Friday, November 17, 2017

Real learning is intangible

Karen James wrote:
"Real learning is a breath. Ethan said something kind of funny to my husband recently. He exclaimed "Now you are breathing consciously!" We all became aware of our breathing in that moment. Learning can become as effortless as unconscious breathing when we it happens without prejudice or too much attention to its presence. It's so big it permeates through everything we do, yet so intangible at times we can only guess at its influence and significance."
—Karen James
photo by Heather Booth

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Truly worthless

Truth can still be worthless, and a worthless statement might still be true. Cosmic. So profound I need a nap.

I think this illustrates the commutative property of cosmic profundity.
I wrote it in a collection of worthless statements, here.
Photo by Sandra Dodd, of a miniature golf hole in Rochester, Minnesota.
Miniature golf is not worthless, but that's not real water.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Abundance and gratitude

"If it's not one thing, it's another."

People usually say that of problems or frustrations. But what about gourds, and little girls, and music, and humor?
If you practice finding abundance, if it's not one thing, it will be another.
photo by Cátia Maciel

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


"Round" is whole, and strong. Something circular can represent completion or continuation.

When everyone has had a turn that's a round of cards, or a round of play in a boardgame. At a celebration, "a round" can mean everyone has a drink.

Around. Surround. Some things, you think of as being "all around" you, or "all around" everywhere. You might be surrounded by things like ... air. Potential friends. Opportunities. Love. Surprises.
photo by Sandra Dodd, of a carousel near a round barn in Vermont

Monday, November 13, 2017

Do one thing better

Jenny Cyphers wrote:

Insecurities about something big like unschooling, is natural. What I've done with those thoughts, is to actively do one thing better. Then another, and another. And another.

Unschooling is built on these small and thoughtful acts that change the bigger picture over time. Each change or tweak, or alteration we make that positively impacts the way we interact with our children, can really only help. Without those little changes, we stagnate. We don't grow. And as a result, unschooling doesn't become better.
—Jenny Cyphers
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Quite quiet

look without narrating.
Think without voicing.

Too much commentary can make words less valuable.

See shadows and sunshine and shapes and children without always saying so.
photo by Sandra Dodd, who talks too much

Saturday, November 11, 2017


It's not about "success," it's about progress, and living in the moment as well as possible.
photo by Sabine Mellinger

Friday, November 10, 2017

A wonderful thing

"One of the wonderful things about unschooling is that we come to understand that children are learning all the time. Knowing that, we can make thoughtful choices about how we'd like to influence that learning. We cannot control what is learned, but we can create an environment in which joyful learning can thrive."
—Karen James
photo by Cátia Maciel

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Heat and light

If I have a big woodpile, I don't have a fire. Even if I have a fireplace and matches and bellows and kindling and firestarters and a fire extinguisher and the chimney was just cleaned and inspected and I have a paper saying "good to go," I don't have a fire. Would wrought-iron fire tools on a cool rack help? What about a stained-glass fireplace screen, so no sparks can get out on the floor? I could subscribe to magazines for fireplace owners. I could join a yahoo group and a facebook page to talk about fires. I could be receiving catalogs with all kinds of fancy flameproof rugs and indoor wood racks and really cool slings for carrying wood in, and Ooh! What about a beautiful mantle?

Still no fire.

Meanwhile, the neighbors might have build a real, operating fire, in a little hole they dug and lined with scrap bricks or rocks, with wood they found in a vacant lot, and kindled it with old receipts and fast-food wrappers they found blown into the alley. Their fire has heat, their fire has light, if they're sitting around it talking and laughing, they have the benefit of the fire.

Some people want to look like they're interested and that they intend to hone their skills, but they don't actually want to do it, if it's going to involve any real combustion or change in them.
photo by Sandra Dodd, of a fire in our own back yard,
not in a hole, but quite make-shift, 2012

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Megan Fenn wrote:
I no longer look for learning when they are watching shows or playing games. I know they are learning.

I used to watch for it as part of my “try a little” practise to see the value in what they are doing. I don’t do that anymore. I know what they do has value because they value it. And I know they are learning because they learn from everything they do.
—Megan Fenn
photo by Nina Gold

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Only a child?

"Respect" is not a light thing. It's not easy to respect your child, when it's new to you. There will be people encouraging you to see your child as "just a kid," and "only a child." Think of adults you respect, and think of them as ten years old, four years old, two, newborn. They were those people from birth. There was a newborn Mohandas Gandhi; a four-year-old Abraham Lincoln; an eight-year-old Oprah Winfrey; a twelve-year-old Winston Churchill.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, November 6, 2017

The learning and the beauty

"It's all about that mind shift isn't it? It applies to so much in how unschooling works or doesn't work. If you can't see the learning and the beauty, you will have a hard time unschooling. It seems to work best in all those small ways that add up to the bigger picture."
—Jenny Cyphers
photo by Chrissy Florence

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A little and a lot

"Depth and breadth—creating a lifestyle in which kids are offered the opportunity to learn a lot about some things and a little about a lot of things."
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Sandra Dodd

I wanted to call this post "Depth and Breadth", but I've already used that title.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Trivial connections

Sometimes to understand a joke, people have to know three or four different things already. Sometimes a piece of humor ties together LOTS of trivia/learning in ways other things can't do.
photo by Megan Valnes

Friday, November 3, 2017

Peace and calm

Peace and calm are really good things all in and of themselves. Enjoyment/JOY is better for health than all the "health rules" in the world.
photo by Colleen Prieto

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Be that way

"Treat them the way you want them to treat others. Do you want respect? Be respectful. Do you want responsibility from them? Be responsible."
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Chrissy Florence

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Stages and balance

Children grow up, but all the stages of their childhood stay alive in their parents' memories.
Balancing, stages, profiles
photo of Marty, a dozen years ago, by Holly Dodd
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