How Is Barefoot Learning Club Different?

Jan 06, 2023
Barefoot Learning Club
How Is Barefoot Learning Club Different?

(Alysia) This week, we want to talk about how Barefoot Learning Club is different than the usual homeschooling curriculums that are out there. From my perspective as a mother—my kids are older, and they were in the school system for quite a while and they currently are doing homeschooling—I can see, looking back, the benefits of starting your child off when they're young with a really strong foundation and in an environment that you have more control over.

Barefoot Learning Club for me is different because every day, Kristy, as the teacher, records live videos that are super engaging. And these are for young children, Pre-K through third grade. So, she is engaging and doing the teaching. The parents don't have to worry about it.


It's not just worksheets. It's super flexible.


You can tailor it to your schedule. Like, if you can't attend the live recording, then you can watch it whenever it's flexible for you and do it with your child and it's all really light and fun. That was the biggest thing for me when I first started understanding Kristy’s style of teaching, was that it's so light and fun that the little ones really can have an opportunity to grow and feel confident, no matter where they're at, no matter what kind of personality they have.

(Kristy) You know, I would be in a classroom with 25-30 5-year-olds, and if they were just sitting at a table coloring a worksheet, I had behavior problems—getting out of their chairs, they started fights. It all stems out of boredom, and I don't blame them because who wants to sit in a chair all day?

That was why we realized this seven-hour artificial day doesn’t work. Little ones sitting at a table for 7 hours a day is just not realistic. Kids need to move and play and have fun. That's how they make connections in their minds and really start to learn.


Learning is not doing a worksheet.


It's the dumbest thing that I've seen, the way the schools have become so reliant on worksheets. And I don't blame the teachers. When you have 50 students, there are times when you have to just give them something because you need a minute.

I’d like to go back for just a second to the video thing that you mentioned. We want parents to understand that this is not sitting and watching a video and then doing the work. I've intended it to be very active, participatory learning. So I'm going to live-teach the lesson in tiny little 10 to 15 minutes chunks. My intent is that the parent, because we're talking about the littles here, is sitting right with them and doing it with them. Not for them. There's a big distinction there, but with them where they feel like they've got someone who's doing it with them, and then after that, you get the fun part.


You get to play and that helps children make the connections.


There's a real balance that's extremely important that we're addressing here with our hybrid between academic learning and play-based learning.


(Alysia) I think that's the difference right now, especially with the world as it's been and the way it's going for our children, especially the ones who are just coming up to the place where they're ready to start learning.

It's just gotten over-complicated. My kids are now ages nine and twelve. I can see where some damage was done, and it's not really getting fixed anytime soon. It's just part of their journey now, and that's okay. But at the same time, I would love, love to be able to do it all again and start them off in a different place.

(Kristy) That’s so true. It’s so overcomplicated. Everybody says, “Well we have to do all this tech and we have to do all these lessons and we have to incorporate all this stuff,” but actually it's confusing the issue.

Take math for example. There's a zillion different ways you can approach it and solve it, because math is one of those things where it's like a puzzle and you can figure it out in a whole bunch of different ways. But when children are learning the foundations, when they're learning the basics of math—which is adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing—you don't throw that at them.

That's like saying, “Well little Johnny, why are you crawling at six months of age? Why aren't you running right now?” They're developmentally not ready for that yet and you have to allow them to get there through their struggle of learning to stand pulling themselves up, falling on their little behind hundreds of times and finding their feet under them, and then they can run.

It's exactly the same thing, and you just can't skip those things and start dumping a bunch of stuff on them when they haven't gotten a foundation in the first place. It's not fair. Every parent I know has witnessed this. Kids will inevitably think that if they can't do it, they must be stupid. They never, ever think, You're not teaching me in the right way, which is the actual truth of the situation.


It's the system that is broken. It's not the children.


(Alysia) My kids went through a lot of that when they were in school, and I think that was part of the damage. They’re not that enthralled about learning anymore. They don't really want to do it. And so it's just allowing the space for that healing to happen now.

That's what's really great with Barefoot Learning Club, is that now we can help the young ones begin in a place that is empowering. It's amazing because the setup allows for all age levels Pre-K through third grade. No matter what grade you're in or within the grade itself, what different levels each child is at, Kristy knows how to teach in a way that each child is going to be honored and acknowledged for where they're at.

The parents can work with them individually on those differences—go more slowly, go more quickly. You don't have to keep up with the pace of the live videos. That’s why we have a community. If you are moving slower, then you just jump in there, ask for support and we're there to support you.

(Kristy) Parents are so resourceful themselves and I want them to start to get into the joy of it themselves. I want them to remember way back before the school killed it, that feeling of learning because school and learning are not necessarily the same thing.


The joy of learning, we all love learning something new. It’s so important that everybody can work at their own pace and then, when they make the connections, they get excited and they don't lose that spark and that joy of learning.


(Alysia) That’s what we are ensuring happens inside Barefoot Learning Club because, from Kristy’s experience as a teacher and my experience as a mother, that seems to be the biggest setback for kids—once they lose that spark and joy of learning, that’s when the constant scrolling through the phones and the games and “checking out” and all of that comes in.


We want this next generation to be empowered and inspired and to want to learn new things because it's fun, not because they have to.


(Kristy) I have a little secret—I want the parents to find that spark reawakening in themselves. They're going to start making connections, and then think how much fun they're going to have with their kids when everybody is learning things.

(Alysia) The other thing about the parents learning with the child and reigniting their own passion for learning, it's also a really awesome bonding experience for the parent and the child. I think that's one really good pain point to tackle because a lot of parents feel like, “My child's home, home all day long. What am I supposed to do with them?”

In my experience, I feel like especially with the little ones, if you never send them to school, you just shift them into learning from home, that you actually come to find that it's a really freeing and expansive experience to have your child home with you in an environment that you guys both thrive in. It might be new at first, but you actually start to enjoy it.


It's just a really amazing experience that we want to be able to offer to families around the world.


(Kristy) The biggest benefit is, parents who want to homeschool in a different way—our people—they’re not the ones looking for worksheets and basic videos. They're looking for real, authentic education. That's what we're talking about here.


It's human-centered rather than school centered.


That's what everything is shifting to right now, not just in education, is returning to that place where humans are honored just for being human.

Homeschooling can be fun & easy for kids and parents! 

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