Friday, May 26, 2017

A challenge

"Unschooling becomes the ultimate
challenge against modern selfishness."
 photo IMG_5011.jpg
(From a longer commentary on Precisely How to Unschool)
photo by Janine Davies

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Safe and peaceful shelter

Shelter your kids from what you know is ugly. Shelter me too, if I'm around.

It's really okay to "cherry pick" in regard to the stories you let into your day. There's enough horror somewhere on the planet at any moment to make us all suicidal, so make it a habit NOT to collect or dwell on those stories. You have a responsibility to create as safe and peaceful a nest as you can for your own family.

Thank you, Heather Booth, for saving that and putting it where I could find it again.
art and photo by Sandra Dodd
(the switchplate near our kitchen sink)

This is a re-run of a post from 2012

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Learning and learning and...

I have always looked at learning. Learning was and is my goal—I keep learning, the kids are learning—and one of my principles, and one of my convictions. Children can learn from a rich, supportive environment.
old photo from carol singing at a nursing home with baby Marty and sleepy Kirby

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

More doors

 photo DSC03933.jpgWe are here now.

We have been other places in the past.

We will be in surprising places in the future.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, May 22, 2017

Detox, gradually

For a child, deschooling is just the time to relax and get used to being home and with Mom—a child who’s been to school. A child who hasn’t been to school has no deschooling to do.  photo LisaJonickIvy.jpgBut for parents, deschooling is detoxification from a lifetime, and recovery from all of their schooling and whatever teaching they might have done. And it’s also the start of a gradual review of everything...

They don’t need to do it in advance, they don’t need to do it right at first. It’s so big, but it’s also gradual—it's just like living and breathing and eating and sleeping. Because every day a little more can come to the surface and be examined as it pops up.
The quote is from a recent podcast of Pam Laricchia interviewing me.
photo by Lisa Jonick

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Peace inside

Peace, like learning, is largely internal.

Mother Teresa could have found a more peaceful place than Calcutta, but she was helping people find peace in non-peaceful surroundings.

 photo SukaynaWindows.jpg
photo by Sukayna

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Small but important

 photo Dinosaur_play_kitchen.jpg.jpgSize, age, volume, cost...
Value and priorities, for unschoolers, might begin to surprise you and continue to do so.

Don't judge importance too quickly.

Learning is everywhere.
photo by Lynda Rains

Friday, May 19, 2017

Be dignified

Be dignified, if you want your children to respect you and to grow up to be dignified themselves. You cannot maintain your dignity and also embrace INdignity. Breathe and think of your children's need for peace so that unschooling can thrive in your home.

Indignation is not a virtue.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Something different

Things you are used to are exotic to others. There are things you see every day that some people might never, ever see in person.
Lightning storms.
Cargo bikes.
Lifts / elevators.
Shave ice.

 photo DSC00621.jpg
Inventory your special local treasures!
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Friends might be siblings or cousins or neighbors, or might be in other towns or states or countries.  photo IMG_0147.jpg Skype and gaming can help them stay in contact.

If parents can find some opportunities to host or to visit, they should remember that the children will be learning from and with each other, while they gain fond memories. Consider it an expense of unschooling, to visit friends.
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sweet healing

It will help you heal from your childhood, to be a good mother. Seeing your own child's bright eyes when you do something sweet can heal the child inside you who would have loved to have had someone do that to, for, with her, years ago. photo IMG_5889.jpeg
photo by Chrissy Florence

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The flow of history

 photo AmberIveyTypewriter.jpgWhat is new now might be an antique before your children are grown.

Try to ride the gentle flow of time and progress.
photo by Amber Ivey

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Travel interesting paths

Even in the long term, unschooling is not about the completion of a project at all. It’s about becoming the sort of people who see and  photo photo 4.jpgappreciate and trust that learning can happen. And who can travel with children, not just drag them along or push them along, but who can travel with children along those interesting paths together not until you get there, but indefinitely.

And for beginning unschoolers that sounds also a little esoteric, a little foofy. And not solid. They want to know what do I do when the kids wake up in the morning? So, the beginning information is very often, “What do I do?” But the information that will get people from the beginning to the intermediate is why. "Why do we do this?"
photo by Elise Lauterbach

The quote is from a new podcast of Pam Laricchia interviewing me.
I tweaked the quote just slightly, capitalizing "even"
and using "unschooling" rather than "it."

Friday, May 12, 2017

Quietly, just look

Look quietly.

At least once a day, just look quietly.
 photo ColleenOwl.jpg
photo by Colleen Prieto

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Do it!

"That's how unschooling works. By living life as if it were an adventure. As if you only had a limited amount of time with that child. Because that's the way it IS."  photo IMG_3597.jpeg
photo by Chrissy Florence

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How you see them

 photo NoorBrieJontry.jpg"Unschooling is all about how parents are seeing their kids."
—Jill Parmer
photo by Brie Jontry

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Aiming for learning

"Aiming for freedom can send radical unschoolers down some dangerous and goofy paths. Aiming for learning, exploration, discovery, peacefulness, and connectedness is much more helpful to radical unschooling."
~Joyce Fetteroll
 photo Casual3Prieto.jpg
photo by Colleen Prieto

Monday, May 8, 2017

Half a lifetime ago...

Marty was fourteen. By the time this is read, he might be older. But he was fourteen, it was Saturday, and I was playing something on Neopets.

Marty came in and said, "Mom, you know what I really need?" I didn't know. Had I been pressed to guess, I might've thought maybe he wanted the new Nickelback CD, or maybe a hamburger, or to win the lottery. Though his question had been more hypothetical, mine was real:


"A map of the New Mexico Territory when Arizona was a part of it."

I might never have guessed that one, so I'm glad he told me.

As I post this quote and photo, Marty is 28 now and still loves maps.

Read the rest of "What Marty Really Needed:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, May 7, 2017


You may pass through the same door again, but you will be different each time.

Where you are right now will never be exactly the same again.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Not everything, but something

"We can't magically afford everything, but very often we can afford something."
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Janine Davies

Friday, May 5, 2017

Dividing is divisive

"I was thinking the other day about husbands and chores and how many people I've heard say that it shouldn't be their job to pick up after their husband. I never thought of picking up my husband's things as being my cleaning up after him—I've only thought of it as cleaning our house. Does it matter whose laundry or dishes they are? Does he shovel only his own side of the driveway and leave me to climb snowbanks to get to my side of the car? Dividing things yours-and-mine, even socks, in one's internal thoughts doesn't seem to add much happiness."
—Colleen Prieto
 photo janineRainbowHand.jpg

Chores, Serving others as a gift, tales of kids helping out voluntarily
(a chat transcript)
photo by Janine Davies

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Find your options

Pam Sorooshian wrote:
 photo DSC00086.jpg
Lots of people go through their whole lives never feeling like they had choices in many many areas of their lives in which they really did. Just like it is useful for unschoolers to drop school language (not use the terms teaching or lessons or curriculum to refer to the natural learning that happens in their families) it is useful to drop the use of "have to's" and replace it with an awareness of choices and options.

How we think—the language we use to think—about what we're doing, matters.
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The world changes

Even without anyone trying, the world changes. Ironically, we try to make the world better, and on the same day can feel sad that things are different.

We change. Our children change. Trees and buildings and cars change.

Miss the past gracefully. Accept changes with sweetness.

That will make the world better.
 photo DSC02818.jpg
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Own the good stuff

If parents retain ownership of their children's learning,
the children cannot learn on their own.

What I've just said above is / will be / has been misinterpreted to mean the parents should throw up their hands, back off, and not say a word. That's not what I mean at all. Possibly the very same interactions can occur, but the balance of power and responsibility can change by changing the phrasing and definitions. photo wheelbJanine2.jpg

Own joy management, or trust-earning or something.
photo by Janine Davies

Monday, May 1, 2017

Peace and joy

Bring her home, surround her with peace and joy. Don't fight with her. Just love her. There is much more at stake here than her "education."
—Pamela Corkey
 photo IMG_2738.jpeg
photo by Chrissy Florence
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