Image description: A rare sight. Two black coffees and three biscuits on a white plate over hardwood floors. A small socked foot lays on a playmat in the background.
I don’t know about you, but these days with a little person in tow it is hard, hard work to find time to learn.
In the hazy newborn days I barely remembered my own name. Yet now G is a bit bigger, I find my brain has a little more space, and that space is taken up by a drive to learn - about learning, of all things. Yet finding the space and time to actually sit down with a physical book can be quite the challenge. To that end, I’ve really upped my podcast and audiobook game of late. I listen while walking G (often the only way she’ll nap), I listen while I clean, I listen while I run, I listen in the car. This got me thinking that I can’t possibly be the only parent out there that is eager to explore, but lacks the agency to sit quietly nestled in a book. So, here’s what will likely be the first of many rundowns of my favourite audiobooks and podcasts that are related to education and parenthood. Some below also come from suggestions of other equally passionate parents.
I’m very aware that this post will be useful mainly to hearing people. I’ll be writing later posts on my favourite books in this area, but if you or someone you know would find any of the below content interesting, but find it inaccessible, please drop me a message and I’ll endeavour to help seek out transcribed variations or work by the same author that is in written format!
Please note, all books are via Audible and all podcasts via Apple Podcasts. I’m not sponsored by them, though if you’re reading Jeff and Tim, feel free to hit me up. I’m more than happy to take your money as Grimms wooden blocks don’t pay for themselves.
The Montessori Notebook / Simone Davies
This is a cosy, kind, helpful resource that really taught me the key tenets of the Montessori approach to education. As a Montessori teacher of 12 years and Mum to two, Simone has such a calm way of approaching learning and makes it accessible, and relevant, to parents and educators with children of all ages. So far we only have one season, so I recommend heading over to her book once she’s finished!
Waldorfy / Ashley Renwick
If you’re after an incredibly comprehensive introduction to Waldorf education, this is a fab start. Ashley is a Mum to one, and grew up in Steiner/Waldorf settings. She takes listeners through her experience, interviewing teachers and parents who are well versed in the approach. There are lots of episodes to work through, so plenty to get stuck into.
Modern Miss Mason / Leah Boden
Leah has curated a warm and inviting podcast which walks listeners through various aspects of Charlotte Mason education. This is focused mainly on homeschooling parents, and has a great focus on the integration of nature study into homeschooling life. Leah interviews guests from all over the world and really does invite listeners into the ‘feast of education’ that Charlotte Mason speaks of! Leah’s style is an invitation into the existing conversation of the CM philosophy, so I’d recommend having a little read up before digging in. Saying that, she’s incredibly welcoming and explains the different threads of thought when approaching them, I just think it might be helpful to give yourself a little overview first to get the most out of the conversations.
The Therapy Edit / Anna Marthur
Anna Marthur is a psychotherapist who does a great deal of work on parental (particularly maternal) mental wellbeing. Her Therapy Edit is ideal for busy parents, as each episode is in short 10 minute bursts covering various aspects of parenting such as comparison, guilt and anxiety. I’m really enjoying it, so much so that I’ve got her book on audible too.
Shelf Help: Montessori Parenting / Nicole Kavanaugh
Another great Montessori podcast. I loved listening to Nicole’s episode on the Montessori Notebook so I was chuffed when I discovered she had her own thing going on. If you enjoyed Simone’s podcast I’d highly recommend heading over to Nicole’s as it has several seasons to dive into.
Home Ed voices / Katie Hanrott
We have a ‘what it says on the tin’ podcast here - Katie does a beautiful (and very persuasive job) of interviewing homeschooling parents, giving a hands on exploration of what UK homeschooling can and does look like. I’ve only just started with this one, so I’m really excited to keep listening.
We Nurture / We Nurture Collective
This one was recommended to me by Mandy at Childhood of Wonder. We Nurture covers everything from discovering nature with your children to providing free read aloud stories for your children. This spans quite a few different pedagogies, but I’d say it has a Waldorf vibe most to me.
The Montessori Toddler / Simone Davies
This book has come to be the go-to for parents wishing to learn about the Montessori approach to education, and for good reason. Apart from the fact it is *stunningly beautiful* as a text itself, this book serves as your friendly, accessible guide to integrating Montessori into your daily life. Simone is also coming out with ‘The Montessori Baby’ in 2021 and I believe ‘The Montessori Child’ in 2022, so keep your eyes peeled for those.
Extraordinary Parenting / Eloise Rickman
Another go-to, I devoured Extraordinary Parenting once I got my hands on a copy, and it’s one of those turn-down-a-corner-of-every-page kind of books. This gives a fantastic insight into how you can mindfully, peacefully parent amidst chaos (Yano, like a global pandemic, that kind of thing) and manages to be both persuasive but gentle when it comes to describing what homeschooling can be. Eloise also makes me want to get a nose ring, even though I know I’d accidentally yank it out in my sleep.
The Danish Way of Parenting / Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl
The Danish Way of Parenting was recommended to me by Gemma, owner of our favourite bookshop Inquisitarium. If you enjoyed The Montessori Toddler’s approach to discipline, as well as peaceful/gentle parenting, I think you’ll really enjoy this too.
Mind Over Mother / Anna Marthur
Nine episodes into Anna’s podcast (described above) I realised I really needed to get into the (veggie) meat of her work. Mind Over Mother offers practical tips, support and validation on the topic of anxiety in mothering. As someone with GAD I haven’t found this to be ‘just another’ mental health book. Anna focuses specifically on the impact parenting has on our mental health, sharing her own journey while giving researched advice on how to live well with an anxious mind.
I really do hope that this (very non-comprehensive) list provides a springboard for your own learning around parenting and education. I’m absolutely loving my journey so far. Please do share if you have anything to add here, either by commenting below, sending me a DM on instagram, or dropping me an email (you can access this on my contact page).