Today two Julies sit down to discuss how the Brave Writer lifestyle draws on diverse experiences to provide excellent home education.
Julie Kirkwood, our guest, is a mom to three kids who believes in the value of curiosity, exploration and a daily dose of nature in her homeschool world. She created the fantastic home education website Creekside Learning.
Creekside Learning is a space to share STEM and Naturalist learning resources for adventurous kids, as well as inspiration for homeschooling parents. The focus on STEM developed because it was her kids’ biggest interest.
Julie also shares a number of tools that she and her children develop, including Positive Thought Cards. They are positive affirmations for learning that can act as a reset button when you get to a point where learning stops. It’s a unique, effective tool – and it’s completely free!
“The STEM stuff really grew out of my kids’ interests. It was not my big interest, but when I saw how interested they were and how excited they were when we would learn about science and technology, it just grew and grew.”
A huge aspect of the Brave Writer lifestyle is that we are trying to give our children a rich landscape of experiences – it’s not just focusing on language arts properties. If we immerse them in experiences that call out access to language then we find ourselves more capable of writing and more able to draw on a richer and wider vocabulary.
Julie’s family often experiences homeschooling outside of the home. The outings are intentional, but they have no agenda. It’s entirely child-led. She’s found that the learning then continues at home because her children see something and then they want to learn more about it.
“The natural environment becomes important to them, and so it does come out in their writing, it comes out in what they talk about and it comes out in what they desire to do.”
Like nature, a weekly Poetry Tea Time experience can be re-centering for the family. There is something about changing the routine, coming together and simply enjoying poetry (or the outdoors), as opposed to requiring learning to happen, that actually creates a safe space for learning to occur.
“We’re in year seven right now and never, ever have my kids balked or fussed when I said it was time for Poetry Tea Time.”
Julie’s children love to build, which led to a fascination with LEGO and, of course, Minecraft.
Julie views Minecraft as a valuable learning tool. Her children think very analytically when they are building something and she’s noticed that they now look at the rest of the world in a more analytical way.
Julie does have some anxiety about the frequency with which her children, and most children, are in front of screens. She talks to them about and encourages a balance between games, activity and nature.
“It’s really interesting to see them face a new challenge with whatever video game they’re playing and figure stuff out, and I think there’s great value in that.”
You can find all of Julie’s excellent resources at Creekside Learning for incorporating STEM, Naturalism and diversity into your home education. I know I’m going to print out a set of Positive Thought Cards for my family!
You can download show notes for the podcast here: http://blog.bravewriter.com/category/podcasts/
You can download Free Writing Lessons here:
Today we are talking about the Brave Writer lifestyle and how it shows up in homeschooling families all around the globe. Our guests and partners in crime, Kara Anderson and Caitlin Fitzpatrick, co-host the wonderful The Homeschool Sisters podcast.
“I think Brave Writer brings joy because it gives the parent permission to let school be a lifestyle, and take the school away from the education.” –Caitlin Anderson
Caitlin is a school psychologist, a mother of three and calls herself an “unexpected homeschooler.”
Kara never imagined herself homeschooling either, when she was working at the newspaper. She brought her passion home with her and works part-time while learning with her two favorite people on the planet.
“As a writer and somebody who love books, I want my kids to love it, but I know it’s not going to work if I try to force them to love it. Brave Writer has been a perfect solution to that, and the whole lifestyle has taken that worry and anxiety and turned it into joy.” –Kara Anderson
So… what is an unexpected homeschooler?
Caitlin works as a school psychologist and she is a product of public education. Her vision was that, when her kids were old enough to go to school, she would go back to work. Things don’t always go the way you envision.
Caitlin and Kara both had to reassess what they knew about school and education when their kids experienced difficulties during the first few years of public education. The public classroom didn’t address their kids’ needs, so both of them decided to go on a new journey with their children.
“It was a very unexpected, impulsive decision and one that I haven’t regretted for a second.” –Caitlin Fitzpatrick
Support can be a vital part of homeschooling, for both the child and the parent. The Internet makes finding that support easier than it has ever been. Kara and Caitlin have never met, but they support each other through every step of the homeschooling process.
You can connect with like-minded, brave individuals online – and it can be vital for your own well-being as a homeschooling parent. Online communication can bring you together from hundreds of miles away to help each other, at any time.
Kara and Caitlin are a gentle, supportive and nourishing presence in the homeschooling world. If you haven’t already, head over to TheHomeschoolSisters.net and listen to the podcast.
Welcome to the beginning of this Brave Writer Podcast series. Today we’re talking to Rebecca Spooner, a hip homeschooler and a shining example of the Brave Writer Lifestyle. Rebecca writes about homeschooling on her blog Hip Homeschooling, and she helps others with planning their lives and launching their own blogs at RebeccaSpooner.com.
Rebecca has five kids between the ages of three and nine, all of whom are homeschooled. It turns out, being homeschooled gave Rebecca unrealistic expectations for being a homeschool teacher. She came in with a plan and schedules, and then she had a massive wake-up call. Her five kids need five entirely different styles of teaching.
“I had it all figured out, but it was just this massive wake-up call because all my kids have are different learning styles. Every one of them.”
Rebecca’s first child is an auditory learner. She relates to that, so the teaching style is easier. Her second child is a kinesthetic learner, a more tactile learning style that involves learning by physically doing, which is almost the exact opposite. Rebecca had to learn and adapt to the differences, and becoming a Brave Writer helped her accomplish that goal.
“All kids are going to learn better when it’s experiential and they can own the experience. It’s totally shaped the way that we do everything.”
One of the key features of the Brave Writer Lifestyle and Enchanted Education is the family participation, and Rebecca is a champion of the lifestyle. By embracing the Brave Writer Lifestyle, Rebecca made homeschooling what she wanted it to be: an environment where her kids got to learn together, and where she got to learn because she was learning with them.
“Brave Writer really did change the entire way that I approach homeschooling … it totally changed my perspective and it gave me permission to make homeschooling what I wanted it to be.”
Rebecca’s main goal with her website is to show other moms real life and provide a sense of community, because she feels like everything we see out there makes us feel like a failure and makes us feel like we’re not doing enough. She shows her successes, but she also shows her failures. It’s an excellent resource for anyone interested in homeschooling or education, and she also hosts a podcast.
I appreciate Rebecca taking time out of her busy day to join us today. She shows that a Brave Writer can nurture any learning style, and Hip Homeschooling provides a strong community and a great example for any current or potential homeschool teacher.