Why I Believe In Functional Education For Our Future…and what that even is (Episode 338) ⋆ Mama Says Namaste

Why I Believe In Functional Education For Our Future…and what that even is (Episode 338)

You may have heard of functional medicine; a mind/body/soul approach to looking at healing and optimal function in our bodies based on our overall lifestyles. Well, I'm here to tell you that we need a rise in what I call functional education.

In our desperate attempts to perfect and control, we try to compartmentalize so much of our world - we clock in and clock out at work, at school, at home... we carry our labels - banker, ADHD, class clown, enneagram 7...like badges that box us into this one category. 

Pin for Later:

unschooling blogs

No matter what schooling option you are using, Functional Education is a model that works for everyone.

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Pandora, Audible, SpotifyStitcherGoogle PlayTuneInYouTubeiHeartRadio, Radio.com, Gaana or your RSS Feed 

What is Functional Education?

Functional education, like functional medicine, encompasses a "whole body" approach. We're complex human beings. When we assess body/mind/soul concerning our health and well-being, we are looking to address not just a symptom, but a root cause. Compartmentalizing our world isn't helping us. 

functional education

Our concept of education is segmented.  Like a cardiologist, gastroenterologist and obstetrician all focuses on one specific area, we tend to lump education into subjects.  We address history in 1st period, Spanish in second, and math in 3rd period.  We specify that learning happens in a fixed location at a fixed time. And when you graduate, from then on, education is optional.

I believe we're missing the mark. In my family, we unschool.  I've gone deep into this topic with blogs and a podcast series, as well as FaceBook Lives, YouTube videos, and all your alternative education and home education resources.  But right now, I want to tell you what that boils down to for our family, and why I think it is THE right way...even if unschooling is not for your family.

The right answer for EVERY family

There are a variety of definitions of unschooling, and it varies in its extremities. The basic premise of unschooling is pursuing delight-led learning, following the interests of the child to learn in the way they are naturally bent versus grading and tests. 

For some families, they take it to the extreme, with "radical unschooling" giving free reign for their kids to learn in their own way and figure out their path through trial and error. For others, it may be pretty similar to other aspects of homeschooling, using every day life as learning experiences and just focusing more on the "field trip" style of homeschooling versus a strict curriculum model. 

Unschooling simply means, to me, that we are life-long learners. The world is our schoolyard and everyone has the potential to be our teacher. That's what this is about. It's functional education. It means this:

We don't have subjects. We don't test and assess and put parameters on what education looks like in our home. We don't stop learning when we graduate school. We are simply open to learning, every. single. day. Always and forever, through every interaction of awareness we have.

life long learner

It doesn't matter if your children are in public school, private school, or any other variation. Life is functional education. When you have a growth mindset, simply living life with your children, open and aware of what you can learn together, is functional education!

"The world is our school, and everyone is our teacher"

This is my daughters' mantra and something we go back to time and time again. Not only for their own education but to recognize their impact on the world and who they may be teaching along the way.

Being a lifelong learner is such an intricate thing. There are so many pathways to go down. Unschooling blogs are a great resource, and so are the gazillion great ideas you'll find on Pinterest. Don't forget, however, that it's not just a laid-out game plan. It happens the instant you open your eyes in the morning. 

The Many Layers of Learning

growth mindset functional education

This is not just for unschoolers or homeschoolers. This is for any family who desires to foster a love of learning in your home.  

This is for anyone and everyone who desires to remain teachable in life.

This gets you started...yet is merely the tip of the iceberg. I want to highlight some powerful components, and give you resources for where to go beyond here. 

It's not about force-feeding learning, or putting the pressure on to memorize something just for the sake of knowing it. It's going back to WHY? And how are we growing?

Do you have a growth mindset, where you look at like lessons and ask, "what does this make possible?"

So let's break it down to FUNCTION and see how having a growth mindset, being a lifelong learner, and seeing the world as our teacher can work:


FUN: First and foremost, why oh why does the word "school" cause groans from so many? It's time to put the FUN back in education. When the world is your school, and everyone is your teacher, then you're simply living life. And we've found that the more you follow delight-led learning and find your internal motivations, learning really IS fun. And quite honestly, when you are interested, you retain more, right?


UNSCHOOLING: Functional education is along the unschooling model due to the fact that it also strays from the cultural norm of what education should look like. It oftentimes starts with "deschooling" - a process of dropping all preconceived notions of learning and academia and embracing education in a very natural way. It may look very different than what you know in a traditional public school setting. (For example, I never taught my daughters US Geography. However, they can list every state in the geographical order of our travels to see them). 


NOT YET: "Failure" is important in our lives - it only remains a fail if we don't learn from it. And I'll quote my mama's favorite, Barbara Streisand's song, "There are no mistakes, only lessons to be learned..." It's insanely important to allow your children to struggle. They don't learn to walk until they understand what makes them fall. They won't always have you, and it's so important that you don't simply step in as their savior. This world will knock them down. I'd much rather they get pushback in the comfort of their loving home first before they get a slap in the face from someone who isn't so invested in them.  Take a look at Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset concept - and our opportunity to always be learning. 


CREDIBILITY: So often I hear, "but I can't teach my kids...I'm not qualified!" Well, guess what - you ARE teaching your kids. Period. So you might as well get intentional about it! You are not just a teacher to spew out everything they need to know. You are a guide - someone who has lived a bit longer, learned a bit more, and can share that wisdom with your kids. AND, you are the adult to go on a learning journey with them. So what qualifies you to teach your child? The fact you had one! We are all learning from everyone! And if you don't feel able to help a child in an area of interest they have, that is the beauty of a village - find someone else who can. I don't claim to know it all in anything - and I'm all for learning together with my child, or connecting them with someone in a field of expertise that isn't my own. 


THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE: When the student is ready...so often we force agendas based on what we think is "right" for learning. But we all approach life differently. We have different personality styles. We have different ways of learning. And when we follow our own internal motivations, we learn so much more than when it's force-fed to us. There weren't classes on building websites and doing podcasts when I was in school. But I was driven to share my voice with all of you, and I learned what I needed to know to make this happen. And so can you, and so can your child. We have a plethora of information at our fingertips at any given moment. When your child is curious, what can they open up and explore? 


INSPIRED LEARNING: Along the same lines for above - we have learned SO much going down a bunny trail of interest with our girls. Whether it's learning all about betta fish (and exploring taxonomy, geography, history, economics, social studies, math and more), or shooting our own rendition of Romeo and Juliet...with a Logsdon Twist (acting, writing, composing, teamwork, oh my gosh the list goes on and on) - when we follow their interests and focus on delight-led learning, it's amazing how many subjects you cover! The bunny trails and hyperfixations are often amazing pathways to creativity and understanding.


OWN YOUR ATTITUDE: Functional education isn't merely about book-smarts. It's not even just about what all you accomplish and learn. It starts with your mindset. Are you open to learning? Do you have that growth mindset I wrote about earlier? Are you ready to learn in every interaction and set your pride aside, knowing how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us, and how we are in charge of our attitude? 


NOTICE THE OPPORTUNITY: Opportunities to learn and grow are all around us. We often learn more through interaction and play with our surroundings. What is right under your own nose that will foster this?

This is the beginning of a perspective shift for your whole family. Before you dig into what exactly "school" looks like, embrace a "functional education" approach. Get serious about looking through this lens, and you may find a whole world of opportunity for your child - and your whole family - to embrace learning forever. 

Check out more alternative education resources here.

Pin for Later:

unschooling blogs

Podcast on this topic:


Does your child beat to a different drummer?

Nathan and Ashley Logsdon

Questions or comments?

Ready to create a life you don't want to escape from?

From personality styles, marriage/intimacy, parenting, education, entrepreneurship, minimalism, travel, and more...we cover it.

What is pressing on your mind? Reach out and ask or comment - we may cover it on an upcoming podcast as well as respond by email.

life long learner functional education
Ashley Logsdon

Ashley Logsdon is a Family and Personality Styles Coach and Lifelong Learner. She and her husband Nathan are RVing the States and unschooling their 3 girls. Her mission is to shift the mindsets of families from reaction to intention, and guide them in creating the family they love coming home to. Looking deeper than the surface, we assess the strengths, triggers, and simplifying your lifestyle so you truly recognize how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Join the Mama Says Namaste Facebook Group

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below