Friday, October 31, 2014

Monstrous fun

What seems small to an adult can be the best thing in a child's season! Their imaginations are big and you can help them make magic.

Energy is shared, and that's how unschooling works. Whether I'm excited about something new, or my children are excited about something new, there's still newness and excitement enough to share.

The second paragraph is from "Balancing in the Middle Ground"
photo by PhoebeWyllyamz

Thursday, October 30, 2014


jack-o-lantern photoKnock knock.

Who's there?


Boo who?

Please don't cry. It's just me.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How you live...

Schuyler playing a ukelele in a music shop

How you live in the moment affects how you live in the hour, and the day, and the lifetime.
photo of Schuyler Waynforth, by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Candy and the future

A reminder!

If you haven't bought candy yet, get the best candy you can afford. If no one comes by, you still have it! If it all goes out into the community, it makes you a better person and your house will have sweeter associations for children who might grow up remembering.
plastic jack-o-lantern full of candy bars
from Halloween Candy and Choices or "Candy Gets Dusty"
photo by Sylvia Woodman

Monday, October 27, 2014


Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll come across something unexpected, like a full-sized inflatable coach.

Your life will be better if you smile and think "cool!" than if you have a less cool and smiley response.

Sometimes someone will unexpectedly come across you! Be smiling. Be cool.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A feast!

This morning I brought my 8-year-old son a snack as he was busy playing on the computer, and he said "Wow! A feast! One, because it is big. And two because it has yummy things on it." And he carried on playing. And now I am smiling.
—Dominique Trussler
photo by Dominique Trussler

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Joyce Fetteroll, to someone writing about "reassurance":

Seek reassurance in your daughter's smiles. Trust that it's a good thing if it makes her happy.
inside a two-lane covered bridge
She doesn't want a textbook-perfect mother. She wants someone who is happy, relaxed, shares her interest in life, is delighted in her delight, who helps her get what she wants (in ways that are safe, respectful and doable). She wants you to look at her and see her rather than what the words "out there" say you should be seeing. She wants you to trust and support her, to be her partner as she explores life.
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, October 24, 2014

Little meals make big memories

Some days lunch is medicinal—one child is sickly and could use soup or juice. One is off to a sports event, and carbohydrates are a good idea. One is sad, and would like comfort food. One is bored, and her sandwich could use a face.

Be as loose as a dancer, as variable as an actor, as thoughtful as a chessplayer, when you decide what to make for lunch sometimes!

Some holidays

Advantages of Eating in Peace
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, October 23, 2014


"Fill your house with peace, toys, interesting things, good food, and love."
—Colleen Prieto
photo by Sandra Dodd, of Holly's scene
(more about Barbie and unschoolers)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Say "okay" in a timeless way

little Kirby, with the fridge open, looking at the camera

When I said "okay" to Kirby I was saying okay to the little Sandra inside me who might otherwise have built up some jealous resentment about this new kid getting to do things I never got to do. It was healing to imagine that if my mom had been fortunate enough to have other influences and better circumstances maybe she would have said yes to me more often too.
photo of a little Kirby Dodd in the refrigerator,
by his mom, Sandra Dodd, back in the '80s


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

No other way


Read a little, try a little, wait a while and watch. There is no other way to learn this than gradually. There is no other way to learn to see clearly how it works than by trying it a bit at a time and seeing how putting learning first changes other things—how putting peace ahead of schedules changes things.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, October 20, 2014

Be abundantly supportive.

red wheelbarrow, with dirt, toys, Union Jack

It is possible for someone to see through a lens of negativity. Pessimism and cynicism can do irreversible damage to relationships, so dismantle those if you're living with them in you. In your choice making, in your moments, choose to see the good side of each coin. Decide to see what you have, with eyes of gratitude. See the abundance around you. Be abundantly supportive. Be someone another will be grateful for.
photo by Janine (it's a link)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's important

"If it's important to them, then it's important."
—Laurie Wolfrum
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, October 18, 2014


In New Mexico there's a kind of cool tradition, of having an old pickup in the back yard. We had this one.

Bonus points if it runs; this one usually did.

If it's turquoise? Jackpot. This one was.

Now, though, it's off to be used by an auto-shop class at Dulce Jr./Sr. High School. It was always a truck passed between Keith and his friend Bob, who was best man at our wedding.

Marty is getting married next month. His best man wasn't born yet when that truck was made. Neither of them went to school, as kids. The bride did. She was a cheerleader at Bernalillo High School.

My kids used to be together all the time, every day, feeling crowded, sometimes. Now they don't see each other for weeks or months.

Things change. Even in the best of peaceful circumstances, things change. Keep your balance, find gratitude and abundance, and accept changes gracefully when you can.

Images from the winter before Kirby moved away.
photos by Sandra Dodd

Friday, October 17, 2014

None of it and all of it

How much time does unschooling take?

It depends how you look at it. If you're looking for moments of one-on-one instruction or school work, it takes none of that. If you're looking for hours of mindful living with the hope and expectation of learning, then it will take all your time.

If you come to see and understand unschooling, then the question about how much time it takes will seem like asking "How many hours a day are you alive?"

Page 6 of The Big Book of Unschooling,
which leads to
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Listening and safety

two stone arch doors, from above

"When kids know their parents are on their sides, when parents help them find safe ways to do what they want to do, then kids do listen when we help them be safe."
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


small Buddhist shrine

Colleen Prieto wrote:
Look at your kids. Really look at them and see who *they* are and not who you want them to be. Get to know them. Be nice to them. Nicer than nice. Be kind to them. Love them and kiss them and hug them and Be with them. Play with them. Listen to them. Talk with them, not to them. Be patient and calm.

Love your spouse or partner, if you have one. Be kind and nice and patient with your spouse or partner too. Love them and hug them and see who they really are without trying to make them who you want them to be.
—Colleen Prieto
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Light on light

Sometimes light is from an Aha!! lightbulb moment.
Sometimes light is more information, or seeing from a new angle, "in a new light."
Sometimes light is from the sun, or the moon, or a fire.
Sometimes light comes from just lightening up. (Not "lightning up," or "lighting up," so spelling will make a big difference, in those lights.)

Live lightly.

Real Learning
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Monday, October 13, 2014


food on a counter; a squash is wearihg sunglasses

"Laughter has helped my own family through hard times. Sure we would have come through the hard times anyway, but we came through them with less stress, fewer lasting scars, and lots of great one-liners."
—Deb Lewis
photo by Sandra Dodd, candid still life in Laurie Wolfrun's kitchen

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Things change; they learn

"Things change. Our kids get older. They outgrow stages we think they never will. They learn all they need to know, in their own time."
—Heather Booth

Overcoming Anxiety
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The fullness within

"Sandra mentioned that her glass is not half empty, and that once she started looking at the fullness within, it overflowed. It is easy to end up in a morass of bitterness. It is so wonderful to have not done that."
—Schuyler Waynforth
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, October 10, 2014

More violent than games

Playing a video game is not violent. Playing a game is sitting on a couch with a remote control.

Shaming a kid who wants to sit on the couch with a remote control, or somehow
preventing him from playing, is closer to violence than a kid causing the
character he's controlling to shoot an imaginary weapon at some pixels.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Fewer folks farm than used to. It's understandable.

Even without a farm, though, what's planted might grow. What is tended thrives.

Not everything can be controlled, but many things can be accepted and appreciated. Mentally gather up the positive results in your life and be grateful for your harvest.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Connecting with Shakespeare

Pam Sorooshian, once upon a time:

Somebody once seemed concerned that my young kids loved to watch Much Ado About Nothing, over and over. They thought the subject matter was highly inappropriate for kids.

I asked Rosie, who was about 8 at the time, what the whole thing was about. She said, "Claudio thinks Hero kissed another guy."
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Sandra Dodd (click to enlarge)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


carousel, zebra to ride

Victory is what it feels like—the biggest victory in my life so far. I am my own healer and validator. Unschooling my every thought word and deed is my healer, my boys are the absolute proof of my victory and my healing. I am now a sweeter, kinder person—a less judgemental, critical and negative person. I have found again the joy, curiosity and fun that was squished (and often violently) out of my life so much as a child, and I can't get enough of it! Bring it on! Unschooling heals and rocks!
from a new page on healing

photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, October 6, 2014

Share and revel

"Share your passions or interests with your kids and your partner, and revel in theirs."
—Colleen Prieto
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Like a dam bursting open

Once I started questioning those "have-to's", "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" it was like a dam bursting open.
—Ren Allen
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The happiest days

"Funny how the happiest days are full of small joys instead of major undertakings."
—Ronnie Maier
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, October 3, 2014

In the moment

a dad and three kids, reading something on a laptop

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

There are times in life that you won't feel like you can take care of others around you as well as you'd like. You need nurturing yourself and other people's neediness starts to be draining on you.

I've felt that, too.

But I've also found that if I focus more on "seeing" my kids with loving-eyes focus, consciously choose to pay attention to what I love about them, then I actually begin to feel more nourished and strengthened by them, and by the very acts of caring for them.

Partly what is so draining is that your mind is on other things while your kids want your attentiveness on them. So you feel pulled and that is stressful. If you can, try to stop thinking about the other stuff and focus on the little details of what you're doing at the moment. If your child wants pasta at midnight (just happened here), then you go put the water in the pot and put it on the stove. While you're doing that, concentrate on feeling the coldness of the water, the heaviness of the pot as it fills with water. Hear the sound of the water running.

It is late and I'm not being as articulate as I'd like—but what I'm saying is to practice being totally "in the moment" by noticing every sensation—sound, touch, smell, etc. Especially do this in regard to your children—touch them, smell them, listen to the sound of their voices, and so on.

Even if you only manage to get into this heightened state of mind for a minute or two at a time, do it as often as you think of it throughout your day. Each minute will be refreshing—it is a form of meditation that you can do while you're going about your daily activities.
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Janice Casamina Ancheta

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Building or breaking

Every time you speak or act, you build or break. The softer you can be, the more whole they will be.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mindful and thoughtful

Sylvia Woodman wrote:

I think people confuse "Say yes more" with "Never say no."

When you are moving toward unschooling it's important for parents to examine why they are saying "No" to their children.  child sewing with sewing machineIs it for a good and real reason or is the parent saying no reflexively? I think it's an important mental exercise in creative thinking to examine "Why am I saying no?" There may actually be a good and real reason to say no. Maybe with a little creativity the answer can be yes. Maybe it can be "yes, but not now." Or "Yes, but not here."

To say "yes" reflexively is no more mindful than saying "no" thoughtlessly.
—Sylvia Woodman
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp