Thursday, July 31, 2014

Swirls and connections

wooden Indian, alien t-shirt, cash machine; tourist shop in Albuquerque

Joyce wrote:

A big part of natural learning is absorbing ideas and letting them swirl around in the background. They clarify. They form connections. If the subject comes up again in a few months, you may be surprised how differently you're looking at what you were wondering about.
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Time and attention and focus

painting of a sort of sunburst, with the word 'yes'
Schuyler Waynforth said, in a presentation in Australia:

When I stumbled across unschooling I grabbed hold.
. . .
The more I read and the more I experienced and the more I tried, the more that I could see a framework. It was my engagement that made a difference. It was my time and my attention and my focus that kept things moving better and more smoothly than it could ever have done without me.
—Schuyler Waynforth
art and photo by Holly Blossom

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The goal, for me...

barn swallow nest set up against the back of an open Apple laptopThe goal, for me, is that they will be thoughtful, compassionate, curious, kind and joyful.
That's all. Just that.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, July 28, 2014

The family as a base

Parents unschooling as a way of life can discover learning that no school can find—but the core aspect is the family as a base for learning about family, relationships, resources/money, food, about sleep and laughter.
This was from notes I wrote for an interview.
I didn't use them, so they're here now. might charm and soothe.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Scenery is where you see it.

We seek out interesting “scenic routes” in real and figurative ways. rural Nevada, water tower, windmill vane and base, street sign, mountains
photo by Marty Dodd

Saturday, July 26, 2014


"A pretty cool side-effect of unschooling—knowing when you've had enough (food, cake, money, candy, TV, or anything else). And being happy."
—Colleen Prieto
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, July 25, 2014

A way to change the world

six kids posing in Ireland
Lots of people fantasize about finding a way to change the world, but if you can help other parents avoid sorrow and help children live happier lives, that is world changing.
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Learning is good.

If life is a busy, happy swirl, they will learn. Learning is guaranteed. The range and content will vary, but the learning will happen.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Years of learning nothing

The seventh annual Learn Nothing Day is already in progress in some parts of the world. The first few were epic-fail events, but some families have experience now and should be able to be more successful.

To assist in a lack of learning for the unschoolers in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and India, I'm not leaving a link. I have chosen a boring photo. Relax.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Learn Nothing Day is nigh

When July 24 begins in your time zone, please attempt to refrain from learning. It's just one day.

If you're new to unschooling, you might think this is easy. But if your life has progressed to the point that learning is woven into all your activities and you've learned to see it, this will take some planning and some effort.

School kids get half the year off, if you add up all the weekends and holidays. Before someone accuses unschoolers of not learning, they might want to know we have ONE day off, and here it comes. Good luck.
art by Holly Dodd and Sandra Dodd ( details here, from 2008)

Sunday, July 20, 2014


When it starts to become a habit for a parent to consider peace, safety, acceptance, choices, service and gratitude in everyday decision making, parenting gradually becomes easier.

six breaker boxes and three electrical meters, jumbly, on a stucco wall
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Get it together!

If watching TV is your child's thing and complaining about TV is your thing, you've spoiled a chance to have a shared thing.
Shared Experieneces are Important
photo by Jackie (Gold Standard) and it's a link

Friday, July 18, 2014

Positively open

colored metal chairs at an outdoor cafe; sign says OPEN
Everyone has the freedom to be negative. Not everyone has thought of good reasons to be more positive.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Food and dinner

We've never made our kids wait for dinner. If they're hungry, they can snack.

Ideas about Dinner
The image is of a painting by Pierre Mignard in the 1640's
and it's a link.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The talking will start

I can’t predict what will be discussed the next time you set out some engrossing bowl of shells or foreign coins, or a box of buttons, or the antique Tinker Toys you got at the garage sale, but if you sit there long enough, the talking will start and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. sea shells spread out on a brown table
Leaning on a Truck
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Help them

Help them have choices.

Help them make choices.
girl looking at a display of small ceramic masks
Sandra, from a talk given in Texas, 2014
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Learning floods in

shelf with games, figurines, art, cards, plastic pineapple bank, carved boxWhen our schoolish expectations start to dissolve, learning floods in from all directions.
Learning for Fun (interview)
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I cannot fathom wanting my son to have Less of whatever brings him joy. Because as far as I know, he will only live once—and I want that life — his life — to be amazing. Not mediocre, or moderate, or almost-good-enough. I want it to be fantastic. Fantastic!!
—Colleen Prieto
waterfall next to spired tower, with rock cliff behind
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Friday, July 11, 2014

Evidence of learning

Response to a question about what proof there is that unschooled kids are learning:

Julie and Adam Daniel, with Joyce Fetteroll at a coffeeshop, with a boardgame on the side
If the question is whether kids are learning, parents can tell when they're learning because they're there with them. How did you know when your child could ride a bike? You were able to let go, quit running, and watch him ride away. You know they can tell time when they tell you what time it is. You know they're learning to read when you spell something out to your husband and the kid speaks the secret word right in front of the younger siblings. In real-life practical ways children begin to use what they're learning, and as they're not off at school, the parents see the evidence of their learning constantly.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Temporary patterns

eight geese in formation in the sky

Appreciate what you're seeing and doing without expecting it to last.
photo by Colleen Prieto

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Learning to see why

People who learn to see their options and choices will live with an increasingly healthy awareness of why they are choosing their actions, words and thoughts.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Words, pictures and music

My mother did the best she could, I suppose. I need to do the best I can do. So I tell my children everything they want to know. I show them the world in words and pictures and music. While they're becoming better, wiser people, I am too. I wish I had learned these things before they were born, but I didn't have my teachers yet. I have tried to pass on to other moms the best of what works well for us, and to put little warning beacons near pitfalls.

Knowing Everything
photo by Karen James, in Japan

Monday, July 7, 2014

Together, happily

Amy Kidwell wrote:
 two birds eating on a lawn and stone walkwayI had always wanted to learn to live in the moment, but it seemed a great mystery. Having my daughter and becoming an unschooler, I finally get it! Most days, anyway... I'm not worried about the future, or fussing over the past. We are living together, happily, every day. What a nice way to be."
—Amy Kidwell
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Doing enough?

Are you doing enough? Are your kids looking at you expectantly, or are they busy off doing something fun? Have they seen the cool touristy stuff in your town already? "Field trip" kind of stuff? Do you let them do it at their own pace, and "quit early" if they want to? Do they have things to play with and build with and draw on and mess with? Do they have opportunities (if they want) to ride bikes, skateboards, climb something, jump on things? Are you looking for opportunities for them to hear live music or see theatre?
If you feel like you're not doing enough, do more. (an obscure page)
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Plus or minus

food scrap: egg shells, watermelon rind
Every little thing a parent does goes into the plus column or the minus column. Each parent is gaining credit or losing credit.

Everything counts—words, tone, patience, generosity, interest, kindnesses and thoughts. It takes more to build your credit back up than it does to waste it, so be careful.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, July 4, 2014

Everything counts.

Ginostra, on Stromboli; walls, railing, sea, mountains, sky

Where learning is concerned, it's never too late and everything counts.

photo by Dylan Lewis

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A cool thing to know

Pam Sorooshian wrote:
While you're there, look at the weirdest thing in the produce department. Bright orange cactus? BUY one. Go home and get online and try to figure out what to do with it. Or just slice it open to see what is inside.

Or buy a coconut—shake it to see if it has liquid inside. Let the kid pound on it with a hammer until it cracks open. While they're doing that, do a quick google on coconuts so you have some background knowledge. Don't "teach" them—but if something seems cool, just say it as an interesting, cool thing to know, "Wow, coconuts are SEEDS! And, oh my gosh, they sometimes float in the ocean for years before washing up on some island and sprouting into a coconut tree."
—Pam Sorooshian or Coconut
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Count, and then don't count

To be a better parent, make five more peaceful choices a day. That will make you feel better, and you can raise that number gradually until you're not counting, and the more peaceful decisions are your normal behavior.

You will still think and decide, but you won't think "#6 for today."

Sandra Dodd, from an unpublished presentation in Rochester, Minnesota
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Learning to give

Being Ethan's mom changed me. I surprised myself in good ways. In learning to give to him, I grew to really like myself.
—Karen James
photo by Karen James