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Author Spotlight: Afsenah Moradian: ”Jamie is Jamie”

Author Spotlight: Afsenah Moradian:  ”Jamie is Jamie”

In this episode, I am thrilled to shine a very special author spotlight on Afsaneh Moradian, Founder of MLC Homeschool Coaching and the Author of the beloved picture book series "Jamie is Jamie."
Key Takeaways● The "Jamie is Jamie" series is about ce...

In this episode, I am thrilled to shine a very special author spotlight on Afsaneh Moradian, Founder of MLC Homeschool Coaching and the Author of the beloved picture book series "Jamie is Jamie."

Key Takeaways

● The "Jamie is Jamie" series is about celebrating children as individuals and allowing them to be free to be themselves.

● Homeschooling should be the opposite of traditional schooling, which doesn't always meet the needs of every child.

● Homeschooling should be personalized and respect the needs of each child.

● Each family's homeschooling style is unique, and what works best for one may not work for another.

● Combining subjects into activities is a fun way to teach children, and it can be more effective than teaching subjects in isolation.

● Homeschooling parents need to be adaptable and flexible, especially with teenagers.

● An integrated approach to teaching, where different subjects are combined, is possible in a school environment through interdisciplinary project-based learning.

● Standardized testing has made public education skill-based, focusing on drilling kids to get them ready for the test, rather than fostering creativity and real interaction with the topics.

● It's important for adults to not put any limits or judgments on how kids want to play as long as it's safe and provide a safe space for kids to discover who they are.


Guest Contact Info






About Guest

Afsaneh Moradian is a children's author and educator with 20 years of experience. She has developed a proven framework to support families in creating a personalized homeschooling experience for their child, drawing on her expertise in teaching and PhD candidacy in Education. As a homeschooling mom herself, Afsaneh understands the challenges and pressures of homeschooling and wants to empower families to create a joyful and connected learning experience. She is also passionate about advocating for LGBQT+ rights and promoting self-advocacy.


 Intro Music: "Welcome To The Kandid Shop" by: Anthony Nelson aka BUSS 



Kandidly Kristin


Kandidly Kristin: Hey, hey, hey, podcast family. It is your girl, Kandidly, Kristin, and this is The Kandid Shop Podcast, your number-one destination for kandid conversations. Today I have a very special author Spotlight and it is shining on the founder of MLC homeschool Coaching and the author of the Beloved Picture book series Jamie is Jamie, Afsaneh Moradian.

Welcome, welcome, welcome, Afsaneh to the kandid shop.

Afsaneh Moradian: I'm so happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

Kandidly Kristin: Thank you so much. You see, I botched the name anyway. We literally just went over it. Oh my gosh.

Afsaneh Moradian: It's okay. I'm very used to that. I know it's a difficult name. It's fine.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. So I'm gonna get it right when we get to the end, I promise you. But I am super duper delighted to be sitting down with you for this kandid chat.

So let's just get to it. I always like to start when I talk to authors or artists with the why of what they do. So tell me the why of your book series: Jamie is Jamie.

Afsaneh Moradian: Well, I think so much about the last 10 years of my life has been about becoming a mom and having a unique child and just trying to do everything I can to make sure my kid has what they need in their childhood. And so when they were really little, they didn't see themselves in any of the picture books that we had. And so that was something that I was noticing and then a couple of different times. My kid who is now non-binary about when they were little, presented as a girl and would go up to some boys and ask if they could play with their superheroes, and the boys would say, no, those aren't for girls.

And so I was so outraged by that because I'm a child of free to be You and me, and we're supposed to have gotten past gender stereotypes and gender toys and all of that. So I was like, I have to do something. So I wrote the first Jamie book: Jamie is Jamie, a book about being yourself and playing your way. And it's that you know, Jamie goes to a new school and plays with everything and everyone and the kids wanna know if Jamie's a boy or a girl and you don't find out. Cause it just doesn't matter.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Afsaneh Moradian: And kids should just be free to be themselves. So that was how I became a picture book author. It's not written on my to-do list before then.

But I figure if my child can't see themself, well they're not alone. So we need to have a book where kids can just be free. And feel celebrated for who they are as individuals.

Kandidly Kristin: I love it. And the first book has now become a series of books. Yes.

Afsaneh Moradian: Yes, exactly. And in the second, Jamie spends the day with great grandma and they walk around and great grandmama makes you know Bobby, it's Jamie and Bobby, a book about people's pronouns.

So Bobby makes a lot of mistakes and a lot of assumptions. Someone with a short haircut must be a man, but, it's a woman, someone with long hair, you know, Bobby assumes that's a woman and it isn't. And then, they encounter someone who's trans, who has changed their gender, changed their name, and then they talk about, you know, if you're not sure you can use a singular day. And Jamie has a friend who uses the singular day as their pronoun. So it's a lovely afternoon of Jamie and Bobby spending time together and the discussion of pronouns has kind of woven through that and how there are different pronouns, and pronouns can change. We don't need to make assumptions. We can use the singular they, if we're not sure, we can ask someone what their pronoun is, and it's okay. Pronouns change and we can be flexible and open-minded about it. So that's the second one and the third one is that Jamie's class has something to say, a book about sharing with grownups, and it's about self-advocacy for kids and adults.

Hearing what kids like and don't like and what their preferences are and who they are as individuals. And I know that as adults, we are not taught that we are supposed to ask our kids what they wanna do or what they think or what they like, but it matters when kids feel respected and feel they're taken seriously. They're more likely to share the really big, important stuff going on.

Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely.

Afsaneh Moradian: And so they need to have that trust, trusting, open communication with at least one adult for the really big deal things that come on, you know, that happens later on. So the series so far.

Kandidly Kristin: All right. All right. So listen, you also are a homeschool coach. I said that, to ask this question, how does or did the homeschooling and your writing intersect if it did or does in any way?

Afsaneh Moradian: Yeah, it, it does a hundred per cent because, from experiences I had growing up that I don't think should be repeated, I learned from being on the receiving end as a child, how important it is to understand what a child is thinking and feeling, and respect that and honor that and even apologize when we do, you know, when we say something or do something as adults that upset our kids, we should understand why. Why are they upset and what do they need? And so we're in a situation now where our education system can't always meet the needs of every single child.

Kandidly Kristin: Right?

Afsaneh Moradian: And so homeschooling has become, you know, in some cases the only viable option for some families. And so in doing that, we don't really wanna just do schooling at home with that same everyone do the same thing and like suck it up and just do the assignment. No one cares if you're hungry. No one cares if you're tired. You just get it done. And homeschooling is meant to be the opposite of that. Who are you as an individual? What are your interests? What are your passions? Let's teach you so that you are loving what you're doing and learn as much as possible. And so that's a tough thing for parents to know how to do, cuz that's not what they experienced, in most cases when they were in school. And it's all about the communication, the real understanding of what the child's needs are so that they can be met and really having that strong connection where a kid feels respected and celebrated so that as they grow up and they're older as adults, they expect to be respected

Kandidly Kristin: right?

Afsaneh Moradian: And they, then can establish those boundaries when they're in a relationship that doesn't feel good because they're used to being respected and celebrated for who they are and validated. And so I think it's really about how do we send our kids off into the world as emotionally intelligent, really good people who respect others and want to be respected themselves and ultimately can be change makers because there's a lot of positive changes that need to be made. A lot of new inventions, discoveries, and new advances for social justice and humanity.

Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely

Afsaneh Moradian: The books kind of help adults with how to talk to kids about these things. And I think when I coach parents, my goal is to help them establish those kinds of relationships with their kids, where it's truly collaborative and not authoritarian and forcing kids to do so.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. And individual cause what I do know is that not all kids learn the same. So yes, being cognizant of that in a classroom, I wish public schools would do a better job with this, but even in homeschooling, if you've got multiple children, they may not all learn the same. So I like it.

Afsaneh Moradian: Exactly.

Kandidly Kristin: I like it. So during the pandemic, I know everybody was homeschooling, or at least they got a glimpse into what homeschooling might look like when they never intended to, and they realized, listen, oh, this is not as easy as it looks. So, in your role as a homeschooling coach, in addition to what you've already said, like what can a parent expect from you when they sign up with MLC homeschool coaching?

Afsaneh Moradian: The first thing that we take care of is just getting rid of the power struggle. There just should not be any power struggles or any drama or conflict when it comes to learning. And then what I do is make sure that the child's needs are being met, but also that the parent's needs are being met through homeschooling.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Afsaneh Moradian: And that. You know, luckily homeschooling gives so much flexibility and openness and there are so many different ways to learn something. So it's helping the parents see all those different options and we work together to create a routine and a plan that's gonna just be fun and full of connection and quite lovely for both the child and the parent.

So during the pandemic, what was missing was control. So the school teacher was still saying, here's what needs to be done. Now it's your job as the parent to make sure it's done. And for homeschooling, the parent has so much control over what science experiment, how is it done, what topic is being learned, how, and what kinds of experiences are happening. Right. It's just endlessly alternative education with room for so much creativity. So I think it's hard, it's really hard for one parent on their own to just even recognize all those different possibilities. So I come in with a bit of the communication piece. The child development piece and then the planning piece so that there can be a great experience and then they don't need me anymore.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Afsaneh Moradian: Cause they're good to go for 10 years, you know?

Kandidly Kristin: Right, right. So I meant to ask you earlier, what do the letters MLC stand for, if anything?

Afsaneh Moradian: They come from a learning center that I had set up. So the original business, oh my gosh, a million years ago. How many? Like 16 years ago. It was Moradian Learning Center. So I kept the MLC and needed coaching.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. Okay. So what about parents of children who are neurodivergent? Is there a special space for them in the coaching?

Afsaneh Moradian: That's my speciality.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Afsaneh Moradian: I work mostly with Neurodiverse families, neurodiverse kids, and neurodiverse parents. I mean, I work with the parents, but sometimes it's the kids that are neurodiverse. Sometimes it's the parent who has, ADHD or ASD and needs a little bit extra help figuring out how to put it together and how to get things working when there are problems. So my specialty I work with all families, but I'm great at Families in Crisis where homeschooling has just turned into power struggles and a lot of resistance, a lot of pushback, a lot of yelling, and sometimes physical aggression. You know, when our kids don't wanna do something, they dig their heels in and it can get right kinda explosive. So I come in to fix that very quickly, and then we can look at what, else needs to be done to keep things moving forward in a different and better way.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. Yeah. Now, I've always wondered about homeschooling. Should it be shared like a typical school environment, like with a time for Maths, a time for Social Studies or should those pieces be flexible? Like, you know, let's do recess first today, or something like that. That's always been a question in my head, like, should it be set up to mimic the in-school environment or not in your opinion?

Afsaneh Moradian: I think that each family is different and each family is going to do what works best for them. So it's really hard for me to say, it should or shouldn't.

I do think that one of the fortunate parts of traditional schooling is that the subjects are isolated from one another when they aren't. In reality, there's so much science and more math and art. There's so much reading and writing in history.

So one thing that I, show parents how to do if they're interested in that is kind of combine the different subjects into activities.

So in one activity, you're doing English and history and some Art and then you don't have to plan. It just makes it so much easier for the parents. You don't have to plan for every single subject, every single day. You're planning more units, like something like Ancient Egypt. Oh my gosh. There's science, there's math, there's history, there's writing, there's philosophy. There are a million things, right? So if you run the subjects through the units, it's a lot of fun for the kids. But it also actually is at a much higher level of learning. then if you're just doing, isolated subjects may be out of a workbook or out of a package, like

\one size fits all curriculum.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Afsaneh Moradian: It has to do with the comfort level of the parent though. And, you know, my job is to meet everyone's needs. So if the parent needs that structure and that real guidance, then it's just how do we modify whatever you have so that it works for your child. Because if it's working, you don't need me.

Kandidly Kristin: Right, right.

Afsaneh Moradian: So just keep doing what you're doing. But I think that as homeschooling parents, we have to be super, super adaptable and flexible because as our kids grow, especially when they're teenagers, oh my gosh. If they need to sleep till 10:00 AM and just let them, why wake them up early when they're growing?

Kandidly Kristin: Right.'

Afsaneh Moradian: And then they're cranky, you know? So if a kid learns, while they're jumping up and down, that's great. If they learn best early in the morning or you know your kid, you know their rhythms, and it's just how do we set things up for success? And that looks so different in each household.

 I think a pretty common thing though is at a certain point kids stop getting dressed or just in pyjamas.

Kandidly Kristin: Right, right.

Afsaneh Moradian: Maybe not even like having a shirt on. You know, like, why do we need clothes? I think it gets, it can look a little like Bohemians, but that's the fun and the freedom of it, so, yeah.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. Well, aside from the not getting dressed, do you think that this kind of integrated, cuz I love that science and social studies and English and math are in a bubble, you know, Like traditional schools. So do you think that a more integrated approach is possible in a school environment ever? Do you think we'll ever get to that?

Afsaneh Moradian: Yeah. it's called interdisciplinary project-based learning, and it exists. I used to teach like that when I was a public school teacher. I got to write my curriculum and I worked with the history and the art teachers, and we would do projects. We would do units and projects that went across those three subjects. Bank Street School for Children in New York City. That's how the entire school is set up.

Kandidly Kristin: Nice.

Afsaneh Moradian: And you know, it's just a lot of the schools that do that are very expensive. Okay. And the programs that are purchased for public schools, the teachers usually don't get to pick them and it's become so heavily geared towards teaching to the test and passing the standardized testing. And so interdisciplinary learning is really about creativity, real interaction with the topics and developing those skills through gaining more knowledge rather than focusing on the skills. And the school has become so skill-based, you're drilling the kids to get them ready for the test. And the result is they don't like reading. Most kids don't like reading very much and they don't enjoy that. And so when that is happening at home, for some kids it's fine. For other kids, it isn't. Lots of families don't drill, you know, homeschooling looks so varied. It's so, so varied and whatever's working for your family, if it's working, it's wonderful. I support it. If it's not working, then I'm here to help you figure out some changes that you can make. You know, that's kind of my position on it. But I think that it would be great if we could see some changes in public education where there could be room for different ways of processing information and different ways of experiencing the world to be included. And then, there wouldn't be the pressure and the obligation to homeschool. It would just be a choice. So that would be lovely.

Kandidly Kristin: That would be very lovely. I hope I see the day. So could you give me and my listeners just a few tips on how to communicate better with their children, those that are listening to their parents with their children in general, and specifically speak to those parents who have children who are neurodivergent and or LGBTQI+?

Afsaneh Moradian: Sure. So I think the first thing is whatever your child says, that's the beginning of you know the words we use, the resistance, the defiance, the no. We ask them to do something and they in their way, express, no, they're not gonna do that. Okay. So I think the first thing is to never take it personally.

It's not about us, it's about our kids. It's about where they're at in that moment, what's going on in their minds and what you know that they have to figure out. When they say no, they're establishing a boundary. So if we can keep our cool and not just get like, what do you mean?

We can say okay something is happening with my child now. And if we can, you know, take a deep breath and say calm and ask questions to find out, it helps a lot in maintaining that connection and going into the conflict and the idea that we are gonna now force our kid to do that thing.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Afsaneh Moradian: So having those conversations, there isn't always time for those conversations. I understand that, but if our kid says I can't, I don't know how we tend to say, oh yes you can. Yes, you do. And I think that sometimes can just put a lot of pressure on a kid who really, genuinely doesn't know how to do that thing right at that moment.

So if we could just validate them and say, It feels hard. Oh, you can't do it. What do you think you can't do? So if we just asked them a question to just get more information from them, then we become the supporters and the helpers and we can help them become problem solvers when they run into trouble rather than, you know, I think we see our job as parents. We have to train our kids. We have to teach our kids that they need to follow instructions. We need to train their behavior and then there isn't room for how they're feeling at that moment or what they need at that moment. And we just kind of assume that we know best cuz we're the parents. And I think a lot of times if we stop to ask questions, we're kind of wrong. And it helps them, you know, for us to apologize. I know a lot of adults do not think they ever need to apologize to children.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah.

Afsaneh Moradian: But if we want our kids to grow up to apologize, if we don't apologize to them, they're not gonna apologize to us and they're not gonna grow up apologizing to anyone. I've had too many relationships where a boyfriend stepped on my foot by accident and didn't apologize. You know, it's like I don't want my kid to go out in the world and do things accidentally that cause harm and not apologize for it or be on the receiving end of that.

So we would like to do away with a lot of the grief that we experienced in our lives. We would love to raise our kids to not have to receive it and not be the ones giving it to others. So that's kind of, we have to model that then from the time they're young, so that's what I think. You know, asking those questions, validating and apologizing when necessary. I think it seems very simple. It's very hard to do. It's counterintuitive to everything we know about parenting. We most likely did not experience that when we were growing up, but if you do it, it changes everything very quickly. So that's my advice, especially with Neurodiverse kids, because if they feel safe to say what's going on with them, it is amazing what insight you get and how then you can help. And they don't have to go into distress and shut down or meltdown. You can avoid all that stuff. So yeah, those are my simple tips.

Kandidly Kristin: I love them, but they're three really good ones because I'm 55, so I did not grow up ever having a parent apologize or you know, it was done as I say, you know what I mean? There wasn't a whole lot of room for self-expression as, you know, a child between a teen. It was you do what I say and that's you don't question and that kind of thing. So I like it. I like that tip. So I wanted to ask you earlier, and I forgot when you were writing the books, Jamie is Jamie, was your child actively involved in the process, in the books and in what ways?

Afsaneh Moradian: That's a great question. The first one, my child was three when I wrote it. So no, and then I think I read it to them. Once it came out, it was very exciting and they read it a bunch. The second one, I think that, yes, I, you know, my child was a bit of my editor and I share the draft and got some feedback. Similarly, with the third one, I feel like I needed my child's seal of approval.

I got the stamp of approval. But with picture books, they're heavily edited and then the illustrator adds their touch to it. So picture books are very collaborative and I play a very small role as the writer which I think is cool.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. Awesome. So listen, will there be more in the series of Jamie is Jamie, and what else do you have in your pipeline as an author? As a coach, which you got going on in the future?

Afsaneh Moradian: Yeah, so the newest Jamie book, 'Jamie's class has something to say' just came out last summer. Okay. So we're, still promoting it and trying to boost sales with it so that the series can grow. Cause I think that we would, the publisher and myself, we'd love to have at least one more Jamie book. And so that is definitely in process. Okay. And I have a homeschooling book available on Amazon called Homeschooling Outside the Box, A child-centred approach to teaching at home. I don't know anyone that likes the title, but that's the best I could come up with.

Kandidly Kristin: I like it, I like it,

Afsaneh Moradian: so it kinda goes through more in detail some of the things I've been talking about today. And I'm just trying to create as many resources as I can for my one-to-one coaching clients and for people who need help but are not in a position to have one-to-one coaching right now.

So I've got some less expensive digital products that help when, a kid is resisting learning time, another about homeschooling with your child's triggers, which especially for kids with sensory processing issues, it's important to keep that in mind and integrate that into how you plan your homeschooling. I got a third one, that is how to do that interdisciplinary, create units where all the subjects get kind of combined into really fun, awesome learning experiences. So I'm trying to figure out ways to make myself more available and more accessible to everyone who might need me.

Kandidly Kristin: Awesome. That is so awesome. This has been a great author Spotlight. I have a six-year-old now neuro-divergent grandson and I plan on, they're not LGBTQI+ that I'm aware of, but I do want to share the series with him as he begins to read. And picture books are my favorite thing because little kids love them. You're like a rockstar when you read a picture book and they're like really, really attentive and ooh, on and on and I love it. So that's my plan to get the whole series and any more that you have coming out. But that my dear is the end of our formal chat. But now we get to do the fun stuff.

So it is time for 10 kandid questions. So 10 kandid questions are this 10, actually nine cause the 10th question is the same for everybody. These 10 are random. Some either Ors and then some will require a little more thought on your part. But they're all fun and the only rule is you have to answer them kandidly.

So are you ready?

Afsaneh Moradian: Yes.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. First question. Coffee or tea?

Afsaneh Moradian: Coffee.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. Me too. Second question. If you could be remembered for one thing and one thing only, what would it be?

Afsaneh Moradian: The Jamie books.

Kandidly Kristin: Nice. Third question. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Afsaneh Moradian: Snoring.

Kandidly Kristin: Then we could never share a room. Okay. Cause I sound like a locomotive.

Fourth question. How has your life been different from what you imagined it would?

Afsaneh Moradian: The shortest answer possible is I didn't know what my life would be and I just keep doing different things and as soon as something doesn't feel good anymore, I make changes. So I have moved and changed careers and I keep changing. I keep evolving because I want things to feel good in my life. Cause I only have one life. So that's the short answer,

Kandidly Kristin: That's a great answer. That's completely, completely unpredictable.

Yeah. Great answer. All right. Fifth question. Cats or dogs?

Afsaneh Moradian: Dogs.

Kandidly Kristin: Me too. Sixth question. What's the one thing you believe the world is lacking the most?

Afsaneh Moradian: One thing. I think more humanity and equality. Humanity was two. Sorry.

Kandidly Kristin: That's okay. Two is good. Seventh question. Introvert or extrovert?

Afsaneh Moradian: Introvert without a lot of caffeine or alcohol and then extrovert with caffeine hands.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it. Got it. That's a really good answer 8th question. Is there anything you wish that I had asked you during our chat and what would your answer have been?

Afsaneh Moradian: We could have maybe talked about, creating how to make sure that our spaces for young kids are gender inclusive. I would say to make sure that as adults we are not putting any limits or saying anything judgemental about what kids want to play and how they want to play as long as it's safe. But as adults, we back off and let the kids feel free to express themselves and just discover who they're,

Kandidly Kristin: okay. Thank you for that. And the ninth question what books are on your book list right now?

Afsaneh Moradian: A friend got me really into this Italian detective. So the book series, I'm gonna botch the name cuz I've only ever seen it written, but it's, I think it's Andrea Camilleri an Italian author and the books are translated into English and it's Montalbano novel series. They're wonderful books. So that's what I'm reading now these days.

Kandidly Kristin: Cool. And the 10th and final question, how can my listeners connect with you and MLC homeschooling and get the book series Jamie is Jamie?

Afsaneh Moradian: My website is https://www.mlccoaching.com/

I am very available. I will respond to DMs on Instagram. It's https://www.instagram.com/moradian.afsaneh/ and the books are available on Amazon or Free Spirit Publishing if you'd rather buy direct from the publisher. What if you've got Prime and you'd rather do Amazon? They're all there on Amazon.

Kandidly Kristin: I thank you so much for taking some of this time out of your day to talk to me guys.

All of her contact info or her socials, links to her website and where you can get the book will be in the show notes. And I just thank you so much for writing the book series. I think it was necessarily needed, and I'm just glad that those books are out there and they're out there in a format that young children can have access to them if their parents get them.

So thank you. Thank you for what you do.

Afsaneh Moradian: Thank you so much for having me.

Kandidly Kristin: All right, so guys, again, contact Info will be in the show notes. I want you guys to remember to visit my website at https://www.thekandidshop.com/ check out some episodes, leave me a review, sign up for the mailing list and please share the show with your friends and family. Make sure you're following me on Facebook, Tiktok and IG. All Social Media is @thekandidshoppodcast.

Thank you again for joining me for this Artist Spotlight Chat and guys, until next time, I want you all to keep it safe, keep it healthy, and keep it kandid.

Afsaneh MoradianProfile Photo

Afsaneh Moradian

Author and Founder of MLC Homeschool Coaching

Afsaneh Moradian is a homeschooling coach and author of the beloved picture book series Jamie is Jamie which has sold over 10,000 copies internationally and has become a classroom and home library favorite. As a homeschooling coach, she guides adults by giving them the language to communicate effectively with their children, empowering parents to create learning spaces that are safe and inclusive, so children can thrive.