Saturday, May 31, 2014

The beauty around you

"Look at what you have, not what you do not have. If all you focus is in negative things that is all you will see. If you always look for the positive slowly you will, more and more, see the positive and the beauty around you and that will become who you are."
—Alex Polikowsky
SandraDodd.com/alex/optimism
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, May 30, 2014

Knowing peace

 photo IMG_20130322_184723.jpegThe more local and personal peace there is, the more peace there will be in the world.
. . . .
If we raise the level of peace our children expect, they will know what peace feels like.
Read what Esther Maria Rest wrote, to the left of the tree at SandraDodd.com/parentingpeacefully.
photo by Colleen Prieto

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Be very engaged

"I made my marriage very important to me. I chose to be very engaged in my marriage as a part of raising children."
—Schuyler Waynforth
 photo DSC09956.jpg
SandraDodd.com/spouses
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A world of input

There is an artistic motif known as "the tree of knowledge." I don't know how old it is, but there are also artists' trees known as "tree of life" and sometimes they're very similar.. . . .

Thinking about this concept though, in light of my children's never having gone to school, has brought lots of thoughts welling up in me about our culture's worship of books, both in what's good and understandable about that attitude, and also of the ways it has been and continues to be harmful and unreasonable in light of Howard Gardner's writings about multiple intelligences and of the "information age," which gives even non-reading children access to a huge world of input.

SandraDodd.com/bookmotif
image inked in by Sandra, but black-and-white art is from an old bookplate

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I'm not guessing.

I'm confident. I'm not guessing unschooling can work, I know. I've also seen how it can fail, through my correspondence and discussions with so many other homeschooling families.  photo DSC01715.jpgI'm not hoping that kids can still get a job without fifteen years of practice bedtimes; I know they can. (And they would've been "practicing" for the wrong shift anyway.) I don't conjecture that kids can learn to read without being taught, I know. It's happened at my house, in three people's lives.

SandraDodd.com/confidence
photo by Sandra Dodd

P.S.
Just because it *can* work doesn't mean that a family can't fail. If you're going to unschool, do it well. Find your own confidence. Help is available. SandraDodd.com/help

Monday, May 26, 2014

What kind of peace?

 photo dollipad.jpgHow can peace help learning? Is peace always a subset of "peace and quiet"? Is quiet always peaceful? What is the value of a peaceful environment to unschooling and how can parents help to create and maintain that? What kind of peace are we after and how can we get some?
Sometimes just asking the questions can be helpful, but if you want to hear a free sound file of me talking about that sort of thing, here:
SandraDodd.com/bignoisypeace
photo by Caroline Lieber

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Best and highest good

Everything is turned to its best use and highest good insofar as we’re able. photo DSCF4689.jpg
SandraDodd.com/why
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Science experiment, festival, and a game

Once there was a little discussion on facebook where I said that Learn Nothing Day was like a game, and you join in by showing you know how it works. In response to a question, then, about whether it's a holiday or a game, I wrote:
 photo DSC09933.jpg

Well... it's a holiday when people demonstrate what they've learned about learning by attempting not to learn, which is kind of a science experiment and kind of a festival and sort of a game.

More than one thing is happening.
Two more months to Learn Nothing Day
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, May 23, 2014

Two-way change

Unschooling is more than just the absence of school. As we change, our perceptions change, and the perceptions of others toward us changes.  photo BrieMay2014.jpg
SandraDodd.com/change
photo by Brie Jontry

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What is choice?

 photo hollyhall.jpgSomeone was writing about what she "had to" do.

My response (saved by Schuyler Waynforth; thankz!):


You are inviting powerlessness into your life and keeping it there by using that phrase.

You wrote -=-how freeing it was to realize we didn't have to KEEP UP-=-

How much more freeing to think "we can choose not to keep up."
It might seem to you the same thing, or the other side of the same coin. But coins' sides are NOT the same.

Choice is not the other side of a "have to" coin. It is the antidote to a have-to poison. Choice dissolves the roof and ceiling of a have-to cell.

SandraDodd.com/haveto
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Happy choices

 photo martyswing.jpgI did my time in and around school, and learned things painstakingly and grudgingly that my children later learned while laughing and playing and singing. I have guarded my children's freedom and given them happy choices that I didn't have.
SandraDodd.com/schoolinmyhead
photo by Sandra Dodd, of Marty twenty years ago

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A time and a place

5/20/14 A time and a place photo DSC01493.jpg[Riding in a car] is a great time and place for humor, news, and deep conversation.
SandraDodd.com/truck
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, May 19, 2014

Roses and different directions

People need to start and go, but they don't have to race at breakneck speed or never look back. "Going" sometimes just means going one step and smelling the roses! Sometimes the most important steps are those where you're still standing in the very same place, but looking a different direction!
Sandra Dodd, July 2003 discussion
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, May 18, 2014

More and better

 photo 4a60e898-d2b4-4a20-b918-d4c93d55e2b2.jpg

The question "What do I have to do?" is a world apart from "What can I do?" "What am I allowed to do?"
. . . .
My kids have been really good employees wherever they worked because they were not trained to just do what they had to do and to just do as little as they had to do.


Small bit transcribed from talk I gave in August, 2010
called Unschooling: How to Screw it Up,
available to buy from HSC (link 1/4 down the linked page).

photo by Sandra Dodd, which is related only by theme

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Embracing and supporting

Colleen Prieto wrote:

"For me I think the biggest applications of unschooling in terms of my marriage are the ideas of embracing and supporting other people's passions and interests—not just my child's, but my husband's too. And accepting people for who they are, not trying or wanting to change them or 'fix' them. Valuing everyone in our family for who they are and working together to meet everyone's needs. Unschooling is good for marriages."

—Colleen Prieto

SandraDodd.com/betterpartner
photo by Joyce Fetteroll,
of Marta's family

Friday, May 16, 2014

Picture it clearly

 photo DSC09479.jpgOne easy way to decide how to be is to picture clearly what would make things worse, and then not do that.
JoyfullyRejoycing.com/joyfulnutshells.html
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Patient, attentive, calm and accepting

"None of us are perfect; we'll all have some regrets. But with my kids 19, 16, and 13, I can now say that I will never say anything like, 'I wish I'd let them fight it out more,' or 'I wish I'd punished them more,' or 'I wish I'd yelled at them more.' I will only ever say that I wish I'd been more patient, more attentive, more calm and accepting of the normal stresses of having young children."
—Pam Sorooshian
whose children are now 29, 26 and 23,
and who became a grandmother day before yesterday

SandraDodd.com/peace/becoming



photo NOT by Sandra Dodd (though for a few hours here it said so)
(Sorry—when the blog post went missing and I reconstructed it, it defaulted to defaults. I'm guessing Roya or Cyrus might have taken that photo; I don't know.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Respect your kids

 photo IMG_5257.jpg"Respect your kids. Too many adults DEMAND respect from kids without showing any respect in return. Doesn't work."
—Lyle Perry
SandraDodd.com/lyle/list
photo by Karen James

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Enough to share

 photo kdk_3111.jpgAbundance in one person provides benefits for others. A child with all the trust he needs can trust others. A child with all the time he needs can share that time with others. One who has freedom won't begrudge freedom in others.
SandraDodd.com/respect/dodd
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, May 12, 2014

Choice makes a big difference

Plain milk tastes WAY better if it's your choice than it does when it's plain because someone else wouldn't let you put chocolate in it.
How to Raise a Respected Child
Como criar a un niño respetado
art by Laura Mascaró

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A good mom

Nothing has ever made me feel better about me than the feeling that I was being
a good mom.



SandraDodd.com/peace/noisy
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Gradually cooler

My world's pretty cool. It has become gradually cooler since I had kids and have tried to figure out how to make THEIR worlds cooler. Mine got the side benefit of what I learned about how to help keep them happy. photo DSC08983.jpg
I don't know where I wrote that, but someone saved it.
Have a randomizer: SandraDodd.com/random
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, May 9, 2014

It doesn't hurt to think about it.

In response to questions from critics…

Some things I've said:

"This is working for now. If it stops working, we'll do something else."

 photo JDanielPhoto.jpg"Thanks. I'll think about that." (Or you could say "We thought about that," or "I think about that all the time.")

Mostly people want to know you heard what they said, and that you have thought about what they're suggesting. It doesn't hurt to say that you have, or that you will.

Sandra Dodd
SandraDodd.com/school/say
photo by Julie D

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Helping one another grow

Of her birth family, Rippy wrote:
"My family used to regularly travel to India to a Sikh ashram where we were encouraged to examine our thoughts and words. The philosophy there was that helping one another grow into more loving, mindful people is one of the greatest acts of service one can do."
—Rippy Dusseldorp Saran
SandraDodd.com/hsc/interviews/rippy

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Don't bother

Pam Sorooshian's description of a talk she plans to give:
 photo DSC00008.jpg
Unschoolers don't bother with lesson plans, curriculum, assignments, tests, grades, workbooks, homework, or other academic requirements because we have discovered that children who grow up in a stimulating and enriched environment, surrounded by family and friends who are generally interested and interesting, will learn all kinds of things and repeatedly surprise us with what they know. If children are supported in following their own inclinations, they will build strengths upon strengths and excel in their own ways whether those are academic, artistic, athletic, interpersonal, or whichever direction that particular child develops.

(If September 2014 isn't gone when you read this,
you might have a chance to hear Pam expound on those ideas
at the Free to Be unschooling conference in Phoenix.)
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Avoid struggles

"Struggling with a disorder" is not as good as living with choices and looking up instead of down.

Find ways to relax, rather than to struggle.
5/6/14 Avoid struggles photo DSC09073.jpg
SandraDodd.com/peace
photo by Sandra Dodd

(If this comes in e-mail twice, it's because I deleted it by accident from the blog, and reconstructed it from the e-mail. Sorry.)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Better at understanding

For all the "be gentle" that parents give their babies about how to touch cats and dogs, the parents themselves aren't always so gentle. Over the years of having children grow up around our dogs and cats I became more compassionate toward the pets. Having learned to communicate with and to understand non-verbal babies, I was better at understanding "non-human-speaking" animal companions.

SandraDodd.com/pets
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Meditation?

Caren Knox, in response to a request about how to meditate:
 photo DSC01835.jpg"When the boys were younger, I'd sit when I could, but I noticed that thoughts of "needing" to meditate were pulling me away from the moment *with them*. So I'd get centered in that moment, breathing (three deep breaths is magical), noticing sounds, smells, where my body was. Momentary, but being able to be in the moment changed and flavored the next moment, and shifted it toward peace."
—Caren Knox
SandraDodd.com/breathing
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Changes happen.

 photo strawberry.jpgChanges happen in us and around us.

Our children grow. We grow. Old things fall away. New things appear.
SandraDodd.com/change
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, May 2, 2014

Patterns and angles

 photo snowfence.jpgWhat you see every day can be seen in a different way.
SandraDodd.com/checklists
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Playing with dolls

Holly was here today. She's 22 years old now. In this photo, she was 14 or so.

 photo HollyDodd.jpgToday she was trying out a new basket, for the possibility of being a babydoll bed. She has a babydoll collection. She was carrying one of her favorites around while we were talking, and asked me seriously why, when she has had it out in public, people have reacted so oddly. The only acceptable answer seemed to be that she was taking a class of some sort, and needed to carry a baby doll. Otherwise, they didn't know how to respond.

I gave her some possible responses to use ("I really like it" or "He feels almost like a real baby" or something conversational), but the real answer was that there is often pressure on kids to stop playing with certain things at certain ages. Baby dolls, maybe by the time girls are eight or so. Boys even sooner (if they were allowed to play with a doll at all).

Holly grew up without much pressure to conform to arbitary age rules. I'm glad.

SandraDodd.com/playing
photo by Sandra Dodd
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