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The Life Without School Podcast

Issy aka Stark Raving Dad

Helloooo and welcome to the Life Without School podcast, where I help you and your children live the life you want to, not just the one you’re told you should. New episodes drop weekly, and you can subscribe wherever you prefer to listen to your podcasts:

Listen on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music

The Latest Episode

23. You Are Enough

In this episode, I’m sharing six ways you can overcome any feelings you have about not being ‘enough’ as a home educating parent. Not smart enough, organised enough, social enough, qualified enough…

I wrote a post recently that started scratching at the surface of this. Today, we’re digging deep.

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Love the pod? Come chat about it!

If you're enjoying these episodes, check out our new community space where we dive much deeper on all these topics. See you there soon, Issy.

22. Your Child is Falling Behind

In this episode I’m talking more about something this podcast was literally born from: the idea of children falling behind where they should be.

First, I talk about how the world generally views progress in childhood, and why it’s so problematic and broken. And then second, I present a different view of that. A different idea of measurement and benchmarking and progress for our children.

Wherever you are in your journey right now, I hope this way of looking at things brings you and your children some comfort, some reassurance, and some *confidence*.

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21. Turning Around the “Ohhhh, You Homeschool?” Questions

In this episode I’m going to do something that might feel a bit uncomfortable. But if we want to move education forward in any real meaningful way, the kind of thinking I’m about to take you through is incredibly important.

I’m going to take some of the main questions that home educators are traditionally asked – some of the main worries people express when they hear you’re a home educating family – and then I’m very simply going to turn them around.

I’m going to ask them of the formal education system that’s currently in place almost globally. And I’m going to put some pressure on that system to give us honest answers to those questions.

I think you’ll find this conversation, and the questions it asks, both interesting and challenging – whether you’re home educating or not!

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20. Dear Grandparents

With so many families making the decision to leave the formal education system, and take their own path through life, it also means there are a whole lot of grandparents out there going…

Hold on, what’s happening here?! We have a comprehensive, effective school system designed specifically to educate us in all the areas we’ll need to fully prepare for life. Why on earth would anyone walk away from that? And…what’s going to happen to my grandchildren now that they’ve had the opportunity to go through that system taken away?

It…just seems a bit crazy.

Grandparents, I hear you. So today, in this episode, I’m sitting down to have a chat with *you*.

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19. We’re Looking at Education All Wrong

The globally accepted definition of education is children being taught, and learning, in a classroom setting.

But is that interesting, and inspiring? Will it help our children become independent, life-long learners, and the best version of themselves?

Today, together, we’re going to give education a new definition. We’re going to take the entire concept, and look at it with fresh eyes.

It might be a bit surprising. And it will most definitely be enlightening.

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18. The Big Home Education Questions Everyone Asks

Will your children be sheltered? How will you educate them properly if you’re not a qualified teacher? How will they get a good job when they grow up?

Everyone who chooses a life without school will hear these kinds of questions at some point. They’ll come from friends, family, and complete strangers. In this episode, we chat through the nine most commonly asked questions a home educating family will hear, with the goal of empowering you to confidently frame your own answers to them, in your own ways. I hope revisiting this episode from time to time will provide those little boosts in confidence you sometimes need, whenever you need them.

And if you’ve ever asked these questions, I hope this conversation has got you thinking. I hope it has grabbed enough of your interest that you want to dig a little deeper below the surface. To…question more, and be open to where that leads.

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17. Monthly Q&A: Comparing Your Children To Others | Slow Life Seasons | Explaining Home Ed to Your Kids

Welcome back to another question and answer episode, where we take questions from the home education community and chat our way though them. I really love working through this episode each month, because your questions always reflect the struggles, the worries, and the hopes and dreams, of so many of us. A big thank you to Amy, Jacqui and Kate for taking the time to send in their recordings so we can hear, directly, from this wonderful community.

In this episode we talk about:

  1. How to avoid comparing our children to others – especially those who go to school.
  2. How to navigate slower educational seasons of life when we don’t feel we’re doing enough.
  3. How to explain home schooling and unschooling to our children, as we move away from the school system.

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16. On Being Their Coach, Not Their Teacher

Today, I want to talk about why I believe it’s so important that we – as home educating parents – play the role of coach, and mentor, and guide to our children. I want to take you through the simple, but powerful, framework Kate and I have used to help our children discover, explore, and run with their passions. And I want to talk about some related things, like perseverance and failure.

I’m SO excited to have this conversation. I’ve been sent a lot of messages about this kind of thing over the years, from parents who truly want the best for their children but who haven’t quite been able to help them become the passionate, self-driven explorers they hoped they would.

So, I really hope this conversation speaks to the feelings, and the struggles, and the genuine care and hope that those messages are born from. And, that it gives you a good mix of inspiration, and reflection, and tangible action.

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15. How To Make This Your Best Home Educating Year Yet

Happy New Year, everyone! The Life Without School Podcast is BACK.

For the very first episode of 2022, I’m taking you through seven things that will help set your family up for the best possible home educating year. These are all things that, through years of experience and reflection, I’ve found contribute the most to balance, personal growth, and fulfilment in our home.

From the importance of time, trust and personal space, to the management of screens, technology and other people’s expectations, there’s a lot in here for you to ponder on. For you to, maybe, take and apply to your own family life.

As you listen, can you let me know what you’re feeling most deeply? What hits home the most for your life, where you’re at right now?

I would love to hear from you as we set out on a fresh new year together 🙂

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14. The Gratitude Episode

The global home educating community has grown like crazy in 2021. More families are choosing a life without school than ever before, and it’s never been more important – as we go into the new year – to lift each other up, and encourage, and support, and inspire one another. Which is why, in this very short but heartfelt episode, I want to say thank you to YOU. Because you have already spread the Life Without School Podcast further, and wider, than I ever imagined. You have made sure it has grown and become visible to those who need to see and hear it.

And together, you and I will keep doing that as we go from 14 to 40 episodes…and then way beyond.Thank you, truly, for being here with me.

Let’s keep supporting this growing community together in 2022.

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13. De-schooling Your Way To Educational Freedom

In this episode I want to help you build your de-schooling muscle. The process of taking everything you know about education, wiping your mental slate as clean as possible, and coming at the whole idea of how children learn as fresh as you can.

To do that, I want to take you through five commonly held beliefs about education and childhood. Through this conversation, you will grow progressively more aware of ideas you’ve probably held since you were a child. Ideas that have far less substance than you think.  And you will grow progressively more empowered to take hold of your own children’s education in a way that works for you as a family.

My hope is that the way we talk through all this will help you break down any other worries that ever trouble you.

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12. Monthly Q&A: On Motivating Our Children / On Their Adult Opinion Of Home Ed / On Sudden Life Changes

Welcome back to another question and answer episode – where I take some time to dig into things you all want to hear more about it. They might be things you’re personally struggling with, or worried about, or planning for…and I really love having these conversations, because it’s always such a great reminder that we’re not alone on this road.

In this episode, I’m sharing my thoughts on these three questions:

1) What are some key phrases you can use here and there to help encourage your children, to help them find those interests and spend their time there?

2) How do you handle the fear that your children might be unhappy with you – when they grow up – for choosing such an unconventional path for them?

3) How do I work through the worry of no longer being able to home educate if our life circumstances change drastically – like, financially, or through health – and our children have to go back to school?

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11. You Are Not Your Child’s Teacher

Home educating parents often put a huge amount of pressure on themselves to perform the role of being a teacher, and in this episode I want to talk through why I believe the stress, tension, and feelings of failure that so often come from that are unnecessary.

First, we’ll talk through four reasons why I believe it’s a mistake to try and be a teacher to your home educated child. Then, we’ll talk through some different ways of thinking about the role you can play instead.

My hope is that by the end of this chat you’re able to free yourself of the pressure, expectation and tension that can come from trying to be both a parent and a teacher.

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10. Every Child Has A Story To Tell

Asking our children to all learn the same things, at the same times, in the same groups, in the same spaces, with only the same ages…

…is effectively asking them to become the same as everyone else.

It’s asking them to think less about their true selves, and more about what the most accepted version of it might be. It’s asking them to see their uniqueness as a bad thing, and fitting in as good. No, more than that – critical.

And to me, this fundamentally undermines what being a human being is all about.

See, I believe every child has their own story. And in this episode, I want to make a plea to let more of them tell it.

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9. Why Trusting Your Child Will Change Their Life

In this episode we’re looking at a philosophy that underpins how Kate and I approach life with our kids, their education, and our relationships with them. It’s very different to the way formal education is approached, and is based on the power of trust.

We’ll talk about the process of letting go of that complete control over a child’s education that is so engrained in us. About why it’s so important, how we might navigate it all, and what the results can look like.

About how putting trust in our children has changed our lives. And, how I believe it can change yours, too.

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8. Monthly Q&A: On Growing Resilience / On Finding Time For Yourself / On Reluctant Dads

In this – the first of many episodes where I’ll spend some time answering listener questions – I talk through:

1) How do you respond to people saying ‘life is hard – if you don’t force your child to do things they don’t want to do, how will they be prepared for life’?

2) How on earth do you ever find time for yourself, and your own interests?

3) How do I get my husband to see how beneficial home education can be?

Let’s get into it.

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7. A Week In Our Life Without School

A lot of you have asked for a day-in-the-life style episode, so…here it is! I think there’s a stack of important context that should always be shared as part of this kind of conversation, though, so this episode is made up of three parts (if you listen in, *please* make sure you go right through – taking any of this in isolation just…won’t be as useful):

Part 1 is some of the thinking we went through to arrive at the daily and weekly flow we have.

Part 2 takes you through what that flow looks like for our three older children – who are 6, 11 and 14.

And Part 3 is a few extra thoughts that I think should accompany any day-in-the-life style example. And yes – there is definitely some screen time chat in there.

If you’re struggling to find the right rhythm for your family, I really, really hope there are some things you can take from this!

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6. Four Strategies For When Home Education Feels Hard


This week I want to talk about what to do when this home education path starts feeling hard, because what we’re doing here isn’t easy. As parents, we’re taking on a huge responsibility by choosing to live a life without school, and there’s not always the support we need, or would like. Either practically, or emotionally. There’s no…set playbook for this stuff.

Today, I’m going to talk through four things that have helped me when the journey has felt tough.

Hopefully they bring you some comfort, some reassurance, and the ability to make your way back to those good days when they start feeling hard to find.

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5. How To Talk To Family And Friends About Home Education

One of the things we often underestimate when we decide to live a life without school – regardless of how excited about it we are – is how our family and friends will respond to it. How we’ll talk to them about it, and answer the questions that they’ll probably have. Because despite the growth and awareness in home education recently, we are still very much in the minority, and this path is still very misunderstood.

With so many families joining to this path, I want spend some time today building some tools to help with those family and friend conversations.

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4. Designing Your Life Without School

In this week’s episode I want to talk about how a good home education lifestyle doesn’t just happen…it needs to be designed. Because it’s one thing to decide that a life without school is the right thing for your family, and the path you’re going to take…but it’s a whole other thing to work out, practically, what your days and weeks will actually look like.

The beauty of home education, of course, is that you get to decide how you want to approach it. But, that’s also one of its biggest challenges. And more often than not, you won’t find your balance and flow until you’ve experimented, and probably blended together a few different approaches.

You need to find what works for both you and your children, ebbing and flowing with your family’s energy and interests.

That’s not easy, it doesn’t just happen, and it takes some thoughtful work. Today, I want to help you with some starting points and strategies for that.

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3. Busting The Two Biggest Homeschooling Myths

For this episode I want to dig into two of the biggest misconceptions about home education that I, personally, have experienced over the years that I’ve been an unschooling dad.

Despite it being a rapidly growing form of education, especially over the past year or two, homeschooling (or unschooling, hack schooling, home education, world schooling – whatever your personal flavour or term happens to be) – is still a widely misunderstood world.

The reasons for choosing to opt out of school and the approaches home educating families take have all broadened hugely over the years. How it’s all viewed by the wider population, hasn’t really kept pace with that. Common perception is as narrow as it was 50 years ago.

At best, this is causing awkward conversations in the playground.

At worst, it’s holding the world back from advancing how our children experience life (and that goes for their adulthood when they get there, too).

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2. How We Became A Home Educating Family

The very, very squiggly story of how we became a home educating family, including:

  • How we ended up at financial rock-bottom as 30 year olds (with two young children).
  • How despite that we’ve made it possible to always have at least one of us not working and at home with the children.
  • How we found the experience of attending three different schools across two different countries.
  • How a serious chronic illness threatened to derail our life plans, but actually helped keep us on the right path.
  • How our first attempt at homeschooling was an exhausting mess.
  • How we started de-schooling ourselves, and eventually settled into unschooling.

You know how you look at those families online and say ‘wow, life has been so easy for them – no wonder they can make a lifestyle like that work’?

Yeah, that’s not us.

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1. Introducing Life Without School

In this very first episode of the Life Without School podcast, I’m talking about why it even needs to exist. Why I’m so passionate about shining a light on life paths for children that don’t involve the normal school thing. Why there are millions of children around the world who wake up each day feeling broken, not enough, and believing that the things that come most naturally to them are not important.

Thank you for listening – I hope you’re as excited as I am about this podcast becoming a thing!

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