DiscoverExploring UnschoolingEU362: On the Journey with Kendel Ricker
EU362: On the Journey with Kendel Ricker

EU362: On the Journey with Kendel Ricker

Update: 2024-03-141


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We’re back with another On the Journey episode! We had a delightful conversation with Living Joyfully Network member Kendel Ricker. Kendel is an unschooling mom of two kids, 11 and 9, and she shared some of her journey with us.

Kendel’s own education included homeschooling, private school, and public school, as well as university and teachers’ college. Her experiences allowed her to really come to home education for her own children with confidence. From there, her path to unschooling was really led by her children and it has been magical!

We talked about releasing expectations and control, finding creative outlets as parents, supporting our children’s interests, and looking for the “glimmers” in our everyday lives.

It was a really beautiful discussion and we hope you find it helpful on your journey!

Watch the video of our conversation on YouTube.

We invite you to join us in The Living Joyfully Network, a wonderful online community for parents to connect and engage in candid conversations about living and learning through the lens of unschooling. Our theme this month is Seasons.

Visit to find our coaching, courses, and books.

Follow @exploringunschooling on Instagram.

Follow @pamlaricchia on Instagram and Facebook.

Check out the Living Joyfully website for lots more info about exploring unschooling and decoding the unschooling journey.

Follow @helloerikaellis on Instagram.

Sign up to our mailing list to receive The Living Joyfully Dispatch, our biweekly email newsletter, and get a free copy of Pam’s intro to unschooling ebook, What is Unschooling?

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So much of what we talk about on this podcast and in the Living Joyfully Network isn’t actually about unschooling. It’s about life. On The Living Joyfully Podcast, Anna Brown and Pam Laricchia talk about life, relationships, and parenting. You can check out the archive here, or find it in your your favorite podcast player.


PAM: Hello, everyone! I’m Pam Laricchia from Living Joyfully, and today I’m joined by my co-hosts, Anna Brown and Erika Ellis, and our lovely guest, Kendel Ricker. Hello, everyone.


PAM: Kendel is an unschooling mom with two kids and a member of the Living Joyfully Network, and I am really excited to share some of your experience and insights with our listeners.

To get us started, I have a two-part question. First, can you tell us a little bit about you and your family and what everyone’s interested in right now? Because that’s always fun to hear. And then we would love to hear a bit about your story of how you came to unschooling.

KENDEL: Okay. Well, thank you so much for having me be part of this conversation. It’s so good to chat with you all. And I just wanted to say how thankful I am for this podcast over the years. It’s been really instrumental in helping me find this path. And these are some of my favorite episodes, where you bring on a parent who shares their journey, because it’s just such a point of connection with people all around the world, when you’re taking this path less traveled, to feel that community behind you. So, I hope that something I share today helps someone along that path like I have from listening to so many episodes like this.

A little bit about my family and myself, like you said, I have two kids, I call them affectionately “my little critters.” My daughter just turned 11 at the end of January, which is hard to believe. And then my son will be nine at the end of February. So, it’s that transition in the winter time where they switch over to the new age.

My daughter is really into birding right now. She can always be found with her adventure pack with binoculars and a compass and bird guides, and she just loves getting out into nature and doing things like swimming and kayaking and fossil hunting. And definitely, we look for opportunities to go try to find migratory birds to support that interest of hers. So, last year we went and saw about 1600 to 1800 tundra swans at a migratory zone. We’re always looking for opportunities like that. Or when there’s bird-type activities going on, like at conservation areas, we can go and be part of that.

And then she and I have actually really been enjoying a YouTube show. It’s called Brit Hikes Ontario. And so, he’s a British man and his wife, and they have set a 300 bird challenge for the year. So, we love watching that together, because it’s quite local to our area, the places they go. So, it’s really helping us learn to identify less common birds and then to see what months they’re passing through our area. So, we’ve been enjoying that together.

And, yeah, she also is a little bookworm. My dad for Christmas made her a window seat bench and a new bookshelf. So, many hours this winter she’s been with a cup of tea sitting at the window with her book. So, that’s been so fun to watch. And she also recently started taking art lessons and has always loved painting and drawing, and she also started violin lessons recently. And that’s been so lovely to watch unfold. So, that’s been cool.

And my son, who’s soon to be nine, his biggest passion is collecting vintage toys. So, he has quite a massive collection of vintage Fisher-Price, the mid-seventies era style. And he also loves the vintage Wrinkles Puppy puppets. I don’t know if you remember those from maybe the eighties. He has quite a few of those as well as a few moose and elephant style of those puppets. And he loves learning the history of those companies and learning all the different parts of the collection. And the fun is in trying to complete the sets, right?

And he also recently really got into western Playmobil and does these quite extensive small world setups. And recently, he’s been taking videos of them and I’ve helped him edit them with some western music in the background and some interesting effects. He loves that. And so, he’s my thrifting and antiquing buddy, too, because that’s a passion of mine, but he loves to come along and search out all the good deals on his vintage toys.

And then he also loves visiting local pioneer villages and heritage sites. And I guess that goes in with this interest in the western Playmobil sets. He sees a lot of these and he loves to go to local museums and see those artifacts and things.

And we all enjoy nature together. I think he loves it from a critter perspective. So, chipmunks, raccoons, squirrels. He likes to bring peanuts along and hide them in various places for the critters.

And then he’s also really into video games, and so is my daughter. And we mostly play them on the computer. And I think he’s a Minecraft whiz and, of course, one of his favorite things on there is we have a texture pack that’s Old Western. So, he loves to bring that to life on there and so creative. And then he also has started sketching old western buildings and he’s getting quite a cool sketch style, his own unique style, so yeah.

And then my husband, I did check in with him and say, how many years have we been married? We’ve been married for 14 years coming up in August, and he’s a structural engineer and he specializes mostly in bridges and we love doing nature stuff as a family together, kayaking and biking and hiking and again, visiting these local sites and just finding interesting things to do in our area. And we love going to provincial parks together. And in his free time, he does weightlifting and then video games as well.

And something him and my son really connect on is playing video games. So, for instance, they have one right now, I think it’s called Railway Tycoon, which would typically be a bit tricky for my son’s skill level. It’s quite complicated, but my son loves interacting with Ben while Ben’s playing. So, that’s so cool to watch unfold with them together.

And then there’s a game one of the moms in the Network suggested. It’s called Ultimate Chicken Horse. And we play it togethe









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EU362: On the Journey with Kendel Ricker

EU362: On the Journey with Kendel Ricker

Pam Laricchia