Free to Play - Van Life and Unschooling Our Three Kids

March 28, 2024

Today's journey takes us into unconventional living with my guest, Julie Kelly—my wife and partner in adventure. Together, we delve into our nomadic lifestyle, shared with our three vibrant children, each step an exploration outside societal norms. This conversation unfolds the layers behind our decision to steer clear of conventional schooling, whilst aiming to better support our kids’ needs.

Our conversation starts with what we learned from developmental psychologist and evolutionary anthropologist Peter Gray, emphasising the pivotal role of play in a child's development and how we've designed our environment to nurture this philosophy. From living in a house and sending our kids to Forest School to the compact simplicity and togetherness of campsite living in a VW camper van, we share the ups and downs of our experiences. We also discuss living in an intentional community in Costa Rica and Airbnb's important role in enabling our journey.

Here’s the outline of this interview with Julie Kelly:

[00:00:33] Peter Gray; Podcasts: Free to Learn: Unleashing the Instinct to Play and How to Raise Passionate Kids: The Value of Free Play.

[00:01:04] Book: Free to Learn, by Peter Gray.

[00:01:14] Article: What Exactly Is Play? by Peter Gray.

[00:03:59] Article: Why Do We Play? by Peter Gray.

[00:04:51] Podcast: Laura Payling: Athlete, Scientist, and Innovator on the Gut Microbiome and Using Gene Expression to Improve Health and Performance.

[00:07:19] Book: Play Anything, by Ian Bogost.

[00:10:47] Forest School.

[00:20:19] How much play is enough?

[00:21:45] Barriers to free play.

[00:23:06] Ocean Grove Homeschool Charter.

[00:26:43] Unschooling and learning to read.

[00:30:10] Book: Chop Wood Carry Water, by Joshua Medcalf.

[00:34:35] Peter Gray's Substack.

[00:36:11] Working remotely during COVID.

[00:39:38] Hosting our house on AirBnB.

[00:41:30] Robuilt on YouTube.

[00:48:17] Kampground of America (KOA).

[00:50:15] Sunset Campground outside Santa Cruz.

[00:52:30] Camp Lotus.

[00:53:53] Eagle Point, Lake Tahoe.

[00:54:46] Sugar Pine Point, William Kent Campground.

[00:55:36] Tahoe Rim Trail.

[00:56:19] California Junior Ranger Program.

[00:59:13] Inn Town Campground.

[01:02:00] La Ecovilla, Costa Rica.

[01:03:14] Casa Maracuya.

[01:04:30] Podcast: Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy.

[01:10:15] Ecovilla School (Casa Sula).

[01:15:06] Scratch.

[01:20:45] NBT Forum.

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