His wife who believes in the traditional education system agreed but not immediately. The Tipping Point There were a few circumstances that caused a tipping point for Chip to try homeschooling. Chip had butted heads with his school district because his girls had missed so much school. His oldest daughter was sick quite often. The district they live in only allows a certain amount of days missed of school and if you go over that amount students must make up that time on weekends, over lunch or during the summer. His daughter that was sick quite often would have to make up these days. She would come to school, sit in a room and stare at her phone just to clock in the hours. He also saw that she needed more real life experience to help prepare her for her career and life. So many times students spend years in school or getting ready for exams but they never really explore the fields of interest they like. Chip felt she was getting a lot more from going out and experiencing life. Homework was also taking up a lot of time. His daughters would come home and be up until late completing homework to get back up again early the next morning to restart the cycle. What If My Spouse Doesn’t Agree With Homeschooling With this tipping point he decided to try out homeschool. He asked many friends who were homeschooling or unschooling entrepreneurs how they did it. He and his wife came to an agreement. The girls would complete their school year. They would try homeschooling over the summer as a test and if it didn’t go well they could always go back. It wasn’t an incredible success at first but it was good enough.
In this episode Ian Szabo joins me to tell his story of underdog to hero and what life was like riding the short bus. Other ways to enjoy this Podcast The Start Of The Short Bus At the end of his Kindergarten year Ian’s school decided he was not ready for grade 1 and suggested he repeat Kindergarten. This is where this story begins. Repeating Kindergarten meant going to a different school. New kid. New school. Before he only had to walk from his home. This new school was too far away so he had to take a school bus. His biggest surprise was getting on his new bus.When he got on the bus he noticed that everyone seemed very different from the “normal” kids. Some kids were in wheelchairs, some were missing limbs and others rode with machines to help them breath. He asked himself “why am I on this bus? What did I do to be forced on here?” At his new school Ian was attending a special education program. He was riding the short bus to school everyday. Riding The Short Bus This was the beginning of a tough journey. The kids that rode the short bus were bullied, spit on, called names. They attended separate classes from the rest of the student body. Back then Ian wanted to be everybody else but that kid. It has taken him 10 years to even have the courage to talk about it. But today he sees things very differently. He has a new appreciation and love for his time in school. What Ian gained from his experience at school was something that has helped him to become who is today– a compassionate leader, business owner, father and husband that does not give up in the face of adversity. The Most Important Lessons The most important lessons that Ian learned from his time in special education was compassion. He learned compassion from the fellow student that needed to have someone help change him everyday. He became a class clown to make his friend laugh. This friend came to school neglected and not appreciated at home. Ian says that he hung out with the coolest people ever. It was the best education that he ever received. He also learned to be a chameleon so that he could fit in with the mainstream kids. Ian also admits that there were key teachers that helped him along the way and gave him hope. Ian attended a trade school for high school and he says this was one of the best avenues he took. This high school was the start of his first career and gave him the many skill sets that he uses to this day. In High School he learned to cook and later became a Red Seal chef, even representing Canada 3 times in the culinary Olympics. He says that it was the determination of proving some teachers wrong that spurred him on to completing his courses and starting his career. Ian’s businesses and ventures are numerous: Represented Canada 3 times in the Culinary Olympics Started his own renovation business where he quickly mastered flipping houses Had his own TV show on HGTV and W network 2 Best selling books Creating and running a hands-on education program called FlipSchool where he teaches people his unique tips and skills for renovating and flipping houses.
Ever wondered what homeschooling is like from the child’s perspective? My daughter and I sat down for a Saturday morning discussion about homeschooling, travelling the world and her personal recommendations. We talked about why we chose to homeschool. What she loves about homeschooling. Current projects she is working on and her book recommendations. Other ways to enjoy this Podcast Why We Homeschool We started a life of travel. You can read more about our start here. Homeschool gave us the flexibility to travel and live on our own schedule. I know that many parents that are new to homeschooling quickly see that the greatest reward is not academic achievement. The relationship that you build with your child is another reason why we decided to homeschool. As a former busy working mom I was loving the time to be with my kids. What She Loves About Homeschooling “It’s funner than school.” “I get to play a lot.” “I get to spend a lot of time with you (mom)” “I get to spend a lot of time with my brother.” “We get to have parties during the week.” “Spending time with other family.” My daughter loves the freedom and time that homeschool offers. * She can focus on a skill that she is learning or on a concept she wants to master. * She can spend days on a certain topic or subject. * She can take the time to seek help from others. * She loves the relationships she has with her family. When you listen to this episode you’ll also hear that she is busy with cousins, friends, and other classes like gymnastics and singing. I think that throws the un-socialized homeschooler myth out the window! Projects and Self Directed Learning Sewing Zahra recently received a sewing machine as a gift from grandma. She is learning to use that. She has made me a pillow and she is working on mending holes in her dad’s jeans. This is a wonderful example of self-directed learning. She takes her own initiative to sew and she chooses her projects. The means she takes the responsibility for them. She make work on it for hours at a time, or she may take 10 minutes here or there. Math She loves math. Yes, you read that correctly. She loves math. We have tried to make math fun, approachable and practical. With homeschooling we are able to work to our children’s individual differences. My daughter enjoys problems, and workbooks. She likes setting the goal of completing a book within her own timeframe. This year her goal is to build her math skills and she’s chosen to use workbooks to help her with this. She also loves asking her grandparents for help which means that much more time spent with her. Country Yolks My children currently run their own business. They raise chickens for eggs which they sell locally. They have owned the business, Cou...
October is a feature month on Worldschoolers. This episode is Part 2 of the interview with Queenie Tan–Worldschooling mom, Entrepreneur, Educator, and International Speaker. Other ways to enjoy this Podcast Common Misconceptions of Worldschoolers Queenie tackles some of the common questions and misconceptions that Worldschoolers get asked. * Do you miss not having a home to come back to? * Is travelling full time detrimental for kids? * Don’t you have to be extremely rich or win the lottery to worldschool or travel full time? * Isn’t travelling with kids dangerous? * The kids won’t be socialized Cultural Traditions Hong Kong holds strong cultural norms and traditions. Work hard and long. Make money. Women traditionally don’t question or speak their mind. Kids do the same. Study hard in school for academic success. Queenie’s decision to worldschool bucked these traditions. It was hard decision to make. She thought these traditions were unique to her culture. But through travel she’s learning that these norms are not so different. All over the world people are trying to meet expectations that are not your own. There is a belief that work should be painful. It should not be fun. This is the problem that many seem to have with unschooling. They think that unschooling is not learning because the kids are having so much fun. Life Skills Queenie talks about the life skills kids need to thrive in the world today. Skills like entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy. Being able to take care of and provide for themselves. She is proud that her sons pay for their own travel with money they earn through their own businesses. They are under the age of 14. The other life skills that they are building are resiliency, adaptability and not being afraid to learn. These are more valuable life skills.”Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” She says about her family “the more we expose ourselves to different things the more adaptable we are.” Hard Changes Queenie found the hardest change for her was slowing down. In Hong Kong the pace is extremely fast. She worked 4 jobs and worked non-stopped. Working that hard is a source of pride in Hong Kong. It is what everyone does. Future Plans What are their future plans? Will they return back to Hong Kong? Is there a different place they would like to settle? They have no plans to return to Hong Kong yet. Queenie understands that her oldest teen son may choose to be on his own in 5 years time or less. For now they are enjoying making their relationship stronger, building new community and connections and fully enjoying each place that they travel to. They feel each place they visit is their favourite. Queenie Tan – http://foongkwin.com/ Queenie’s Podcast Queenie Tan As...
Queenie Tan–Asia’s Elite Parent Coach, Teacher, Teacher Trainer, International Speaker, Worldschooler This month we are continuing our series on worldschooling. These episodes feature families that are living and learning on the road, each with their own unique stories and perspective. This week is part 1 of a 2 part interview with Queenie Tan. Other ways to enjoy this Podcast Fighting Dyslexia Queenie Tan struggled to meet the cultural standards of her society from a young age. Teachers branded her stupid and lazy because of her dyslexia. Not understanding how dyslexia worked Queenie’s teachers used external motivation that affected her self image and self esteem. Once she finished school Queenie was determined to become the teacher she never had. She trained as a Montessori teacher, received her Bachelors of Education then continued on to her Masters of Education. Queenie devoted her time to better training teachers to bring out the best in students in the right way. Once she became a parent she wanted to use her training and education to make sure that her boys did not have the same school experience as she did. She enrolled them in the top private school in Hong Kong but after time she began to see many things in common with her boys. One is dyslexic, one is gifted and neither were fitting into the school system. Queenie questioned why she was spending so much money for them to attend a school they never seemed to be part of. Against The Norms After much research and consideration Queenie decided to do something drastically different from her culture, her beliefs of the education system, even the beliefs of her spouse. She decided to pull her boys out of school. This defied their country’s cultural norms and rules. Taking her boys out meant that it would be extremely difficult for them to return. And then now what would she do? Their best and only option was to leave the country. The Start of Worldschooling She had to make a lot of plans to leave. She had to make sure it was sustainable. A series of events fell into place, including meeting and working with Dr Peter Gray that helped her to adjust her perspectives on schooling. With her work online and building her role as an international speaker Queenie decided to leave Hong Kong with her boys to unschool and full time worldschool. This fall is their one year anniversary worldschooling. Unsure at first if this would be the right course of action Queenie now sees her boys thriving and excited about life and learning. They are picking up skills that they never would have if they had stayed in school. What Are They Learning? Worldschooling has been a learning curve for them. Queenie’s previous views on learning and education have shifted. She believed learning had to be structured, measured, and quantified. She instead now sees learning as experiential and contextual. After research and talking to other homeschooling parents she took the suggestion to deschool first.