For the Love of Learning – Homeschooling off the Grid – Epi#94




Show Title:

For the Love of Learning Episode #94

Homeschooling off the Grid

Monday February 20, 2017, 8pm-10pm EST
Tuesday February 21, 2017, 1am-3am GMT


Leslie Whitney

Krystal Trammell

Philip Bena, Jr.

Molly and Shawn Mercer

Special Guest Host:

Miranda Ortiz


Description: Coming Soon…


Leslie Whitney


Hi, my name is, Leslie Whitney and I share a home with my talented musician husband, Josh and my three talent-ly, rambunctious boys.  We own a quaint, bermed home, that sits in a hill (like a hobbit den) and is nestled in the woods of beautiful West Michigan.  We have just enough land for my boys to explore, a small gathering of wildlife (including, our dog, chickens and rabbits), a clothesline for grass stained britches and of course, my FAVORITE place and my sanctuary….MY GARDEN!!

Winter is coming to an end and although we have enjoyed the plethora of food we harvested and preserved in the spring and fall of 2016, I am looking forward (ok, I’m giddy!!!) to start my seeds and get my hands in the soil.  I’ve been coined, “The Weed Witch” in my community and humbly accept the title. I hold weed walks for anyone who would like to forage in their yard, or to those who hope to be able to survive off the land if they are ever faced with a Zombie apocalypse.

We live our lives simply. My boys “learn” by living and growing side by side, along with their father and me, our friends, and the community of families around us. We believe in letting our boys pursue their passions, while encouraging them to do what makes them happy, all while instilling compassion for others and our earth.

I’m continuously finding ways to lead a more natural and homesteading lifestyle. I love to make my own clothes, napkins and hankies. We chop and split our own firewood as a family to warm our home.  We grow aportion of our food and supplement through organic, fair-trade co-ops and our local community of farmers. I take pride in being able to make my own soap, lotions, healing balms and “potions”.

I consider myself an extroverted introvert and while I LOVE my simplicity and peace, I also enjoy welcoming friends and strangers alike to my home to teach them how to sew, craft, meditate, how to use oils and holistic healing ways. Sometimes we gather with other families and watch kids of all ages run and get along. sometimes we just share coffee and conversation, because really it’s all about relationships and good coffee, right??


Krystal Trammel


I’m Krystal Trammell, birth nerd and multipassionate mama, and I’d like to tell you a bit about ME! I have five kids from age 17 to 4, and I’m basically a hippie at heart. I’ve lived in the Central Texas area for most of my life, and was actually born on Fort Hood.

I work with Sandra Tallbear, CNM/ARNP, as office support for The Natural Birthing Center in Salado, Texas. I also work remotely with Elizabeth Carman, Ph.D., author of the incredible and groundbreaking book Cosmic Cradle: Spiritual Dimensions of Life before Birth.

MY OWN BIRTHS – Two of my five kids were born at home, and the last one was unassisted. It was magical.

HIPPIE CREDENTIALS – I love playing with crystals, talking about energy, and drumming around bonfires with my family.

HEALING – I’m a Reiki master, and I’ve been a professional henna artist for nearly 20 years.

FANDOMS – On a scale of 1-10, I am 9 and 3/4 obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

ORGANIC – We’re slowly converting our land into a permaculture farm/forest, because we believe deeply that health care is primarily self-care.

ROOTS – I am a Hungarian gypsy by heritage, but I’m happy to have roots here in the Central Texas countryside.


Philip Bena, Jr.


Philip Béna Jr. was home educated and is the owner/operator of The Leaning House Studio & Productions located in Metropolitan Washington, DC. He is an audio engineer, camera operator and photographer. He has worked with people like Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Kerry and Ron Paul as well as artists like Carole King, Maroon 5 and John Legend. Philip speaks across the country about alternate/home education and unschooling.

Philip and his wife are at what they would call the beginning stages of their homesteading journey. They have a chicken, a garden, can food that they grow and chop wood. They would like to grow in this area, and continue their homesteading journey.


Molly and Shawn Mercermolly-and-shawn-mercer

We are a small family homestead in rural Maine. We are fueled by sunshine, permaculture philosophy and endless ideas about how to live life more fully, more sustainably and with more positive impact. We host folks to our homestead through our website and airbnb, offering up a unique blend of agro and eco tourism. We also sell farm products, homeschool our youngest kids and hold education workshops. We’d love to have you visit! The world is a better place when people connect, share and grow together.


Miranda Ortiz


Miranda Ortiz was born in Mexico City and moved with her family to Canada at the age of 8. She graduated from McGill University with an honours degree in International Development Studies which she was able to help form as the area was only being opened at the time. Her work has touched local communities as varied as the Zapotecos from the hills of Oaxaca in Mexico, the Mohawks from Canada and various groups from northern Papua New Guinea.

Currently she resides in an off grid home in southeastern Mexico. Over the last 9 years she has been working to help women achieve natural births. The focus of her Enlightened Birth -Parto Iluminado program is to share information and deep relaxation techniques with families so as to empower them to take independent decisions for themselves and their families. Her own children were born at home and are being educated within the family circle.

As an outgrowth of this, she founded Centro Bek, a centre aimed at bringing tools and support to families and individuals so they too can create their own independent realities. Alternatives in birth, education, health, and living lightly on the earth, are all part of the integrated, consciously created, sustainable future which the centre promotes.


This episode is produced by Anne Boie

Episode hosted by Miranda Ortiz


Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your regular host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teen son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

For full archives of this show and programming schedule, please visit: 

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For comments, questions, suggestions or if you’d like to be guest on the show, please contact us here.

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