Autodidacts Creating Culture

About Kristin


Being a visual learner led me to get a BA in Cinematography from the University of Arizona back in 89′.

After graduating from college, my interest in working for an independent filmmaker brought me to San Francisco, California.  I landed a position at Francis Ford Coppola’s film company, American Zoetrope.  For a couple of years, I managed the office in which all communications flowed (glorified receptionist) during the making of ‘Godfather III’.  It was in that flat-iron building that I experienced my first earthquake, the big one in ’89.

Having been interested in alternative education and documentary filmmaking, I obtained a Master of Arts degree in Museum Education from John F. Kennedy University in ’93.  My thesis was about interpreting contemporary Native American art.  I also collaborated with Native American artists and filmmakers to produce a cable t.v. program.

Since then, my work has been to develop curriculum and implement it; and to use film as an interpretive/educational tool.  In brief detail:  I’ve worked at a variety of Bay Area Museum’s including Lindsay Wildlife Museum, where I managed and trained 120 docents and supervised educational school and outreach programs.  I’ve also developed/taught custom classes about math in nature, insects, photography, creative writing, and art.  I’ve designed and implemented curriculum about family travel, beekeeping, photography, water, dry ice, and print-making.  I wrote two scripts; one of which I produced and co-edited was a short documentary about Lindsay Wildlife Hospital.

Homeschooling our three children from K-8 made me extremely interested in self-directed learning.  I’ve never considered myself a teacher, but rather, a facilitator.  For twenty years, it has been my role to gather ‘appropriate’ resources and present them in a way that meets the needs and interests of multiple ages.

My family and I have an urban farm.  I’ve been a backyard beekeeper since 2007.  We’ve raised chickens for twenty-five years–for eggs; and we’ve raised turkeys and chickens for meat since ’09.  Goats have lived in the yard for summers to eat weeds.  We grow veggies and fruits year-round.  It’s hard work but it enables our family to experience nature regularly.  Other interests include:  documentary filmmaking, swimming, yoga, blogging, reading, cooking, backpacking, and foreign travel.

Over the years, it’s become evident to me that a person engaged in a subject of their interest learns more easily.  At Intrinsic Lifestyle I promote self-directed learners; and interpret what they’ve taught themselves as a result of their interest.

I hope you’ll follow my blog for positive stories about interesting people.

Best Regards,

Kristin Sherman Olnes, ED Intrinsic Lifestyle Productions

22 Responses to “About Kristin”

  1. Beauty Along the Road

    Hi Kristin, glad I came over to your blog (I saw your interchanges on the Daily Blog post comments)f. Love your focus on self-directed learning and your bio. I moved from the city to a truly rural farm and have been pursuing a lot of self-directed learning, as you can imagine building a life of sustainability and self-reliance, out here in the Appalachian Mountains of VA.

    • Kristin

      Hi There Beauty,

      I’m glad you found me too so that I may follow your site with its rich photography, an interest of mine.

      Here’s a thought for you or any of my readers: if you have a photograph which shows an example of intrinsic learning, please consider sharing it with me. I may be able to use it for a post. Between my larger profiles I like to interpret the learning in a single photo in a quickie post.

      If I use your image, I’d provide a link to your site with your blog’s name below it.

        • Kristin

          Welcome Back “Beauty,”

          Here is a description that may be of help. I am looking for photos of a person of any age doing something on their own accord, just because they want to. It doesn’t matter what they are doing or where they are doing it, as long as it’s self-directed and the person looks totally engaged (and as long as it’s not R-rated) I will probably like it. Obviously, the photo will need to be good as well, but I don’t need to explain the “elements” of an artistic photograph to you.

          I’m thrilled you’re possibly interested and I hope you will follow up with a direct message to me at Facebook.

          Chow for now!

  2. artisticmilestone

    You have a very useful and colorful website Kristin. I’m glad I got here. I’m actually quite interested in homeschooling my 1.5yr old daugher twice a week but I’m not really sure how to go about it because she’s too hyper to sit still. What do you suggest I teach her?

    • Kristin

      Hi Artisticmilestone,

      I’m glad you think this blog is useful. I have another one directly related to homeschooling and life at our urban farm called West Vista Urban Farm School.

      As far as what to do with your 1.5 year old–here’s a few suggestions: let her play as much as possible and she will learn a lot! Give her time for many years to develop her imagination. Be in nature and around animals as much as possible. Visit playgrounds and encourage her to climb and use her body. Read to her. Take her to a story time at the library. Join a play group at a park and rec. center and meet other Moms with kids her age. It’s good she’s active! Go with that.

      Sent from my iPhone

      • artisticmilestone

        Thanx for your suggestions :) Sometimes I just feel that all her time in playing isn’t really helping so thanx for the assurance on that.

        • Kristin

          Yeah. When you see that your daughter is totally engaged in something, she is learning. It’s proof! The hard part is *trusting* that she is doing fine🌻and trying not to interrupt her and distract her to your agenda.

          Sent from my iPhone

          • Kristin

            And I’d like to add that many of my ideas about learning have been influenced by Jean Piaget (developmental learning), Howard Gardner (styles of learning), and John Holt (learning from play) to name a few.

  3. Jaime

    Kristin, thank you very much for following my blog, discovered in play, and for checking out my very first video entry. Your blog looks fascinating (I LOVE the idea of intrinsic learning)– I can’t wait to dive in and learn more about it. The San Francisco Bay area happens to be one of my favorite places, too. :)

    Since you’re an educator and homeschooling parent, I think you also might enjoy another blog I write for:
    Sunflower Creative Arts is a nonprofit in South Florida, currently celebrating 20 years of empowering families through play, nature and the arts. We’re big fans of intrinsic learning over there too. :) Enjoy!

    • Kristin

      So glad you are interested. I will check out your other blog as well. Thanks for sharing info. about it.

  4. Kari Ryerson

    Hello Kristen. It is lovely to find someone else that is interested in the process of learning. At one time I hoped to bring my work into art therapy for developmentally disabled adults and children but I found that path was too emotionally demanding for me to stay on and so instead I share my process whenever possible.
    I have read many studies that say the best motivation comes from intrinsic learning and exploring so you are certainly on to something. I am now following you. I look forward to more interesting posts.

  5. Beachbums1

    Followed your link back from The Daily Post to check out your “background” and found I really like your blog as well!

    • Kristin

      Fantastic! That’s what I like to hear. I’ll be following your blog as well and looking forward to your new posts.

  6. Benny

    Thank you do much for taking an interest in my blog. I know it’s still in its infancy but thank for seeing the potential and subscribing.

    I can’t wait to check out your blog! Cheers.

    • Kristin

      Hi Benny,

      It seems we both have new blogs. And we seem to be interested in learning going on out in the world and fostering the development of our own learning as well. That is why I am following your blog and I hope you will follow mine.

      I’m slow to post because it takes me awhile to make my own documentaries. Since you look like you are into health, I invite you to watch my most recent video about “The Raw Food Guy.” LMK what you think.

  7. Michele D'Acosta

    Kristin, your approach to life and work is hugely inspirational. I’m also a filmmaker and have done a lot of work with kids and using film as an educational tool (particularly with children on the autistic spectrum.) Looking forward to following your blog and the progress with your work. Lovely to meet you here! Michele

    • Kristin

      Hi Michele,

      Thank you for your warm sentiment. I noticed you have been doing so many things right up my alley. I followed your blog immediately. I’ve been interested to find WordPress bloggers like yourself and I’ve been enjoying your posts through an email subscription. I admire your regularity in writing, poetry, and photography.

      I am happy we’ve connected.

  8. Billie

    Thanks for following my blog! Your bio reads very easily and your life sounds very interesting, looking forward to reading more of your blog Kristin!


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