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Unlocking Learning Styles: Empowering Education And Family Dynamics With Molly Hurd

May 12, 202445 min read

What are learning styles and how did you become aware of them? How has helping kids understand their learning style helped them? How does your style of teaching reflect learning styles in the classroom? How would understanding your children's learning styles increase communication and understanding in a family? Why did you go from teaching in public school to teaching in homeschool coops?

Tune in to the conversation of Kohila Sivas and certified Wholistic Learning Success Coach Molly Hurd as they walk us through unlocking learning styles to empower education and family life.

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Unlocking Learning Styles: Empowering Education And Family Dynamics With Molly Hurd

Providing Valuable Insights And Strategies For Creating A Supportive And Enriching Learning Environment For All

Introduction

Molly, welcome to my show. How are you? 

I am well. Thank you so much for having me on. This is such a pleasure and an honor.

I was looking forward to speaking with you. You've been an educator for 30 years and during that time, you have been in the public school, but you transitioned into home-school co-ops. Why did you make that transition?

For several reasons. I went to public school in 1998. That was several years ago now. Even then, I saw what I call the handwriting on the wall. I saw what was coming down the pike. I saw a mandated curriculum coming. I saw testing coming. I saw already how parents were ruling what was happening. To give an example of that, I had a student who needed my class to graduate. It was a first-hour class and he seldom was there. He didn't get out of bed. He failed my class and the mom was angry with me that I didn't call and get his son out of bed in the morning. I said, “What the heck?” They then magically found a science credit for him so he could graduate. He came back and he laughed at me. This was in 1997 or 1998, and I said, “This is not what I want to do.”

It's not setting your child up for success in the real world. Who's going to do that for him?

Aligned Learning Revolution | Molly Hurd | Learning Styles

Through those experiences, I went, “There has to be alternatives here. There must be other ways to share my passions and gifts besides public school.”

You're very passionate about science.

I am. This apple didn't fall far from the tree, as my siblings say. My dad owned and operated a marine science camp growing up. I had this natural inclination to be outside and very passionate about science and critters, as I call them because it is amazing and sharing that. That's that little nugget of why and how I got into teaching.

As you say, when you left the school system, there were so many things that were happening pointing you in the direction that you should do something different, especially when a child gets a mark that wasn't earned. You don't have any control over it. More importantly, it's not even the mark, it's the principle.

It was earth-shattering to me that we can promote this, that you would lie, and that you would teach your child that it was okay to lie. That's how I felt it was.

We're not doing anything for that child anyway. In the long term, you're hurting them.

Not at all. In some ways, I'd like to know what happened. I said, “It's okay, whatever happened.” I hope that person is successful because you want the best, but that was the way to go about that.

That's right and then you created your own wave of homeschooling co-ops and then you started teaching there. Not only that, because of your love for science, you have summer camps. Tell us about a little bit about that. How long have you been doing that?

Almost fifteen years. It was crazy because we had moved to where we are now and it's a yard with a couple of acres. I was sitting in church one day and this idea popped up like, “You can do your summer camps.” I told my husband and he said, “Hmm.” I had such a passion. I can do this. My two kids were growing up and I struggled with the cost of the camps. Not only the cost of the camps, but I felt like there wasn't a lot of value. That bothered me.

Honestly, not to sound whatever, but it feels like I can do better. I can create something of incredible value that isn't going to cost an arm and a leg, so I did. I started with what I called a Backyard Science Camp, then I created a Geology Camp, then a Marine Biology Camp, and then an Outdoor Adventure Camp. Those have been my mainstays.

I rotate through different camps in the summer and they're all held on my property. I've got all the resources here, which is fantastic. I have kids that come back year after year after year. Now they've grown up and they can't wait to be my counselors. I've started working with the teens that come to help and I give them leadership skills and training. I call it a camp within a camp. It's amazing.

When does it start? How long are these camps?

They are a week long. This summer I'm offering for the first time a Little Tyke Outdoor Adventure Camp because I would have all these little siblings come along and they'd be so disappointed they couldn't stay. I decided to offer this summer for 4 to 6-year-olds for half a day, and then I'm doing two sessions of my outdoor adventure camp and one session of Marine Biology Camp.

I started the Outdoor Adventure Camp because I saw some of these camps are so big and kids would be waiting in line forever, for example, to do archery. I thought what if I could offer a smaller camp where I could take a max of 30 to 34 students, and I could offer stations where the students rotate around different stations and get to try things in a safe environment without this feeling of being overwhelmed and without having to stand in line for an hour and hopefully, shoot the target once. What if they could experience all these different things in a safe environment?

You created it. I want to talk a little bit more about that. Before we go, we both get connected because the universe or God brings us together in alignment. You were attracted to the holistic neuro growth learning success coaching program. Why? What was the reason?

To me, this was the next step in my evolution of teaching. I knew there was more that I wanted to do because I see students struggling so much. Even in the homeschool co-ops where I have smaller class sizes and I design my curriculum, I see so many of them struggling. I know I deliver content, but I wanted more than just content. That's when I found your program. I said, “This is what I want to do. This is the next step. This is what I've been looking for that I didn't honestly even realize I was looking for.” It combines all my passions of wellness, science, and learning styles. It combines all of those into one cohesive package that I can work one-on-one with students.

The Importance Of Learning Styles

You love finding the superpowers of your students, and helping them learn and grow. You also have a BS in Biology and a Masters in Education from Seattle. I want to know about your fascination with some learning style assessments. There's a learning style that you're very passionate about using with your students. Tell us a little bit about that and why is this important.

I'm going to give a backstory. All through junior high and high school, I honestly felt a little lost. I would almost feel like I was missing something. It’s this little inkling of why can't I seem to learn as fast as others. Back in the ‘80s, it's not like we had tools. We didn't have these tools. I got A's and B's. It's not like I was failing, but inside I felt like something was missing. Dots weren't connecting. I took the SATs and I got a score slightly below average. My high school counselor looked at my scores and I will never forget, she said, “You're not going to be accepted to college, much less make it through college.”

I've heard worse things said to kids.

I was like, “Okay.” Anyway, I was accepted to college, and it was in college that all of a sudden, I started to figure out how I learned, and what I needed to do to learn. My grades and my confidence shot up. It's not that I had failing grades by any means, but instead of having Bs, I got As and I graduated cum laude. I was like, ''I think I made it through college.'' During the course of my education classes, I had a learning style class. That’s where all these light bulbs went off and I went, “I got it. I am not stupid. I am not slow. I am not delayed. I am not all these things.” It was immensely powerful.

When I started teaching public school, in the first week of my classes, I gave all my high school students learning style inventories. I would write them down. I had a 3 X 5 card for every student as to what their learning style was. I would arrange them into groups accordingly, and I had very few discipline problems.

Did you get them to understand their learning style?

I worked on that throughout the course. Because I'm aware of learning styles, I incorporate all those learning styles into my teaching. I am a highly visual, auditory, and tactile teacher. I teach things in different modalities so that even my beavers, my lions, my golden retrievers, and my otters can all participate and feel like they can achieve in my class. That's what I wanted. It's hard when you're teaching so many subjects to incorporate all of that, but I sure made a stab at it.

I'll never forget one time when I gave these learning styles inventories to all my students and it wasn't long after I had a parent conference with a set of parents. They came in and their question was, “What's wrong with our child?” I responded with, “There is nothing wrong. Let me show you where he is.” He was so right-brained. He was almost off the chart. His parents were very left-brained. When I showed them this, it was like, “We had no idea.” That's important.

Getting Parents To Understand Learning Styles

It helps everyone understand each other. Everybody gets to understand each other instead of all these words you used that were pretty powerful like delayed and slow. Those words are so powerful for a child to hear, but they could understand. You help them understand their learning style. How do you reflect your learning style in the classroom? You told us that it’s through different modalities, and then you can get the parents to understand them.

That is the beauty of coaching because then I can also work with the parents. I finished alignment days with the student. The mom and the student all of a sudden had these huge a-ha moments of, “Oh my gosh, the miscommunication and misunderstanding we've been having.” The email that I got this morning was heartwarming. That appreciation for opening that door, what a treasure. What a gift. Kohila, you're such an advocate for this. If we don't help the families communicate and connect, then we've lost.

If we don't help the families communicate and connect, then we've lost.

That's number one. That's what I was talking to someone that came up as well. We're so connected but at the same time, we're all also disconnected more than ever because, within the family structure, we do not have quality conversations. We're not present. You and I could also fall into that sometimes. If we're not mindful about it, I could also fall into that because I'm so busy. I'm doing this and doing that. We then have these devices. If we don't unplug, we lose the conversation. As you said, conversation is everything.

One of the reasons why I started homeschooling was I recognized my son and his learning style needs. I knew that a typical classroom would not be a good fit for him.

Is he a scientist like you?

No, Although he loves science, it's different. He went into welding and mechanics. He's very kinesthetic and he's very much a perfectionist. I realized this early on watching him and I was like, “A typical regular classroom is not going to be a good fit for him.” We ended up homeschooling and he thrived. Later on, when he was ready, he said, “I'm ready for public school.” I said, “Okay.” He was very successful, but he realized too that this regular traditional classroom learning is not his cup of tea. I replied, “I know.” He recognizes why, and it's okay. Which is such a gift.

I was going to also add that you were a teacher and you knew that, but a lot of parents don't know that. When a child who's like your son can’t sit and move around, then they get a label such as ADHD or something of some sort. Your son didn't have that but he would have easily been diagnosed with that.

He could have very easily been diagnosed with that or whatever. No, this is his learning style. This is the way he needs to learn. I remember him finally learning to read and his favorite thing to do was be in a chair upside down. He would be on our couch and his legs would be up over the back. He could do that for a half-hour just reading away. How cool is that?

If he was in this classroom, he would be in a special room.

Yes, that would not have been able to go. What a privilege to give these kids the opportunity to learn and grow like they need to because that's their personality.

What a privilege it is to give these kids the opportunity to learn and grow like they need to.

In some other countries like Finland, Switzerland, and all other countries, their education system is way better. We always look up to those systems. They have it that kids can be anywhere. They don't have to sit and learn at the desk. They can stand and learn. They can bounce and learn. They can play and learn.

It doesn't matter Whatever suits you, find that space for you because not everybody learns the same way. It's tragic though because if you think about it, I keep hearing from many other teachers I meet with that they are even taking from kindergarten the toys and everything. They are no longer there to play with.

Learning By Being Tactile

It's a sitting-down desk opportunity for the child to learn apparently in six hours. Here you are, you're a science teacher, all hands-on, in aesthetic, move around, touch and feel, and they're taking away those from kindergarten. What do you think of that? I heard a couple of people tell me that in the last few days. It's in my mind, so I thought I'd ask you.

I think that's nuts and it brings tears to my eyes because kids at that age learn by being tactile. They need to touch, feel, and explore. I created of all things a grade 1-2 physics class. It's called Physics, Zip, Zap, Zoom. I bring in all these things for the kids to play with. As they arrive, they know that for the first twenty minutes, they get to explore all these different things.

Recently, we've been doing a unit on light and color. I have periscopes, I have kaleidoscopes, I have a big mirror that I tack to the wall that is a paper one. It's hilarious things that they get to do. I have colored things that spin and all these different things that they get to explore and play with. We then do a lesson and then they get to make something and then they explore some more.

I always give them something to take home because then I email the parents and say, “This is what they got today, this is what we learned about.” This is your opportunity to ask questions. “What did you learn about today? What is this? Explain this to me. Why did you bring this home?” It's to promote that communication and conversation.

That's what's happening in our classroom. It's coming to sit down and do your work and get on the computer and answer questions and let's get the markings done. What you're doing is amazing because with this type of learning children can learn. We know this. How much is science being pushed? People say kids don't like science anymore. I've heard that a lot too. They don't want to learn it, but our world is science. We live in it. We live in science.

We do and our bodies alone, you and I can see each other because of our eyes. It's incredible. It saddens me because for one, in elementary school, many teachers are given these kits and that's great, but they don't have the time. Many of them don't have the background. It's a rarer elementary teacher who has a background in science. Many of them don't know what to do.

As kids move into middle school, they don't have the background of being able to explore. Science has come out of books and these kits. I'm working with a student right now. She said, “Science makes me cry.” We've gone back and I said, “I can see why science makes you cry.” It’s because she had these teachers even in middle school who were like, “Here's the textbook, read this, do this worksheet.” That's not science.

That's doing worksheets to keep them busy.

I had science teachers like that and I would cry inside. This could be so much more fun and enjoyable.

Science Coaching

Besides having these camps for students and working at the homeschool co-ops, as a Holistic Neuro Growth Learning Success Coach, you offer very important coaching to students. Do you offer that with science or are you teaching them learning to learn? How do you bring them both together?

As I go through my fillers, I offer science coaching, whatever they need with that. I offer learning styles and in my alignment sessions, I give them the inventories. I know then how they learn and can teach them skills accordingly with all the tools that we have. I also have a wellness component as well if they need help with their nutrition or if they need help with exercise. You know how important it is, and nutrition is for our brain. How much sugar is in our food impacts our brains. It kills me when these kids show up to class with a fuzzy pink drink from the local coffee shop. It's like, “All that sugar.”

You see sugar, not the drink.

Yes, because that impacts their brain and their learning.

Even the ones that we think are healthy like yogurt are full of sugar. Half of it is sugar and who knows what other good bacteria are there in the yogurt?

There's a yogurt brand that I like because it is low in sugar and high in protein, and I know how it's made. I can help with the ingredients. Do you know what to look for? What are you consuming?

You coach this. Nutrition is so important. When shopping in the grocery store, you must read the labels now. You're eating not even real food anymore. I don't even know what some of the words are. They're not food items.

It's a little scary. Having that science background comes in handy because I can ask, “What is this?” You start doing a little research and you’re like, “What is this doing in here?” I posted on my Facebook, for example, that all these things that are in cleaning products are triggering learning disabilities. There are all these different chemicals in there that have been linked to different cancers and neurological issues.

We're putting anything and everything. That's why this is like a science sense. You have to have a math sense or some sense but this is like a science sense. You have to investigate what you're eating and what you're smelling. Even the candles we buy are full of toxic. You burn one of those and you're sitting in toxic air. You don't know what it is in it.

It's crazy. Sometimes, even my husband is like, “Really?” I say, “Just trust me, honey.” I'm not trying to make us live out in the middle of nowhere. There are things that we can choose to not bring into our homes. We can find alternative things that are so much better that don't have all this stuff in them. It's been a few years now, but I had a severe concussion and I was in the middle of Kenya. This concussion was life-changing because when I came home, all these smells from chemicals, all of a sudden, I couldn't even be in the room. It would give me instant headaches and migraines. I was like, “What's going on?” That's when I started doing research and I went, “My gosh.” Yes, I emptied lots of things.

Advice To Parents

What tips can you give parents if they have kids and they have a family to look after? What should they avoid? Give us a list of a few things in terms of these.

Most shampoos, soaps, conditioners, and things like that have Parabens and Phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors. Get rid of that stuff because why would you want your daughter, for example, to use something that has known endocrine disruptors in it?

What does endocrine disruptors do?

That means that you are changing your whole endocrinology system. That means you are creating the possibility of having cancer in the uterus and the ovaries. They're studying now how some of these things are disrupting our DNA. We are changing our DNA to where our DNA is not as healthy as it used to be. It's weakened.

It's contaminated. Are these companies doing it purposefully or is it that they think it's great to put it in?

It’s both because, for a long time, we didn't know. Think back to Agent Orange and these things, where the book Silent Spring was published, and you go, “This stuff is nasty.” Companies have been getting away with putting this stuff in for so long. I hate to get into the politics of this, but it's true. They fund so many things in the government, donating to politicians and things.

They go, “It's such a minute amount.” The thing is this builds up over time. If you use shampoo every day and you're using that minute amount, it's almost the same as microplastics. They are finding microplastics now in our bloodstreams. It doesn't go away. It continues to build. They don't want to change because that means they would have to change their formula. They would have to use more expensive products. They'd have to make a better product.

No wonder kids are being born more and more with autism or other learning disabilities too because we have so many chemicals in our food. Even if you buy oranges or apples, it's all sprayed with these things. It's covered with this glossy thing that apparently, it's not even good for you.

I do buy organic whenever I can, for example. I get organic beef and I get organic milk. There are a lot of very simple things that you can do if you become aware and are mindful of that. The article that I posted on my Facebook has linked these chemicals to autism.

That's what I was saying. Autistic children are more and more coming up and being labeled. We didn't have learning styles or connections before, so correction methods are implemented in the school system. We directly go to if you're not learning the way you're supposed to, then there is something wrong with you. What is something wrong? Let's find out the wrong part first and then label you. I always say the only reason that I was ever okay with this testing and all that is because that's the way the child is going to get any help. Otherwise, they'll pass through classroom after classroom unnoticed. That's the only reason.

It's hard because we're labeling these kids. I was talking to my sister and she's in education now, which is fantastic. She has a student that has a label and therefore the parent and the student are like, “I don't have to do that because I'm this.” “No, I don't have to do that. I have ADHD. I don't have to do that.” It's like we've given them an excuse to say, “No, I don't have to try.”

Instead of giving them the tools. You may have this. Whatever you have is okay, but how are you going to work at it now? That's the whole part. How are you going to learn? How do you learn? I think minus the label and ask each child, “How do you learn?” That's what we do as a Holistic Neuro Growth Learning Success. “How do you learn?” That's fascinating. I want to know because you're a fascinating person right here.

Those become what I call their superpowers. When you work with a student and show them what their superpowers are, their eyes light up.

When you work with the students and show them what their superpowers are, their eyes just light up.

My husband has ADHD. He's been diagnosed later in his life. He never knew he had it. Therefore, he was always in trouble because that's what he thought. If he had just known what he needed, like you figured it out for your son. He needed that. His mom never did that. She put him in a private school where they could hit him at that time. It was in the ‘70s.

You can sign a kid up to get spanked. It was a different era but what he did is he learned how to maneuver through that cycle of I don't want to sit or I don't want to work. He would escape from the classroom and all this stuff because he wasn't there to learn. Later on, when he found out, he always said, “I wish I knew that because then I could have used it as my superpower.”

That's exactly what he said. Now, he went into the filming industry with his attention to detail. Even though he's ADHD, I don't even have the patience to look. If you give him something, he'll find everything and anything in it. Although he's ADHD, he can't stay with something. He's got a superpower. I’ll write something and he'll pick on every single word, make sure everything goes properly, and give me back a beautifully written thing. I don't have patience for that. I don't have any of that, but here's the person who can't sit.

My husband is like your husband who can do that. I do not have that gift and it's great because he does. That's what makes us stronger. Good match.

You can do all the nitpicking and I'll do the overall stuff. Kids have to be told that even if they are diagnosed at the school level. As you and I know, they won't get any support if they don't. They'll be left alone. Nothing's going to happen to them and they'll pass through the school system day after day. Even if they get it, you have to turn it into a superpower. That has to be turned into a superpower.

That child needs to be held accountable for their learning. This is not an excuse. I heard another story where a kid was given his cars to go play with in the back of the room so he wouldn't be a bother. What a disservice to this child. He thinks right now, “This is fun and I don't have to do anything.”

Going back to what you started with about communication and conversation, I always tell parents about giving devices like these phones too early in the hands of a child up to six. They should not be touching those without parental supervision. They got to do it with you. If you're going to do something, show them something, you do it together, and you take it away. If you just replace it, they're going to think that, “I don't need them. I need this.”

It's not a replacement for mom and dad to spend time. This is what's happening now with this device. A lot of parents are replacing it with “Here's me. This is me. Now you spend time with me over here.” It's babysitting. What that teaches this kid over time is, “I'm not that important.” If you keep giving them that, “They don't have time for me.” By 4 or 5 years old, they already decided that Mom and Dad didn't have time for me. I need to make sure I understand how to use the cell phone or the iPad.

It's like a pacifier and there are good things. You and I both know there are good things with technology, but when we constantly hand it to them, that's a disservice. The studies of what we're doing to our brains on that technology are crazy. Studies are coming out that we're losing our abilities to focus and concentrate because our brains are turning to mush to where we're losing that ability to connect. It's almost like we're becoming zombies.

Articles are pointing this out of going around in a zombie because we become addicted to our phones. It’s a literal addiction with all the symptoms that go with addiction. I've seen many times already where a parent will take away the Phone or take away the tablet and the kid breaks down to a full-on tantrum. It's more than taking away something. There is a chemical addiction that's going on and there are studies now to prove that.

It's almost very close to drug addiction. It's like having drugs.

It is. That's what these studies are coming out with. It is a literal drug addiction that we're doing. It's crazy because how do we as parents navigate that with our kids? It needs to be done very thoughtfully and carefully. You need to have family communication and strong boundaries.

It goes back to that communication. That's why people will ask me, what's your best advice for parents, anytime I speak or anytime you speak? If anybody asks, we always go back to that fundamental thing of having communication. Talk to each other. If you don’t communicate, you don’t know what your child is feeling. I had another person come on the podcast talking about the suicide rate of kids killing themselves.

It's like every four seconds, somebody is trying to kill themselves. Why? It’s because when you get addicted, it's like a regular drug that people get addicted to. They can't get off of it. You can't get off of it, you don't know what to do, and then the world demands you to do something you don't know. Your brain is mushed like you said. We're zombies. How can I do anything? I don't have the energy for it. I don't have any motivation to do anything.

It's hard and it breaks my heart too. I'm a runner. I go out in the morning and I go by bus stops. All these middle school and high school kids are all like this on their phones. There's no communication with each other. There's no laughing or talking socialization. They're within 5 feet of each other, 4 feet of each other, 3 feet.

My son is seventeen now, but when he was younger, he would say, “Can I bring my friends over, Mom? We're going to have some sleepover.” They all come and there are 6 or 7 of them. They all came in and I'm not hearing any noise. Six or seven boys, you should be hearing some show going on like a little party. This is awfully quiet. I have to go check it out, “Are they all okay? Did they leave the house? Did they escape?” I go and they're all sitting in each of the corners on their own devices.

I called my son outside. I didn't say it in front of those kids. I called him and I said, “I thought you said they were coming over to spend time together.” “Yes, mom, we are spending time, but online.” They're playing an online game. They're all together. I said, “Why didn't they do that from their home then? What's the difference? The physical body is there, but you guys are not connecting.”

It's crazy. I think many parents don't know how to communicate. We weren't taught to communicate. We've lost it. Many of us didn't grow up with it. I know you and I didn't grow up in functional households. We're trying to undo that and think, “How can I make it better? How can I undo and relearn what I need to relearn?” I think most parents. I don't want to say most, but I think a lot of parents don't even know what's going on because they're lost. They don't know how to ask questions. I think that's one reason why our divorce rate is so high. They lost communication. They never learned how to ask questions and communicate and resolve issues. Our kids grow up in the same patterns.

We're not modeling it either. If we don't know how to do it with our husband or wife, then we can't model it to them either.

You go into a restaurant and you see a family. More often than not, they're all on their phones at the restaurant.

Going back to that story with my son, I said, “If you guys are going to do this, I think they should all go home and do this from their home because there's no point in physically sitting here and you're all in your own corners.” I said, “Maybe you all should put those phones down and figure out something you can all do together over here.” After a bit, I heard some noises walking around and moving around.

You have to split these guys up because they think coming together means going on the phone and they can all meet online. That's the game they play, an online game. That's where they're at. That's why he was like 13 or 14 at that time. This is the sleepover that we're having and girls are similarly too. We've changed. Lots are changing. What advice do you have for parents about this generation growing up kids like in this 21st century, being a parent?

Ask questions. Remember when I was teaching public school and we'd have open houses, the Open House Curriculum Night, whatever they call it now? I would tell the parents, I said, “Please ask your kids what you did in my class.” I remember that I don't get paid to teach anything because they're going to say, “What did you do today?” “Nothing.” I said, “I don't get paid to teach nothing.” Asks questions and they would laugh because they'd be like, “Oh, yes.” I'm very aware of my job and what I want to do. I do not teach nothing.

That's the favorite question and the favorite answer or the biggest answer is, “What did you do?” “Nothing.”

I think we need to reframe those questions.

That question is bad.

“What did you do?” It's a matter of, “What did you like today? What went well today? What was fun today?” I love this one. I'm reading a book called Worthy. I love this question that a dad would ask his kids at the dinner table. They all had conversations and the dad would ask, “What did you fail at today?”

That became a badge of honor because if you didn't fail, that meant you didn't try. Can you imagine that at the dinner table like, “You failed a test? Cool. What are you going to do about that? How can we help you?” Can you imagine what would change?

That's a tremendous flip, and then the kids always think they have to tell us something good. In our society, we always talk about good feelings. When it's a bad feeling, it's like you have to pull it out of people. Sometimes we have never been taught how to share bad feelings. We are told to hide it or not show it. Sometimes even to this day, if somebody asks me, “How are you?” Even if I'm not feeling well, have you ever done this? You automatically say, “Great. I'm good. Thanks.” I'm sick and sometimes I go to the doctor and he might say, “How are you feeling?” I’ll say, “Sorry. Not great. I have a sickness. That's why I'm here.” That's in us.

We have to put on a show that I'm okay. When somebody asks, “How are you?” We automatically say that. I'm learning. I'm teaching myself to say not okay when I’m not okay or “I didn't get a good sleep. I'm not feeling well today.” It's okay to say those things. This is good. That gets the conversation going because now you can talk about the things that you don’t even fail.

Can you imagine encouraging your kids to fail? “It is okay to fail. It is okay to fall skiing. It is okay to not win a race. It is okay to do badly on a test. What can we do to support you?”

Imagine encouraging your kids to fail with the message: “It is okay to fall skiing. It is okay not to win a race. It is okay to do badly on a test. What can we do to support you?” This changes that perception of fear and failure.

A lot of the negative feelings like overwhelm and fear are all good feelings too because they mean you're doing something you've never done before.

It's changing that perception of fear and failure. Can you imagine if we change just that in our society?

In our group or our community, I always say, “If you're overwhelmed, that's very beautiful, that's great, and that's amazing. That means you're passing through your fear zone and getting into that growth zone. Keep it up and keep going. We love the overwhelmed. I love it.” As I started saying that to myself, overwhelm doesn't feel that heavy anymore. It's a lighter feeling like happiness, because like you’re a science teacher, doesn't our body only feel the way we tell it to feel? It's almost in our hands to tell it and to feel, “It's overwhelming?”

Much of what we learned growing up was that it is a way to protect ourselves. It was like, “I'm overwhelmed. Don't do that. Back away. Hot stove.” Overwhelmed is like that, but if we can learn to look at when I'm overwhelmed, now I go, “What's going on? Why am I feeling this way? What can I do? I need to break this thing down into chunks. I need to break it down into steps.” You're then not overwhelmed anymore, but many of us don't know those techniques. We haven't learned those techniques. It's more about being overwhelmed, running away, and hiding.

Yes, and shut down. Our kids learn from us. We are the models for them.

My daughter struggles a little bit in college. She goes, “I think I got a C or a D on my chemistry test.” “Cool, awesome, you did it.” She'd be like, “Okay.” She now loves chemistry. It's her favorite subject. It was giving that permission to go, “What are you going to do? What do you need to do?” She was like, “Okay.” There's no, “You're an idiot. You're a failure. You didn't study hard enough.”

That's the first thing. A lot of them come in like, “What were you doing the night before?” If it was my daddy, he'd say, “You never study. We know that you don't do any work.”

In my family growing up, if I got a B, “Why didn't she get an A?”

When I got an A, my dad would look at the absence column and say, “Where were you those three days?” I'm like, “No, you're looking at the wrong column. Move it slightly to the right.” 

It's crazy. We tend to do that nitpick thing of “Why did you get this one wrong?” It's like, “Look at all the ones I got right.” One of the gals I'm coaching right now with biology, this last test, she passed it. I said, “That's awesome.” Because she hadn't passed a test before. She goes, “But I didn't get an A or B.” I said, “But you passed this one.” She was like, “Okay.”

Because the celebration is set so high, next time she's going to get the 80 and the next is 90 because that's the little wins. It’s the bigger one. It's so bad that as a society, we don't celebrate those little things and the little wins. The one that's the most important win for her is that win. I know from my students too that it’s always the little one first. It gives them the confidence to go for the next big one.

I was listening to a YouTube clip the other day and it was working on some tools with dyslexia and ADHD. I love this because it talked about if your child doesn't get the clothes in the hamper, for example, we tend to say, “Why can't you get your clothes in the hamper?” Can you celebrate that they got one cloth in the hamper? Did they make it closer to the hamper? Can you celebrate the fact that “Your clothes are now in a pile instead of scattered all over the room?” I thought that was beautiful because if we can celebrate those small wins, then that child is going to feel valued. They're going to feel supported and they're going to naturally want to do better out of love instead of fear.

If we can celebrate those small wins, the children will feel valued and supported. They will naturally want to do better out of love instead of fear.

You're in Seattle, Washington. Your camps are still happening at your home there.

I live in the East side of Seattle in a suburb called Sammamish. It took me a year to figure out how to spell that. It's like spelling Mississippi.

I lived in a city called Mississauga, so it was like Mississippi. It took a while to spell it out too. I will have in the show notes how to connect with Molly so that you can connect with her, or if you're in the area, you can get your children to go to one of these camps. I wish I was young, Molly, and I could come to your camp, and I can see the way you speak and you animate stuff, how you're going to animate your camp. In science, it's all about the teacher's animation and the love for that subject that brings you to want to get in there. Let me do that too and I'm going to figure that out with her. You got that energy. You're so blessed with that. I love that.

Thank you. It is a blessing. Many stories of kids who have taken my camps and gone back to school. It is like they get a year of science in my camp in one week that they would maybe get in elementary school. Marine Biology Camp is not even taught.

We need you to spread this joy you have and I want to speak to you about that because a lot of kids, and a lot of families are not learning science anymore. Science is no longer the interest, but the whole world and even our body is science. What we eat is science. What we look at is science. Everything is science. We got it and it's so easy to teach reading, math, art, and everything through science.

It is and I'm going to give an example of the science that we're teaching. The hard part is it’s not taught to relate to anything. This is my little soap box. For example, we all go through learning cell parts, and we all learn, ”The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.” Everybody can say that, but I asked somebody the other day and I asked, “You learned that, what does that mean?” They had no idea.

I said, “Mitochondria supply the energy for your body. It's how adenosine triphosphate or ATP is produced. You need oxygen to run that cycle. When you exercise, your heart rate goes up, your breathing rate goes up. Why does your breathing rate go up? You need more oxygen because you need more oxygen to run that cycle to produce the ATP.” They're like, “That makes sense.”

That's why after exercise, we need a little bit more fuel because we probably used up what we had in that process.

Correct, then it's like, “Why are we filling our bodies with junk food? Why would you put sugar in your gas tank? You need to fuel your body like you fuel your car. You need to put good oil. You need to have good tires. You need to have good gasoline.” People look at me like, “I had no idea.” That's the problem.

Same in math. I'm a math coach. It’s the same way. We teach 90-degree triangles and the Pythagorean Theorem all the time but we never say, “Have you ever looked at your walls or your ceiling? They're all cut in 90 degrees.” If it wasn't, nothing could be tall, and standing straight, 90 degrees makes everything straight. No connection. That's why kids ask me all the time, “Why am I learning this stuff? I don't even know when I'm going to use it.” When I say these things as you say, they’ll say, “I guess I should know that maybe I might have something like the same in my lifetime. Maybe it might come in handy.”

I think that's honestly one of the biggest problems we have in education. We're just throwing these facts with no meaning behind them.

I love how you're bringing that to science. It's beautiful.

Therefore there's no value. I call education now like it's McDonald's. You go through the driveway, you get your hamburger, and your french fries. There's no value.

Anything else you want to add, Molly?

I encourage parents to be present. The best present you can give is your presence. Ask questions. Make up silly conversations. You've seen my husband and I are pretty silly. When you saw that last one, it was like, “Let's make aluminum foil hats. The latest trend.” It's that important to have fun, explore, be creative, and play. You're never too old. When I found the LSC coaching program, I tell people now, “I found out what I want to be when I grow up.” Not that I'm ever going to grow up in that sense, but I said, “This is that next step. This is the cherry.”

The best present you can give to your children is your presence. Ask questions and make up silly conversations.

That wraps it up. The bow tie on the top for everything I've done. Be present and communicate. This is my message too, and it's so easy to do. Even though we may think it's the hardest thing to do, I'm promising to any of you who are tuning in that it is the easiest thing to do. All you have to do is say, “I'm going to put this away for ten minutes. That's it. I'm going to be here with my child or family.”

Ask a silly question. If you need help, say, “What are silly questions I can ask my kids?” You could ask them silly questions like, “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?” I have a questionnaire for my kids at camp to help them get into groups and I ask, “Would you like a ketchup dispensing belly button or would you like to sweat mayonnaise?” They're like, “What?” It gets them laughing and it gets them thinking and they will say, “I don't know, which would I rather have?” It's nonsense, but it creates laughter and conversation.

Anything to have that conversation started and that's probably hard to do nowadays because of how disconnected we are. We think it's a whole new skillset to teach people. Maybe that's another teaching point. 

I think it is because of learning to ask questions. In my emails to parents, I give them questions, “Go ask them what we did. Ask them about this. Why did you get this car today? What is it about friction that you learned about today? You can practice friction at home.” Give them ways to foster communication.

Closing

Molly, thank you so much.

Thank you very much and I'm honored. Thank you.

Me too. Thank you.

‐‐‐

That was an amazing conversation with Molly. Molly is one of our Holistic Neuro Growth Learning Success Coaches. She has been with us for six months. She has built her own business. You saw her excitement about science how she teaches science, and how she has this summer camp she's been doing for many years in the big land that she has at her home in Seattle.

Her energy and her love for teaching science is amazing. Science is one of those subjects that can spark our curiosity and creativity in every form. To parents, one of her biggest requests and my request is to disconnect and be present. There is no other big present you can give your kids other than being present as she said.

This is an important time for you to create those bonds, give them the time they need to communicate with you and have those conversations. Conversation starters are huge because I am also guilty of asking my son, “How was school?” He would always say, “It was great. What did you do at school?” “Nothing.”

How are we going to get them to speak? By asking a question like, “What did you fail today?” We're going to talk about one thing that you failed. We all fail something or we had a mistake. What was that? There are multiple ways of learning how to speak to our kids. One of them is to find out what a cool question I can ask today. How can I word this question so they give me more details?

As they grow into teenage years, they are not going to speak much. How are we going to get them to speak? It's the game we have to play as parents. I hope you enjoyed that. If you are in the Seattle area, you want to register for the summer camps that she's going to be hosting.

She is such an amazing teacher. Her animation, and how she brings science to life. I wish I was younger and could attend her camp, but I'm not. Maybe she might have one for adults. If you have children that might be interested in that, I will put the details in the show note. Please don't forget to take that and check out her website to see what might interest your son or daughter.

Thank you for tuning in. As I always say, our children are the precious people in this equation. Make sure to have communication with them, to connect with them, to have meaningful conversations with them, and to encourage them to look into science because science is all around us. It's not a subject that you can ignore because there are so many things we can teach through science. That's why the exploration of science is very important. Thank you and we'll see you on another episode. Have a blessed day. Thank you.

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About Holly Hurd

Aligned Learning Revolution | Molly Hurd | Learning Styles

I've been in education for 30 years. I taught for public school and then transitioned into homeschool coops. I currently teach science classes for all grade levels for homeschool coops. I created and have directed summer camps for the last 15 years and recently became a certified Wholistic Learning Success Coach. love finding kids super powers to help them learn and grow. I have a BS in Biology and Masters in Education from Seattle Pacific University located in Seattle, WA.

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Kohila Sivas

Kohila Sivas is a parent and a lifelong learner. She has been a classroom teacher at all levels and a Special Needs Instructor and is a Professional Math Interventionist, a Master NLP coach, and a #1 Best selling author.

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