Fan Mail and Lots of Unschooling Thoughts


This morning I felt very discouraged. Perhaps it was the result of being overtired. I don’t know.

It’s strange how grey the world looks when we’re tired. Earlier today, nothing excited me. I didn’t want to blog or podcast. Sharing unschooling didn’t seem important. All I wanted to do was close my computer and forget everything.

“Are you going to record a podcast today, Mum?”

“I’ve got nothing to say,” I replied. “I’ve said it all before. I’m just repeating myself.”

“You could work on your novel.”

“I don’t feel like doing that either.”

Yes, this morning, I lost my way. I might even have felt a bit (or a lot) sorry for myself.

Then something totally unexpected happened: The postman arrived with a very special letter from my ‘biggest fan’  who’d recently read my children’s novel The Angels of Abbey Creek. Oh my, it’s a good letter. It made me smile. It put me back on track. Suddenly I felt like doing something. I decided to record a podcast after all.

This week’s episode is a bit of a ramble. I went from thought to thought, covering lots of ground in a short time. I spoke off the top of my head, which is usually a big mistake. (Perhaps I should have made some notes!) Anyway, I hope you’ll listen to ep 56. These are a few of the things I talked about:

  • my fan mail
  • tiredness
  • discouragement and encouragement
  • talking to kids
  • trusting and respecting kids
  • chores
  • how we need to have patience when trying new things
  • why you should try unschooling
  • how we all have something valuable to offer
  • Facebook
  • plus other rambling thoughts

Podcast Notes

Blog Posts

Why Some Children Are Willing to Help With the Chores
Getting Kids to Help with the Chores
Memories of an Inexperienced Mother
Because I Am a Mother
Time to Unschool


Ep 41: Chores and Our Typical Unschooling Day

My Children’s Novel

The Angels of Abbey Creek


60’s Quiz Show by Podington Bear(CC BY-NC 3.0)

A nine-year-old boy wrote to me and changed the course of my day. I’ve been thinking about that. Could I touch someone else’s life in a similar way? Perhaps I could write a few encouraging notes of my own. What do you think? Have you ever had a similar experience where someone’s kindness made a difference to your day?

You can find my Stories of an Unschooling Family podcast on
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  1. Reply

    YES! You have certainly touched someone' life that way already…..( many someones, I'm sure!) How wonderful that the little boy wrote to tell you how much he loved the AngelS!!

    I always love stopping by here bc it's as if we're having a little chat –it' a definite pick-me-up! So, again, I'm positive you're touching all your visitors that way.

    Enjoy today Sue and congratulations on your fan mail!! You go girl!

    xoxoxoxo TTYS!

    1. Reply


      I was so thrilled to receive the letter from my biggest fan'! I'm glad he enjoyed my story.

      Oh, I love chatting to you as well. It's so lovely when I see a comment and know you have visited my blog. Your words are always full of joy and encouragement. Thank you! xxx

    • Hwee
    • January 28, 2016

    How wonderful it is to receive that encouraging letter! Congratulations! We don't always know whether what we are doing is touching someone's life in one way or another, but it's always very encouraging to receive positive feedback.

    1. Reply


      You are so right: We don't always know how we are touching people's lives. We shouldn't get discouraged if we don't get any feedback. But I must admit, my fan mail did make a huge difference to how I was feeling. It lifted my spirits tremendously. Receiving your comment about the Liebster award made me smile too! Thank you!

  2. Reply

    I really enjoyed this podcast, but I don't think you should worry too much about repeating yourself.

    I feel like I am swimming in a culture that tells me my children are a reflection of myself, and that reflection had better be the right sort of university/career/house/neighborhood/etc. It all seems to hinge on money. Trust? How could you ever trust a child to have the drive to become wealthy and illustrious in the right circles? Respect? Love? That's what the money is supposed to bring.

    I don't think those cultural forces have ever worried once about repeating themselves! 😎

    You shouldn't either! You've been given a message, and that is a real gift to me, and to many more, I'm sure- keep up the good work! 🙂

    1. Reply


      I hadn't thought about how certain cultural messages are repeated over and over again. You are right. You're also such an encouragement for me. Thank you so much for your kind words. You are a good friend. I shall keep talking and spreading the anti-cultural message. Thank you so much for, not only listening to my podcast but also, saying you enjoyed it. God bless you!

  3. Reply

    When this podcast started, Sue, you seemed sad and tired but, by the end, you seemed enthusiastic, again – as if the Holy Spirit was guiding and encouraging you in your words.

    I agree with Wendy about repetition not being a bad thing. My favourite prayer book has a one week cycle of prayers for each day and it's so repetitive that it started to become a part of my memory and then entered more deeply into my heart. Also, our priest has repeated the words 'for the good of the other' so many times that they have be come a part of me, too. Besides, there's always something fresh to add as life keeps happening.

    I had an idea for future podcasts – have you ever thought of interviewing your readers? You could give unschooling advice or discuss different ideas or you could talk about how unschooling looks in different countries or circumstances. Just a few thoughts…

    Thanks for making the effort, Sue – it felt peaceful to hear your voice as I ironed xxx

    1. Reply


      I did feel more encouraged by the time I finished making this podcast. Talking things through, even to myself, helped.

      Maybe repetition isn't bad, but it would be good if I can think of new ways to convey the same message. I need to be creative!

      Thank you for your podcast ideas. I appreciate your suggestions. It's always good to get some input from other people.

      Thank you so much for listening to this episode!

  4. Reply

    Nice to hear your voice again! I have to pull you up for telling a lie though, you said you have 2 fans but you forgot my girls. Gemma in particular often asks me when your next book will be ready.
    I've told you before, I think, that I like your podcast because you honestly speak from the heart. There is no bluster with you. So much information we receive these days is planned, primed and polished so that it feels fake.
    I see that Vicky says she found your voice soothing whilst ironing, well I did too, except I was weaving 🙂
    God bless, til next time!

    1. Reply


      I'm sorry I lied. (A moment of weakness while feeling sorry for myself!) Yes, of course, Gemma likes my book too! Also, I know my niece is a fan as well. She wrote a beautiful review and posted it on Good Reads without me knowing. I will publish the next story especially for my special fan club!

      I was listening to anothre unschooling podcast the other evening. The presenter sounded so prepared and professional compared to me. I wanted to be like her. But I'm me. What I'm trying to say is that I'm glad you like listening to my podcasts the way they are!

      I'm so glad you and Vicky were doing something useful or interesting while listening!

      Thank you so much for listening, Kelly, and for your encouraging comment. God bless!

    2. Reply

      Would you mind sharing where you find other podcasts? I enjoy listening but find it hard to locate them (especially crafty ones, they all seem old!)

    3. Reply


      I usually do an iTunes search using keywords. Most podcasts are on iTunes, even if they are posted elsewhere too. Have you seen the iTunes New and Noteworthy section? All the latest podcasts are highlighted for a time. I just entered the word 'weaving' into the search engine on the iTunes podcast page and a few podcasts appeared, but you are right, they are old episodes. Perhaps you should start a podcast, Kelly. You speak so well on your videos, you'd find podcasting very easy!

  5. Reply

    I've recently started listening to podcasts and I'm so glad I came across yours! I love hearing about your family, the way you unschool, and all your children's passions. My oldest is only 6 so I'm just starting this journey and it's very comforting to hear from others much more experienced than I. So, thank you! I look forward to hearing more 🙂

    1. Reply


      Your comment has made such a difference to how I feel about podcasting. I'm so glad you stopped by. I remember when my first child was 6. It was an exciting time. What a wonderful adventure you have ahead of you!

      If you ever have any ideas about what you'd like me to speak about, please let me know. I hope we can share more in the future. Thank you so much for your comment!

  6. Reply

    Yep and I am also waiting on book two :-). So hurry up Sue!!

    I could sense your tiredness in the podcast and so much wanted to give you a hug! Waking in the night no fun :-(. Any chance it is hormone related? Acupuncture and Bach flower rescue remedy is great for hormonal imbalance and any associated anxiety.

    Thanks for writing, sharing and podcasting xx

    1. Reply


      Book 2 is finished. We're just having the usual illustration and formatting issues. I hope to get everything sorted out very soon. It's so lovely to know I have friends waiting to read the next installment!

      I could have done with a hug, San. That would have been so lovely. I used to think my inability to sleep was hormone related. Now I'm wondering if the problem is over-stimulation. Sophie has the same sleeping problem. We can't seem to turn off at night. Our heads keep buzzing even though our bodies yearn for some rest. Thank you for your suggestions. I appreciate them and will do some follow up reading.

      I'm grateful for your concern and encouragement. Thank you! xxx

  7. Reply

    It seems like your readership is very loyal and supportive. Lately I've been thinking about breadth versus depth in my online interactions.
    I enjoyed your podcast whilst knitting! You have a productive audience 🙂
    Being a relatively new follower, I don't feel you are repeating yourself.
    But if you need to move on, I can always go back to the archives.
    Creative people require a satisfactory outlet or they will bust. You brain will niggle on this until it works its way through. Then you will be able to settle again. I know! This is all part of the process.
    I understand overstimulation and tiredness. I am writing this at 3am as I can't sleep 🙂
    You are not alone.
    Hugs, Jazzy Jack

    1. Reply

      Jazzy Jack,

      I do have a productive audience! I like to listen to podcasts while doing things too.

      I'm sorry to hear you are also unable to sleep. The other night, we were both awake at the same time, though I wasn't listening to my own voice or knitting. Maybe I should have listened to my own podcast. That might have sent me to sleep! Instead, I was listening to a white noise app on my iPod. I tried all kinds of sounds: falling rain, airplane cabin, waves lapping the shore… None of them helped. All they did was filter out the background noise so I could concentrate on my thoughts better!

      "Creative people require a satisfactory outlet or they will bust." Yes! I imagine you are speaking from experience. I have lots of ideas I want to put into action, too many. I had a new one just this morning. I can't keep up with myself. I'm not sure all my ideas are good ones, but I do love exploring them. This week I re-created my old Sue Elvis Writes blog. That was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to writing posts about children's fiction. This will be something different.

      I'm going to continue podcasting. I do enjoy recording episodes. Podcasting is still a challenge. I have more to learn about the technical side of things. And if no one minds me repeating myself, I should be able to think of things talk about.

      Your comment felt like a big hug. Thank you!

  8. Reply

    I just found your blog and have been listening to some of the podcasts this weekend. I have found them to be so encouraging and I need the repetition! I can completely relate to the oldest child being the guinea pig in the family. We unschooled for a couple of years when my now 17 year old was 7 or 8 years old, but I let fear and other people influence our homeschooling and have bounced from one curriculum to another. He has been able to retain his love for learning, and my 16 year old has a natural drive to learn, but my younger children are losing that love. I have been led back to the idea of unschooling. I desire joy, peace, and trust in our home. I really appreciated the comment that rebuilding trust with your children will take time. I needed to hear that today. Please continue to share your stories. There are new listeners who haven't heard them before. 🙂

    1. Reply

      Prairie Academy,

      I'm so glad you found my blog and stopped by to say hello! It sounds like you are ready to set out once more on an exciting unschooling adventure. Yes, it might take time for everyone to adjust and for trust to build up, but I hope you'll give it a go and that you find the peace, joy and trust you are yearning for.

      Thank you for your encouraging words about my podcast. I will continue talking, and I hope you'll keep listening, and that we can chat again another time!

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