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Raising Lifelong Learners
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Raising Lifelong Learners

Author: Colleen Kessler

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The Raising Lifelong Learners podcast helps parents -- especially homeschooling parents -- encourage their differently-wired kids to learn, explore passions, cultivate creativity, and become fascinated by the world around them. Join host Colleen Kessler -- educational consultant, gifted specialist, author, and speaker -- for interviews, audioblogs, tips, and encouragement to help your differently-wired kiddos become lifelong learners -- children who know that they can find the answers to anything they want to know if they can just view their world with play, passion, and fascination.
58 Episodes
I laugh, I shrug, I shake my head. My kids are gifted, and sometimes they're just gonna gift. It's time that we stop apologizing for it... In today's episode, Colleen shares an audioblog -- an article that first appeared on the site. Written by contributor Jen Vail, this audioblog uses humor to help parents appreciate their quirky kids for exactly who they are. 
Are you planning to come out to a homeschool convention this season? Colleen will be speaking at all seven of the Great Homeschool Conventions and several others as well -- you can find her entire calendar on her speaking page. In this episode, though, she chats about why you should consider attending as a homeschool parent of a differently-wired kiddo.  There are opportunities to check out curriculum, talk to experts in all subject areas, be inspired by different tyes of speakers, and enjoy special events like the Real Mom Tour she, Pam Barnhill, and Sarah MacKenzie are hosting at each GHC event! Make sure you leave a comment or a voice mail to let her know which event you'll be at -- she can't wait to meet you!
Today, Colleen talks to Kristen Jenson, author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids and founder of Protect Young Minds. This conversation dives deeply into what porn does to the brain, how it contributes to addiction, and how we can protect our differently-wired kiddos who often need more than just a "don't do it" to convince them that our advice might be worth following. This is an episode you don't want to miss. 
Do you feel like all you ever do is yell at and correct your intense child? That for every time you praise him, you’ve already berated him 15 times? And, are you completely exhausted before you’ve finished your first cup of coffee? Yeah… me too. This audioblog shares tips for helping you work with your intense child to have them get on board with family rules and structures so you can all have the peace you crave.
So many gifted and twice-exceptional kiddos struggle with perfectionism, and untreated perfectionism can lead to other problems like low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and even eating disorders. Finding ways to talk to your kiddos is important, and keeping the conversation going can help them feel comfortable opening up when they're having a problem. In today's episode, Colleen gives you tips for talking your kiddo through perfectionism and helping them move past it. There are plenty of additional resources below to help you continue working with your kiddo.
Let's face it -- homeschooling differently-wired kiddos is challenging. Parenting them is challenging. But, when life hits you from all sides, and you have highly emotional, anxiety-filled, and otherwise differently-wired kids to parent through it, you're going to be lucky to get dinner on the table some days, let alone get any homeschooling done.  And, will they really learn anything anyway when their lives are uncertain, family is sick, there's a death or a move to deal with? Probably not. So what do you do? Colleen sits down and chats real life in this episode as she's been parenting and homeschooling her four quirky kiddos through a lot of life stuff lately, and has a few insights. She's not going to solve all your problems, but you'll walk away from this episode knowing that you're not the only one who gets hit by too much stuff at once, and that you will get through it.
Parenting and homeschooling a differently-wired kiddo is tough. When you're homeschooling a gifted only child, it can be exhausting. You need to stay a few steps ahead of your kiddo as you're the only one they've got to play with, learn from, and do things with.  Jessica Waldock chats with Colleen today about the ways she brings delight and interest-led learning into the homeschooling she does with her super-adorable gifted only child. Emily even pops in to tell us what she loves to learn about. This is an inspiring episode with loadds of practical and actionable things you can implement in your homeschool right now -- even if you have more than one gifted or otherwise quirky kiddos of your own.
How do YOU fight back against perfectionism and recapture the joy of the homeschool you dreamed about? In this episode, Colleen tackles a listener question related to this topic and offers some practical tips for keeping the joy and fun alive. 
I’m willing to bet that every person reading this has experienced anxiety, depression, or stress at one point or another in their life. And I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t a pleasant experience. For as many as one in eight children, though, anxiety is a daily struggle. Today's episode is an audioblog -- a popular post about an important topic brought to you in audio format so that you can listen on the go.  Pop over to the post itself to leave comments or questions. >> Helping Your Child Cope with Anxiety <<
Think all teachers are against homeschooling? That's actually pretty far from the truth -- I've met many current and former teachers who have chosen to homeschool their kiddos just like today's guest. Mariel Howsepian and her husband Pete are lifelong learners living in Southern California where they homeschool their profoundly gifted daughter. Pete's held many different jobs throughout the years, but now he adventures with their daughter during the day while Mariel works as a public school teacher. In the evenings, she picks up the lifelong learning gauntlet and jumps in to learn right alongside their daughter. 
Over the years, Colleen has talked extensively about her youngest daughter's struggle with anxiety, and so has her daughter. Today, Sara writes in with a great question, prompting Colleen to reflect on the earlier years in their anxiety journey. Listen to find out what she'd change, if anything. And, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment, send an email, or leave a voice mail message below. Your question might be the next one featured on the show. Show notes for this episode: Episode 49
If you have an intense child, you probably know it. Call them spirited, emotionally intense, difficult, high needs, or challenging…it doesn’t matter. You know them and you’re tired. And defeated. And sure you're doing everything all wrong because those parenting books other parents swear by just don’t work for you. The intense child is more – more emotional, more energetic, more sensitive, more empathetic, more focused, more distracted, more, more, more – than other children. Read or Listen at:
Are you an introvert? Guess what?! You're not alone! Today's guest, Jamie Martin, is the brilliant mama behind the website Simple Homeschool and has just released a new book called The Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy and we're talking all about the beauty to be found in introversion, how and when to step out of one's comfort zone, and the freedom that homeschooling brings to introverts. You'll love this episode -- I hope it brings you encouragement.
Cynthia Heren joins Colleen today to talk about what it's like in the trenches homeschooling differently-wired kiddos. She gives us a peek into her schedule, the rabbit holes her family dives down, and how they incorporate online learning and Minecraft (yes, Minecraft) into their days.
Are you homeschooling a kiddo with special needs? You're not alone. It can be a challenging adventure, for sure, but today's guest, Faith Berens, has some wonderful insight and tips for parents who are homeschooling their special needs kids.
If you scroll through your Instagram feed and wish for slower, more meaningful days, or dream of better connections with your kids like those gorgeous images, this is the episode for you. Meghann Dibrell talks to us about cultivating a rooted childhood for your kids, and her work to help you make that happen. As usual, the conversation on the show takes detours down a few rabbit trails, and Meghann and Colleen end up talking a bit about her daughter's anxiety and the ways hidden disabilities like it can impact a childhood. You don't want to miss this.
Sometimes it seems difficult to get our kids outside when all they want to do is lounge around inside the house. But, studies show that time outside increases creativity and cognitive functions, so it's important to get kids outside as much as we can. Today Colleen talks with Justin Wren, one of the founders of Think Outside Boxes, a subscription box that gets kids outside and engaging in nature in cool ways.
Ever wonder what your homeschooling kiddos really think about this life? Today, Colleen talks to her daughter Molly and best friend Ella all about what it's like for these 10 and 11 year olds to homeschool, what kinds of things they're involved in, and what their thoughts are about how other people view homeschoolers and what they're missing out on by not being in a school. This was a fun one -- it's alway a blast to hear what kids are thinking, and these two girls are an absolute delight! Got questions or a message for Colleen or today's guest? Leave a voice mail message right here on the show notes page! We can't wait to hear from you!
Raising kids "on the fringes," or gifted, 2e, etc can be isolating and confusing. Therapist and author Heather Boorman joins Colleen on today's episode to talk about how helping kids see their differences can help them be the amazing people they're meant to be. Her 13yo son joins the conversation too, giving some great advice to help teens who feel isolated find friends with similar interests.
There are so many homeschooling moms that start to worry as their kids get into middle school and high school that what they've done up until this point isn't enough. Or that they're missing big pieces of learning, content, or skills that they should have been teaching all along. Today, Colleen talks with her sixteen year old son, Trevor, about some of his experiences so far, and gets his insights about homeschooling, self directed education, hope, and more. You're not going to want to miss this episode, particularly if you've got budding high schoolers of your own!
Comments (3)

Sara Yoo-Jin

Avelene (sp?) is amazing. I loved hearing all the subjects she enjoys and her Chinese poem.

Feb 28th

Ryann Pinnegar

There are some great reflections on the purpose of social media in this episode (#35).

Dec 28th


Love the podcast! Just wanted to let you know that the background music is much louder in your intro than your voices. :-)

Jul 11th
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