For the Love of Learning Episode #101
Slow Living and Homeschooling
Monday April 24, 2017, 8pm-10pm EDT
Tuesday April 25, 2017, 1am-3am BST
“Slow Homeschooling” – (from Sophia Sayigh) the idea is, don’t overschedule, prioritize free time, as well as time outside, time together as a family. It is from these spaces that the really juicy fruits of having your kid out of school come. And slowing it down a notch seems to be rarer and rarer, even as the benefits of nature, sleeping in, etc. are being studied and empirically shown. I’ll go a step further and say I don’t think they are “benefits” but just the natural way children are, and if we allow them time and freedom, they know what to do with it. School, while “the norm,” is really so not a child’s natural path to growing and becoming who they are.
Milva McDonald is the mother of four amazing adult children, all of whom homeschooled for all or most of their child and teenage years. She started homeschooling in 1991, after reading an essay by John Taylor Gatto and realizing school and the PTA weren’t for her. For three decades she worked for The Boston Globe and boston.com writing and reporting about arts and cultural events in Boston. She was also an active member of her homeschool support group, organizing field trips, potlucks, play readings, and creative writing groups. In 2003 she was a co-founder of Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts, a non-profit organization that supports homeschooling families in the Bay State. She blogs at apotlucklife.com, and in 2017 she and Sophia Sayigh co-authored Unschoolers, a work of fiction about the day-to-day lives of families in a homeschooling support group.
Sophia Sayigh is a librarian and the mother of two adult children, now 27 and 24, neither of whom attended school until college. She stumbled upon John Holt’s Teach Your Own at the library in 1991. Holt’s description of how children actively explore the world and their desire to “fit in, take part, and do right” meshed with her observations of her then two-year-old and the other toddlers she knew through her work as a lay breastfeeding counselor. She and her husband made the decision to forego school and keep doing what they were doing, and they didn’t look back. An active local homeschool support group member for many years, she threw herself into a number of organizing roles: newsletter treasurer, occasional editor, elist moderator, field trip organizer, and so on. In 2003, she co-founded Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts, Inc., a non-profit that educates and supports families who are interested in or actively homeschooling. In 2017 she and Milva McDonald released a fictional book, Unschoolers, about the daily lives of several interconnected families in a homeschool support group. Unschoolersbook.com
Sheila Baranoski is an author of two fiction books, Cellular Spirits and Miss Crazy, as well as a nonfiction book that explains unschooling to concerned friends and family: Dear Grandma: Your Grandkids are Unschoolers. She is a mom, grandma, author, and unschooling advocate living in Pennsylvania with her seventeen and nineteen year old sons as well as a grown daughter who is a single mom to five year old and three year old boys. Neither her children nor her grandchildren have ever been to school.
She is passionate about promoting unschooling, from writing fiction with characters that unschooled kids can relate to, to helping parents discover and implement unschooling, to helping grandparents know how they can better support their unschooled grandchildren. Visit her blog, www.sheilabaranoski.com
I am a writer interested in topics ranging from radical economics to the archaeology and philosophy of ancient Greece. I am, or have been, an archaeologist, a teacher, an activist, a scientist, a homesteader, an unschooling mother of two, a Ph.D. student, an art exhibition coordinator, a potter, a student of permaculture and herbalism, a mentor, a community organizer, a back-packer in Asia, and both an editor as well as a writer. I work with author/philosopher Charles Eisenstein and am currently researching and writing my first work of fiction. You can read some of my work on my blog Personal Mycology.
Meet Sabrina, matriarch of an unschooling and worldschooling family. Following the birth of their daughter, Sabrina and Doug felt compelled to slowly overhaul their lives – changes which felt both radical from a mainstream lifestyle and completely natural to their newly found perspectives. Their hope? To spend more time bonding together as a family, enjoying life (from big adventures to simple pleasures), and discovering themselves and their passions.
The journey to this lifestyle has meant thinking outside the box on work, housing, learning, parenting – life! Their path continues to reveal itself as they live, but as for taking the leap, they’ve never looked back.
Fresh off a year as digital nomads traveling around North America, the Norries currently co-work and co-learn with their daughter from their new homebase at the Jersey Shore.
Sabrina is a freelance photographer capturing life learning family and community experiences via her site family+footprints (www.familyandfootprints.com), as well as families in nature via her site Outdoor Family Photography (www.outdoorfamilyphotography.com). She has also co-founded Forest School For All (www.forestschoolforall.com), a site dedicated to helping families create outdoor play and natural learning communities around the world.
You can follow the Norrie family’s adventures – along with many other life learning families – at family+footprints (www.familyandfootprints.com).
As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website RaisingMiro.com and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teen son at: ProjectWorldSchool.com. You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.
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