Thursday, January 17, 2019

Faith and trust

Many times parents have created a situation in which a child trusts advertising, or trusts strangers. Sometimes, it comes from the mom being so pushy that the child wants to push back. Other times, it comes from the moms being so definite and inflexible, that when one thing she said proves not to have been true, the child loses faith in other things she says.

original, on facebook, about food restrictions
photo by Janine Davies

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Clear good sense

A mom wrote:
My children (11 and 7) have eaten more sweets than if I had controlled and restricted them, but our relationship wouldn't have been as sweet, and they would have had stress and longing, sneaking and guilt, and none of that would have been healthy. They wouldn't have had a good sense of what they feel like eating, and what they don't. Those internal senses don't come through clearly, when you're pressured and shamed and stressed.
—Cathy Choo
(in a comment here)

photo by Sandra Kardaras-Flick

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The clock isn't hungry

Perhaps "eating by the clock" has roots in European manor houses filled with servants, where the lady of the house got to choose the times of meals (within the narrow window of what was considered right and proper). In more modern times, eating by the clock has to do with factory lunch breaks and with school bells.

Don't be the clock's mother. Don't watch the clock to see if it's time to eat. Watch your child. Or watch the clock to see if it's time to offer another snack, but don't let the clock say "not yet" or "Must EAT!"

It isn't good parenting or self control for an adult who has reproduced to be looking to a mechanical device to make decisions for her. Clocks are great for meeting people at a certain time, but they were never intended to be an oracle by which mothers would decide whether to pay attention to a child or not. Your child knows whether he's hungry. You don't. The clock doesn't either, never did, and never will.

From page 163 of The Big Book of Unschooling.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, January 14, 2019

Peaceful and stable

Jen Keefe wrote:

Every day my husband and I understand better how to create an environment so that our kids can learn. This involves making our home more peaceful and stable, making sure our kids have food, water, comfortable clothes, and good places to sit, work and sleep. It involves paying attention so that we can find resources to offer to support whatever thing they are currently learning about. It requires that they feel safe, respected, valued, appreciated, and loved.
—Jen Keefe

Jen, on facebook
(If you don't have facebook, look at Building an Unschooling Nest, maybe.)
photo by Renee Cabatic

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Life itself

What is Sandra's message? If I were going to sum it up, I would say it is that life itself always presents opportunities for learning, but that often we miss it, or dismiss it.
—Amy Milstein,
years ago,
on her blog
photo by Becky Sekeres

Saturday, January 12, 2019

People are different

Julie Daniel wrote:

One of the things that I really liked about the home education group was that the children were all different ages so Adam never realised that he was unusual in being able to read so early. Of course he knew that some children at the group could read and that some couldn't but in his mind that was just part of the concept that everyone is different - some children could run really fast and some were slow. Some children could go all the way across the monkey bars without letting go and some couldn't. Reading was like that. Some could, some couldn't. He didn't seem to notice until he was quite a lot older that he was an "early reader". And I liked that. It wouldn't have been possible in a school environment.
—Julie Daniel

The lead-up to that is here:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, January 11, 2019

Be the calming comfort

Sometimes life is spooky and frightening. Sometimes children are afraid.

Be the comforting, safe partner. Don't be another source of spooky discomfort.

Practice being braver and calmer so that when life is scary you have enough courage and confidence to share.
photo by Karen James

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Step by step

Schuyler wrote:

I can almost pinpoint the minute when I turned from feeling a need to have my own needs met in a separate but equal kind of way to seeing how being with Simon and Linnaea was meeting my needs in the most involved and deep way....

For me, it was very clearly incremental, it was a step by step building from small changes to a point where I was in a position to find personal fulfilment in being with my children. It wasn't martyrdom, or it didn't feel as though I'd sacrificed myself for their joy. It did help to get the almost kinetic memory of being kind to them, of meeting them where they were instead of expecting them to meet me where I was.
—Schuyler Waynforth

Read more; it's good:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A memorable thing

We can't remember everything we see, or hear or do. Sometimes for one person, for some reason, something can become the sort of memory that visits happy dreams.
photo by Nicole Kenyon

Monday, January 7, 2019

Ideas, pulled in

Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

Teaching is pouring knowledge over a child. Whether a child takes it in is not in the teacher's power. Which is why teachers punish and reward to make not taking in an idea less pleasant.

Learning is a child pulling in ideas. Those ideas are most full of life when those ideas connect to other ideas the child is fascinated by. It makes no difference if those ideas connect along a particular path. Which is why natural learning looks so chaotic and meandering compared to school.

It makes it hard to create an environment for a child to explore freely and pull in what fascinates them when someone is unschooling through a fog of TEACH.
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Amber Ivey

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Pause it!

I remember having younger video-game playing kids, and asking "Does this game pause?" Or one of them, knowing which were "pausable," would just demand of a sibling "Pause it!", if there was a reason to interact, a question to ask, or something to say.

With my own thoughts and actions, it's good to know when I can "pause it" if someone needs me.

photo by Crystal, Sorscha's mom, a dozen years ago,
for If you give a cat a Nintendo...,
a tongue-in-cheek directory page

Saturday, January 5, 2019


One breath,
one pause,
one gaze...

A moment of stillness can make the next word or action more valuable.
Calm and quiet
photo by Gail Higgins

Friday, January 4, 2019

Invest in your future grandchildren

Every negative word, thought or deed takes peace and positivity out of your account. Cynicism, sarcasm—which some people enjoy and defend—are costly, if your goal is peace.

Biochemically / emotionally (those two are separate in language, but physically they are the same), calmer is healthier. I don't know of any physical condition that is made better by freaking out or crying hard or losing sleep or reciting fears. I know LOTS of things that are made better—entire lives, and lives of grandchildren not yet born—by thoughtful, mindful clarity.

It's okay for mothers to be calm. There are plenty of childless people to flip out. Peek out every few days, from your calm place, and check whether their ranting freak-out is making the world a more peaceful place. If not, be grateful you weren't out there ignoring (or frightening) your children helping them fail to create peace from chaos.

A message to your grandchildren
photo by Jo Isaac

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Deposit the good stuff

When people ask about being happier and more positive, the answer can't help but be the same. BE happier. BE positive.

But as with any accounting (think a bank account), withdrawals deplete your reserves. Every negative word, thought or deed takes peace and positivity out of your account. Cynicism, sarcasm—which some people enjoy and defend—are costly, if your goal is peace. (which is really about positivity)
photo by Janine Davies

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Positively happier

When people ask about being happier and more positive, the answer can't help but be the same.
BE happier. BE positive.
More positive
photo by Karen James, "the last sunset of 2018"

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Hope and mystery

A new year comes with hope and mystery.

Hope and mystery, with good humor and curiosity, warmed in your heart and kept safe, might become wonder.
Relax into wonder
photo by Sandra Dodd, of ice on a chain, and a cat,
near the gas meter, in my side yard.


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