Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sort it out!

A cardboard cake shop display

"A lot of learning about unschooling is unlearning what we're sure we know about learning."
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Sandra Dodd
outside a kitchen shop in Chichester
click to enlarge

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Peaceful options

museum mastadon with tusks Our lives are peaceful, our pressures are self-inflicted and mostly optional, we’re free to visit historical sites when there are no crowds, to leave town during the week, to sleep late or have guests whenever it’s convenient for us, without regard to school’s schedule.
photo by Ashlee Junker

Monday, April 28, 2014

A busy, happy swirl

I didn’t expect them to learn so much without me.

Anyone who is involved in natural learning for any length of time can find it difficult to summarize what children have learned academically, because each child’s knowledge comes from such varied sources and is fit together uniquely.

At first, though, I thought I wouldn’t miss a single thing. Then I totally missed them learning Roman numerals, which they learned from the names of a series of MegaMan video games.

I was jealous of that “MegaMan” guy, at first. I felt cheated out of the fun of seeing their eyes light up. But in thinking about that feeling, I realized that if life is a busy, happy swirl, they will learn. Learning is guaranteed. The range and content will vary, but the learning will happen.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

New and better

a desert flower blooming over a cave entrance

Lean, one choice at a time, one conscious thought at a time, until your choices and thoughts are solidly in the range where you want to be, and you no longer lean that other way so much.

Your new range of balance will involve better choices and options than your first attempts did.

Sandra, from a talk on being partners
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, April 25, 2014


Supporting someone or something requires strength and confidence.

Support is holding something up.
Support is upholding something.

Support your child. Lift him up above you.

New words, relating to older ideas:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, April 24, 2014

If you do this well...

"Expect imagination and interest and excitement and passion."

—Mary G.
(Follow from Mary's "If you give a kid a Nintendo"
to Crystal's "If you give a cat a Nintendo.")

photo by Sandra Dodd, in Keith, South Australia

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Learning through experience

coins, coin purse, hands "If you wait to do unschooling *after* you understand it, it's unlikely you'll ever understand it. Learning itself works through experience. Unschooling is the same way. It's largely grasped by experiencing it."
—Katherine Anderson
photo by Karen James

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


If learning for fun creates more connections than "serious learning" did, I can no longer look at "serious learning" seriously.Simpson's pinball machine (art on the side of it)
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, April 21, 2014

Already full

fat spotty wonga pigeon on a fence with tree fronds behind

"I don't need to stuff him full of who I need him to be, because he's already full of who he is."

—Schuyler Waynforth
March 29, 2014
Gold Coast symposium
photo by Sandra Dodd of a wonga pigeon at Schuyler's
(The quote is about her son, not about a pigeon.)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Open and sensible

chocolate Easter bilbyExploring the world (including food) needs to be done in a supported and supportive way, in an open and non-fearful way, in a sensible and sensitive way.
photo by Sandra Dodd, of a chocolate Bilby in Australia
(which I bought and ate)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

See what you see

Things don't need to be colorful to be fun.

Ordinary can be colorful. Plain can be exotic.
photo by Sandra Dodd (click for another view)
__ __

Friday, April 18, 2014

A different place

"Your perspective will change when you've experienced new things, seen the world from a different place."
—Debbie Regan
The quote above inspired this page:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, April 17, 2014

To get more jokes

When I was a student I often asked why something was important to learn, but my teachers rarely had good answers.

When I was a teacher, I was asked those things too.

Then one day, the question came phrased a new and better way: "What is this GOOD for?" The answer I gave then changed my life and thinking. I said quickly "So you can get more jokes." I think we were reading a simplified Romeo and Juliet at the time. I could've gone into literature and history and fine arts, but the truth is that the best and most immediate use of most random learning is that it illuminates the world.

The more we know, the more jokes we will get.

The larger paragraph above is from:
To Get More Jokes
"Thinking and Learning and Bears"
by Sandra Dodd, 2007

photo by Sandra Dodd, of Holly Dodd dressed for a costume party

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Something old. . . something blue

antique blue pickup

Something old, something new,
something borrowed, something blue."
—traditional English saying about what brides should wear

"And all of this is true because it rhymes."
—Vitruvius, in The Lego Movie

Look for beauty, truth and humor. Connect the dots!
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Better, patient, kind

Learning to live better with children makes one a better person. Being patient with a child creates more patience. Being kind to a child makes one a kinder person.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, April 14, 2014

Good habits

"If you want to establish good habits, be gentle with your kids' feelings. Make their lives warmer and softer and easier so the habits they develop are those of warmth and joy, comfort and care."
—Meredith Novak
April 13, 2014

You might like "Building an Unschooling Nest":
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The most important word

"The most important word in unschooling is 'with'."
—Sue Patterson
April 12, 2014
More on being with:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, April 12, 2014

New truths

"A lot of learning about unschooling is unlearning a lot of stuff that you're sure is true about learning."
—Joyce Fetteroll

light through a hole in the top of a cave

More by Joyce about How Unschooling Works
and the original writing, of which the line above is just the closing
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, April 11, 2014

Don't fight nature

"Unschooling involves recognizing that fighting against human nature doesn't make better people."
—Meredith Novak
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The power to give kids choices

two-passenger bumblebee, playground ride for toddlers
If children have freedom to choose, it's because the parents GIVE them that freedom, because they have the power to give it to them.

For a parent to absolutely decide that he will never "insist" is going way too far, I think. Not only could it be, in some cases, illegal and neglectful, if the parent isn't even clear on what her duties and responsibilities are as a parent, maybe she isn't thinking clearly about other things, either.

Part of something long about If-then contracts
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Happy momentum

plastic marble run

Jenny Cyphers wrote:

One of the very important aspects of unschooling that is solely on the parents, is to create a happy learning environment. Kids don't learn nearly as well when they aren't happy. It doesn't mean that every person needs to be happy at every moment of every day, it means that things that create happy momentum should be paramount from day to day.
—Jenny Cyphers
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Count one. One. One.

an anhinga, large water bird

If every day you help a child gently, generously, directly, personally, that's hundreds of times a year.

By the time that child is fifteen, then you will have helped him, or her, thousands of times.

Sandra Dodd, from a talk given in Minnesota in 2013 and Gold Coast 2014.
photo by Robbie Prieto

Monday, April 7, 2014

You can't imagine.

Being a child's partner in exploring the world is valuable in more ways than people can imagine, if they haven't done it.
photo by Karen James

Sunday, April 6, 2014

See it more and more

See learning as your priority, and you will begin to see it more and more.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Be whole; be childlike

toy pinwheel flowers with Australian flag art
A movie reviewer on the Australia Broadcasting Company, giving a just so-so review of The Lego Movie, explained herself to the other reviewer by saying "My inner child was buried long ago."

Don't reject the playful, hopeful parts of you thinking that it's the mature thing to do. A person can't be whole if part of her was buried long ago.

originally here at Radical Unschooling Info on facebook
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, April 4, 2014

Love and coolness

Deb Lewis, about unschoolers' difficulty with parental disapproval:

"What I discovered is that the people who love *you* will love you even if they think you're crazy. Sometimes their concern is an indication of their love for you and your children. And who couldn't use more love? Helping those people feel easier about your choices, if you can, is worth the time and effort. Do what you think is right for your kids, help your parents feel easier about it, if you can. In time, your children will be so cool and smart, your parents won't have any choice but to agree you did everything right!"
—Deb Lewis
Special guest: Deb Lewis chat transcript
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Teenagers are...

"Teenagers are just your babies grown big."
—Schuyler Waynforth
March 29, 2014
Gold Coast symposium
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Clearly living

penguin on rocks, Melbourne Aquarium

"It's not about being great or reaching lofty goals. If that happens—awesome! To me though, a life well lived is one where our motivation for doing what we do is clear in our own minds and hearts."
—Karen James
photo by Sandra Dodd