How to Support Childhood Cognitive Development [transcript]

Written by Christopher Kelly

Jan. 1, 2019

[0:00:00]

Christopher:    Hello and welcome to the Nourish Balance Thrive podcast. My name is Christopher Kelly and today I'm delighted to be joined once again by Dr. Josh Turknett. Hi, Josh. Thank you for joining me.

Josh:    Hey, Chris. Happy to be here.

Christopher:    This is not your first appearance on the podcast and was starting to call you our resident neurologist which I very much enjoy.

Josh:    A lot of pressure.

Christopher:    No, it's great, isn't it? It's one of the things I love about NBT is that, what is it? Technically, it's an S corporation but, in real life, it's this kind of ragtag bunch of rebels that have got together and none of it is formalized. We've got all these amazing people who found me and helped me out and shaped NBT into what it is today. None of it was planned, all these fantastic people like Tommy and Megan and Simon and Zach and Clay and Tammy and Elaine and you. It's absolutely incredible. I feel so lucky and so privileged to have all these incredible people. All of them are smarter than me, helping me create what is--

Josh:    Not at all. Yeah, it's really cool because it kind of all happened organically. I think it's just people clustering around the common idea and excited to find other people sharing the same thoughts.

Christopher:    Tell us about the Physicians for Ancestral Health podcast because that's something you've been doing for a few months now with Tommy and I've been very much enjoying that.

Josh:    Yeah.

Christopher:    Can you tell people about the PAH podcast?

Josh:    PAH is our Physicians for Ancestral Health organization. So, speaking of like-minded people trying to get together, that's the primary function of it. It's other physicians, MDs and DOs who have seen the value of ancestral health and trying to integrate those principles into their practice and trying to connect with other physicians who are interested in doing the same thing and sharing ideas.

    The organization is mainly a vehicle for connecting people together and so part of what we want to try to do is expand and find other folks and so that was one of the reasons for launching the podcast earlier this year where we're basically taking members of the organization and getting their story how they came about finding the world of ancestral health, how they're trying to integrate it in their practice and so on because we have a broad diverse group of people who are kind of -- each have their own unique spin on things and have their own different reasons for why they came to it and just trying to help each other navigate this territory and grow the organization.

    That's the aims of the podcast. And if there are any doctors or physicians out there listening who want to join the organization or learn more about what we are all about, we're ancestraldoctors.org.

Christopher:    I will, of course, link to everything that you mentioned in the show notes this episode. If you poke around in your podcast at Overcast, for example, press the little info button, you'll find the show notes and they'll be linked there. Josh, that's a good opportunity for me to jump onto what you just said and ask why is it that you're not doing what every other board certified neurologist on the planet is doing?

    Perhaps I don't want to say anything about what they are doing. Perhaps you could tell us a little bit about what you would be doing had you not known about Physicians for Ancestral Health and ancestral health in general and what you do do now?

Josh:    Yeah, that's a big question.

Christopher:    Don't worry. I'll pull you onto another topic in about 15 seconds.

Josh:    I think everybody in the organization probably has gone through the same experience where they're going along one way practicing sort of the conventional way we're taught to approach disease and then find this world of ancestral health and start applying that to our own lives first. I think that most of the people who are in our organization have gone down that route.

    And then seeing the impact that it makes and then opening up to the ideas that this could significantly impact everything else that you do. And then that ultimately leads to an existential crisis where you realize that you're in this system that makes it really, really hard to integrate any of that stuff. And that forces you in many ways overt and covert to practice in ways that you're increasingly uncomfortable with that you realize that you're doing things that not only are not what you want to do but maybe even undermine the things that you like to be doing and trying to figure out how to still practice and how to do what you're there to do, which is relieve suffering and improve whatever condition they are seeing you for, and you realize there are so many obstacles in the way of doing that. It's really hard.

    So, for me, personally, that's why I slowly transitioned out of the conventional traditional medical practice over the past few years so that I could create something different and build a platform that would allow me to practice or do things in a way that I wanted to and it was more aligned with my own values with health but also what I thought was in the best interest of my patients. It's unfortunate that we have a system where that's not the primary thing driving what's being done.

Christopher:    I'm sure there are many obstacles. Can you name the biggest one?

Josh:    I would say the expectation or the idea that, basically, that pharmaceuticals are primary tool and there are a whole host of reasons why that's now the case and that's reinforced in many ways.

[0:05:09]

    But so many things flow from that initial idea if you're starting from that point where the primary mission of every encounter is to say what's the right drug for this then just all sorts of other madness stems from that core philosophy.

Christopher:    Not that there's never a time and place for that tool. It's just perhaps not the only weapon.

Josh:    No. But that's really the objective of an encounter. What is the right drug for this?

Christopher:    Well, this leads us nicely onto the Intelligence Unshackled podcast because that would seem is the answer. You've gone away from being a prescriber of things to a teacher of things which is, I find, incredibly interesting.

Josh:    Yeah. That podcast was created to scratch a lot of itches, to kind of give myself a vehicle for trying to put all the ideas that I care a lot about under one umbrella. I realize that the thing that I really enjoy the most are, and talking about the most and teaching about, are the ways in which we can release human potential. And, certainly, tying back to the aspect of neurology and health aspect, one of the big ways, in my view, that our intelligence and our cognitive function and just our fulfillment and well-being in life is constrained right now is in the health of the brain and how well we do or do not support the biological foundation of our mind and thinking and our well-being.

    And so that's where, for that podcast, I'll cover various ideas I have about how we can get more from our brain but I think it starts with attending to the biological operation and that's where ancestral health comes in as, for me, the central guiding framework for understanding where to begin and where to start with getting the biological foundation in order.

Christopher:    I know you are a voracious podcast listener and I wonder whether some of the podcast you listen to have inspired you with the style that you've adopted for the Intelligence Unshackled podcast. I really enjoy storytelling, when you go straight into a suspenseful story that you told from your experiences of practicing neurologist and then you're like, "Where is this going, Josh? Tell me the rest of the story." But you always break it up and you give us a little bit of a technical background. Can you tell us about any podcast that inspired you or is that just all your own style?

Josh:    I'm sure. I am a voracious listener of podcasts. I do have certain styles that I like. I've a little bit of background in audio and music and so forth so there are things that I could do to enhance the production value a little bit that wouldn't be too onerous for me. There were a lot of considerations there. The idea for the opening with cases and stories like that came later on but was one of those things where when I thought of it I was like, "That's the way in."

    For me, that was a big hook for neurology to begin with. It's just such a natural way to learn for so many reasons. You have the storytelling aspect but you also have -- there's this problem to be solved and you want to figure out how to solve it. Case histories are such a great learning tool to begin with but they're also a good hook.

    And then I have cases I've seen over the years that are interesting and this gives me an opportunity to share them. That part is nice as well. And also, I mentioned on the podcast that my first real introduction in neurology, I had been interested in neuroscience but really didn't really know what neurology was, was when I read The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks.

Christopher:    That's such a great title.

Josh:    It is, right? That's a collection of case histories, learning about the brain through that. That's nice. Comes full circle if I can weave that back into this podcast that I'm doing.

Christopher:    I feel it's doubly interesting for me because not only am I Interested in all of the things that you just mentioned but also the last couple of years I've focused my attention on learning machine learning especially supervised machine learning. And I watched an interview with a very famous researcher called Geoffrey Hinton who most people regard to be the father of deep learning. He's been around a long time waiting for the hardware to catch up with what he knew was possible.

    One of the things that he said is that if you want to understand the brain you first have to build one. You made an analogy with a car. If you really want to understand how a car works, try building one and then you'll know how it works.

Josh:    Right.

Christopher:    As I hear you talk about subterranean neural networks and all these other concepts on the Intelligence Unshackled podcast, I'm thinking, oh my goodness, that is exactly how it's done in supervised machine learning especially with neural networks. And some of the papers that you post in our Slack, that persistence and transience paper, oh my goodness. Now that I've mentioned it, I guess, you got to explain what persistence and transience means.

Josh:    Which paper was that?

Christopher:    Sorry. This is the idea that memory, people think that it's just a storage vessel, a way to transmit knowledge through time. But what memory really is is a tool to help you make better decisions. And so forgetting things might actually be beneficial.

[0:10:06]

Josh:    Got you. Yes. Thank you for the cue.

Christopher:    The reason I got excited is because in deep learning there's a concept called dropout and it's exactly that. It's forgetting things deliberately. You randomly drop some of your ways and that helps you to generalize onto unseen examples. It's really important. You vastly improve the performance of deep neural networks. And, lo and behold, the human brain does the same thing. We forget things, right?

Josh:    Yeah. There's actually a book read not long ago called The Forgetting Machine. That's basically so much of what the brain's job is figuring out what's relevant, what's worth storing and tagging for retrieval later on and what can be left and not. The structure of the brain is expensive, right, and that's what you have to do to store something. We have a sophisticated system for deciding what should be stored for later and what should be forgotten and most of what we encounter shouldn't be stored, right?

Christopher:    Right.

Josh:    It's only the stuff that matters that should be stored. Going back to my obsession with learning and so forth, one of the things we can take from that is figuring out what does it use? What are the criteria it does use for tagging something and saying this is worth changing the brain for and not? I think you can look at, when you see failures of learning, your failures of memory oftentimes it's not factoring at that end or not tagging it appropriately so that you do send that signal. The primary objective is to figure out what to forget, what to keep.

Christopher:    Fantastic. Well, I would highly recommend the Intelligence Unshackled podcast. You can find that by searching in your podcast, you'll find it wherever you find your podcast. I will also link to it in the show notes to make this very easy. I wanted to spend the bulk of our time today, Josh, talking about another problem I have. I don't know if people have noticed this but the podcast is really just about me getting free consultation from the world's best people.

    And, of course, the problem that is discussed on nearly every single episode. And as time goes by, these problems are shifting away from my own personal problems to slightly less personal problems which is my kids. Years ago, we started the Paleo Baby podcast and it was mostly my wife Julie that was recording that. It's still up there if people want to search for this, some really good stuff on there.

    I don't want to turn the Nourish Balance Thrive podcast into the Paleo Baby podcast but still I think many people listening will have children and will be very interested in the topic of education and the best environment in which children can learn. And that's certainly where we're at now with our daughter Ivy who is five years old. Up until now she has spent all of her time outdoors at Forest School. She hasn't had any structured learning or curriculum or anything like that.

    I know that you've had some very interesting experiences with your own children. Perhaps we could start by you telling us about the letter that you wrote to, I believe it was your kid's high school, High Meadows, is that correct?

Josh:    It was their elementary school.

Christopher:    Elementary.

Josh:    We started out when they were of school age. I have a daughter and a son. She is now 14. When she got to be of school age, we started figuring out what we were going to do. I was probably, at that point, can't recall for sure, but I probably at that point would have, left to my own devices, maybe just gone ahead and done home school for a few reasons. I was trying to see if I could find something that was aligned with my own educational philosophy and see if--

Christopher:    That is the promise. We've been down that rabbit hole ourselves. You really hope that someone could do it. You had to find the right answer there.

Josh:    Yes. So, yeah, I have my ideas. I've obsessively thought about learning for two decades now so, obviously, I'm pretty opinionated on this. And then my wife, her background is education. She was a school teacher for several years. We're both opinionated about this matter.

    What my ideal was, to take traditional school and compare that to my ideal, there's a huge chasm to cross. There's no way. But there are private schools trying to do something that's a little bit different. Even just looking around there, the distance to cover between where they're at and where I would want to be at is still pretty enormous.

    We found a place that was at least, comparing to anything else around here and probably anywhere that you would find, was as progressive philosophically as we could hope for, so we enrolled our daughter there and she was there for several years and so was our son for a few years. The letter you refer to I wrote, and partly to kind of celebrate the philosophy that brought us there to begin with and maybe help nudge support from the community for that philosophy because what you realize is if the parent community isn't fully aligned behind that then it doesn't really matter. It's not going to work.

    I mean, it's hard enough to do something that doesn't look like traditional school but if the will isn't there from the community, it's even harder. So, the reason for writing that is because the state of philosophy is one thing but the execution wasn't always that and it may have drifted some over the years for various reasons.

[0:15:06]

    But part of that, I think, is simply, like I said, if the parent community isn't really fully aligned with that philosophy it's hard for administration and it's hard to recruit new students and so forth. There are a lot of forces that kind of push it back towards the traditional model and very few that pull it in the right direction. I think it speaks to the bigger challenge with education.

    I don't think it's controversial to say it's a pretty dysfunctional system that we have right now and probably, just like healthcare, because it was designed to solve a very different problem. So, you have two choices--

Christopher:    From another time.

Josh:    Yeah, from another time. And now it's this ginormous system with all of this inertia behind it. So, you can either try to nudge that system in the direction you want it to go or start over from scratch.

Christopher:    Right. Which is what you did with neurology, basically.

Josh:    This is what I did with neurology. It seems a daunting prospect and it seems hard to envision with both of those, how to sort of nudging it towards where you want to go, approach will work. That was what I was testing or what we were testing with sending our daughter to this school, was saying, "Well, can you take this old model and do something different inside of it?"

    I think, ultimately, it seemed like that was too tall an order. There's just too much ground to cover and too many things that reinforced the status quo to try to put that. It's kind of putting a round peg into a square hole, taking a model that was designed for something else and trying to change it. So, I wrote the letter trying to celebrate those ideals and maybe nudge the parent community in another direction.

Christopher:    It was really a lovely piece of radical candor. I will, of course, link to – If you don't mind, Josh. Do you mind if I link to the letter in the show notes?

Josh:    Oh, no. Not at all.

Christopher:    Okay.

Josh:    Yeah.

Christopher:    It was a lovely piece of radical candor. You said something quite specific about the budget for arts and music and other softer things, shall we say. Can you talk about that?

Josh:    Yes. I think I opened talking about a new story that I heard talking about more cuts to art and music programs. One of the reasons we chose the school, one of the reasons we didn't want a traditional education is because we both value that very highly in terms of our own children's education. So, if I think about my own approach to thinking about my kids' development and their education, there are a few domains that I consider but one of those is children are working on different cognitive networks at different points in time.

    I don't think it's a coincidence, for example, early on we all know they have the script they follow and they're learning to talk and learning to walk and it's programmed in and wired in and so they have certain things they're working on at certain times and their brain is seeking those inputs and it's rewarded but when it gets those inputs because it can work on those circuits and it does that throughout the pre-school years with talking, walking and early social behaviors.

    But we know that children also love to make music and they love to make art and they love to make stuff. I don't think that's a coincidence. That's universal. I don't think it's a coincidence that is found in every human culture. I think it's there and I think our brains love it because it's really good for the brain. We, I think, have missed the concept that our brain doesn't stop developing or it doesn't stop that script at least until the early 20s.

    So, it's not that once they've learned to talk and walk, it's done. It's still growing and developing. It's still seeking inputs depending on what network is building at any given time. We should listen when we hear they love music or they love art or whatever it is. Their brain is finding that rewarding. If we're going to decide to suppress those activities or limit them in any way, we better have very good reason for that, taking something we say. We know their brain is seeking this out and finds it really, really pleasurable and it's not like this has been explicitly designed to hijack the reward circuits like junk food or drugs of abuse. This is something that every human finds rewarding. Maybe we should listen to that.

    I would contend that the reason is that it's helping to develop cognitive networks that they're trying to build at that time and if we just look purely from what's happening in the brain when we do those sorts of things it's, to me, one of the best cognitive activities we have, either music or art, which probably is why we find it so rewarding and the irony being, what's the objective of school if we're going to be suppressing and cutting out the very things that probably are best at developing intelligence and supporting development of the brain?

Christopher:    Do you think it starts then with this mistaken belief that if it's not hard then it's not useful? I was interacting with a parent locally here and they said exactly that. My kid goes to this school and somebody else's kid goes to this other school and my kid got it so much harder, they do much harder work, they have much more homework, they do much more assessment. The kid is just grafting 24/7 and, therefore, my school must be better than that other school. And it seems like a fairly common belief that harder must be better.

[0:20:14]

Josh:    Totally. And also, there's a belief that the things that are hard for us must be intrinsically harder. So, sitting here having this conversation like there's no effort involved in making the speech yet it's like one of the most cognitively sophisticated tasks we ever do. We can find things that human brains aren't very good at and we could focus on those and try to develop those. It makes no sense. You could find all sorts of stuff. We could memorize phonebooks and that's going to be extremely hard. But what's the point?

Christopher:    Some people do that like a sport. They call themselves athletes, memory athletes. Have you heard about it?

Josh:    Yeah. So, yeah, I totally agree that what's hard should not be a metric for anything. The primary value for at least some awareness of the level of challenge would be that if you're trying to grow any particular cognitive skill, motor skill or whatever is to try to find the boundary of where you're comfortable and where you're pushed a little bit. That's true of anything. But selecting things just based on the fact that they're harder or easier, and there's plenty of evidence to suggest that making things too hard is also counterproductive for probably a lot of reasons, but just choosing things based on how hard they are doesn't make much sense. There are probably some ideas behind that that are fueling that, the reasons why you might think that's valuable.

Christopher:    One of the things I've noticed from Forest School -- I totally didn't get it when my wife said, "Oh, she should go to Forest School." I'm like, "What is Forest School?" I thought it was just some daycare thing, like play school. In fact, it's a philosophy that I believe originated in Finland and is quite common in many of the Nordic countries in Northern Europe.

    The idea is the outdoor environment provides the best learning environment for children up to the ages of five and perhaps beyond. The moment you see it -- It's one of those things you don't get it until you see it. I'm very lucky to live in the mountains in Santa Cruz and we have redwood trees and all kinds of fun stuff. There's a creek at the end of our garden and I've just been spending some time clearing all the trees so the kids can spend more time playing around the creek.

    The thing that motivated me was seeing those kids playing by the creek. You could literally leave them there for five hours and they will never get bored of building dams and watching leaves and sticks float down the river and all of that. I thought that was fascinating that the outdoors provides this very rich environment in which children could learn and how different that is from what we normally do with our children.

    They spend, I contrast the local elementary school in Bonny Doon. I'm sure it's a lovely school. People speak very highly of it. When you look at it -- In her younger years, Ivy would ask questions like, "Is that a jail?" It kind of look like a jail. It's got lots of chain link fences, buildings from the 1960s with very few windows. I mean, we live in this amazing outdoor playground but there's not really that much space to play outdoors and the space that there is is surrounded by chain link fences. I wondered whether you thought about that at all. Of course, it's a very leading question. I basically answered all my own questions. Do you think there's anything special about the outdoors?

Josh:    For sure. You didn't have to lead me too far. As we've talked about before, one of the things that I think about with my own kids is that there's a developmental script the brain is running on early on that we all know, the walking, talking script, but then as they're getting into school age, what are the things that we're working on? If you go back what are the things that we do cognitively that set our species apart?

    So, we communicate, we collaborate, we create. To create, we have to learn about the world, we have to form abstractions and sort of manipulate those, make predictions and build stuff based on those predictions. And along the lines of learning about the world and problem solving and figuring out how things work so that we can then create tools and whatnot there's no better laboratory.

    I mean, what laboratory have we used for millions of years for that? It's being outside. Why try to manufacture something when we already have everything we need along those lines? For all this stuff, it's like so much for me about the approach to education should just be getting the hell out of the brain's way. It's trying to do these certain things so you see, like you just described, kids outdoors for hours exploring, not getting bored.

    There's probably a reason for that. Before we put them inside and create an artificial environment for them, let's be sure that that's the right thing to do. There's a reason for, basically, going against or trying to outsmart what their natural inclinations are because those natural inclinations may very well be there for a good reason to support and to develop the brain and the cognitive architectures that they need.

Christopher:    It is fascinating. Everybody listening to this knows what happens when you try and constrain kids indoors for any amount of time. You've got this, like you say, an artificial environment that is limited in the number of objects and things of interest that are there. So, the kids quite often turn to mischief to find interesting--

[0:25:05]

Josh:    Right. So, I was a good "student" and didn't get into a lot of trouble but the things that I did get in trouble for was almost always like talking and socializing. What are you doing? What's more important to the human species than being able to collaborate and communicate with other humans, right? And we put them in this place where their brain is saying, "Practice this. Practice this," and we're saying stop all the time.

    So then we're trying to get them -- The brain is telling them to do one thing and then we're trying to tell them to control that impulse and yet that part of their brain is the least well-developed. And then we pathologize the kids that can't do that very well and medicate them and so on. The traditional way is to put them in an artificial environment, suppress the things that their brains want to do the most and, basically, put impulse control as one of the top objectives when that's the part of the brain that's least well developed at that point in time. It's tragic in a lot of ways.

Christopher:    Do you see this as a course? You just touched on it briefly there, but do you see that as a course? Do you ever see children in your neurology practice? Would you ever diagnose ADD or ADHD and do you see the school environment or the indoor environment or whatever we're doing as a driver of these problems?

Josh:    Yeah. So, we don't really know the question is if a kid in their natural -- is there such a thing as ADD for a kid in their ancestral environment, right? So, is it purely a disease of civilization and even more so are we just pathologizing something that's normal or just on the spectrum of normal behavior?

    I would contend that a lot of diagnoses would evaporate if you just get sleeping well. That probably is the number one. Because you have impulse control not well-developed. You're asking them to use it constantly throughout the day. And then what's the biggest thing that compromises impulse control? And it's sleep deprivation.

    Of course, it's extremely hard for children to get enough sleep based from the current school schedule. They're sleep deprived. I think if that alone would be huge. My daughter, she is 14 now. One of the great things about being able to home school is they wake up when they're ready. We don't wake them up, which is fully the case. She is a different person like that.

    Right now, she'll sleep for about 11 hours on average. If she was on a regular school, she would have to go to bed around 7:00. The best case scenario would probably be 11 o'clock. How many hours of sleep she compromises every day in and day out if she was in traditional school? We know firsthand, I used to say, before we home schooled her. She's a different child in the summer. It didn't click for a while but it was because she was sleeping. All these behaviors that were mainly just impulsive stuff just evaporated over the summer time and evaporated once we were home schooling her. They've gone away.

    Going back to the overarching framework for ancestral health is where are the mismatches? And sleep is one of the biggest ones. For kids, we're creating that all the time which really compromises their ability to regulate behavior. But then you also throw in nutrition.

Christopher:    I was going to say glucose discussions.

Josh:    I mean, how most kids are eating. Another great thing that we're able to do now is we can cook their meals at home, breakfast and lunch, and even with the best of intentions trying to send kids something at school they can eat a lunch, whatever, your options are limited and it's hard to do something that's not going to compromise them metabolically.

    If you took out sleep and refined sugar and carbohydrates, I think you would tackle most of the behavior issues and maybe left with a small subset that could be true pathology. But the majority of kids who are diagnosed with things like ADD are just basically pathologizing normal responses to being in a mismatched environment.

Christopher:    of course, the challenging thing with food is -- At first, I thought it was just a technical problem. Can't you just get a lunch box and put what you would normally eat at home in a box and send it? But, of course, it's not really about that. It's about being seen to conform with the crowd. When all of your peers are eating Doritos and whatever, sipping Coke, then--

Josh:    Absolutely. And don't think the kids don't trade whatever you send them with. Another thing is just dealing with the mine field, talk about willpower. If they see everybody around them with sugary treats, they are, of course, going to be tempted by it and having to say, "Oh, I need to eat this good thing for me." That's a lot to ask of a kid of that age.

Christopher:    I think the most terrifying thing about the words home schooling is the idea that it conjures up. Whenever you say home schooling to me, I have this idea of a parent stood in the living room with a blackboard. You're trying to recreate the classroom exactly as it is in our home.

Josh:    Exactly.

Christopher:    Recently, my wife introduced me to the word unschooling which, I think -- nobody knows what the hell it is. It's like functional medicine. Doctors say, "What the hell does functional mean?" That means the patient is making it up, doesn't it? It's the same with unschooling. Nobody knows what it means but at least it steers you away from the idea that you're recreating the classroom at home.

[0:30:08]

Josh:    Yeah. I think the usefulness of that concept is that, no, it's not school. It's not. We're not mapping school at home. But you can define that as to whatever you want that to be. So, it isn't a thing. You're kind of saying we're defining it by what it's not. But you're absolutely right that most people, especially those who really aren't familiar with home schooling much, they hear that word and they think exactly what you just said, which is you're supposed to, "Time for Math."

Christopher:    Yeah, it's a curriculum. Oh god.

Josh:    And you sit down and you just take what they do at school and do it at home. One reason for the unschooling terminology that developed was because there are folks that do that and probably the first wave of home school emerged as a way of exercising religious freedom. People wanted to integrate religious teachings into their curriculum and so forth.

    Because of that, it was mainly the idea was to take what you do at school and we'll just add in this stuff at home. That defined the initial wave of home schooling. But now, you've got a more recent development where people see that there's an opportunity to do something better at home. I'll talk to somebody and say we're home schooling and immediately they'll come up with some comment that's basically "I couldn't teach English at home" or whatever.

    I'm like, “No. The whole reason is because we're going to do it differently. We don't want that thing that we know what the regular school looks like.” It's a chance to redesign education from first principles based on what our goals are rather than what the standard approach is.

Christopher:    So, if not the standard classroom environment and the standard classroom or school curriculum, tell us about what you do do? What has worked well for you?

Josh:    I'll give you my overarching framework for how I think about what we do. Because I think part of the process and part of the advantage is that you get to customize what you do to your own children, right, which is you just can't do in a school and so many of the limitations of school arise from that problem that you can't customize it to one child. You have to figure out something that works for everybody.

    The way I think about it is what are the goals when it comes to education? First, for me, is to support the neurobiological development of their brain and to make sure it's healthy. So, all those things are basically the principles of ancestral health, making sure they're sleeping well, making sure they have good nutrition, making sure they're getting time outside, making sure they have ample opportunities to play, art, music, and so forth. So, things that are supporting the neurobiological health of their brain and also things that are supporting the cognitive networks that they're working on at this age.

    A lot of that is simply getting the hell out of the way, seeing where they're at and figuring out what type of environment they need. And then the third category is to help them develop general and specific skills. So, my ultimate goal is for them to build a life where they're able to do the things they want to do each day and earn a living from that, which is not the goal that most people are going down.

    Within that, it's trying to build specific skills based on their interest that one day could be useful. So that sort of thing is going to differ for each child. And then there are also what general concepts, ideas, knowledge are necessary, some of which are universal, some of which are culturally specific. But with all of it, the primary learning formula that I think about is -- There are three things.

    Anytime we're learning about something new or doing something, we have to have intrinsic motivation. One of the reasons for getting out of school, traditional school, is that almost all of learning is dictated by extrinsic forces, get a good grade and then once you get out of school earn money. Your behavior is almost entirely driven by intrinsic factors rather than--

Christopher:    Delayed gratification. You must have seen what Robert Sapolsky says about delayed gratification. Humans are the only animals that have ability to delay gratification even after death, into the afterlife.

Josh:    Right. How tragic. So, one of the opportunities with being able to customize it is being able to be led by what they're intrinsically motivated by. So, either what are you curious about, is it a question you want to have answered or is there a problem you want to solve? If that's not driving the learning process, it's not going to work. That's why we have people who can ace four years of high school Spanish and not feel comfortable speaking in a Spanish country.

Christopher:    Oh, wow. Isn't that sad? That's the saddest thing.

Josh:    Eight years of piano lessons and are afraid to sit down in a piano. So, if you don't start with intrinsic motivation it's not going to stick. That's why the alternative is to use a carrot, like make a good grade, to at least do it, but the knowledge isn't going to last.

[0:35:00]

    The second is there has to be a feedback mechanism. You have to have some way of knowing whether you're on the right track or not. And then the third is to have the learner constructing knowledge. I think we talked about this last week. The object is not to take the knowledge in my head and transfer it into your head. The object is for you to construct that knowledge using the system.

    You're motivated to figure something out. You have feedback to guide you and you're constructing the knowledge on your own. It's facilitated by that feedback and that can come in many different forms. That's the framework that I think about when we're talking about anything that they would go about learning.

Christopher:    That covers the framework that sounds good. The question is what does that look like on Monday morning?

Josh:    Right.

Christopher:    I'm noticing this theme with parenting. It started with baby-led weaning, this idea that you just let the baby choose when they're ready to start eating solid foods and when they can pick things up and eat them is probably that's the right food and that's the right time. It seems like this is baby led weaning all over again. We got this interest-led learning. You find this interesting? Let's explore that. What does this look like on Monday morning for you?

Josh:    What would you do day to day has evolved over time. Obviously, that's one of the perks of being able to do it this way. For me, there's sort of the core things that I always want kids to have during the course of the day. That's getting outside, that's physical activity and we want opportunities for social engagement.

    For those sorts of things, we've had a couple of different strategies that we've used that worked well. One nice thing is that we can align their peer groups around their interests. For example, my daughter had an interest in a particular book series and they organized a group of girls who were all into that. They would meet periodically to talk about the books. They would write stories, sort of fan fiction type of type based on it. At one point, they were writing their own production or script that they were going to film and so forth. Basically, taking an interest and then getting a group together around it is one way to kind of--

Christopher:    Right. And that is one of the most common objections that I hear is, "Oh, your child is going to be poorly socialized because they don't go to school." It's like saying, "Oh, because you're an entrepreneur and you work exclusively from home, you're not going to have any friends." Okay, yeah, I'm not going to have the same friends that I have by default from going into the office every day but that doesn't mean that you have to be poorly socialized. It's a choice that you have, right?

Josh:    Absolutely. And I thought the same way years ago. That was the stereotype people would have about home school. You're sitting at home all day by yourself not doing anything. You completely get to choose that aspect of it. I mean, nowadays, it's super easy to find other people to connect with especially we're in a big city but the internet allows for a lot of that especially if you make it a priority.

    One of the great things is that -- One hard part about school is it's such an artificial social environment year round, a class of 20 other kids the exact same age. You're always around people, you have your own peer group. There's no gradation with age and it's just a totally different type of social environment than what's natural.

Christopher:    I have to say that that was one of the problems that Forest School solved was that they're not all the same age. They're not batched by date of birth in Forest School.. Ivy is playing with kids who are barely potty trained and then other kids who are the same age as her which is five.

Josh:    Yeah. When our daughter was in school, the social dramas were frequent. That was a source of stress and that's been one of the most magical things about this. It's been two and a half years and my wife and I were just talking about it the other day. We haven't had anything in the area. There's been no negative social issues to have to mind and that felt like a constant presence. I think it just emerges from being in that artificial setting.

    I mean, you're with a certain peer group and that's who you're with. You don't get to choose that, right? If you have some bad relationships that developed, you're stuck with that. There may be some benefit in regular school with navigating that territory but if that's your only social outlet, that's tough for a kid.

    Whereas now, she gets to choose her social peer group and she's got a great group of friends who love her for who she is and that's a huge reason why that drama has been cut down so much. So, the social piece, that's probably one of the most surprising things to me is that not only was that not a drawback or negative but that's been a huge positive now after we've done this.

Christopher:    I was just going to pull you onto a different topic, that is, like how do you know that the kid is going to have a broad enough -- If it's always interest-led, is it possible that the interest could just lead you down a rabbit hole and then at some point you get to some external factor like I'm trying to get into university and I haven't done any mathematics whatsoever. What do I do now? Is that a possibility?

Josh:    That is a possibility if you're purely interest-led. I think a lot of -- For the purists for unschooling, they would only go based on what the child's curiosity. We do a little bit in terms of some basic stuff that we want them to know. We do have some math time that we'll do during the day.

[0:40:08]

    Although one of my overriding objectives is to try to integrate this stuff into life as much as possible. I don't want them to come away with this idea that school is something that you do or education is something that you do at a time and place. Trying to balance the need to communicate or have them do certain activities during the day with not reinforcing that is one of the challenges.

    We do do a little bit in terms of -- We've kind of figured out what are the things that we want to make sure that they know or been exposed to by the time that they're leaving the house so certain math concepts, for sure, make the cut. We also have basic writing and communication skills, cultural literacy stuff. There's some core ideas that we want them to have so that we don't purely do an interest-based approach.

    But that being said, we know of folks who purely do unschooling, interest-led, and the kids have done fantastic. Speaking of the math things, we have a friend who is a family of three children and there's an older boy and he got to be of senior high school age and he hadn't done any Math. He decided he wanted to go on engineering. He ended up doing basically starting from scratch with Math on his own and got up through Calc 2 and then enrolled in university.

    I was just speaking to him the other day. He's home for Christmas. He did Calc 3 in university and aced it. So, he basically compressed all of Math into a short amount of time in his high school year--

Christopher:    Exactly how long did he do all that? How long did it take him to do it all?

Josh:    I don't know specifically. I'm pretty sure he started like second semester of his high school, of his last year. A few months. And I've heard of others, not personally, but I've heard of others doing the same thing with Math. But that's one of the things is that if I think back to my own experience in school, I mean, 99% of the time was not spent well. You can really compress. If you have a core base in knowledge that you want them to have, you can get that. They can acquire that in the fraction of the amount of time needed in school.

Christopher:    And, of course, it's task-orientated now, right? If the prerequisite for your university undergraduate degree require this, then suddenly I've got a real reason to do it.

Josh:    Right, exactly. He had a motivation. Perfect case in point.

Christopher:    And it's a bit like learning Spanish with Duolingo just because it's fun and learning Spanish because you're moving to Madrid for six months next year.

Josh:    Which one is going to stick?

Christopher:    Or probably a better example is you're already in Madrid and you don't know how to ask for--

Josh:    Exactly, yeah. You won't even need Duolingo.

Christopher:    Talk about the materials that you use. One of the things I realized over the past few years is that the web has allowed us to get access to some of the most brilliant teachers that you're probably not going to find in your local high school. So, the Khan Academy, I think, is a very good example for some topics. Another one I've been enjoying recently is 3Blue1Brown who I know that you know.

    There are certain topics in Math especially linear algebra that they sound really complicated especially when you describe them with Greek letters but when you see them visualized it's like, oh my god, is it that simple? It's incredible.

Josh:    Exactly.

Christopher:    Tell me about some of the things that you found helpful? Where do you get your materials from? Or do you not have any materials at all?

Josh:    It depends on what we're doing. So, we have used Khan Academy some for Math. I like Math so when I can I do stuff with them. We recently stumbled upon another site called smartick.com. I really like it so far. It uses some kind of AI to do the assessments and then it tailors the curriculum to wherever they're at.

Christopher:    Interesting.

Josh:    I don't know how sophisticated they get about the teaching aspect like whether they're integrating things like space repetition and stuff like that but it wouldn't surprise me given what I've seen so far. That's been a cool resource for Math and one that we planned to keep using and then I'll probably continue to do stuff with them as well.

    I mean, Khan Academy is great for any subject you want to sit down and learn. It's well done. Again, if the child doesn't start with some desire to learn it, it's hard no matter what material you're using. But those are high quality. Like you say, one of the huge advantages is that if your child takes an interest in whatever subject it is, then you can go find who's the best resource in this or who can we use--

Christopher:    It's like 15 seconds, right?

Josh:    I mean, it's amazing. So, another huge advantage.

Christophe:    I was going to ask you about that. I want to say loss function now. You said how do I know I'm on track? Like in machine learning model, the time and the moment, I'm thinking about a loss function. How do I know I'm winning?

Josh:    Right. Back on resources. Another great thing -- this is still an ongoing process. It's just using books and literature on a particular subject. If they want to learn about whatever, American history in the 18th century or whatever it is, you can look through the entire library of everything and find what books to use on this material and start from there. That's another huge resource that we have.

[0:45:13]

Christopher:    And then talk about assessment. How do you know you're winning?

Josh:     I guess, it depends on the domain. But the way I think about it -- I'm a big fan of assessing knowledge and I think that part of the problem with traditional schooling is the relationship we have, the testing. It's become more a means of stratifying rather than the means of assessing understanding. It's really important to me to know that. Are my kids understanding whatever it is they're doing? That could vary by domain but a couple of the most useful things, I think, are, number one, writing or communicating in some form what they've learned. So, digesting. If they read 50 pages of a book, give me a synopsis of what you just read.

Christopher:    I love that too. Yeah. I think Julie has read about 100 books this year by proxy. She hears the Cliff notes of me after I've been listening to them in the sauna or something.

Josh:    You get a lot of skills in that, right? It's one thing to comprehend what you've read but then being able to turn it into something and to communicate that to someone else is another skill on itself, both really useful. For me, the ultimate metric is can you teach it? So, any opportunity there is to take something they've learned and put it in a format that's teaching someone else or just directly teaching it to me or whatever.

Christopher:    It very quickly exposes the holes in your knowledge. Julie will ask me question about what I've just said I've heard in a book. I'm like, "I don't know." It's like a hole in my -- obviously, I didn't listen.

Josh:    Exactly. Yeah, even for yourself. I mean, two of the most useful ideas are if you can teach it, you know it and you write to think. Writing is such a hugely helpful thing to clarify your thoughts. Going back to this idea of people thinking about school as mapping what's done in the classroom to the home environment, the irony of that is that, basically, saying that you don't feel equipped to teach these things that you were supposedly taught during school, so the solution is to send your kids back to the same place that didn't equip you with that skill set to begin with. If you think about--

Christopher:    I love that circular thinking. It's brilliant. Maybe we'll work out the definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice, something to determine this.

Josh:    Right. I don't think people realize that irony but if you consider teaching as the ultimate metric of how well you've learned something, what does that say?

Christopher:    What would you say to people that would object to this idea? I'm thinking about maybe two parents both of whom are working, the kids are going to school right now. They know they've got problems so they've been thinking about is this the best choice for us? But at the same time, it must be terrifying. I'm glad I'm not in that position where I have to think about is my wife going to quit her job to do this? Have you ever had to make that decision or what advice would you give to someone that might be in that place?

Josh:    You mean of wondering whether they should make a big sacrifice?

Christopher:    Yes. So, your kids are in school. You can see it's not working. You would hope something better for them. But in order for that to happen then somebody is going to have to quit their job or we're going to have to find somebody else to do this for us which is going to be equally expensive and scary.

Josh:    This gets back to actually kind of why we tried the traditional route to begin with. There's a level of guilt about I don't want what we're able to give my kids for just my kids. I want that for every kid. I would wish we could move the system to where that was possible because there are, for sure, lots of families that just isn't practical for that can't just have a parent at home to do this for them.

    One reason for just talking about this idea is to try to get them out there. Maybe to help shape things in the right direction and create sort of the desire to have something that's more aligned with what our goals with education should be rather than just getting a good job one day. But, I think, probably at least saving grace for a lot of parents, it's incredible how resilient the kids are and the brains are that they can go through this incredibly mismatched environment for both the standpoint of the health of their brain and also just from a learning perspective and still emerge okay, speaks to, I think, that they can succeed a lot of times in spite of all these forces that go the opposite direction. In fact, that's reassurance even for home school parent is that so much of it is just getting out of the way.

Christopher:    I actually think about that a lot of the time actually with a lot of things. Even dogs. I see what people are feeding their dogs. That is literally packaging. It's like cardboard. And yet this dog--

Josh:    Right. It's incredible.

Christopher:    --is still a functional animal. How is that possible?

Josh:    Right. One the one hand, I think that we probably make too much of all of this in a lot of ways. One of the advantages, one of the things I want to happen is just to get all the baggage that comes along with this stuff. We feel like there's so much at stake when it comes to education and school and everything.

[0:50:06]

    I think that just comes from this idea that the ultimate goal is to get into a good school and get a high paying job. But if you toss that aside and think that's not our ultimate objective then a lot of those, a lot of the anxiety falls away. If you realign with what goes around fulfillment and well-being then it kind of changes how you think about all this stuff. There's parenting research on this too that our influence is much less than we actually think.

Christopher:    Right. I read a book about that one. I think it was called Selfish Reasons to Have More Children.

Josh:    Yes. I've heard of that book.

Christopher:    I've heard Simon uses a similar metaphor that kids are like clay or potty. You can shape them temporarily but they're really going to spring back quite quickly as soon as you stop putting in input and you should probably stop worrying about it so much.

Josh:    Yeah. Again, I think, that speaks to just getting out of the way, making sure that it's an enriched environment, which the outdoors is the best place for that. An enriched environment where they're supported and loved and they're given the things that they're needing at the right time. You do that, you'll be fine. And all this other stuff is kind of icing on the cake. That's something I remind myself of as well and I think that helps for anybody who their kids are in school and they'd rather not rather be having them somewhere else, that in the end probably matters less than we think and there are certain things that are essential, feeling supported and loved, and so on. But just getting rid of the anxiety and stress around it in and of itself is probably beneficial.

Christopher:    What role have other people played in your kid's education? I'm stood in my garden right now in Bonny Doon and I'm looking to my left and in that house over there, there is a former professor of chemistry and his wife is a botanist herbalist and they started an essential oils company. And then I'm looking over, 12 o'clock now, there's two professors of biochemistry in that direction.

    There's a clinical psychologist over there. He's still practicing in his 70s, I believe. And then I go around a bit further there's another clinical psychologist who happens to be a midwife and her husband is a physiotherapist. Their children, they started an aviation company in Bonny Doon called Joby Aviation. They have a pilotless vertical takeoff and landing helicopter.

    There's all these incredible people around me. I have this dream that one day you'll learn chemistry from a former -- The reality of that is it's probably never going to happen even though I do have a relationship with those people. I wondered. Do you have coops? Is there support groups? Do you know other parents that you could trade off?

Josh:    We haven't done much in that, like finding out where the strengths, other parents' strengths, like you say, have a background or expertise in X or Y and could use it. That would be certainly an idea worth exploring or figuring out a platform for that sort of thing. I could see that developing in the future. But, yeah, I mean, it just speaks to the idea that, honestly, how much of any kid's education is coming in the classroom versus all the different exposures they have? And that includes all the different adults in their life, all the different kids in their life.

    If you brought in the concept of education you realize how little of it is in the formal stuff that we call school. I haven't mentioned this but my daughter now, her primary interest is musical theater. She, this year, started where she goes half of the week to a conservatory program where they're just getting training in that. For her, those are the adults in her life that are shaping her skill set and her education right now.

Christopher:    Is your wife musical as well?

Josh:    Yeah, she is. She doesn't do it as much as she used to but she was -- In fact, when we were dating, we would do piano lessons together as an excuse to hang out.

Christopher:    That's great. Are there any books or resources that you like on this topic? I'm fairly new to this. Is there anything you'd recommend?

Josh:    There's one on just learning generally. I think it's called Make It Stick.

Christopher:    Okay. I'll track that down. Elaine is very, very good at tracking down references. Our show notes is incredible.

Josh:    There are couple of movies that you might like that are on the topic. Yeah, so I can track those down. I can't remember them offhand.

Christopher:    That's fine. We can just put them in the show notes. And then I wanted to ask you a random question. You've begun creating content via the Patreon platform. I love this idea in principle, right? Josh is creating all this incredible content, the Intelligence Unshackled Podcast, you've got all the musical stuff that you're doing at Brainjo that I'm less familiar with. You're going to be holding some challenges on the forum that people can take part in.

    I love the idea of the podcast becoming more interactive rather than it being one or two people speaking to a large audience. Now, we start to get interact with the community and we do challenges and people are there to comment on your stuff and ask you questions and there's more interactions. I think that's a really good thing.

[0:55:00]

    Patreon seems like a really good way to implement that. If people are going to pay us a monthly subscription so that you, a board certified neurologist who has given up his practice for the most part can afford to spend time in something like our forum. But the thing that really worries me and it worried me particular this week as we're recording this, I'm not sure what you call it, maybe censorship on Wikipedia.

    Various low carb personalities, researchers, doctors being deleted from Wikipedia because for whatever reason, I mean we don't really understand at this point, maybe by the time this podcast airs we will understand why that is, but I wonder about what happens if somebody at Patreon decides that cholesterol or blood levels of cholesterol are the primary cause of heart disease and they don't want to hear about Malcolm Kendrick, say, and they delete my Patreon account. Have you got any thoughts about that and what to do?

Josh:    It's funny I haven't given it much thought. I don't know if you know that Sam Harris deleted his Patreon two days ago because apparently Patreon, I don't even know who, but had removed some people from it and he thought that it was some level censorship that he was worried about. I hadn't thought about it really at all until now. That is worrisome, for sure. The alternative there is that you create other vehicles.

    I mean, in the entrepreneurial world, do you build a business on someone else's platform or your own? So, there are risks and benefits with each of those and you always risk. On some other platform there's always the risk. They can't just go away in a blink. So, having a plan B for that.

Christopher:    Yeah. So I could build Patreon or something that works functionally. I don't really want to spend my time doing that but, yeah, I could. Stripe is great. I could use Stripe to build a platform where people could subscribe to us and pay us a small monthly fee for creating the content of being part of a community. But then you still got the same problem. If somebody at Stripe decides that they don't like what we're doing, they shut down our personal account, right?

Josh:    Yeah. Then we have to just go back to trading.

Christopher:    I'm just going to have to barter you for food in order for this content. Excellent. So, okay. For now, Patreon is the best thing that we have and people can support you and the Intelligence Unshackled podcast on Patreon. It's Brainjo. Intelligence Unshackled podcast is not the only thing you're doing. Do you want to tell us briefly about what Brainjo is?

Josh:    Brainjo comes from the merger of the words brain and banjo, two of my primary obsessions, and started out as an approach to learning how to play music and specifically the banjo. So, online instruction for banjo based on a system of learning where it integrates kind of what we know about how the brain learns in an attempt to create a better process for learning music to ensure people the best chances of success.

    So, started out with course for the banjo and there are a couple of those. There's a course for fiddle. But since I've recently, or actually maybe a year and a half ago now, exited my neurology practice, sort of expanding the idea behind Brainjo to encompass more things. That's kind of where the podcast comes in. So, expanding it beyond just creating a learning framework, how can we use what we know about neuroscience to develop human potential.

    I think there's lots of ways in which we could do that. First, it kind of involves changing some mindsets about certain things. But it certainly relates to what we talked about here with biological health of the brain being hugely important. And it relates also to just one of the first steps is being mindful of the environments where our brain spends so much of their time which when we're kids is school and when we're adults is work.

    If we really want to on a broad level improve and develop potential we have to think about what those things are doing and how are they suppressing develop of intelligence in brain and the function of the brain and then, even better, how can we design them so that they're facilitating and supporting it. Brainjo both broadly to me now is about using what we know about the brain to release some of the potential. So, designing better ways to go about learning is certainly one of those and playing music is one of those too. That's why we got the upcoming learn to play the ukulele challenge is part of the Brainjo collective.

Christopher:    Yeah. And I absolutely will be a part of that and I do support you on Patreon. That's part of the way you can afford to spend time in our forum. And so I encourage people to find Josh on Patreon. Perhaps I've got it wrong though in that my primary reason for learning to play the ukulele is to prevent cognitive decline. And perhaps play is an important thing and I need to like just do it for its own sake and there not to be a purpose.

Josh:    That's not a common idea people have around music. That leads to a lot of frustration. If you see it as your only goal of getting to be able to play X thing or whatever to be like a certain musician or whatnot and you're not seeing that the process itself has value then that kind of changes your relationship to it.

[1:00:06]

    And so we naturally see this kind of idea or we naturally accept that idea with exercise. We don't swing a kettlebell because we want to be really good kettlebell swingers. We're doing it because there's value in the result that we get from that. But we don't have that same idea around music and other activities that get us the result that we might want but also just intrinsically valuable for a lot of reasons.

    There's cognitive benefits to that. I think it's perfectly fine for you to go in thinking of it as a cognitive building activity and seeing just the value in the process of learning itself, right? And the result is nice. But it's more about -- the idea of these fitness challenges is kind of re-conceptualized it as the process being as or more important than the result and there are lots of reasons why the process is valuable and play is one of them. In the more of a playful spirit, you can bring to that process, to any learning process, but with music particularly, it ends up your results are better anyways.

Christopher:    Okay. Just saying. That's going to be a real challenge for me. I think I'm bound to fail. If I'm only doing it to prevent cognitive decline, it's not like I'm ever going to find out that it was working. It's bound to fail.

Josh:    That's right. There's a lot of benefit in playing around with instruments and noodling around and people who are afraid to do that, which going back to our discussion, like probably has a lot to do with how we've been conditioned to think about learning. If you're just messing around, there's nothing good happening. But if you think about how we -- how do you learn how to use an app? You mess around with it and you figure it out. A lot of that is needed in learning to play music.

Christopher:    Fantastic. Well, tell us about some of the places that people can find you online. So, mymigrainemiracle.com. If you know anyone with a migraine, point them at mymigrainemiracle.com. And then Brainjo.com. Where else could people find you online?

Josh:    The central hub for the podcast and Brainjo stuff would be elitecognition.com. And I also figured I've used this as a chance to take advantage of your audience on the education front. If anybody is interested in exploring some of these ideas about home school and education and so forth, I'm going to start a Facebook group. Look for Brainjo Education. I thought I might find some folks who are like-minded.

    One of the challenges if you go down the homeschool route is that, like I mentioned before, there are different communities, different people with different objectives and so you'll have a group that's there for the religious freedom or they pulled their child out because they weren't, it wasn't a good fit. There's still a fraction that are primarily doing it because they want to redesign the educational process. I'll send out bat signal to anybody else who's doing the same kind of thing if they want to connect.

Christopher:    That's fantastic.

Josh:    We can use the internet to find like-minded folks.

Christopher:    That's great. And then don't forget the Physicians for Ancestral Health.

Josh:    That's right. So, ancestraldoctors.org. Or you can find the podcast by Physicians for Ancestral Health.

Christopher:    And the winter retreat is coming up. Are you going to be there?

Josh:    I will be, yes. I think it's the last weekend in January. If you go to the website, you'll get an annoying pop up right away that'll allow you to register.

Christopher:    And I'll be there. Tommy will be there. We are all going to be there. If you want to come and see us in person then the Physicians for Ancestral Health winter retreat. And now I have to make sure that I get this podcast out in time. That's the motivation for me. Well, Josh, you've been absolutely fantastic. I very much appreciate you as always. Is there anything I forgot to mention?

Josh:    No. I think we hit the highlights and if there are questions that stem from this maybe we can have a part two.

Christopher:    Yeah, absolutely. If people listening have got questions then find us in some of the ways that we've already mentioned and maybe we can do a part two. I'm sure I want to get you back on in about six months time once I've tried doing some of this stuff. I'm like we're well and good, but when I tried to do it, this happens. What's that all about? No doubt I'll get you back on in the future.

Josh:    I'll say one other book that's probably useful is the book Messy.

Christopher:    Oh, by Tim Harford.

Josh:    The Power of Disorder. Yeah. So, if you're approaching the home school thing and your inclination is to put as much order as you can on the process, it's a really good antidote for understanding there's a lot of value in kind of not trying to control it too much.

Christopher:    That is a fantastic book. I very much enjoy Tim Harford. He's a really good guy. Cool. Well, thank you so much for your time, Josh. I really appreciate you.

Josh:    All right. Thanks, Chris.

 

[1:05:00]    End of Audio

 
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