A space for new conversations…
The unschooling journey is as much about the parents as it is about the children. It takes a lot of work to unravel all our old paradigms around parenting, learning and childhood.
In The Unschool Space, I talk with other unschooling parents about their journeys–what they’ve learned about themselves, how they keep healthy and balanced, and how unschooling has challenged them and enriched them.
You can find The Unschool Space on Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts
January 16th, 2022
In this episode, I talk with Simon Crummay. Simon lives in East Sussex in the UK with his partner Wendy, and their son Luca, who is 13. Luca is diagnosed autistic with demand avoidance and went to school on and off for some years. After almost two years out of school, during which Simon and Wendy adopted an unschooling approach to learning, Luca now attends a self-directed learning centre in the afternoons. We talk about the impact of a child’s environment on their mental health, how learning can look for a child with PDA and why trust really is the cornerstone to all of this.
December 7th, 2021
My guest in this episode is Naomi Clarke. Naomi lives in East London and has two sons who are 11 and 6. Naomi is the co-director of Gamechangers, a self directed learning and democratic community which her eldest son also attends.
Naomi has been home educating since her eldest child was 5, and embraced unschooling after he was seriously ill in hospital. In her words, she decided to “choose happiness”. Today, among many other things, Naomi talks about how she has experienced unschooling as a black family, with the added pressure she felt on opting out of mainstream education, and the lack of other non-white mothers and families in the UK who have taken that path. Naomi’s younger son is autistic and we also talk about neurodiversity and why unschooling allows for the embracing of the whole child. And, how unschooling is challenging for low-income families.
And, of course, we talk about the many unexpected things that we learn about ourselves on the journey. You can connect with Naomi on Instagram at @intersectionalmotherhood.
November 22nd, 2021
Today I’m talking with Nadia Joshua. Nadia lives in Barry Island in Wales and has two daughters, who are six and nine. Until her daughter left school, three years ago, Nadia was working as a social worker. She took her daughter out of school when she was six years old and had just started year one, as she had rapidly become unhappy and self-critical. Nadia knew there had to be a different way, and could see that her daughter needed more agency over her own life. She discovered unschooling through the works of Pam Laricchia. Today, among other things, we talk about adjusting to an unschooling lifestyle, uncovering our limiting beliefs, being authentic with our children and making sure we have what we need to hold space for them.
November 6th, 2021
My guest today is Marta Obiols. Marta is originally from Spain, but has lived in the US for 21 years. She now lives with her husband and three children in Atlanta, Georgia. Marta was a teacher when her children were small, but became interested in unschooling after taking her children out of school and coming across the works of John Holt. She quickly let go of being ‘the dictator in the living room’ and fully embraced unschooling.
Marta’s eldest son recently turned 18, and Marta was inspired to write a book about her family’s experiences, entitled 18: An unschooling experience. Today, among other things, we talk about facilitating the different needs of our children, trusting our children even when society around us says otherwise, and finding the unschooler in ourselves.
You can follow Marta on Instagram at @unschoolingstory18 and on Twitter at @Unschooling1.
18: An unschooling experience is available at major online book retailers.
October 25th, 2021
Today I’m joined by Sarada Villedeneuve. Sarada lives in Brighton, UK, with her husband and three children, who are 14, 11 and 8 . They began unschooling seven years ago, when their eldest son was seven and having a difficult time at school. Sarada had already felt some conflict around sending her children to nursery at a young age, and found her way to unschooling after seeing home educating families in her local park.
Sarada describes the daily practise that unschooling is. The deep work of getting beyond our own triggers and old parenting assumptions and engaging with our children in an authentic, respectful way. We talk today about social expectations, building community, and learning to respect our children’s voices. Sarada also speaks to how unschooling can help us heal our relationships with our children, affected by early experiences of separation, school or our own less-informed parenting.
You can follow Sarada on Instagram.
August 23rd, 2021
My guest in this episode is Fran Liberatore. Fran has two children, aged 7 and 9, and has just moved to an island in Maine after spending three years in Dubai. Fran first came across unschooling some years ago when she discovered John Holt, and her intention had been to to home educate her children. For different reasons, it took until the pandemic for her to finally take the leap.
We talk today about how she and her children have adjusted to life without school, the importance of being able to set and maintain our own boundaries (both us and our children), and how we can rethink the power imbalances in traditional parenting. Fran also shares how unschooling has made her reflect on the choices she has made in life.
July 16th, 2021
Today I’m delighted to be joined by Laura Smith. Laura and I have been in touch online for a few years, but this the first time we’ve spoken. Laura lives in the south of France with her partner and her son, Rowan, who is nearly six. For her family, unschooling was really a natural progression that felt coherent with the way they were living and parenting. We talk about the need to often just surrender to the moment and how hard that can be, and how we deal with our triggers. We also discuss how doing things differently can sometimes feel isolating, and how finding community can be difficult, particularly when living abroad.
#10 Unschooling teens, the importance of mental health, and a father’s perspective, with Anthony Eldridge-Rogers
June 27th, 2021
My guest in this episode is Anthony Eldridge-Rogers. Anthony has three teenage children with his wife Lehla (my podcast guest in episode #8) and, together, they wrote a book recounting their family’s experiences, called Jump Fall Fly. Anthony works with people with behavioural health challenges and is a specialist recovery and wellness coach.
Today, we talk about his daughters’ transition from self-directed learning at home to a college environment and the importance of our children’s mental health. He also shares his experiences as a father and some valuable insights into the particular challenges fathers can face when a family chooses the alternative education route.
You can find out more about Anthony on his website https://www.jumpfallfly.com.
June 13th, 2021
In this episode, I chat with Lianne Campbell, a dancer, performer, well-being coach, and mother to 12-year-old Anoushka. Lianne came to unschooling when seeing that her young daughter had no desire to be in school. When someone mentioned unschooling to her, she realised that it was the natural path for them and a continuation of how she had been parenting her daughter all along. Her daughter’s love of horses has helped her fulfil one of her own childhood dreams, and the family now owns two horses and learn natural horsemanship. Lianne’s positive outlook on life, and her belief in keeping things authentic and joyful are truly inspiring. Today, we talk about how unschooling is a journey of unraveling our own deep conditioning, the importance of trusting our children, and how essential it is to take care of ourselves. You can find Lianne on Instagram at @ahandpickedlife Or visit her platform: www.ahandpickedlife.com.
June 2nd, 2021
Today, I chat with Lehla Eldridge. Lehla is an illustrator and a performer. She and her husband Anthony have three children, twin daughters, who are nearly 18, and their son who is 15. They’ve been unschooling for many years, and their desire to try something different took them to Italy for four years, and then back to the UK. Lehla and her husband wrote about their experiences in their book Jump Fall Fly, which they published four years ago. An updated edition will be coming out soon.
Today, among other things, we talk about the long process of letting go, undoing our own scripts, rediscovering our passions and unschooling with teenagers. You can find out more about Lehla on her website https://www.jumpfallfly.com and on Instagram at @unschooling_the_kids
May 5th, 2021
My guest this episode is Paige Hall. Paige has three children, who are nine, seven and four, and she came to unschooling during the pandemic. Without the expectations of school and with the focus entirely on her connection with her children, she found that everyone was happier and more confident, and learning to exercise their own autonomy. So, from there she has embraced a new way of living, and has spent this year learning and really working at picking apart the old paradigms. I absolutely loved talking with Paige, and hearing how radically her family is being transformed. And, more than anything, about how her children have responded to being trusted and embraced wholly for who they are. I hope you enjoy the conversation.
April 20th, 2021
In this episode I am joined by Heidi Steel. Heidi has four children and lives in West Sussex in the UK. Before having children, Heidi used to work as an early years primary school teacher. Her experience in the education system was part of her and her husband’s choice not to send their children to school. Heidi runs a Facebook group called Live Play Learn, where she supports unschooling families. Heidi also works with unschooling families, one on one, and runs the podcast Unschooling Conversations.
Among other things, we talk about how learning happens without a curriculum, living in connection with our children, and why finding our own selves in the process is perhaps an inevitable part of deschooling.
April 3rd, 2021
My guest this episode is Naomi Fisher. Naomi is a clinical psychologist and mother of two. Her children were unschooled for six years and now attend a self-directed learning centre. Naomi has just published a wonderful book about self-directed learning, entitled Changing our Minds, which explores the theory and research behind autonomous learning, alongside lots of real-life examples. In this episode, we talk about why autonomy is so important to learning, why school can be particularly tough for our neurodivergent children and how these children can truly thrive in an unschooling environment.
March 17th, 2021
In this episode, I’m joined by writer and mother-of-two, Sophie LovettSophie has two sons, aged eight and three, and found her way to unschooling as a natural progression of attachment-style parenting. Sophie was formerly a teacher, but found it hard to reconcile how she wanted her children to live with the demands of mainstream schooling. Like so many of us, she has found the journey into unschooling to also be a journey into her own learning and into the ways that her own experiences of education continued to manifest in her life long into adulthood. For Sophie, this has in particular meant unpicking the power imbalances that are so prevalent in our society, and understanding how they serve to disempower us.
March 2nd, 2021.
I met Sophie when we both lived in Barcelona. She, her partner Claudio, who is an artist and teacher, and their two children, Rita and Sacha, have just moved to London. Sophie’s journey into unschooling began when they took their daughter out of school after just three weeks. From there, she has never really looked back. In this episode we chat about living an authentic life with our children, all the things we discover about ourselves along the way, and how we can stay grounded in the midst of it all. Like most unschooling parents, Sophie has found the journey to be one of intense learning and discovery for herself.
February 13th, 2021.
Today I’m joined by Nicola Corcoran, whose journey into life without school began as a search for wellness and happiness. Nicola was diagnosed with cancer 11 years ago, when her children were just three and six. She left her job as an illustrator and took time to focus on her healing. The following year, after her son became seriously ill, she and her husband decided to take both children out of school and find a new way to live as a family. They moved from the city to a small town in pursuit of a less stressful, more joyful life. Nicola has found her healing process often reflected in her parenting choices. Not only in the need to cherish every moment of life, but also in how important it is that each of us has autonomy to make the choices and decisions that are right for us.
January 30th, 2021.
Artist and single mother, Jenny Arran, joins me to chat about the process of our own deschooling. We talk about cultivating trust in our children, the ways they direct their own learning, and what we need to do in order to support ourselves on this sometimes challenging journey. As an artist, Jenny brings a wonderfully observant eye to her own process, and shares how being in nature and making time for reflection help keep her nourished.