Recent Posts

three young kids sitting and climbing on a large wood seesaw made from a tree trunk

Proactive Parenting: Preventing Meltdowns, Managing Emotions

Children are still learning to regulate their moods and emotions. If we help them head off problems before they arise, everyone will stay happier and less stressed.
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.
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!
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?
five martial artists in dramatic lighting, each kicking or jumping or holding up fists

How to Level Up At Anything: Using Science to Approach Mastery

When you're not improving in your skills or craft, you're miserable. We all need a sense of progression and competence in our work. Here's how to efficiently improve—using intentional practice and outside input.
Jacqueline smiling, wearing glasses and a tshirt saying I <3 my, holding a blue dragonbot robot in front of a stripy background at the MIT Media Lab

How Do You Decide What Projects to Work On as a Scholar?

How do you know you're working on the right projects and not wasting your time? Here are ways to know whether you've taken on the right work, and ways to improve daily task management, too.
a barn owl looking directly at you

What You Gain From 2 Years of Writing a Weekly Blog (5 Key Lessons)

What makes writing a blog worth it—especially when you're starting out and traffic is low? How do you analyze your content, build an audience, and keep up the motivation to write every week?
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?
Four furry robots sitting around a wooden table inset with a tablet. From left to right, a red dragonbot, a blue dragonbot, a teddy bear robot, and a green dragonbot.

Why I Went to Graduate School

Ten years ago, I started grad school at the MIT Media Lab. Why'd I attend? Because it was going to be fun. Here's how I made that decision, and why you should consider the fun factor in your own decision-making.
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.
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.
book cover of Hunt, Gather, Parent by Michaeleen Doucleff

Book Review: Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans by Michaeleen Doucleff

How can we better help children develop helpfulness, responsibility, confidence, independence, and emotional control?
section of a tapestry depicting a flower, woven on a lap loom using strips of fabric and yarn

How To Consciously Be a Role Model in Creativity, Curiosity, and Crafting for Children

I want my children to be creative and curious, to do projects and work with their hands. How do I deliberately and consciously inspire and encourage them? Here are some ways.
book cover of Drive by Daniel Pink

Book Review: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

Without external rewards and punishments, people wouldn't do much. Or would they? People are actually driven toward autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
two magnolia blossoms open in soft sunlight

How to Build Self-Discipline: Why Awareness and Intrinsic Motivation Are Key

Self-discipline is the ability to do what needs to be done, to stay in control, to accomplish your goals. How do you build discipline? Here are strategies I use.
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.
the face of a eurasian eagle owl looking with big yellow-gold eyes at you with a surprised but friendly face

Ten Things We Learned From One Year Writing Our Blog

We've been writing a weekly blog for a year! Here's what we've learned about meeting our deadlines, writing and editing, building readership, running a blog, and appreciating life!
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.
colorful sticky notes on a series of four large poster papers hung on a wall in a modern office

Brainstorming: Are All Ideas Welcome? Why You Shouldn't Discount Ideas Before They're Explored

Why I consider all ideas—not just the "good" ones—and how doing so improves my work, helps me find unique solutions in arguments and software, and leads to counterintuitive insights.
ceramic plate with a fresh salad: spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, chicken, cheese

Why Watching My Parents Cook Means I Can't Share Soup Recipe—And How I'm Encouraging My Kids to Cook Too

Growing up, I spent many hours swiveling a barstool at the kitchen counter, watching my parents cook. Here's what I learned—and how I'm setting up my kitchen to encourage my kids to learn the same.
Anzac bridge in Sydney, Australia on a sunny day

The Learning Edge: Independence Outside My Comfort Zone (Study Abroad #5)

To grow and change, we need to reach our limits and push beyond them. Being abroad was one big out-of-my-comfort-zone adventure—on campus, exploring Sydney, and beyond—and here's what I learned.

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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.