Friday, February 28, 2014

Stop struggling

italian houses with mountain and cloudy sky above
When someone says "I struggle with..." the answer is "stop struggling." Not to give up on change, but instead of struggling with the old thing, turn all the way away from it, and do the new thing. BE the new thing.
photo by Dylan Lewis

Thursday, February 27, 2014

There it is.

Robert Prieto wrote:

If strewing seems manipulative, think of Mother Nature. Nature has strewn a whole world out there, full of trees and people and birds and animals and rocks and shells and plants and bugs… We each get particular pieces of what she has to offer, based on where we live and how we live (urban/rural, traveler/homebody, etc.)—and those pieces are sitting right there for everyone to pick through, explore, enjoy, and learn from.

That is all strewing needs to be. Here's the world, kids—and here's a few things from that world that I think you in particular might like, or a few things that relate to you in some way. Have at it.
—Robert Prieto

I've changed this to past tense, later:
Robert Prieto spoke at ALLive in Maine in September [2014].
There's a photo of him here:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Do it

Do it,
      and do it,
            and quietly do it.

Dunn ghost sign on an old brick building
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Produce happiness

Having a happy home comes from the creation and maintenance of happy conditions. Produce as much as you can. You'll fill yourself up and it will overflow, and your family might even have enough to share with friends and strangers!

That was written in explanation of having shared a quote I got from watching "Being Erica," a Canadian TV series, in which Dr. Tom (one of the main characters) quoted George Bernard Shaw: "We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it."

photo by Julie D

Monday, February 24, 2014

Doing and being

They don’t live to grow up. They’re living in the present. They don’t relate to questions about what they will do later or be when they’re grown. They’re doing and being now. photo twoBirds.jpg
photo by Colleen Prieto

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Unschooling and relationships work better when one partner accepts the other's interests, hobbies and ways of being.
photo by Karen James

Friday, February 21, 2014

Safe place, time and space

millstones in a Japanese garden
The best unschooling parents aim to avoid punishments and shaming. They try to facilitate learning and joy, peace and happiness. They slowly and incrementally learn to make choices themselves and soon they can better assist their children in learning to make thoughtful choices. They try to nurture their children by creating a safe place, and time and space for them to play, to explore and to grow up whole and undamaged.
photo by Karen James

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Work hard and happily

When I was a child and was assigned chores, I learned to do the job in a rudimentary fashion as quickly as possible. My kids never learned any such thing, and when they work at jobs, they work hard and happily.
photo by Jill Parmer

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Deep and clear

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

When we started unschooling, my mom kept saying that she was worried I would "lose myself" in it—that I wouldn't have time for myself. She was very very wrong. I found myself and very very deep meaning to life and a much more clear sense of what's important.
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where are you living?

Don't live in fear when you can live in joy.
photo by Colleen Prieto

This line has been quoted twice before but not so briefly:
Live in joy (June 2012) and Time, change, learning

Monday, February 17, 2014

Holly likes green chile

old turquoise pickup truck with snow on it

Green chile is a New Mexico staple. Ten or twelve years ago, I wrote this, in a discussion about reading:

We've used this "someday you will" or "you just don't yet" about all kinds of things, from reading to caring about the opposite sex to foods. Holly doesn't like green chile yet. She figures she will ("When my taste buds die" she jokes), because her brothers didn't used to and now they do. Kirby lately started liking mushrooms. Marty still doesn't like spinach yet, but we haven't branded him "a spinach hater," and I don't think anyone should consider a child "a non-reader," just one who "doesn't read yet."
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Simply put...

When you are kind, it changes the kind of person you are. When you are patient, it makes you a better person.

More simply put, kind is kinder, patient is more patient and better is better.
view from Obidos castle wall
photo by Bruno Machado

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A happy little life

"I concluded a year or so ago that, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I'd like to come back as a little flame on a birthday candle sometime. It would be a very short cycle, but man, it would be a happy one."
—Gina Trujillo
photo by SouleMama

Friday, February 14, 2014

Protection can backfire

Something Joyce Fetteroll wrote in September 2010:

What if you live your life fearing the worst and guarding against it? Your child will grow up immersed in the idea the world is scary and stronger than he is and he needs armor (or mom) to protect him. (As much as you might try, you won't be able to hide your fears from him.) Is that what you want?

Or he'll think you're full of baloney. He'll see people doing the things you fear—like drinking soda—and they're healthy and strong. He'll then realize you don't know what you're talking about and tune you out. That won't be so good when your fears are justified (like about unprotected sex and drinking and driving.)

Those are worst case scenarios but it's likely he'll have a bit of those if you live your life protecting him from the world.
—Joyce Fetteroll

Related ideas:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Slow down

playdough pancakes

"The biggest thing that helped me with young kids was just to slow down."
—Jill Parmer
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Joy and service

When you do things, look for the joy and service in them, and your life will be softer and more meaningful.
photo by Sandra Dodd, of ice as a bathtub toy

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sweeter and easier

"Young children have limits and boundaries—there are sooooooo many things they can't do for themselves, yet! Their world is full of things that are too big and complex for them to deal with, including their own needs. It's a great gift for them to have a special grown-up friend making their lives sweeter and easier so they can put their energy into exploring the world, not fighting against it."
—Meredith Novak
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bigger and wiser

Lisa Haugen wrote:

As I learn about myself and move toward being a person who is confident and secure and happy with who I am, that need to define what I like or don't like or agree or don't agree with has lessened quite a bit. I don't feel like less of a defined person because I've stopped having firm, clear lines around what I like or don't; I feel like more of a person—like my brain and my heart and my soul are so much bigger and wiser than I ever thought they could be, and I know myself much better.
—Lisa J Haugen

Mental Health ideas and links for unschoolers
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Russian dolls based on Disney characters in a toy museum

When I reject something from my life, it closes doors, in my head, and in my soul. I can't make connections there anymore. I have eliminated it from active play. It's not good for unschoolers.

Open and unfold, enlarge and expand.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Finding patterns

Look up. Trees? Clouds? Arches or ceiling joists? Textured ceiling?

Look down. Snow? Sand? Grass? Dirt? Concrete, tile or wood? Water, maybe, or carpet. (Both at once would be bad.)

Pretend to see your thoughts. Slow? Calm? Racing? Repetitive?

Different days are different ways. In a moment, it might be different. Find good patterns.

Patterns and Connections
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, February 7, 2014

Your child as a person

"Just a reminder: your kids are whole people. They're having experiences even when you're not there. They learn with you and without you."
—Holly Dodd

(I told Holly, "Say something I can quote in Just Add Light.")
photo by Julie D, of Holly and Adam

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The more important idea

'broccoflower' at a grocery store

"When learning become the more important idea, teaching just falls away."
—Robin Bentley
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Step up

No matter where a person is, a step up is a step up. Happier is happier. (close enough)
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I wrote:
Many things are made better by slowing down. Touching a child is nicer in slow motion than abruptly. Responding to a question can be improved by a pause as long as a single breath.
Lisa J Haugen wrote:
That's why I love the 'add light and stir' blog title. It's such a lovely image—add a little bit, let it swirl into your life, and incorporate. Add a little more. Gently and slowly.

I edited Lisa's a tiny bit, and it was the end of something
a bit longer here, at Radical Unschooling Info
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, February 3, 2014

Bring it

child on a beach with a glass skyscraper behind
"It is our job as unschooling parents to help bring the world to our kids and our kids to the world. Unschooling is not 'whatever you want honey I'll be over here doing my own separate thing I'm sure you'll figure it out.' That would be neglect. We need to consistently be providing something better, richer, interesting, more vivid than they they would be getting in school. It's not up our kids to ask for enrichment. It is up to us to provide it."
—Sylvia Woodman
photo by Karen James

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happiness, excitement and enthusiasm

Joyce wrote:
"You can learn a lot by letting go of what you think you're seeing and really look."

"Don't fear your children's happiness, excitement and enthusiasm. Your kids are already experts on learning. You knew it all once too. But it's gotten buried beneath layers of "expert" ideas on how and what kids need to learn *in school*. You can learn a lot by letting go of what you think you're seeing and really look."
—Joyce Fetteroll

The quote was a light in a darker discussion.
Read more by Joyce here:
photo by Karen James

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Flowing smoothly

medieval roof spout shaped like a lamb, seems, on an old church in France
Liquids flow, life flows, ideas flow, learning flows. Sometimes things don't flow smoothly, or don't flow freely, or flow where we don't want them to flow, or freeze up altogether. Parents can accept, acknowledge and appreciate flow, or they can block, knock and wreck it.
photo by Sandra Dodd