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Today is an awesome episode with Aaron and Kaleena Amuchastegui, the coauthors of The 5-Hour School Week. This is such a cool episode because Aaron and Kaleena were both frustrated with the traditional schooling system and the toll it was taking on their kids and their family and their collective happiness.
They decided that there has to be a better way to learn and they began to experiment with schooling and start hacking this better way for them to enjoy their lives and their family time. The solution they came up with is really incredible, they’re able to teach their kids in a way that doesn’t drain them but allows them, to really fall in love with learning and we talk about what this journey was like for them.
It wasn’t easy. It was filled with fear and self-doubt at times but ultimately has created something that’s really worked well for them and could potentially work for you and your family too.
Get Aaron and Kaleena’s new book The 5-Hour School Week on Amazon.
Find out more at FiveHourSchoolWeek.com.
Aaron Amuchastegui: It was like we were living the life that we actually always wanted. Growing up, you’re like, “Okay, this is what I’m going to do when I’ve made it.”
We were doing everything that people told us to do. We had the beautiful family, we had great jobs, great house, kids would go to school at the private school, we would go do all the extracurricular stuff and they would be in cheerleading and play soccer and do all the extra sports.
So we were living this life and doing everything we dreamed of…and we would pick up the kids at the end of the day and they’d be exhausted. We’d get home and we’d be doing a couple hours of homework with them and all of a sudden the day would be shot. Then you’d realize months and months would go by. Our life was really flying by.
We didn’t really realize that we were as discontent and unhappy until after it builds up and builds up—where’s our life gone? We’re in the rat race. We’ve done everything that we thought we were supposed to do and everything right, and now it just feels like we’re in the rat race. Everyday just flies by us and we don’t even get to enjoy it.
The Problem with the Norm
Charlie Hoehn: Before we talk about the change that you made, let’s dig into the problem here. It seems like the problem for you two was actually mainstream education.
Kaleena Amuchastegui: Yeah, absolutely. It was from the 6:30 waking the kids up until 3:30 picking them up from school. We were unhappy every single day. You know, you have to get them up early, they’re exhausted, they’re tired, we’ve got homework that needs accounted for, lunches that need to be packed. Everyday, we were starting our days off with hurry and scurry.
Aaron Amuchastegui: You think about the term alarm clock. Who wants to be alarmed when they wake up? It’s a terrible thing.
When you’ve got that many kids, you’re looking for items for sharing and homework and signing the slips. We always did it because we were told we were supposed to, right? We would take our kids to school, and by the time they got there, you know, it’s morning time, now they’re alert, now they’re ready, now they have some energy.
For the first hour and a half of their day, we’re getting them ready, and then we hand them off and then we pick them up from school and they’ve just spent eight hours using their brain and going hard at school.
So when we pick them up, they’re not happy.
They’re tired, they’re exhausted, they’re cranky.
We would get in tons of little fights on just driving on the way home because they were hungry and tired and cranky.
The best of our kids, from nine AM to three PM when they’re at their prime, we weren’t seeing them. We weren’t a part of that.
We got the leftovers.
We got it when they got back in the car and they were tired and cranky. So we got to rebuild them and get them ready to go attack their school day the next day. But in their best hours, we weren’t the ones hanging out with them.
Hints of a Solution
Charlie Hoehn: You two wrote a book called The 5-Hour School Week. What was the solution that you arrived at and how did you go about it?
Kaleena Amuchastegui: Our kids actually went to traditional school for about six years. Our oldest, Madelyn, had just finished third grade when we took her out. We had a vice principal at our private Christian school that had left to go start an alternative school, an Acton Academy which is like an entrepreneur-based school from kindergarten all the way through high school.
He was like one of my favorite administrators at the school. When I found out he was leaving, I told him, you have to go out to coffee with me. Tell me what you’re doing. It was in that moment of him stepping out of the box and saying, “I can’t send my own kids to a school like this. I love being an educator, but my kids can’t go here. So I need to start something different.
I think that gave me permission to look outside education a little bit more. I didn’t know that we had options. I didn’t know that there were actual choices. Home schooling wasn’t really—we grew up in a really small town in Oregon, both of our parents were administrators in the education system and teachers.
For us, the only option was to go to school.
This is the first time I’d heard alternative education was a choice for us.
Charlie Hoehn: I guess the alternative schooling has a little bit of—to the outsider, a little bit of fear. Like that must just be for certain types of kids.
Kaleena Amuchastegui: Yeah, there’s a negative connotation around home schooling and the type of people that usually choose to home school. And so, I’m like, that’s not for us—until I saw this guy who is really well educated, super normal, really good with kids go, “School systems are really toxic, actually.”
Aaron Amuchastegui: Some of it too is we were both products of regular education. I have a college degree and we went through it, so it’s not that maybe necessarily that normal education doesn’t work for some people. But we are trying to create this—is there something even better?
A lot of people are like no, you have to suffer through the education system because that helps prepare you for life and life’s hard. We had kind of adopted that too. We were like okay, this is hard but we need to deal with it. This is real life, this is what it’s supposed to be.
I think the experience of Kaleena talking to Matt was one of those first times where we were like, I wonder what life could be like.
I had joined an entrepreneur group where we would go out and do these bucket list adventures and talk about grabbing life big and making the most out of our lives and making all these like key decisions that hey, we’re not just trying to survive, we’re trying to excel.
Do something fantastic all the time.
We started to get inspired from that. Kaleena had gotten that seed planted, so our journey to turn it into The 5-Hour School Week was kind of a long one, over several months or a year.
One of our big turning points was a family trip to Yosemite on a random week. Kaleena, do you want to tell the story?
Kaleena Amuchastegui: I had already talked to Matt, and we had started throwing around the idea of something different. We were really scared and didn’t even know what that looked like. Was it Acton, was home schooling for us, or what about Montessori…
All of a sudden, I was starting to read and look into and listen to people that are talking about education.
We had booked a week of camping in Yosemite National Park, it’s only about four hours from our house, and we’re like, we’re going to take the kids out of school. We’re not going to worry about it for once. We’ll bring the homework with us because we don’t want to fall too far behind, but we’re going to disconnect and see what it would be like to actually take the kids on a field trip on our own.
Aaron Amuchastegui: I’d say it was almost an accident, too. We wanted a vacation, we knew we wanted to go somewhere.
Kaleena Amuchastegui: We’d been talking to Matt, but at the time it wasn’t to see if we’re going to home school. It was like, we’re going on a trip to Yosemite.
We go on this trip, there’s zero WiFi at the park, which we weren’t really expecting, and our oldest daughter Madelyn left her binder of homework at the house. She was so stressed out because they were supposed to start long division that week.
We get there, and our kids are in total breakdown.
We hadn’t traveled with them much at this point, so it wasn’t coming very easily for us. It took a couple of days.
Before we knew it, we’re hiking and going on all these ranger walks, riding open air buses through the park ,and it’s all these family time that we really hadn’t experienced much prior.
Aaron Amuchastegui: Yeah, part of why I say it started as an accident was we didn’t know that I wasn’t going to have cell service and be able to do my own work. We didn’t know we weren’t going to have WiFi. So it forced us into spending this week as a family, for a lack of better word, the old fashioned way.
All right, we’re in Yosemite, no devices, no anything else, it’s just us—what are we going to do?
We had some friends that were there with us too, so we would go on hikes and the open air tour where they’re learning from a ranger and they’re learning about these falcons there and how they had to save their eggs and they learned about glaciation and how different things are formed.
At night, we’d go to these different fireside talks where a ranger would be teaching them something. They were learning so much about so many different things that they don’t learn in school, and that is kind of this real world fun, adventurous education.
We had a great time there. This was an amazing week. As we started to drive home, we could see Madelyn start to get a little bit stressed—school starts again tomorrow and I didn’t do any of my homework.
One Week in Two Hours
Kaleena Amuchastegui: We get home and I’m unpacking the car and Madelyn starts just going into a panic. Calmly, Aaron goes, “I’ll just sit at the table with you for like two hours and we’ll knock out as much as we can. I’m sure that you’ll have time throughout next week. I’ll just get it on the calendar. We’re going to knock this out, so don’t stress out.”
I’m unpacking, Aaron’s sitting at the table with the girls, knocking out their homework from the week, I’m cooking dinner, and I don’t exaggerate when I tell this story—it was less than two hours and Maddy had mastered long division.
There wasn’t the tears, there wasn’t the fighting, it was just, you know, she knew how to divide.
Aaron would show her the step and she would master it and go, now what? He’d come back and show her, just walk her through it.
At the same time, he’s walking Charlotte through some spelling test practices and Izzy’s writing. I’m cooking dinner and it feels so natural and so good, and an entire week’s worth of work was done in two hours.
Aaron Amuchastegui: Part of the reason that – Charlie, have you ever read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss?
Charlie Hoehn: Here’s a fun fact, I was Tim Ferriss’ first full time employee. I worked with him for three years, yeah.
Kaleena Amuchastegui: That’s the coolest thing ever.
Aaron Amuchastegui: That is super cool and super funny. Part of the inspiration comes from, I’m a big fan of his book. When I was rebuilding my business five, six years ago, I combined his book and The Miracle Morning and totally changed the way our life was and changed the way that our businesses ran.
At different self-help conferences, I had to get up on stage and talk to people about the four hour workweek and try to coach people through, like hey, focus. There’s a lot of concepts like from The 4-Hour Workweek that were coming to mind at the time.
Hey, if you’ve only got a couple of hours to get it done, there’s a lot more focus, there’s a lot more deliberate education.
They’re paying attention to every step of the way because they realize they only have a couple of hours to try to finish it. Because they were out of time, because there was a deadline, because they had the ultimate focus, because I was there to help walk them through it.
Those concepts applied to their education helped that work.
Charlie Hoehn: Well, just to pause you a quick second there, I think there’s also the other element which is they just come back from effectively a relaxed mini-vacation with their family, they felt more bonded. Even though they were a bit panicked about the homework, they were probably in a better physiological state.
Aaron Amuchastegui: Yeah, you know, I haven’t had anybody kind of bring that up or point that out, but it’s a great point. Because during that week, their brains got to refresh. They got to refresh for normal book type work. They got to open other sides of their brain and experience and have all that stuff. I think that yes, because we had just come back from that vacation, it probably amplified that even further.
Not just using the techniques and the focus, but they were so much more ready at this point for us to all work together and for dad to be the teacher. It was really this crazy, exciting night.
We got our stuff done, they got their homework done and the next day we go drop them off. As we were dropping her off, Maddy was so relieved.
I went to pick her up from school that day and she jumps in the car and it was the most hilarious thing. She jumps into the car and goes, “Dad, I’m the only one that knows how to do long division.” They didn’t get there last week.
That was our first experience of it working, but we almost didn’t think much of it after that trip, we were like, “Okay, that was cool concept. We were able to catch it up within a week,” but we also weren’t ready to fully commit or fully convert.
It just became kind of became one of the stepping stone stories in our memory.
Kaleena Amuchastegui: Yeah, but incredibly important. Maddy came home for, I’d say, probably close to a solid two weeks after that with long division homework. Every time, she was having to work on long division when I knew she already knew how to do it. Every day, I felt myself becoming more frustrated with the fact that she spent seven hours at school that day.
That had a lot of impact on me in the very beginning, honestly.
Aaron Amuchastegui: Then we started to do a couple of more trips like that. Then we started intentionally going on trips, leaving the stuff at home, knocking it out the day before they’d go back. It was working.
A few months later, I was speaking at a conference and telling people to work less, to start adopting the principles from Tim’s book and some different steps they can take to where they can work a lot less and get a lot more done and live life to the fullest.
One of the ladies stood up at the end and, during the question and answer, said, “This is so great, but if you do this for your business, what do you do for your kid’s education?”
At that time, it was funny because I was like well, that’s a good point. My first part of the answer to her was, “Well, my wife and I aren’t big fans of the educational system,” and then the only answer I could give her was the example our week vacation to Yosemite and how we got her weeks’ worth of homework done in two hours and then she was the only one that knew long division.
Within a couple of days, I told Kaleena, “Hey, we just bought the URLs for The 5-Hour School Week. I don’t know what this is going to become but—”
Kaleena Amuchastegui: I’m like, “What?”
Aaron Amuchastegui: The lady had such a good point to bring it up to us, it’s like hey, I’m telling adults, don’t work a 40 hour workweek, go live life and do it like this…
Charlie Hoehn: Right, but kids have to have 40 hours.
Aaron Amuchastegui: Yeah, they were still doing it. Even though we had transitioned and started to be inspired, we still weren’t fully committed. We were still making our kids go to school 40 hours a week most of the time. Except when we’d go on those vacations.
That was the big moment where we started to get more intentional. It was still a five, six month process after that.
Summer came and went, and then school year started the next year, and they were still going.
Kaleena Amuchastegui: Aaron came home from that conference, and I had no idea what he was talking about. He’s like, “I bought a URL and we’re going to be The 5-Hour School Week.” I’m like, “Our kids go to school five days a week still, I do not know what you’re talking about. I don’t know who’s going to be teaching them.” I still wasn’t so sure—my mom was a science teacher with a college degree. I don’t have a college degree and I was a real estate broker for the previous last seven years.
The very thought of home schooling three girls, and I had a brand new baby, I honestly thought Aaron lost his mind completely.
No, we’re looking into alternatives, and I really love the philosophy of everything that we’re talking about, but actually pulling them out of school was terrifying.
Fear of the Unknown
Charlie Hoehn: Right, what were you terrified of?
Kaleena Amuchastegui: I was scared that I was incapable. I was scared that I was going to be failing my children and that I wouldn’t be able to socialize them in a healthy way. That they wouldn’t learn the things that they needed to learn. That everybody was going to think I’m absolutely crazy, and that we’re turning our kids into weirdos.
I was worried about all of it. I was worried about how my kids were going to feel about it and how they were going to thrive within our home.
I was worried about what other people looking from the outside in were going to think about what we were doing.
Number one, we had four kids, which most people think it’s crazy in itself, and then you go and start traveling with them and people think that’s insane, especially when you have a brand new baby.
And here we were talking about taking them out of school.
I was like, full on anxiety attack for months because I knew that it was exactly what was the best thing for my kids, and walking through the fear was really difficult, honestly. It was so bad, my fear was so bad that we’d had an amazing summer, we lived our entire summer as if we were home schooling our kids and adapting this five hour school week principle.
For June, July, and August, that’s how we lived.
We went on incredible vacations and taught our kids. It just felt super natural, and then September came and I put them back in school because I couldn’t walk through the fear of having them home for the next nine months. Or 10 months. Or forever.
They start school, I get elected as the PTA President.
I always volunteered. I was always in the classrooms and so it was a good fit for me. So I am running the meetings, we get through September, and it’s pretty rocky and the kids are pretty discontent. I am getting burnt out. We get to October, and I am not even exaggerating, there’s probably tears from my either myself or one of the kids three times a week.
We just know that this is going against our belief system now. I almost felt like it was unhealthy for them to go to school at this point and I am taking my kids there.
Aaron Amuchastegui: And so I saw that happening, and Kaleena was super stressed, the kids we’re super stressed, but it was also falling a little bit back into that mindset of “There is nothing we can do,” right? There isn’t really an alternative.
So we scheduled a three week trip in November.
I was like, “So here’s what we’re going to do, we are going to go out to Boston and we’re going to stay at the tea party and we’re going to go to Philadelphia.”
We’d do all of this fun US history type stuff and just put it on the calendar and said we’re going. Because I could definitely see they needed a break. Everybody needed a break, and it could be that chance for us to go test it again.
Kaleena Amuchastegui: Right, so he puts this on the calendar. We’re going into November and tuition is due and we’re going to be gone the entire month of November, pretty much.
It’s like you’ve got Thanksgiving coming up and now fall tuition is due for literally the kids sitting in a classroom for four days or something crazy.
I had parent-teacher conferences the next day and Aaron is out of town. So I am driving to parent-teacher conferences, and all of a sudden, the fear was gone.
I couldn’t bring myself to write that check for them to sit in a classroom for four days.
I just told Aaron unless I hear something that completely changes my mind about the education our girls are getting, I am going to take them out of school today and like always he said, “I support whatever you do. You’ve got this.” And that’s what he’d been saying for almost a year now in regards to this.
So a part of me wonders if he even thought that I was going to do it that day or not, but I got in there and got to Maddy’s parent-teacher conference.
And my straight A amazing citizenship star student daughter was top of the class and everything that I have been hearing every single year, then the teacher did whatever teacher does. She goes, “But what we could be doing to get her reading at a seventh grade level?”
I am like, “She’s a fourth grader. Why do we want her to be at the 7th grade level?”
So I go, “That’s awesome, you do a great job here, this is a great school. I am actually starting to homeschool, so Maddy is not coming back next quarter.”
And I did the same thing with the other two teachers. I had a kindergarten teacher say, “I would do the exact same thing for my daughter if I could financially figure out a way to make it work.”
I went skipping out of that school. I literally jumped of the front steps. I was so excited. And then when I got home and I told the kids ,and they cheered.
I said, “We don’t have this all figured out. We’ve got to go through and figure out what’s going to be the most important to us. But this is how I envisioned it. I want to know what is really important to you and what you want to learn and we’re going to dive in.”
Charlie Hoehn: You asked students what they cared about? That is unheard of.
Kaleena Amuchastegui: That is part of the philosophy of The 5 Hour School Week actually. Every single week I ask “What do you want to learn?” And more importantly, “How do you want to learn that?”
That’s what we have been doing now for a little bit over two years.
The Five-Hour School Week
Charlie Hoehn: What has the change been since you’ve implemented this new school week?
Kaleena Amuchastegui: We have been traveling the world and learning together. So as a family, I think we’re closer than we’ve ever been. I didn’t even really know that families could get this close.
I have a tween right? I have an 11 year old, and she tells me everything. She talks to me, I get a play by play of her and her friend’s conversations every single day. She will show me the text messages that her friends are sending. Or my nine year old will tell me her biggest fear when it comes to soccer.
Our lines of communication are open in a way that we didn’t have the time to work on when they were in school for 40 hours a week.
Because it takes pouring into your kids and to have the time to sit there and really listen to what they have to say. It is time consuming, and we didn’t have that kind of time before.
Aaron Amuchastegui: It is also creating that team mindset. So when we say we’re really close, we would start to see how far we could push different trips, or like, “Hey we can fly from here to here and stay there for a week and then fly from here to here and then rent a car and drive a thousand miles and then stay here?”
Each time we would do a trip we would challenge ourselves more.
Almost extreme challenges like, “Hey can we really live on the road for a few weeks and do this, this and this before coming home and getting a break?”
Every time you’d accomplish one of those and succeed through one of those, it would be these team unity experiences—going to Cuba and getting there and having our first several hours be us trying to get Cuban currency and battling just to try to get milk when nobody there speaks English.
At the end of that, when we got to go home, all of us were like, “Whoa we really went through something intense and accomplished it, and it was great.”
When it comes to their regular school, they do online courses from different resources that track their grade level and where they would be.
The more important part is over the last couple of years, they are still at or above the grade level they would have been had they stayed in school, but they had a whole bunch of life experiences too. We have different people influence us along the way too and talk about how there were more important things to learn than just what they teach in school. There’s stuff about real life lessons that people can apply later and so we’ve gotten a lot of travel experience.
But also real life experience and we’re teaching them about entrepreneurship and other things but they haven’t fallen behind on the school work. They just only spend an hour a day on it.
Building around Your Schedule
Charlie Hoehn: I’d imagine that a lot of parents are wondering how much more this costs and how much time are you able to spend on your work? A lot of parents have 40 hours per week jobs. So what do you say to them?
Kaleena Amuchastegui: I love answering this question, because you get to be as creative as you want when you build out a five hour school week or when you step into an unconventional education environment.
The 5-Hour School Week is about inspiring and encouraging you to make sure that you are living the very best life that you can live with your children. I feel like why education is the core of that is because they spend so much time in the school system.
So it is about taking them out of the school system, intentionally focusing for about an hour a day on academics. What that looks like for us is sometimes I will have a kid that will spend an hour just working on math for the week or an hour just working on social studies. My oldest, Madelyn, would spend all five hours a week on social studies, and honestly sometimes I let her.
I let her lead her learning the way that it’s the most comfortable for her and where she’s going to get the most content out of it.
So we spend about an hour on that, and then additionally, learning happens organically in life. That’s the way that we’ve always learned first and foremost.
My kids cook with me, they shop with me, we play, we play outside, we go on local field trips.
I 100% understand that everybody either has the desire or the capability of traveling the world the way that we do but this week alone we’ve been on two field trips to our local pumpkin patch.
There’s orchards, there’s local museums, and you can make those field trips as close to home or as far away as you want if that is an aspect of The 5-Hour School Week that is really attractive to you, but what it really gets to be about is building out an education that works for your family lifestyle and for your kids so that they can learn the best way possible.
Aaron Amuchastegui: You are just getting that much more of your life back. So yes, we chose to do it traveling, and that costs money, but plenty of people choose to do it at home, and it is just about taking an eight hour school a day into a one hour school day so you have the rest of the day to do other things.
Now a lot of people do sports and extracurricular activities, but now at soccer practice they are less tired than they would be if they had finished a full day of school or for any of the other extracurriculars.
I think one of the problems that people have when they try to adopt homeschooling and the mentality it is almost like a reset mindset. Parents need to be ready for the idea that they have to trust the system and your kid only has to do an hour a day. So people would call me and say, “Hey, well my kid is just trying to rush and get all their stuff done and they are finishing it in an hour or two, and then they just want to play the rest of the day.”
Charlie Hoehn: It’s what they’re supposed to do.
Aaron Amuchastegui: And that’s what we say. That’s exactly what you are supposed to do. As parents, that is a really difficult thing. When you go from the mindset of formal schooling to that, it is like reprogramming the parents too, to explain to them, “Hey that’s okay.”
It’s okay if your kid is trying to rush all of their work and get it done so that they can go play on the swingset outside the rest of your day and do that for seven hours and only do school work for an hour. That’s what we believe in, but I think that they have a tough time adopting to that.
Kaleena Amuchastegui: I think parents and even children, if you come from a traditional school setting like we did, there’s this whole phase that happens when you take them out of school called de-schooling, where just to get out of that habit of what they were doing every day, day in, day out for so many hours, you have to break those unhealthy habits of what that created.
Letting them play for six months after you take them out of school and not doing any curriculum is actually super healthy as well.
It’s about clearing their minds and making space for them to learn in a way that they’re actually taking it in, mastering it.
It is providing real value to their life. Not learning it to pass a test, not learning it to get an A, but learning it to have real impact and value on their life. If my kids are just learning something to pass a test, then the minute they put their pencil down from that test, everything that they memorized is immediately gone.
It’s just regurgitation.
So we focus less on regurgitation and more on “learn this when it feels right for you to learn it in a way that is comfortable for you to learn it.”
It adds value to your life, and then it is something that you actually can use instead of learning the same thing in second grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, all the way. How many times did we learn about the Civil War? How many times did we learn about the Great Depression? And still so many of us don’t really actually know anything about those events as soon as we leave high school or college?
Charlie Hoehn: Right because it wasn’t an innate sense of play and curiosity that drove us to it. It was external pressure and incentives to memorize regurgitate the information and then move on.
More Families Joining the Fun
Charlie Hoehn: I am curious if you had other parents adopt the 5 Hour School Week and what their results were.
Kaleena Amuchastegui: We have. It has been such an incredible journey. because when we first started we had a set of friends start shortly after. It’s been the most beautiful thing to watch. They started a little family farm, a flower garden. They have chickens and they have pretty much adopted The 5-Hour School Week.
They homeschool their two little girls, and their life is really beautiful. They are incredibly happy. It is really fun, we’re good friends. We get to do a lot of field trips together.
This year, going into September, two friends and then an acquaintance reached out and said, “We’re doing what you’re doing.” We have just been in contact over the last couple of months. So they started their homeschool journeys and their five hour school week journeys, and it is the coolest thing to watch.
So far, everyone is really excited and happy and loving the transition.
It is really neat to watch people go, “Oh yeah we definitely see what you’re doing there and that makes sense” and being able to open up people’s eyes the same way mine were opened. I think that that’s what it’s about. I think that it is really obvious to all of us that there is a problem, but it is realizing that we have the power to step into the solution that I think actually isn’t that available to all of us yet.
Aaron Amuchastegui: Kaleena has had several people reach out over the last month that she didn’t know had started homeschooling. That part of it was like, “Hey a month ago because of what we talked about…” two months ago or a month ago, “We started and this is what we have done over the last month and life is really working.” And so it is almost every few days somebody reaches out and say, “Hey I’ve applied a little bit of that in my life, but my kids are still going to school.”
She’s had teachers reach out to her that found her online that said, “Hey I am actually a teacher, but I am trying to apply some of this stuff that you talk about to my classroom to make it a better experience.”
So different people are taking different parts and pieces of our stories and our philosophies and even in normal mainstream education trying to apply what they can.
At least once a week, I walk in and Kaleena is getting another email or message from somebody going, “Hey you have inspired me. I have started—what’s next?”
Or “Hey, you inspired me six months ago, and this is what our journey has been like over the past six months.” It was really cool to see that. At the very beginning I was like, “Let’s write it down to see if you can inspire one family.” Or if we can just tell people there is another option out there.
The whole goal of the book already has been accomplished before it even got released.
Open Lines of Communication
Charlie Hoehn: So I am so thrilled this book exists. Our listeners can find you guys at the fivehourschoolweek.com. I want to leave with a final question, which is give our listeners a challenge. What is the one thing they can do from your book this week that will have a positive impact?
Kaleena Amuchastegui: From the book, I’d say sit down and ask your kids, are they happy with the lifestyle that they’re living right now? That’s even your four year old, regardless of the age, I’d sit down and ask them.
What are you the most happy about in your life and what aren’t you? Figure out what the solutions are or can be to what’s not actually adding value to their life at the moment.
Because I think as parents, we go, they’re good. They’re going to school, they’ve got friends, their grades are good.
We assume our kids are happy or our kids are stepping into their passions.
The sad part is, when we don’t ask them that and we don’t hear them and listen to their responses, those passions start to get buried.
Are your kids happy in their class? Are they happy in their alternative education? Are they happy in their home school life? If not, what can they do alongside you, how can you support your kid to add more value. Because I think that’s important.
Aaron Amuchastegui: I’d like to give people like almost a broader challenge some of the time like the paying attention when you drop your kid off at school. What mood are they in and when you pick them up, what mood are they in?
Just being super conscious of like, what are they like when you pick them up? Are they happy on the way home, do they feel nice and filled up or do they feel like they need to be filled up? I always tell people to go try it. Some people think, I can’t pull my kids out of school for a couple of days or they’re going to fall behind or it’s over. No, they cannot miss a single day or they’ll never catch up.
That is such the saddest experience ever. If that’s true, then we’re training them for this rat race that’s so hard.
If people are just starting to wonder a little bit, you know, maybe we could do something different or maybe we could try some of this stuff, I’d say, all right, just take a couple of days off school. The night before they’re supposed to go back, see if they can do the makeup homework. See how long it takes them to get the makeup homework and go back.
Did they really miss out on that much by a couple of days?
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