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Homeschool Unrefined

Oct 31, 2022

This week, Julie Bogart is back to talk all about changing our minds in parenting and homeschooling. 

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Complete Episode Transcript


[00:00:00] Angela: hi, we are Maren and Angela of Homeschool, Unrefined. Over the past 25 years, we've been friends, teachers, homeschool parents and podcasters. Together with our master's degrees and 20 years combined homeschooling. We are here to rethink homeschooling, learning, and education with an inclusive and authentic lens.

[00:00:29] Maren: At Homeschool, Unrefined, we prioritize things like giving yourself credit, building strong connections, respectful parenting, interest led playing and learning, learning differences, mental health, self care, and listening to an EL elevating LGBTQ plus and bipo voices. 

[00:00:48] Angela: We are here to encourage and support you.

[00:00:50] Whether you are a new homeschooler, a veteran, you love curriculum, you're an unschooler. Whether all your kids are at home or all your kids are at school or somewhere in [00:01:00] between. Wherever you are in your journey, we're the voice in your head telling you, you're doing great, and so are your kids. 

[00:01:07] Maren: This is episode 1 98, Changing Our Minds with Julie Bogart.

[00:01:14] We had such a good conversation and we're so excited to share this with you, and then we are going to end like we always do with our l t Ws Loving this week. 

[00:01:26] Angela: Before we get going, we did wanna let you know about our Patreon classes. We are starting a new series. on Thursday and it's our what We don't do series. Mm-hmm. , if you have been around a while, you probably have listened to one of our, What we don't do messages, we're turning them into a class and we're gonna talk about what we don't do as a, in a class format.

[00:01:48] And that is gonna be Thur this Thursday at one o'clock central time. And if you are interested in that, you can join us on, on Patreon for our super squad. That's the $10 level. We [00:02:00] will have links in the show notes for you there, but we'd love to see you if you can't come live. You can get it recorded and video and audio.

[00:02:07] We will be putting those out and then, The day or two after that. 

[00:02:11] Maren: Absolutely. And you know, we are passionate 

[00:02:13] Angela: about what we don't do. we are and spreading one of our favorite things. . It's important. It is. Mar and I both love new and innovative ways to make reading and writing fun. That's why we hope you've tried Night Zookeeper.

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[00:02:51] Some of the features we love include the educational games, the personalized feedback on writing from Real tutors, the Super Safe Community pages where [00:03:00] children can work with each other and learn together. If night Zookeeper sounds like the perfect learning program for your child, you can try it for free by clicking on the link in the show notes.

[00:03:09] When you register, you'll get a seven day risk free trial, as well as a huge 50% off annual subscription. That's a great deal if you ask. When it comes 

[00:03:20] Maren: time to decide on whether or not to use a curriculum, we think you should check out Blossom and Root. Blossom and Root is a nature focused secular homeschool curriculum focusing, focusing on creativity, science, nature.

[00:03:35] Literature and the arts. Blossom and Root has been gently encouraging in supporting homeschool families around the globe since 2016. Blossom and Root currently offers curricula for pre-K through fifth grade with new levels being added in the future. Additionally, a three volume inclusive US history curriculum told from a variety of viewpoints is [00:04:00] currently in development as of August, 2022.

[00:04:03] Volume one is available for purchase and volume two is available on presale. All profits from this history curriculum. A River of voices will be used to support storytellers and artists from historically excluded communities. You can find samples, scope, and sequences and information about each of their levels online at

[00:04:29] You can also find them on, I. 

[00:04:31] Angela: At Blossom and Root, 

[00:04:33] Maren: Blossom and Root has created a special discount for our listeners. Use the code Hs. Unrefined 15 at checkout for 15% off your 

[00:04:43] Angela: purchase. Over the years, our kids have taken many out school courses that they have loved. Have you given out school a try? We know that kids who love to learn don't just prepare for the future.

[00:04:56] They create it. That's why Out School has [00:05:00] reimagined online learning to empower kids and teens to expand their creativity, wonder and knowledge. Empathetic, passionate teachers encourage learners ages three to 18 to explore their in. Connect with diverse peers from around the world and take an active role in leading their learning out.

[00:05:16] School has created a world filled with endless possibilities for every schooling journey. Explore over 140,000 fun and flexible live online classes to find the right fit for your family. And join us as we set learning free. Sign up today at Out unrefined. And get up to $20 off your first class when you enroll with a code Unre. 

[00:05:42] Maren: All right. We are so excited to introduce you.

[00:05:46] If you don't know Julie Bogart Bogart yet, here she is. Julie Bogart is the creator and owner of Brave Writer, the online writing and language arts program for kids and teens. She's written two books, The [00:06:00] Brave Learner and Most Recently Raising Critical Thinkers, Julie Holy Supports Homeschool Parents Through Her Social Media Channels.

[00:06:08] Her podcast, her books and her community. We have always absolutely loved talking to Julie and we're just so glad that she is back. Enjoy this conversation.

[00:06:20] Thank you so much, Julie, for joining us again on our podcast. We've had you on a few times and we love having you every single 

[00:06:27] Julie: time. Well, the feeling is mutual. Mar, I love being here. 

[00:06:31] Maren: Thank you so much. Okay. So I really wanna talk about your book that actually came out quite a while ago, but you and I have both been so busy that we haven.

[00:06:41] Able to make time to talk about it, but I'm so excited to talk about your book Raising Critical Thinkers. And we talked a little bit about it maybe on your podcast last time. Yes, yes, Yep. But I just, this was before, I think we read your book though. You were still writing it and we've now since read it and love it.

[00:06:59] And I'm just [00:07:00] wondering what made you wanna write this book right 

[00:07:03] Julie: now? Specif. Yeah, that's such a fun question for me to answer because you have to go all the way back to the 1990s to answer this question. Mm, okay. Yeah. It really started with the dawn of the internet . So in like 19 95, 96, when the worldwide web was crawling out into the space, homeschool parents in particular were.

[00:07:25] We're like the first people to barge through those doors. We were so isolated. Yeah. , there were about 800, right? There were about 800 Absolutely. Thousand families who homeschooled back then in the United States today there's 3.2 million, so that's, That's amazing. A sizeable growth. And we did not have a means.

[00:07:41] Of connecting except in local communities. Mm-hmm. . And so you can imagine the numbers were small. You know, you might, in your community have five or 10 people you know who homeschooled. Right. Some people had no one. So we all hopped online. Yep. In these couple of major sort of homeschool watering holes.

[00:07:58] And to be fair to [00:08:00] the movement, the truth of the movement at that point is that it was. Yeah, we were white. Yep. Mostly conservative. Politically and religiously. Yep. And heterosexual and married. Right. So that was the demographic, like 98%, 99%. So I imagined we would get on these discussion boards and we would really like each other.

[00:08:21] You know, I, I had been to park days. People are friendly, you know, occasionally they mention your child misbehaved, but nobody's getting into big fights about politics at a park day. Sure. And yet I get on these discussion boards and while there's plenty of friendliness, plenty of good advice. Mm-hmm. , there was also a shocking willingness.

[00:08:43] Mm-hmm. to really go to battle. Mm-hmm. over things like oxy Clean, whether or not to breastfeed, Oh no. Whether or not you should potty train your child by age two. And that's the tip of the iceberg. When we got, When we got near [00:09:00] religious discussion, like doctrinal issues or theology, the gloves came off.

[00:09:05] Wow. People 

[00:09:06] Maren: get really brave, don't they, on 

[00:09:07] Julie: those sites? Oh my gosh. And this is before we knew about trolls, so I jokingly say homeschoolers and bena trolling. We used to call it flaming, but it was really just a lot of fighting. And so here's the question that sort of grew inside me at that. . Why does everyone think they're right?

[00:09:26] Mm. And why do they assume that all they have to do is state their belief and everyone will agree with it. So there was very little curiosity. It wasn't like, Wow, you're a five point Calvinist. I'm only a three point. I wonder why that is. . No, that is not what happened. It would be things like, you know, Julie, I just think you're wrong here.

[00:09:46] The actual true theology is X. Mm-hmm. . And so for me, at the time when I was expecting sort of this homogeneous. Kumbaya experience. It was not that. And in fact, I was [00:10:00] so intrigued by this problem. I started my own discussion board. We called it at the time the Trap Door Society. And the reason it had that name Yeah.

[00:10:10] Was that I felt like all these women were performing roles on a stage, you know, parent, wife, educator, spiritual or non-spiritual person, whatever you were. And we had no way of. To nurture the individual person that we were. So I wanted a trap door so we could go beneath the stage and like try on different costumes.

[00:10:33] Imagine other points of view, read books that were for our pleasure, not for our children. That's amazing. Yeah. And it was, it was amazing. It was. So that was the. 

[00:10:44] Maren: You created that safety. That's that's what it sounds like to me when you're talking about that trap door. That's a place of safety where you can try things on without getting completely reprimanded.

[00:10:57] Well, 

[00:10:57] Julie: that was the goal. Yeah. It did [00:11:00] not go that way. Oh, 

[00:11:01] Maren: okay. 

[00:11:01] Julie: So I started this community. Mm-hmm. . There was a lot of love. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And there were some, I mean, phenomenal discussions that were life changing for me. I will say that right out of the gate, my parenting, my home education, my outlook on the world was shaped profoundly by that community.

[00:11:17] But there was also some battles that literally took me out, like days of crying obsessing over responding, trying to craft the perfect words so no one would be mad and still, Oh, I feel that lacking anger. Early days of the internet. Mm-hmm. the early two thousands. And so that persistent experience of why does everyone think they're right?

[00:11:43] Right. Stayed with me. And it got me curious about how we form our thoughts. Why we think, how we do, what we believe about other people who think differently. And I, I just got on this serious mission. I've been studying, thinking for over 20 years. I've been so [00:12:00] fascinated by it. I even went to grad school to try.

[00:12:02] Understand how we all think so differently. So yeah, that's really what led me to it. So ironically, it came out during the Covid period, , which is a, an important time to think critically. Oh my gosh. It's almost like, you know, we hit the Zer of trolling and flaming and everything else. 

[00:12:22] Maren: And it continues. And it continues.

[00:12:24] Like for sure we need to, we need this skill. So what is your definition of critical thinking? Why do you think, Well, I mean, we already talked about why we think it's important, but if you have any other thoughts about that, but just what is it to you? What 

[00:12:37] Julie: does it look like? Yeah. Critical thinking for me starts in an unusual place.

[00:12:41] Like if you go into the education world and they talk about critical thinking, it's always about analyzing something over. , like a piece of literature, a scientific discovery, a mathematical problem. Yes. But I think critical thinking starts closer to home. [00:13:00] It's self-awareness. It's the capacity to notice your own bias as it kicks into gear, right?

[00:13:06] To pay attention to what triggers you to be curious, for instance, about why you think you're right. Yes. And it's doing all that before we extend a similar. Attitude, I guess I would say. Yep. To someone else. So if I know that I have these inherent triggers, biases and proclivities, right? That's also true of the person I'm chatting with.

[00:13:30] Mm-hmm. , the cuter. And my job is to at least get to a place of understanding how the jigsaw puzzle of their experiences, education, thoughts, socioeconomics, and identity created safety right for them through this. Because that's what our beliefs are. They are a safety protective shield that keeps who I am free of anyone harming me.

[00:13:58] Maren: It sounds to me like you're [00:14:00] talking about self-awareness as being one huge key. Totally of critical thinking it is. And then being aware that this other person is also has this other set of aware, you know, self awareness and maybe not, may not be as aware about those is of those things. And then, oh, it's just the, a higher level thinking here.

[00:14:21] You know, I just think when you get in those situations and the. The ability to understand yourself, understand this other person and how you work together, and how it, how it's okay that they're thinking differently and it's okay that I'm thinking differently and we can work together in this way. I mean, it's just.

[00:14:38] This is what's so needed in our world today. Can you imagine if E the most powerful people in the world, can't even do this, Julie? No. No. Can you train them ? 

[00:14:52] Julie: Well, the problem, the problem I really think comes down to the fact that. There are dangerous [00:15:00] thoughts. Mm-hmm. thought worlds that exist, but the criteria for danger varies community by community.

[00:15:06] Mm-hmm. , person by person. So a lot of times when I've done these interviews, people have said, So you're really focused on critical thinking, leading to empathy. And my rejoinder is actually, no, this book isn't about empathy. You may gain some empathy. Sure. Come to a place where you look at your child, for instance, and have more insight into why they hold a view, and it creates a feeling of warmth or compassion towards your child.

[00:15:31] Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . But mostly it's about understanding because for instance, we love true crime, right? We're all listening to podcasts. We all do movies, and we are doing it because we are fascinated to understand. Why a person imagines that the best solution to a problem in their life is murder. We're not and and we want to understand it.

[00:15:56] That's why we watch. Right. We don't just judge it. We're like, [00:16:00] Well, what factors led that person to thinking, I will have a more beautiful life if I off this other person. What we end up feeling at the end is horror, not empathy. Right. Right. It actually engages our deep morality. We. Wow, these factors are problematic.

[00:16:19] This person saw the world in a way that is so different than mine. And then it leads us to ask what I think is a very important question, What is it about that person's perspective that we haven't accounted for? Mm-hmm. in the public square. Yep. So if we think about someone like, you know, just to go for the extreme Hitler and go for it.

[00:16:40] Yep. Right. What we have, were an entire population. Of German Christian, middle class churchgoing people. Mm-hmm. becoming persuaded that the solution to their economic crisis was genocide. Yeah. And the question we [00:17:00] have to ask ourself is how did that happen? How did that happen? Yep. Because they were persuaded.

[00:17:08] There was a structure and a belief system that they were able to inc. That made them think they were on the moral high ground. And so for me, critical thinking is all of that. It's not just empathy, it's accounting for those factors that may possibly lead us into very immoral and scary thought worlds.

[00:17:31] But we do it from a place of. Actual desire for a better world. Right. We're not doing it because we're inherently evil. We're doing it because we think life will be better for us and our people. 

[00:17:43] Maren: Right, Right, right. And that's why we need to think critically about our history. That's right. So that we can change it.

[00:17:50] does not repeat itself. True. Yep. So true. One of our favorite chapters in your book is probably the last chapter, The Courage to Change Your [00:18:00] Mind. We love this idea. We talk about it a lot as parents. So just sitting with that for a minute, changing your mind. Why do you think that changing your mind is important?

[00:18:10] Julie: Well, first of all, the capacity to change your mind shows a certain agility in your own ability to process information. So psychological research shows that psychological flexibility is a key component to a healthy ego. Mm-hmm. and healthy relationships. So if we are hardened or rigid, we actually start to eliminate the capacity to relate to a variety of people, right?

[00:18:39] Then what we do is we start shrinking the group until we're in a very small corner of the world, well defended against all the attackers. We become victims, right? Of our own ideology. Mm-hmm. . So the courage to change your mind says, I'm actually related to all of humanity. There isn't [00:19:00] the in group, in the out group.

[00:19:01] I'm here to hear experiences, data, research, information that is not like the kind I have and understand how it's shaped these people that I am connected to simply by being a human being. I don't think we think that way very often, but one thing I have not, Is that parents are the most likely to change their spiritual, political, social value beliefs when a child.

[00:19:32] Tax them. So you have a child? Oh yes. That's me. Example. Right? Totally, totally. All that story, because I think it's so powerful. Well, there are, 

[00:19:40] Maren: there are actually, I mean, there's a lot of things I can't even share right now until my kids are grow, grown up. Yes. Until they've given me permission. But I mean, definitely politically, spiritually so many things.

[00:19:51] I actually, I wrote down a few things, things that I've changed my mind on as a parent recently, probably hair color. Tattoos [00:20:00] piercings. Not that I'm letting my kids pierce their or get tattoos, but , like, I've changed my mind on it because just talking about it ha has created this big rift and I'm like, I, Why am I so against the, I mean, why am I so I against this?

[00:20:18] I do not know. I honestly don't know anymore . So I had to rethink that. Food choices, TV and movie choices, clothing. What body parts can be shown and not shown. You know, these are things and ultimately school choice. Yes, school education choices. Because, you know, if it were up to me, we'd probably, you know, be doing something very different school-wise right now.

[00:20:41] And I'm listening to my kids and they're telling me what they need and I'm like, Wait a second. I you. For a while I was like, No kids, we're doing school this way. This is what I see as the best way . And they're like, Mom, listen to us. We're telling you what we need right now. And I'm, and I had to really [00:21:00] go inside myself and evaluate like, why am I, why are my ideals the boss of.

[00:21:08] Their education right now, it's their lives ultimately. And I can, That's right. Yeah. So I can make, Obviously I wanna make safe and good, you know, good choices for them. But there are lots of safe and good choices. I 

[00:21:22] Julie: think so. No, that is so beautifully expressed. Mm-hmm. . Because part of what happens is we've already lived through those ages.

[00:21:31] We were teenagers and young adults. We have regrets, choices we made that we think, Wow, that was a bad decision. Or I wish my mother had stopped me from doing X. Right. And so we come in with this perspective that somehow we can protect our children from right. Regret, mistakes, getting in car accidents, whatever it is.

[00:21:49] Mm-hmm. . And yet it is those very experiences that formed and shaped us into the adults we are today. Right. And when we don't give our children the [00:22:00] agency over their choices to some extent, obviously you have some, some room there, but to some extent, Then they feel the need to react that much harder. Yes.

[00:22:11] Because they are testing, not you, but the world outside of your home to find out, am I qualified to be admitted as an adult? Yes. And if they don't have the opportunity to make some of those calls and fail. They will not discover what resources they need. I, I did a podcast interview recently with a mom who was raised in the obedience model as a child.

[00:22:36] Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And she told me she got to young adulthood and thought, But how can I know if I'm making a good decision, where's the authority that's gonna tell me I'm doing the thing? Yep. And so our kids need the, the right. I remember Johanna, she had red. She decided to die purple and the culture, not me.

[00:22:57] I was like, That's fine. Yeah. Yeah. , the culture told her, [00:23:00] if you're a redhead, you're not allowed to dye your hair because your hair is too beautiful. You're not allowed to get rid of red hair. Yeah. Yeah. And I remember supporting her and saying, You know, it's your hair. Pick a color. So she went in to get it dye, and even the hair stylist was like, Are you sure?

[00:23:18] Yeah. And so the hair stylist refused to bleach the hair. She's like, We'll just put purple on top of it. And it came out black. Okay. No. So she didn't end up with her purple hair. She had red hair and black hair, and then she decided to go full goth to support the black hair, you know, early two thousands,

[00:23:36] And I look back on that and I think what an interesting moment for her. Yeah. To assert a desire and have the whole culture oppose her and to keep fighting for it anyway. Like this is what we want. How will they build their self confide? If they never have a chance to encounter opposition, to stand up for what they want, [00:24:00] to find out if it matches what their hopes and dreams were.

[00:24:03] They need some of those chances, don't they? 

[00:24:05] Maren: They absolutely do, and I think our traditional educational system is teaching our kids to obey, yes, meet the standards, do the thing, and perform and not really think critically about themselves. They, it might be thinking critically. One small topic here, one small topic here, but it's not this all-encompassing critical thinker that, that we're raising, you know, in our education system.

[00:24:32] And it's, it's tough because then they go to co, they go to college and, and you know, they might not. Go find the resources they need to do well in college because they haven't been taught to be proactive about those things or to figure out what they need or even to find their passion to find the thing they love to do in the world because they've just learned to go through the hoops.

[00:24:53] Go through the hoops, do it, get a job, make 

[00:24:56] Julie: money, , a hundred percent. In fact, when I taught at Xavier [00:25:00] University, one of the most glar. and obvious lacks in the incoming freshman was a sense of agency about their own thoughts. Mm, mm-hmm. . So they came in having been trained to write essays and how to even do research online or use the, you know, the library correctly.

[00:25:18] Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . But they were always trying to find out, but what did I really wanna hear from them? Yeah. What was the angle I hope they would take? And so we. All kinds of writing activities and writing on the board and small group sharing because my goal, Was to hear something genuine from each student.

[00:25:35] I needed to hear how did this idea land for you? And if the idea hasn't landed for you yet, I don't wanna hear from you. Like, don't just turn in an essay. Yes. And so part of the training in high school, especially if you've got homeschoolers in this audience, but even in regular high school mm-hmm. . To give agency to a child's voice, and one of the few ways they can feel [00:26:00] they have a voice is opposing your voice.

[00:26:03] So even though you think to yourself, This is a dangerous idea, , I want you to step back and think how cool that they felt that they could take the risk to tell me this crazy idea that I would never want them to believe. Because what they're saying to you is, I'm entertaining. The thought world that counters the moral center of this family.

[00:26:27] Maren: Yes. I love that. And actually, that's one of the things I was just gonna ask you about, Julie, because I just watched one of your. Instagram reels about encouraging parents to argue with their kids.

[00:26:36] So this, I think this is a great example of 

[00:26:40] Julie: encouraging critical thinking. Oh, it totally is. And I wanna give credit to one of my staff members because this morning I was having this meeting with Ramona and Ramona said, Julie, one of my kids is in your brave writer movie class on dystopian movies, and she.

[00:26:56] The dystopian genre . And I told her, [00:27:00] Take that class cuz it's gonna have your best writing. Yeah. And so she's in there just hating these movies. They're watching them as a family and having huge arguments about them. And I was like, That totally reminds me of when my kids' dad and my kids argued about Nacho Libre for two long, Oh my gosh.

[00:27:18] In the middle of summer, on our back deck after a barbecue, just dissecting the characterizations, arguing over whether or not this was a good movie. And so I think we sometimes forget that kids, they love that idea of being an. They love the feeling of being able to take an adult model of something and then shred it.

[00:27:38] My son, Jake, totally, as a great example, he today, just to give kind of context, he's a human rights lawyer who works for the in Central Africa Republic. 

[00:27:47] Maren: Wow. So you need to be a critical thinker for, for that job. 

[00:27:49] Julie: Oh heavens yes. Went to Columbia Law School. Right. So he, he knows how to think, but I remember in junior or in, when he was a junior in high school, he watched this one movie, Some of [00:28:00] your, your listeners could even look it up.

[00:28:01] It's called Zeitgeist. It was a thing in the mid two thousands. Okay. It's basically a massive critique of capitalism and it really does promote sort of a communist worldview and you know, eradicating the monetary system, et cetera. And I remember he came to my ex-husband when we were married, my husband and I at the time, And he's like, Mom, this is how the world needs to be.

[00:28:23] But we watched it and his dad was saying to me, Oh no, Jacob's gonna end up in this horrible ti world of weird conspiracy theorists with the Illuminati, you know? Oh, totally. And I said, You know what, Actually, John, this is amazing. Not only is he watching it, he's telling us he's watching it, and he is critiquing the system that feels.

[00:28:47] Air, like water. Like he didn't know this was a system Yeah. To critique until he heard there was a critique. Like you can criticize money. What, what a thought. Right. He had never known Right. [00:29:00] To do that. Yeah. And so we just leaned in. We just asked more questions, watched the movie, agreed with what we could raise questions about what seemed inconsistent, but we didn't like attack it.

[00:29:10] It was more like, Is that working anywhere in the world? You know, like ask kinds of questions. And he evolved through it. He didn't stay there. Of course, yes. It was like a starting place for critique. 

[00:29:22] Maren: I think we have to remember that our kids aren't, aren't going to stay in their thoughts for the rest of their lives.

[00:29:28] They are, their, their brains continue to develop and it's really the practice of critical thinking. It's the practice of learning. It's the, the, the practice of curiosity and synthesizing and having conversations and growing. That's what they take. To the next level of their lives. A thousand percent. Yeah.

[00:29:49] They don't take this one topic and just, you know, think this is life 

[00:29:55] Julie: for the rest of their lives. Well, it's easy to do that experiment with yourself. Yes. How [00:30:00] many of your really hard one positions that you took at age 15 or 18 are still identical with how you think about the world today? 

[00:30:09] Maren: I'm so glad they're.

[00:30:10] No, 

[00:30:11] Julie: No no. And in fact, how many I, I ask this in conferences all the time. So if I have a room of a hundred people, I say, How many of you hold the same exact beliefs as your parents in the areas of sex, politics, education, parenting, and food and exercise? And out of a hundred people, only 10 raise their hand.

[00:30:31] Wow. So what you need to know is that same ratio is gonna be true in your family. There might be one kid who. Agrees or aligns with you generally, but there are gonna be a whole bunch who don't, and that doesn't mean you can't have a relationship with them. And it doesn't mean they've abandoned their morals.

[00:30:49] It means they're thinking deeply. 

[00:30:52] Maren: That is so, so, so true. And I I just think what a skill. What a skill to learn and to not have to be [00:31:00] perfect at when you're 15 or 18 or even probably 21 . I mean, this is gonna take a while. This is not a perfection. This is not something that's gonna get perfected.

[00:31:09] Early on and it, it, it might not ever, I mean, this is, yeah, this is a process. I was just thinking today, you know, I , you know, made a few mistakes. I'm 46, so, 

[00:31:19] Julie: Yeah. I mean, yeah, I'm, I'm 60. I, I've changed my mind countless times and if, and you will continue to, will continue to, and also you can't anticipate what will become an.

[00:31:32] So none of us knew what a pandemic was. None of us knew how to respond to a pandemic. We were all jumping into our communities to tell us, these people are trustworthy. These people are not. This information's reliable, this information is not. Yeah. And we were using our blind loyalty to community to guide us because none of us has the expertise to evaluate.

[00:31:57] Pandemics epidemics, vaccines, [00:32:00] public health economics, that are the result of this, you know, guidelines for how you run a company. All of that was suddenly up for grabs. Yeah. And when that happens, we stop thinking critically. We actually jump in with both feet to our safest communities. And what I've had to train myself to do, and this is something I write about in the book, Is notice that, Yes.

[00:32:25] So when I'm scrolling through Facebook and some high school person I haven't talked to in 35 years, post an article and I think, Oh my gosh, that is the dumbest article I've ever seen. When I feel that smugness come up, yes, I know. I'm not critically thinking, Yeah, I am self protecting in that moment, critical thinking at that moment is, Oh, this is from someone I don't typically trust.

[00:32:48] This is a person I haven't thought about in 30 years. Right. I don't really know what she's like anymore. She thought this was worth posting on Facebook. That's interesting. Mm-hmm. . I wonder what that says about her. I wonder if I've ever read this [00:33:00] article with this writer through the lens of this other person.

[00:33:03] What, what might there be to learn? In reading it. Now, to be honest, I can't do that a lot. I, it takes so much energy to do that. But to keep myself honest, I try to do it fairly regularly. I try to give myself access to viewpoints that make me cringe. Mm-hmm. and I don't do it to deconstruct them. Yes, I do it to understand them.

[00:33:29] Maren: That is so good. And it's also alternatively, when we, I think read, read articles or listen to something that is from somebody we normally do agree with. Like we, I think we also also have to think critically like, Yep, do I agree with this? Or what part of it is, Do I do I think is, you know, real or you know, is there part, are there parts I.

[00:33:49] Push back on a little bit or something. So I think it's so good to do both. Absolutely. 

[00:33:54] Julie: Great point, Miller. Yeah. 

[00:33:56] Maren: Yeah. Okay. So I wanna go back to some of your work, Julie, because I [00:34:00] know Ev, everything you've always put out there, you've always encouraged us to make it our own. And I think you've, from the beginning, have encouraged us all to think critically.

[00:34:09] You've inspired. Us all to do poetry, tea, time, , and I'm not kidding you. I have my oldest reads poetry by herself now all the time, and I, I attribute it all to poetry, tea time. I really do. So that you so much, but I know that you also encourage everyone to make. Their own special thing. So what is, What do you think is the key to those magical learning moments like poetry, tea time, or something else that we 

[00:34:41] Julie: have come up with?

[00:34:43] I think when we're talking about learning, what we're actually talking about is a meaningful connection or relationship. To what is being learned. And so just to deconstruct poetry tee time for a moment. Yeah. I knew that adults hated poetry , [00:35:00] and for some reason my whole life I've loved it. I think because I'm innately a writer, and so any manipulation of language has been interesting to me.

[00:35:08] My mother also gave me a a rummy card game that was all. So when I was young, I knew all the names of poets, which then later made me wanna read their poems. My father, my grandfather, gave me a poetry book that was a, I'll read to you if you read to me book. So I would share it with my brother or a friend who came over, or my mother, and we'd read poems to each other cuz of the nature of this book.

[00:35:30] Awesome. So my early childhood was really warm towards poetry and then song lyrics became my obsession. Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Brown, Tom Petty, they all write such great storytelling and such great lyrics. So as I was raising kids, I was disturbed to discover that adults didn't like poetry. Oh. And I was so afraid that would happen to my children.

[00:35:53] And I was on this email list back in the day in the nineties, and somebody shared that she was teaching geography to [00:36:00] her kids, but they didn't like geography. So she started making tea and cookies for when they studied geography. Yes. And suddenly they all liked geography. And I was. Well, I can do that.

[00:36:11] We, I drink tea every day. Exactly. And so I created this whole British tea time and added poetry to it. And so I think really what we're saying is when something seems opaque or difficult, we want to tie it to something that automatically creates a sense of warmth and pleasure and openness. So I wish someone had done that for me with.

[00:36:34] That that did not happen with Math , but with my kids, because it never happened to me with math. Mm-hmm. , I put so much more energy into manipulatives and games and cards and dices. That's so great. Yes. And even though my kids would all say, and they will say this openly, that math was not my strong suit.

[00:36:54] What is ironic is all five of them have been very [00:37:00] successful in math and they, they came out, two of them are programmers and three of them did calculus and I mean, that's amazing. You did that. Good job, Julia. I take credit, it doesn't matter what they think. No, but honestly, the early years to me are what were the foundation for that.

[00:37:18] And then I hired tutors and they did take some math at school. But my point is, I think what you're asking. How do we create the meaningful sense of connection that makes me warm and open this something that feels intimidating. And for me, that would be a great criteria for creating magic in learning.

[00:37:37] Maren: That sounds amazing. I mean, I, I could think about that in every scenario. Like, what is gonna cause this to be a warm. Cozy or warm and safe 

[00:37:48] Julie: environment. Yes, and and stimulating enough to be interested, right? So, right. You might make tea and cookies to go with math, but if your child's already resistant or sees no purpose in it, they'll eat the [00:38:00] cookies, drink the tea, and still hate math.

[00:38:02] Part of what made poetry special is that poetry's easy. You just read it out loud and everybody finds pleasure. But for something that's more of a struggle, I think part of what we wanna do is admit that it's going to be challenging. Provide a lot of support, create as many real life connections as possible, and then do it in small doses so that we don't create a toxic relationship where we're dreading and it feels tiring and I don't wanna do it.

[00:38:31] Maren: I love that. Yep. So, so, so true. Okay, so another thing that we, both Angela and I both love about your book. So many other things that you've created is just the activities, but this specific, this book specifically just has so many practical ideas. And a whole book can be intimidating, honestly. Yes.

[00:38:50] Sometimes, you know, but if, if you sprinkled out in, you know, throughout the book so many activities that if we. Just pick a few of those activities. I [00:39:00] mean, it would, it could change our home school and I just love that you did that. Did you, did you know you wanted to share practical activities Yes. And ideas when you wrote the 

[00:39:10] Julie: book?

[00:39:10] Because I just feel that way about everything. Right? Like, I just feel like. We spend so much time reading nonfiction books for information and ideas, but the practical implementation is where transformation occurs. Yeah, Yeah. And for me, a lot of these practices are things that sort of, I stumbled on with my own kids because I was obsessed with thinking.

[00:39:32] Yes, I was obsessed with it. So, you know, in that very first chapter where I'm talking about viewpoint and says who, and you know, are we hearing the fairy tale from the Wolf's point of view or the narrator's point of view, or the protagonist point of view? Yes. The reason that I am obsessed with that is that that is the foundation of all critical thinking.

[00:39:52] Whose viewpoint Yes. Am I listening to? And what is the criteria by which they create that viewpoint? Mm-hmm. . So we can start that [00:40:00] at age. Totally. Yeah, of course. We would watch these Disney movies and we would analyze the characters to death. Why do we love Ursula? Even though she's the bad character? What is it about her that's compelling?

[00:40:13] Why is she more interesting than the good characters? And why would Disney do that? Right? And then you just get into this conversation. What is her sob story? Do we believe it? Does she have some justification for being this angry? Ooh, that's so great. These are great questions. And honestly, they sort of forecast what they'll be encountering in college when they're analyzing.

[00:40:35] Absolutely. Lenin versus you know Decart. . 

[00:40:39] Maren: I was just gonna say, because it's really easy at five and. To any age, but especially at five or younger where there's this dichotomy, like you said, bad and good things aren't bad and good, and it's, it's really easy to push that thought through, you know, And it's, that can be very scary.

[00:40:59] And to [00:41:00] understand that the bad. The bad guys or bad people in movies may have some underlying things going on. What a great discussion and deep thinking for a five year 

[00:41:13] Julie: old that Yeah, and you know, they're, they can do that. They're dealing with siblings. Right. How much bullying happens in a family?

[00:41:19] Just an absolute ton. Mm-hmm. . Yep. And so if we are only ever treating people in binaries as bad and good, we can easily harden our own families into the good kids, the not good kids. We start scapegoating a child for being disruptive or picking at each other or being loud, and we start treating that child differently because we see them not through a.

[00:41:42] Prism of factors, but only through this lens of obedient or cooperative or, you know, creating pleasure for the adult at ease. Right. Versus the child who's taxing and hard. Right? Totally. Yes. And so that's another reason we do this. We want siblings in particular to see a [00:42:00] 360 degree picture of this child.

[00:42:02] They have to share a table with, watch a movie, with share a computer, with go on vacations with Right 

[00:42:09] Maren: or parents too. Their view of their. Good parent, bad parent, right? Yeah. And it's easy to just say that 

[00:42:14] Julie: you're the bad parent. 

[00:42:16] Maren: Yeah. You make me do these things. And there's a lot around that too, that they can, they can think criti critically about, which is awesome.

[00:42:23] So if there's one thing parents could implement today right now in regards to raising a critical thinker. What do 

[00:42:30] Julie: you think that would be? Oh, I love this question. So I'm gonna give you a little story by way of example. This is a practice that you can try. So a lot of people think critical thinking is like opinions about social issues and politics, but that that is just one feature.

[00:42:46] Critical thinking is literally every decision you make all day. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , Which, you know, which way is the fastest to get downtown without traffic is a critical thinking decision. Absolutely. What to eat for. Do I dessert? First, critical [00:43:00] thinking decisions. What we want to do is invite our children to make more of those judgment calls using their own research and data, rather than usurping that role for them.

[00:43:13] So I'll give you a a very clear example. Imagine you have an eight year old, it's time for dinner. Mm-hmm. , you say to that child, Hey honey, it's time to wash your hands. It's time for. And this child who has cooperated with this, you know, command for a year sure. Suddenly says, Yeah, I'm not going to, I don't want to

[00:43:30] Most parents have one of two ways they respond. There's the authoritarian model which says you have to cuz I said so, right? Mm-hmm. . So you don't really, you could even give a reason, but mostly you're just like, Dude, I'm the mom. You're not. Go wash your hands. The second way is what I call the manipulative obedience model.

[00:43:49] What most periods today call cooperation. And what they do instead of requiring obedience is they manipulate it. So what they say is, Oh honey, you must wash your hands. [00:44:00] They're these things called germs and they live on your fingers. And when you touch the food and then eat it, it will go in your body and make you sick.

[00:44:06] This is what science tell tells us. Therefore, you must wash your hands right now. In that second model are very proud of that model. Yes. , they're always like, Oh, I would never ask them to do something. I don't explain , but basically what they're doing is they're giving a bunch of information the child doesn't care about.

[00:44:25] Nope. And then requiring the child to accept that as better information then the personal experience they're having right now, which is, I don't wanna wash my hands. Exactly. So what I recommend is this. You can't do this every day. Some days you gotta throw 'em in a car seat without an argument and strap 'em in and go.

[00:44:41] Mm. But once in a while, go down the rabbit hole. So when your child says, I don't wanna wash my hands, you say, Oh, well that's interesting. Tell me more about that. Why? Why don't you wanna wash your hands? I don't know. I just don't wanna, Is it the temperature of the water? Let me get a thermometer. [00:45:00] Let's measure the temperature, see which temperature is most comfortable for you.

[00:45:03] Ooh, I love that. So you start doing that and the child's like, I still hate it. Oh, okay. So it's not the temperature. Is it the wetness? Yeah. I hate how it feels on my hands. Should we try hand sanitizer or it dries faster? Oh no, that's sticky. Well, that's interesting. So here's where I am. I have this belief about germs, but you don't like washing your hands.

[00:45:26] I wonder if there's any other information out there about germs and hands. Mm-hmm. . So you do a little research together online, show 'em, and maybe you discover that heat kills germs. And so you say to your child, How would you feel about not washing your hands? And we just blow dry them with a hot blow dryer, , and the child's like that sounds good.

[00:45:43] And so you do that or the child still doesn't want to because here's what might be underlying it, your belief in germ. Is actually not a belief. It's propaganda. You've accepted and here's how I know. Didn't your child just eat Cheerios off the [00:46:00] floor without washing their hands? Right? Didn't you at Target watch the baby, spit out the pacifier?

[00:46:05] It landed on the floor of Target, you picked it up, sucked the germs off , and then put that pacifier in your baby's mouth. Do you actually believe in germs or you just doing the parental propaganda program where you pass on information, right? Designed to coerce my child. So what I recommend at that point, Either one of these accommodations.

[00:46:27] Okay? We're gonna measure the temperature you like it at, You know, 72. We're always gonna wait till it's that temperature or hand sanitizer, or the blow dryer. Or maybe you just roll the dice. You say, You know what? You're right. I don't even know if I believe my own rhetoric. Should we find out if you get sick?

[00:46:44] Are you willing for that to be a possible outcome of this? Let's try it for a week. See what happens. Sure. And then see what happens. Right? Right. Give your child meaningful opportunities to collect data, to ask better questions, [00:47:00] to evaluate their experience. To roll the dice and see what the outcome of their hypothesis is.

[00:47:07] Now at the start of covid, could you have done this? No. Right, Because we were terrified and we had information our kids didn't have. So at that point, going online, showing them the germs, explaining how people are in the hospital, giving them a meaningful understanding of why you have this level of fear is a great idea, right?

[00:47:26] But on the day to day, That's really not what's animating you. Right? And so I think that's where we have to do a better job of interrogating our own positions and our kids give us a chance to do that. 

[00:47:38] Maren: Right. And we have to be also, I think careful about imposing our own expectations on their critical thinking.

[00:47:46] That's right. Because a five year old may not, even after all that information and all the testing and all the, everything you've done, they might. Yeah. I still don't wanna wash my hands . Right? Because they're not ready for that critical thinking at in that [00:48:00] moment. That's right at for that thing. And that's just where they're at.

[00:48:02] You can't force their brain to develop anymore than where they're at right 

[00:48:06] Julie: now. No. And that's where, like Dr. Becky Gooden side, Dr. Becky was, is so right on. I'm reading that book right now. Oh, oh, so good. So good. So when. , ask a child to cooperate with your better judgment. Mm-hmm. , you are spending capital in that relationship.

[00:48:26] Maren: You are spending capital. Absolutely. 

[00:48:28] Julie: And so that's why we want to make some of these demands fewer, you know, we want minimal demands. Yes. And then we want to explore when we can. A child's opposition because maybe it's just that the child was really engaged in a movie and dinner happened and they don't wanna take the time to wash their hands.

[00:48:47] Exactly. And dinner delayed. Can we pause the movie? There could be factors here that have nothing to do with critical thinking about hand washing and just convenience that you are tempted to 

[00:48:59] Maren: overlook. [00:49:00] Absolutely. And it it, like you said, it also requires us to do our own critical thinking. That's right.

[00:49:05] On washing hands or. Eating at 6:00 PM Why does that have to happen, ? That's right. You know there's so many things we can think critically of, and we can be an example of critical thinking. And while our kids might not be like, Oh, mom, you're such a great critical thinker today, , I'm going to follow your example.

[00:49:27] The, the consistent, critical thinking every day is going to pay. Them, You know, witnessing that every day and seeing how you are transforming and learning from your own critical thinking. You, our kids can't really help but do that because 

[00:49:46] Julie: that's their example. In fact, I have a great story about this.

[00:49:51] My son, Jacob, that I mentioned before, when he was in high school, he got very interested in this one social issue that was on the ballot. I'm not gonna name which one it [00:50:00] was just to keep everyone neutral. Mm-hmm. . And so he came to me and he is like, Mom, I can't vote yet, but I did all this research and I wanted to tell you why I think you should vote pro.

[00:50:09] So he went through almost a PowerPoint level presentation. He had data and research in his computer was open. Yeah, it was really ad. He was like 16 and it was really good. And at the end I was like, Jake, that makes a lot of sense. I totally get where you're coming from. Thank you for sharing all that with me.

[00:50:26] He says, So are you gonna vote pro? I said, No, I'm still voting Con. Yeah. And his eyes squirted tears. And he said, Mom, I count on you to be logical . And I said, Wow. Well, I appreciate you saying that, and I don't wanna discount what you just shared with me, but you, what you shared with me didn't account for all of my concerns.

[00:50:51] It accounted for a lot of concerns you have. It didn't account for mine. But don't worry about that because this is my. And I don't have to agree [00:51:00] with you to appreciate the strength of your argument. And I think over time your side's gonna win. But I haven't personally been persuaded yet. Yep. And it was a very difficult moment for him.

[00:51:12] Fast forward, you know, he's 30 and I'm older, and interestingly enough, We have just the best conversations. He ended up being the research validator for this book. I let him look. Wow. I paid him to do it. He went through and made sure that my arguments were actually built from solid foundations of evidence and, you know, make sure I wasn't quoting some spurious researcher who mm-hmm.

[00:51:38] who happened to find their way onto a webpage I didn't vet. And so just to show. He saw me as a logical person, first of all. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , which I think is a beautiful credit. Secondly, we had to learn to live with the tension of disagreement, even when we were both being logical. Yep. And then third, we've built a relationship over time that makes it possible for both of us to [00:52:00] respect our capacity to do research and find answers.

[00:52:03] And I think if there's anything I would want for parents, that's what it is. It's not agreement, it's not a. It's this dialogical respect for each person's capacity to show up with their own viewpoint while respecting the other person. 

[00:52:20] Maren: It's beautifully said. Julie. Thank you so much, and I think that's a perfect place to stop for today, even though I could talk to you for another hour as usual.

[00:52:29] But I just appreciate your insight and your encouragement that, you know, we've always, I've always relied on your encouragement through my whole parenting and homeschool journey, so I just thank you 

[00:52:41] Julie: so much. Well, you do a great job both on this podcast and with your family, and so I. That you are continuing to put out such good information to your people as you 

[00:52:52] Maren: as well.

[00:52:52] All right. Take care. 

[00:52:54] Julie: Thank you. Bye. 

[00:52:56] Angela: All right. Let's move on to our lt [00:53:00] Ws. Yes. Marron. What are you loving this week? Okay. I am 

[00:53:03] Maren: loving a book that I actually happen to talk with Julie about Very Oh, very shortly. I mean, we just like, I think Julie just kind of mentioned it in our conversation. You may have. I picked up on it, but I'm actually reading it right now.

[00:53:18] And so it was fun to hear Julie mention it. And it's called Good Inside A Guide to Becoming the Parent You want to Be. And it's by Becky Kennedy, Dr. Becky . And it is just a 

[00:53:32] Angela: great it is 

[00:53:34] Maren: confirming. All of the, all of the healthy things we want to do in our parenting.

[00:53:42] And I wanna say homeschooling too. Yeah. I think this is a great book for homeschoolers. It's just a great book. So I just, I, I can't say enough good things about Dr. Becky. She's my new favorite. . Yeah. I feel like she says things first. I was gonna say Angela, she says things that we. [00:54:00] Yeah, I was first gonna say maybe better.

[00:54:03] Mm-hmm. , But actually I'm giving ourselves credit, Angela, and I'm gonna just gonna say, she says it in it with a twist, you know, that's, Yeah. On with her specialty, you know, as a doctor for, And I think we have this twist as a specialty, you know, as parents and educators and you know, we 

[00:54:17] Angela: have, but we're, we're really share, We 

[00:54:20] Maren: really share so much of the same message.

[00:54:22] Yes. 

[00:54:23] Angela: And so Good. I'm loving. Yeah. You know, people need to hear things in different ways and from different people and I, so I fully support like different people, books and podcast and whatever. Yeah. But she I have not read her book, but I do want to mm-hmm. because what I've really liked about her is you know, she doesn't profess to.

[00:54:45] Always do it right, . Exactly. Yep. And she describes that in the book too for sure. Yes. Like she's just coming from a place of like, Look, I'm in the trenches with you too. Like, I get it. Yeah. Things are triggering, things are hard. And [00:55:00] so she's really Supportive in that way. It feels like it feels reachable.

[00:55:04] It feels attainable. Yes. 

[00:55:06] Maren: And it is good to hear from, you know, a, a, a doctor, a psychologist, you know, who really understands the brain and how it just very intricately. 

[00:55:16] Angela: Yes. And so it is, it's, it's science 

[00:55:18] Maren: that this is really good parenting and, and it's effective and it's just healthy. Mm-hmm. , it's just healthy for.

[00:55:26] Physically, mentally, emotionally, 

[00:55:27] Angela: it's all healthy. . Yeah. And her premises, it's called Good Inside because Good inside. Yeah. Because we are all good inside. Yep. Kids too. We're all like wanting to do our Yes. Do good and do our best, so. Yep. Yeah, so I love that. I love that. Yes. Thank you for 

[00:55:42] Maren: sharing that.

[00:55:43] Yes, of course. I'm, I'm excited for you to read it. I know you will, 

[00:55:46] Angela: and it'll be fun. I'll probably listen, Are you listening? I'm listening. Yeah. Yeah. Does she read? Yes. Okay. Yeah, that'll be what I'll do. All right, Angela, what do you loving this week? I am loving something that I think I may have talked to you about in private, [00:56:00] but now I would like the whole world to know about it.

[00:56:01] Yes. It's called Calm aid. Oh, yes. And this is a natural supplement for anxiety, overwhelming stress. And you can get it on Amazon and you can get it cheaply. So we have subscribed and saved to it. . That is 

[00:56:16] Maren: amazing. You know, it's a, you know, it's a winner. You know, we need it. Subscribe and saved . Yes. 

[00:56:21] Angela: And the reason why I like it is because I was.

[00:56:25] You know I've been on medication for anxiety and depression. Some of my kids have been on things at different times. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. for different things. And so we have a psychiatrist that we talk to. Yeah. And the psychiatrist was telling me that this calm aid is over the counter, right? Mm-hmm.

[00:56:42] it's an over the counter thing, but. In many countries, like European countries, she said it's their first line of defense. For something like anxiety or depression before you, they try other medications. Wow. And so this is just their first go [00:57:00] to. It's real. It's a real, It really works. Yeah. All it is is lavender.

[00:57:04] It's lavender. It's a lavender pill. That's all that's in. It is lavender. It's concentrated. It's concentrated. Right. Small capsule that is easy to swallow. Okay. That's what I would need. Yep. Right. So it's in a small, easy to swallow capsule. It's just lavender so you can feel good knowing mm-hmm. , that that's all you're taking.

[00:57:22] Yeah. But it really does help. Like I have been taking it every morning. And on the days that I take it, I can tell that I feel much calmer, much less stressed. On the package it says you should take it twice a day. So I think if you were you know, really wanting to be more serious, you could take it twice a day if you were unsure about trying medication.

[00:57:42] This could be a good place to start. If you were unsure for one of your kids, this could, this could be a good place to start for one of them too. I just think we more people need to know about it because I had, I had never heard about it until the psychiatrist recommended it, and I just think like, and it gets all these great reviews, so I just think, why [00:58:00] don't, maybe more people already knew about it and I just didn't.

[00:58:02] Yeah, right. But. It has really been helpful for me and some of my kids. I was gonna say maybe 

[00:58:08] Maren: it's everybody in Europe who's, who's given it all those high stars. I mean, that's, that's amazing. 

[00:58:13] Angela: Yeah. So, Well, I'm 

[00:58:16] Maren: so glad that you, have you found something for, you know, for Totally. There's so many of, I mean, there are so many of us I think that who could use.

[00:58:23] Something like that without a prescription would be 

[00:58:25] Angela: great. Mm-hmm. so great. So thank you. And it's just, it's a first, It's, I know it's hard to try medication if you haven't. It is before, it's a hard first step. And so like this, this is something you could try before that if you Yeah, 

[00:58:37] Maren: yeah. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . 

[00:58:39] We wanna thank our three sponsors, Blossom and Root Out School and Night Zookeeper. Be sure to check out their links in our 

[00:58:49] Angela: show. This podcast is created and hosted by Angela Se and Marrin Gors.

[00:58:55] We are listeners supported to get extra content and the Back to School Summit free with your [00:59:00] membership. Go to on refined. Subscribe to our newsletter and get our free top 100 inclusive slash newsletter. You can find Marron on Instagram at unrefined marron and at Always Learning with Marron, and you can find Angela.

[00:59:18] Unrefined. Angela