PAM: Pam Laricchia from livingjoyfully.ca, and today I’m here with Ellen Rowland. Hi, Ellen!
ELLEN: Hi, Pam! Thank you so much for having me!
PAM: Thank you so much for agreeing to join us. I’m really excited to be speak with you.
As a bit of an introduction for people, back in 2008, Ellen and her husband, Richard, decided to leave the US and move to Senegal, West Africa, with their two children, who were ages three and four at the time. Then they were there for eight years and moved to a small island off the Turkish coast of Greece!
And all the while they’ve been unschooling their kids. She recently published a book about what she’s discovered about life and learning along the way, and I’m really excited to dive into your unschooling adventures, Ellen!
ELLEN: Thank you!!
PAM: So, to get us started …
Can you share with us a bit about you and your family and how you first came across the idea of unschooling?
ELLEN: Sure. We’re a bilingual family. My husband is French and I’m American. And our two children, now are, my son is 13, and my daughter, Sunny is 12. So, they are 11 months apart, Irish Twins. Which is really fitting because I’m from Irish heritage.
And I would say, we didn’t really come across unschooling. It was more like unschooling came to us. It kind of knocked on the door and said, “Uh, excuse me, you could really use my services because what you’re doing really isn’t working for anyone in your family.”
PAM: I love that.
ELLEN: When we moved to Senegal we put the children into a preschool, and I was invited to teach English there. And so, I got a firsthand look into what really happens in a school. And it was pretty disturbing. It was mostly about obeying, and a lot of these children—particularly the Senegalese children—had never experienced being controlled in that way. Most of their lives had been lived in complete freedom within their villages.
My kids were really struggling because they didn’t speak French fluently at that point and all of the classes were taught in French and they were frequently reprimanded for that, and it was really hurtful for them, and not very conducive to learning.
And in addition to that, I loved teaching these kids English, but the administration came to me one day and said, “You know, your kids are laughing too much, they are making too much noise, they seem like they are having way too much of a good time, so obviously they’re not learning anything.” Yeah. And I thought ‘that’s just the most ridiculous thing in the world!’ because they were learning probably more than they would have if I had sat them in a class and taught them in a very strict manner.
So, we decided. With my husband’s support, I resigned, and we took our children out of school. And I decided I would be the homeschooling teacher, and that lasted about two weeks (laughter).
And at about that time, at the same time, I had written an article about the process of building our Earth House, and I was looking for a publisher, and I came across Natural Life Magazine, which is edited by Wendy Priesnitz.
She agreed to publish it, and so I started looking through their website and came across a magazine called Life Learning Magazine, and so I spent the next few days just devouring the archives, and I was absolutely astounded about how kids could learn without a curriculum and without textbooks, and so we very slowly started embracing unschooling.
PAM: Wow! That is totally serendipitous! Just amazing connections, because you’re open for it. Do you see that?
That’s one of the things that I love about the journey, is that we notice the things when we’re ready. Like, if you weren’t in that place, you might not even notice that link, right? Or might not have even clicked on it. But there was just this little something that wasn’t sitting right that made you click, and then all the sudden, there goes three days, right?
ELLEN: Yeah, and after those three days it didn’t stop. All of the sudden, every time I would go online, something about unschooling would pop up, and I thought, ‘Ok, this is a big, huge message from the universe that I need to start doing this.’
From that point then, what did your kind of journey or move to unschooling with your kids look like?
ELLEN: Well, I was traditionally educated, and my husband is self-taught, so he was very at ease with it, it came very naturally to him. For me, it was just rife with uncertainty and self doubt, and really struggling with believing that my children could learn without being taught. And every once in awhile, I’d try to kind of sneak a subject in.
Like, “Ok kids, so today, we should really try to work on spelling.” And I would say, “Ok kids, how do we spell bee?” And the kids would say “B-E-E. Hey mom, how to bees make honey?” for example. And then we would go off on this tangent and I would get all stressed out thinking ‘Well, no, but we were working on spelling! Let’s go back to spelling.’
But it was a great experience because it helped me learn that that learning is not linear, and that it shouldn’t be, and it needs to follow a very natural path. So, my kids ended up teaching me probably more than I ever thought I could teach them in this process about how learning takes place. Because we forget how we learned as a kid. And so, I’ve naturally been able to apply that to my own life, which is wonderful.
PAM: Yeah, I’ve said that so many times that I’ve learned so much more from my kids about how to live, really, right? To live, and learn, and attack life. Yes, it’s beautiful.
ELLEN: And it’s not just about learning, and it’s not just about the kids. It ends up being an entire, embracing an entire lifestyle. I love that you actually use the term “unschooling life,” because it’s not like we can say “We are exactly like the Joneses, we look everything completely normal, except we unschool.” It enters every aspect of our lives, as it should.
PAM: That’s a great point. And I loved your point too, about—I think that’s just part of deschooling—you said, ‘Well, we’re focusing on spelling, for a moment.’ I think it does help us to realize what are stumbling places for ourselves, and then you looked at that situation through that lens of spelling, because that’s something that came up for you.
Even if we don’t specifically approach our kids on it, we start to see what they are doing within that context, and, like you said, we discover so much more than we were first looking for. But you have to be open to noticing that, don’t you? If you were totally focused on bringing them back to spelling, back to spelling, back to spelling, you wouldn’t have noticed all the interesting places that it naturally went. So, it’s important, isn’t it, to have a bit of an open mind when you’re approaching all this?
ELLEN: I think it’s not just important, I think it’s absolutely essential. Particularly if you’ve come from a traditionally educated background. If you’re not open to it, it’s just not going to work, and you’re going to end up saying that you’re embracing self-directed learning or unschooling or whatever you like to call it, but that letting go process, at least for me, was slow and long, and to be completely honest with you Pam, I still sometimes struggle with it. It’s hard, and I think, particularly, if we let ourselves be preoccupied with what other people think, and most of us are conditioned to care what people think. I think that was one of the biggest stumbling blocks for me: letting go of that and saying, “We’re on our own path, and it is what it is and it’s wonderful and they’ll just going to have to deal.”
PAM: And it’s impossibly hard to compare because the paths are so different.
I love the point when you were talking about, “Hi, we are going to keep up with the Joneses with everything, except we are unschooling our education piece.”
To me, when somebody’s thinking like that, you know that they’re early on in the journey, because for unschooling to work really well, even for the academics, you need to realize how it works, and it inevitably reaches more than just that, right?
I mean, it does, because, if you’re not, how can you truly understand that, to learn any of those pieces academically at any point of their lives is ok, so you release that fear of not following a curriculum, and not apply that to all of the learning that they’re doing in the lives, because learning is learning, and to understand that your learning affects your whole life, not just the academic piece, right?
ELLEN: Yes. And in our case, I also had to let go of the idea of a schedule, of children, understanding that my kids didn’t necessarily have to read by age six or seven, that they could take their time, and when they were ready, it would happen.
That process took a long time, because our children actually didn’t learn to read until they were about 10 and 11. And when they did decide to learn how to read, it was intrinsically motivated. In my son’s case, he wanted to learn about geography and I said, “That’s great, but you know, if you want to learn about geography, you’re going to have to learn to read.” And he said “Ok,” and within a few weeks, he was online and he would ask questions, and it worked out. And within six months he was reading fluently in both French and English. And I can’t tell you how, but I can tell you how I guided him, and it did happen! And I think that’s really hard for people to accept.
I think parents, when they are first embracing unschooling, to really understand and trust in the fact that they will learn everything that they need to learn.
PAM: I think another hard piece of that reading piece specifically, our journey to that, is understand that, because with school, reading really is the only way to take in information, right?
So often you hear unschoolers say “I’ll be much more relaxed once they learn to read,” because they believe that is an essential skill in order for learning to happen. Whereas part of the journey is realizing that it’s true, but only in school, where reading really is the only way to take in information, because that’s how you’re given all your information pretty much. Worksheets and textbooks and that kind of stuff. But out in the world, when you’re not inside that system, there are so many other ways to take in information, that it’s not a stumbling block. But that’s a big piece of the deschooling puzzle, isn’t it?
ELLEN: It is, it is. Once we understand, or once I understood, that out in the world, everyday in life, that they would be motivated to learn those things at their own pace and for their own reasons and in their own way. Then once I saw that happening, I was able to let go, and it’s been a wonderful experience ever since.
PAM: Yeah, and I think that’s another reason that I like to call it a journey because, you need to get some experience under your belt to see it happening, right, because it’s so different, You can’t look at your neighbors and see it; you’d need to live someplace with unschoolers nearby.
Some people are lucky to live someplace where they have access to unschoolers living their lives nearby. But so often we need to be observing and open in our own lives to start seeing it in action, and then we get that trust.
ELLEN: Well, that was definitely my case! We’re living on this tiny island and we’re the only family whose kids don’t go to school, so for basically our entire experience, we’ve been, I wouldn’t say isolated, because I have an incredible support system through social networks, but not being able, as you said, to have that first-hand example right next door. So, what I was going to say was that, for me, that network, and all of the wonderful bloggers out there and people who talk about unschooling was incredibly helpful for me.
PAM: And me too! That was all I had! I remember, we’d been unschooling for about a year when I finally said, there’s a conference going on, and we are outside of Toronto, and this was in South Carolina, I think this was the second Live and Learn conference, and I’m like, “Yeah, let’s go, because we can actually see some unschoolers face to face for the first time!”
ELLEN: We can be around like-minded people! Woo-hoo!!
PAM: Yeah, it was like coming home. Well anyways, we should probably move on to the next question! And you may have touched on it a bit already, but …
What did you find the most challenging paradigm shift to be as you were shifting to unschooling?
ELLEN: It was really, for me, learning to trust in the process.
To really understand that they would learn without being taught, and that they would do it naturally, and pretty much seamlessly. Sort of challenging those preconceived notions about how traditional education works, and being able and open, as you said, to seeing what natural learning looks like.
For the kids it was easy. They just dove right in, since they had only really gone to preschool for about six months, so it wasn’t like they had a long deschooling process to go through. I was the one that was struggling the most.
PAM: I’ve always found that my kids are, were the guides on the journey, because when you give them that space, and to see them in action, how capable they are, how quickly they learn things, it’s just so fun to watch them in action.
You recently published a great book, I really enjoyed reading it, and it’s called Everything I Thought I Knew: An Exploration of Life and Learning. I really enjoyed reading it, and I love that you organized the chapters around the alphabet. I thought that was very cool.
ELLEN: That was kind of a wink at the icon of ABC.
PAM: Exactly. So fun. I was zooming through the table-of-contents to the first word for each of the letters. That was awesome.
In the ‘M’ chapter, you have a section called ‘Motherhood’ in which you talk about your decision to break the cycle of the controlling and critical parenting that you grew up with. So, I was hoping you could share with us a bit about that process? How you began that change?
ELLEN: Yes, this piece I actually wrote as a blog post. And it was a very difficult piece for me to write, because it was extremely personal, but I felt like it needed to be written, and that I needed to put it out there, and I’m so glad I did because it resonated with so many people.
I got messages from parents from all over the world who said, “Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was raised with a controlling parent or ‘an abusive parent’ or somebody who’s not particularly peaceful, and it’s really affected my relationship with my children and I’m so glad I’m not alone.”
I decided to include it in the book in the hopes that it might help someone else that was going through that, and wanting to embrace peaceful parenting, having been raised in a different way. And I think that, Pam, when we talk about and read about peaceful parenting it sounds so natural and it makes so much sense to us. We think, ‘No, I don’t want to control my children, or dole out harsh punishments. I want to be patient and kind and loving.’
And logistically, it sounds natural and easy, and I’m sure there are a lot of parents for whom it might be easy, but there are people out there like me, who were not raised in that kind of way, where it’s not at all intuitive, and it’s very difficult to put into practice. So as much as we say, “I don’t want to be like my mother,” or “I’ll never parent like my father,” chances are, from a biological and psychological standpoint, we will probably end up repeating that same behavior.
Wounded children, grow up to be wounded adults. So, it’s important that we first find a way to be gentle with ourselves before we can offer that to our children. And we have to heal our own wounds, and that might mean therapy, or meditation, or learning about peaceful parenting through books or blogs or even being part of a support group.
For me, the first step was really being conscious of the fact that I didn’t like myself as a parent, and that was because I didn’t know a different way. I had been parented with a father who was very critical, and who loved me, I’m sure, very much, and but that critical parenting got passed down, and it’s a term called transgenerational parenting, and it means that—they can even be ancestral wounds—they can be passed down from generation to generation unless we consciously decide to break that cycle. Which is what I did.
And in order to do that, the first thing that I decided to do was put everything on hold in my life, except my children. And I got down on the floor with them, because I really needed to understand what the world felt like from their perspective, how it’s challenging and it’s so exciting and there’s so much to learn and so much to conquer, and at the same time it’s overwhelming and scary.
So, I got down on the floor with them, and I let myself be reminded what it’s like to be a child. And I played with them, and we built Lego and we sang songs, and I got a new box of crayons and I did coloring with my daughter, and I just really let myself be a kid again, and that was the first stepping point.
And from then on, I just went through a really long process of learning how to overcome the tendencies that we have from being parented in a different way, and learning how to reframe that into something that I feel more comfortable with, that’s obviously helped me build a great relationship with my children. But it’s not a fast—there’s no magic bullet—and it’s something that I wake up every day and say, ‘Ok, today I’m going to be more patient and more peaceful’. But it’s been worth the journey.
PAM: Thank you so much for sharing that piece. I had goosebumps through most of it. Because, it’s such a great point. Number one, I don’t think many of us grew up with peaceful parenting in our homes. It’s not—definitely not—a conventional way to parent. And your note about how so much of that work that is ours to do—I love the word “tendencies” that you used.
Because those are the tools we grew up with, right? Those are the ones that are right there in your pocket that come out so easily and quickly if we don’t take the time to do all this work, to be able to catch ourselves, to do all the processing. So much!
I loved your story about just getting down and being with the kids to see things from their perspective, because that makes such a huge difference in every situation, in our relationship. When we are making choices, to be able to see that moment from their perspective helps us come up with another couple of choices to make, rather than the one that instinctively comes to mind because that’s the way we were raised.
But like you said, so much of it is our work to do, isn’t it?
ELLEN: It is, and if we can’t forgive ourselves, if we can’t be gentle with ourselves, then it’s very hard to offer that to our children. And that personal work that I did and that I think a lot of parents go through radiates out into every aspect of our lives, and all of our relationships, not just those with our children.
We learn to be more peaceful people in general, and I think that radiates out into even how we look at the planet, and how we decide to conduct our lives. It just calls us to be respectful.
PAM: Again, back to unschooling is a lifestyle, it’s a practice, it’s a way you choose to live your days, right?
ELLEN: Honestly, I’ve come to the understanding that—and you’ve probably heard this before—but I don’t think that you can unschool and not be a peaceful parent. I think it would be very complicated, and I think the two go hand in hand. And for me that transition was very seamless, to go from being a peaceful parent, learning how to be a peaceful parent, a gentle parent, and then transitioning into unschooling, it was, the two go sort of hand and hand.
PAM: They are just woven together. They feed off each other. It’s hard to imagine, I’m trying to imagine getting to one without the other, and you really can’t because the trust that you need in a relationship with your child for unschooling to shine, to thrive, is the kind of relationship in which peaceful parenting is needed. You know what I mean?
ELLEN: Yes! I know! I understand!
You mentioned that that chapter started out as a blog post. I would like to chat a little bit about your website, and I love the name, amuddylife.com. I would love to hear the inspiration behind that beautiful metaphor for your unschooling lives, because when I go there, I just want to sink into that mud.
ELLEN: Oh, thank you!
Well, obviously there’s a literal reference, and that is because, during the time that we were building our house in Senegal, which is an Earth house, which is basically made of mud and water, we don’t have time to go into it, but it’s an incredibly interesting process. We spent about the first year literally covered in mud. Most parents are worried that their kids will get dirty, so they see a mud puddle and they steer them away from it, “Oh honey, don’t go through there” and we were like, “Ok guys, get in there, we’ve got a wall to finish!” We were encouraging it and it was great fun and it was an incredible learning experience. So that’s kind of how I came up with the name “a muddy life.”
But the metaphor is, I think when we choose to live differently, and when we move outside of the status quo, and when we make the decision to live our lives according to what makes us happy and what feeds our soul and what makes sense for the family, then our lives become hard to define, they become authentic and individual, but the lines get blurred and sort of murky and muddy, and so that’s kind of the metaphor is that you can’t define it. it’s something very individual and unique, and muddy and messy and wonderful, and that’s where it gets interesting! So that’s “our muddy life,” and I hope a lot of other people embrace their own muddy life.
PAM: Yeah, I loved that. I wanted to share that because it’s such a wonderful image, too, but like you said, the metaphor works so well, so whatever connection people can take from it. I think that’s awesome.
Getting back to your book. I wanted to visit the ‘J’ chapter for a moment, “juggle.” You open the chapter by saying, “Parents who are interested in moving away from a traditional schooling situation and educating their children at home often want to know how it’s possible to balance family, work, and personal time.” And I know that is such a common concern. So, I would like to ask you, how do you answer the question, “How is it possible to juggle it all?”
ELLEN: It’s not! Which is the whole point. I say in the book that juggling as a life metaphor is absolutely impossible and it should be left for circus clowns and street performers!
When we try to juggle life and work and grocery shopping and being there for our kids, and our own needs! Basically, what happens when we’re trying to keep these metaphoric balls up in the air, not one thing or any one person gets your full attention. So, you’re scattered, and when things are scattered, and you lose your attention and all those balls fall on the floor and it’s basically chaos.
So, my way of explaining how we “juggle” those things, is that, it’s ok when you’re in an unschooling situation and you’re there to guide your children, to ask for the time you need to work on things. For example, if I need to write an article, or if my husband needs to design a house, it’s ok to ask for that time, and to say, “Ok guys, I’m there for you, and your question is really important, and I want to help you learn about Chinese history, but I need half an hour to finish this article.”
And it goes both ways, when I say to the kids, “Ok guys, I need to you to help me set the table,” or, “Do you want to help me to make dinner?” If they are in the middle of an important project, that respect goes both ways, and they say, “Sure mom, I’m happy to help you, but I need half an hour to work on my thing.”
So, it’s really about finding a rhythm and a respect, a mutual respect for everybody’s needs and what they need to get done. It doesn’t always work smoothly, but in our family, it’s become kind of intuitive, and as the children particularly have gotten older it works really well.
PAM: I really wanted to share that answer because I thought it was so valuable. I love the way you replaced the word “balance” with “rhythm,” because that works so much better as a metaphor, balanced attention to each one, what you’re really doing is scattering your attention, like you said, because you’re not really giving your full attention to any one of them, because it’s like, ‘Oh, I need to balance them! I need to balance them!’ and you’re not paying attention.
I love when you were talking about how kind of intuitive it is now, because it ends up just being about figuring out how to live together, right? To mesh everybody’s needs, that flow, that rhythm. And what you need to be able to facilitate all that is the trusting relationship. So, when you said, “I need to finish my article,” or if they say, “In a half an hour,” that whatever that give and take is, that people will come back to the table, right? That trust is so valuable.
ELLEN: Oh, it’s essential, because then it sets up an understanding that ‘Ok, she’s going to keep her word! She said she’s going to help me learn how to change a tire.’ Well, that might actually be my husband, but, that she’s gonna keep her word. Once you learn to accept that you might not get an answer when you want it, and it all goes back to the kind of theme that’s developing in this conversation, about it being an unschooling life, it’s not just about learning. It’s a family choice, and it has to work for everyone.
PAM: Yeah, that’s beautiful, exactly. There have been threads of unschooling and peaceful parenting and how they weave together throughout this entire conversation. It is a lifestyle. For it to work well, you can’t just choose to do it in this little pocket of your life, and then be somebody else in the other times and the other places.
ELLEN: Absolutely, yes.
PAM: And that’s where it gets back to how we live together, the rhythm of our lives together, the trusting and connected relationship. Cause, you know what? At first, you’re thinking, ‘I’m gonna replace school.’ You said, ‘No thanks,’ to the preschool, and you think, ‘This is how I’m going to replace learning.’ But no, no, nope. It’s just way bigger than that.
ELLEN: It was, as I said, the homeschooling attempt with me as the teacher lasted about two weeks, and it was pretty disastrous. Because we don’t know! Who knows how to teach? If you’re not trained as a teacher, you’re sort of lost and you’re out there struggling because you want to take on that roll, and it’s just not natural for you. And it certainly wasn’t natural for my kids to look at me in that way.
PAM: And teacher training too, not that I’ve been through it, but I do know some people who have. But I think most of that, it’s really focused more on the management side. It’s not about, ‘You figure out these worksheets.’ Because they are already given the curriculum. So, their job is just deliver this curriculum.
ELLEN: Even for me, it became really uninteresting. And I got bored, and if I was bored, why should I be paying attention? So, it got so much more interesting when we gave all of that up, and put the textbooks in a box, and the curriculum alongside it, and just started living, that’s when learning started taking place.
PAM: So, for me what was super fascinating, and how I figured it out, was, because, my kids left school, and it was a challenging atmosphere, certainly for my eldest. So, I said, ‘Ok, relax for a few weeks, take a bit of a vacation.’
But then I did the same thing. It was April, May, and I picked up just a few workbooks thinking, ‘The summer is almost here. We’ll just do a little bit of workbooks, and then we’ll move on!’ But I had the same experience you did. Trying to convince them. “It’s just ten minutes, come do a couple worksheets.” “Just do a little bit of spelling, a little bit of math, and then you can play!” It was like pulling teeth getting them to come.
And I was all, “Come on, can’t you sacrifice 10 minutes and then get back to what you were doing?” But it was taking like an hour, because you had to get them to come!
ELLEN: But you know, Pam, I’m sure you’ve realized this, that you know that, these attempts, when we need to do that, that’s not about them. That’s all about us.
ELLEN: Escaping our fears and saying, ‘Ok, I just want a little bit of proof, I just want a little bit of proof that it’s gonna work,’ and so we try those things and it’s just about our insecurities, and the kids pick up on that too.
PAM: And the important thing is that paying attention, and I was noticing that they sat down and they did it quickly, they had no problem with it, and then they went back to their things. I was watching them, and they were learning just sooo much more in the things that they were doing the whole rest of the day than in that two minutes, and all that work for me was at the expense of our relationship, at the expense of our trust in each other. And, like with you, I think a couple of weeks is how long it lasted.
ELLEN: Yeah, it was completely counterproductive to what we were trying to accomplish, and I’m glad we moved off that path quickly, and onto unschooling.
PAM: And I’m glad it only took a few weeks.
ELLEN: Well, for them, yes.
PAM: Well yes, because, as you said, unschooling as life, right? Life always has complications and challenges, and things that come up. So, I remember writing a blog post that I used to think once I could solve the problems that were on my plate, life would be good.
ELLEN: But no!
PAM: And then I realized that, day to day, the things that come up in our lives—this is the good life that I can live! It’s not waiting until some nebulous day in the future where there’s rainbows and cotton candy and everything’s great. No, to realize that every day, to show up and enjoy and be present and in that moment with them, that was where all the beauty was.
ELLEN: And that is where the mud is!
PAM: Yes! I love that!
ELLEN: That’s why it’s muddy! Because it can’t be all pristine and clean and beautiful! Sometimes it has to be messy!
PAM: Oh exactly! And for our last question, I would love to know…
What has been the most unexpected but awesome thing you’ve found so far from choosing unschooling?
ELLEN: Gosh, there are so many, it’s really hard to choose one, but I would have to say, and I mentioned this earlier, it’s how much I’ve learned alongside my children, just by osmosis, because you spend so much time with them, and they are always sharing what they’ve learned, with so much enthusiasm. You just can’t help but absorb some of that knowledge, and it’s been fascinating to me! I don’t know if they were things that I never learned, or that I forgot in school, but I feel like I know so much more now that I’m helping my children along their unschooling journey than I ever did! I feel like I’m actually smart now!
PAM: I love that!
ELLEN: The other, I was going to say two, because it’s really hard to just pair it down. The other thing I would say, Pam, is that I’ve thankfully moved away from feeling isolated in my choice, because, ‘we’re the crazy people who live in the mud house in the bush of Africa and whose children doing go to school.’
Coming to an understanding that there are people all over the world who are embracing unschooling, self-directed learning, willful learning, whatever you want to call it. And they are sharing their stories, more and more, because the press is starting to cover it. People are feeling like—I hate to use this metaphor—but that they can come out of the closet.
And hearing those stories, and being a part of that network of people and that community that’s international and global, being a part of that collective consciousness has been really wonderful for me. And it’s really helped me along my journey. And look, I’m here in Greece, and you’re in Canada, and we just had an amazing conversation, so that’s awesome. And thank you.
PAM: Thank you so much! I really, I appreciate that perspective too. Because you’re right, the ability to connect, it’s just exciting, isn’t it? When you can just connect with people all over the world! And you’re right, you don’t feel so isolated anymore. It’s like, you read about someone here, and here, and what their kids are up to, and how they are being supported, and you don’t feel so alone, and you don’t feel so, for lack of a better word, crazy in your choices. Even though that might be the impression you’re getting from the immediate people around you. But you can rest in knowing that it’s happening to people all over the place.
ELLEN: It is. On my blog I have a counter which shows how many people have come on and actually where they’re coming from. And so, my son, who is just crazy about geography, made me a little bit of a world map, and so he goes on with me once a week on my blog and we say, “Oh my gosh, somebody from Sri Lanka! Somebody Thailand! Somebody from…” You know, there’s Americans and Canadians and people from these very obscure places all around the world and you can say, “Ok, so it’s spreading!”
PAM: I love that, and I love how that connects with his love of geography! Isn’t that awesome? This is learning! This is life! Things are connected to each other even unexpectedly, but so beautifully!
I love that point because, even just a few weeks ago, or a few months ago, in the Q&A episodes where I receive questions from people, I added to the form to say where you are, because I love saying, “This question is from a person in Africa, and Japan, and Australia, and all over the place. It’s just so fun to know where people are and to know that they are working on this stuff. Like we said, it’s so much of our work to do, but the beauty and the benefits for ourselves and for our children are just immense, so it is so nice to know that it’s going on all over the place.
ELLEN: It is. It’s global.
PAM: Global and Glorious!
ELLEN: Global and Glorious! I love that! I think that might be a blog post, Pam!
PAM: There you go! That’s awesome!
Well, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me, Ellen. I had a so much fun chatting with you.
ELLEN: I had a wonderful time too, Pam. Thank you so much for inviting me to participate.
PAM: Well, that’s lovely, and I’m so glad that we managed to get a nice connection between Greece and Canada! Here we go!
ELLEN: And that the internet was working well today.
PAM: Fingers crossed, I know!
And before we go, where is the best place for people to connect with you online?
And yeah, that’s the easiest is probably through my blog! Or Facebook. I’m available on Facebook too.
PAM: There we go! I will put links to all that in the show notes, and link to your book and your website and blog posts that we mentioned as well. So that’s awesome.
Thanks, so much Ellen. Have a great evening for you.
ELLEN: Thanks, so much Pam. You take good care.