Thanks for dropping by! Ask Claire Anything is a spot-on advice column for questions asked in the community. We take on heart-disturbing issues within your Self-Directed Education journey.... because the truth is nobody has it all figured out!

Don’t be shy if you’d like to share your stories, advice, or even hot takes! Please shoot us an email.


🚀 “How do I get my partner on board with unschooling?”

March 9th, 2022

An interesting question popped up during a recent inspirEd event with Galileo Dads.

“… I have a question for the dads. I have a family member who's a single mom with two kids and divorced, who 100% wants to home educate, self-educate, call it what you want. What would be the best way for her to approach her ex-husband about doing that?”

—Carrie

Carrie,

First, I LOVE how honest this question is.

It’s a real issue for many families. There’s a possibility of push-back, and arguments from both sides might be valid when you really think about it.

Your partner might not want to be judged for homeschooling. Or might think, “Why would this be any different from anything else we’ve tried?”

The underlying question really is…

How can you help him see what you see?

That self-directed learning can be incredibly successful and would be great for your children?

Well, this is what our Galileo dads shared:

- I would just start by finding out: what's his reservation? What are the things he's curious about? Where's the resistance? Tap into his fears or concerns. Because it could be a lot of different things. And then, you can kind of go from there.
- Stories are really powerful. So, share examples of success, of kids not failing or becoming delinquents or whatever the perception might be. There are stories that can counteract the beliefs that we have in our own heads.
- This can be very complicated, but I would go to the root of the problems. Start with asking: why do I want to make this change? Is this better for the kid? If this is the case, it's just a matter of time to figure out a way to explain this. Even if they are divorced, in the end, both parents will want the best for their kids.

Here’s my take:

  • It has to be a mutual decision. So making it with a balanced view is key.
  • Look up studies and stories about unschooled kids compared to their public schooled counterparts.
  • See if your partner would agree to a trial year.
  • And finally, you can join a self-directed learning community to experience unschooling in real life!

(Always) in your corner,

Claire

P.S.  This was a compelling and insightful reply from Jamie Heston. Jamie is one of Galileo’s long-time supporters and respected inspirEd speakers.

“I’ve helped parents in contentious custody battles for the past twenty years, a word of mouth assist to others born of the experience I gained within the system during my own custody battle with my husband for my stepson several decades ago. I also happen to be a homeschool veteran and homeschool consultant.

This dilemma involves much, much more than just convincing the ex that this is a good educational path for the child.

The normal avenues of argument and explanation homeschooling won’t likely work unless you already have a mutually respectful and cooperative coparenting relationship, something most divorcing parents categorically do not have.

Therefore, some things to be aware of if things are contentious:

  1. Judges and courts do not advocate for or support homeschooling unless it’s been usual and customary for a long period of time and one parent is arguing to keep things the same (and usually more so if the child is in a public charter so you can say they’re “still” in public school and being followed by a credentialed teacher). Judges don’t trust that parents can educate their children even if they have a degree or teaching credential. I’ve seen it happen so many times. If this is a new decision to try and homeschool, it is even easier for them to order the child to go to school regardless of what’s actually in the child’s best interest due to this bias and misunderstanding of what homeschooling is. So, if your ex is against homeschooling, try to keep it out of a mediator’s or judge’s hands, because you are very likely to lose on this point if it’s left up to the courts.
  2. Homeschooling gives one parent much more time with the child and therefore, also more child support, so the parent not homeschooling is likely to object out of the gate for both of those reasons. One possible mitigation to this is to offer to not count the school hours as part of the support calculation or negotiate some other compromise. When it comes to custody, anything both parents agree on, can become an order. So figure out how to agree and stay out of court (meaning, the judge decides because you can’t agree.)

Even if both parents agree on choosing to homeschool, if they both want to be involved, this can be challenging when the child goes back and forth, because they may not agree on approach or philosophy. The younger the child, the easier this scenario is.

One would hope both parents would always be advocating for what’s best for the child no matter what, but time and time again I see that this absolutely does not come to fruition in a custody court battle where a parent’s hate for the other parent and propensity to punish them takes precedence.”


🚀 “Can my kids learn morals with SDE?”

April 13th, 2022

I got an awesome question from one of our parents that I wanted to answer today:

I read every email from Galileo and I always want to ask this question. I've tested and experimented with my kids that self-directed learning is better, maybe also the best, compared to the traditional, rigid, and academic-driven schooling setting.
The reason being simply, kids are able to explore and discover their passion and then are driven by their passion along with their learning journal.
My question is - During self-directed learning path, how can I ensure my kids also develop their appropriate social characters, such as responsibility, adapting and interacting with the community, and respect for others?
From time to time, I feel I might have offered too much freedom as well as flexibility in order NOT to hinder their creativity in freely expressing themselves and exploring.
There has been a dilemma growing in my heart that made me start to worry whether there is enough moral education for them. Maybe I worry too much, but I thought moral education has to be embedded in learning since kids' early age.

—Katrina

This one is fascinating! And I’m sure it hits home for a couple of homeschooling/SDE parents in our community.

Katrina, one perspective would be to look at your kids’ interactions to support their moral development.

Here’s what I mean:

I would look at how they interact with their friends and the groups that they’re joining.

I often see or hear the interactions of kids in Galileo. They take leadership roles, participate, and work with different students and cultures. They form groups, whether for a longer-term project, short game, or breakout sessions.

Think about it for a sec…

Your kids are discovering global cultures. They’re learning how to:

  • Connect & communicate with others across the world 🤝
  • Be responsible & respect each other 🙏
  • Listen & be kind 🤗

Even without directly telling them, “Oh, this is how you develop your morals,” aren’t they doing this in their day-to-day lives?

They’re learning positive lessons by living their everyday lives. And you know that kids learn a great deal from their peers!

That being said…

I think parents also have a responsibility here. You can make learning morals part of your family’s discussions and free time together. Doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Pretty much any activity can be a moral lesson if you attach meaning to it.

Plus, keeping inappropriate behavior in check is a natural part of parenting! ✅

Make sense?

(Always) in your corner,

Claire


🚀 Thinking of skipping school to travel 🗺?

May 11th, 2022

Got a note recently, and I thought it was a great one!

George wrote in:

I'm getting started with independent schooling so we can travel. Not sure about finding a curriculum.

This is tricky, especially if you’re just starting with travel and worldschooling. It’s natural to wonder how to structure your kids’ learning so that they don’t miss out on anything.

But the thing is:

You don’t need a formal curriculum with core subjects and lesson plans with independent schooling.

I mean… it defeats the entire purpose of being independent, right?

Instead, why not tailor your kid’s education to their interests? Children learn when they are engaged and curious.

Take a child-centered approach that allows you to dive down the rabbit hole of their current passions. If your kids love dinosaurs, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about 😉.

No set curriculum doesn't necessarily mean no structure, though.

Learning is collaborative, so you can craft a plan with your kids based on their interests. Your kids will self-direct their education and progress at their own pace and according to their needs.

You’re in an amazingly fortunate position of being able to take the kids TO the learning.

Travel puts learning into context and gives kids a sense of place and people. It opens up a world of freedom that sets them up for future success!

Whether you want to be eclectic or structured, tons of resources and materials are available online.

The ultimate goal is to find the best fit for their family.

If you’ve fallen in love with the idea of just breaking away from it all to travel the world…

… or you’ve been thinking of taking an extended family trip…

…or putting off your dreams of discovering new cultures and lifestyles because you’re worried about your kids’ education…

This is the sign you’ve been waiting for to take the plunge.

And don’t forget, we’re in this together!


Any roadschoolers or worldschoolers out there? What is your single BEST tip for George and his family as they begin their ‘edventure’?

Hit reply to this email and let me know!

Cheers to a thousand memories!

Claire
=====

Whenever you’re ready, here are a few resources to help you:

1. Looking for bite-sized courses for your kids to learn new skills?

>>>Click here to browse our collection of on-demand video masterclasses

2. New to the world of alternative education?

>>>Tap here to listen to fun and insightful conversations on our inspirEd podcast

3. Want to connect with other unschoolers, worldschoolers, edupreneurs, and Self-Directed Education enthusiasts?

>>>Click here to join our global community