The Raising Lifelong Learners podcast helps parents -- especially homeschooling parents -- encourage their differently-wired kids to learn, explore passions, cultivate creativity, and become fascinated by the world around them. Join host Colleen Kessler -- educational consultant, gifted specialist, author, and speaker -- for interviews, audioblogs, tips, and encouragement to help your differently-wired kiddos become lifelong learners -- children who know that they can find the answers to anything they want to know if they can just view their world with play, passion, and fascination.
Are you planning to come out to a homeschool convention this season? Colleen will be speaking at all seven of the Great Homeschool Conventions and several others as well -- you can find her entire calendar on her speaking page. In this episode, though, she chats about why you should consider attending as a homeschool parent of a differently-wired kiddo.
Today, Colleen talks to Kristen Jenson, author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids and founder of Protect Young Minds. This conversation dives deeply into what porn does to the brain, how it contributes to addiction, and how we can protect our differently-wired kiddos who often need more than just a "don't do it" to convince them that our advice might be worth following. This is an episode you don't want to miss.
Do you feel like all you ever do is yell at and correct your intense child? That for every time you praise him, you’ve already berated him 15 times? And, are you completely exhausted before you’ve finished your first cup of coffee?
Yeah… me too.
This audioblog shares tips for helping you work with your intense child to have them get on board with family rules and structures so you can all have the peace you crave.
So many gifted and twice-exceptional kiddos struggle with perfectionism, and untreated perfectionism can lead to other problems. Finding ways to talk to your kiddos is important, and keeping the conversation going can help them feel comfortable opening up when they're having a problem. In today's episode, we have tips for talking your kiddo through perfectionism and helping them move past it. There are plenty of additional resources in the show notes.
Let's face it -- homeschooling differently-wired kiddos is challenging. Parenting them is challenging. But, when life hits you from all sides, and you have highly emotional, anxiety-filled, and otherwise differently-wired kids to parent through it, you're going to be lucky to get dinner on the table some days, let alone get any homeschooling done.
You'll walk away from this episode knowing that you're not the only one who gets hit by too much stuff at once, and that you will get through it.
Jessica Waldock chats with Colleen today about the ways she brings delight and interest-led learning into the homeschooling she does with her super-adorable gifted only child. Emily even pops in to tell us what she loves to learn about. This is an inspiring episode with loadds of practical and actionable things you can implement in your homeschool right now -- even if you have more than one gifted or otherwise quirky kiddos of your own.
How do YOU fight back against perfectionism and recapture the joy of the homeschool you dreamed about? In this episode, Colleen tackles a listener question related to this topic and offers some practical tips for keeping the joy and fun alive.
I’m willing to bet that every person reading this has experienced anxiety, depression, or stress at one point or another in their life.
And I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
For as many as one in eight children, though, anxiety is a daily struggle.
Today's episode is an audioblog -- a popular post about an important topic brought to you in audio format so that you can listen on the go.
Mariel Howsepian and her husband Pete are lifelong learners living in Southern California where they homeschool their profoundly gifted daughter. Pete's held many different jobs throughout the years, but now he adventures with their daughter during the day while Mariel works as a public school teacher. In the evenings, she picks up the lifelong learning gauntlet and jumps in to learn right alongside their daughter.
Over the years, Colleen has talked extensively about her youngest daughter's struggle with anxiety, and so has her daughter. Today, Sara writes in with a great question, prompting Colleen to reflect on the earlier years in their anxiety journey. Listen to find out what she'd change, if anything.
And, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment, send an email, or leave a voice mail message below. Your question might be the next one featured on the show.
If you have an intense child, you probably know it. Call them spirited, emotionally intense, difficult, high needs, or challenging…it doesn’t matter.
You know them and you’re tired.
The intense child is more – more emotional, more energetic, more sensitive, more empathetic, more focused, more distracted, more, more, more – than other children.
Read or Listen at: https://raisinglifelonglearners.com/what-is-an-intense-child/
Are you an introvert? Guess what?! You're not alone! Today's guest, Jamie Martin, is the brilliant mama behind the website Simple Homeschool and has just released a new book called The Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy and we're talking all about the beauty to be found in introversion, how and when to step out of one's comfort zone, and the freedom that homeschooling brings to introverts. You'll love this episode -- I hope it brings you encouragement.
Cynthia Heren joins Colleen today to talk about what it's like in the trenches homeschooling differently-wired kiddos. She gives us a peek into her schedule, the rabbit holes her family dives down, and how they incorporate online learning and Minecraft (yes, Minecraft) into their days.
Are you homeschooling a kiddo with special needs? You're not alone. It can be a challenging adventure, for sure, but today's guest, Faith Berens, has some wonderful insight and tips for parents who are homeschooling their special needs kids.
If you scroll through your Instagram feed and wish for slower, more meaningful days, or dream of better connections with your kids like those gorgeous images, this is the episode for you. Meghann Dibrell talks to us about cultivating a rooted childhood for your kids, and her work to help you make that happen. As usual, the conversation on the show takes detours down a few rabbit trails, and Meghann and Colleen end up talking a bit about her daughter's anxiety and the ways hidden disabilities like it can impact a childhood. You don't want to miss this.
Sometimes it seems difficult to get our kids outside when all they want to do is lounge around inside the house. But, studies show that time outside increases creativity and cognitive functions, so it's important to get kids outside as much as we can. Today Colleen talks with Justin Wren, one of the founders of Think Outside Boxes, a subscription box that gets kids outside and engaging in nature in cool ways.
Ever wonder what your homeschooling kiddos really think about this life? Today, Colleen talks to her daughter Molly and best friend Ella all about what it's like for these 10 and 11 year olds to homeschool, what kinds of things they're involved in, and what their thoughts are about how other people view homeschoolers and what they're missing out on by not being in a school. This was a fun one -- it's alway a blast to hear what kids are thinking, and these two girls are an absolute delight!
Raising kids "on the fringes," or gifted, 2e, etc can be isolating and confusing. Therapist and author Heather Boorman joins Colleen on today's episode to talk about how helping kids see their differences can help them be the amazing people they're meant to be. Her 13yo son joins the conversation too, giving some great advice to help teens who feel isolated find friends with similar interests.
There are so many homeschooling moms that start to worry as their kids get into middle school and high school that what they've done up until this point isn't enough. Or that they're missing big pieces of learning, content, or skills that they should have been teaching all along.
Today, Colleen talks with her sixteen year old son, Trevor, about some of his experiences so far, and gets his insights about homeschooling, self directed education, hope, and more.
It can be scary to homeschool an outside-the-box learner. Differently-wired kids beat to the tune of their own drummers, and that can be problematic when we go into it with a set expectation for how things will be. It is hard to trust our kids AND ourselves with this totally alternate path to education... In today's conversation, Colleen and Sara Hall chat about just that. How it's not our job to fit our kids into a box. It's our job to help them see how amazing their out-of-the box thinking truly is.
It's a new year and I don't know about you, but I'm ready to tackle it head on and enjoy my kiddos and our new puppy, all while making this podcast and site the place where you can find all you need to help you parent and homeschool those differently wired kiddos amazingly.
In today's episode, we'll talk about some new formatting, new features, and you'll get a preview of things to come. I can't wait to share it all with you and to hear your feedback!
Ever worry that you're not going to be able to do this homeschool thing all the way through high school? Me too. Colleen is talking today with Connie Albers -- homeschool mom of five adult children. All of those kiddos have homeschooled, gone through college at a major university, and are now doing great things. You're not going to want to miss this inspirational chat. It will encourage you as you look towards the long term in this homeschooling gig.
People ask often how I do it all. I try to tell them that I simply don't -- that there are balls I drop regularly, but I'm not sure they completely believe me. In today's episode, I tell you all the things I don't do. The home and homeschool balls that get dropped. Above all, friends, remember that you're not alone and that you are doing an amazing job.
We really want to encourage critical and creative thinking in our kids -- especially with so many things going on in the world that require us to think clearly and make informed decisions. Ginny Kochis has some great tips for developing these skills without adding something new to our already full homeschool parenting plates. Check it out, and let me know how YOU teach critical thinking in your home and homeschool. You can leave a comment below or send a voice message. I'll share more tips as you share.
The holidays are coming and I know -- if you're like me -- that you're gearing up and trying to figure out how to make it happy, fun, and successful for all your kids, you, and the rest of your extended family. In this chat, I'll share some of my thoughts about navigating the holidays with your differently-wired kiddos, and simple tricks you can do to make it great (or at least bearable) for all.
Raising globally minded kids in today's world is important as the world grows closer and more connected. Today Colleen talks with Anne Guarnera about bringing language and cultural learning into the home and homeschool effortlessly, and what it's like living the adventure of a bilingual family.
The testing question... it comes up often in conversation and consults, but as a listener asked again recently, Colleen thought it worth revisiting in a podcast episode. Testing your child for giftedness is a personal choice and everyone has different reasons for why they chose to test... or not to test. What should you do? Well... let's talk about it.
Amazing things can happen when we trust our children, become students of them and their interests, and encourage them to follow those passions. In this episode, Colleen talks to Andrew Peterson -- Christian music artist, author, speaker, and Founder of The Rabbit Room, -- all about helping our kids follow their loves and develop their talents, even when they don't fall into the easily-measured subject areas, and how trusting our kids can really shape who they become.
Sometimes it's a challenge to give each of your kiddos the attention they need individually when you're raising more than one. When one or more of those kids has special needs or demands more attention than others, though, it can feel impossible to give each of your children what they need. Colleen talks a little about this today in answer to a listener question.
Books can be a great way to get kids excited about learning. GREAT literature can go even further and make learning come alive for the whole family. Today, Colleen talks to Sarita Holzmann, founder of the Sonlight Curriculum all about using books to ignite a love of learning in kids of all ages. This episode is chock-full of wonderful resources. You won't want to miss it!
Parents of gifted kiddos often worry whether they're challenging their kids enough or pushing them too hard.
In this episode we examine the difference between pushing and appropriately challenging our kids, while acknowledging that those who aren't raising gifted kids won't understand, and just might accuse us of "hothousing" them -- making them into "super kids" so that they look gifted, dismissing the very nature that makes our quirky and briliant kids who they are despite us.
There are so many wonderful benefits to getting kids in the kitchen early on, but have you ever thought about cooking as a way to build confidence and combat perfectionism? Really! Today, Colleen talks to Tiffany Dahle, author of The Ultimate Kids' Cookbook, and founder of peanutblossom.com about empowering kids through cooking... among other things. This is not one to miss -- especially if you love cooking with kids!
It's back to school time, and all over the internet -- in your Instagram feeds, on your favorite bloggers' sites, and on Facebook -- you're faced with a peek into what everyone's doing to get ready for back to school. And, while I always hesitate to share what we've got going on because it changes so rapidly, I'm asked again and again... so I'm sharing a glimpse into our current plans with you today.
Today, Tiffany asks about asynchronous development in gifted kiddos, how to help manage intensity, and tips for motivating gifted kids. It's a jam-packed half hour and there are loads of resources to sift through in the show notes. You're going to need time to digest this one, so grab a cold drink or cup of coffee and settle in for this Q&A.
It's so easy for homeschool moms to doubt. We're in the thick of things, right? There are no guarantees in parenting, nor are there in homeschooling. BUT, there are so many amazing kiddos who have gone through years of homeschooling, and not only come out on that other side, but are thriving there. Today we talk to Mahayla West, homeschool graduate, and fantastic young adult, who reminds us to trust our kids and trust this process. We can get through it and enjoy the adventure alongside our children.
As homeschooling parents of outliers, we sometimes feel isolated, and co-ops can fill a need for both our children and ourselves. In this episode, Colleen tackles a question about creating an amazing co-op class from listener, Wendy, but also dives into the different types of co-ops and reasons for joining one. If you've ever thought about finding a group for your kids to belong to, and then creating classes that can meet a variety of abilities within that co-op, this is the episode for you!
"Autism is NOT the Big Bad Wolf... Your child is going to have joy. Your child is going to have a life..." This inspiring episode challenges all of us to rethink autism and how we interact with autistic friends and family members. Kaylene George is an autism self-advocate, and an amazing mama to a slew of neuro-diverse kiddos. You don't want to miss this episode...
Gifted and creative kiddos can often struggle with their executive function skills, and we parents are left scratching our heads, and trying to figure out how to get them to be functioning adults who can manage their own lives. In this episode we'll talk about what executive function skills are, how they're important, and what happens when kids struggle with these skills. Then, we'll chat about what you can do to help your kiddos out. Grab a cold drink and join the conversation.
Science -- particularly the study of astronomy -- can be a great way to integrate your kiddos' subjects so that they're incorporating many different areas like literature, writing, and the content areas in one fell swoop. A deep dive into an area for an extended period of time. Today, Colleen talks with Luke Gilkerson about how his program does just that... uses his passion for astronomy to bring kids along on a journey that incorporates many subject areas altogether for deep and rich learning.
Cristy asks how lure her kiddo away from the screens -- her sweet daughter just wants to play video games. This is a challenging question that comes up in homeschool circles often. Colleen tackles it from a few different perspectives. What about you? Do you limit screen use in your home? Why or why not?
Homeschooling special needs children can be really tough. When your child has several special needs and is very asynchronous, too, things get even more challenging. One of our absolute favorite moms of special needs kids is Shawna Wingert from Not the Former Things. She blogs honestly and empowers other moms of special needs kiddos to tackle each new day with renewed strength and the knowledge that they're not alone.
She's walking right alongside of them.
Maleeha is concerned. Following a student-led, self-directed model of homeschooling can definitely add up, cost-wise, and when you're homeschooling insatiable gifted learners, it can be even more costly. These kids seem to eat programs and materials for breakfast.
So, how can a parent get kids iinvolved in their own learning, and fostering their curiosity, all without breaking the budget? Colleen offers some suggestions today.
Whether you homeschool your quirky kiddo, send him or her to school, or change it up depending on the year and the situation, you're doing exactly what you need to do for your child when he or she needs it most. In today's episode, Colleen talks to Dayna Abraham all about the chaos of raising differently-wired kids, and helping them channel those challenges for good and begin to see themselves as "superkids." Afterwards, you get to reconnect with Colleen's son, Trevor, and see what he's been up to.
Connie worries that her kids will fall behind if they follow an unconventional homeschooling schedule. Her family finds themselves out of the house several days a week, and they're all exhausted by the time they get home. Is it possible to make a three-day homeschool work?
I share my thoughts in today’s episode, but would love to hear yours, too. Scroll down to the comments section and tell us what YOU think about unusual schedules! We’re all better together.
Parenting and homeschooling differently-wired kids can be a challenge, and it's even harder when faced with choices about medication, therapies, and following one's parenting gut. In this episode, Misty and Colleen talk about homeschooling, finding the great moments, and about the tough choice to medicate or not. You'll hear two very different experiences with meds and, hopefully, will be reassured that it's a personal decision, and what's right for one isn't always right for another.
Angie worries that she's not doing enought to challenge her gifted kids because of something a well-meaning pedatrician said to her at a well-visit. Her family enjoys a relaxed and interest-driven, self-directed type of homeschool environment, but she's concerned that it's not enough for the kids and that her doctor is right -- that they'll struggle with underachievement and problem behaviors as they grow.
Conversations with friends who get you, understand (and still love) your quirky kids, and are honest and real are so important in life -- especially when you're homeschooling. Chatting with Kara Anderson is always a chance to be loved for who you are. She's real, down-to-Earth, frank, funny, and such a joy. In this conversation we talk quirky kids, taking time for oneself, being our kids' person, and spring cleaning. Grab a cup of tea and settle in... you're going to love this episode.
Want to make the most out of your parenting -- in just ten minutes a day? Sarah MacKenzie connects with her kids, builds meaningful relationships with all six(!) of them, and cultivates a passionate love of learning through books. The power of a great book cannot be underestimated and this deceptively simple action may be just what your family needs to turn things around and form those lasting bonds and shared memories you hope bring your kiddos home long after they've flown the nest.
Strengthening your family, simplifying your homeschool, and savoring the subjects that matter most is a piece of cake when you take a moment to soak in the wisdom of today's guest, my friend Pam Barnhill. She has a knack for putting things into perspective and easing the tension homeschool mamas feel when faced with the overwhelm that doing all the things often brings. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and pop n your earbuds -- you're in for a treat.
Raising creative, loving, and inquisitive kids is a goal of mine, and so many other parents out there -- homeschooling, afterschooling, traditionally schooling, and everything in between. Today I'm talking to Melissa, a friend from the interwebs, about herself, her beautifully-wired family, and following the joy in life. I hope you'll join us and be inspired too...
Simple ideas + Easy routines = Homeschooling with confidence... That's the philosophy behind the beautiful community that is Learning Well with Alicia Hutchinson. In this episode, Alicia and I talk about the beauty of an ever-evolving homeschool life and that all homeschools should look different from one another. The beauty of homeschooling is in the uniqueness. Join us and be inspired...
Author of the fantastically popular series The Green Ember, S. D. Smith is here today to talk about honesty in storytelling, how igniting your own learning helps keep your tank filled as you homeschool and ecourage creativity and learning in your kiddos, and what it means to creatively engage thousands of readers around the world through his new stories with an old soul. You're going to be so inspired by this episode!
Homeschooling foster and adoptive mama, Aurie Good, is here today to talk with us about all the ways she follows her kiddos' lead and balances the structure of a program like Classical Conversations with a more free-flowing, child-led approach to learning. We'll also talk about how she's taking homeschool on the road for an epic three and a half week roadtrip with five young kids! You're not going to want to miss this one!
Keeping up with homeschooling, parenting, and all that goeas into keeping a family going is tough enough when you're home all the time. For Amy Milcic and her crew, they're (more often than not) out and on the go at tournaments and other travel sports events. In this episode, we'll chat about how she manages to keep her five boys motivated to learn and have fun, while they run around and keep up with busy sports schedules.
Do you ever feel like you're barely keeping up with your child's learning? Like you could keep throwing materials, supplies, and activities at him or her all day long, and it would never be enough? That's what it feels like to be raising an insatiable learner like a profoundly gited kiddo. As today's guest, Gina Munsey describes it, it's like being stapled to a cheetah.
Diving down rabbit holes with your kiddos can lead to some pretty amazing learning and fun adventures. In this epsiode, Cait Curley shares some of the ways she embraces learning adventures with her kids, and how she cultivates their curiosity while buildng a family culture around a lifelong love of learning.
What does it even mean to be a lifelong learner? How do we, as parents, cultivate a love of learning and curiosity in our kids? In this -- the inaugural episode of the Raising Lifelong Learners podcast -- we'll chat about exactly that, and you'll hear from the little learners themselves.