Homeschooling Little Kids & Taking Care of Yourself with Isis Loran

Isis Loran is owner of Nature Homeschool and homeschool mama to four kids under ten in the West Kootenays of British Columbia.

Isis Loran‘s family spends a lot of time in nature because her family also homestead.

This is her fifth year homeschooling and she writes at

isis loran podcast nature homeschool

The amount of time I say I can’t do something, because it’s naptime…

Isis Loran, owner of Nature Homeschool

She offers curriculum reviews, book recommendations, and Nature Unit studies.

We talk about the desire to work at home but also the desire to homeschool. Since we homeschool mamas are also people outside the homeschool mama identity, we need to be aware of who we are. We talk balance, her new Nature Unit Studies, and what homeschool is like with littles.

You can find Isis online at:

Hello homeschool mamas!

Welcome to the Homeschool Mama Self-Care Show!

I’m Teresa Wiedrick from Capturing the Charmed

Homeschool mama self-care podcast is for homeschool mamas looking for a self-care strategy, or a few, so we can tackle our homeschool challenges and turn them into our charms.

In this episode, I get to introduce you to a homeschool mom, and you need to know her name is Isis Loran. She’s a homeschool mom of four that lives in a mountain valley in B.C., Canada. Her family spends a lot of time in nature because they also homestead. This is her fifth-year homeschooling, and she writes on Nature offering curriculum reviews, book recommendations, and she’s writing nature unit studies that will be out this year in 2020.

Teresa Wiedrick: “Welcome, Isis. I’m really glad that you are here for my very first interview on Homeschool Mamas Self-Care.”

Isis Loran: “Oh my, this is my first experience podcasting, so I am excited.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Of all the self-care discussions that I get to have, this one is especially meaningful to me because I tend to preach on repeat to get outside. Because the value of getting outside can’t be emphasized enough for me. I think there is fresh air, there is exercise, watching stuff grow, and generally just tuning our hearts to nature. I think it is pretty profound. And I think my mom would find it pretty hilarious because I didn’t like going outside when I was young. So, tell me about your family and about what you do.”

Isis Loran: “So, we have four kids, and we have been homesteading and living in B.C. for over ten years now. Our kids are very involved in our garden. We take our kids out on nature walks and hikes a lot. We go canoeing as a family. It’s not always been easy because in the last ten years there have been lots of pregnancies and littles. But we’ve managed to get outside quite a bit. And luckily, we live in a very beautiful place to do so.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Yeah, I was really pleased to meet you, actually, online. I was kind of an online stalker of you for a long time. Your garden blog was beautiful, and out of all the blogs that I found online, yours was the one that I latched onto. And then I found out you were actually living in the very same town as me, and I found that it was very cool. So, now we live very close. You have three daughters and a son, and they are all younger than mine anyway. How old are they.”

Isis Loran: “So, two-and-a-half is our little boy. And we have a four-year-old, a seven-year-old, and our oldest is almost ten, in just a month, she’ll be ten.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “So, tell me about that. You got into homeschooling after you were starting to homestead?”

Isis Loran: “Yes, we did, actually. When we did our very first garden, we found out I was pregnant three weeks in. And I planted so many greens, and kale, and lettuce, and I could not eat a thing. I was like appalled, from the morning sickness. So, it was kind of ironic. Yes, we have had a garden ever since my pregnancy with my first. Yes, so we ended up homeschooling her from the beginning, because at the time we live on the side of the mountain, and it was like a 2 km walk down the hill to get to the bus stop. And I also had a three-year-old, and I was pregnant, and I said yeah, that is not happening. So, we started homeschooling.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Yeah, that is not happening. Though it would have been a great story for her when she grew up, walking two km down a mountain to the bus stop.”

Isis Loran: “Yeah, just like back in the day…”

Teresa Wiedrick: “So what kept you in homeschooling?”

Isis Loran: “We actually moved two years after we started homeschooling, and our oldest, Arilaya[PY1], she did go to public school for, I think for one-and-a-half days. I went there for a half-a-day with her, and she went for one day without me. It felt rushed and hurried, and all the kids were showing wonderful behaviour. And it just wasn’t the kind of lifestyle I was striving for. I wanted a more relaxed living and more freedom. And she also has problems with focus. And I think we give her more time at home than she needs to.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Yeah, and I bet the nature aspect has helped her? Or how do you see that influencing her?”

Isis Loran: “She grew up in nature, as I remember her as a baby, she would spend ― we went for big walks every day to burn out some of her energy. So, all our kids have just been in nature since day one. And we have been lucky to live on acreages in both of our locations. And in both of them, we were actually able to just walk to a forest. Like here where we are now, we are luckiest now because we have been able to walk the river. Yeah, the kids get lots of real-life nature, hands-on experience.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “And so you incorporate it as part of your homeschool?”

Isis Loran: “We do, yeah, and like it’s funny, I don’t plan when we go out the door. I’m not like, hey, this is this season we should be studying mushrooms, for example. We just walk out the door, and because we are in a mountain valley, we can see some changes in the landscape from the river versus the forest, which is the open land. And we just look around and because our kids are very inquisitive, and they ask a lot of questions. So, we do lots of discussions and observations. And when we come home, we kind of look up some of the things we have seen, such as animals, birds, or stuff like that.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “So are you self-described Charlotte Mason, or are you your own stamp[PY2] ?”

Isis Loran: “Yeah, sure, I would say we are eclectic, for sure. We are about a third Charlotte Mason, a third Waldorf, and I do like some of the classical, sort of the traditional stuff as well, but definitely, heavily Charlotte Mason influence for sure.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “I think the longer we get into homeschooling, or the longer we are homeschooling, the more eclectic we get, and we just kind of create our own version of whatever we made and however our kids engaged, and whatever interests we have.”

Isis Loran: “Yeah, and that’s great, child-led learning is great. And we have lots of days where we have structure, and we have some open days and some unschooling looking, cause it is nice to just go with the flow with our kid’s interest if it’s very strong that day. And other days they are very bored, and I say okay, let’s just bring out the bookwork.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “So what kinds of things do you do related to nature? Like when you are outside, and you’re canoeing, or you are walking along the river? What kinds of things do you encourage the kids to notice? Or is it their natural bent to do that sort of thing?”

Isis Loran: “Our kids, I have never had to point out too many things. If I see something, like an osprey flying above us, which is surprisingly nicely common here, I will make an observation of that. But our kids are very aware, and they have been really good at just picking up rocks and just playing, lots of play outside Yeah, they are very observational. They observe things before I even need to say it to them, most of the time, and that’s good.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Yeah, it’s a beautiful place to live, and it really is a lovely age to homeschool. It’s very fun. They are all very interested and curious. Now you have four children, so I can imagine that even though you get outside a lot, you also have some serious self-care needs at this point.”

Isis Loran: “Yes…”

Teresa Wiedrick: “For a long time?”

Isis Loran: “What is self-care? Actually, it was a few months ago when you started mentioning it, even last year when you were talking about writing a self-care book. And that is when I realized I really don’t spend any time scheduling that in. And if I don’t write anything down, then like in my life, it becomes a zombie mom abyss. And if I don’t write anything down, it doesn’t happen. I am guilty of not scheduling enough self-care, for sure.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “So, your goal is to schedule it in? ‘That’s the way that you include it?”

Isis Loran: “Now that the kids are getting to a certain age, it is always hard when you are pregnant, or you’re nursing, or just having littles. Our youngest now is two-and-a-half, and we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am starting to have more opportunities to schedule that in. The big challenge for me is being an introvert, and I want quiet. I want everybody out of the house. Really, which is just hard to do with so many people around. So, hey let me go to town and go to a yoga class or something. But to me, I want quiet. And work[PY3]  time, journal time, and book time. So…”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Absolutely, I was an extroverted mom to start with, but after eleven years, I am definitely on the introverted side, but Myers Briggs doesn’t think so. But I am trying to find time for people outside the home if it’s not the FedEx guy or the FedEx person that you are inviting for tea. You know, I think people are so worried about homeschool socialization for the kids, but sometimes I think they should be more concerned about the homeschool mom.”

Isis Loran: “Well, I find too, that I know a lot of homeschool moms, and we take care of each other’s kids. But then, in doing so, we don’t end up connecting or having tea or having those conversations about homeschooling or life. I find that sometimes you are not necessarily connecting with the homeschool moms in terms of that.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Absolutely. It is an intention for sure. And it is more challenging when your kids are under five, well, it depends on the child, but definitely under five.”

Isis Loran: “Well, I can’t do that because it’s nap time. Again, I feel this next year is going to go a little bit smoother, and I will start having more time for lots of different things, though.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “For sure, and it always does happen that way. And when people start saying the days are long, but the years are short, it’s almost getting to be spoken too many times, but it really is true. It happens very quickly.”

Isis Loran: “I’m told that a lot, and I am trying to remember that. But it is the short-lived period, but it’s sometimes hard when you are in the trenches.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Yeah, and people are saying it’s all or none too. It is pretty intense. And then it starts to dissipate. I can see it in my life right now. But with four kids and your youngest being two-and-a-half, and your oldest being ten, I’m guessing your ten-year-old must help a little bit with the younger kids as well?”

Isis Loran: Yeah, she is really good. Like, she’s got a big helping heart, like it’s just her personality. When she was little, she would carry around two baby dolls everywhere she went, and that’s why she has grown up to be that loving, caring kind of individual. She’s very helpful.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “So last year we were talking about self-care then, and you were saying you weren’t sure you had any self-care practices. Are you starting to instill self-care practices now?”

Isis Loran: “Yeah, I am trying to go for more nature walks for me. Ever since I was a kid, I would actually go for walks by myself as I just needed that quiet. And it’s hard to do in the winter as I don’t actually have snowshoes, but I guess I should get some. I find in the winter it’s a lot harder. I find in the summer it’s better as I have my garden. It is my quiet, self-care zone, but in the winter, I don’t that.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “I was walking on the canal today, and falling into knee-high snow, I should have been wearing snowshoes. But I can’t imagine walking a dog in that kind of snow with snowshoes and four little kids. They should probably stay inside. So, what are your unique self-care challenges at present, besides the fact that you obviously have four little kids or younger children?”

Isis Loran: “I think the introvert thing is definitely a problem. And again, winter. It’s a challenge. In the winter I don’t like driving if the roads are really bad because we live out of town. So, if the roads are bad, I am not driving to have my self-care somewhere. And it is hard to get those quiet walks, or that quiet nature escapes. So, winters are definitely the challenge.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Yeah, I call it the slump month. But I think it is more like the slump season. I thought it was the first year or two that I just didn’t want to homeschool, but then I learned everyone feels that way around January and February. And actually, possibly everyone feels that way around January or February, but especially when you are with your kids. You can sense their boredom and the gray skies outside. It’s just so blah. I don’t want to do a routine. I don’t want to be inside, but I don’t want to be outside.”

Isis Loran: “February is definitely the hard one for sure. This is actually the first year that I didn’t want to homeschool.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Yeah. Yeah, you are going there. You must be figuring something out.”

Isis Loran: “Yeah, I’m trying to feel more relaxed like you’ve got lots of pressure. This is my fifth year of doing it now, and I definitely feel there is lots of pressure to be perfect, which is to check off everything.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Expectations are probably the biggest issue for any of us.”

Isis Loran: “And it takes a few years to what kind of style or feel how your kids learn or what you want, or how you want it to be. So, it is a lot easier to love homeschool or enjoy it when you get into a better rhythm of it.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “And I think there are seasons of it too, where you kind of hit a wall at a certain point or a few certain points. And you realize I don’t know what I am doing here, but I want to do what I am doing. And that is okay because then you switch gears and you find another way to do it, or you find a different approach. Or you let yourself relax a bit, and not have such great expectations.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “What kids’ stage have you found to be the most challenging to enact your self-care? Is it pretty obvious?”

Isis Loran: “Definitely the pregnancies and the nursing. The first year and a half were for me, definitely the hardest. And also, like for me, in the last couple of years, I have actually been the main person working from home. So, for me, those months were very hard to add self-care when I am trying to work and homeschool. So that was definitely a challenge to add self-care.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Yeah, that is a big responsibility to be the sole provider, and to be caring for four kids and homeschooling.”

Isis Loran: “Yeah, last year was eight months of that, and I definitely burned out by July. And I took a few months off, and I am only just starting to get back on my feet and start making self-care my priority again.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “So in your ideal world, what would do for self-care strategies?”

Isis Loran: “Walk alone, I love, I don’t know why. Or just love sitting on a beach looking at water, I just feel very calm. And to me, I really crave that quiet calm. Like some people, for self-care, I’m not sure what other people like. I just have a quiet soul, I think. I book time as I love journaling a lot.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “And we have sat on a beach together.”

Isis Loran: “We have.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Yes, we should sit on a beach together, alone.”

Isis Loran: “I know.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “What areas would you say you grapple with the most?”

Isis Loran: “So challenging negative thoughts that pop into my head would definitely be the desire to work from home, but also wanting to homeschool. So that division between what I want as a human being as an individual versus being what my personality type has to become. And not having enough time for that individual me to focus on work versus I mean the kids are only little for so long and you want to enjoy them as much as possible. So that is definitely one kind of thought I struggle with.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Yeah, that is a challenge for sure. Some of us start earlier, and some of us later. I was definitely a later woman that became aware of our identity as not just a homeschool mom. We are other identities. We are different people. We are not just an identity based on whom we are related to. But we came into this different world with different interests and passions, and we were meant to do different things throughout life. And that is probably interesting for some people to hear me say because I came out of the womb wanting to be a mom and started planning when I was really young. But to create your own identity outside of a homeschool mom, but still be the homeschool mom at the same time, that’s a real challenge.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “What would you say would be an approach to dealing with that challenge?”

Isis Loran: “I am still working on that. Things that I am trying definitely are to live more in the moment and appreciate it; it’s tricky. I think balance is something that every mom struggles with or every family struggle with. And it depends on the season in your life. And, I am slowly getting better at embracing those different seasons. I took some time off too. And from having time off to find that balance and then getting back into something once, you can give it a more balanced focus.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “What is balance, Isis? Tell me, tell us all.”

Isis Loran: “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “It’s so tricky. Those kids always; it’s their go too. They have needs. They have wants. They’re just kids; they’re not selfish, demanding things all the time. But they do always want stuff.”

Isis Loran: “Well, especially when they are young. Like snacks, I swear, all hear all day, ‘can I have a snack,’ and I say I just gave you a snack. “

Teresa Wiedrick: “And what do you do because it’s not just them that has needs, but we’re human. And though we are a mother, we are not everything to everyone.”

Isis Loran: “Over time I’ve given, luckily, my older two now that they are seven and ten are starting to help out and become more independent. And I have managed to get them to get the littles their breakfast in the morning. And that has been a game-changer so that I can have a semi, some kind of coffee.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Man, I remember those days. I actually remembered it was only in the last year, that my now almost nineteen-year-old said to me, ‘do you remember mom, when we’d wake you up, and you were so growly.'”

Isis Loran: “Like a zombie mom?”

Teresa Wiedrick: “No, no, I was always very warm and gentle. Someone had this idea once upon a time though to put an alarm clock in a younger child’s room, like not a baby, but a younger child’s room and let them leave the room when the alarm clock went off and put a snack or some kind of breakfast cereal in their room with toys and books and whatever. And tell them like 6:30 you can leave the room and come say hi to me. And I think it is a brilliant idea, and it would totally have worked with one of my four children.”

Isis Loran: “It’s funny our seven-year-old loves alarm clocks, she doesn’t have a life that’s run by one, but she’s been fascinated by alarm clocks and having to set her alarm and turn it on and wake up. So, for Christmas, she ended up with an alarm clock, and I think she lasted like a week from setting her alarm and turning it off. And she said this is silly. Wake up? I don’t want to wake up.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “What would you share as a simple self-care strategy for our homeschool mama listeners this week?”

Isis Loran: “A simple self-care strategy! Oh, I think a bath. To me, that’s the simplest one, like I can, fortunately, turn on the tv and tell everyone I am having a bath. And make sure everyone has had a snack and then just have like; I think I have just ten minutes, which is not much time at all. But I just sit with a book and have ten minutes of mama’s self-care.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Absolutely that tv is underrated, really.”

Isis Loran: “It is, like yeah, when our kids were younger, we tried not to use it often, but fortunately, it’s just a tiny break that makes you less cranky.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Absolutely. Having a television for really specific reasons, I mean there’s curiosity stream, there’s Netflix, and there is a knowledge network. There are all sorts of interesting educational stuff, and also there’s stuff like, you know, is Dora still on anymore? I think I am out of touch.”

Isis Loran: “It is. They are getting a new one. Yeah.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “I think I heard that Dora grew up, actually. There was something about that.”

Isis Loran: “Yeah. There is actually a new movie out, and apparently, it’s really intense, like Indiana Jones, Dora.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “I’m not recommending Dora. Is Barney still on?”

Isis Loran: “Wild C.A.T.s, they’ve revamped themselves.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “I loved wild C.A.T.s, that was awesome.”

Isis Loran: “They’ve become cartoons and teach logical stuff.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Mr. Rogers returned, how much fun is that?”

Isis Loran: “I didn’t know that.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “What would you tell a new mama about her self-care strategy?”

Isis Loran: “I would say try to relax a little on the homeschooling perfection because that stress itself is going to make you need more self-care balance. And then just to try and make it a priority because life is going to get so busy. And if you don’t write it down, I feel like it doesn’t happen. There are some really good books that I really like. The Unhurried Homeschooler is one of them, The Brave Learner and Teaching Some Rest. Those three books really helped me relax my view on homeschooling and released my stress a little bit.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “I loved The Brave Learner. I can’t get enough of Julie Bogart. Every Wednesday for the first, probably four or five homeschool years, you could find me at Starbucks with a pumpkin spice latte and a scone, and my journal and my pen because those were my hour-and-a-half or two hours of self-care.”

Where do we find you Wednesday evening?”

Isis Loran: “Oh, probably doing laundry. Wednesday is laundry day. I started having one laundry day a week because I got sick of doing it every second day. And I decided no, I am going to do it one day a week. And yeah, that is Wednesday for me, unfortunately. I do listen to a lot of podcasts, though, like while I am doing laundry or any house chore. I find the podcasts definitely have the enjoyment into that.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Absolutely podcasts are my thing even when I am not interviewing or putting it out myself. So, where can people find you online these days?”

Isis Loran: “So, I have been running Nature Homeschool for a couple of years, but mostly active on Instagram. But I have started blogging again on I am doing a lot of curriculum reviews, and actually, in the next month here, I have my first Nature Unit study that I am launching. It’s is a Charlotte Mason-inspired specular unit study.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “For our listeners, I will be sure to include your links in our notes on my blog”

Teresa Wiedrick: “Isis, thank you for joining me on my first episode of Homeschool Mama’s Self-Care.”

Isis Loran: “Thank you a lot for having me, Teresa. It was wonderful to be here.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “And maybe I will see you next week on the playground.”

Isis Loran: “Sounds good. Take care.”

Teresa Wiedrick: “I would love to hear more about who you are, as a homeschool mama, who your kids are, what part of the word you’re in. I would love to hear why you chose to listen to a podcast on Homeschool Mamas Self-Care, and what you would like to get out of this podcast. My goal in this podcast is to equip you with self-care strategies that will help you to turn your challenges into your charms.”