Apr 7, 2021
- Jenna starts the show by describing her
family's learning philosophy and home education style. My family
has been home educating now for approximately 9 months and we’ve
chosen self directed education as our approach to learning. What
does that mean exactly? Well, it basically means that our children
control what, when and how they learn. We actually refrain from
labeling “learning” as we believe as humans we are always learning
and there aren’t particular subjects or skills that trump others.
Our two children are unique and require very different learning
environments, resources, and lengths of time to learn new skills.
We respect that and do our best to provide a conducive environment
where their educational pursuits can be achieved. We do our best,
as their facilitators, to enhance their environment and open the
world to them, in the hopes that they can explore and learn without
- This week’s episode is a continuation of a
conversation with Naomi Fisher, a clinical psychologist and author
of ‘Changing Our Minds’.
- Two quick announcements Jenna wanted to share
- The Rogue Learner App will be open for the
public to test. It’s an app designed for home educating families to
record their learning and daily activities, books they’ve read, and
any other pertinent information related to their learning journey.
The app is developed to be a quick and fun way of documenting your
life. It’s formatted as a photo/diary entry design. You can become
a tester for the app and secure a lifetime discount by downloading
the app here!
- Jenna will be taking a four week break and
ending season I of the podcast with this episode. Season II will
drop in a few weeks and features interviews with Peter Gray, Sophie
Christophy and Summer Jean. Jenna will be working on other projects
related to the website, blog and podcast. You can connect with her
in the FB group on my Facebook page or Instagram.
- Families who’d like to featured on the podcast
should reach out to Jenna at email@example.com.
She will be working on a series for the podcast where she
interviews a few families on a semi-regular basis to find out how
they are implementing self-directed learning and what benefits or
challenges they’ve faced along their journey.
- Jenna asks Naomi about neurodiverse children
and autonomy, particularly focusing on children who may not have
the ability to self-regulate yet. Naomi says that every child is
unique and you can not make assumptions about anyone else's
experience based on your own. She goes on to explain how sometimes
having a hard rule may benefit children or families because it can
actually enhance learning opportunities. In some cases, the
ambivalence of having too many choices or a particular choice that
they can’t say no to, makes it difficult for them to focus on
anything else. (just as we are these days with our phones) She uses
the example of eliminating a in-app purchasing mobile game that her
son played years ago, as it created a deficit in learning due to
his fixation on buying gems for the game.
- It’s important to always have the opportunity
for change however, because eventually our children will need to
make these determinations on their own (in this example, how to
self-regulate with video gaming) once they are living on their own.
Gradually moving toward self-regulation is helpful in this
- One fixed ideology won’t create a world in
which we don’t have to be flexible and make changes to our lives.
We can’t put our parenting or learning on auto-pilot because family
needs are evolving and changing every day. Staying flexible and not
prescribing a blanket ideology to your life is
- Naomi gives two wonderful guiding principles to
consider: “ Is what I’m doing helping my child to learn?” and “Is
it opening up the world for them?”
- Autonomy within what the child can manage at
the time is the key, but simultaneously parents must always be
willing to challenge their assumptions. Is this really true? For
example: “Kids should know how to read by the age of 5.” Is this a
schooled assumption? Have you challenged this idea? Have a look at
- When we’re talking about neurodiversity, we’re
talking about how people relate to the world and how their brains
interpret the environment. It generally includes people who have
diagnoses of; ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia,
- Neurodiversity is more than just the
characteristics of the person, it’s also about how the world around
them responds to them. In this way, the severity of their
disability is in relation to how negatively they are impacted by
- School can make the environment more disabling
for these neurodiverse children.
- With self-directed education, we can look at
how a child interacts with the world and create an environment
which suits their learning needs.
- Special schools for neurodiverse children
oftentimes still run on the same principles as mainstream schools;
requiring testing, uniforms, keeping a particular schedule, and
assemblies to name a few.
- So many parts of school aren’t actually about
learning - uniforms, dining halls, lining up, school assemblies,
sitting in desks, etc. are not about learning, they are about
managing a large number of children.
- Naomi says diagnosing a child for life makes
her uncomfortable because we don’t know how they will grow and
- Jenna shares a story of a student she had who
became ostracized and bullied due to the fact that the teachers
openly exhibited their frustration and irritation with his
behavior. He was learning inadvertently that he didn’t fit in, that
he isn’t normal, that nobody likes him. This is what school life
was teaching him about himself.
- Naomi shares a story of how she was bullied and
ostracized after returning to England from DR of
- Jenna shares a story of how she was also
bullied when she moved from a large city to a rural
- Jenna points out that we all have a set of
norms for where we live, which can positively and negatively impact
our experience living in that environment.
- Naomi adds that having those experiences may be
the catalyst for looking for different ways to educate our kids.
She reflected on how each school she attended did things
differently, yet each of them thought they were doing it the ‘best’
way, which is then imposed on the students.
Helpful Resources Mentioned in Today's
Changing Our Minds by Naomi Fisher
Rogue Learner Facebook Group
Filmora Editing Software
Unfinished: Short Creek
Private Facebook Group
The Rogue Learner App (limit: 25 testers)
Ways to Connect
Google Play: https://podcasts.google.com/search/rogue%20learner