Episode 15 – Exploring Unschooling with Julie Polanco.
If you’re a free spirit who wants to homeschool (or you already homeschool and you want some support or just want confirmation that you’re on the right track), you’ve come to the right podcast episode! Julie Polanco is an unschooling mom of four, six-time author, and Master Herbalist whose journey will inspire you to seek the fun and flexibility you desire in your homeschool. You may be surprised to find that unschooling can provide your children with not only a great education but also skills that will carry them through college and adulthood. Many of us will relate to Julie’s journey in the early years seeking the right path, the right curriculum, and the right homeschooling method. Not only did she encounter resistance from her children, but she also had at least one child with special needs and quickly realized she had to do things differently. She took action and found a method that has resulted in a thriving homeschool for nearly 20 years so far.
A chance encounter with a homeschooling family and an article in a homeschooling magazine led her family to begin their journey. At first she embraced a more traditional curriculum-driven approach but soon found her kids’ love of learning beginning to wane. When resistance began she reevaluated her methods and listened to God’s call toward letting go of control and seeking a more natural way of learning for her kids. Julie learned to see herself as a facilitator rather than an education provider. She began to encourage her children to learn skills that apply not only to education but also to life. When she stopped trying to force a certain type of learning she found a different way to encourage her kids to do hard things and, yes, to do things they didn’t necessarily want to do by incorporating their interests and making activities relevant to life.
You will find the comfort and reassurance you need in Julie’s words of wisdom and experience. You’ll enjoy hearing her advice for new or struggling homeschooling families. If you’ve been at it for a while and simply want to have more joy and freedom, Julie will spark your interest anew and give you new ideas to implement. Julie knows, as I’m sure you do, too, that it is important to end each day on a high note, have some hot chocolate, work on maintaining (or restoring) relationships, and, when things go wrong, chalk it up to experience and try again tomorrow. In short, if you need new ideas to revive the joy in your homeschool, this is a great place to begin.
Meet The Guest
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Julie Naturally seeks to empower and equip Christian families to use natural remedies knowledgeably, embrace natural learning confidently, and provide tools to explore God’s creation deeply. She is a Master Herbalist, certified Aromatherapist, and starting in 2022, working toward my Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She loves Jesus and She is passionate about all things natural. It is her goal to instill the same passion in the hearts of today’s children. Let’s get back to God’s provision for us through what He created!
Show notes are below.
This episode is sponsored by Apologia. We are HUGE fans of Apologia and we both have used this curriculum throughout our homeschool journeys. This series is literally our favorite science series offered in the homeschool arena. We encourage you to spend a few minutes visiting their site to see why. Or visit our website to see the many articles we have written about it.
Quotes from Julie Polanco
You can’t make kids learn…I stopped trying to force it…I felt like God was telling me “You need to just relax and trust me. You need to return to watching them. What are they doing? What are they interested in? Be more of a guide, a facilitator, a coach, a mentor.”
Understanding the difference between parenting and education was very helpful.
Go with how they are made. Go with what [God] has put in them.
Nobody likes washing dishes or cleaning bathrooms but it still needs to be done. That was part of the learning journey with them, incorporating what they were interested in, what they wanted to learn, in the way they wanted to learn it, when they wanted to learn it, but being very diligent about trying to teach them the character and habits that would help them succeed.
I had met and read about moms who blurred the line between parenting and educating and that seems unbiblical to me…letting kids decide what is moral or not, not teaching them good habits, not teaching them good character. That didn’t appeal to me. Understanding that they still need to be taught habits and character that actually help them to learn more effectively and apply those traits to what they’re doing was really key to helping them be successful.
Kids with ADD often have trouble finishing things, with procrastinating. Working on some of those things with their interests really helped, particularly my son, helped him learn how to work even when you don’t necessarily want to do it. You still need to finish. Helping him to apply things he learned that he enjoys to things he didn’t necessarily enjoy was still necessary and relevant to living.
Kids are developmentally able to do different things at different ages. That’s one of the things that I found with “scope and sequence” type teaching is that it doesn’t take that into account.
Sometimes we ask too much academically but we don’t ask enough in other areas. Teenagers should be expected to do everything an adult can do. They can clean, cook, balance a checkbook.
They are very capable people.
One of the pet peeves I have with public schools is that teens graduate from school and they still don’t have the skills to do anything.
Sometimes, no matter what method you are following, there are always going to be bad days. That is true no matter what method you are following; whether your kids are in public school, private school, or homeschool. One of things I recommend is to change the vibe.
There are different kinds of learning and it is not all academic.
Resources mentioned in the podcast and other important links
- God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn
- 100 Ways to Motivate Kids
- Master Class: Roadmaps to Unschooling Success (foundations, equipping your home, keeping records, and more)
How to make homeschool fun!!
- Believe in Unicorns Coloring Book: 50+ Beautiful Mythical Unicorn Coloring Pages.
- Diamond Painting Kits for Adults, Teens or Tweens
- Our game recommendations on Amazon on how to make homeschool fun!
- Homeschool Road Trips and you can find us on our Facebook Page and Group
- Fun Printable Site: Only Passionate Curiosity
- Our snarky irreverent view of homeschooling: Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers