Recent Posts

four crochetted water bottle carriers with water bottles in them

Tutorial: Super Simple Crocheted Water Bottle Holder in 5 Steps (Great First Project!)

Never go thirsty with this straightforward and functional water bottle carrier! Comes together fast. A good project for beginning crocheters!
book cover for Grad School Life: Surviving and Thriving Beyond Coursework and Research by Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund. It shows a piles of papers behind the title, with a small potted plant on top of one stack, and the bottom half of the page covered in blue as if underwater

Book Update #5: Grad School Life: Publication Day is March 19, 2024 + Cover Reveal

Exciting news: I have a book cover and pub date! Plus, details on the rest of the book production process, receiving page proofs, and figuring out book promotion.
three kids sitting on three sides of a square table leaning in, doing crafts: the table is covered in brightly colored paper, foam, scissors, goggly eyes, and so forth.

"School-Age" At Last: My Homeschooling Plan for School Year 2023-2024

My oldest will be seven years old soon and people keep asking me what curriculum I'm using. Our plan is more eclectic: lots of outsidetime, fun co-ops, farms, play, life, and more!
colorful foam numbers all scattered about

Five Board Games We Play With Our 6-year-old to Learn Math

Who wants to do math worksheets? Not my 6-year-old. But hell happily play games for hours - so we do! Here are a few we've been playing lately.How is a book edited and produced? Here what's happening with my book on the slow road to publication.
the little blue engine that could pulling the train of toys over the mountain

Book Update #4: Chugging Through Copyediting

How is a book edited and produced? Here what's happening with my book on the slow road to publication.
an academic building in classical style with a bunch of columns and a rounded down on top with roman lettering saying massachusetts institute of technology

Self-Direction in Graduate Education and Improving the Academic System

Some parts of the academic system are based on conventional schooling practices, not on how people actually learn—when they're curious and motivated, when material is meaningful. How can we better support learners in grad school?
the cover of Changing our Minds by Naomi Fisher

Book Review: Changing Our Minds: How Children Can Take Control of Their Own Learning by Naomi Fisher

Different kids need different learning environments; they're interested in different topics; they thrive on different tasks. So why force them to learn the same things in the same ways at the same times in schools?
a boy in a button-up shirt sits cross-legged on a wooden bench outdoors,leaning over a tray of watercolors and a blank piece of paper, holding a paintbrush

Reflections on Our Homeschool Year (2022-2023)

Cataloging learning in an always-learning household is a challenge! Here's what we've been up to this year—such as learning math from board games, joining a new co-op, and of course, plenty of time outside!
a book with its pages fanned out in the air reting atop three other thick volumes that are also open

Book Update #3: Revisions Complete, Entering Production!

I'm inching my book from idea to final product! Here's what the review and revision process was like, and my next steps as the book moves into production.
desks lined up in a classroom

Schools Zap Kids' Motivation and Mental Health

Intrinsic motivation is the key to discipline, excellence, and happiness. But schools stamp out intrinsic motivation. Is it ever a good idea to send your kids to a conventional school?
Three young children with their backs to the camera coloring with chalk pastels on large pieces of cardboard

A New Interest-Led Learning Initiative: North Idaho Sudbury Co-op

We're attending a new homeschool co-op on a local farm. It follows an interest-led learning or self-directed education philosophy. So what does that mean? And how does it play out in practice?
a three-year-old girl with shoulder length curly hair wearing a red dress feeds grass to a white bunny, inside a barn

Looking Ahead: Here's This Year's Preschool and Kindergarten Homeschool Plan (Fall 2022)

Our kids have reached the age where people ask me what we're doing for school. Answer: lots of play, nature groups, a Sudbury co-op, music, reading, crafts, and more!
book cover of A Little Way of Homeschooling by Suzie Andres featuring a picture of Saint Térèse

Book Review: A Little Way of Homeschooling: 13 Families Discover Catholic Unschooling by Suzie Andres

An inspiring book of essays by homeschooling/unschooling mothers about their philosophies, approaches, and journeys, with an emphasis on natural learning and relationships, family, and faith.
a fancy pen resting on a lined spiral bound notebook

Book Update #2 (A Complete Manuscript!)

I've finished the first draft of my book on thriving in grad school while staying healthy and happy! Read about my writing process and the next steps: Feedback, reviews, and revisions.
book cover of Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

Book Review: Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakeable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie

A wise, tranquil book that will appeal to Christians and non-believers alike, with solid advice on managing expectations, dealing with schedules, and reflecting on the goals of education.
a pile of small letter tiles with black uppercase letters on them

Reflections on Our Homeschool Year (2021-2022)

Our children are young, so we're not big on formal curricula. But much of daily life counts as homeschooling! Here's what we did this year.
a stack of books about graduate school

Book Update #1: Drafts, Notes, and Editing the Manuscript

I'm writing a book about thriving in graduate school while keeping a healthy personal life. Curious about my progress? Here's where I'm at this month.
5 year old boy standing in a grassy patch of sun, back to the camera, in a pine forest

A Poem for Identifying Ten North Idaho Conifers

Our topic this week at our forest co-op was trees! I wrote some verses to help us remember how to recognize ten of the most common North Idaho conifers.
silhouette of a person with arms outstretched on wintery day, in front of bare-limbed trees at sunset

Book Deal Announcement: #PhDone

I'm writing a book! Specifically, a pragmatic, up-to-date guide to thriving in graduate school while keeping a healthy personal life. Here's the scoop.
the cover of the book The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson

Book review: The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Children More Control Over Their Lives by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson

Why responsibility and a sense of control are critical for children.
the cover of the book How Children Succeed by Paul Tough featuring the title over a line of colored pencils in the background

Book review: How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Why do some people succeed and others fail? This book argues that it's not just how you're born. Instead, the key is noncognitive skills—and the good news is, you can practice and improve them.
elementary school classroom with desks and whiteboard

Why You Shouldn't Teach to Students' Learning Styles

Learning styles have been popular for half a century, but they're not the amazing educational tool some still think. Here's why they don't work, and what you should do instead.
young children's paintings and drawings taped onto a door

Start of the Homeschool School Year with Three Children (Fall 2021)

Our kids are young still, but pretty much all of daily life counts as homeschooling. Here's what we have planned this year: books, music, crafts, math, and more!
close up of an MIT brass rat class ring

Why I Left Full-Time Academia and What I Do Instead

A PhD doesn't mean you're stuck with a traditional academic career. Flexibility, family, freedom: Here's how and why I decided to take a different path.

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About

We're Jacqueline and Randy, a blogging duo with backgrounds in tech, robots, art, and writing, now raising our family in northern Idaho.

Our goal is to encourage deliberate choices, individual responsibility, and lifelong curiosity by sharing stories about our adventures in living, loving, and learning.

Learn more about us.


Connect:

whoo@deliberateowl.com

Start here

Curious about our life and journey? Here are some good places to start reading:

Jacqueline and Randy leaning their heads together smiling at the camera

A Blog About Education, Lifestyles, and Community

A brief history of how the Deliberate Owl came to be and why we're writing a blog about us, our lives, and how we're living out our values.
Priests in red and gold celebrate a traditional Latin Mass

Discovering the Traditional Catholic Mass

How I discovered the traditional Latin Mass a few years ago, why that discovery changed everything for me, and what was wrong with the Novus Ordo Masses I'd attended.