The summer I turned fourteen was spent reading books in preparation for boarding school; which I was due to start that autumn. The suggested reading list was intense – Grapes of Wrath, Night, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Lord of the Flies were at the top of the list. Not exactly beach-worthy paperbacks. Forget the beach, I spent most of that summer in the shade, with a serious-titled work of fiction and a cold Pepsi. Flirty socializing became an even more awkward endeavor (imagine adolescent frivolous chats about the mall, tennis camp and Duran Duran peppered with communist considerations stemming from Animal Farm) so much so that my only summer crush was on Holden Caulfield. Since then, summer has always been synonymous with reading and deep pondering. Aside from my back issues of Vogue, it’s unlikely you’ll catch me under a beach umbrella with chick lit. If you share my love for productive pleasure reading, consider our suggested summer reading list and I’ll see you at an outdoor cafe, under a shady tree in the park or on an air-conditioned commute out of town with your nose buried in a good book.
There are few writers who can draft witty prose on falling in and out of love, working 9-5, the anxiety of being bourgeois and Proust without sounding utterly pretentious if not completely uninteresting. Alain de Botton is entertaining, swoon-fully philosophical and quite possibly one of the most brilliant and relevant contemporary writers around. While I compulsively collect his books like Prada shoes (gently used off Ebay), if I had to choose a favorite as a summer read, it would have to be…. Ok, well I can’t pick just one. My top picks: “The Architecture of Happiness“ (philosophy and psychology of architecture and the indelible connection between our identities and our locations), “On Love” (his debut novel of the serendipity, elation, conflicting and Marxists aspects of romantic relationships) and “The Art of Travel” (considerations of the pleasures of anticipation; the allure of the exotic, and the value of noticing everything from a seascape in Barbados to the takeoffs at Heathrow).
According to “The Concise Art of Seduction 24 Laws of Persuasion”, by Robert Greene, the luxury of getting your way lies in how well you wield your personal and creative power. Greene’s broader sense of seduction (to lead, guide, direct, influence another individual or individuals to willingly go along with your wishes, whether benevolent or not) is explored in a masterfully designed essential guide for persuasion. His 24 laws are clearly and cleverly outlined and supported with literary, historical and anthropological examples of observing the principles and techniques. Like Botton, Greene has a passion for the complexities of relationships and the establishment of power within those relationships. His books (and these are my faves too), The 48 Laws of Power, The 50th Law of Power (co-written with Curtis Jackson/50 Cent, yes that 50 Cent) and The 23 Strategies of War, are modern and uniquely pro-peace guidelines for navigating team-building, collaboration, change-management and a happy home. Kumbaya.
What could be more luxurious than the 4-hour work week? Sitting on a remote island with a bevy of uber-efficient virtual assistants handling all of your business and personal life management needs. Young, visionary, and boyishly cute Timothy Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek – Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich” is a savant at demystifying societal values about work customs, earning a living and living like a king. His detailed guide to effectively minimizing your work load and maximizing the quality of your life is easy to follow, motivational and real. This book is a perfect compliment to LSP homeschooling approaches - smart, creative, strategic maximization of time and energy. After re-reading his book months ago, I obtained two virtual assistants and broke my email addiction – leaving me more time to spend with my daughter and family, design programs that really spoke to my mission and set a firmer a foundation for living a more authentic life. And well, chill. There are no gimmicks here. Just a book, a plan, a will and a way.
Other books on my list: The Year of Yes (Shonda Rhimes), The Audacity of Hope (Barack Obama),
Photos © Pixabay, Pinterest, Blavitivty, Essense
Tell anybody you are planning to homeschool or are already doing it and the first question you will be asked is ‘what about socialization?’.
While homeschooling parents have a lot of challenges to face, the issue of socialization doesn’t come into picture unless you are homeschooling a single child. However, it has become a big deterrent for families with a single child who wish they could homeschool.
The term ‘Socialize’ means to ‘mix with others socially’ or ‘behave in a way that is acceptable to others and the surroundings’. A school’s environment tends to focus on the latter definition of the term while homeschooling enables socialization according to the former. Since teaching and learning in a homeschooled household takes place in various places, the children learn to mix with children and adults of different ages, gender, background, intellect, ethnicity and even profession. Their interactions take place at the bus stop, the post office, in the grocery store or maybe the museum.
Homeschool parents wear multiple hats - parent hat, teacher hat, project manager hat, cheerleader hat, etc, etc. It's easy to get consumed with the tasks that define each role, and forget the primary essence of each role - conscious connecting. As a parent, it becomes extremely necessary to raise your child by understanding their needs. It’s best done by pouring all your conscious effort on the child in a calm and lovable manner. There is a saying “Today’s children… Tomorrow’s future…” A future where people have compassion, honesty and are well behaved can only be shaped now. That is why it is very to start now for a better future. Who best can do that other than the parents? So we have picked up a top 5 tips/hacks to be a conscious parent.
curriculum includes all those student activities, academic and non-academic
When thinking of advocacy in homeschooling, images of religious causes come to mind. In modern homeschooling, despite a secular approach, advocacy, be it environmental, cultural/ethic-specific, or political is a huge part of the philosophical and practical. At least for the homeschooling parents. But what about the kids?
Several years ago, I discovered Meatless Mondays (or Meat Free Mondays, as its known in the UK). Moved by its mission, in a nutshell is to raise awareness of the climate-changing impact of meat production and consumption, I started a campaign at my school. Pumped up and stoked to offer my students an active opportunity to make change, I was surprised that their initial resistance was based on a fear of vegetarianism. You’d think I was asking them to eat nails. “No meat!”, some almost cried. Of course this was optional, there were no incentives and we were only talking about one meal on Monday, lunch. As the weeks passed the protests ceased. In fact, most of the students admitted to enjoying the change and the challenge. On the superficial level, they noticed a difference in how they felt, their energy level, their openness to try new foods. Still some of them had a sketchy understanding of eating meatless. Their solution to no hamburgers is double orders of fries or pizza. On a deeper level, they began to sort out the connection between consumption, supply and demand and the impact on the environment. What they all realized was the power in action as a means of advocacy. It was one thing to discuss the impact of mass farming but it’s another to experiment with a solution that they could contribute to. In essence to walk the talk. They were empowered and they constructed their own meaning of all they were learning. Most of them went back to eating burgers on Monday, because that was not a practical or really heart-felt way for them to advocate. But all of them looked at other organizations, individual and collective strategies to make a positive impact.
It seems it's only during senior year that students are asked what they want from their education and how well prepared they feel about the next steps in their learning journey. Even at graduation, guest speakers offer advice and their truths, gospels according to their triumphs and stumbles. Yet, aside from the usual suspect questions - "Where do you want to go to college, and what do you want to do after college?", few conversations are initiated where students get to really speak their mind. So I asked how they experience school (traditional and home school) and learning in their lives, and about our role in preparing them for the future?
I am not a big pancake fan. I'll occasionally have a craving for one and usually I reserve satisfying said craving for a decadent Sunday brunch out. Sometimes I order Eggs Benedict instead. My daughter likes pancakes however, and she is especially fond of the butter and syrup that accompanies the pancakes. Pancakes are not a part of our weekday breakfast routine. They can be a bit labor intensive and even when our mornings are not super busy, saving them for the weekends works out best for all. Especially the chef. In the same way that I view pancakes as an all-Americana breakfast fantasy (remember, I'm a former expat), the vision of making them (from scratch and not the significantly more user-friendly box) was for quite a while equally fantastic and delusional. There is something about pancake batter that conjures up deep issues of femininity, haus frau and gender role expectations. In my head, I'm Nigella Lawson, in reality I'm frustrated and covered in flour. But my love for pampering my daughter's carb requests (I'm convinced everything she eats goes to her thick long hair), the smell of cornbread and the taste of apples and walnuts traditionally urges me to rise above my pancake insecurities and jump in there.
By now it's pretty clear that I am a "city mouse". Even when I lived in the countryside (way yander pass the suburbs), the urbanite in me stood as tall and strong as those big trees holding up the sky. The fact is I feel incredibly alive when I'm buzzing around town, seeing, meeting and engaging with people I might otherwise only see in cars passing or Netflix. When I had my daughter, I thought for a long minute about moving to the outskirts of the city. Better schools, cleaner sidewalks, a backyard. And homeschooling would be that picturesque image of frolicking children discovering the world within their well-landscaped space. Then I woke up. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that image except that it's not very inclusive; even when the children are Black, Yellow or Brown. Yet homeschooling in the big bad city is not always a walk in the park; especially to those for whom a "park" is almost as far as the nearest suburb. Here are a few insights for tapping into that "bright ideas, big city" magic.
Traveling has become the new norm. Today, not just youngsters but families too are going on long road trips and excursions. They call it ‘Edventures’, long trips where children learn on the road. Homeschooling while traveling, or roadschooling, is now considered as an attraction rather than a consequence.
Roadschooling, or homeschooling while traveling involves educating children with the help of resources of a country or state as the information database. It has become a popular alternative to public schooling. Though this type of schooling is undertaken by parents while traveling full-time, it is a more hands-on approach. Today, there are proper regulations and services to help parents school their children on the road.
In April, I gave a small F2F workshop for a group of parents looking to create a homeschool co-op, hosted an online workshop about inquiry-based teaching and learning, visited a school for an accreditation evaluation and attended a rigorous and super fun 3-day accelerator as a 4.0Schools Essentials Fellow. Whew! Every day I had "parent hat" on, some days I work my "lawyer hat" and other days I was solopreneur, creative director, education guru and juggler of many balls, plates, assignments. You get the picture.
In the midst of all this juggling, I thought "Geez, if I added full-time homeschooling on top of this, it might all come tumbling down." It's never been a newsflash to me that homeschooling is super demanding - after all, I an a former educator. One-on-one teaching sounds like a breeze compared to making personal connections and offering individualized support to 20+ students, yet it can sometimes be even more demanding; especially when the student is also your child. With that in mind, I've revamped my programs to express a wholistic and unbiased view into your homeschool experience. The coaching programs and soon-to-launch app are designed with empathy, conscious parenting, honor toward your unique lifestyle issues and preferences, as well as a commitment to progressive whole child educational best practices and a deep appreciation for academic rigor and excellence.
Are you considering homeschooling and not sure how to get from A to B (forget about Z) or are you struggling to consolidate all of your child's activities and learning so it makes relevant and 21st century sense? Check out the Foundations or Lifestyle Programs. Want to sleep on it still - no worries, pop me an email and we can discus your options and maybe design a program so uniquely suited to you.
The number of homeschooled children has been increasing drastically over the last few years. Religion and culture preservation is no longer the sole reason for families who start homeschooling their children. The family profile of homeschooling has also evolved over the past 40 years to become more inclusive and diverse on all socio-cultural-religious and economic levels. Yet the resources and strategies available have not caught up to the lifestyle demands and educational values of the new demographic. Many parents, with all their good intentions, struggle to create cohesive and quality curriculum models that are manageable, modern and affordable. I totally empathize as a parent and former teacher. The valid feeling that one cannot have it all looms overhead and clouds your vision of how to proceed. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you jump into homeschooling.