Learn how to make the most out of educating at home with homeschooling consultant Erin Weidemann. Erin is a sought-after homeschool consultant, certified teacher, coach, and nationally-recognized speaker, She has authored eight books and is the founder of Truth Becomes Her. A worth movement for moms.
Erin's Homeschool Mentorship Program The Heroic Homeschooler https://truthbecomesher.com/pages/homeschool-course
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Erin Weidemann: So many parents are overwhelmed and having to juggle things like school, now work at home for a lot of them, multiple kids. You've got learners with individual learning needs at home, that you're used to leaning on the support of a teacher and now you're a teacher. So you're wearing a different hat, your children are not used to seeing you that way.
So the first thing I would tell parents is to just, you got to learn to break a couple of the traditional school rules that you're used to. I had to learn this going from professional teaching. I taught full time in the classroom, public and private schools for almost 10 years.
Phil Weaver: Hi. This is Liz Weaver and you are listening to The Learning Success Podcast. An information-packed podcast with the latest news, information, and tips to help you overcome a learning difficulty.
For anyone suffering from a reading difficulty, writing difficulty, or math difficulty, of focus problem, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, or ADHD. This is the place for you. The Learning Success Podcast is brought to you by learningsuccesssystem.com
Phil Weaver: Hello. And welcome to The Learning Success Podcast, where we help you embrace your child's brilliance and unleash their potential. I'm Phil Weaver, your host today. Today we have Erin Weidemann. Erin is the founder of Truth Becomes Her.
A brand that equips moms and women with resources, to help them step into their unique leadership roles. A sought-after homeschool consultant, certified teacher, coach, and nationally recognized speaker. Erin's personal mission is to shift the conversation around feminine values from being beauty driven to focus on inherent worth.
An on-air personality for Air1 Radio, Erin delivers, "59 seconds of Hope" daily, as well as hosts the Heroes For Her Podcast, where she interviews positive female role models who are living out their passions in-line with their personal values.
She is the author of eight books, including the best selling Bible Belles series, The Adventures of Rooney Cruz which has sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide. And Erin is a five-time cancer survivor and lives and homeschools in San Diego, California, with her husband Brent, and their daughter Rooney. Welcome, Erin.
Erin Weidemann: Phil, I'm excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Phil Weaver: Yes. It's very wonderful to have you. So we're going to start off your personal mission. We want to talk mainly today about parents that are forced into homeschooling. I'm sure you have a lot to help them with that with your experience. But to start off with your personal mission. And can you speak about that?
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. I think out of my journey as a young person I struggled with, you know the typical things that girls struggle with insecurity and comparison. And really wasn't walking in my gifts and talents and it took a cancer diagnosis for me to sort of redirect my own life.
I start asking some of those bigger questions about, "How can I leverage the way out of my wiring, the things that I'm passionate about making a difference in the world?" So that's really where Truth Becomes Her came from, our educational platform, it's where the Bible Belles' series came from.
Just wanting to come alongside this next generation of girls specifically, and pour into them in a way where they could walk in their identity, could be confident, be bold, compassionate leaders and really make the difference that they were born to make.
Phil Weaver: Okay. So inherent worth what sort of thing... what drives that? That realization.
Erin Weidemann: And I think for me, in growing up again, and I taught for many years and mostly mentoring I think back to my sixth-grade mentorship of girls, mostly. We'd meet every Friday. And the typical issues those young girls face are, it has to do with this beauty driven society they live in.
Where the ultimate emphasis and focus is placed on what you look like, what you wear, what you act like, what you sound like. How you're perceived by the people around you. And I think when we focus on that when we allow girls to sort of stew in that it creates anxiety, it creates worry, it creates them missing, living in the fullness of who they were made to be.
So I think as educators, as parents, the conversation really becomes for us as their leaders, the people who are called to influence them and nurture them. What can you do practically, to shift that focus away from, "Yes. The world is going to tell you about your physical body, it's going to tell you about your fashion and your beauty from an outside perspective."
Erin Weidemann: But really taking that focus inward and looking at character, how to build confidence, how to build again, compassion and wisdom inside our daughters to be able to make good decisions and really make an impact.
Phil Weaver: I got you. Good. So, when that transformation happens, can you talk about what happens in career, family relationships? I mean, there are lots of different venues where that's going to have...
Erin Weidemann: Yeah, I think there's a beautiful alignment that can take place, right? And you said it in your intro. I mean, even just the focus of this podcast is all about unlocking the potential that lies inside each one of our learners. Not just from an academic standpoint, but from the viewpoint of the whole of the person, right?
We're called to develop our children, not just to do well in the classroom and to excel from an academic standpoint, but to look at all aspects of their life, their person and what they can go out into the world and accomplish and what they can be.
So it's an exciting conversation I think too, and one I enjoy thinking about. And my personal journey, husband, family, has merged with my professional life which has to do with education and leadership and mentorship of girls and just helping parents in whatever way that we can.
Erin Weidemann: So, I enjoy doing this work because it's a meshing of personal and professional, which is just what you talked about, right? Being able to inspire people across many different areas of their life, not just in one specific area.
Phil Weaver: Yeah, yeah. It's amazing. I am personally around a lot of strong women. Because I teach Kung Fu. And it's amazing what... I'll bring this up and maybe you can comment on it. So I've seen transformations in women like instantly. And typically when in learning how to fight, in learning because of their [inaudible 00:06:04] obviously, most men are stronger bigger than women.
And so whatever effect that has logically, what I don't know but what I do know, is that typically... and my wife is the best at this, at bringing women through this, is that women will not when they first learned to defend themselves, it's not that they can't, but they won't.
We see this universally, that when she takes... especially I guess a woman's self-defense seminar, where most of the day is getting them just to psychologically to defend them, to actually step up and try to defend themselves. And of course, then once that happens, they're a different person. Can you speak to... Why do I see such a change, in women? Do you know?
Erin Weidemann: And when you look at men and women and the differences [inaudible 00:07:08] hiring you based on brain and biology. Men are typically generally speaking, wired for things like power and competition and that whole drive toward, being better and one-upping and all of that.
Women are, we're much more relational wired things like empathy and altruism. I mean, I even think of my own personal feelings about being in that situation, knowing that self-defense is so positive, it's going to give me so many great skills.
Way to conduct me when I leave the house, so we feel safer, more secure. But in my spirit, I'd have a lot of reservations about inflicting actual violence on someone, even in a way that it is a safe way where you can learn about it with an instructor.
Erin Weidemann: So yeah, I think the challenge for women is just to let go of some of those inhibitions, some of that internal wiring, to understand what's possible when we challenge ourselves, we open ourselves up to new experiences so, yeah that's an exciting conversation for sure.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. It's a question I've been trying to figure out for many, many years because I've seen it over and over and over. This instant transformation when women do. And then they're stoppable. Once they get it, they just-
Erin Weidemann: [inaudible 00:08:18] hit that barrier and then-
Phil Weaver: [inaudible 00:08:20] Yeah, I'm always-
Erin Weidemann: Do everything with a fresh perspective.
Phil Weaver: Yeah, I'm always trying to dial them down after that. Because [inaudible 00:08:26] it's kind of crazy. Yeah. Really does. All right. So let's jump into the parents, that are now homeschools. What are the things that they should do immediately?
Erin Weidemann: Immediately. Yes. I mean there are so many things right? So many parents are overwhelmed and having to juggle things like school, now work at home for a lot of them, multiple kids. You've got learners with individual learning needs at home, that you're used to leaning on the support of a teacher and now you're a teacher.
So you're wearing a different hat, your children are not used to seeing you that way. So the first thing I would tell parents is to just, you got to learn to break a couple of the traditional school rules that you're used to. I had to learn this going from professional teaching. I taught full time in the classroom, public and private schools for almost 10 years.
Erin Weidemann: And now I'm homeschooling and an entrepreneur who works from home full time. So we're juggling a lot at home. But I really had to do a rewiring of my brain around the context I was familiar with, being in the classroom, 25 to 40 kid. You rotating schedules and the bell and all the different preps that you're juggling.
And being in school for seven to eight hours a day, having everything dictated a certain way. Standing at the front of the room and presenting material. These are all rules that exist in the traditional schooling environment that doesn't need to exist in your home. Because you're not rotating 25 to 40 kids at a time. They're not on a typical schedule.
You'll find that during homeschooling, I mean, even your youngest kids, they'll get it done in a few hours a day. And so then you're sort of managing, "What are we doing with this extra time? How are we really investing in you in a way that, gives you a chance to work on your unique abilities? The skills you're interested in improving?"
Erin Weidemann: So it really becomes more of a conversation about freedom and choice. Which is what I want to encourage parents to view this time as. This is not a burden for your home environment. It's not a burden for your children or you, it is really a blessing because you're getting to sit down as a family. Get very intentional about, "Okay. Yes, let's tackle all the academic subjects.
Let's make sure all of your learning needs are met, in the style that you learn best. And then what are we doing with this extra time? How are we developing our interpersonal relationships? How are we spending time as a family? What new life skills are we working on?" So that becomes a really exciting conversation. Not, "Oh my gosh, I'm so stressed out. I've got to deal with all these academic subjects, and I can't get any of my work done."
Phil Weaver: Right. Right. So there's quite a bit of greater efficiency in the homeschooling. And that leaves you able to do much more then, so you're saying?
Erin Weidemann: That at least for us, I mean we're full-time work from home. My husband and I run a home-based business together. So we work together, it's connected to our parenting, our marriage, our leadership in our home, outside of our home. So we're juggling all of that. We have one learner, I have a baby on the way.
I think what I want to do too, is just encourage parents to see this extra time as an opportunity to really meet together as a family, to view your family as more of a team and to really create a collaborative, open environment inside your home to say, "Okay. Who do we have here? What are their needs? What are the responsibilities we need to take care of as a family?"
That include professional work for parents, that includes academic work for children, it includes household chores. I mean, we're all at home spending a lot more time there.
Erin Weidemann: So there are a lot of ways to manage... not micromanage your children, but certainly, invite them into a conversation that says, "Okay. If this is going to be collaborative and cooperative, how can we land on taking care of the responsibilities that we all have inside this house?
Getting all of your academic needs met, to handling our business, so to speak? And then what are we doing with that extra time?" So one thing I always tell parents to do is, to have an initial meeting. If you haven't already, this is a great time to do it. And just land on your family's values.
What are the driving priorities of your specific family unit? It varies from house to house, but certainly... I mean in our house, we value and we've decided collectively that these are things that are really important to our family that we want to prioritize.
Things like unity and diligence, right? The consistent pursuit of effort with excellence. That's an important definition of the work that we do. We value things like flexibility and compassion and service toward other people.
Erin Weidemann: So once you land on those values that create... number one, this creates a really interesting conversation to have person-to-person. From your youngest learners all the way up to, high school and young adult age kids who are at home trying to figure all this out with their parents.
It creates a really beautiful opportunity to understand more about your children's unique perspectives, and the value they can bring to this a conversation about what things you're built to prioritize, what things do you think are important to your family.
And then once you establish those values, all of the expectations you set, the schedule and rhythm that's going to work best for your family, what to do when kids aren't meeting expectations and how to reward or introduce consequences.
Those are going to land so much more smoothly. There's going to be less pushback and more enthusiasm because the kids have all become accountable to what these values are. And it doesn't feel so like, "Mom and dad is just laying the hammer down. They're not my teacher. And this feels so foreign to me."
Erin Weidemann: Because we've got to give our kids grace in this time too, this is not something they were used to. And they're having to make a very real and serious adjustment, to their learning situation, the environment, the person, everything about their learning is different now.
So giving them a little grace, inviting them into the conversation certainly will create more buy-in and increased enthusiasm if your learners are not so enthused about this current situation.
Phil Weaver: I can imagine. It sounds like actually quite a great opportunity for families. [inaudible 00:14:23] let's go on. You mentioned learning styles. Are you an advocate of learning styles and adapting-
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. I read the research on it too. I think it's for me. At least being in the classroom, I'm wary of boxing kids into like, "This is your specific learning style. And it's the only way you learn best." But certainly, children gravitate toward different types of learning scenarios and experiences more so than others.
So I think this is a really nice opportunity now that we've layered into parents' day. That academic hat, you're going to have to look at your child may be in a different way, start asking some questions you maybe haven't asked before. What does my son or daughter respond to, regarding certain subject material? Right? Or, are they a get-up and move around kind of a kid?
My daughter, she's amazing. She can't sit, she's in kindergarten. She can sit for 20 to 30 minutes to do a learning activity with me, she likes to work at the kitchen table.
Erin Weidemann: But sometimes she doesn't. And we're outside on the trampoline while she's jumping around on her head and shouting vocabulary words at me because it's something that we can leverage inside our home.
The ability to get up and move around, use our body, be healthy and just access different learning opportunities, in a way that leverages our health, our movement, all of the things that kids don't necessarily have when they're inside the classroom seated at a desk, facing a certain way.
Sometimes there's a chance to get up and move around, but certainly, that doesn't exist traditionally, in the way it can exist at home. So, we're advocates, at least in our house and I've seen the blessing that comes with, asking your child where they want to learn today? "Is doing math on the kitchen floor, is that convenient for me while I'm cooking?" "No."
But if she wants to sprawl out on the floor and do some of her math problems, as a way to just take a break from sitting at the table and feeling like it's monotonous and just overkill to be doing the same thing over and over again.
Erin Weidemann: Then think about giving your kids that freedom. I think it's for us to let go of [inaudible 00:16:27]its appearance, again, those traditional rules of, "It's got to happen this way." We know that learning and experiential wisdom, we gain it not when conditions are ideal, not in a certain setting from a certain person every time. We can learn anywhere, anytime, anyplace. And that's what you want to focus your kids on in the season.
Phil Weaver: Right, right. Yeah. It seems to me that that movement is one of the things that's really lacking in schools. My wife and I actually designed an app. And we built it in 2005, unfortunately we were away before our time.
Which was just a... now they call them brain breaks. We called it to break pal back then. And it was an app that came up on the computer, and went through some yoga moves or Kung Fu moves or Tai Chi or whatever, and three-minute exercise and got it back.
We actually presented it to the school back then, of course, that was right before the '08 economic crash and everything kind of died. But I'm glad to see that those brain breaks are now gaining popularity in the schools.
And we know that kinesthetic that incorporating the body is huge... we learn from the outside in. So, amazing. A setup. So what things should a parent have, to just set up to be efficient at homeschooling?
Erin Weidemann: I think, I mean for specific families, if you have multiple learners or whatever their age or ability levels are, whatever their current grade level is, all of these factors sort of coming into play, in figuring out the setup that's going to work for your family.
But again, time to have a conversation with your learner's right? And even the smallest kids will have an opinion, about the way that they're going to learn best. So invite your children into that conversation. This is not for you to, on the fly, try to figure out a good situation.
You really can gain a lot of wisdom from your early, middle elementary, middle school, and high school students about the environment, the setup, where they want to learn inside your home. And when they're home learning, they are not outside, in a different building with a different person they have... and sometimes this creates a challenge, right?
Erin Weidemann: They have access to all the things that, all of the comforts and the activities and the games and the fun things that exist at home. So developing a good rhythm around, freeing the area of distraction is always something I recommend.
Again in our house, we value diligence, so we've decided that across the board when we're doing academic or focused learning time, there are no distractions in our space. If there's technology to be used, it's used during the lesson, and for the lesson, it's not mom's scrolling through her phone checking emails, while I'm supposed to be working one-on-one with my a learner who needs my support.
So it's showing that every member of the family is free of distraction, is committed to, again, those values. And just setting up something that will work for your family. If everyone needs an individual working space as opposed to all working at one table.
Or if you're rotating people around again, you've got one learner that's bouncing off the walls that needs a lot more movement. You can, figure out the best rotation schedule for everybody in a way that works.
Erin Weidemann: And I always have parents like, "Map it out." And a lot of times I think as parents, we have an idea that how it's going to work in our minds, but if we don't see it and actually create, like a moveable way to visualize it, I think it can get convoluted especially because we're all trying to juggle professional work.
I've got appointments and calls and content writing that I need to do and interviews like this one, right? So those are all things that are kind of sprinkled in during the day, that you can't necessarily block as a working professional. So there's a lot to juggle. But again, inviting your children into that space and creating a schedule, implementing a rhythm, a routine that looks good, assessing it often and frequently, because every day can look very different.
Someone wakes up has a bad day, someone is sick one day, someone's got more work or less work one day, these are all things that come up and you have to change as a parent and be adaptable and flexible. Again, one of my values.
Erin Weidemann: On the fly, to assess the situation and say, "Okay. See something's not working. We implemented it. It's clearly not working for us, though. So let's give it a chance. What do we think is going to be a good change?" And then just creating an ebb and flow of, "Okay, assessment, and is this working?" And we don't just sit when it's not working, we actually stop and change and do something about it.
Phil Weaver: So you're attempting to create focus during those focus times, no matter what duration they are. Is the goal?
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. And I think to across the board, I always tell parents it's what we do in the home that's worked well for us. But certainly, dividing your time periods during the day. If you're using a chunked allotment of scheduling during the mornings and the afternoons, and you're breaking it up with things like brain breaks or relaxation for your children to take a break from academic learning time, to do activities that light them up that, relax them, that are fun and engaging and will give them a break from all of the academic work they're doing.
There should be a good mix of that. So here, I mean, we divided them into three different categories. Its academic focus learning time. So that's studying, that's a review of the material, it's test prep, it's all the things that you would do academically. We have rest and relaxation time. Those are fun activities. Those are independent activities where you're separating from mom and dad. They are not available to you. That also creates time for me to get some work done. That is not an educational work.
Erin Weidemann: And then the third category is chores, contributing to the family team. Because we're home, we're eating, there's a lot more work to do, there's more laundry, there are more dishes, there's more of everything. I know, parents are noticing that.
And if you're not employing even your youngest children, to help out and make those family team contributions, you're going to get everybody in bed at the end of the day and is staring at a pile of dishes, and a pile of laundry and things that didn't get done during the day.
And there is a way to manage that, where you will have the time at the end of the day to actually decompress, spend time with your spouse, take time for yourself. And that's really important for just the filling up process of you, as the one driving this forward and leading your family in this way.
Phil Weaver: Right. Makes sense. So if a parent is looking at this, and they're certain this is going to be a short term thing. They're just homeschooling through this event. What are the best practices for that?
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. I think too, the one thing I would tell parents, and at the beginning... This didn't just happen with no notice, it also happened with no budget. So for somebody who was thrust into the, "Okay, we're distance learning. We're remote learning at school, at home.
It's not homeschooling, because we didn't number one, we didn't plan for it, we don't have a budget for it. I'm going to recommend right off the bat, that parents do a couple of practical things that will move them from survival mode, which is how we were all thrust into this, to actually getting a little bit more intentional.
So having that family meeting, establishing a rhythm that's going to work for your children, dividing chunked allotment times into three different categories. If you want to start with something simple and not feel overwhelmed, find time for them to do their academics and do their learning.
Erin Weidemann: Find time for them to rest and relax, do activities that are engaging that will lift them up, that will center themselves, that will right their spirit. So that they're not constantly overwhelmed by the academic stress of, "Gosh, the school looks very different at home right now and I'm overwhelmed and worried. [inaudible 00:24:02] just about what I'm trying to do." And then really pouring in and allowing your kids to be part of your family team and contributing to the household chores and the responsibilities there.
So if you get clear on what those are, I always recommend to parents, you want to invite your kids whenever possible, and the less you can dictate to them in this season. Because again, they're not used to you being their teacher, right? They're used to a totally different person with a totally different look and voice and every... I mean, everything about you to them is different right now. So just give them a little grace.
Erin Weidemann: But around the chores conversation, I mean, something easy that we do is, rather than say, "Here is your list of weekly chores that I need you to do?" I make a list of 10 or 20 chores that will really bless me, and let my child pick. Two a day. She does one in the afternoon and one in the morning.
She chooses when she does them but she does one there, one there. She chooses from a list. We know these all will bless me, it will alleviate some stress that I'm feeling. But it invites her to make choice right? And to engage in the choice that she made, in a way that's going to help get some things done.
So, I think just getting clear on what those are... our kids ultimately too, they want to be helpful. They are a part of your team. They want you to invest in them. They want to know that they belong and that you honor their opinions, you care about their ideas, you want to include them in the decision making.
Erin Weidemann: And I was really blessed as a classroom teacher, to have really rich conversations, deep conversations about how my students wanted to contribute to our classroom experience, to the culture, right down to writing the rules at the beginning of the year.
I could have come in at the beginning of the year and said, "Here are my class rules, memorize them, know them, learn them, love them." Or we can have a 20-minute dialogue where we all brainstorm, what are the classroom rules that you feel are really going to create a valuable learning environment?
One where everybody can learn in the best way they learn, and one that breeds collaboration and cooperation. That's really the name of the game. To get your students to buy into you, and what you're leading them through. You want to invite them to the table to contribute.
Phil Weaver: I'm curious about that as a school teacher when you were doing that. When you did those brainstorming sessions from year to year, did you end up with similar rule sets? Or were they completely varied? And how different would they have been from, had you written them by yourself?
Erin Weidemann: They were very similar to what I would have written by me. They were different in like phrasing every year. But for the most part, I mean, what do kids want? They want to feel respected. They wanted to feel like an environment where they feel safe.
And sometimes they can't articulate that, right? So it's up to you as the teacher to sort of synthesize their thoughts and their ideas and opinions and land on, a list of items that they can subscribe to, right? Or that really capture the essence of their feelings.
But yeah, there were no big surprises, certainly. But from going from, being an early teacher and being so focused on the curriculum, and my subject matter and what I was trying to teach them, and really missing an opportunity to connect with my students on a human level.
Erin Weidemann: I realized a few years in, gosh if I just invest in them, and show them that I value them the first few days of school, and really set the tone for the culture and the atmosphere inside this learning environment. I'm going to do myself a better service as their educator, but then I'm just going to cultivate this environment where it feels open.
They can be vulnerable. They can share their feelings. They're not afraid to be who they are, not just, "Yes, they're driven academically. We want them to be really excited about getting good grades." That's certainly part of the learning experience, but it's not everything.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. I've interviewed a few teachers who are just crushing it, and it's all around that same theme that you just said. All the same ideas. It's-
Erin Weidemann: Human first. Human first-
Phil Weaver: Human first.
Erin Weidemann: And their teacher.
Phil Weaver: Right. Right. And I've been told that it's not actually well accepted within the school system among the broad spectrum of teachers.
Erin Weidemann: Well, it makes sense too because it creates a little creativity on your part. You've got to be a little maybe more vulnerable and more open to sharing with your students, a little bit more about who you are. But it's what we want to do as parents, sometimes we have some obstacles in our way, as far as being honest and open and forthright with our children. But ultimately, that is what they need.
Phil Weaver: Right.
Erin Weidemann: So I think it's a cool opportunity that parents are having now in the home to go, "Gosh, I can connect with my kids in a whole different way."
Phil Weaver: Yes, for sure. Sure. So, on the other hand, if a parent is deciding that, hey, maybe they like this and they do want to want to transition to full-time homeschooling. Then what's the best practice about going down that route?
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. I think number one, just finding out what you were, where you live and your current state what the laws are, familiarizing yourself with what it will take to get enrolled. In California here, we have an approved charter school that we go through.
We also do classical education through a faith-based organization. So we sort of use it as a hybrid. I've sort of melded together something that's going to work for us for kindergarten this year. I grabbed a couple curricula online that I heard were greatly reviewed by many friends of ours, who also homeschool.
So I think one thing I would say to parents right off the bat, if you're going, "Gosh, this situation, it looks pretty good and I could work this out for next year and actually make this a thing, that we do." Is to really leverage a support network, your friends and family members, your community members who are already doing this are a wealth of knowledge.
Erin Weidemann: And even for me leaving the classroom and going, "Gosh, I'm not plugged in necessarily. I have all this knowledge as a professional educator in the classroom. But here I am staring at the vast ocean of the internet going, what resources? What units? What lessons? What are we doing for all of these subjects?
And being in my head a little bit going, "Well, I taught older kids for many, many years. This is my first time teaching kindergarten and phonics and early literacy and all of these things that I'm not an expert in, which is how parents view themselves a lot of the time.
So really, finding where you are in the community, what exists, and is available to you, inside your community, in your neighborhood. There are parents who are already doing this. There are groups you can join. There are free online support groups where you can ask questions and say, "Hey, I'm thinking about X, Y, and Z. What do you all think about this?" You will get instant feedback.
Erin Weidemann: It's why we started the mentorship series, the heroic homeschoolers. So parents have a one-stop, like, "I've got these questions." Our team is there to answer all of their questions, concerns, talk about their challenges, unique learning styles, just the things that exist inside your home that are completely unique to your family's situation.
We've got questions around and sometimes the internet is so overwhelming, that's really not necessarily the best place to start because you're going to, sort of go down a rabbit hole, it's very easy to do. So that's my advice is just to find the people locally, know the laws, read up about what it takes to do it in your specific state.
But then get yourself in the way of people who are have been doing this for a long time. They know the system, know what curriculum. And just start hearing stories and you can kind of synthesize and process that for your family and see what's going to work.
Phil Weaver: Okay, great. And you touched on parents not feeling as if they had certain skills. And I see that not only in the skills that maybe I don't know. Algebra or whatever that specific skill is, but also feeling that they're just not maybe emotionally cut out for it or something along those lines. I'm seeing those comments. I'm sure you are, too. So what would you say to those parents?
Erin Weidemann: Yeah, I think number one, nobody loves your children like you do. And I think we talked about, and we think back... I think back to all the teachers that really had an impact on me and yes, they were passionate about the subject. I don't know if they were experts or not frankly, they were excited to talk about it.
They were excited to work through material with me. But I remember the teachers that had the most impact for me, were just the ones that I felt like were loving and nurturing, and cared more about me not just as a student, but as a person.
And so what I want to encourage parents to think about is, maybe yes, you are not an expert in any one particular academic subject. But certainly, there's no one who cares about... is committed to investing in, wants to nurture this child. There's no one more committed to that than you are.
Erin Weidemann: I mean, we get to do this in our parenting. We get to do this in our mentorship of our children. This is just adding a different layer, that academic layer to say, "Okay. Well, I'm not an expert in mentoring, and I'm not an expert in coaching and I'm not an expert in parenting.
But can I do those things effectively, with a supportive group of people, some resources that are going to help me. Can I put those things in my way? Can I learn a little bit?" I think another great thing too, that parents don't realize is that there's something really powerful in saying to your child. "Well, I don't know the answer to that question, but let's find out together."
Phil Weaver: Yeah.
Erin Weidemann: And go looking for the answer. Finding [inaudible 00:33:19] signing periodicals and finding things to read and finding an engaging video and having a really rich discussion about the topic, where you leave as the adult feeling, "Gosh, I learned so much more about this particular subject than I ever thought was possible.
And I let this subject go a long time ago when I dove into my professional work." It's just a cool way to show our kids that we value the learning we get to do, and it's not just about their growth and their academic development. But learning is a lifelong journey, not a place you arrive where you become an adult and you just know everything you're going to know.
It's really more about continually reinventing yourself as a learner, and approaching learning new things and finding out about the things you never knew about. With eyes that are better primed for discovery and being excited to model that discovery, that curiosity for your students is such a good motivator.
Erin Weidemann: So don't worry if you're not an expert. I mean, I love English, love Spanish taught both of those subjects. I'm a non-native speaker of Spanish. So I started in fifth grade and ended up majoring in it because I loved it so much. Had to translate a book the other day.
And, I reached out to people on the internet and said, "Who's a native speaker that can help me because I'm not an expert?" Based on credentialing to translate a Spanish document. But certainly I'm passionate about the language. I'm excited to work with people who can augment, come together with me again to collaborate. And it teaches me something along the way and my daughter gets to see that.
Phil Weaver: Yeah, right. That sounds like the best lesson yet. And I know what you're saying is well documented in the scientific literature. It just there's a great deal of research around parents getting involved in education, and then there's nothing better.
What [inaudible 00:35:17]do you think to those kids? And the number one question we ask as teachers, right? Is how do I engage these learners? How do I engage them collectively? And how do I engage them individually, because all of these different kids have unique challenges, barriers that are in their way from being excited, being curious, wanting to engage in the material?
There's all sorts of things standing in their way, right? Intrinsic and extrinsic. The things that they are struggling with. And what we can do is ask those questions as parents and say, "Gosh, what is it going to take for me to engage this learner?"
Phil Weaver: And a big part of that is them watching you. How do you engage with the material? When you hit something that you don't know about? Do you dismiss it and say, "Well, I'm not an expert and I can't do it." Or do you dig your heels in and say, "I don't know the answer to this but we are going to find out together." It totally reframes the fact that maybe you don't know everything but who does?
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Phil Weaver: There's a lot being mentioned on social media about incorporating education into everyday activities. You know cooking that sort of thing. So what counts in school?
Erin Weidemann: Oh my gosh, everything counts in school.
Phil Weaver: Okay.
Erin Weidemann: Yes. And for parents this is me sitting over here too. I had two busy parents growing up. My dad worked from home, but he ran a construction company. He was gone like 3 AM, picked us up from school at three. But I never saw my mom.
So one thing that I never learned to do that I'm super grateful for that it's happening in my house. It's just cooking lessons. My daughter's six years old, my husband was raised by a southern mom who loves cooking, is like her middle name is hospitality.
And he knows how to cook and he's had these rich culinary experiences that I can't have with her. So the one thing I want to say is, for people who are in isolation and just sort of working with what you have in your home. Identify some of those essential life skills that don't necessarily have to do with academics.
Erin Weidemann: If you're good at woodworking or you can code something or you can sew something. These are all things that happen around the house. Can you teach your kids about the motor of your car? Or to change the oil? Or to build something out in the yard because the fence broke or something needs to be painted.
All of these different things come up again, you're spending a lot of time at home, looking for extra things to do. This is a really neat time to identify some of those essential life skills like cooking and sewing and baking and all of it.
Just things that when your children leave your home, you want to equip them with. Enough that they would never call you back for some wisdom, but my daughter will not be calling me for any cooking tips ever in her entire life. I try to soak it up as they're doing it, but her dad is the one we lean on for cooking. Otherwise, we'd be eating bowls of cereal or every meal over here.
Phil Weaver: It's the same in our household.
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. I'm so thankful every day that I found this person but he's such a good example of the things that I am not expert in, the things that I don't even feel equipped to tackle. I would love to teach her to cook. That is such an important life skill.
I don't have the mental fortitude or the prior knowledge or any context for tackling that, beyond looking up some fun recipes. Again, I don't have the answer, but let's find it together. But I'm so blessed to have somebody who is more of an expert in my home. So that's one thing I would say. If you've got older kids, if you've got a spouse, get the people in your children's life involved in some of these.
We would call them maybe non-essential or the life skills versus the academic skills. I think these are some of the most essential skills that when they leave your house, they're going to be fully equipped to do, and take care of their business, their life that has nothing to do with memorizing vocabulary words or performing well on a test at school.
Erin Weidemann: The other thing I would tell parents to do is, leverage technology and leverage the people who care about your children, friends and family members. We've got I mean on a rotating schedule, every grandparent who is all across in multiple states in this country. They are doing hour-long phone calls with her where they are telling stories. They are quizzing her on her material.
They have like a fun game going back and forth or playing board games or doing puppets show. There are some really cool ways to engage non-family members, non-parental authority figures, to be the teachers, to be other kinds of teachers for your children so that the weight of this, the pressure of it doesn't just fall on you. I've got to be everything and do everything and teach everything that can feel so overwhelming.
Erin Weidemann: So leverage those adults that you have, those caring adults who love your children, and who would be willing to spend 30 minutes a week, 60 minutes a week on a rotating schedule. Just get them on a schedule and see what they'll come up with. It's not something for you to plan. Just let the creativity flow inside those conversations. It's so beautiful.
Phil Weaver: That's an amazing tip right there. That everyone is really just a Zoom call away right now. Right?
Erin Weidemann: And we think about zoom, right? "Oh, I'm using professionally. I'm doing it for meetings. I've got business to conduct. So, just expand your mind in the way of reaching out via technology and say, "Gosh, let me make a list.
Do I have two or three or four or five people, who I could call up right now and say, 'Would you volunteer for 30 minutes a week, to have an engaging phone call with my learner, where you quiz them on their material? Or you tell them an interesting story? Or you go back and forth and you... whatever it is." We use the portal here, we cook a lot with grammy who's over in Maryland.
Phil Weaver: Wow.
Erin Weidemann: They do... my father-in-law does these stories, is called Sir Applegate. Where a knight comes and she, my daughter has to cross a bridge and she meets a troll, and who asked her three academic-related questions and she can't cross the bridge and go on the adventure until she answers them. So just it's really neat to watch these adults who care about your kids, come up with some awesome activities for them to do, that have nothing to do with you.
Phil Weaver: Right. And it seems like it would provide quite an opportunity for them to tell the stories of their life, that may not ever happen, otherwise.
Erin Weidemann: So grateful for it honestly. Think about it [inaudible 00:44:05] too and think about when people live and then you don't see them in your day to day, how much you miss of their own life experience. But we all have a lifetime for that now so it's really a blessing.
Phil Weaver: It certainly is. And I fully agree with life skills. We actually run a nonprofit where I mentor, young men who did not have any parenting, anything. They were just... and it's amazing that just the simplest things of taking them out in which way to turn a wrench.
I had one guy and he was a bodybuilder, I mean incredibly strong but it never worked on anything physically and the first thing he went to do is turn the wrench the wrong way and I'm screaming at him.
"Don't break the bolt." It's amazing where that starting point, starting at zero is for some kids. Of course I'm saying that far end of the spectrum, but critical, very quickly. You spent quite some time as a public school teacher and then transition. Can you tell us about that journey?
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. I mean, I was working in finance as a 26 years old, I was diagnosed with cancer for the first time. Just a couple of years after college and it really wrecked me as a human being and I wasn't really operating my gifts. I was out for money, out for just to build a successful life. So I really started asking some of those questions about just my deeper-
Phil Weaver: You went into teaching just as for money?
Erin Weidemann: No, I was working in finance at that time.
Phil Weaver: Oh, I'm sorry. I missed that. Okay.
Erin Weidemann: I was working for a bank. Yep, that's okay.
Phil Weaver: Gotcha.
Erin Weidemann: I was working for a bank. Made a ton of money. I thought I'll buy a house. I'm 25. That's really impressive. So I bought a house as a 25-year-old unmarried woman, and then moved in and then three months later moved right back out.
I was diagnosed with metastasized thyroid cancer, that started in my neck and went to all the surrounding lymph nodes in my upper body. We did not catch it early, the prognosis was not good. So even during the course of treatment and surgeries and all of that, I just had a violent shove into reality, about what I was doing with my life, how I was choosing to spend my time.
Erin Weidemann: And I just felt a stirring in my soul for kids. And it was like I've always had this special relationship with them, they've always felt and gravitated strongly toward me. I should be with them, I should be mentoring them.
If I don't have a lot of time left, let me get into the classroom and really see the kind of impact that I can make by spending time with them every day, not just academically, but personally and really pouring into them. So I became a teacher, right in the middle of that journey and did it full time for 10 years.
Before, my husband and I quit our jobs to start a publishing company, to create resources for girls around the ideas of beauty, identity, and purpose, based on the things I was seeing in the classroom and things that I had grown up experiencing as a young girl. Which we know are things that girls struggle with universally, for a slew of different reasons. So we just really felt called to do something about it.
Erin Weidemann: And then in the midst of that, starting the business, publishing, I started speaking and traveling around and writing all these resources. We became parents, to a little girl. So it really hit us at home in our parenting in a new way, this conversation of girls and leadership and influence and impact. Like I said earlier merged our lives professionally and personally. And that's what we get to do together, which we love.
Phil Weaver: Awesome, very good. And now you've taken all of that into consulting in the homeschooling area.
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. And honestly, I mean, it wasn't something I set out to do just... and even as this COVID-19 stuff happened, it was like I kept getting hundreds of messages from parents going, "Well, you are a professional teacher you taught in the classroom for a long time.
Now you're a homeschooling mom, you're also a busy business owner who is used to traveling around and used to creating content and different things at home. You do all this stuff, how are you doing that?" So I think for me, this mentorship really came out of wanting to support these parents who are, who again did not choose this, were thrust into it.
It feels burdensome, it feels overwhelming. But there is a way that parents can really handle this with grace and with grit, as you mentioned earlier. When they get a handle on things, like, "What's my family routine? And what are some of the things that I can let go of, in the context of my own schooling experience that doesn't really apply to the situation? Do I have freedom? Or is this just feel so overwhelming that I can't make a decision?"
Erin Weidemann: So these are all the questions that we wanted to answer in this season just for parents who are... who's been surviving and now going, "Okay. If I'm going to do this long term, or if this is going to last a lot longer, what are we all doing about it and help me get a handle on it?"
Phil Weaver: Right. Right. So what are you seeing in the homeschool community with the COVID-19 thing? Is it just business as usual for them? Did nothing change or?
Erin Weidemann: No. I mean, I think for us, homeschooling now doesn't really look like homeschooling even 10, 20 years ago. I mean, we are a part of a thriving Co-Op. That meets on Mondays, 30 different families to rotate in classes, one day a week. She and I school three days a week on Thursdays.
She's at an independent learning academy, doing specialty classes, enrichment classes. So, it's our situation has sort of been a hybrid version of, what may be looks like traditional school, you go to a site, you have different teachers, you do different things, and you're also schooling at home. So it's any and all of those things.
A lot of homeschooling parents aren't involved in a club and they school five days a week at home, in a way that best works for them for whatever reason. So I think for us, regardless of if you are part of a hybrid situation, you're part of the traditional environment or you've been homeschooling only, for the last however long. Life looks very different.
Erin Weidemann: So I think for parents who are doubling back and going, "Okay. Situation A looks totally different, than what this situation B, where's the good meat in the middle?" Obviously, we're seeing now and we're watching the pushback from parents that distance learning is not the answer. Remote learning, a hundred percent. Away from the teacher having to do all this online is clearly not the answer, for a slew of different reasons.
So I think, for us in the homeschool community, for me as a former teacher and people who are part of the public school conversation and private school conversation. It's a really interesting time to be talking about moving forward, what hybrid learning will look like? What a blended learning scenario looks like?
That blends the best of technology and high touch. Which is that personal interaction, that high touch experience that our kids have with a physical teacher who is in the room with them, doing what we know? Passionate, trained, professionally developed, teachers are.
Erin Weidemann: So I think the conversation for where we're going really has to do more with what is blended learning looks like. A blending of high touch and high tech, how do those two concepts marry, in a way that serves every single student's individualized learning need? It's a very interesting question.
Phil Weaver: It's certainly is. The remote learning is not the solution, is what I'm hearing here. What are the issues with that? I mean you mentioned you said-
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. You've got the technology, equity issues, you've got kids who don't have access to the internet, don't have access to all the tools they need to effectively learn remotely. You've got teachers who weren't planning on this. So people have thrown lessons up online via different platforms that either kid don't have access to, they don't have an internet connection that's going to be reliable.
They live in a place or... for whatever reason, there are major technology issues for the bulk of this country. So I think, just thinking through those things like, there are a lot of different barriers, to making that type of learning effective and equitable across all different planes geographically, socio-economically.
So that's a question. But I think the bigger question has more to do with the fact that we... and parents are really learning right now, in home in real-time, how much they should be appreciating an in-person, trained teachers for their children.
Erin Weidemann: Who do ask those questions I asked earlier. How do you effectively engage learners? These are the questions teachers are used to asking every single day in the classroom, based on the units they're covering, lessons they're going over. How do you effectively [inaudible 00:52:41] these learners so that they learn materials?
So that they love learning. So that they're growing and developing at the rate and in the way that they're supposed to be, across the board in a way that's measurable and that's serving the whole of the student. So I think that's the question. Can remote learning do that if remote learning is the only way they're learning? I believe it can.
I believe it needs to be a blending of high touch. This is that personal interaction with a physical teacher, parent, or professional educator who's got a certain type of training, but certainly, parents can do this and have been doing it very effectively for many years. But it's got to be that blend of high tech and high touch together. Not just one and not just the other.
Phil Weaver: Got it. Got it. Do you see the public school systems looking at some sort of a blended system later on? Or just when this is over trying to go back to, exactly-
Erin Weidemann: That's a great question. I honestly don't know that we go back but certainly, there are budgetary restrictions. There are financial issues that plague the public school system, especially elementary, middle, and high school.
That the conversation in higher ed is a different conversation because the funding is there, and some of the AI and virtual reality and different technologies, they're incorporating into online learning is already happening in the higher ed space.
But the conversation down in elementary, middle, and high school, the barriers to entry for something like that, to fully integrate technology and how that would work and how to service every child, looks pretty complicated. So I think it's going to take some major conversations about educational reform and the weeks and months that are coming. But yeah, it'll be very interesting to see.
Phil Weaver: Certainly, well, yeah. What are you seeing out there with what's going on? What type of results are parents having or face? A lot of them still fumbling around? Or are they getting into a groove?
Erin Weidemann: Gosh, I think it's a mix. Right? I think there are a lot of parents who are fumbling. I think there are a lot of parents who are still coming to grips with, what is this? And the information is changing every day, and should we just be helping kids survive till the end of the year because we can anticipate them going back to school.
And then their teacher will just pick up the slack up in the fall, is that what we're... I mean, it's very hard, I think for parents to see what changes are coming and how to adequately look for those adapts. We're all just sort of flying by night at this point. But yeah, I would say the majority of parents that I'm talking to, feel like they're getting more of a handle on it because they are, number one putting less pressure on themselves.
Erin Weidemann: But number two, just starting to understand that, "Gosh, I can tackle the core subjects first. A lot of the other stuff can be enriching, it can be personal growth, it can be developed, it can be life skills.
And I don't have to feel so overwhelmed trying to replicate my child's school experience, with all of these different subjects. Let's just choose the core of what's going to be helpful for them in the short term, get a plan together for the future. Short term, long term goals of later in the semester or a year-long program, if that's where we're headed." But those questions I think, are coming later.
Right now, a lot of parents are just trying to get through to the end of the school year, figure out what the summer is going to look like. Is it going to be a time to catch up? Is it going to be time to plan for the fall? Because we're not doing regular school. So these are all the questions parents are struggling with right now.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. That was my next question about, what do you think when the school year officially ends and we have summer break, what are parents mostly going to do with that? When are they going to keep playing catch up or what's or...
Erin Weidemann: I do think [inaudible 00:56:19]good question honestly and from what I'm hearing, I mean parents, moms, and dads most of whom work professionally outside the home. A lot rests on whether or not they're going to be home doing their work.
Will you be able to effectively school your kids if you're back... if it's business as usual, you're back at your normal job, you're out of the house for eight to nine hours a day. If your kids are doing a remote learning with a teacher that's not you and the school is set up like a really nice experience.
You have access to the internet and all the technology you need, to do sort of a remote situation but something hybrid. Because you're going to need to get home and deal with a physical teacher. Again, we know these are the best ways that kids need to learn as in a blended way, and not just one or the other.
Erin Weidemann: These are all the questions they're asking. I had a lot of parents who are going, "I'm waiting to see what's happening with my professional work. If I'm going to be called back to work. If this is something I can't man at home, or I can't leave them at home.
Is this is long term sustainable if I'm working outside the house?" The answer for many is no. But if it is, if professional work ends up staying inside the home, or that becomes more of a hybrid situation where not everybody is going into the office every single day. Maybe it's 50/50. Maybe people are working more remotely. It should be an interesting set of decisions to make come the fall.
Phil Weaver: Right. Right. Okay. So what are the positives you're seeing coming out of this?
Erin Weidemann: Oh, my gosh, I mean, the family time I think. Once-
Phil Weaver: I know, you've talked a lot about... we've covered that. I mean, that's just-
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. When-
Phil Weaver: Amazing.
Erin Weidemann: Once parents understood, "Okay. This isn't a burden, I can actually use all this extra time and we can really bond as a family." I think that opened up a lot of, the opportunity for not just families to connect but again, I always come back to having this extra time and not being oppressed by a schedule or being dictated to about what you have to do.
It just opens up all of these really cool opportunities for creativity, and for learning about the things that you want to learn about. There is more time at home to do all of these things. And while yes, there are chores to do, and some kids are struggling with certain things. I mean, there are things that every family is dealing with uniquely.
Certainly having more time I think is the number one positive. I know there are there's a whole tribe of parents out there, who are on the negative side of, "Gosh. Having to spend so much time with my family is so inconvenient and it's such a negative thing." But [inaudible 00:58:57].
Erin Weidemann: I hear that a lot too. Where it's like, "Oh, this is so difficult." And I just look at my own daughter going... Yes, is homeschooling hard, while you're working while you're pregnant? There's a lot going on in our house too but I wouldn't trade the time I have with her for anything.
Many of us are used to, ripping our kids out of bed, getting all their stuff together, scooting them out the door, and not seeing them for nine to 10 hours a day. So I think that's what I love hearing the stories about, is just the fact that parents and kids are sitting down at meals together. They're watching family movies together, they're playing games or going for walks. When was the last time you heard of just a normal family going out for a family walk?
Phil Weaver: Right. Right.
Erin Weidemann: These are not things we do. But now we're doing them. So I think it's really enriching, the dynamic, the family dynamic, being at home and really just investing in people and our places during this time.
Phil Weaver: Seeing quite a return to family values across the board. What are the negatives, are you hearing coming in?
Erin Weidemann: Oh, gosh, I think beyond what we've talked about.
Phil Weaver: Yeah.
Erin Weidemann: Yeah, just parents not feeling equipped, not feeling like an expert, not knowing what to do so not doing anything. I mean, you can only stay in survival mode so long, so I think just the anxiety that parents feel going, "Okay, we're like several weeks into this quarantine situation. I still don't have a handle on the school staff. I'm still trying to..."
Parents are just stuck in that sea of like, "I don't have any good strategies. I don't really have the tools I need. The schedule I'm working out, I'm doing my best but it's just not working for everybody." Those are the things I hear about most.
Phil Weaver: Okay.
Erin Weidemann: The work on my end is done answering those specific questions, getting a scenario from a family going, "Okay. I have this many learners. This is the work I do. This is what I'm trying to rotate them around through. This is the curriculum I've chosen." Because a lot of them feel fully supported by the school.
Your child's school has sent home lessons and units to get you to the end of the year. There's homework for them to do. There's a packet of stuff. I mean, things have come home that parents feel equipped to use, but then there's this whole other camp of people who feel like the administration and the teachers have sort of, phoned it in which is not the case. But that they have provided them some materials, but it's either not appropriate, or not usable, or not feasible for what they're trying to do at home.
Erin Weidemann: So a lot of parents are trying to find solutions on the internet that are low cost or free. And not having the fortitude to go, "Okay, I know how to sift through all the information that's on the internet and actually choose lessons that are going to be appropriate and helpful for my student." So I think some of those pressing academic questions.
Are these lessons appropriate for them? And if they're not, what do I do about it? Those are some of the negatives. And being a trained teacher, you can discern on the internet, or wherever you're looking for materials pretty quickly, if it's going to work for you, your personality, their personality, if you want to pick up the lessons and use them.
That's an easy thing to figure out. I think at least for me, as a teacher, I can look at something and go, "Okay. This makes sense for what I'm trying to do." But for the average parent, there's a learning curve there.
Erin Weidemann: So that's what I've enjoyed about this season of mentoring these parents, is just saying, "Hey, what's your scenario? What are you looking at? What do you feel like is going to work for you? Why?" And then giving them a framework for asking questions about how to choose lessons, what curriculum is going to be right for them as a teacher and their learner? And how do you find the groove of that, per subject?
Phil Weaver: Right.
Erin Weidemann: So these are some of the, just the pressing questions, I think.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. With the school system are the parents given generally a lot of leeways as far as curriculum, or the teacher sending this homework and turn this in on Friday sort of thing?
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. It's all across the board. So I've got parents who are like, all of the kid's classes are hosted online. The teacher gets on, they teach for 45 minutes, they give them an activity, they do it, they submit it. So it feels like it's a good system, it's run well.
But then you've got all these other districts across the country who have sent, some work home that parents feel like it's not engaging their learners, they're not used to working remotely. And they don't have the training to go, "Okay. Let's sit you down at the computer and have you do these lessons."
Some of the teachers are not posting lessons, they're just sending material home. And I've seen that a little bit where, they're planning for, "Well, I'm not going to see you so here are these two or three or four or five video lessons." Which is way more content, then your kids would be getting inside their class in a week, depending on the class.
Erin Weidemann: But it's coming home in a lot. So parents are having to synthesize it and I'm having to counsel them on, "Okay. If your student has already shown mastery over a particular concept and you're getting four lessons and four activities and four worksheets, and just all of this stuff coming home but they're showing mastery. You can assess that as their parent and then move forward into something else.
Or you can go back and review things that you feel like need to be recovered. So these are just as you engage your learner's the types of questions you would answer. Rather than feeling bogged down by, "Oh my gosh, their teacher sent so much work home.
And now we're having to do it all. It's taking longer. We're not getting it done." And feeling overwhelmed and stressed about that. You can just assess them for mastery, and then move forward as you deem it appropriate.
Phil Weaver: Okay, great. All right. Can you speak about the differences between educating boys and girls?
Erin Weidemann: Oh, gosh, I mean, how much time do you have?
Phil Weaver: That's another podcast, isn't it?
Erin Weidemann: Oh yes. [inaudible 01:05:02]Brilliant. Yeah. And just I think one thing that's really served me well in studying brain development and the differences between boys and girls again, generally speaking, I try to employ, I don't know, just some different teacher tricks when learning, when interacting with girls versus boys.
Here's an example. So girls are auditory learners predominantly, it's what they're wired for. And not that you would ever give directions to the back of a student's head. But for girls, primarily, when you're giving directions to them, it's always best to compliment it with a written direction of some sort.
But to actually get around to the front of them to address their face, to your face, while you're giving directions, is something that has really helped me engage with female learners not just my own daughter, but when I mentored and coached girls of all different ages and stages, it's very important that you engage them face to face.
Erin Weidemann: Number one because they're wired to perceive, nonverbal language. They're wired to hear subtle intonations in a person's voice. I mean, these are all things that as you think about engaging with learners in a way that's communicative, you can present what you'd like them to do, or actually help them get further clarity if you're speaking directly to them.
One thing I always tell parents to do too, and one thing I try to do when I'm working with male learners is to incorporate, kinesthetic movement whenever possible. We do a lot, hear from parents that my son isn't listening or he's having trouble sitting still, or he's not understanding the concept or he's dealing with anger or frustration.
We always try to role-play things. Not that girls don't like to role-play but certainly like giving boys a physical scenario to own. With their body and their mind and get their emotions and their heart a little bit more involved, that's always something that I try to educate parents on doing.
Erin Weidemann: Because I think even as moms, I talk a lot. We use a lot more words than you guys do. So I think figuring out creative ways to engage with your sons, where you're not just talking and using a bunch of words, but they're actually getting up and physically moving around, is something that's really helped me inside the classroom.
Again, with high school boys all the way down to anybody kindergartner. So, yeah, there are a lot of differences between the male and female brain, I think over 100 that we could talk about but that's a totally different day.
Phil Weaver: Definitely. Certainly. And I've seen the kinesthetic thing, teaching Kung Fu for almost 30 years now. And we've seen young boys that just had severe ADHD and it just, it goes away once they're moving their bodies and they learn some proprioception, interoception and all of that.
It's amazing how just that kinesthetic movement changes their focus ability. So yeah, fantastic. So you have an online masterclass for... Tell us about that.
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. It's called the Heroic Homeschooler. So it was born out of this season right now, where I had overwhelmed parents calling me and messaging me and saying, "What do I do about schooling at home, during these uncertain times? Can you fax me? Can you answer some questions? Is there a way to get supported? Is there a way to understand how to, sift through the... again, the ocean of the internet, right?
That's telling me I need to be doing all these different things." So I think for us, it was just on our hearts to create something. It is a six-week mentorship series, that answers all of your homeschool related questions, right? You've been thrust into this experience. You haven't planned for it. You didn't budget for it. You're juggling work.
You're juggling many other [inaudible 01:08:53] are juggling multiple children. And just the unique family situations that we're a part of so, what would it look like to get parents in training. It's how-to videos. It's a printable blueprint. It's a framework for setting up a routine and a rhythm that is actually going to work for your family and how to find that.
Erin Weidemann: All those traditional school rules I just told you to break and more. To really just own your experience at home, own your influence over your own children. And again, create a community for parents to be able to ask questions and say, "Yes, I want to get some training.
I need someone to explain this to me. But, I have specific challenges inside my home that I need to deal with. Can someone help me distill all this information and actually make some good choices to implement?" So that is what the mentorship is for. And it's pretty awesome.
Phil Weaver: And what do they-
Erin Weidemann: Yeah.
Phil Weaver: What do they find that?
Erin Weidemann: They find it at truthbecomesher.com/homeschool. You go to truthbecomesher.com. There's a homeschool button, up on the menu and it's all right there. It's every video. It's easy to opt-in. We've got hundreds of parents, moms, dads, grandparents who have also taken on, the role of educator hat while parents are still working.
So it's been an awesome response. It's been a great mentorship so far. And I'm loving going through it because again, I get to answer everybody's questions and deal with all the unique things everybody's facing at home and be able to speak to those and just serve parents.
Phil Weaver: Sounds like a great program. We'll of course, put links to that in the notes here. So where do you see, we've talked about this a quite a bit here. But overall, where do you see education going in America after all of this?
Erin Weidemann: Yeah, I think that conversation about what blended learning looks like. What I love most about this conversation and what I love most about this season, is that it feels like the education system, public education has died. And now we can focus a little bit more on learning, which is what we should be focused on really anyway. But I really do think the-
Phil Weaver: Can you say what exactly you mean there [inaudible 01:11:03]?
Erin Weidemann: Yeah. I think, back when NCLB was enacted and the emphasis was on, your test scores achievement and all that conversation about teaching the test and what this means for schools and funding and all of the convolution, that exists inside the education system.
This COVID-19 experience has really peeled back the layers of that, and I think is shifting, not just administrative focus but an educator focus, parents focus on the actual learning of our children.
Phil Weaver: Okay.
Erin Weidemann: And what that means for me is I mean, even in the short term, we're going to start having those conversations about, what distance learning actually will look like? Is it going to be full distance? Because a lot of people are enjoying the situation.
Is it going to go back to business as usual? Everything is back in the classroom? Or is it going to be a blend? So I'm interested in see what the debate will look like and the months that follow, around the conversation... and John Naisbitt in his book, Mega Trends talk back, way back in 1982 about this.
About that idea that I brought up earlier, high touch and high tech. The more technologically advanced society gets, the more it needs to be matched on the other side with high touch, personal interaction.
Because of our humanity, because of who we are as people, and the fact that we need to connect. And we learn well when we're with other people experientially and relationally. And this is how we're wired.
Erin Weidemann: So it can't just be all tech all the time. It is not going to go back to... and we know the pre-technology time where it was all high touch, created some issues too. And now we do have a cool opportunity with technologies and a lot of emerging, technologies that are coming that we have never seen before and it's an exciting time for me [inaudible 01:12:59].
And it's an exciting time to sit on, the wave of this conversation and really see on both sides, how it's going to play out in terms of, what face to face interactions need to look like for kids to learn best? And how do you use technology to augment the learning experience? How do you blend those two things? Is the question.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. It is. We're experimenting a lot of that. Like I said, I think I'd mentioned that I've been teaching Kung Fu online for six years now. I've been experimenting with it. But this has changed it because now everybody's looking at it.
I've been preaching it for years and years that it can be done and now everyone's like, "Okay. How do you do it?" Getting just that, the high touch and actually using technology to do that as much as possible. It's been really, really an interesting journey over the last month or so. So, is there anything we missed today that you'd like to mention?
Erin Weidemann: No, I think just, if parents are listening and they're still in survival mode wondering what to do, come and be a part of the mentorship series, truthbecomesher.com/homeschool.
We will help you get your questions answered. Yeah. And there's no shortage of team members over here waiting to support you and we're really enjoying all of the parents who have joined us. So if you're still looking for help, we are here to help you.
Phil Weaver: Fantastic. What an amazing resource. Thank you for coming on today. It's been a great talk. I've learned a lot and I'm sure everyone else will too.
Erin Weidemann: Thanks so much, Phil.
Phil Weaver: All right.
Phil Weaver: Thank you for listening to The Learning Success podcast. We hope you enjoyed it. We also hope you have learned something useful, something that you can take back and improve your life with today. If you would like to say thank you. The best way for you to do that is to share this podcast with a friend.
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