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Unschooling Homeschool Method

By September 24, 2013August 7th, 202312 Comments

The lovely and powerful  Julie Piatt— my sometime co-host and all-time wife — returns to the show today to share some interesting perspectives on children’s education — more specifically, homeschooling.  And even more specifically, the Unschooling method of homeschooling.

I know.  It’s controversial.  I get it.  But the subject also brings to mind one of my favorite quotes from one of the brightest minds of Victorian England – scientist, philosopher and theologian Herbert Spencer.  It appears in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, and goes like this:

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

Translation – listen with an open mind.  Because growth, change and expansion cannot occur without doing so.

Other topics on today’s episode agenda include:

My recent speaking engagements in Toronto and Tucson ;

My increased involvement in an exciting new documentary project entitled Game Changers  about plant-based athletes, currently in production — produced by former podcast guest James Wilks ( Episode 16 ) and some of the people that brought you Forks Over Knives ;

Witnessing  Patrik Baboumian’s world record-setting strongman lift & carry in Toronto;

My impending visits to Karachi, Bahrain and Casablanca to spread the PlantPower message;

Creating a PlantPower Halloween Movement; and

Beyond Meat’s quest to disrupt Big Food with its perfect plant-based chicken and beef alternatives.

During our conversation, Julie references Sir Ken Robinson and his opinions about our education system.  I can’t urge you strongly enough to take a few minutes to watch his powerful TED Talk on how schools kill creativity.  There is a reason it’s the most watched TED Talk of all time (almost 18 million views), so please take the time to open your mind to this

And here’s my view through my trusty GoPro of Vegan Strongman Patrik Baboumian carrying 1216 pounds for 10 meters, breaking a Guinness Book of World Record for most weight ever lifted by a human being – ever.



  • Rebecca says:

    Great post. Glad to see you included Sir Ken Robinson’s TED speech about creativity. It’s one of my favorites of all time….

  • Michael Charland says:

    Julie mentioned that there is more information in her book, what book? Thx

  • richroll66 says:

    A book she is currently still writing – will be out sometime next year. Thanks for the interest!

  • Lisa Ray says:

    Inspiring and thought-provoking as always.

  • Maryann says:

    Thought provoking! I wonder if my daughter would be happier now if we had home schooled her for a few years. She’s in high school, does very well, but keeps herself under constant stress to get perfect grades. Maybe some unschooling would have taught her to love the learning, rather than focus on grades.

  • Jim Newell says:

    Hey Rich and Julie,
    Thanks for tackling some ideas about homeschooling and how you both approach the task. We are homeschooling our two boys (6 and 4). I would assume you both know about John Holt and his groundbreaking research and writing. I use his work and the work of Ken Robinson in my college writing classes. Holt wrote a wonderful short piece “How Teachers Make Children Hate Reading” – try here for an online version: I do my best to bring back creativity and teach from what the students want to explore in their writing. Here is a link to a page for John Holt: You and your listeners can find tons of information on Holt and his work all over the web, and if interested, I’m sure ya’ll can click the banner ad and explore what is available at Amazon, though it might be better to check with a local library first.

  • Jan says:

    I am one of those who at the beginning of the RRP asked for less Julie and more Rich (so there it is). But I must admit that I really enjoyed this episode and the insights Julie brought to the table. Being a father of a 2 year old son and being familiar with the school system I went though in Slovakia as a child and knowing the TED talks of Sir Ken Robinson, I was happy to hear it all through someone who actually makes this happen every day. Thank you Rich for bringing these podcasts. They are my companion on runs and bike rides (commutes) to work in now colder and colder Netherlands.

  • Christophe Rousselot says:

    Again very good.

  • Gigi Carter says:

    Love Julie! Love the dynamic between you two. Thanks for bringing her back. Even though I don’t have human children (only the 4-legged kind), I found this podcast to be very interesting and gave me some things to think about with my experience in the public school systems and why I am in the place I’m in today at age 42. Thanks for the great content. Keep it up!

  • BooBoo says:

    Hi Rich and Julie, found this a really interesting podcast! Myself and my hubby do not have children, and do not wish to have any. However, I found your Unschooling techniques and rationale so interesting, and powerful. At the age of 32, I only now feel like I am discovering my true self and working out what I want to do with my life, both as hobbies and interests, and as a career. My life would be very different now if I had received an upbringing and schooling like you are offering your children. Strangely me and hubby were talking about these kinds of issues before I listened to this podcast; it almost feels like half a life wasted. Much like you say your son commented to you; what a waste of time those school years were! And the thought of a child not living past school years, and not having had the chance to truly discover themselves or achieve what they wanted to, is really sad….
    Thanks for continuing to put out such great material.
    A fan in the UK!

  • Wendy LaPointe says:

    This podcast was especially interesting to me as a mother who at times struggles with the traditional public school model. After listening, I am VERY excited to hear Julie will be putting out a book next year! I will definitely pick it up.
    Keep up the good work thinking outside the box when determining what to include in your podcast! The topics are varied and entertaining, but more importantly, I feel like I gain something after listening to your podcasts.

  • Holly Digney Mayer says:

    I just came across this podcast that had gotten burried in my email. It seems to be perfect timing. I am considering homeschooling my son for a couple of very serious reasons. One, of course would be the failing efforts of the public school as an institution- I constantly feel discouraged and let down. The second reason is because I have just started intensive treatment for late stage Lyme disease and due to the fact that we live in the middle of nowhere on a farmette, driving a half an hour one way in harsh weather to a school that I don’t believe in seems like an extraordinarily counterproductive act.

    I found this recording and the Sir Ken Robinson video to be very helpful in helping me share my concerns with my husband, who insists that public school is ‘good enough’. Well, I need not expand here as to why I’m not already homeschooling…
    Thanks again,

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