Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Something sweet

 photo Devyn on a little carousel

"Seeing your own child's bright eyes when you do something sweet can heal the child inside you who would have loved to have had someone do that to, for, with her, years ago."
—Sandra Dodd

photo by Sandra Dodd

Thanks to Sara Vaz for saving and quoting this in public.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Human beings

Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

Most parenting approaches either treat kids like they're alien beings or like they're fellow adults.

Radical unschooling supports treating kids like human beings while taking into account their differences.
—Joyce Fetteroll

photo by Karen James

Saturday, September 27, 2014


praying mantis on a stick and its shadow on a wallSometimes it's the contrast that shows us clearly where we are now.
Reflections, Projections and Shadows
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, September 26, 2014

Unexpected juxtaposition

The connection between humor and learning is well known. Unexpected juxtaposition is the basis of a lot of humor, and even more learning. It can be physical, musical, verbal, mathematical, but basically what it means is that unexpected combinations or outcomes can be funny. There are funny chemistry experiments, plays on words, math tricks, embarrassingly amusing stories from history, and there are parodies of famous pieces or styles of art and music.


La connexion entre l’humour et l’apprentissage est bien connue. Des juxtapositions inattendues sont la base d’un certain humour, et encore plus, de l’apprentissage. Cela peut être physique, musical, verbal, mathématique, mais au fond, ce que cela signifie, c’est que les combinaisons ou les résultats inattendus peuvent être amusants. Il y a des expériences chimiques amusantes, des jeux de mots, des jeux de maths, des textes historiques amusants et embarrassants, et il y a des parodies de pièces célèbres ou de styles artistiques et de musique.

photo by Sandra Dodd, of artsiness at Alex Polikowsky's house

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Direct and profound

Unschoolers are not sitting in the back corner of the homeschooling world doing nothing. We're doing something direct and profound.

photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Look around

a hawk, perched near a house

You might be able to see a lot without moving.

photo by Deb Lewis

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tiny monsters

Parents would like to protect their children from all tiny monsters, but it can't be done. One of the greatest gifts you might give your child, your family and yourself is to learn to set an example of how to deal with surprise wounds and doubts, and to coach your children through their encounters with fear and disappointment with calming touch, cleansing breath, and shared hope.

We can't have safety but we can have peace and joy despite the tiny monsters.

photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, September 22, 2014

Let them show you!

 child decorating an eggUnless your children are given a real opportunity to show you how children learn, to show you that it works, you will not see it.
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Make the next moment better.

Moments, not days.

Don't think of "bad days." One terrible moment doesn't condemn the rest of the day. One bad moment? Recover. Apologize, smile, be sweet, and make the next moment better.


photo by Karen James

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The little things

"Most of all listen and watch when they want to show you something. It might seem like a little thing to watch what your child wants to show you, but it’s important to them and it matters to them! The little things are the big things!"
—Laurie Wolfrum

photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, September 19, 2014

Becoming lighter

"Once I turned my head around and realized the wonder in me and curiosity that I felt for learning with my children a huge weight lifted off of me."
—Phoebe Wyllyamz

photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Different food, future food

colored carrots, in a store

"When I think about the food I make for my daughter (if it's different from what I've made for my husband and myself), I think ahead to when she might be making me food because I am unable to."
—Robin Bentley

photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good to have

stairs up out of a small cavernWHAT UNSCHOOLING PARENTS NEED





ability to follow disjoint ideas and conversations

willingness to come back to a topic

willingness to let a topic drop

photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

So butter the toast!

"If he wants someone to butter his toast for him, buttering the toast is probably the easiest possible thing to do in that instance."
—Sandra Dodd

Quote saved by Christine Macdonald; thanks!
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, September 15, 2014

A spiritual gift

"I choose to be positive and to take every opportunity as a gift. So serving others becomes a great spiritual endeavor."
—Manuela Jaramillo

Part of something longer at SandraDodd.com/service
photo (a link) by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Good and right

Deb Lewis wrote:

A principle internally motivates you to do the things that seem good and right. People develop principles by living with people with principles and seeing the real benefits of such a life.

A rule externally compels you, through force, threat or punishment, to do the things someone else has deemed good or right. People follow or break rules.

Which is the hope most parents have for their kids? Do they hope their kids will comply with and follow rules, or do they hope their kids will live their lives making choices that are good and right?

—Deb Lewis

photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sort through as you go

toy donkeys in a bin next to toy bison, in a storeEveryone can, should, sort through the bad examples and good examples around them and move choice by choice toward whatever their own images of "better" might be.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, September 12, 2014

Close up

What's near seems Big!

Stay close to your children so they will be big in your life.

photo by Lisa Jonick

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bright and confident

I couldn't have predicted how easy it would be for them to learn to read starting with huge vocabularies, and without pressure and tests and measures. When they could read, they knew it because they started reading.

The symbols turned to language. When I started reading my vocabulary was very small, and the books we were reading didn't help that. I couldn't read anything outside of that first grade "reader," but the teacher told me I was reading.

Most people have never known a later reader who was bright and confident. I hadn't before I met unschoolers. Three fifths of my family now consists of people whose late reading was not detrimental, and I have made the acquaintance of many others like them.

photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The path to unschooling

medieval musicians, carved, museumIt's the path to unschooling—to go toward the better things and away from the worse things.
Deschooling... "Like what?!" (chat transcript)
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Don't use up all your tickets!

Sometimes I've advised people to pretend they only have three hundred "no's"—they have a little ticket they have to spend every time they say no. And they better save some because some people use them up before the kid’s three.

What if your child grows up and you still have 150 tickets left that you can chuck in the trash? That’s pretty cool.
Improving Unschooling (radio interview, recording and transcript)
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, September 8, 2014

It's all around us.

Once there was heavy fog at our house. Kirby was four or five. He had never seen it at all, and this was as thick as I have ever seen fog. He wanted to go and touch it. I yelled "Let's go!" and we ran up the road, and ran, and ran. About seven houses up we got tired, and I said "Look" and pointed back toward our house, which was gone in the fog.

I did not say "See? You can't touch it, really, it's touching us, it's all around us."
I didn't say "Let's don't bother, it's just the same wherever in there you are."

I let him experience the fog. He learned by running in fog and smelling it, and losing his house in it.

Learning to See Differently
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, September 7, 2014

BE better

 wildlife carousel in Minnesota—a fish and a duck showIn the same time and with the same energy one might think "I plan to do better," or "I intend to be better in the future," one could *be* better right then, right there.

No planning or intentions are necessary to be better, in this moment, than one might otherwise have been. Each decision to make a better choice in thought, word or deed is what "better" is made of.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sculpters of what's around them

"People who go to school are more able to take orders and be tougher. Homeschoolers are like masters, sculpters of what's around them."
—Kramer Wyllyamz (10)

photo by Phoebe Wyllyamz

Friday, September 5, 2014

Helping parents be awesome

photos are links

From a note that came in today from the mom of a toddler:

"Reading your book helped me make my relationship to my husband so much better. I only read the book a week ago and I already see a difference for the three of us. Our daughter is also so much happier because we are."
—Elaine Santana


"Sandra, I have been reading your Big Book of Unschooling and my 11 year old son started to read over my shoulder. He wanted to read more and took it away. When his 8 year old brother asked him what he was reading he replied 'It's this book that helps parents to be awesome.' That just about sums it up! Thank you xxx"
—Nicola Wright

Other feedback on the book is here: SandraDodd.com/bigbook
Cover art by Holly Dodd (black lines by Sandra)

New cover, 10th anniversary edition:

2019; Forever Curious Press

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Door stuff

Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

A computer, a hand held game, an iPod are doors that lead to a vast world of experiences. Just as your front door leads to a vast world of many different things you can do. Would you refer to all the things your family does by going through your front door—walks, shopping, visiting friends. mowing the lawn, vacations—as "door stuff"?

Stop looking at the door. See the richness that exists beyond the door.

—Joyce Fetteroll

photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Just life

Kirby bellydancing with Michael's mom

When Kirby was 13 he was asked whether he liked homeschooling better than school. Most 13 year olds asked a question by an adult will look down and mumble "It's okay," or "I like it." Kirby made eye contact and said "I've never been to school. I have no basis for comparison."

So with no basis for comparison, my kids have just life.

(writing from 2004; can't find to link)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fourth Birthday of Just Add Light and Stir

Thank you for looking, for reading, for thinking.

Thank you for being a conduit for peaceful ideas.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, September 1, 2014

Shared lives

Parental encouragement, smiles, acceptance and support are what turn plain or unsettled life into magical and transformed shared lives.
colorful churro stand at a flea market
How Unschooling Changes People
photo by Sandra Dodd