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Screens with Leah McDermott


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This is episode 15 and today I’m here with my friend Leah McDermott talking about screens.

Leahis a former Master Educator and now unschooling mama of two who has made it her mission to help bring more natural elements to children’s everyday learning experiences through her business Your Natural Learner.

Adventure of the Week

We took a birthday trip to a farm on Orca’s Island it was breathtakingly beautiful.


Misconceptions: What’s up with all the fear and shame? We break a lot of misconceptions down.

Valuable Tool: We share what it looks like for our children to utilize screens as valuable tools.

Balance: We talk about how to support a healthy balance with technology.

Role Modeling: We go over our best tips on how to have a healthy relationship with screens yourself.


We tackle the question of how to address appropriateness and safety with our kids in technology.

Dive Deeper

Disclosure: When I recommend a product that I believe will add value for you, it may contain an affiliate link. When you click the link to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Sage Coaching

The Bucket System

Your Vulva is Not Lord Voldemort

Technology Use in Meaningful Ways

Free to Learn

Sage Homeschooling

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  1. Kassandra says:

    Hi Rachel,

    This was such a sigh of relief to listen to. Thank you for putting these podcasts together. They really make a difference for new homeschoolers/unschoolers.

    The only thing I’m still having trouble with after listening to this is age. And maybe age isn’t a good indication… We started out with almost no screen time when my kids were really little but now my son is 4 and we had been limiting him to about 40 minutes of screen time a day. Is he still too young to be given the opportunity to “self regulate” with screen time. It’s been three days of us trying this. His little sister and I (2yo) play all around him and he doesn’t seem I interested in jointing us at all even when playing is normally favourite things.
    Do I hold out and watch and trust or maybe just not yet?

    Thanks for all you do!

    • Thank you for the gratitude and I’m so glad you’re finding the podcasts helpful. You want to observe you kid, get to know their needs and what helps them to thrive, and them collaborate together based on that. Talk a lot about what you’re noticing and get curious by wondering aloud. “Let’s try it” is a great low-risk approach to testing things out. There really isn’t a right or wrong answer with any of this stuff, just best for this kid, in this family, in this season.

  2. Daniela Bramwell says:

    Hi Rachel, I am a huuuuuge fan of yours! I keep recommending your podcast and books to everyone. I especially love this podcast episode, and keep coming back to it. My parents are sort of Montessori/free school type thinkers, and I went a school along those lines. It was great in many ways, but technology and screens were always forbidden and damaged our brains (they said). Now I am blessed with a three year old in my life. I don’t want to be controlling with her. But I have been, around many things, especially screens. It was such a relief to hear this, and realize what I guess I always knew. Thank you!

    Quick practical question: what apps did your kids like at about 3 and a half? We’re about to take a huge long flight and I’d like to put some new things on the tablet

    • Thank you for listening and reading and recommending to everyone! I sincerely appreciate that. And I’m so glad that this episode especially helped you to lean more into that trust that you have embodied in so many other areas of your family’s life. Apps change over so often and my youngest is 7, so anything that he was in to at 3 isn’t still around but whenever I was in the position you’re in now, I would google iPad apps, 3 year old, and choose a bunch to download and try, and then I would delete the half that didn’t resonate with me or my kid. As a starting point, my kids always enjoyed the Toca Boca suite of apps.

  3. Loved this episode. I have a 4 year old and I’m always unsure of where the ipad usage really stands. I can see all kinds of benefits from using the internet and some apps and I suppose moderation and what exactly he does on the ipad are the keys to make this successful. I don’t really think it’s beneficial for him to sit and watch videos of other kids playing with toys (that’s what happens when you bring up youtube kids) nor do I think it’s a good idea for him to sit and play on it all day. But, I know I watched a good bit of television when I was little and it really helped my imagination along and I was able to learn things. So, it can’t all be negative. But I definitely feel strongly that getting outside and using your hands should be a priority. This episode made me feel more at ease about using screens.

    • I’m so glad this episode made you feel more at ease. That was my aim. Screens are just a tool in the environment like paper. You get to choose with intention what you bring into the environment (so maybe not youtube kids) and then build out your life full of rich experiences. You got this.

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I work from an island in the Pacific Northwest, where I live wild and free in connection with my hilarious husband and three growing sailors in our fixer upper on the beach. I authentically live this healing work out loud raising my own neurodivergent family (inner child included) and draw on my decades of education and experience (I've done all the nerdy work so you don't have to) to guide a revolution of overwhelmed parents just like you to feeling at peace within yourself, consciously connected with your children, embraced by a supportive community, and enjoying a values-aligned life you love.

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