Raising Critical Thinkers: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Wise Kids with Julie Bogart

Julie Bogart is the popular voice of common sense and compassion in the homeschool community. She home educated her five children for 17 years who are now globe-trotting adults.

Julie is also the author of the best-selling book The Brave Learner and host of the popular Brave Writer podcast. Her newest book, Raising Critical Thinkers, comes out in February 2022.

Raising Critical Thinkers with Julie Bogart

Raising Critical Thinkers discusses our need to recognize the subjectivity in the way we think and the way we’re teaching our children to think.

Julie Bogart, author of Raising Critical Thinkers: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Wise Kids in the Digital Age

Julie’s advice for working homeschool parents…

  • Work after they’re asleep when they’re little.
  • Work in the mornings when teenagers are sleeping.
  • Consecrate an afternoon hour when they’re using screens.
  • Hire a homeschool teen to look after the kids.
  • Take an evening a week to head to the library.
  • Hire someone to help when you’ve been advanced.

Julie & I discuss…

  • Her experience as homeschooler as a single parent.
  • How we imperfectly parent our children and as we accept the process, we allow for our growth & our children’s growth.
  • When our kids want to go to high school after homeschooling.
  • Acknowledging that we have given our kids a weird childhood.
  • How our fully homeschooled kids are especially unique: the power of who they are is under their control.
  • We discuss the difference between agency & independence and how we can encourage agency in our children.
  • Learning to listen to our children and empowering them to learn themselves better.
  • What is an education anyways?
  • You can hear our previous conversation in Season 1 here.

Homeschooling requires participation from the parent. There is no home education program that I would support that would enable the child to be independent all day. The richness of education comes through conversation. They need dialogue. What they retain is what they say.

Julie Bogart, author of Raising Critical Thinkers

You can purchase Julie’s books here:

You can find Julie online at:

You can hear Julie in an interview last season on my podcast, Homeschool Mama Self-Care here:

People also ask:

You can read the conversation here:

Welcome to the Homeschool Mama Self-Care Podcast. I am Teresa Wiedrick from capturingthecharmedlIfe.com.

If you are a homeschool mama challenged by doubt, not sure you can do this homeschool thing if you are a homeschool mama challenged by overwhelm, there are just too many things to do, or if you are a homeschool mama, I am sure that the way you are showing up in your homeschool is not the way you want to be showing up in your homeschool, then this is the podcast for you.

I am here to encourage you in your homeschool journey, to help you strategize ways to turn your homeschool challenges into your homeschool charms.

So welcome homeschool mama.

Teresa:  Today I get to introduce you to Julie Bogart. Or should I say, re-introduce you? Because I previously interviewed her on season one, and most people know who Julie Bogart is. She is the popular voice of common sense and compassion in the homeschool community. She is the creator of the innovative writing program called Brave Writer and the popular fast-growing practice called Poetry Teatime.

She home educated her five children for seventeen years and they are now globe-trotting adults. Julie draws from her work with tens of thousands of homeschool families over the last twenty-plus years, and her own homeschool journey to enrich the homeschool and parenting experience.

Her writing program includes award-winning online writing classes and paradigm-shifting writing manuals, that allow parents and kids to become allies in the writing process. Julie is also the author of the best-selling book, The Brave Learner, and host of the popular Brave Writer podcast. Her newest book Raising Critical Thinkers comes out in February 2022.

Here’s what we talk about. Julie and I will talk about single parenting, working as homeschoolers, high school homeschool kids, and homeschool kids that want to go to high school, and the difference between the homeschool kids that homeschool until about grade eight or grade nine, and homeschool kids that high school homeschools.

Okay, you got to just follow this conversation instead of trying to follow what I just told you. It is a very engaging discussion on how homeschooled high school kids are just a little bit different.

We talk about agency versus independence. The power of who they are is under their control and that is something homeschool kids gain as agency in their world before they are about grade eight or grade nine. We talk about what an education is anyway. And what is thinking anyway?

We’re going to talk about her book, Raising Critical Thinkers, a parent’s guide to growing wise kids in the digital age.

We talk about the three little pigs, and how we can understand the three little pigs and the big bad wolf in a whole different perspective.

There’s a discussion on garbage trucks, COVID polarizing discussions, lunar cognitive processes, Poetry Teatime, and I think I have officially started a new hashtag for brave writers, hashtag #critical thinking coffee time. Okay, buckle up because this is going to be a very interesting conversation.

It is such a pleasure to have you back on the podcast. Welcome back!

Julie:  Thank you, it’s very nice to be here.

Teresa:  So, for those that aren’t familiar with you, will you give us a bit of a background on your homeschool experience and what you do today?

Julie:  Thanks, yes. So, I raised five kids. I homeschooled them for seventeen years. We did some combination work in high school. My oldest son did a little bit of public high school, hated it, and quit. Then I had a daughter who did sort of a hybrid, she did a couple classes a day at school and the rest at home. And then I have three kids who did varying amounts of full-time high school. We’ve had all different sorts of educational experiences including co-ops and private tutoring and taking classes at local organizations like Shakespeare and the Observatory, so we value all kinds of education in my family.

Today my kids are globe-trotting adults, and they live all over the world. They are all gainfully employed, which people always want to know. And then I run Brave Writer which is our company that teaches writing and language arts, as well as coaches families in parenting, education, and being what we call augmented.

Teresa:  Yup. And you do encourage us to do exactly that.

Julie:  Right.

Teresa: You have recently become a grandparent over the last year, year and a half, or two years.

Julie:  Yeah, almost two, it will be two in January.

Teresa:  And I’ve been told that it is better than parenting. Is that true? Your experience?

Julie:  Yeah, the hyperbole is understatement. Hahaha.

Teresa:  Really? I love it.

Julie:  Oh my gosh, it is so much better than I even dared to imagine. I love it so much. And I’m looking forward to more grandchildren coming next year. So very excited.

Teresa:  Yeah. Very exciting

Julie:  I think the reason grandparenting gets such a great rap and why it lives up to all the things people say, is that by the time you have that many more decades under your belt. So, when you are having babies in your twenties or thirties, forties, but usually twenties and thirties, you just haven’t been on the planet that long. These kids are close to you in age, really. But when you are heading towards sixty, I mean now these little people, you’re like, of course you would do that at age twelve or thirteen months or four years old because you just appreciate the distance of experience.

I was at a high school football game last week. I turned to my boyfriend and just started laughing, I said these sixteen-year-olds think they know things. They haven’t even been on the planet for two decades, and we hold them so responsible for knowing things.

And I think that’s what grandparenting is, it’s the capacity to appreciate, how little they know and therefore we become delighted by them.

Teresa:  I look forward to it. But I am not going to rush any of my kids. My oldest is only twenty.

Julie:  No.

Teresa: But I must say I have a sixteen-year-old so thanks for the encouragement, because sometimes, like this morning I need the reminder.

Julie:  Yeah right, and with teens they believe they know a lot. So, everybody is not playing with a full deck.

Teresa:  A good way to put that, yes.

You wrote the book The Brave Learner finding everyday magic in homeschool learning and life. Everybody loves it for a reason, because of things like this. I have quoted and requoted you here and I’ve written lots about what you have written. And I have included a passage in my own book because I appreciate what you share.

But I want to share it with the listeners. You say, “Homeschooling is a journey of courage into the unknown with an audacious belief that you will be enough for your children. The ultimate brave learning adventure, it can’t be any other way. Whatever you offer your kids, your best and your worst, they take it and turn it into fuel for their own blazing fires of blinding beauty. They astonish us every day. Even as they terrify us too, you are doing it right if you stay connected, and every now and then pause in awe. Look, those are my amazing human beings, so keep going I am rooting for you.” I love that.

Julie:  Thank you.

Teresa:  Yes, so good. And you know, we all need that because as much as there are so many beauties and charms in the homeschool life, there are as many challenges and at least you can say that you have come to really appreciate this lifestyle more because of the challenges you have had. And you have learned to put it into perspective or reframe it.

That passage is just a reflection of what I know about you with the encouragement. That is why me and so many other people follow you and want to garner that encouragement, to keep doing it.

Julie:  When I first was trying to end the book, you know, it’s hard to know how to bring all your ideas to a close when you have written hundreds of pages. And I felt sort of weirdly intimidated by the conclusions when I was in high school. My teachers always said I wrote a great paper until the last paragraph. Yeah, I am definitely a P on the Meyer Briggs. It’s sort of like a process. So, drawing conclusions is challenging for me. And what I realized I just sat down one day, and I just started rewriting what it had all meant. I realized that’s what I had not done yet in the book. And so those last few pages are exactly intact what I wrote, just sitting without thinking. I was just letting myself let it all go. And when I got to that last paragraph, I didn’t change it. That was what I wrote, and at the end of that rewrite I was crying.

And it almost makes me tear up right now because I think the peace that we are all looking for is a way to raise children where it will all go well. And we don’t have any regrets. And we will have done it better and differently than our own parents.

Teresa:  Yes.

Julie:  And what’s true in fact, is that it is both the mistakes our parents made and their positive choices that form the conscientious people we become. And why would that be different with our own children? It is not. And so having the courage to accept and own that we’ve both given them gifts and burdened them with things they have to carry and process and work through. To recognize that is all what creates this blinding beauty in our children, it’s humbling, but it’s necessary. It is the only path to liberation I know as a person.

Teresa:  Yes, you can’t do it right. There is no such thing as doing homeschool right.

Julie:  No.

Teresa:  I think the same thing is with parenting. You go into it with, if you are like me, I read all the books, and I knew that I didn’t have the background for parenting, or family life, or anything. I knew that. So, I thought if I just read all the books then I am golden. And not so much.

Julie:  Well, I think what happens is, we don’t factor in our own lack of experience. So, we imagine that we can apply a standard or rule and if we follow it correctly it will have an outcome. But anyone who works in any professional field whether it’s engineering or neurosurgery or anything, knows that there is a learning curve. You can understand principles perfectly, and still not apply them accurately or to their best effect. You’re also dealing with what I call the free radicals of other human beings who do not behave in predictable ways, whose moods, whose disposition, or whose internal experience of their own subjectivity interplays with yours. And though there is no way to sort of screw things down and achieve a pain free existence for yourself and your children. But what is amazing is, that if you can go on that ride, you can see some amazing fruit. And some of it will be because they chose to do it differently than you just like you chose to do it differently than your own parents.

Teresa:  Right. Yes, beautiful. I have been going through Man Search for Meaning again, not to go too superficial right now. But I have been challenged to question or answer the question, so does love conquer all. Does love conquer all? And I believe it in my soul that it does. And I believe there is some bigger grander purpose to everything. But, boy, I don’t know at what point I realized that there was no way I was showing up perfectly as a parent, but I did. And now I still know it. There was something Sarah Susanka from The Not So Big Life had shared with me that if we are continuing to grow alongside of our children, then the things we did make as mistakes will not seem quite as grand as mistakes when we are fully accepting of it and allowing our kids to be accepting of their experience of it in the same way and we are all growing together. And then it won’t feel like this one thing we did wrong back in history. We will just keep growing together, forward. But certainly, none of this was predictable and controllable like I initially thought.

Julie:  Agreed. And in fact, my mother who is really just my role model in a thousand ways, she went through a divorce when I was in high school. It was messy in the sense that my dad had an affair and he ended up marrying the woman and my mom and I moved out and no longer lived with my siblings. And I had a lot of resentment towards his girlfriend who became his wife and then even my mom’s boyfriend eventually became her husband. I was dealing with a lot of all that complexity, and I was my mom’s ally. She relied on me way too much, she would tell you that today.

There was point when I was about thirty where it all started backing up on me and I was suddenly angry at everyone. And to be fair up until about age sixteen I had what I deemed in my own journal a perfect childhood. So, I loved my childhood. I was raised well. But that divorce was so shocking and so out of character for what I thought my parents would ever do, so I didn’t know where to put it, so I aligned with my mother for all those years. But by the time I was thirty I started to resent that I had been relied on and I resented that it happened. And I had adult understanding marriage that made me question things that I couldn’t question at sixteen.

So, I asked my mother to go to therapy with me so I could talk to her about all these things. And of course, she happily went. The reason I even went to therapy was because my mother had been going to therapy and I knew that therapy was a valuable thing. We worked through some of those issues and at the end of that session when we got home and we talked on the phone later and we debriefed, she said, “Julie, for as long as I am alive, there is no time you cannot come to me with discontent, or a bad memory, or feelings about this divorce. I know it will continue to show up in your life in new ways as you get older, in unanticipated ways and when they do, I am here to hold space for whatever you say until I die.”

Teresa:  Oh, that’s beautiful.

Julie:  I am telling you it changed everything. I rarely had to go to her because the space is so enormous. Like it is so huge, and I knew in that moment that’s the kind of mother I wanted to be, to hold that kind of space. It’s not that I can be the right mother, but I can hold space for my children to be who they are. And that is hard work. I am telling you these kids I have now in their twenties and thirties, and you think teens are confusing, twenties are a whole other level. And I have to return to the mantra for myself all the time. What is showing up I want to create room for and be available for.

Teresa:  When I was thirty, I had a similar experience. By seventeen or eighteen I knew that what my childhood really wasn’t healthy. But by thirty that was my time where I set down boundaries. And earthquakes happened all around me in every single relationship. And I’ve been working. I feel like I’m finally, over the last few years at this place of okay. I know who I am, generally. We always grow but you know, I know who I am. I don’t struggle with boundaries anymore. I don’t even notice that sometimes it’s happening that there’s people wanting to boundary break because I just assume that well no one would do that, or you know I am okay with that now, but I am also aware I had no sense of who I was, until I was thirty because of all of that stuff beforehand. And I was told by a therapist once, at thirty is the magic year for women to start discovering these things. It is very interesting. But you talk about awesome adulting and since I last chatted with you the very first thing, I said was I started this podcast was because of you. And it is kind of creepy. But it’s true. Hahaha.

Julie: It’s all right I love it.

Teresa:  And I have evolved over the last year and a half. And I have gotten a lot clearer on why I am here. In fact, I have followed you for so long and so aware of the things that you say that I am certain that some things seep into the things that I actually think and say. I purposely try to say things in a way that are representing me that are very similar to what you already say.

Anyways I could go down a rabbit trail right there. But there are so many things that you have informally spoken into my world. I am still learning from you by just naturally engaging in your world. And I see how you engage people that are listening to you and following you. And I see how you just show up in your life. Like how you are trying to learn and grow and be a critical thinker. You are trying to be self-aware. That is huge. There is so much learning in that, that I have gained from that.

I have two thoughts, two questions I want to ask. One is “How would you engage parents that are homeschooling but also working? And any advice you would give in that?” And also, I want to bridge into a discussion of your knew book, which is all about critical thinking

Julie:  Awesome, yes, I would love to talk about those. Working and homeschooling, I have thoughts, I definitely do. I occasionally get the question ‘how can I homeschool while I work fulltime.’ And I often say I don’t know if it is possible.

I mean the truth of the matter is homeschooling requires participation from the parent. It requires a parent. There is no home education program that I would support that has the child working independently all day by themselves. Because even if you can disseminate the information and give them a list of activities or exercises to do or even if they are in K12 online the richness of education comes through conversation. And there has to be a person who can have that conversation. So, whether it is a schoolteacher in a classroom with a bunch of other students or a parent who happens to eat lunch and dinner with this child or there is an online community, that is what they need, they need dialogue. Because what we retain is what we say. It is not just what we write or what we test. It is how well we can develop that vocabulary internally and re-express it. And that comes through conversation. It would be like if a parent said to me, I want my child to learn how to talk but there is no one home. I am going to be working all day and there won’t be anyone home. But I am hoping if I just leave the tv on they will learn to speak English.

Yes, they will get something out of it, but it won’t be as rich, it won’t be as deep. So, for me to work with homeschooling means that you can fit homeschooling into your work life, somehow. And there are strategies for that. Certainly, I did that.

One of the key strategies for me is to work when my kids are sleeping. So, when they were young and they got up early, the morning was not a good time for me to work. I had to work after they were in bed. And sometimes that meant working from eight until midnight. Right? They would go to bed at eight or bed at nine I would work till midnight.

As they got older and they were inching their way towards sleeping until noon, well now I got the mornings back. So, I would just get up early and I would work mornings and then we would start school at ten or eleven. And I would have this nice chance.

I often would consecrate an hour or two late in the afternoon. So, at a point where I am willing to let them watch tv, a video, or play games that needs less supervision, I do have a preternatural ability to tune everything and everyone out so I can be working at the kitchen with my laptop open and everybody could be doing their own things and I could still work.

Not all people and not all jobs allow for that. Get to know the contours of your day. Create predictable patterns that your kids can work out. Make sure they know this is the time I am working, and I can’t be interrupted except for blood, you know we’re joking.

Teresa:  Fire. I just said “fire” to my son. Blood or fire.

Julie: That’s right. Another option I used at one point in my premed career, I hired my friend’s twelve-year-old homeschool daughter to play with my kids downstairs one afternoon a week while I worked upstairs. It was cheaper than getting a true babysitter. I was allowed to stay home and if something happened that the toddler really needed to nurse or something, they could come upstairs and see me.

So, it was sort of a hybrid between babysitting and nannying, I guess. We could afford one afternoon a week. It was playtime for my kids. They never ever resented it. They looked forward to it because she was way more fun than I was. She wanted to do all the stuff they wanted to do whole heartedly.

Those are some of the ways my husband, at the time was actually really supportive. I used to take a Monday night a week at a library, and he would sort of run herd on the kids, like book a room. And the joke was, I sometimes I used it for work. Sometimes I used it for a nap and other times I just used it just to cry.

Teresa:  Yup.

Julie:  You know sometimes you just need a break and that would be where I took my break. So, it varied over the years depending on what stage of my career I was in. And then I hired people and that helped too, you know when I stopped being a solopreneur that took some responsibilities off me that made it more possible to homeschool and run a business.

Teresa:  Beautiful. Thank you for sharing that because I know you have been balancing that for a lot of years. And for a certain number of years, you even did that single.

Julie:  Oh yes, I would say twelve or fifteen years on my own, yup.

Teresa:  Wow. So, what do you say to those single parents that are like, there is no way that I would be able to work and homeschool?

Julie:  Oh, I mean single on my business. No, as a single parent I only did that not as long. I have only been divorced eleven, twelve years now. But I was a single parent homeschooling and running a business with staff members. And honestly this, I mean this might be more detailed than your audience needs to know, but the energy burst of being divorced was significant.

Teresa:  Oh, okay.

Julie:  So honestly if you are in a draining relationship, everything’s hard. When you get rid of the draining relationship suddenly, I had all this time and energy and focus and nobody bugging me, and I wasn’t crying and needing someone telling me they need to go to bed right now because they want sex. I mean all that was gone. It was great. Hahaha.

Teresa:  Bring it girlfriend! We need to do this every week. I love the way you are engaging so matter of factly. I love it.

Okay so for me that was a constant shifting of boundaries in my own relationship like, and boundaries is being gentle. So, like, huge shifts in boundaries over the course of time which I also would consider a huge growth in me because it meant it called up something in me, to be more me.

But having said that, it has been a lot of work and worth every effort, but it has been a lot of work, more than what I thought I signed up for. The same thing with parenting, 100% more work than I thought I’d sign up for.

But was there an easiness or an ease that accompanies working with single parenting?

Julie:  Yes. I would say this one thing for sure that was hard is we went from a two-income family suddenly to a single income. So, I was dependent on my own income. And that sort of lit a fire under me too. Like oh my gosh I got to make this happen. I have kids going to college and more coming down the pipe.

My motivation to prioritize the business went up. I did homeschool for two years under those conditions and then my kids went to high school. We decided it was a smart decision for all of us. One of my kids just wanted to do that, she was the youngest and felt like she was ready for that experience.

My other child was not in favor of high school. But I asked him if he was going to be open to being homeschooled by me because if this is a fight, we are not doing it, and he really wasn’t. I said all right then this is the option, so we made a deal. We made the deal that he did not have to get anything but C’s. He did not have to take any AP classes. He started with AP classes and then we realized very quickly he did not like school. I said all right let’s just compromise. Pass! Just pass! And let’s get done as quickly as possible. So, he took summer school, and he did two and a half years and got through it. His reward was he graduated a semester early and then got to travel to Europe and see his brother and visit friends. He was eighteen and travelling by himself. So, we found a way through that sort of journey.

So, all that to say I had a corresponding burst of energy. But I also had a significant, much bigger amount of responsibility and it generated its own complexity, right? My kids were dealing with divorce and spent weekends at their dad’s. These were all new experiences and hard ones. But when it comes to work, I really did have energy for it, for some reason. I think I hated it.

Teresa:  I can go two different ways. One is that I am going to ask you about the scheduled grief moments you had in the afternoon. And the other thing because I spoke about it on a podcast a couple of weeks ago when somebody else was talking about scheduling grief.

And the other thought is about high school students, at least in the homeschool world, in large proportion, people are encouraged to if you are homeschooling then you will be a real homeschooler if you commit to high school.

And in my experience, it was you and one other grown up graduated homeschooler that told me when my child wanted to go to high school, like a public high school, and said to me I’d like to do this, and I said “hell no.” I am a homeschool mom, this is what we do. I’m giving you the whole world.

Why would you go there? What would you want to do that for? And you said it and she said it, this is their adventure. And I understood. I came to understand.

Now I have two kids that have gone to high school, my first, and third that is going through high school. And my second one into full on homeschool as well. My fourth will probably follow homeschool, we’ll see. But I definitely learned from you and from this other friend that you gotta let them do their thing. They will come into their own and realize what they want, or maybe they don’t really know what they want but they want to experience something, outside of what your notion of a perfect homeschool world should look like.

Julie: That’s exactly right.

Teresa:  So, two thoughts. Where do you want to go with that?

Julie:  We could do them both. But let’s stick with high school a moment longer since you just brought that up.

I personally enjoyed high school which helped me be open to my kids doing it. A lot of parents said they didn’t have a good high school experience. They remember experimenting with unsafe drugs or sexuality. They remember being bullied. They remember eating disorders. They remember school being dull. I didn’t have that experience. I was in theater. I had great friends. I had good teachers. I actually enjoyed the corporate collective experience of high school.

So, if you have negative memories the only way through is to update what school is where you live. Like, actually go to the football games on Friday nights. Go watch one of their theater productions. Go to one of their concerts. See what the school experience is today where you are.

You have raised homeschool children. They are not the same as you, having gone through twelve years of public school. They are kids that have learned how to learn, who know the difference between a bullshit relationship and a good one. They are not school kids. So, when they go in, they bring this amazing tool kit with them. They understand what kids to respect, which kids are not worth their respect, they are care driven in the same way that you might have been when you were that age.

And then the opportunities that school offers a lot that homeschools can’t. You cannot produce a full-scale theater production on a stage with hanging lights and orchestra as a homeschool parent. It just doesn’t happen.

So, for kids who have sports ambition, or they want to sing in a choir, or they want to be in a play, high school does offer those collective performance opportunities. And my kids wanted to do some of those. Marching band, color guard, theater, choir, concert band. When my kids did the chess club, it was the chess team actually, so they have ways of having collective experience at that age that I couldn’t give them. And that is what high school offered them.

Teresa:  You know what I also see is that they are experiencing the world differently. They almost want to see the world outside of what I see.

Julie:  Totally.

Teresa:  And I mean we know that’s what they do, that’s what the individuating thing is when they are in grade eight, grade nine. But they start going into that harder and as the first time of a teenager you go, aww, please don’t. Let me control everything. You’re scaring me here that you are seeing the world differently than me. And my firstborn definitely scared me that way too. And now I go she is just looking at the world. She is getting her perspective and gathering her ideas in the reality like we spoke in the beginning. They aren’t us.

Julie:  Right. In fact, you know we have to remember that we have given them a childhood that is weird.

Teresa:  Yeah, I love that.

Julie:  They are driven to experience what was normal. They want to be able to say that they know both worlds. So, the kids of mine that valued high school, three out of the five values their public-school experience, two did not.

The three who did feel like they are bilingual. They love that feeling. Right? They’re like, it’s not like I doubled down on English and said no you can’t learn Spanish. I said, yes English is our native tongue, but yeah go learn Spanish. And then they come out and all the people they hang out with them always say to them, wow, you are not like a homeschooler cause you’re not weird. But they know both sides of it, so they have this sort of fluency in both worlds.

My two kids that didn’t like school are the most interesting to me though. The oldest one made really good friends with the cafeteria ladies. He hugged one of them every day. He also chose to sit in an audit, an AP site class without grades and that teacher adored him and she ended up teaching two of my other kids. She told me my family were the most interesting kids she has ever taught, because they actually cared about the subject matter and asked questions.

So, he sort of forged this way for kids who were homeschooled to come in and do their own thing. And he treated adults like they were interesting, not like they were authorities to resist. Our other son who also didn’t like high school, and he was the one who had to do more of it than Noah actually, Liam continued.

Liam made good friends with the British Literature teacher who was never his teacher. And he went with her, and they read short stories and discussed them. And guess what? I never knew until graduation that he did that. The teacher comes up, Mrs. Day, and gives him a big hug, and I am like, “Who are you? Were you, his teacher?” “No, no, he just came and ate lunch with me. And we read short stories.” And I am like how did I not know about her? I met her at school. I don’t know. I didn’t think to tell you. They’re weird. Our homeschooled kids are weird.

Teresa:  Okay. Well, my child edits these podcasts so I can’t really agree with you.

Julie: They’re weird in the best way. But when I say that what I’m saying is, I mean it is worth pointing it out because they are tired being told all the time they are weird. What I mean by that honestly and I mean it with full complement, the power of who they are is under their control.

Teresa:  Right. Amen.

Julie:  A way that a lot of teens never experienced until they are full blown adults. So, they have this agency that they sometimes don’t even realize is so natural to them that others don’t have. My son Jacob who thought homeschool was ruining his life and wanted to go to public school to get a better education for a couple of years, and he suddenly thought, oh, school scripts everything. I want to take longer to write this paper. I want to do more research and they won’t let me. I see. Right? So, that is what I am saying. They have this awareness.

Teresa:  Yeah, and is it independence?

Okay, do you know what, I want to hear about your story about the grief, about scheduling the grief. But then I am going to feed you into the other direction of self-awareness. I think you were encouraged to title the book, critical thinking, you were going to use the critical thinking, but your instinct was to use self-awareness.

Julie: That’s right.

Teresa:  And I like the self-awareness too, but I know why they like critical thinking. So that really plays into why our kids become what they are.

Julie:  Absolutely, so let’s do this self-awareness.

So. part of what makes our kids so interesting to everyone in the world that they meet, even the ones who have social issues like Asperger’s or ASD. Maybe they were homeschooled as they had disabilities or whatever.

What they have by the time in the eighth grade if they have been homeschooled is agency. You mentioned the word independence. And a lot of parents want independence, but what I really think they mean is agency. I do not think they mean independency.

Teresa:  Yeah, you are right actually.

Julie:  Independence can be dangerous. You can be independent from your parents and doing drugs. That is not agency. That is just making an independent decision that might be bad for you.

Agency is the self-awareness to know what works for you, and what doesn’t. What is ethical, what isn’t. What is moral, what’s immoral. What will advance my goals and what will steer me away from them. Agency is the belief that my life is under my control. And if I need help, I am going to get it. I am not going to be so concerned in my independence that I cannot ask a teacher to help me write a paper.

Agency is saying I gotta write this paper, really struggling. My teacher is an expert, I know I will ask for help. That is agency.

Independence is, I do not need your help. Screw you if I do it this way and you do not like it, I like being independent. That is not the same thing.

What we’re suffering from in our own culture really is barrenness or bankruptcy of agency and far too much independence. What we really want is to know our limits.

Teresa:  I am thinking you should word that again. Can you say that again because that speaks to my soul right now. It really does. Okay, so say that again.

Julie:  So, I think it is the bankruptcy of agency not independence.

Independence would have us think that we can operate solo that an individual decision for me is adequate. And everybody needs to respect it because I am an individual who made an independent decision.

Agency is the ability to make any decision whether it relies on other people or it includes only yourself. It takes into account individuality and the community dynamics. It takes into account my limits and also my talents or my skills or my areas of expertise.

What we are really looking for is a person who knows himself, who is self-aware. Yeah, I don’t know enough about this to make that decision. So, I am not going to make it. That is agency.

Independence might be well I don’t know enough but they are expecting me to make this decision, so I’ll just make it.

Teresa:  Go to Facebook school.

Julie:  Right. Right. And that’s what we see on display among adults all the time, little own our kids. What homeschooling showed me with my own children was that power of self-knowledge. How well they understood themselves.

Like when Noah, my oldest, says this method of education does not work for me. It’s not because he is lazy. He’s actually experienced education that works for him. So, when he is in a system that doesn’t work for him, it is really brave to say so and stand by that assessment and not allow other people to shame him for not liking traditional school.

Teresa:  And as homeschool parents we tend, we tend to listen to those messages. I want to say ‘we tend to’ because sometimes we want to.

Julie:  We want to. I will say with the oldest child, you hasn’t trusted as easily. And there is a lot of messaging that tells you, well he doesn’t want to go to school or do this work or finish this project because of laziness. Right? And sometimes that is exactly what is manifesting. It looks like laziness.

But what a child who is being empowered to know themselves better could discern from why do I suddenly feel lazy when I am writing an essay and don’t when trying to beat a level in halo?

Teresa:  Right.

Julie:  What is that? What is that difference? And that is the kind of conversation you can have with a homeschool child or a child who is safe enough to tell you the truth. You are not going to punish them for letting them express to you what their truth is. And then you are going to problem solve with them. So, when Liam said to me, gosh I took all these AP classes because I know I am smart, but frankly I don’t like them and I don’t like my teachers, so I am not getting good grades.

All right. Okay let’s take a step back. Let’s think about what the goals for these next three years actually is. What is the goal?

Teresa:  What is the solution?

Julie: That’s right. And once we came up with a goal we agreed with, both of us, we could come up with a strategy and I could relax. And so that is why I said if you can just get a C. All you have to do is pass because the college you want to go to doesn’t take grades, so why are we struggling? It’s pointless.

Teresa:  I always point people to educato as it is the root for education. It’s Latin and because I am a homeschool mom, I did do that for a number of years.

Actually, my homeschool daughter who I unschooled fully is doing Latin. She is in her third year. So classic. The one who didn’t want me to do school in a certain way, sounds very much like your Noah.

Educato means to raise up, so I am always speaking of what’s the point? It’s raising up. But raising up what? The education system? What construct are we trying to create here? Is it about the child, the specific child, not your children, but your specific child? What’s the goal there?

Yes, and the reality is we don’t have a closed book on that child either. You know, I think I wrote on it actually today on Instagram. There was an aspect that I said, you’re getting to paint on a canvas for their life, and you get to use different techniques, different colors, and different whatever modality you want. And you make a mistake, you go back, and you color it over, you do something different and at about the age of eighteen or nineteen or something they are officially capable of making their independent choices. And then they can take over the techniques and all of the colors and what not.

They are asserting at about the age eleven, twelve, or thirteen starting to want to take the paintbrush. But nonetheless you don’t get to figure out what the picture is in the end. You don’t get to decide how everything is produced. You don’t even know what the picture is going to be. Now you get to participate in the process. But you are raising up a specific child.

So, what’s the goal for the education? What’s the point behind it?

Julie: That’s beautifully expressed. I think it’s trust.

We are inundated every day with the message that there is a certain quantity of information that a child is supposed to have been exposed to and mastered in order to be allowed to go to college. And college seems to be the big gatekeeper of a future.

What I discovered because of homeschooling is a wide variety of university and college experiences that exist. And there are some that don’t even require any traditional educational outcomes in order to attend them.

There is this notion that the information itself is the education. But as you’re saying this, we talk about raising up what our kids are learning isn’t always the information. They are learning intrepid. They are learning, oh history has discreet answers. And I would argue no it’s not. So, all these classes teaching us discreet answers are actually undermining a good history education.

We want to actually re-evaluate what that education is supposed to do for a child. What is it supposed to achieve?

If the real goal is just supposed to check boxes so that you can apply to go to a certain school, and it seems like the most efficient way to get there, admit that. Just admit it. But that doesn’t mean you need to shame all other students in America to doing that same method, because there are other ways to get a meaningful education that leads to a great outcome.

You know when you were saying about raising up individual children and you gave that illustration of the painting, my youngest daughter who’s a crackup, I just love her. If you think about it, it’s the very highly verbal family of seven, she’s the youngest. People love reading, talking, writing, and thinking and she’s trying to just keep up with all these older, you know too many parents, right? Her own parents plus four siblings.

So, at the time that she decided to go off to high school, she made a declaration to me. And she said you cannot know my grades. You have homeschooled me through eighth grade and you have never given me a grade and you say you don’t care about them so I cannot hear you caring about them now.

Teresa:  Yup.

Julie:  I was like, oh that’s kind of logical. I think I will go with that. So. from nineth grade all throughout college I never saw a single grade. I did not know she made the honor roll in college until I went to graduation and there was an asterisk next to her name.

It was an interesting experience after four other kids to not know her grades. What it showed me is that the pedagogy really was the thing in our relationship. She prevented me from shifting. It was interesting to talk to her about what she was learning. It was interesting to be included in the ideas. I never once had to weight myself with the additional burden of what grades she was getting.

Teresa:  I was just listening to a conventional approach. Yes, it is interesting. Are these things you speak about in your new book?

Julie:  Some of it definitely. The key ideas in the upcoming book Raising Critical Thinkers are focused on helping up recognize all of the subjectivity that is a part of the way we think, and part of the way our kids think.

So, one of the first things that I help parents imagine or think about is how often our children receive information without even asking the question, says who? What authority? What credibility?

One of the ways that I begin, is I talk about the story of the Three Little Pigs. And if I were to ask you, who would you say is the protagonist in that story of the three little pigs?

Teresa:  Protagonist, you know that’s a good question.

Julie:  That would be like, the main character.

Teresa: That’s a good question. I don’t know because it’s like you have a universal. Don’t you have a universal narrator?

Julie:  There you go. That is the most common way we tell the story is from an omniscient storyteller. There is some kind of storyteller that is invisible to us who is relating a story about the three little pigs and the big bad wolf, right? And because we have heard it told that way over and over again, we assume that is the story. And that the details of that story are accurate.

Well, there was a day when Noah was three that every day, we read this story. And he would have to huff and puff and blow the house down, every single day, every walk we went on.

We went to the library, and Jon Scieszka’s book, the true story about the three little pigs was on the shelf. I checked it out, brought it home and read it to him and it’s from the big bad wolf’s point of view.

The remarkable thing is that he says that this entire thing was a complete miscarriage of justice because he just wanted to borrow a cup of sugar to bake a birthday cake for his grandmother. And he went to the first house, and he just happened to have a gerbil cold. He sneezed and it fell over. And the force of his sneeze was so powerful it killed the pig. And, he couldn’t just leave all of the ham go to waste, so he ate it. Then that happened at the second house. And then at the third house, by then the other pig had caught on to him and called the police and he got arrested for his misdeeds. And from his jail cell he says, “That’s it. That’s the true story. I was framed.” So, in his view this is a miscarriage of justice.

Teresa:  That is good.

Julie:  Noah thought that was the most amazing story. Well, why did he think it was funny? Did he believe the wolf’s perspective? For some reason he did not. So, we have to start asking a question when that story is being told now from the wolf’s perspective, why are we so disinclined to accept it right away?

Teresa:  That story is so good on so many levels I want to call my husband right now and tell him. It speaks in so many different ways. It is so good.

Julie:  It does. A million different ways. And of course, we have to recognize too that repetition creates the impression of truth. We have to look at all the ways we have ever heard about wolves, which is big and bad, pretty much all the time. So, they are not trustworthy. And of course, Jon Scieszka’s author is humorous, so I knew he was going to be funny.

Who was the person reading the book to Noah? Me. So, I ask it as the controlling one, right? What if we had read and only ever heard the wolf’s perspective of the story from an omniscient storyteller perspective? What if we came up with the truth from the pig’s perspective? How does that alter the way we engage with that information? And that is a fairy tale.

So, imagine how much more complicated it gets the second that you go into a historical event or any of the other things we must confront in our lives.

We start with really just evaluating our own reactivity and our prejudgements. I talk about something in the book I call silent films. These are the unspoken, unbidden images that populate your mind the moment anyone calls up a word.

So, I am going to do an experiment with you. If I say to you a ‘garbage truck,’ what do you think about?

Teresa:  The city because I am very rural, and I never see them.

Julie:  Okay have you seen a garbage truck?

Teresa:  Oh yes, I lived in the city. Yeah.

Julie:  So, tell me about the garbage truck. What images do you have with it?

Teresa:  People are well dressed. They have a lot of coverage, so they don’t have to touch stuff. Usually there is a smell. Usually, high noise and lots of grading kind of noises. Hmm. People get out of the way when they see them.

Julie:  Yeah, so garbage trucks for us are somewhat obscenely. They get away from them. They dress to protect. The smell is awful. It’s a job we think, I mean who wants that job, but people do it. I mean that’s how we think.

The word garbage is what we throw away. It’s what we don’t like. It’s what we are trying to separate from. What do you think of when you hear the word sanitation?

Teresa:  Exactly opposite. My first visual was when we were in rural Africa for the first time. We were sanitizing our water. We were taking creek water and spending eight hours sitting in front of the of the sun because we are in equatorial space. And so, we would sit it in the sun and wait for it to be cleaned, and then we would boil it and then put it in plastic containers. That is what I think of. And it was a hell of a lot of work for water. But it was a beautiful process that helped me consume water.

Julie:  So, if we call the truck that gets rid of our garbage, our excess, a sanitation truck, does that convey a different experience of what that is? Language like garbage and sanitation call up unspoken. You just have a visceral reaction.

Sanitation you immediately felt cleaner, right? I even watched your body language and you sat straight up. You went from leaning back and hunched shoulders to like, oh sanitation.

Teresa:  Right.

Julie:  When we are talking about critical thinking, and when we are talking about education, we are trying to make the invisible, visible. So, it’s not just information laden. It’s what we do with the information that shapes how we share the world that we have.

And the reason for some of these decisions, for instance, like a sanitation worker versus a garbage man, two very different things. Worker allows a wider array of types of people. Could be women, could be men, could be nonbinary.

When we say garbage, we start talking about people that we don’t want anything with to do with. When we say sanitation, we see them as guarding of value that is really important to the preservation of our people.

So, this is the kind of work that I’m helping kids do and parents do in the book. And we have tons of activities that are like actually life driven. Right? Like we play with grammar, we play with words or magnifying glasses and all kinds of things that help you start to come out of the assumptions that just unconsciously governs us.

What’s really cool is home educators as a group, are used to challenging things. They have already used their minds to reconsider, you know, what does school mean. I have watched homeschoolers. It’s so funny I have been at this since the eighties. The first homeschooler I ever met was in 1984 and when I first heard the word home and school, the word that really got prioritized in my imagination was school. School is important. Home isn’t. And then fast forward four years later and I am like, home, home is the important word. School is sort of the background word.

And it’s because of experience, re-education, and thoughtfulness and reworking in my own imagination what those words mean. That’s what beautiful. It really is. It is that capacity to do that work.

Teresa:  Tell me why you think it is important for homeschool parents to go grapple with that.

Julie:  Because one of the problems for everybody and it’s especially true when you choose to go down to status quo. You can become ideological really fast. Where you just moved from one set of beliefs to the counter availing view, and then you just lock down on it like it is ironclad and will never ever need to be subjected to any revision of understanding.

All thinking is of a moment. All thinking. There is nothing left. Nothing left. We didn’t even have the digit for zero for centuries and when we did math. So, if you think about what thinking actually is, it is responsive to the moment. It dialogues of the past. And it anticipates the future, but it is of a moment. And so, part of the goal for a home educator has to be transcending this compulsion to thinking that education is the massing of information.

And instead of having the power to actually take that information and transform it into something meaningful and useful. I often say, I love this by Charlotte Mason where she says, “We are in a great conversation when we’re taking the ideas of the past and we are dialoguing them with them right now to create something beautiful for the future.”

I often say if what we are learning doesn’t better humankind, what is the point. Even if you get a chemistry degree and use it to improve the recipe for shampoo, you are contributing to the betterment of humankind.

That is the transcendent goal of education. Yeah, that is all we have and generate insight, and don’t just rehash and redo what everybody before you did.

Teresa:  It’s official we’re calling you a homeschool philosopher. You are going to go down in history. So, what do you want homeschool parents to take from this in the practical world? You already were by the way. I refer you to certain people as the great J’s – John Holt, John Taylor Gatto, and Julie Bogart. And I have Julie Arnall on that list too. And so, then I say the Homeschool Philosophers. This is deep stuff because it challenges us.

Julie:  It is and honestly my anxiety is that people will be like, I like poetry and cookies. I don’t want to talk about critical thinking.

Teresa:  Well, you started that too. Poetry.

Julie:  But you know what I am saying, The Brave Learner is a very cozy book. I worked really hard to make sure this upcoming book is very readable and very relatable.

So, here’s the practical side of all of this. How many of us, right now, are locked in battles in our own families during COVID.

Teresa:  Literally everybody I know.

Julie:  Literally everyone. Why? Why can’t we have conversations around things where we disagree?

Teresa:  I think I’ve got an answer, I think it’s fear.

Julie:  Yes but fear only comes if you believe there is one right answer. I’ll give you one more reading from my book, this one is obvious. So, think about the fact that all of us grow up with sort of this wonderful imagination we are amazed by the world. And by the time we hit sixth grade they have measured it, now it is gone. If you go to school, it will be gone by sixth grade. Do you want to know why? Because it is test taking. Because of the multiple-choice testing. Because we are training students to believe that the right answers live in an SRT or a teacher or a schoolboard and not in deeper thinking. So, when we look at a multiple-choice test, for instance, if I were to ask you, let’s say I am holding up an iron and it’s not plugged into the wall. It’s a white iron, And I ask you to decide to name the adjective that goes with the iron. Is it blue? Is it iron? Is it hot? Or is it cold? Which one do you think is the right answer that goes with iron that is an adjective?

Teresa:  It’s hot cause it’s a flat iron and it’s flatten my hair. Hahaha.

Julie:  Okay, but what if it’s not plugged into the wall.

Teresa:  Oh, then it’s cold, yes.

Julie:  But do you see what you came up with? That is the right answer in almost any test. But a more nuance thinker, and you’re not looking at it, so you know you did I what I wanted you to do, so just know that.

A more nuance thinker, someone who is a little more patient, a little slower taking in more information of this iron, might think hot because we’ve been trained to think irons are hot. We might look at that and say it’s not plugged in it can’t be hot. Even though we think of iron function as being about heat. This iron is cold. Here is what happens, we are trained that way. We are trained in multiple-choice testing.

Teresa:  There is a right. There is a wrong.

Julie:  There’s a right, wrong, and under time pressure.

Teresa:  Right.

Julie:  You cannot spend the time because if you do, you won’t finish the test. So, what we are actually being trained to do is to identify the most stereo-typical answer that the test taker had in mind under pressure without considering any distracting factors.

That’s what ideology is. Ideology boils itself down to one right answer. And we’ve been so trained by it now that we actually think on Facebook if I say a right answer by my authority, everyone will have to agree. And then we’re shocked when they don’t because they should know the facts. Well, it doesn’t work that way. Because one, we are not in a time test where there’s one source of authority, we all agree on. But secondly, we cannot come to a consensus on one single answer because of all the factors that I talk about.

So, what we are trying to do is to raise human beings who can be more nimble, more supple in their thinking, who can take in a wider field of information, who can imagine ethical implications, personal relational implications, who are willing to behold a position strongly, and imagine that the person next to them will hold the opposite one. Like an eternal logic story that co-hears for them that makes sense to them and in fact does not make them an evil person. That is the stuff that I care about.

Teresa:  Hash tag #critical thinking coffee time. Hahaha.

Julie:  Hahaha.

Teresa:  Instead of #poetry teatime. There, run with that. Hahaha.

Julie:  Wait, #coffee time is a great idea.

Teresa:  I am going to start feeding kid’s coffee. Hahaha.

Julie:  Hahaha. At least their parents. But yeah, it’s all that kind of stuff. And I have activities in there for grammar, for math, for writing, and for reading books. It’s incredibly oriented towards education.

It has not a political theory book. It’s not about solving the great political divide in America. The side of that will be for many adults, oh, that’s why I think the way I do. That’s why my brother thinks the way he does. It’s going to be like that.

Teresa:  So, for me and other people I do know that the whole COVID discussion and polarizing who believes what. It has forced me to say, do I love you, or do I want to be right?

The goal is okay, I love you, I am not just going to decide not to be related to you because of some thing. So, I love you. I don’t see the world the same way and that is the more important thing.

And then asking, and why do you see it that way? That is very eye opening. It is just like you said, it influences everything. It is not just one relationship. It’s how you frame everything that is going on around you.

This is a huge homeschool philosophy discussion, but this is as you are saying, very practical. You are putting feet on the ground for homeschool parents to explore how do I do this in all these different subject areas, as well.

Julie:  Oh, absolutely and it’s for parents who are not homeschooling as well. This absolutely leap frogs out of homeschooling. It is just parenting in general.

But really, I think why my publisher was particularly excited about it, is the moment that we are in. There are a lot of books out there for adults, like Think Again by Adam Grant is a phenomenal one. He does a great job of analyzing that. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman that’s also a phenomenal book.

Those books though are coming from sort of the research and studies at a PhD level written for adults.

My book is like, well how do we do that with an eight-year-old? And it will help you parent because right now when you have a conflict of understanding of a child who never wants to take a bath, and you are trying to implement with your hygienic story. You know, that is the same as trying to tell a vaxer that you are a non-vaxer and vice versa. It’s using the wrong information to have influence.

Teresa:  Right.

Julie:  So, we want to actually understand what the substance of somebody’s belief structure is. We can engage meaningfully and not just argue about it.

Teresa:  That is beautiful. I am excited for you. You studied a very influential topic at a very interesting time.

Julie:  Yeah. What’s really great is when you actually work through all of the ideas, and you start thinking about thinking. You can’t help but examine your own thinking. That is the whole key.

And someone asked me like, when did you get interested in this. I think I have always been interested. I think I grew up interested. I’ve always been, you know, I am a secret university professor hiding in a home birthing homeschool mother.

If I could have done it over, I probably would have gotten my PhD and worked at a university. But I am kind of glad that didn’t happen. And mostly because I think what I hope I bring that is different than what I really worked so hard in doing this book is to make applicable and practical for regular people.

A lot of books I read are never going to be read by the general population. They get stuck at the university conference level. And really that is not helpful. It’s helpful eventually in dissemination as it comes down for education.

But like we need help today with our kids. We want to understand our relations today, our siblings who we argue with.

So yeah, I guess the moment is pretty urgent and it feels really important to me. It’s not about giving up your beliefs. It’s about understanding why you have them. If you can understand why, you have them, then you can understand why other people have them. And once you share that kind of fundamental harmony between you, you can look at the implication of our belief better with a lot more humanity between us, and less of this fighting.

Teresa:  Last time we chatted, we talked about your legacy and what your intention is. You said you wanted the voice of the student to be the priority, which is your base intention behind Brave Writer. And prioritizing connections you talk about in The Brave Learner learning to write a process of discovering what one wants to say. Woe, that is the truth and that is my experience as a writer, and I started at seven or something. It has helped really determine what I really believe.

Now I hear the focus that you’ve got is, okay, let’s infuse homeschool parents and their children with considering how you’re thinking, how you are thinking about thinking. And I think you are the homeschool professor in our homes that are truly getting us to think about how we’re engaging our kids before kids ever enter post-secondary school. Or yes if they even ever enter post-secondary school.

And that is a huge impact. So have you shifted in your thoughts about what your legacy is, or what you want to leave homeschool parents with.

Julie:  I think what you said still stands. I think it is just a fuller expression of the same thing. We have a voice as far as we know our own thoughts. Otherwise, we are an echo.

Teresa:  Right.

Julie:  And to be an echo is to narrate really well what other people have already thought about. Now all of us are drawing from the huge string of ideas that we did not originate. Original thinking is sort of a weird oxymoron to me because all thinking is inter-connected, and it goes back through history, and it will go forward after I die.

So, I am not looking for original thinking as in unique thinking. But the experience of generating an insight that connects all the pieces that fires inside of you, to me is one of the most magical human experiences you can have.

We experience it when we’re moved during music. You know, we are listening to our favorite band. I was a huge YouTube fan. So going to a YouTube concert for me was better than church.

Teresa:  Yeah.

Julie:  It was a euphoric experience, and it was combined with the meaning I was generating from the words that had an interplay with all the things going on in my own life. And I would feel transcendent for a moment.

It’s the same feeling you have when you first discover that this option to homeschool for example, is the one you are going to take.

How did you get there? It was through reading and patient reconsidering of ideas that you already held and then you burst the insight. And the insight fueled you energy and your imagined future.

That’s why this stuff matters. That’s what it means to have a voice. It is the capacity to transform yourself over and over throughout your lifetime to experience the zest and thrill of knowing your own mind. And discovering there are things in your own mind you didn’t even know you could know.

Teresa:  100%. You know last year I was speaking to you about what you were reading, and you said you were listening to an audio version of Toni Morrison’s Beloved. And I know it’s a gorgeous book and the irony that you just said something. My favorite quote from her book is “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership over that freed self was another.” And that just ties in so closely to what you just said.

Julie:  Oh perfect. I mean Toni, like I like her ideas. In fact, I quote Toni Morrison in this book.

Teresa:  Is that right?

Julie:  Yes, and she says that the key question for education is, “What can I do from where I am?” To me that is the mission. We are trying to learn what we can do where we are. That leads to the transformation of life on the planet. And it can be tiny ways, like I said, changing the formula for shampoo, it can be big ways you go to the Gatt Treaty, and you renegotiate international policies. Right? There is no scale for these things because absolutely each person is essential to the project.

But it is the capacity to again know yourself. And have a voice. And know what you are contributing that advances the next thing. And so, when she says this about a freed self and owning that freed self, it’s one thing to have an education, it’s another thing to know what to do with one.

Teresa:  Wonderful, so beautiful. We could just keep talking. I could keep talking. I want to hear what you are reading now. Are you reading something light? I know the book is going to come out. Is it in January the books coming out?

Julie:  It comes out February 1st. Yes, I am reading Unbound by Tarana Burke. It is not exactly light reading. Tarana Burke was the founder of the Me Too movement, so she is talking about sexual exploitation of women. So yeah, not a light book, but beautifully written, really good book.

Teresa:  Okay we are going to have to send you something light.

Julie:  Ha! I am not a good light book reader. Although I like children’s literature and a lot of times, I find myself reading the books we are recommending in Brave Writer just to keep up with what the audience is reading. Skunk and Badger is adorable, and we are loving that book, right now this month.

Teresa:  Oh, excellent you all have amazing book lists. Beautiful books.

It has been such a pleasure chatting with you again. And to the contributions that you enable homeschool parents out there to feel confident in their choices and to really own their voices and to do that poetry teatime thing and just enjoy their kids and really explore learning, but now also really exploring how they think about thinking and how they are thinking. And hashtag #criticalthinkingcoffeetime.

I thank you for all of this.

Julie:  Thank you Teresa. This was really fun. Fun conversation. Different than any of the ones I have ever had, so I appreciate it.

Teresa:  I would love to learn more about who you are. So, introduce yourself at the Homeschool Mama Selfcare Instagram page or the Facebook Group – The Homeschool Mama Support Group so we can support and encourage each other in our homeschool challenges.

While you’re there you can check out my book on homeschool encouragement Homeschool Mama Self-Care: Nurturing the Nurturer.

If you are a homeschool mama looking for a mentoring group to gain clarity, confidence, and vision in your homeschool to create a plan to nurture the nurturer and be intentional in how you show up in your homeschool, ask me about the Homeschool Mama Retreat.

All the show notes and links to this episode will be found at www.capturingthecharmedlife.com.

Until next time I hope you and your kids have a charmed week, or if you are having one of those weeks, I hope you can refrain your challenges into your homeschool charms.

Call to Adventure by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3470-call-to-adventure
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/