It’s the first day of the official school holidays so my husband Andy is home from school for two weeks. He’s looking forward to resting after his busy term teaching. He got his holiday off to a good start by sleeping in a little later than normal. But the girls and I didn’t linger in bed this morning. No, we were up early so we could film a new music video for my daughter Imogen. At 6.30 am, we were at a local lookout setting up our cameras in the first light of the day.

It was an extremely cold morning. We had to de-ice our car’s windscreen before we could even leave home. Then once we were up on the mountain, we had to face biting cold winds. We all agree that this was our most uncomfortable video shoot ever.

At the moment, Sophie and Imogen are downloading the video clips. But Gemma-Rose has moved on from this morning’s filming. She’s typing at a rate of a million miles an hour. You might know what she’s doing. She’s writing her Camp NaNoWriMo novel. Charlotte is no longer thinking about video shoots either. She’s got her uni work to do.

And what am I doing today? Well, after publishing this week’s podcast, I’m going to do some playing. I have lots of new ideas rolling around my head. I want to try a few of them out, do some experimenting. Maybe I’ll be able to use some of them to promote unschooling. Could a few of my ideas lead to something helpful for readers of my blog and Facebook page?

This brings me to the topic of this week’s podcast: Is what I’m doing online with my blog, podcast and videos helpful? I’m pondering this question. I’m doing some reassessing.

In episode 77, in an attempt to discover what people are looking for, I talk about my ten most popular blog posts ever. Are the unschooling ideas and principles, contained within them, what people want to know about?

My top ten list includes posts about:

  • chores
  • getting kids to do ‘school’ work
  • parenting mistakes
  • ‘proper’ unschooling
  • unschool record-keeping
  • resources and strewing
  • unschooling misconceptions

But I’m wondering: What about you? Are these the topics you want to hear more about? Or do you listen/read/watch for a different reason? Perhaps you’re not searching for information. Could it be you’re just looking for friendship with a like-minded family?

I hope you’ll listen to my podcast, and, if you have time, please stop by to leave me some feedback.

Show Notes

My Most Popular Posts

Getting Kids to Help with the Chores

A Perfect Method for Keeping Unschooling Records

What Happened When I Strewed a Painting on the Wall…

What to Do When Strewing is Rejected

Chores and Kids: What if We Said, “Yes”?

Are You a Proper Unschooler?

How to Get Children to Do Their ‘School Work’

Memories of an Inexperienced Mother

Misconceptions: Unschooling Children Will Choose Not to Do Difficult Things

I took these photos at this morning’s music video shoot. It was our second attempt at filming. Last Friday, we arrived at the lookout all prepared to film, and discovered an extremely cold wind was whipping across the mountain. After enduring this wind for a time, we reassessed the situation and decided to go home. Today, it didn’t really matter what the weather was like. We’d already decided we would film the video even if conditions were uncomfortable. We couldn’t reassess and change our plan again because Imogen wants to publish her video this week.


Here’s the How Great Thou Art video!

You can find more episodes of my Stories of an Unschooling Family podcast on

and here on my blog.

I’m taking a short break from podcasting while Andy is on holiday. I’ll be back with a new episode in a couple of weeks’ time!

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  1. I listen mostly for unschool inspiration. I have read and searched a lot of blogs on the subject and didn't feel as if I could connect with the families. I would be 50/50 on their advice. Some of them felt very if you don't do it this way your not unschooling. With yours I feel like we found a family similar to ours and you seem to accept unschoolers no matter where they are at in their journey. It was nice to see someone who also started off as a traditional home school mom who may have raised her voice to often lol yet has come around to where you are now. I was the same way and we have progressed to where we are at but still have a ways to go.

    I feel inspired by your blog and your advice as it comes across more of a shared experience instead of this is how you do it. You share what you do versus telling me as a listener what I must do. Some favorites have been where there were issues but how you fixed them, those are helpful tips. For instance Charlotte who didn't take your strewing advice or Gemma-Rose and having to look a bit deeper to find what she was interested in.

    There was also the Evernote videos that I found helpful. I started our own Evernote books last month to keep a record for my own pleasure. I like to see what the kids have done to share with them and it calms that fear on those days where you need to show yourself oh yes look all we've done. Hopefully this was somewhat helpful 🙂

    1. As I read that over I'll have to also say please forgive my grammar 🙂 typing comments on my phone don't always come out as smooth as I'd like haha.

    2. Reply


      Oh yes, that was more than helpful! Thank you so much for taking the time to give me this feedback.

      I wonder if any unschooler starts exactly as they mean to go on. Surely everyone learns as they go, continually moving forward in their journey. No one gets things right at the beginning. And we are never finished so we can never think we're perfect. Knowing that, I think we should be encouraging and supportive of everyone regardless of where we actually are at this moment.

      I'm so glad my blog comes over as me sharing my experiences and not as me telling everyone what to do. That's what I was aiming for when I started blogging. I don't think it's the most popular way to do things. Maybe people prefer to be told what to do by someone who appears to be an expert. Those kind of blogs have a great deal of readers. It's just as well, as I said in the podcast, that I'm not aiming for popularity!

      Evernote is wonderful. I'm glad you like it too. I'd like to do a podcast just about record-keeping. It sounds like a dry topic, but it might be helpful. I know a lot of unschoolers are choosing to use Evernote. Yes, it does calm the fears to see all those notes full of fabulous learning experiences!

      No need to apologise for the grammar of your comment. It's fine. Usually when I write comments on my tablet they sound stilted because I try to use as few words as possible. I hate writing without a proper keyboard!

      Thank you so much for listening to my podcast and for leaving this great comment!

    3. If your ever looking for video ideas one with the girls on nanowrimo would be helpful. I went to check it out the other day and decided I needed more time than what I had to figure it all out before presenting it to my girls.

      I also wondered did you ever do cooperatives with other families or field trip group type things? We have found as we transitioned into unschooling that some of these things were harder to keep onto as they felt like they no longer fit however that 'kids need groups' thought still lingers. I wondered how you fit outside the family social time in or if you haven't how has it worked for you?

    4. Reply


      Oh yes, we could make a video about NaNoWriMo. That's a great suggestion! NaNoWriMo sounds complicated, but it isn't really. A bit of info and I think your girls will be okay!

      No, we don't do field trips or that type of thing with other families. I can relate to your words 'kids need groups'. I've been told that a lot, and a couple of years' ago we did actually try a homeschooling group. The other families were very friendly but my girls didn't fit in very well. They weren't interested in the organised activities. No one else was unschooling so we didn't share similar ways of thinking. We persevered with the group for about 6 months before giving up. We haven't missed it.

      My girls have few friends compared to most children of their ages. Part of this is to do with their introverted natures. Some of it is to do with the fact that we are the only unschoolers around here. They haven't found any kindred spirit type friends. They do have online friends, a few friends they see maybe every few months, but generally they spend their time with each other. My girls' social life reflects my own. I chat to many people each day online but rarely see a friend face to face. Sometimes I miss the social contact, but usually I'm too busy and involved with my family and our activities that I don't have time to think about it.

      It's hard knowing what to do sometinmes, isn't it? We want to provide the right environment and opportunities for our kids. A big community of unschooling kindred spirit families living near us would be ideal. Then again, we'd probably retreat after a while because, as I said, we're introverts!

      Just remembered: The younger girls do meet up with a St John Ambulance group every week. They are quite capable of socialising and aren't shy or awkward at all despite having few real friends. Actually, Sophie says the school kids have more problems than she does with social skills. They don't know how to have proper conversations, or how to include kids in the group, and similar things. As Sophie says, being able to talk doesn't mean a person has any communication skills. I was going to write a blog post about this. Maybe I will get around to it some time!

      I've enjoyed chatting with you!

    5. Reply

      I sometimes have those same thoughts of "kids need groups" too Sue and Alissa. You mentioned doing a blog post about this subject Sue; I think that would be a wonderful post! By the way, I love the way the comments show up in the blog posts now without having to click on them! I like the new design:)

    6. Reply


      I wrote the post about socialisation after seeing your comment. I'd like to interview Sophie about this topic. I think that would be much more interesting than my post.

      I'm glad you like my new blog design. I got fed up with the old one because it took a long time to load each page. This template doesn't have as many features but maybe that's okay. Everything necessary but nothing extra! I still have a few more things to add to the top menu bar. I hope to finish off organising everything very soon.

      I hope you're enjoying the weekend!

    7. Reply


      I changed my mind about publishing the post on my blog. I put it on the Not So Proper Unschoolers FB page instead.

  2. Reply

    I listen to hear the sound of your lovely voice, learn something new, something to ponder and maybe even a challenge it too!! Xx

    1. Reply


      You are a dear friend. Thank you for making me feel so loved and needed. Did you realise your words rhyme? I could make a beautiful jingle out of them and sing it on my podcast. No, perhaps not. My singing is terrible! Sending love to you and your family. xxx

    • May
    • July 5, 2016

    I must admit, I don't listen to the podcasts. I'm not sure why but I much prefer to read blog posts than listen to them! My brain works oddly that way, I suppose. I always have to take notes on paper when listening to lectures or my focus wanders off. Anyway, I love reading your written posts but as I don't have children yet, it's mostly for inspiration and entertainment.

    1. Reply


      Isn't it wonderful how we have so many different types of media available to us? Something to suit everyone! I understand completely about not listening to podcasts.

      I love how you're reading my blog even though you don't have children yet. That's so nice. Thank you! I really will have to write more posts. I keep meaning to, but there are always so many things to do. I miss writing so I shall try to make it a priority.

      Thank you so much for stopping by with your helpful feedback!

  3. Reply

    Oh my Sue-a big YES, your videos, podcasts and blog are all very helpful! Yours is the 1st unschooling blog that I found that I really connect with and it has been such an encouragement to me.

    You give me so many ideas and things to think about! Sometimes it's just nice knowing you’re not alone and that there are others who think like you. I have gone back and worked my way through all of the archives on your blog and am working on the podcasts now. After reading and listening I always wish we lived near each other since our families seem so like-minded. My kids always ask if there are any new Stories of an Unschooling Family videos; we love to watch them together 🙂

    I hope reassessing doesn't mean that you plan to stop, as you would be greatly missed!

    1. Reply


      Oh, wouldn't be nice if we were neighbours? I'd like that very much indeed. I'm sure we would have wonderful conversations while sitting at the kitchen table sipping coffee. I enjoy your enthusiasm, cheerfulness and wonderful sense of humour so much. You are always such an encouragement to me too. A good friend. Thank you!

      I'm reassessing because I'm doing too many things. What is the most important? What projects should I concentrate on? I've got so many things in a half-finished stage and that doesn't feel very satisfying.

      I decided to have a podcast break to give me a little bit of free time to play around with a few ideas. It's been good. I can't say I'm having a restful holiday, but I'm getting things done. So far this week, (it's Thursday as I write this), we've filmed a video and done some promotion for it, I've made an animation about my first children's novel, and I've (with Andy and the girls' help) got my new children's novel ready for publishing. That last achievement feels particularly good. It's taken me a very long time to get to this stage.

      I haven't done much writing recently and I do miss it. My thoughts keep turning to my third Angels story. I wrote the draft a couple of years ago. I would love to finsih it. Perhaps I will!

      I don't think I'll be giving up blogging or podcasting. I'd miss you all if I did that! Perhaps I just need a break every now and then.

      It's lovely that your children watch out for new videos. I posted the Angels of Abbey Creek animation on my Youtube channel. Perhaps they'll enjoy it. Also, Imogen posted a new music video yesterday: How Great Thou Art. It was filmed in extremely cold and windy conditions. Let us know if you like it!

      So good to chat. Thank you for stopping by!

    2. Reply


      My blog turned my word 'cheerfulness' into a cheers emoticon! I wonder if it will do it again when I publish this comment!

    3. Reply


      It's good to hear from you again!

      I'm glad you are enjoying the first Angels book. I hope you will like the next one even more. The Angels of Gum Tree Road is finished. I hope to order the first proof print copy of it later today. We just need to check the quality of the images before we order one. I must admit I will feel relieved when I've finished with this novel. It's taken so long to get to this stage. I suppose I will feel satisfied too! I was thinking about the third book last night. Suddenly, it seems possible that I might get back to editing it. It needs lots of work but there are some chapters I really like so I want to finish it.

      Our school year starts durng the last week of January. We have 4 ten week terms each year. Between each term there is a 2 week holiday except for the last holiday of the year. This one starts in early December and lasts for about 6 weeks. Of course that's our Christmas as well as our summer holiday!

      I love finding out more about other countries and cultures too. Thanks for sharing your details!

    4. Reply

      Yes, I would love chatting over tea if we lived nearby! I know how you feel about reassessing. I often have too many good things started but then get overwhelmed that there is not enough time to finish them. Sometimes we do need a break to put some aside and pick one or two to work on and complete. So glad that’s all it is and that you won’t be leaving blogging and podcasting!

      Sounds like you have had a busy but productive holiday. I’m sure it did feel very satisfying to get the second Angels book ready to publish. When will it be ready? We are almost done with the first one and have really enjoyed it, so we will be looking out for it! I think it would be wonderful for you to complete the third one so we can keep up with the Angels.

      Things have been busy here lately so we haven’t had a chance to watch the new videos, but I’m sure we will enjoy them when we do, as always!

      I noticed in this post you said Andy was on holiday from school. What is the school year like in Australia? Do the children go to school year round? Of course we don’t follow a school calendar since we unschool, but here in Tennessee they go from August to May with a short spring, fall, and Christmas break and then they get the whole summer off. When I lived in Michigan, I grew up going to school year round; we went to school for 45 days and then took 15 days off. I guess everyone does it a little differently. I love to find out about other countries/cultures, so I was just curious.

      Have a wonderful day!

  4. Reply

    I've missed your voice! The youtube lessons have been taking so much of my "leisure" time. But anyway, here is my idea: I like to know how people do things, the processes they take. Off the top of my head, I know Gemma would be very interested to know more about your book writing and publishing process. I would be interested to see some more background on how Imogen puts her songs together – I know about the filming process from her behind the scenes videos, but what about the choosing songs, the arranging, the recording etc. My favourite way to learn is to be a sticky beak into what other people do – as you said in the podcast, people like to know what a day in the life of an unschooler looks like, so I guess this idea falls under that category.
    Also, as I've mentioned before, I really appreciate you posting links to resources you've found as I find acquiring interesting resources a real challenge.
    Thanks for another interesting and inspiring podcast!

  5. Reply


    I also like finding out how people do things. I wonder if you wrote a post about how you dye your yarns. I would especially like to know how you make the multicoloured ones. Dyeing is something I would really love to know more about!

    When I read your words about Imogen's videos, I had an idea. We will work on it! And yes, I could share more about novel writing and publishing. Thank you so much for your suggestions. It's always good to get some feedback.

    It sounds like your subscription channel is doing very well. Congratulations!

    Thank you for listening to my podcast!

    1. Reply

      Oh dear, I still haven't done the yarn dyeing instructions! I was planning on doing a video, as it's easier to show than tell. I will still do that at some point 🙂

    2. Reply


      We would all love to watch a video about yarn dyeing! You are right: Showing is better than telling! I also sometimes find telling is better than writing. I suppose that's why I've been making more podcasts and writing less blog posts. You can say so much more in a podcast or video than you can in a blog post.

      We'll watch out for your video though, of course, you might have lots of other things you need to do first!

    • Anna
    • September 24, 2016

    I appreciate your podcasts, videos, blog very much.
    I'm wanting to learn how to extract outcomes from my children's living-learning adventures. It's my first year having to write a report and I'm really anxious about it. I don't want to fail my children
    I would love to learn more about unschooling and have a mentor to talk to.

    1. Reply


      I'm happy to help you in any way I can. If you have any specific questions about record-keeping I'll do my best to answer them. I have written a number of record-keeping and registration posts. I hope they're helpful. I've never had any problems registering my children as homeschoolers. Good records and having a confident attitude have always got me through the process. Our unschooling kids have so many amazing learning experiences. If we can capture them in our records, other people can't fail to be impressed. The tricky bit is fulfilling certain expected outcomes. Even that is possible. Anna, you won't fail your kids. You might feel anxious at the moment, but once you get your record-keeping in place, and get into the habit of turning your kids' adventures into the right educational language, I'm sure you'll start to feel confident. You can then enjoy unschooling with your children!

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