When you listen to this episode you may get a bit of a sense of deja vu – way back in 2020, listener Kelly reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to do an episode on parental burnout, which she was struggling to navigate at the time. We ended up interviewing Dr. Moira Mikolajczak, one of the world’s experts on parental burnout.
After the conversation Dr. Mikolajczak expressed to me how much her heart went out to Kelly, who was navigating what seemed like an individual-level problem when it was actually very much our society’s failure to support her that created the problem. Having explored the connection between race and parenting in a series of episodes the previous year, ideas were definitely percolating for me about how societal issues show up in our families which is, of course, a massive theme in my book (which will be published on September 5!).
So it was so amazing to see Kelly recently in a much better place, reflecting on the connections between her school-based learning and her burnout, and how she’s taking steps to help her child learn lessons she thinks are truly important, like how to:
- Think critically about messages she receives from other people;
- See multiple people’s needs in an interaction, and find ways to meet both of their needs;
- Learn about the world immediately around her (which often involves Kelly backing off and not doing anything, rather than stepping in to teach a lesson).
Kelly’s children are certainly learning profound lessons in this process – but so is Kelly. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone so delighted to say that she’s thrown out a puzzle book that still had three un-done puzzles in that she didn’t want to do, having (finally) learned that it’s OK not to finish every single thing you start. Because not being able to do that can lead to burnout.
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Jump to Highlights
01:26 Introduction to today’s topic
02:02 Kelly talks about her family.
02:34 In the Netherlands, Kelly (who later discovered she had ADHD) attended a non-religious public school, enjoyed learning despite feeling out of place, and found ways to stay engaged.
06:32 Kelly’s burnout was influenced by her tendency to prioritize meeting teachers’ expectations rather than pursuing genuine interest, the impact of ADHD on her learning experience, and the mismatch between her learning style and the educational system.
12:12 Before working with Jen, Kelly focused on academic subjects for her child’s learning, while also recognizing learning in everyday experiences, but found it challenging to be at home with the children all day due to energy limitations.
14:13 Kelly considered homeschooling but found that the strict regulations in the Netherlands, along with the lack of community support and limited options for activities during the day, made it extremely difficult.
15:25 Kelly engages in discussions with her daughter about the school system, emphasizes meeting individual needs, and recognizes her advanced learning beyond the classroom.
23:33 Kelly, a member of the Learning Membership, engages in informal and organic learning explorations with her children.
30:37 Kelly’s perspective has shifted, realizing that she doesn’t have to finish everything and can find alternative approaches that work for her and her family.
35:19 Kelly feels more relaxed and confident in her role as a parent, allowing her child to learn from mistakes and pursue their own interests, while also engaging in important discussions about diversity and the environment to prepare her child for adulthood.
39:11 Kelly advises parents to have faith in their child’s learning, embrace peace and calm, enjoy their child’s curiosity, and play along with their exploration for their happiness and growth as individuals and good citizens.
Do you get tired of hearing the same old intros to podcast episodes? Me too. Hi, I'm not Jen. I'm Jessica. And I'm in rural East Panama. Jen has just created a new way for listeners to record the introductions to podcast episodes, And I got to test it out. There's no other resource out there quite like Your Parenting Mojo, which doesn't just tell you about the latest scientific research on parenting And child development, but puts it in context for you as well. So you can decide whether on how to use this new information. If you'd like to get new episodes in your inbox, along with a free infographic on 13 Reasons your child isn't listening to you (And what to do about each one), sign up at YourParentingMojo.com/subscribe, and come over to our free Facebook group to continue the conversation about this episode. You can also thank Jen for this episode by donating to keep the podcast ad free by going to the page for this or any other episode on YourParentingMojo.com. If you'd like to start a conversation with someone about this episode, or know someone who would find it useful, please vote it to them. Over time, you're gonna get sick of hearing me read this intro as well. So come and record one yourself. You can read from a script she's provided or have some real fun with it and write your own. Just go to YourParentingMojo.com and click Read the intro. I can't wait to hear yours.Jen Lumanlan:
Hello, And welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. And today we have a guest whose voice you may recognize. We are here with Kelly, who was on the show a number of years ago now in our episode on Parental Burnout. And she's here today with a big smile on her face, which you can see in the video if you're watching this on YouTube. And so things have shifted a little bit in the intervening years. And I'm sure we're going to talk a little bit about that as well. So welcome, Kelly. It's so great to have you here.Kelly:
Thank you very much. Glad to be back.Jen Lumanlan:
And where are you? You're sitting outside almost outside somewhere. Where are you in the world and who's in your family?Kelly:
Well, I live in the Netherlands. We live in a very, very south in a tiny village in Diani pretty much the only hilly part of the country. Lovely area, very rural. And I live with my husband, two kids. My oldest Isla is nearly six (unitelligible) and my youngest Yuan is two, just turned two.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. Okay. And so we're going to talk a fair bit about learning and I wonder if you could start by maybe telling us a little bit about what was school like for you? What was learning like for you? I assume you went to school and went through a traditional path that most of us went through.Kelly:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. In the Netherlands, we don't really have that much choice. Yeah, I went through that regular path in a like a non-religious school. Like there's a lot of religious schools in the Netherlands for this was a just like public school. I enjoyed most of it. I felt a bit I was sick all that a young students were like I skipped a class. When I went to this group to which is like more than five, maybe about five I skipped that year, or I went to foster. And from that I was always sort of the youngest one in the group, but mostly bullied, but like teased for things that they said or did or like I really noticed I was the youngest in the group. And that's kind of an odd one out. I did do enjoy it. Like I enjoyed learning. I enjoyed playing with the kids, I had a lot of friends, secondary school is a bit harder. Okay, like school wise academically, it was okay. I did my things. I got fairly good grades, especially when things interested me, like really good grades, I haven't fallen. If I didn't. Yeah, I couldn't do like History just didn't click for me, for example, except for one year when I had this brilliant teacher, you got to get it like that, that really made a difference to me. University was great as well. I just really enjoyed it. If I had courses that I enjoyed some of my first attempt at university, I enjoyed other things a lot more.Kelly:
But generally, like I kind of enjoyed school, except that it like I felt kind of out of place sometimes. I don't know if that was because I was the youngest or just different. Later, I learned that I have ADHD, which may have played a role in that as well. And especially that interest part, I figured out the big thing. So but yeah, I always felt quite okay with learning. And like, I would find something if even if the text was boring, I would just find like, I would practice my writing to make my writing prettier, or something like that, or just cut out the picture in a different way or add some color to the pages. But yeah, I guess it was fairly sort of clever. So I just I got by enough that even with not studying I got by soJen Lumanlan:
Yeah, and you were rewarded with grades. I assume that sort of kept the whole thing going.Kelly:
Yeah, it's good enough And rewarded with things like I would find things that I would find fun or just observing those girls in class who are more obsessed with their makeup And just seeing how they would interact were things that I see. Now, I wasn't aware of it at the time, but I was doing other things or yeah.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. Finding your own entertainment in the class. We just researched an episode on boredom and you were creating autonomy, within an environment in which you didn't have much autonomy you were finding interest in in places where you could find it even if the material wasn't intrinsically interesting.Kelly:
Absolutely, yeah.Jen Lumanlan:
Okay. And before we go on, I have to ask you, you have such a strong Irish accent. I had no idea you were going to tell me you grew up in the Netherlands. How did that come about?Kelly:
I grew up in the Middle East. I was born here. When I was 18, I moved to Ireland for a year. My dad's Irish, my mom's Dutch. My dad tried to speak English with me for a while until I was, I think it was about two, I ran onto the roads. And he said, "Stop", and I didn't stop right away. And he gave up speaking English for me not realizing that stop is the same in English And Dutch. So I'm not really sure where that story goes. But that's the point that he gave off. And he spoke Dutch to me. But I did pick up enough like a lot more. And then when I was in Ireland, after a few months, he said, after a year, I said, "I'm going home." "And you're going home where?" Netherlands, Irish. But isn't that like my accent? Is that truly Irish then? So apparently was but yeah.Jen Lumanlan:
And still it?Kelly:
It makes some people do here to talk to none other people only hear the Irish.Jen Lumanlan:
Okay. All right. Well, thank you that would have niggled at me for the whole conversation if I hadn't asked. Okay, so so you went through school and you found interest. You created essentially. You manufactured interest where where there wasn't any and that was enough to sort of get you through. What did you study in university? What was interesting to you there?Kelly:
The year that I didn't do very well was applied mathematics. After that, I did find some interest there as well. But those were not academically. I did have a fantastic and I learned a lot. It's just not like enough to pass anything there, that I went to Ireland and I traveled around for a while. And there, I found out that I love a lot about like food and nutrition and like how people like just the habits that they have in each culture in each culture. So I went on to study nutrition and health in the Netherlands, mostly focusing on nutrition and a little bit of psychology around it, loss of my body stuff. Then I went on to do physical activity interventions. And then I went into genetics and epidemiology for a PhD. And when I was totally, that was when I got into the burnout, when I got the burnout. And then now I'm in sustainability and in like, in the energy transition and climate change, so I kind of changed my path every time.Jen Lumanlan:
Wow, Yeah, very much. So. Okay. And so you mentioned the burnout, and you can train with me before we turned on the recording that it's okay to talk about this with you. And so I wonder if you can draw any sort of any ideas out for us to the extent that you see it between the things that were happening in what you were learning, right, and your experiences in your I mean, you were still in school at that point, and very, you know, advanced school. And And what your experience of burnout was, like, what led to it, and what it was like to be in there.Kelly:
Yeah, looking back at the time I wasn't aware of it. But looking back, there was a lot of, I just went with, like, what does the teacher want for me? That story like I searched for that the whole time. And then the further you get, the harder it is to just find the answer and be satisfied with that just like, Oh, yes, I got the right answer that the teacher wants. And at some point, that is just not interesting enough anymore. It's like not rewarding enough anymore. The ADHD also played a big part in that, that I just didn't understand. And the system just didn't work for me like the way of learning it cost me a lot more energy than other people would have had, or at least many. And what was the second bit of the question how it was during the burnout?Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. And just curious about the intersection of kind of being in school, right, the experience of learning and whether the extent to which that led to burnout or sort of contributed to it, or what were the intersections between the learning and the burnout?Kelly:
Yeah, I think it was very closely related to that. I just did what was expected of me over time I went through school I did to highest levels everywhere. I just did it without thinking about it. And then I went into a PhD because hey, I finished an academic studies that were very specific for research. So I thought, well, let's do a PhD. I was asked for a PhD, they wanted me so I take the job, let's go. And it just went from there. And I just kept doing what other people expected of me. And I just like, as we say in Dutch, I went past myself. I left myself behind somewhere. And that was like during that burnout. And when I needed to go back to work, I just realized, like, I was very close to going back to academia. Actually, when I started working again, and then they said, "No, we don't want you to shadow burn out here before." And that was the moment where I realized that this is not my place to be this is just like I need I really need to start making decisions for myself. And that was hard, like, after so many years to relearn that or to learn it, maybe even like I've never talked about it before. And it's same with kids, like they want things from you. And I just gave everything I didn't think about, like, does this meet my needs in any way? She wanted to drink milk all night long until she was three years old. And it just doesn't work for me. So the second one that he like, nine months, I was like, I can't do this anymore. I'm going to choose myself now. And that's really that transition from before the burnouts and after because I had my daughter before and my son after, after, during the very, very big difference there and how I approach stuff. Yeah.Jen Lumanlan:
Wow. And I mean, that's, but the idea that this is your fault in some way, right? Rather than this is the system that has taught you.Jen Lumanlan:
Over the years, so many times through so many lessons you will deliver, you will deliver, you will deliver, yeah. And then for that system to say, "You know what, you're not good enough for this. You can't survive in this world." And so you you're the problem, you need to go and find something else to do. I mean, that's just, it's staggering. Yeah, it really is. Yeah.Kelly:
It's hard to take as well, that now like, there's nobody who can teach me like even if I ask around. Nobody knows. Because everybody's in the same boat. And I just did last week. I said to my daughters, "I can't be an adult. I don't know how I don't be an adult. I don't know what this is." So yeah, I think I said that before. That's kind of where I look to you, Jen. To be an adult. Yes. Didn't take like, how do you keep house and things like that? Like, I just never learned that I just did what was expected of me. And now I'm to find out for myself, like, nobody tells me when to sweep the floor or when to do the dishes. Can I leave it for another day? I don't know.Jen Lumanlan:
Yes. And as scary as it is that someone looks to me to be the adult was funny when you mentioned it on our group call. So okay, so so you have two children. One of them is, is in school at moment, and the other one is sort of heading in that direction, I think. And so I'm curious as to the kinds of things that you had been doing to support their learning up until we started working together.Kelly:
Yeah, so I, I think it was always quite aware like that learning happens everywhere. And I would see a lot of learning going on. But I think at the same time, it's kind of hard to exactly bring it back. But at the same time, I was still sort of going with like all these things that the regular school curriculum, I guess, and all these academic subjects, like I really tend towards them. She was three when Yuan was just born the youngest, and she was walking around there. And was that we get a nurse for the first what is it 10 days or something to help you after a child is born? Yes, brilliant, really good. Well, if you get the right one, it's good. Anyway, she was walking around there. And she comes up with two pillows entrance into the room and she drops it on the ground, and she screams, "Gravity!" And then she ran off again. And there were like, she just really say that? But yeah, she did.Kelly:
But it was like these things it like those were the things that I spent a lot of energy on. And there was like, she knew a lot about the body. She knew photosynthesis, which she like, into the brain deep. But still, she knew more about an average done than average child of tree, I guess. But then there's a lot of other topics that I wouldn't really see as learning or like social topics I wouldn't do as like now I know as a learning exploration where we talk a bit more about it and really explore like, "Oh, what could this person think about it? What could this person do? What if he lived in a different situation?" And they just some perspective taking, I wouldn't do it that much. It was more of the academic stuff that I am focused on a lot. But I always always had a big trust that she wouldn't learn what you had to learn at home. But just like being home, I would be confident to just leave her home. Except I find it so hard to be home with the two kids all day long. Like it's cost me too much energy to burn out face as well. I just wouldn't be able to do it. I like so much respect for parents who are home with their kids all day. That for two years, it's just better for me, let's say yeah, for me. Your needs?Jen Lumanlan:
Yes, absolutely. And I wonder if that impacted your decision around homeschooling. Right, because I think you are not considering homeschooling. What was that decision process? Like? Was there even a decision process? Or was it you know, they're gonna go to school?Kelly:
I guess I made up my mind about it. But I knew like regulations in the Netherlands make it extremely hard to do. Therefore, there's very, very little community by law, and then no two families will homeschool, are on school, actually. And I talked with them a lot. But if I see like how much they're struggling and they try to live in communities and like, sort of like a communal living space with other families, but even that, like they had to move across the country to find a place where they could live in such a setting. And it's really hard. There's no groups where you can go to during the day because older kids are in school. This it's very different, I guess. So it was never really an option. And to a degree, I think I never been brave enough to even have this discussion with most people in my family and my friends do it. What do you do and so much critique? It's just not worth the energy almost. I feel like a coward in a way. But then again, I know I would not be able to push it through anyway. It's too hard here in the Netherlands, I guess.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. So then now I'm, I'm really curious about obviously, you look back on your school experience, And you see that it sort of put you on the path to what ended up being a very difficult phase in your life. And obviously, now your daughter is in school already? And do you talk with her about kind of the school system? Do you have the sort of macro level conversations? How do you not make sure but sort of see the idea that the way that you went through school, which by all accounts, you know, from the outside, you were fine, you did fine, was not necessarily the best one for you. So how do you talk about that with her if you do?Kelly:
I do. I do talk about her with her. I did also explain my ADHD to her and how that helped me in school or not helped me in school, things like that, and just be open about it. I wouldn't be surprised if she has, well, I'm pretty sure she's in some way neurodivergent. It could be ADHD, autism, I don't know. We're going to get that sorted out as well. And just what I see now, at least in schools, like I talked to this, not really a school counselor, which of you call they call them the like the, I don't know, this lady who helps with learning difficulties for the whole school. And I was talking to her and I was like, well, should I tell the teacher even about my diagnosis of ADHD? Because she bounces around the class, she's gonna get that label, like, even just in the teachers head maybe? And she said, Oh, yes, the times have changed since we've been in school, like times are very different here. Teachers help kids in school all day of everyday every class has some kids that get their medication from teachers. They're very, very helpful. We had some sensory integration therapy. And this physiotherapist doesn't, she goes into the class, and she actually worked with the teacher and with my daughter there, and she's got to give a lot of advice also for other kids. So I got a really good feeling. They're like, we live in a very rural area, there's not a lot of choice here with schools, like we basically have two choices. And one is very small school, the other ones with big school, they had a focus point of for gifted children. So it was like, Okay, well, she's advanced for a so well, let's go with that skill down, because it's bigger and more chances of like getting the help that she needs. And they're very good like to do a lot of like, different levels within one class, and they really try to meet the kids needs. But still, it's like 32 kids in a class. I just keep her if it's too overwhelming for her, I just keep her home and I call in sick. It's not technically sick. You don't have a book, but I told the teachers, I do want to know, do you want me to be honest? Or should they just lie and say that she's taken? Well, if you don't go out on the streets, then yeah, do be honest and we'll see how it goes.Kelly:
And I did mention to the teacher as well, like that, I was very sure that she wouldn't learn everything she needed if she wouldn't go to school and didn't really get the best response to that. What about social stuff? And they need to learn all these social things? Yeah. And they learned that with all four year olds in the same class, sure. I find that part, but no, I had really she is she's a really good teacher, and very, very helpful in many ways. And I guess just being open about it helps a lot. But then to Isla I tell her, I do kind of I tell her about like about how to work with the system that there is and how to play the game a bit. And if she says, like, I really don't want to do these things, I tried to look with her like, Okay, what is it really that you have to do? Where can we sort of move around it or anything, but it's not that much, because she gets a lot of playtime in school still, and it's not that much she needs to do as more at home, like she didn't want to practice anything for her book, reading and class, then don't like I don't care. Just do whatever you want to do. I was just curious I wanted her to do it at home, because I wanted to see what you would do. Like I was curious what it was like but not in a practicing laser. Sure. See what happens. Like she will say, Well, yeah, what goes on?Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah, and even that conversation of, we don't have to do everything we're told, right? Is a really profound shift, I think because when I was in school, it was, you know, if it's written in your homework journal, you're gonna do it. There's no ifs, ands, or buts here, there's no decision making. It's just if it's written down, you're going to do it. And so to have this conversation around, what happens if we don't do it? Are we okay with those consequences? If we are then is there a real reason to do it? If it's not meeting any other need of ours? I think is I mean, that just just that by itself, is sort of what is going to help her to be aware of her needs in a way that you and I were not able to be aware of our needs when we were in school.Kelly:
Yeah, nobody ever told me who told us about me, at least not me about needs like that was having a conversation with her yesterday, I promise not to tell anybody. So, details, but she told me about something that happened in the after school care. And I said, well, if I can find out because I turned it into a game, so she was comfortable enough to tell it. And I said, well, if we can figure out exactly what happened, so we can look at, okay, what is this person's needs, that things happened with? What is your need, And that point, like, what maybe has been going on, we can find a solution that works for both needs. And she's really like, she really needs the help of a grown up to go through that process. But if you help her go through that, it's just like, oh, but maybe this person needs this. And then she comes up with these solutions to things and I'm like, wow, I hope that her teacher realizes this approach, because she discusses absolutely everything.Kelly:
We had a report, chat with the teacher today. And she says she wants to know why she has to do every single thing that she has to do. Not very handy socially. But yes, that's kind of like, oh, we need to find a balance. But that's a good start. Yeah, very strong, like its own its own nature in the way. But still, it's. Yeah, it's very nice to see that she has that approach, just hope that she finds a socially acceptable way to deal with that. And that I guess that is the approach. She was like, she has to let go of that strong wheel that she wants something exactly that way. Or maybe she she can express it in a different way. But I'm still like, I'm so open to have that discussion and the problem solving. But yeah, I need to find out how to manage that with the teacher. Not yet.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. And it'll come right as you're negotiating this relationship with the teacher. And as your daughter is learning new ways of expressing things, And also separating what is her actual need, from what is the strategy that she or the teacher has chosen to meet their individual needs? Maybe if we can kind of get underneath the strategy that I'm, you know, I'm getting attached to you and the strategy the teachers getting attached to you, then we can find ways of meeting both of our needs. I mean, that's, that's profound learning.Kelly:
Yeah, most of the time where we really fight, it's like, I love what you're saying, that's not a need. That is what you want to do. But it's not the need that's behind it. But I really need to do build whatever, do something that would like tiny parts that are just knocked over. But I need to do that. That was like, that's not your needs. It is your need to be with us. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Okay, now we can now we can work with this. Yeah, or not, but at least like, you know, you can find a solution that might work.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah, yeah. So the teachers worried about this social learning, that's not happening when your child is missing days of school. And your child is already starting to understand that people have needs underlying the strategies that use to try and meet those needs And is starting to see how different people have different needs use different strategies. I mean, to me, that's 1000 times more learning than she will get in a classroom of other four year olds, where nobody ever talks about that stuff.Kelly:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I've got to say like, she does learn a lot in school. I'm amazed at the things that she brings home and what she does, they're like, it's lovely to see. But yes, they do a lot of reading in school as well. And they practice reading there today. And she's had a very advanced reading it. Yeah, but I learned that at home. I didn't learn that in school this year. Oh, gosh. So I'm pretty sure they did a lot of like, reading type of stuff with her. Even though she's only like in. She's in Yeah, we call it group two, but it's like preschool still. And they're not supposed to read. Yeah. And she's no but learned this at home. Okay.Jen Lumanlan:
Nice. And of course, in the Learning Membership, we don't focus really on like getting your child to read right, on getting your child to do math. And one of the group coaching calls that I remember most is when you were talking through a learning exploration you were doing with your child related to puddles, right? And I think at the beginning, you kind of didn't necessarily see, yeah, my kids are really interested in jumping in muddy puddles. Where do I go with this? What was that process like for you before we talked through it? And then where did your kids ultimately end up going with it?Kelly:
Oh, with the puddles?Jen Lumanlan:
Gosh, yeah, I do remember, yeah, they still have to muddy puddles. I guess the most, the most important thing there is just like, embrace what is there and just work with it and see, like, sometimes I don't explicitly see what's going on. And it's not this academic stuff that they learn. But it's more sort of getting a feeling for what happens in the world. And like just the way that when you jump in a puddle and there's all the ripples there. It's not something that you can express in any way like she's never going to tell me that that is what what happened. But when I look at it from a distance, I see her like just putting her finger in over and over just to see what happens or just throwing something in and those type of things. Yeah, I guess just seeing that learning happening just there and not just leaving it at that, that is a big shift for me. It's just like, I don't always take it further. I'm terrible with the documentation, but I I just hate writing everything down and I just never get around to it. That is like one of my biggest struggles still, I still have the feeling that they're learning so much from just letting it go and just letting it be and giving her some space. Sometimes I stopped my husband was like, no let it go. Look what he's exploring right now. Oh, yeah. And he's starting to pick up on that as well as fiddling with them. They're fine. They're fine. Now, she's just figuring something else. That just that viewers just give so much peace as well. Peace of mind.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah, yeah. What kinds of things that she'd been exploring lately?Kelly:
Or she's very obsessed with why one routes is shorter than you would like one sort of diagonal route is shorter than the route that goes around. Now, it's not necessarily faster. That's the like a dirt road and yet one is just asphalt. So it's not necessarily faster, but it's yeah, it's shorter. And she just doesn't get it way shorter. She keeps asking. And I think it's related with, like, when we go uphill, why, like roads, zigzag up a hill and why you don't go straight up the hill, are very similar fields, I guess. But the thing is, she'd been asking us for about a year, maybe I keep forgetting. I just can't write it down. I can't get to a point. And like, we need to get a map And just put a string on and measure it. Something like that. It's so easy. I just keep forgetting so bad. Yeah, so that was really my weakness still, that I maybe that's the ADHD brain when she says something like, Oh, yes, I gotta watch now that I could talk to and makes notes for me.Kelly:
And still I forget that that is, but I still have a lot of like learning is happening on the go, or other things that she loves. Understood a lot with plants and like edible plants, and like, what parts of a dandelion you could eat or things like that she loves and we've been making, taking cuttings, which I didn't think about this before. But these are all things we've been doing lately. Just looking at how like rasberries grow where they're like, how it goes from the flower to the to the rasberry itself. And yeah, things like that. Just a lot now, and a lot of waterplay think we were talking about like a new pool. It's like, okay, what's in that pool, and like with fluoride, and chlorine, or bacteria is a lot like the creatures in our tummy that she needs to feed every night. We've been drawing them, that's actually learning exploration. I didn't I don't do these things consciously anymore. They just happened. This sort of made these drawings of the creatures in our tummy. And we talked to the creatures, And they told me and they want different foods at different times. And they really started to come to life. And I like this creature that she takes care of. And she loves that. Like, yeah, it works,Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. What's lovely is it's so informal, right? It's so organic. You know, she's, there are raspberries, and they're blooming now. And, and so we're interested in that and how that process transforms from a flower into a raspberry. It's deeply grounded in her day to day experience, right? This is not you reading books about things that are happening in far up rain forests or play places that she has no concept of what they're actually like. This is I'm observing closely what is happening in my immediate environment physically, in my body, and as well, you know, when you're talking about needs, in my relationships with other people, and exploring those, what is my role in those? What is my place there? What can I observe about the transition that I'm seeing? And that is such a deep, profound learning and understanding to have it even though it's, you know, completely unrelated to a random list of facts that she might just as well easily be able to memorize.Kelly:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Because I didn't before you'd asked me like, what type of things have you been doing recently? And there was I Yeah, we did that steam steam Engine that we built. Yeah, sorry. Yeah. Oh, yeah. And I could remember all the pictures that we took for the learning journal. That was like, one month that I managed to did tell me what you say such end of the learning journal. So yeah. Well, you say thank you to her that we could do that. That time. We could still do that, you know, Oh, can we really? So I'm not finished yet. Oh, no. Yes, we can still do the documentation. But that was not the point of what I'm doing. Very natural, though. So yeah, her thank you there. Yeah. Everything just happens now, it's Yeah, we don't do it for any formal things. I might say sometimes, like, we do learning exploration about it, and then nothing happens. I think something happens today. Yeah, I just don't realize it so much.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. And that's okay, right? And different parents will bring different abilities, different desires to engage with this in different ways. I would say the number of people who document is is probably lower than the number of people who don't document and that's totally fine. I think one of the strengths of documentation is firstly, it records for your child to come back and be able to say, Yeah, we did this thing and oh, yeah, I believe that and I know that's not true anymore. And then it can also give the parents a lot of confidence to look back in six months and say, oh, yeah, now if I was doing it, I would do it this way. And I know that my child would be able to explore this other thing, because I helped to set that process up. And so it helps you to track your learning, but it's in no way required. You and your child are still firstly engaging in deep learning. And secondly, deepening your relationship and your connection with each other, whether or not that documentation is taking place. So yeah, if that can lift some of the guilt that I am sensing is there.Kelly:
By now that that documentation is just not going to happen.Jen Lumanlan:
And that's totally fine. Is there any any place that you've just felt stuck in relation to supporting your child's learning? And how did you get unstuck?Kelly:
Yes, I well stuck, frustrated, more like, at the beginning, I was like, we're not really done yet. We didn't get to the conclusion of what you're supposed to learn from this. It was like, Duh, what the whole chapter that is in that book in school. We didn't get to the end of the chapter yet. And it was so frustrating. And then she went on to something else. I'm like, can we finish this tomorrow, then? No, it's good. It's good, mom. I'm done. And then it's just starting to explain like kind of the conclusion, I think this was about like, this exploration about being a scientist, which is kind of a trap. We talked about that as well, like, me knowing exactly what to what point you're gonna get if you did the whole, like scientific cycle. And later, I don't know where it came from. But it was one of the first modules somewhere was about like, the you don't need to finish everything. And that was that that was something that you learned from school, and I was like, what wait was alive was upside down, and then you don't have to finish? You know, you mean, I can just throw away like this puzzle work. And I did like three puzzles that I didn't do yet. But I don't want to do, I don't actually have to like put it in the toilet so that every day I can just do at least one word so I can throw the thing away. And what we do. And what I realized I was like I've been doing all my life. That was I don't know, I don't know, I didn't do anything to get unstuck. It just sort of happened.Kelly:
And I saw a lot of things to happen in my life where I was like, Yeah, that was so profound. And then there was one other thing. No, I managed to pull that work in the system. And like playing the game to other areas as well. And just sort of one of the favorite sayings of my husband, if you can do it as you're supposed to do it, then just do it the way you can do it. Now that works out really well in Dutch, but it's just sort of just to whatever way you can do it. Like, if it works, it works very pragmatic, I suppose. And, yeah, that just helped me so much to look beyond, okay, like, these are the things that we're doing, if I want to make it work, but I can do all these things like ADHD bring, you can't do half of the things you want to do. If you can find a system to make it work, and definitely, if that works for you, who cares what other people do or what other people expect of you. And that's changed a lot of I just can't think of a very explicit place where it changed in Vegas, I guess and work as well, like just that shift that a change that I made in my job go into totally different, like I'm doing a totally different job now. But I'm still like it works for me. Who cares? I did an academic education, who cares? Like, yeah, I don't use that PhD stuff. And in a way, but I am enjoying myself. Life works.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah, that PhD stuff. Yes. And what you're saying is you're essentially learning as an adult, how to not believe everything you learned in school. And that, yes, we learned some valuable things in school. And also, when we think we must finish something there is there is no alternative other than to finish something, and to do it in the way that you've been told to do it.Jen Lumanlan:
That sets us up for this huge cognitive dissonance as we go through life with you know, puzzle books now getting finished. And that being a tiny example of things throughout our lives that don't get finished. What if there's no need to finish the puzzle books?Kelly:
Oh, yeah, I threw so many books away that I never finished well, alright. Like I gave them away. And so I'm not going to finish them. Give them to somebody else. There's no point in like keeping them if I don't want to finish them in the first place. Just because I bought them it doesn't mean I need to finish it. That's like, I wouldn't say it was I realized that I was stuck. But these things have really helped me to ease everything in life basically like that moves on to like even to housework, or jobs that I do or have this this coaching training last weekend. And I was for the first time I was at home doing it virtually. And one thing I'm going to learn today is how to be at home with like two kids and a husband getting into fights all day. I can hear them through the floor with wooden floors, I'm gonna hear them. One thing I'm going to learn today, if it's not the exact contents of what we're learning today is how to deal with that. And just accepting that, that I'm not learning every single bullet point in that that guide that we're using. Wow, that was so good. makes life so much easier.Jen Lumanlan:
Yes. Yeah, for sure. So I'm wondering now how you feel about your role in your child's learning and your ability to support their learning?Kelly:
Yeah, I guess a lot more relaxed, a lot more free and just letting things happen and given her a lot more space to just to make mistakes, as well to just sometimes just just let her totally feel, then that's a lot more learning like that steam engine. Now, that was a bit of a like more formal learning exploration where I really like I said, Okay, let's do a learning exploration was fantastic. But the older glue melted, it could have known it was hot glue. Hot glue gun doesn't like it melts before 100 degrees. So the whole, like, literally the whole thing fell apart when we put a candle under it. But that was brilliant, because we like the fact that that glue where the glue melts, that stuck with me so much more than the fact that if it would have worked, and that little mill that we made would have spawned and then yeah, okay, next, this really learned a lot more. So just to be a bit more relaxed with failure and seeing what you can learn from that to myself, but also to the kids like now. It seems as if everything's going great, that's not like that, like sometimes it gets just so frustrated after like the 10th time and she still doesn't get it.Kelly:
But I'm by no means a perfect parent at all, or even a great parent, but I'm just yeah, a lot more confident and relaxed about eventhough I was sure she was going to learn everything, this was more like she's going to learn what she wants to learn, and what she needs to learn. She's not going to learn everything, she's going to learn what she needs to learn. And I think that is the biggest shift that I made personally, in my mind, even though she's going to school is gonna push a lot of like, things that she has to learn on there. Still, she's going to learn a lot of other things that are going to get her so much further in life.Kelly:
Yeah, it's another perspective taking things, Oh, gosh, I can't read the Enid Blyton books anymore in the same way after you said like, the White Supremacy I'm there and I, I spoke to her about it as well. It's like, did you notice that the bad guy is like usually not like a normal person, like we look. And we talked a bit about like kids in our class, like very rarely. So there's very few kids that look very different. And we talked a bit about that. And it's just like, you see it showing up everywhere. And I thought I could take it to work as well. And like I mentioned things this morning, we were talking about buying land and how could you? How could you just buy that from Mother Earth that just didn't? Still doesn't work in my brain? Like I would never have talked about those things with my four year old, I would have talked about like, well, maybe mortgages or wedding? I don't know, like these formal things that you, Yeah, think of numbers, exactly. More exact things. So yeah, it's been very different approach and helping her with all those things. Like, hopefully, at some point, she's gonna feel okay to be an adult.Jen Lumanlan:
And what I hear is your values are coming out, right. It's not just facts. It's what's important to me, how do I view the world? What ideas do I think are really important? And that you're now having conversations about those?Kelly:
Yeah, I shouldn't have never thought about it that way. But I think you're right. If it would be a steam engine, we could talk a bit more about like, Okay, what why did we even make a steam engine? And why do we need to use these things? And why do we need to produce more, and the story would go in a different direction than the technical details that it would have gone to over and over, I think, yeah, more about? Yeah, my person, I get very frustrated with the world. And as in like, sustainability point of view, like how are we to do this as this one little family? How would like I try not to let her have her wastewater, but still, she needs to learn certain things here and there as well. And finding that balance I definitely still struggle with. But it's more about, like what I find important to do rather than facts and figures. Yeah, yeah.Jen Lumanlan:
If you can leave parents with a piece of advice when they're thinking about supporting their children's learning, and they're not really sure what to do, how to approach it, what would you tell parents do?Kelly:
Have that faith in that your child will get there, just that peace and calm. I heard like it, I really needed those insights to get to that point. But if I could just send it to other parents, I would love to, I don't know how but I would love to send it to them that they have that faith and that confidence that their child is going to learn what they need to learn for themselves. And maybe not to be fantastic adults, but to be happy in life and to be good with other people and sort of to be good citizens--as a citizen of the world, I guess, whatever that means to everybody. But that laxness about how, how things are gonna go, it's gonna be okay. And just enjoy how your child's is that little scientist And play along, because I had so much fun with some of the things that we did like. Yeah, just go along with it. Yeah, I enjoyed.Jen Lumanlan:
Fantastic. Thank you so much for being here and for sharing so much about your experience. It's so lovely to kind of close the loop with you as it were. around and see you in a very different place in life. So thanks so much for being here. It was great to see you.Kelly:
Very welcome. Thank you, too.Jessica:
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