#23 - Summer Jean | Interview with a Grown Up Unschooler - A life without classrooms

SUMMER JEAN

🗓️ Recorded May 10 th, 2023. 📍Chateau de L'Isle Marie, Normandy, France

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About this Episode

What if the traditional education system is doing more harm than good? 

In our conversation with Summer Jean, a 34-year-old grown unschooler, we explore her unique upbringing and how it has shaped her life. Raised by a mother who trusted her children's innate ability to learn without any required academia, Summer Jean and her three brothers grew up free from workbooks, curriculums, and traditional school settings.

Throughout our discussion, we examine the differences between world schooling and unschooling, as well as the pressures and fears that unschooled children might face from family members who expect them to conform to conventional education systems. We also delve into the hypocrisy of traditional education, which trains children not to make their own choices for 12 years, only to expect them to have it all figured out by the time they turn 18.

Join us as we uncover the impact of unschooling on Summer Jean's life, highlighting the importance of trusting your children's innate ability to learn, encouraging independence, and fostering an environment where they can thrive. 

Discover how unschooling can lead to a life full of critical thinking, personal growth, and self-discovery, and challenge your beliefs and understandings around traditional education systems.

 - Clips from this episode -

Undermining children's sense of rightness

As children, when we are told to ignore our own instincts, passions, and interests and instead do what others dictate, it leaves us feeling conflicted. We question our own judgment and lose touch with our inner sense of rightness.

What do we rely on in life if not our own innate discernment? When our trust in ourselves is undermined, we become disconnected from our true nature. We're left wondering, "What am I really made of? What is truly authentic to me?" The impact of repeatedly being told that we're wrong, that we can't be trusted, lingers within us. It's like literal brainwashing, shaping our beliefs and limiting our potential. 😢

Let's take a moment to reflect on the importance of nurturing and empowering our children's individuality and self-trust. Let's encourage them to listen to their inner voice and follow their own path. 🌈💪 Together, we can help create a world where everyone embraces their unique truths and lives authentically. 🌍💙

"People are not afraid for their children. They're actually afraid of their children"  

The idea of exerting control and forcing our children to conform stems from a belief system passed down through generations - a belief that if we don't control our children, they'll be failures. But let's challenge this cycle. When we look at the natural world around us, we see that everything unfolds according to its own nature without external authority. 🌿 Summer Jean encourages us to break free from the fear-based mindset. Instead, let's empower our children to embrace their uniqueness and trust their inner instincts. 🌟 Parenting is an incredible journey of growth for both child and parent. By letting go of fear and control, we create an environment where our children can thrive, knowing they are inherently valuable and loved. ❤️ 

Force and connection cannot coexist. When you're truly connected, force becomes redundant.

 

“There is no academic learning that could possibly be worth damaging that connection in any way, shape, or form. I don't care what anybody says; there’s nothing worth damaging it because that parent-child connection is literally everything. And if you sacrifice one piece of that, the whole thing can crumble. That is the basis of your child's mental and emotional well-being throughout their entire life and the moment that you sacrifice that relationship and that connection. for fear, you're gonna choose fear that your child is gonna be stupid over the relationship and the connection that you have with them. I mean, what is that teaching your child about what's important in life?  You have to disconnect to force someone to do something. Force and connection do not coexist. It's impossible. And if you're connected with someone, force is not required."

You have to put your kids in school. Is that true, though? Why?  

Stop for a moment, really pause, and ask yourself – why are we sending our children to school? Is that an irrefutable axiom of our society, or is it a widely accepted assumption that hasn't been critically analyzed? It is high time we scrutinize this norm.

Survey our society today – does it not strike you that people appear to be discontent, not at their happiest or healthiest? This begs the question, are we really doing right by our kids, by our society, by sticking to a traditional, possibly antiquated, approach to education? Or should we be daring enough to try something different, something that might better serve our children and our future?

Unschooling, a radical, child-centered approach to learning, offers that 'something different.' It fundamentally challenges our conventional wisdom about education. Instead of forcing children into a standardized curriculum, unschooling allows them to follow their own interests, their own curiosity, their own pace. It nurtures intrinsic motivation, fostering an innate love for learning that can remain far beyond the years of formal schooling.

Sure, this may seem like uncharted territory to some, but look around again – our current path does not seem to be leading us to happiness or health. Perhaps, it is time to take the road less traveled. It is time to genuinely question, 'why, why are we doing this?' and consider the possibility that unschooling might just be the change we need.

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4 WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT OUR PODCAST!

With love

Jesper-Underskrift

Jesper Conrad 

AUTOGENERATED TRANSCRIPT

Jesper Conrad: 

My goal with inviting you, Summer Jean, was to show the world that grown-up unschoolers are not weird, so now the burden is on you.

Summer Jean: 

Oh, maybe I'm not the right person for this.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Oh you represent everybody.

Jesper Conrad: 

Yeah, everybody at one time.

Summer Jean: 

Everybody Just like me. All of your kids will turn out just like me. Yes, yes, that's how we roll. We have a very specific formula, step-by-step process guaranteed Every second year.

Cecilie Conrad: 

it's nature on track.

Jesper Conrad: 

So just to get some of the facts straight where are you and how old are you, And can you tell a little about your upbringing?

Summer Jean: 

Sure, yeah, so I'm 34. So I'm one of the oldest, one of the oldest, one of the first, the originals unschoolers And when I say unschooling I mean like literally, like 100% from the very beginning. So I have three brothers and my mom raised all four of us outside of any kind of school system, so we didn't have any kind of required academia growing up. There was no curriculum, there was no workbooks, there was no no like sit down study times or anything like that in my childhood for all four of us, all the way through, and I mostly grew up in Northern California, the US, and then we moved to Hawaii when I was about 10 years old And I spent all my teen years there And then kind of skipping ahead, back and forth, mostly in Hawaii for the rest of until about a year ago, and then moved to Mexico And that's where I am now. I'm currently living in a little beautiful Mexican Kuebla called Lodimarcos. I'm just north of Puerto Vallarta And it's gorgeous little beach town. That's where I'm at now.

Jesper Conrad: 

That sounds wonderful. We are actually planning to. we're coming over during the winter to to to go meet all these wonderful people We have met at this World School Summit. We are at the pop-up here in Normandy.

Cecilie Conrad: 

It's neither a summit nor a pop-up.

Jesper Conrad: 

No, it's a co-living.

Cecilie Conrad: 

We're doing co-living. It's not the same.

Jesper Conrad: 

It is not the same.

Summer Jean: 

It's not the same. Do you know? Laini Liberti?

Cecilie Conrad: 

Yeah, yeah.

Summer Jean: 

Yeah, she's here in Mexico.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Yeah, i know, and I haven't seen her since 19.

Jesper Conrad: 

Yeah.

Cecilie Conrad: 

I met Laini online just when she did it pulled the plug in 08 because I had pulled another plug and yeah, And then we finally met in 19 and then the whole big C thing came along and ruined. Wound, traveling Not everything but a lot for a while Because a combination of the Corona, craziness and a medical condition within our family. We just had to stay in Europe because we couldn't risk, we couldn't fly back, so we couldn't really come over to anywhere. Yeah, to Mexico. We decided to risk it.

Summer Jean: 

Actually Laini, i spoke at her conference last year here in Guanajuato, mexico.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Yeah, she's a great one. He's really not a lot for the community.

Jesper Conrad: 

We had her Yeah yeah, We have had her on one of our first podcast interviews. Yeah, And some of them. For me, it's a little strange to ask questions, as I jokingly said in the start. Now it's on you to show the world that we are normal people. But you're just a normal person.

Cecilie Conrad: 

I mean, maybe I should say the thing about the Tasmanian family, then we warm up. So the first time we met a grown up on school was when, actually, she just reached out in the world school community. If anyone was around Actually, not even Copenhagen we weren't living in Copenhagen at the time and she was in Malmo, which is in Sweden, just across. You just have to cross a bridge, it's like 40 minutes away And they were crazy story. They were bicycling Europe with their two children And it was raining, cats and dogs, and it had been for several days and the forecast was bad and she was like, do I know anyone in this area? I need to get inside. And I said you can jump on the train and come to my house. And she came And I didn't even know she was a grown up on school, on on school or funny on school, that's the word. Yeah, so she just came and she had her husband and two children and we were an unschooling family. But we met through world schooling, which is not the same. You can sit down with workbooks traveling the world.

Summer Jean: 

Well, yeah, I mean, world schooling just means that you're, you're doing some form of home education while traveling.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Yeah, basically traveling while you have children that we normally go to.

Summer Jean: 

As far as I understand it, you could be following some kind of curriculum or doing some kind of schooling, a version of home schooling, relaxed home schooling, eclectic home, whatever it could be any of those things, or it could be unschooling, or it could be radical and schooling, or it could be you know some offshoot, but I think mostly it's just that you're not in school and you're live, you're traveling. That seems to be.

Cecilie Conrad: 

And then some world schoolers are in school and they just take big chunks of time to travel. So there's not really not any rules. I would say the rules for unschooling are more strict.

Summer Jean: 

I wouldn't be so sure, but I really I prefer to have well defined. I like things to be well defined. I like definition, especially when it comes to language, because otherwise how do you communicate and have conversations about things? And so I've actually been one of my unpopular opinions that a lot of people in the unschooling, homeschooling communities I ruffle some feathers because they really don't like it when I define unschooling in a very practical sense. They kind of want it to be this very ambiguous kind of thing that they can sort of apply to whatever they want to be like. Oh well, we're almost unschoolers and I'm like that's not a one school in the weekend. Yeah, people, we are Well, we, we, we unschool part of the time, we unschool. Sometime we can't school everything but mass, or we unschool. I said no, i'm like, no, i'm sorry, no, that's some form of homeschooling. You're doing some form of schooling at home that is called home schooling. And then unschooling means you do not require your children to do academic schoolwork or anything that resembles schoolwork at all. It doesn't mean that. And then that's the thing is, it's like people want to think. It means, oh, you never make a brush of teeth and you never know. We're talking about the, just the very basic minimum definition and the practical reality is there's no required schoolwork. That's it, that's it. On top of that, everything else is parenting and philosophy and all these other things. But if you want to just get really, really practical, school is when you go to an institution to learn. Homeschool is when you do that learning at home. Unschooling is when you do not require that learning at all and you let that learning happen through life.

Cecilie Conrad: 

And that's like.

Summer Jean: 

I like to define those three categories very clearly, because otherwise what are we talking about? people go Oh yeah, well, you know, they say they're unschoolers. And I start getting into a conversation with them only to find out that they're following a curriculum for math and English and I say well, then you're not unschooling and they go oh yeah, well, but we're mostly unschooling. I guess that's not a thing.

Cecilie Conrad: 

I mean either, but I've lost a few friends actually with the exact same opinion And I remember entering the community in the beginning I found it hard because it seemed like I don't know elite ish that if you couldn't let go of that. I mean. I think that if you're not, unschooling takes time. I was in school for 23 years straight and I come from a family of academics. It was really hard. I got the point but it was really hard to actually do it.

Summer Jean: 

Yeah, no, i can see that can be really hard and I think a lot of people take it that way in a judgment sense, and I don't ever mean it in a judgment sense. I just like to have definitions.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Yeah, but me neither nowadays. This is a cup right This is a cup, so it's a cup. It's not a jar. It looks a little bit like a jar, but it's not.

Summer Jean: 

It's technically. It's technically, we can define this and say what it is and what are the purposes and what makes it what it is. And so I understand why people don't like to define terms. You know they don't like to define them because then you have to stick to them and then you can't like have your cake and eat it too. Some people want to be like oh, we're unschooling, but they're not quite there yet, and their comfortability, so they're still doing some schoolwork. And I don't want to criticize that at all. I mean, i'm not criticizing anyone who's not fully unschooling it. You're not fully unschooling, you're wrong. Like that is not what I'm saying at all. I'm just saying let's define it, let's define it. And then they say, oh cool, you're doing relaxed homeschooling. That's amazing. That's amazing Good for you. I am so stoked on that. Just call it what it is, that's all. Just so that we can have these more significant conversations and know what we're all talking about. And because if you're not going to define unschooling as no school, then what is that exactly? what is what is that then? what is how I was raised then I don't. And the thing is to is like my oldest brother. How old is he now He's 40, is over 40. And we know we were some of the the early ones to even use that term and we wore that term very proudly. We were unschoolers and we all knew what that meant. That had a very clearly defined definition. It meant you didn't do schoolwork. That's what it meant. Then, of course, you can get into the deeper philosophies about why and how that works and how you support that process and all of these things. But we all held that title. If you take that away and if you say all these different things are unschooling, then what are we anymore? You're just like. To me it was a little bit like hey wait a second.

Jesper Conrad: 

It's like childhood.

Summer Jean: 

But that's not what it means. Now I'm understanding why people? why? Because there is a little bit of a clickish thing happening in different communities. In the homeschooling community There's these clickish things happening where people get a little weird about the titles and the labels. To me, it's just a practical thing. It's not to shame anyone or to judge anyone, It's just a practical thing. It's like oh cool, you're doing this, awesome, i'm like. But it is. I can see why some people are using while they're saying we're almost unschoolers, because they don't feel like they fit in to the unschooling community and they don't feel like they quite fit into the radical unschoolers or they don't. So they're kind of trying to define what they are and they don't feel like they fit into any of the established definitions. So I get that. I'm not calling anybody out for being wrong. I'm just saying for the purposes of my conversations I like to define them so that people know what I'm talking about.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Yeah, yeah, i get you. I think especially the problem arises, or it has a ripple effect, if we talk about unschooling and it could be unschooling with mandatory math. Let's say And then people who do unschooling with mandatory math, start teaching other people how to unschool. Yes, They're answering questions. That's when I get I have. I want to say, hey, wait a minute, because unschooling you would know, because you're unschooled But coming from a school perspective, being the parent getting the idea but having to actually do it, let go. Yes, Such a dark place that puts you in so much fear and so much discomfort and you have to, even you fight with yourself on the inside, which is a lot of work, the whole de-schooling process, and you just have to trust it And then you have to explain to your mother-in-law and you have to explain to the bus driver and you have to fight people off. You're going to, and then someone comes and tells me oh, but I'm unschooling with a math book.

Summer Jean: 

Yeah, yes, i know I understand I can't have it. Yeah, yeah, that's exactly. I wasn't the mother, so I can only imagine. But I feel the same way in the sense that it's like it devalues what you've gone through.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Yeah, and to teach people that, that's okay. That's what unschooling is. It is okay, but it's not unschooling, and we just have to be clear on what we're talking about.

Summer Jean: 

Exactly, and I, you know, i've found like well, maybe because I have a lot of these conversations and I have a lot of interaction with people around this topic, and I'm finding that like, maybe I need to like pardon me as like rebellious and I want to hang on to that term and I'm proud of that term and I claim that term. And another part of me is like you know what, maybe I should just let that go and let people whatever, you know whatever and make up a new term Like, like, like something that that better describes or defines also unschooling. It's like it's on something and it's not. It's not something that actually has nothing to do with school. It's not something that's unschooling at all, And it's more about living as if school never existed in the first place. Never even heard of any of that bullshit, So it's like it's just you, you know, and I'm it's really weird to define what we're doing by what we're not doing.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Exactly That's what? yeah, It's not like we get up every morning and say, oh, today we will not go to school. Life is not like that.

Jesper Conrad: 

I like this self-directed learning, but I think that unschooling has been a technical unschooling has been a term for so long that many people get it and gets easily that it's something without school And I don't know. I presume you may have had this talk with your mom, but what led her all those years ago down the road of choosing unschooling or wanting not to school her children?

Summer Jean: 

Yeah, we get that question a lot. It's not, it's not any one thing, that's the. That's the thing. And it wasn't like some big revelation that happened all at once. You know, my mom was very, very young. She was 21 when she had my oldest brother, garrett. She was a very sweet, extraordinarily shy, introvert of a girl And she did not know she was going to do anything differently than anyone else. She's just normal, she thought she was, and she yeah, she just she had this baby boy. And it was like one thing led to another And it was tiny little seeds of questions that started popping up for her, and it wasn't even about school initially. It's kind of like when you start to question one thing, you know it's like you pull the thread and unravel the whole sweater. And so she started to question one thing and it led to another thing and it opened up different doors and in herself And being in alignment with her own sense of rightness and what felt, in alignment with her instincts, her mothering instincts And somehow my mom had extremely strong mothering instincts and then somehow had the ability to hear them and then the courage to actually listen to them and follow through And so it was little by little. You know it was like it was. First it was things like wait, why would I circumcise my baby? You know it was like little questions like wait, why would I do this, just because everyone else is doing it? or like, and then she'd start to look into it and she'd find information. And then she'd be like actually, this is not the right choice for my family, we don't need to do this. And she did that with other things, other medical choices. And then I'm the third born And so by the time I came along, she even had a home birth and she just wanted less and less intervention And she started to realize like she was so in love with her children, she was so enraptured like with her children. And then, when it came to like giving her kids away to strangers to be trained by this society that she didn't even really agree with, it was kind of like wait, why would I leave my child with these random people all day But I won't even know what's going on or what kind of input he's having? And also she said she's like part of it was selfish. She's like I wanted to hang out with him. Why should someone else get to hang out with my kid, Like I want to hang out with my kid. So it was little things like that And it was also just like the little training things. You know, like my you're supposed to put your baby in a crib to cry themselves to sleep. I mean, we're talking 40 years ago. You know, my grandparents were very traditional in a lot of ways And they were horrified at my mother And it was like put him in a crib to cry himself to sleep And like no, she was just like no, like no, that's wrong, like she tried it once and she was like there's no way that that's healthy for anybody. And so it was all very heart centered for her. It was very intuitive, it was very. It wasn't like this mental process actually. And then you know what happens like when you start to, you're open yourself up to seeing different things and then information will come to kind of fill that curiosity, and books started showing up, like somehow she got a hold of the book Summer Hill by AS Neil, and that was like you know. and and then all my cousins went to Walder school. They actually started a Walder school in our town And my mom tried to start a little school at her house and that didn't really work out, and the Walder school happened, and everyone else went to Waldorf, and she was the only one, so it's hard to say, you know, it's kind of like a it's just. It was like a little by little process of her just questioning like wait, why would I do this? Wait, what's the point of this? And is that true? You have to put your kids in school, is that true, though? Why, why, why are we doing that? It doesn't seem to be working out so well. You look around, like society, people are not very happy or healthy, so I think maybe we should do something different. That was kind of very simple. It's very simple childlike curiosity in a way, and just little by little, started to question And then finding out about the history of the public school system in the U? S and the history of schooling in general, and it's original. It's original intention, it's creators and original intention, and a lot of people don't realize that the original intention had absolutely nothing to do with education whatsoever. It had nothing to do with supporting human life on this planet at all. It had to do with controlling a population and creating adequate, unquestioning worker, a workforce, and that's very clearly documented and stated when the school system was implemented that that was the intention.

Jesper Conrad: 

And I think we very much would love your mom also.

Cecilie Conrad: 

We're actually not talking.

Jesper Conrad: 

No, no, no, no, but it's just fun to hear, and he has been strong in that time. Well, my mom.

Summer Jean: 

She, yeah, actually, and my mom is not a talker, that's the thing. I'm the one that talks. Yeah, she talks to me, but she's, she's an introvert and it's interesting because of what she went through and what she did. A lot of what she did seems contrary to the personality when you meet her, because what she had to go through, like what you were saying earlier, like the fighting the world and the constantly defending yourself, even when it, like you do, feel constantly attacked when you're choosing to do something different than the mainstream narrative in any way, you feel like you're under constant attack and you have to be constantly defending yourself. And so my mom She was incredible, like, and she had to fight through so much. I mean, you wouldn't believe my dad's family. We were taken to court. You know We had a CPS show up at our house. We had. You know it was bad Like. My grandparents started to have us taken away because we weren't in public school. Oh that's true, and the list goes on and on and on. and what my mom had to go through to stay true to herself and her convictions and protect her children is incredible. It's incredible and I'll be forever, forever grateful.

Jesper Conrad: 

One thing you said about the mothering instinct and how she understood to listen to herself in our family, it also came from the mother, from Cecilia, and even though I were more wild and rebellious than a lot of the normal dads out there, i still succeeded in holding my wife back. I was like I needed the control. I was like, ooh, you need to teach them You, i want you to do this in the start, and I can see now that it came from fear of what other people would think. It came from fear about taking the responsibility. But as to that, that was out of the house and working. There's also the not knowing, and then it's easier if I was thinking, oh, she's sitting down every day with them and doing this and this and that, and Cecilia tried to please me in a short period, and then she didn't, and then she did what she wanted.

Cecilie Conrad: 

And I said I would. And when I said it, I meant it. Because I respect that. My children have two parents. Sure, but then you couldn't follow through and enforce it, but then actually sitting there was just such a nightmare. It was such a nightmare And it only made things worse. If you had an intention of having children that would eventually learn to read, sitting down pushing them was the wrong thing to do, and well, i hated it, basically, and I had a baby at the time on my hip And it was just not the right. So I said I would do it, and every day I failed, and every day I had the best intention to do it again tomorrow and I failed again And in the end.

Summer Jean: 

Well, the thing is is like it's like what you were saying, like being the father and you not being there all day long at seeing what was going on. That's a difficult position when you don't have control and you also don't have the immediate experience of the moments throughout the day And you don't. I think a lot of fathers go through that when they aren't in the home, like if there's stay at home mom and there's a father that's out of the home, and when they start moving toward some kind of homeschooling or unschooling that the father doesn't get to see a lot of the learning that happens outside of the schooling process. So the life, the life learning kind of stuff, and a lot of people you know, like you were saying, it's really really hard to let go of that control because there's so much fear, like the fear is so intense, and the thing is that people don't realize that that fear it's not yours. That fear was instilled in you from the time you were forced to sit there and focus your mind and energy and attention on something that you weren't ready for or comfortable with or anything like that. Because you believe. You believe your parents and not just your parents. You believe society. How can you not? You believe the world that you're born into. These are the people that love and protect you and care for you. So you are going to believe them when they tell you, and not in words, necessarily, but through their actions, that you cannot be trusted with yourself, that your choices and your decisions are wrong and you have to listen to an outside authority in order to be okay in this life. That you will be a failure and you will be a screw up if you don't do what other people think you should do, and do things that are against your nature, things that make you uncomfortable, things that you're not ready for, things that are wrong for you. If you don't do what other people tell you to do, you will not be okay. And that's the message that kids get every single day in a million different ways, and it's not just through required academia, it's through all kinds of messages that were unconsciously sending children all the time. And so, as an adult, when you've been through that programming your whole life, it's like you're in a cult And you're trying to get out of this cult. But the programs are still running. The programs are still running. It's a really big cult. Yeah.

Cecilie Conrad: 

I'm glad to get out. It's everywhere.

Jesper Conrad: 

And one thing that's really difficult also is should I look back at my 10 years in the public school system and look at them as waste?

Summer Jean: 

Oh, exactly.

Jesper Conrad: 

No, yeah, yeah, But that I can understand how it imprints in people the feeling of it was right for me, so it must be right for others, because otherwise you admit that you have wasted your time. I was lucky in the way that I were interested in so many other things that after high school had just had fun and lived my life and worked with only what I wanted to do.

Cecilie Conrad: 

So did I. After high school, i think it was before. High school was really a nightmare and a waste of time. After high school was fun For me. That was university. I did 10 years and I enjoyed every day of it. Didn't specifically enjoy the testing, but I did enjoy university. It was fun for me.

Summer Jean: 

Well, no, i know life is a waste. You still live. You still lived those moments and you lived those years, and none of that is a waste. I would say the waste was on the effort of the adults around you. That's where the waste was. They were wasting their time and energy and effort To have an effect on you, to control you and to direct your course. That was their waste, not yours.

Cecilie Conrad: 

But I think I wasted a lot of time in school. I would really have enjoyed it, Oh yeah.

Summer Jean: 

I mean yeah, i mean you can say like you were ever, whatever.

Cecilie Conrad: 

We're not. I didn't like it there. I didn't like any, not even one single day of school. So for me it was a waste of time And as soon as I could eat.

Jesper Conrad: 

I did So somehow wasn't normal days and on school child, i'm just, i'm just still.

Cecilie Conrad: 

So do you still get the question if you can read, whether you can read, yeah, well, i mean, i get them all the time. Can you read until you have any friends? That's like the two top, no, no, no.

Summer Jean: 

Yeah, i mean, that's always the one right. How did you learn how to read? Like it's people are paranoid about it, as if reading is like rocket science or something. It's hilarious, hard It's. It's hilarious to me, honestly. And the socialization question that one is like super common And when we were kids, my older brother he's a little bit of a comedian And he would get a kick out of answering questions in ways that would like confuse people or or question, you know, like a question, their position kind of thing, so like adults. Well, what about socialization? And he would go. Well, i'm talking to you right now, aren't I? That was a really good one. We like that. But yeah, i mean, we all learn. It's interesting because there's four of us, so we can really see like that's a pretty good you know test, like you can not test. But you can see, with four individuals growing up in the same household without schooling, and that we all learned very different things at very different ages And for very different reasons also which is the thing that I really like to point out, is that we didn't learn to read for the sake of reading. Actually So or at least not all of us Some of us did. And my older brother, clay, was like four and he was just like I want to know how to read, like today is the day, and that was it. Like he sat my mom down with this one book and he didn't want to move until he could read that whole book, and he wasn't even five years old, he was like four and a half or something like that, and so that's what he did And that's very much like his personality. And then Garrett, my oldest, oldest brother actually he which is this could go into a whole other subject. He was a lot older, he was like 12 and a huge reason for the delay for him because I would call it a delay for him Not every child is delayed if they're not reading till 12. But he would have been reading a lot longer and this was obvious to my mom if there hadn't been pressure from my dad and my dad's parents and the rest of the family. If there had not been this constant panic and pressure around him to learn, he probably would have been fine. He would have learned a lot younger. But because of that he it made him self conscious, like he had a spotlight on him and he was afraid of disappointing people. And people made him afraid that he couldn't do it because the grandparents would ask questions like that. They were horrible. They were awful in the way that they pressured us and made us feel, in the way that they worded their comments. They made us feel as children that we were somehow inadequate or we weren't going to be okay in the world if we didn't do these things now. And they made us question ourselves And if that hadn't been there, i know there's things that I would have learned younger and that my other brothers would have learned younger, and luckily by the time it got to me, my mom, there was a lot less involvement with these people, with that part of my family, and I had a lot less of that pressure. So I'm actually very aware of it because I can see it and I have these memories, whereas my oldest brother was very much more immersed in that And he had it constant. He was also the first grandchild on both sides of the family, so there was like really intense attention on him And my mom could only you know she tried her best to protect him from that, but it's still. It's still got to him And so he didn't really start reading fluently until he was about 12 because he was terrified of the watchful eyes all the time. That's what really set him back. But then he's amazing, like he's amazing The stuff that he does now today. Like everyone thought, like a lot of my grandparents, and that they thought that none of us would be okay. Like they were really terrified. You know they were really terrified And I feel for them, like I have so much compassion. Like what they had to go through watching their grandkids and like having no understanding.

Jesper Conrad: 

And so how do you define?

Summer Jean: 

okay, that's fun, right, and how people define what okay is, As long as you say you're okay you're okay.

Jesper Conrad: 

Yeah, But in their mind so okay would have been you need to have a certain kind of job.

Summer Jean: 

You need to Well, you know, to them I think they're quite simple people They were, you know, cattle ranchers and cowboys, and to them they just wanted to make sure that we were like, you know, actually average would have been just fine. To them, just have a steady job and support yourself was really kind of the main thing. And they were just afraid that we weren't actually going to be able to get jobs, like even even you know, low level job, like any jobs. They were just afraid we weren't going to be able to get jobs because we weren't going to be able to count change. Basically, you know, like that was their level of fear, that we weren't going to be able to interact with people, work in customer service, because we were so socially awkward or we weren't going to be able to have basic math to count change, or we weren't going to be able to, you know, read and write, so that we couldn't even, you know, write notes or take orders, or you know, that's that was their level of fear. So they're there And they said, okay, they just wanted us to be able to function and support ourselves, like I think that was, that was it. They didn't need doctors.

Cecilie Conrad: 

I think that's a common fear though, that I think that's what people think when they ask do they have any friends? Can they read? will they ever socialize? They think that all these things can only be learned in school.

Summer Jean: 

Yes, because we've lost any faith in human nature, in our, in our basic what, what we are like, people are like. I said this, i think, in I think it was at that conference The people are not afraid for their children. They're actually afraid of their children. You are afraid of what your children are. Essentially, that's the fear is that you are somehow inherently wrong. Actually, that's the real fear is that it's about you, is that you are somehow inherently wrong and inadequate and stupid at your core. Because that's the only way that you could think that forcing another human being Is somehow justifiable is because you think that if you don't do that, if you, if nature took its course, it would be wrong, it would be awful. So you literally like, we have this as a society, we seem to have this very, very low opinion of ourselves and our children, of human nature that we don't, we don't trust. We just don't trust. We think that that somehow, what, like, what are you gonna be if you don't get forced? Like you're gonna just be a drooling idiot in the corner, like that seems to be what people think is gonna happen if you don't force it, which is funny, because everything else, if you look around, everything else on this planet Naturally seems to unfold according to its nature And it doesn't need to be forced by an outside authority. So it's a. It's a weird. It's a weird deal. I feel like it really comes from that belief that was instilled in you and it just keeps getting passed down Generation to generation, of it being like if you don't do, if I don't control you, you're gonna be a failure. And then the kid grows up being like I'm bad, i'm wrong and I need to listen to a higher authority in order to be okay. And then they continue to pass that down I'm bad, i'm wrong and That. What other conclusion can you come to, as a child? What other conclusion can you come to? because when someone As a child, when someone sits you down and they say you have to do this thing, and it feels all kinds of wrong in your body, it goes against your sense of rightness. All you want to do is have your bare feet on the grass and you want to pick flowers and sing songs and build fairy houses in the woods. That was me. And or like my brother, for instance, he'd rather be working on a wooden boat model in the garage or clay, would rather be reading books and Proaching hats, like that was his. That is what felt right for us in that moment. And as soon as someone tells you you cannot follow your own instincts, your sense of rightness, your passions, your interests, you can't follow them, they're wrong. You have to do what I tell you to do or you're gonna screw up in life. And so, as a child, when you get that message like, what are you gonna do with that? It's just, i'm wrong, i can't be trusted, i can't make my own choices or decisions, what do you rely on then in life, you know, what do you use as a sense of discernment, if not your own sense of rightness? And so it's like we're undermining Humans own sense of rightness and then we no longer know anymore what our nature is, what we're really made of, what's really true to us. Nobody knows anymore Don't know what's true to them, because they had that Crushed inside them when they were little and they believed it, because it got repeated to them over and over and over. I mean it's literal brainwashing, it is. So I have the exact opposite, at least from my mom, like I still got some of that brainwashing because I grew up on this planet, in this society. You know, in this, in this family that had all of this fear, i only had the one woman and luckily she happened to be my mother and She was my ultimate authority, you know, the mother and the father and but my parents split when I was really young and my dad wasn't super involved in this in the schooling or Education. He was the weekend dad and he was great. He just he didn't really understand either and he was afraid also, but but he was a good dad and Anyway, what was I going with that? Oh, just that I had the opposite, my mom. I Had the primary parent in my life Always telling me that I knew, you know, i knew what was right for myself in my life, that I, i did know, and And then I could, and and I remember her telling me to, like, you can't get it wrong, you know, whatever you choose is going to be right for you. And to have that sense of like security and empowerment in yourself as a child and to be told Constantly that, like, my choices are my own, it also meant that those consequences were my own. It also meant that I couldn't blame anyone else for my failings in life. It also means that I don't get to point the finger and say you didn't educate me properly. You know you didn't tell me to do this and you didn't tell me to do that because I grew up knowing that that was my choice. There wasn't anyone else's job to tell me what to do, that It was my job to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing here And that I need to follow my own sense of rightness and to make those choices for myself and in my family. You know, respect and freedom, like finding those lines and those boundaries, was something that we did together. You know my mom didn't come in with this big, grand plan. You know this was little by little and this was something she did with her children. This is something we developed together as a community, as a tribe. It was always what are we gonna do about this? you guys, hey, this isn't working, what are we gonna do? It was always this, like this. We and there was very few times in my childhood Then my mom would like pull, pull the mom card, you know, and that usually was when it came to protection. Things that she felt were were like harmful or toxic or dangerous to her children. She very much felt that was her position, to be defending and protecting, because she is the filter between us and the world and And it was up to her to kind of tell our level of developmental appropriateness for certain Influences and input. You know, and that's that comes from the time that they're babies. You know, like you don't just let them eat whatever when they're infant, if they grab it, you do, you stop them from putting certain things in their mouth because that's your job and and that doesn't change, no matter how old. You know, as they get older, that doesn't change. What you let them put in their mouth does change, but the fact that that's your job To make sure they don't stick their finger in the socket, that doesn't change. So That was kind of that's an evolution that we all like. That, my mom, it was over time. You know that those things evolve and it's unique to each child and it's unique to each family. So, for instance, in my family, like we, we didn't have certain things Like, especially when it came to food things. My mom was extremely health-conscious And she was very aware that everything you eat affects your brain development and your emotional state, and so for her, her job was to keep us in our natural state of balance, and that meant Providing a space and an environment. It didn't mean controlling us. It meant holding a space for us to thrive and it meant Keeping certain things at bay that could possibly throw us off of our natural Course, our natural developmental state. So when I try to describe this to people, because a lot of people like there's the radical unschooling which basically is just like Yeah, no, no structure, no boundaries, no routine, no rhythm, no, nothing like that And I like to make sure that people know that that's not I wasn't, that's not how I was raised, and I was raised with that. Freedom and respect are mutual things and we all have to find where our freedoms meet and curb each other And that no one's freedom is more important than another freedom. And and finding those places and those boundaries together as a family, you know, and finding where those lines are and what respect means. And I respect you and you respect me, but what does that really look like? and, yes, you have the freedom to want to do this, but I have the freedom to not participate. You know, like, where are those places? Just because you want something, you have the freedom to want, that doesn't mean I have to get it for you. I have freedom to say no also. So it's like finding, finding all those places and And I feel like a lot of people in when they start learning about unschooling, it looks really scary because there's a lot of the radical unschooling or Not even the radical. But all this there's so much right because there's a million different subcategories, because, although you can define, unschooling is saying no academic schoolwork, that says nothing about Why the philosophy, from where you're coming from, you know, and what you really believe about your children and what your parenting philosophy. That could be different people on school for lots of different reasons. People homeschool for lots of different reasons And I think that the reasons you choose to homeschool or unschool are going to drive everything. That's what's going to really like Create the whole tone or style or flavor of your life with your children. Is is what's driving you. What's that reason? and for my mom It was. She just felt that How should I say this? she wanted her children to. She just felt that we had the freedom to think for ourselves and she wanted she wanted to respect our right to think for ourselves, to have our own thoughts and develop, develop our own mechanisms. And So it's. It's like a non invasive. I would say that my mom was kind of like a non invasive parent, so it was like she was tending the garden. But how do you? it's kind of like that metaphor You know, how do you? You don't fix the flower If the flower is Wilton. You don't fix the flower. You, you change the environment. You call the environment to better support that flower thriving. That was kind of my mom's parenting. It was like She was non invasive in the sense that she didn't try to fix and change us and make us be a certain way. She tried to create an environment where we could thrive and Yeah, so that's that's kind of. Yeah, so that's that's kind of. That's my rant. I ran about that.

Jesper Conrad: 

I've got a beautiful rant, I did learn how to read finally.

Summer Jean: 

But not until I was well. My thing with learning how to read too, is that my learning happened very slowly, over a very long period of time. I would pick it up and then I'd get frustrated and I'd put it down. And that happened over years, little by little by little, and I'd be like, mom, i want to read, help me learn how to read. She'd be like okay, how do you want to do this? Which is the other beautiful thing about my mom is that she never came at me with like a set plan of like this is how you learn how to do this thing. It was always like okay, how do you want to learn? You know, i want to learn how to read. Okay, where do you want to start? What do you? why? Why do you want to learn how to read? Is it this book or that sign or just in general? because knowing your motivation is going to help. How to you know? and then it's like okay, well, we can learn the sounds and the letters. You want to do it that way, or do you want to? you know it was like how does your brain work? How are you going to be able to absorb this information? So it was always a together process And my mom never pretended like she had some grand plan and knew what she was doing. It was always like let's figure it out together, which is a beautiful thing as a child because it gets your own wheels turning. It means you have some responsibility in the process and you're involved and you have a say, and I think it promotes critical thinking actually to be included in all of that kind of process. So yeah, for me it was like a little by little, through random exposure, you know, on accident, and then the few times, the few times like over the years, where I'd be like I want to learn how to read and I sit there and I try and mom would try to help me and then I get really frustrated and I give up. And she'd be like no problem, she never cared if I gave up because that was my choice. And she also knew that. She knew that I would read like she wasn't afraid She did. She knew that all of her kids would read. She loved reading. There was books everywhere. She read to us every night. She was a big reader and to her that was a wonderful, magical thing. Why would someone not want to know how to read. Of course they're going to want to know how to read. You know, she kind of just like expected her kids to love reading, just like she did. She never worried about it, and so she didn't care if we gave up, and she didn't care how old we were, it was not that she didn't care. But she wasn't concerned And she knew that we would when we were ready and or when it was necessary in our lives, and she knew it would become necessary. And so for me it was. I think I read Jonathan Livingston Segal first, but I really struggled through it when I was about 10. And because I knew how to read, like intellectually, like I knew how, but I struggled, like it didn't click, you know, and I was frustrated with it. I was one of those kids that if I couldn't get something right the first time I would just, you know, i really loved it. And so, finally, what happened with Harry Potter and a friend of mine was really into Harry Potter and she we became pen pals is right around the same time. So there was a reading writing thing that happened in the same time. She wanted to be pen pals and she wanted to discuss Harry Potter, which meant I had to read Harry Potter. So mom started reading Harry Potter out loud to my brother and I, and then we both got impatient because we didn't want to wait till that evening for her to read the next chapter. We got so into the story. So then my little brother, who was nine, he started reading ahead And I was like uh, uh it's not gonna happen. It's not gonna happen. And so I one afternoon I picked that book up, i sat on the couch and I declared to my family that I would not get up until I could read fluently, like with ease. And that's exactly what I did, and I called my mom over a few times to help me out, and within about an hour or two because I was already right there, you know, after so many years of attempting little bits here and there and learning bits here and there, and so it only took like an hour or two and then it clicked and then I was reading like lightning and then I devoured pretty much every book within my grasp for the next couple of years. I was like six, eight hours a day in fantasy novels, i mean. I read fantasy novels like I read classic literature. I was obsessed with Shakespeare. I read almost every Shakespeare play, by choice, you know, and so it's kind of amazing. It's like when I feel like sometimes people don't understand that learning oftentimes is like eating, like you have to wait till you're really hungry to appreciate it.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I also think that the whole thing with voluntary learning versus forced is just, we had a child who learned all the math you would normally learn in school situation within three months because she felt like it. Yeah, the child who picked up a book and started reading when she was four because she thought it'd be kind of cool, and you know, and yes, they read Shakespeare and yes, they know everything about ancient cultures and weird stuff, because they feel like it. and it's not when you learn something because you want to learn it What?

Summer Jean: 

And it's probably also because you didn't separate it from the rest of life, like you didn't go. Here's academic learning and it's over here in the special category and it's really difficult. You need a teacher and you need to learn it in a certain way and you didn't do that.

Cecilie Conrad: 

And I have to force you didn't make.

Summer Jean: 

you didn't make learning separate from life, you didn't. It's kind of like it reminds me often to read Shakespeare to learn.

Cecilie Conrad: 

No, no, that's the thing We didn't do. These things are and my kids certainly didn't do these things to know world history or to be really smart and symbols, or to be able, to quote Shakespeare, that it's because it tastes, it's because you feel like doing it. Yeah, it's awesome because it's fun to read it. You don't read it so that you can say, oh, I've read Shakespeare.

Summer Jean: 

A lot of people don't even realize that's possible because they were forced fed.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Yeah.

Summer Jean: 

And they and they that their idea of like, what they want to do with their free time and enjoyment, is just nothing like. They want to sit there and watch TV. So they assume that's what their children would do, because because to them it's like. But when you don't have like, when you don't have that, that input, the things that are not right for you constantly being shoved down your face, when you don't have this constant, you're not being required to use your energy and attention in ways which are wrong for you at that time or that stage of development, and when you're allowed to get really bored and to have to just be with yourself And that's it. You know. Like you do, you enjoy, like these things are wonderful. Shakespeare is wonderful. I mean, i used to read it and just get all these fields and run into the kitchen and be like mom and I read her some passage because I was just overwhelmed with emotion and beauty and, and I think a lot of people, they don't ever get to have that experience because if you're hateful, like, if you're resentful and you're like, you have to read this now and you, it's like every anything, you'd rather be doing anything else and all you want to do is look out the window and they're telling you you have to look here and you have to take in this thing. You're going to miss all the magic of it. You know it's going to have no value, no personal value, no emotional value. It's just going to be this thing. You were forced to do, so get all about it, yeah.

Jesper Conrad: 

One thing I find kind of fun with our society is that at some point Well, we interviewed a guy called Chris Edward recently where he talked about that 85% of the global workforce don't work with something they're passionate about And, at the same time, we have a culture of praising people who are living their passionate life Are you a musician? Are you an entrepreneur? people who are driven. We put them on this pitis down, but at the same time, we are holding people back from learning how to be motivated, learning how to follow your motivation, and it's just sometimes I'm like that is kind of stupid.

Summer Jean: 

Well, it's extremely hypocritical the whole thing is extremely hypocritical to take a child and to very purposefully train them for 12 years that to not make their own choices, to not make their own decisions, to obey, to follow orders, and then suddenly, at 18, we're like okay, what are you going to do with your life?

Jesper Conrad: 

Yeah, yeah, you mean, i've never been allowed to do anything I wanted to do. I don't even know anymore.

Summer Jean: 

You know, and it's really kind of incredible The expectations that society has, like what it's. The hypocrisy is astounding, because to expect someone to do something you've been telling them not to do for 12 years, like you've literally been training them not to for 12 years, and then you're like okay now you can do it You're like, but it's been 12 years, man, i don't even remember. I don't even know what I like, i don't even know. You know Whereas like, and then you have a lot of people that are just okay and a lot of things and expertise is dying and especially when it comes to, you know, like trades and crafts and things like that, the experts are dying And it's like you can see why. Why the school system was created because you want people to work in factories, you want them working for Amazon, you don't want them making their own candles and selling at the farmers market. You know, not in our society. That's not what right, that's not what is in the hot, whatever you could say Highest interest of like the intentions of the corporations and who's in control and everything. It doesn't benefit them to have passionate individuals starting their own businesses and being creative and being artistic and being experts at things, even if it's not necessarily artistic. You know my older brother, clay. He's brilliant computer. You know he works for some fancy startup company. I don't even know. I can't even describe. I explain what he does.

Jesper Conrad: 

No.

Summer Jean: 

No, he's brilliant. He got poached. He used to work for Apple, you know, like that kind of thing So, but they wouldn't want him going off and starting his own thing. You know, it's like the whole point of school is to keep you in the system and to keep you working for other people and to keep you on the assembly line and working for the corporations. And you bust out of that and you do what I did and you start your own business and you know, like, make your own way. It's like I'm not benefiting that system, i'm living outside of that, i'm not benefiting that system And that's dangerous. It's dangerous. Individuals are dangerous. You know. Collective group think, that's something that can be controlled and monitored, and you know, but having individuals with their own passionate paths and experiences, and it's a totally different thing.

Cecilie Conrad: 

It's scary because it can't be controlled and it can't be known, you know, but it is a funny contrast, as you pointed out, that we kind of at the same time make movies about people who do style of your art. Yeah, I mean, we glorify and you know what Artists in some way, and we glorify their passion and the drive to do what's right for them, and so everyone. I think it's awesome And you know what that does, though.

Summer Jean: 

But what that does, though, and I actually think there might be some intention behind that. What that does, though, is it makes people feel really awful about themselves.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Exactly, exactly, and because everyone know they lack this. It's such a deep need to do what is right for you, but you were taught not to Yeah, so it's like some sort of candy coating to watch a movie like that or read a novel like that, or even read about it in some glittery magazine. People like this kind of story because it's a huge lack in their lives.

Summer Jean: 

Yeah.

Cecilie Conrad: 

It's so sad.

Summer Jean: 

It's so sad, it's so much beautiful life Like, i think, what people actually think that learning can't happen without intentional instruction. But it's been proven And I don't know if you're familiar with Joseph Chilton Pierce but I love his some of the science and study that he brings up. I was watching one of his talks not too long ago and he brought up this study. Can't remember It's terrible with remembering like facts and figures, but he was talking about a doctor. I think it was a doctor. He did a study about learning and it had to do with the percentage of learning that comes from intentional instruction. So when someone is intentionally instructing you, that only accounts for about 4% of our overall learning in our lifespan.

Cecilie Conrad: 

But you waste your whole childhood doing it or not doing it 96% of your learning in your entire life is unconscious.

Summer Jean: 

It occurs in the unconscious. It's picked up almost on accident, like, not with the intention of like. I'm going to learn that this is a cup today. You don't do that, that just happened. When did you learn this was a cup? Do you remember? When did you learn?

Jesper Conrad: 

You don't remember We don't know how our youngest child learned to read.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Yeah, i have no idea how we picked up. I don't even teach him the alphabet, and I didn't see his siblings doing it either, but one day he could read in three languages. Yeah, there you go. It was just like that. And he was eight. It was fairly early, especially for the amount of languages. I don't know how he learned No Hair either, by the way It was, it was fine. I mean, we're not afraid they start walking. We know they will start walking, and for me, i learned that reading is just the same. They will pick it up whenever they're ready, whenever they're ready.

Summer Jean: 

Well, because you realize, you realize that, like you said, like walking, talking, these all came from their own personal instinct and desire. You know, it's like why did the baby cross the room? I don't know, maybe there was something over there he wanted to get to Like it was all motivation. You know, why, why, why do you want to start feeding yourself? Why do you push your mom's hand away and grab the spoon yourself Like that? that, to me, that is human nature, it's evolution, it's independence, and that is inherent. You see it in babies, it's inherent. They roll onto their stomach. You did not teach them that, you did not tell them to do that. They get up on their knees, they walk across the room, they grab their own spoon, they push your hand away. They want to walk up those stairs by themselves. They want to go down that slide by themselves. What makes you think they're not going to want to read by themselves and they're not going to want to walk across the street by themselves? because they do. They don't want to hold your hand forever.

Cecilie Conrad: 

And they don't want to die either. You know they, they, they don't want to. Now you said the street, Yeah, So you don't have to.

Summer Jean: 

They don't want to die They know the cars are dangerous.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Obviously it's dangerous, yeah.

Summer Jean: 

Yeah, And I think that's. I think that's the shift for parents is finding what you really believe about humanity and human nature. Do you actually think your children are suicidal? Do you actually think they're stupid?

Cecilie Conrad: 

And blazy.

Jesper Conrad: 

Yeah.

Cecilie Conrad: 

And they think that blaziness suicidal tendencies, you know.

Summer Jean: 

Lack of self preservation, lethargy, stupidity do you think these are inherent human traits? And if you do, then your only choice is forced education. But if you actually can look at your child and you can notice because it's there, it is there in every child you see that intense, unstoppable desire for independence. You know They don't want you to wipe their butt forever. They don't. You know, and I remember being I don't know, you know like nine, 10, 11, like in those years, and that was one of the things I think that motivated me to read was like I didn't want a parent having to read me the menu in a restaurant anymore. I didn't want to be dependent, I didn't want to be like. What does that sign say? Every time I wanted to know what something said. I didn't want to be dependent forever. I wanted to drive, I want to get my driver's license, I want to move out, I want to have my own life, And so it's like I feel like as long as a child is supported in their mental and emotional you know health and their natural state of wellbeing and balance, then all of that learning, as long as that natural independence isn't crushed, all of that learning is going to happen and it's going to happen with very little effort on the parent's part literally answer And on the child's part, Get them a book. You know, It doesn't require that much. And I think that people don't realize when they think of unschooling, homeschooling. They think it's going to take all of this effort on the parent's part And I see it all the time in the unschooling communities And it's coming from love and it's coming from fear And because they care about their kids. But this almost obsessive thing around providing resources and constantly making everything available, to the point where we have something called screwing.

Jesper Conrad: 

Yeah, i hate that You're trying to put things in your child's pocket. No, it's like you plan that because you want your child to read, then you place certain books in it Place books.

Cecilie Conrad: 

they put it all in your child's pocket.

Jesper Conrad: 

You want them to be screwed.

Summer Jean: 

Okay, i get it. You purposefully put items in your child's path that you want them to get interested in, so that they will learn something, but that's just basically being manipulative. Yeah, that's a form of manipulation, for sure. And then what are you doing? You're teaching your children to be manipulative. So then there's screwing. I can expect them to be stupid Morning baskets. You know where people do like a basket and they put all the things in it for their kid and day and the makers thing. Okay, i'm sorry, i don't mean to be making fun of anyone. I'm not meaning to be insulting to anyone. It's just that to me these things seem like you're freaking out, like you're freaking out And it's like wow, i want to give you a hug and tell you, take a deep breath, and tell you that like it's going to be okay, like your kids are going to be okay, that you don't have to stress your. I see parents stressing themselves out And I just want to be like it's really okay if you don't do anything today, if you don't get them a new book and you don't put a game in their path, and you don't, it's really okay. Like, honestly, i feel like less is more, because when I was a kid, it was the silence and the space and the time. That's what I remember. That was the most valuable in my childhood was the silence and the space and the time It was, the mom was there. And she was available, she was not doing this And she was not worried about me.

Cecilie Conrad: 

She was not worried about me, so I was not worried about myself.

Summer Jean: 

And if you are worried about your kids, they're going to worry about themselves And that's going to cause them self-consciousness and that's going to cause them fear and that's going to get in the way of their learning. You have to have full confidence in your children's ability And that's what I had. That's what I feel like made the biggest difference for me in my learning process is I knew my mom had full confidence in my capability, my intelligence. She never questioned, she never questioned if I was intelligent enough to learn something or if I was able to learn something. She always looked at me as if I was capable of anything. So I believed it. That's how I lived.

Jesper Conrad: 

Summer when we decided to make our podcast it was. One of the reasons was we felt when we started our journey that there wasn't a lot of other people out there. When we started, there was not a lot of information. We are among the first couple of families in Denmark going down this road, even, and the more we go in depth with it, what I see is the biggest challenge or the biggest development is needed for all us parents who are self have been through the system. It reminds me de-schooling. The more I think about it reminds me of a sentence a guy named Jack Canfield who's in the transformational leadership world. I worked with some people and he helped with marketing. He said this thing and I keep remembering it. He said personal development the biggest part of it is removing the layers and part of yourself that isn't you, and for me that is. I look at it with the same as de-schooling. What have I had installed in myself of fears, other people's fears, that isn't me, and I actually believe a lot of us adults maybe don't know ourselves good enough yet and still have that.

Summer Jean: 

Yeah, to find what's original to you.

Jesper Conrad: 

Yeah, yeah, and then going down the road of trusting your children if you don't trust yourself. yet. that is a big step.

Summer Jean: 

Well, you know and you can like, yeah, but I feel like, yes, there's a whole process of a personal journey that parents have to go on and questioning a lot of things and self-inquiry Why do I think this? Where did this thought come from? Why do I believe it? Because that's all they are, they're just thoughts. And then you believe them. But why did you believe them? And then investigating and some of this can actually be research You can debunk a lot of these theories that you have about schooling being necessary or course education being necessary. There's lots and lots of amazing reading material out there and there's studies and there's. It's really incredible And that, if you need to go that way through the mind you know my mom didn't really do a lot of that She went through the gut, through the gut Very intuited person. So everyone kind of has their own, their own approach, you know, and for some people it might be a deeper, more personal like spiritual evolution for themselves, and for some people it might be more of a mental approach where they need to understand how learning happens and how a child's brain development works And they actually want to study that for them to let go. So everybody kind of has their own, their own approach there. But I also feel like, regardless of your own stage, like as long as you're aware that you are operating from fear in some areas, as long as you're aware and you're open to like learning these things about yourself and facing these things about yourself, i think if you, if you keep in mind just the idea which to me is not an idea, it's a fact that you do not have the right to force another human being, against their will, to use their mind in ways in which they're unready for or uncomfortable with or unwilling to, regardless of their age or relation to you, that you do not have the right. And if you just keep that in mind, you know and every time you feel that urge to like make your kid do a learning activity, you have to like be like I don't have the right. You don't have the right because you know how would you feel if he did that to you.

Jesper Conrad: 

You know absolutely And that.

Summer Jean: 

That that to me, that's kind of just the basic is like I don't. I don't have the right to force another human being against their will to use their mind in ways they're uncomfortable with or ready for, and that's where my mom came from. And then people want to be like, and that's why I'd say use their mind, because there are times when you do have to pick up your kid physically and put them in the car. We have to go to the hospital right now. You know like there's times when things like that have to happen and they might not have full freedom or autonomy in some ways, but they're allowed to feel however they want about that or think whatever they want about that, because their minds are free And you can't tell them how to think and how to use their mind. That's not your place or your position. There are times when you will grab them from stepping out in front of a car because they do. You know that's like a different kind of that makes sense. I try to explain this.

Jesper Conrad: 

Absolutely.

Summer Jean: 

I know like well, respect your freedom, so they're allowed to do whatever they want And I go. No, that's not what I'm doing.

Cecilie Conrad: 

That's not what it is. It's not whatever, it's not a life, it is. So, as we usually say, safety and health. we get to pull the parent card. Obviously, we respect them and we talk to them, we respect their opinion and their point of view And sometimes, very often actually, we're wrong and we stand corrected and we find a way together. But I do pull the card, i do say now is the time we have to do this or not, do that or do more of this, because we're becoming unhealthy or it's becoming dangerous And we have to do something about it. And I don't think. For me, unschooling is about my kids being allowed to do whatever they want. I think the whole idea of allowing, which that would mean I had the option of not allowing And for me, it's not for you to allow or disallow, and also, i think, for me as a parent, i want to live my life with my children. I don't want to be in this position of planning, manipulation, control, evaluation. I want to go with my flow, with the people I love, and just live. And I couldn't do that if I had to make sure I had challenged their math skills and whatever every day and take off all these little boxes And it would put me in a professional relation with the people who I am so close to, and I don't want that. It would be very unauthentic. It would be, yeah, it would be inauthentic.

Summer Jean: 

Well, and it would also be because, as the child I will say that you'd be robbing your children of the most beautiful gift you can possibly give them, which is you. Yeah, exactly, i have to be there as a real human being with emotions and passions And the connection and the friendship because that's the whole point to me is what I have with my mom. There is no academic learning that could possibly be worth damaging that connection in any way, shape or form. I don't care, I don't care what anybody says, There's nothing worth damaging that, because that, what I had with my mom, what we all had with my mom, the connection and the relationship that we had with her, it's everything. It is everything And I genuinely believe, especially from Joseph Chilton Pierce and his studies on child brain development, and even from the womb. I mean it's incredible. And then, reading both sides, the continuum concept and that connection, that parent-child connection, is literally everything And if you sacrifice one piece of that, the whole thing can crumble. That is the basis of your child's mental and emotional well-being throughout their entire life happens from conception and how their brain develops. And the moment that you sacrifice that relationship and that connection, for some like for fear, you're choosing fear. You're afraid that your child you're going to choose fear, that your child is going to be stupid over the relationship and the connection that you have with them. I mean, what is that? teaching your child about what's important in life? You know you leave them. Every time you do that, you leave your child, you abandon them every time you do that. Every time you have to disconnect to force someone to do something. You cannot connect with them. Connected and forced. They don't coexist. Force and connection do not coexist. It's impossible. And if you're connected with someone, force is not required because you shouldn't be able to flow together in a given take and there should be able to like. But it is always really interesting to me that people that we all kind of fell for this idea that learning stops at five years old and that suddenly it has to be forced and that academic learning is different than other kinds of learning and that we've separated some types of learning, very specific subjects, and we've distilled them, we've extracted them from life And so they're not no longer in their whole form. It's like eating processed food. You know it's a processed food. Now to sit down and just do a math worksheet, that is, There's nothing to do with math.

Jesper Conrad: 

There's nothing to do with math.

Cecilie Conrad: 

It's nothing real about it.

Summer Jean: 

And that's why it's kind of going back to what you said earlier, something about like not even what did you say? I don't remember, but not knowing how you learned something, i don't know how I learned most of the math, most of the math that I know I don't really know. And then, because I've been asked this question so many times, you know people want to know I've had to like really look and remember and ask my mom and had these conversations and she's like I don't know. And then I do. I have some memories of things that happened where I learned certain aspects of math and stuff, but it all came from a very personal desire, personal reasons, you know and it wasn't.

Cecilie Conrad: 

And what did that mean?

Summer Jean: 

You have to learn the thing on purpose, like people want to know how it happens, and I'm like, well, you know, it's kind of like if you want to, yeah, it's like if you want to get to the other side of the room, you better learn how to walk, and it's basically like that. It's like you don't learn the sake of walking, learn how to walk to get somewhere. And that's how I learned how to do.

Cecilie Conrad: 

Everything was mostly to get somewhere to get something that I wanted Because you were doing something else, basically.

Summer Jean: 

Yeah. I wanted to know what happened next in Harry Potter for myself. because I wanted to know. I had a personal desire to find out what happened next, and I got tired of waiting, so I did it for myself, and that's kind of how everything happened. You know, i wanted to sell my jewelry at the farmers market, so I had to, you know.

Jesper Conrad: 

I had to learn how to use my credit cards and how to just figure that out.

Summer Jean: 

And then I had to learn. I wanted to sell my work, so then I had to budget and I had to save some of that money to buy new materials. and I had to. And I didn't do that on purpose, i didn't want to learn how to budget.

Cecilie Conrad: 

No.

Summer Jean: 

No.

Cecilie Conrad: 

But we have to somehow.

Jesper Conrad: 

I would love to keep talking, but we try to keep our podcast around an hour So people have time. Yeah, summer We can talk forever. Yeah, and I love what you say about as a parent, to be in the connectedness and how you cannot. When you force your, when you try to force someone, you're no longer in the connectedness. It makes me want to be a bit of that and I'll take that with me.

Cecilie Conrad: 

You can run over and talk to people before the next podcast, anytime.

Jesper Conrad: 

Yeah, so summer. It was a real big pleasure. If people want to get to know more about you, where should they find you?

Summer Jean: 

Well, i have a page on Facebook called This Beautiful Living Freedom and I have a Patreon where everything's free. It's not like for money, it's just to have everything in one place, because I didn't feel like building a website at the time. But I might build a website because I enjoy writing and I've done a few of these interviews, so I've got links to some video interviews, podcast interviews, and then I have some pieces that I've written on different topics and they're posted to my Patreon and on my Facebook page, this Beautiful Living Freedom. but you can also just find me at Summer Jean.

Jesper Conrad: 

Yeah, we will post the link and thank you for your time and it has been beautiful talking with you.

WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS EPISODE

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#24 - Sari González & Becka Koritz | Radical Learning, Change & Challenging the norm

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