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One Free Family - A new take on peaceful parenting

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Natural Consequences, the "I turned out okay" fallacy, and what our kids can teach us- OFF042

Taylor and James are back with another grab-bag episode! There have been a lot of great discussions in the One Free Family FaceBook group recently, but not all of them lend themselves to a full episode. In this episode, they break down how the idea of "natural consequences" is often misused. They also talk about how a given person "turning out okay" is not a great justification for a given parenting decisions. Finally, they reflect on a few really cool instances where their kids (and kids...


How self-directed learning looks in our home- OFF041

James and Taylor are back to discuss how self-directed learning looks in their home. While many people like the idea of self-directed learning in principle, the way it looks on a day to day basis can wind up feeling a little scary. Self-directed learners tend to not follow the linear learning plans that their schooled peers do, and that can be unsettling. They can wind up going really deep in some areas while seemingly neglecting others. A lot of the learning that takes place happens under...


Helping our kids through their big emotions, and the life-changing Train Analogy - OFF040

A crying child can be one of the most upsetting and terrifying things for a parent to see. While our instincts tell us to try and make it stop as quickly as possible, trying to make the crying stop rarely has positive results. In this episode, James and Taylor return to discuss helping their kids work through their big emotions, and how their mindset and approach has changed over the years. They talk about the "train analogy" that suggests that big emotions are like a train heading through a...


Understanding and supporting the natural rhythms of the whole family - OFF039

One of the hardest parts about living in community with one another is the fact that we are all individuals with unique needs and rhythms. Some of us are night owls, and others are early birds. Sometimes the kids are bouncing off the walls hoping for a wrestling partner at the very moment that the parents are ready to shut it down and go to bed. What if Mom is an extrovert, Dad is an introvert, and the kiddos are everything in-between? In this episode James and Taylor talk about how they...


Talking unschooling with licensed mental health professional Fiona Griffin- OFF038

Taylor and James are joined by their longtime friend and licensed mental health professional Fiona Griffin to talk about how her profession has informed her approach to parenting. They discuss working through their own psychological wounds in an effort to parent more intentionally, authentically communicating their needs to their kids, and helping their kids to feel seen and heard. They also answer questions like, "How can we create healthy family systems?", "How can we live a life where...


Helping our kids accomplish their goals and grow, even when it's hard- OFF037

Helping our kids accomplish their goals is fundamental to creating a self-directed learning environment, but it's a more nuanced topic than it first appears. It's all well and good to plan for helping our kids along their learning process, but what about when they hit those inevitable road blocks? To what degree should a parent in a self-directed learning environment push when our kids seem to be losing interest? Is it our job to help kids realize their full potential in any given area? And...


Should we force our kids to adopt our values and preferences?- OFF036

Whether it's minimalism, or healthy eating, or religious views, or just learning the difference between right and wrong, it can be hard to figure out just how far we should go to try and pass along our values to our kids. What if we're minimalists, but our kids want to gather tons of toys? What if we're vegetarians, but our kids want to try hot dogs? How do parents who value autonomy and consent try and pass along things that are very important to them to their children? In this week's...


A Mile in Our Shoes - Zooming In On a Hard Day of Parenting- OFF035

James and Taylor zoom in on a single day in their life, taking you through a challenging day in their parenting journey and how that looked for them. They talk about moments they failed to be the parents they wanted to be, times where they were in tense and heated discussions about their parenting, and how days like these can help us keep working on our parenting. They also discuss strategies for recognizing when little stressors are piling up and fraying our nerves, and how they bounced...


Santa, shy kids, and bad online influences! It's a mailbag! – OFF034

Taylor and James take an episode to answer a few listener questions! How do they approach Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and other cultural myths, and why? How should we work with kids who are more introverted in situations where others are uncomfortable with their "shyness?" And finally, what do we do about "bad influences" that our kids can encounter online? James and Taylor talk about how we can have open discussions with our kids about the types of media they are interacting with, and how it...


Maintaining a Healthy Relationship After Having Kids - OFF033

James and Taylor started by doing a mailbag, but ultimately spent the whole episode talking about a timeless parenting question: how do we make time for our relationship with our partner when kids are demanding so much of our attention? They discuss how we need to change our expectations as to what our time together might look like, how we can get in the right mindset for the changing seasons of our lives, and how we can practically and lovingly carve out time to build connection with our...


Let's Talk About Sex – OFF032

Talking about sex with our kids can feel uncomfortable, awkward, and even down-right scary. The alternative - one where our kids are "educated" about sex by their peers, media of all forms, and their own guesses - is almost certainly scarier. In this episode, James and Taylor talk about their approach to talking about sex with their own kids, and recommend some resources that they have found very helpful in approaching these discussions. Talking about sex with our kids is like anything...


When Your Toddler Hits Your Baby- OFF031

It's something no parent really anticipates when they start adding more children to their family, but it happens way more frequently than most people like to acknowledge. Gaining a sibling can bring our kids a lot of joy, but it also brings out a number of complicated emotions that they might not be quite ready to process. Why is mommy spending so much time with this new kid when she used to spend more time with me? Why is that baby crying when we are in the middle of a game? And a number of...


Boredom – OFF030

Humans have evolved over many millions of years to feel bored sometimes. Whether we're on a long plane ride, or just sitting around the house with "nothing to do," our minds are clearly hard-wired to occasionally send us the signal that we are bored. So why are conversations around boredom so painful between parents and kids? In this episode James and Taylor discuss how they approach these different types of "boring" situations with their kids. They talk about how to validate children's...


Ollie- OFF029

James and Taylor welcome their first guest ever onto One Free Family - their fist son, the 8 year old Ollie! They ask Ollie what it's like to be unschooled, how he learns without formal instruction, what's hard about being self directed all the time, and what we could do better as parents. Ollie then turns the tables and interviews us for a bit! Enjoy!


Having Healthier Disagreements- OFF028

The idealized family that never disagrees about anything simply doesn't exist. Given that disagreements at home WILL happen, how can we help them to be as productive and healthy as possible? In this episode, Taylor and James share their ideas for how we can have fewer unproductive and recurring disagreements while working through the healthier disagreements more effectively. Disagreements are a great time to help everyone in the family feel seen and heard, and they don't always have to be...


Seeing Child Freedom in Action at Camp Stomping Ground - OFF027

Last week James and Taylor took their kids to the sleepaway summer camp they co-founded - Camp Stomping Ground - and now they are back and full of thoughts. They talk about what it's like to be in community with 100+ kids who are all free to do basically whatever they want, what they learned about their own kids, and a lot of the child-development issues that are present themselves when you get so many kids of all different ages together in community. Are kids "lazy" when left to choose what...


Combating Ageism - OFF026

Over time, we've seen various marginalized groups gain more freedom over time, but one marginalized group that is almost never discussed as marginalized is children. In this episode, James and Taylor share examples of where ageism is directed against children, and how we can try to be less ageist in our own interactions. They also talk about how we can empower our children to be confident and self-reliant even in a world that tells them that they shouldn't be.


Navigating Relationships When Parenting Styles Differ - OFF025

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt pressured to parent your kids differently than your instincts tell you to, or than how you have planned? Maybe you don't have restrictions on screen time, but your friends and their kids do. Perhaps you're hanging out with friends and they discipline their kids in ways that you don't agree with. How can we navigate these situations and keep our relationships in tact? James and Taylor share how they've come to handle situations where they are...


Supporting Our Kids' Learning Process Without Taking Over - OFF024

One of the most common concerns we hear from parents considering helping their children to become more self directed in their learning is that they wouldn't know where to begin. In this episode, Taylor and James talk about their approach to helping their children pursue their passions and learn about the things that interest them while being mindful to not take over the learning process.


BONUS with Jake Desyllas - OFFBonus1

An interview with Jake Desyllas from The Voluntary Life podcast. James and Taylor explain their approach to peaceful parenting and unschooling. We had a great discussion about questioning the concept of self-directed learning, and many other interesting topics.