Saturday, January 31, 2015

Being more present will help.

When connection is good, parents see up close their children's needs, wishes, delights, hesitations, frustrations, joys, interests, ways, limitations and so on, and creatively support them there.

When connection is less good, parents sometimes see their children as needy, demanding or unreasonable, and focus on dealing with practicalities rather than on the child and her needs.
—Debbie Regan
(but the quote is from an Always Learning post here)
photo by Colleen Prieto

Friday, January 30, 2015

Little actions

"Show him by your little actions throughout the day that you love him."
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Sarah Dickinson

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sharing movies with our kids

Movies touch and show just about everything in the world. There are movies about history and movies that are history. There are movies about art and movies that are art. There are movies about music and movies that would be nearly nothing in the absence of their soundtracks. Movies show us different places and lifestyles, real and imagined.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Respecting young children

Too often, parents expect too much of children younger than seven. Try to respect their imaginary friends or their theories of how the world might work. Don't discourage their fantasies.
photo by Julie D

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Actually change!

salad on square black plate, with forkI practiced saying yes. That was the only way to make changes. To actually change. My thoughts changed gradually as I said yes. Yes to cookies, yes to grapes, yes to letting go of "good" and "bad" labels for food.
—Karen Angstadt
photo by Sandra Dodd, of an Australian salad with mouse melons

Monday, January 26, 2015

Native habitats

"It's important to observe radically unschooled kids rather than kids in general because kids in general are shaped by the relationship they have with their parents and their freedom to explore. Kids who are controlled behave very differently from kids who are supported in their explorations. They are as different as zoo animals kept in cages are different from animals who grow up in their native habitats."
—Joyce Fetteroll
Understanding Unschooling
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Sunday, January 25, 2015


There are no guarantees, but we can always do a little better.
photo by Laurie Wolfrum

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Hidden secret rooms and magic doors

When I move thru your site, I feel like a child in a candy store, or like I'm in a fantastic meandering castle with hidden secret rooms and magic doors to new realities.

I didn't keep the name of the person who wrote that, but I love the images.
photo by Julie D

Friday, January 23, 2015

Less terrified, more attracted

I've been reading your unschooling writings for around five years or so, being simultaneously terrified and attracted. Well, less terrified and more attracted as time goes by. Thank you.

(Quote saved without attribution, from a private note years ago.)
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Gradual Change

Leah Rose wrote:

The leaps I've tried to take always seem to leave me feeling shaky and uncertain that I'm on the right track. When I inch forward in baby steps the ground feels solid and I know I'm heading in the right direction. I know it's working when I'm at peace. That's the marker I look for.
—Leah Rose

Gradual Change
photo by Eileen Mahowald

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

No bad choices? But...

party food and floral centerpiece on lace tableclothWithout choices, they can't make choices. Without choices they can't make good choices OR bad choices.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sand and water

names and a heart written in sandPlay with sand and water. Find seeds. Sit in the shade, and in the sun. Set ice in the shade and in the sun. Write with ice on a sunny sidewalk.
photo by Janine

Monday, January 19, 2015

People change

Be generous with your patience. Life is long. People change, and more than once.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dress up and play

My three children grew up around adults who played, not just putting on feasts and tournaments and building medieval-looking camps, but also playing strategy board games and mystery games, having costume parties when it wasn't even Halloween, and making up goofy song parodies on long car rides.

Maybe because I kept playing I had an advantage, but I don't think it is beyond more serious adults to regain their playfulness.
photo by Julie D, and is unrelated to the text,
except around the costumes and joy, and the Holly Dodd
(and is also a link)


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Skipping a stone over history

My children don’t go to school. The boys are 12 and 10, and lately they have been obsessed with a game they borrowed, Warcraft II, which they play on a Macintosh right next to mine. This has been great for me, because just as with the “parallel play” of toddlers, we’re together, but have nothing to fight about. Well hardly anything. They want me off the phone sometimes so they can call their friends and brag about how many pixellated orcs they killed. And I would like to listen to Prince, or Donovan, and they whine “I can’t hear the game, mom…”

The photo is Holly when she was three, possibly four. The writing is from when she was seven. The reason they needed me off the phone to call friends is that the internet was on dial-up. When we had two computers, only one could be online at a time.

Today we're in four different places, and of course I miss the days of three young children. A photo to match the days of the writing above is at this link:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, January 16, 2015

Everything and more

If you want to measure, measure generously. If you want to give, give generously. If you want to unschool, or be a mindful parent, give, give, give. You'll find after a few years that you still have everything you thought you had given away, and more.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bringing money back

Written in 2005 or so:

Recently I paid Holly $5 to do a title for a webpage. She's thinking of doing some more of those. Other than that, there's been lots of me and Keith offering money and them saying "That's okay, I still have my allowance," or of them accepting it graciously. I'm thinking of things like "We're going ice skating," or "Can I go to the movie with Marty and them if he'll let me?"

"Do you need money?"

They usually say they don't. Sometimes I send a ten or twenty dollar bill with Holly to hold in reserve just in case they end up short, or wanting snacks, or going to eat later. As often as not, she brings it back.
photo by Sandra Dodd, of Marty, in Minnesota once upon a time
The title Holly did for five dollars and some others by Holly

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Step by step

Schuyler wrote:

I can almost pinpoint the minute when I turned from feeling a need to have my own needs met in a separate but equal kind of way to seeing how being with Simon and Linnaea was meeting my needs in the most involved and deep way....

For me, it was very clearly incremental, it was a step by step building from small changes to a point where I was in a position to find personal fulfilment in being with my children. It wasn't martyrdom, or it didn't feel as though I'd sacrificed myself for their joy. It did help to get the almost kinetic memory of being kind to them, of meeting them where they were instead of expecting them to meet me where I was.
—Schuyler Waynforth

Read more; it's good:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

See the joy and learning

Look at your child directly, and not through the lens of other people's fears. See the joy and learning and doing and being. Be with your child in moments, not in hours or weeks or semesters.

Being Present in the Moment
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, January 12, 2015

Just the next one

Pam Sorooshian wrote:
Stop thinking about changing "for good and not just for days or moments." That is just another thing to overwhelm you and you don't need that!

Just change the next interaction you have with the kids.
—Pam Sorooshian
Becoming the Parent You Want to Be
photo by Sandra Dodd

New, April 2020:

The writing from which the quote above was taken has been translated into French, by Valentine Destrade: Une interaction à la fois.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Change for the better

With apologies to male readers... adjust as necessary.
You don't have to change everything. You can't change everything at once anyway. If you start acting consciously and mindfully with a goal in mind (more peaceful, richer environment, more patient, more gentle—whatever direction or combination of principles you want to hold as your guiding lights), you can and will be a better (more conscious, more thoughtful) mother, and a better person.
photo by Sandra Dodd

I wrote "have to."
Perhaps it was in response to someone having used it in her "yeah but..."
I could have written "You don't have to change everything, yet everything will change."

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Be generous.

 photo adams_house.jpg

"Whatever lights them up, spend as much as you can on it—time and money and creativity and the rest. Don't worry if it's more or less than someone else. Be generous. Fill them up to the brim."
—Meredith Novak
photo by Sarah Dickinson

Friday, January 9, 2015

Easy, but wait...

How many things do you do because you're supposed to, because your relatives and neighbors expect it, because it's easy and you don't have to think about it? How many of those things are taking you and your kids in a positive and healthy direction?
photo by Sandra Dodd of mugs by Brenna McBroom
The image refers to something later in the linked article.
My bamboo spatula looks like a piece of toast here, but it's not.
I didn't realize this photo would need so many notes!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Trivia is knowledge

Trivia is knowledge that connects things to other things, and ideas to images, and sounds to places.a seahorse
photo by Janine

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Don't talk it. Be it.

Some unschooling parents talk too much to their children about unschooling. Just DO it, don't talk it. Be it.
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

TWO steps, maybe; then more and more

There are several sayings about the journey of a lifetime beginning with a single step and such. One step isn't the beginning of a journey if you keep one foot in the yard. You have to get away from the starting point completely.
photo by Colleen Prieto

Monday, January 5, 2015

Moment of sweetness

"Everything you do now, when your kids are young, matters. All the little kindnesses matter, every little moment of sweetness between you, every time you choose to be thoughtful of the smallest things."
—Deb Lewis
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What's happening?

Robyn Coburn wrote:I suspect that any time a parent new to unschooling starts thinking "This isn't working" it is because they are holding on to an expectation.

Expectations can get in the way of seeing what is really happening.
—Robyn Coburn
photo by James Daniel, of Julie and Adam at the Grand Canyon

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Knot tying can lead to all kinds of history and geography. Hunters, traps, climbing, ships (wrapped bottles, in addition to all kinds of sail rigging and tethering knots), and cowboy stuff, and...

The photo isn't of tied knots, but drawn and painted knots, by Keith Dodd. Keith knows lots of knots, with rope, but I don't have photos. What's there looks confusing. It's a three-legged tooled-leather-seated folding stool with a painted shield leaning on it.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The weather of the soul

Sometimes I get still. That's good, because sometimes I don't, and can't. If I were that zippy all the time, my body, mind and soul would probably wear out.

. . . .

When I was younger and I would change, I thought something was wrong with me. I was under the mistaken impression that personality and mood should be constants. Life is better when I think of those fluctuations as tides, or as the weather of the soul.

Cocooning and other stillness
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Consider them to be whole

Consider them to be whole,
no matter how old they are.
photo by Roya Sorooshian
(The photo that was here got lost, so I've replaced it
with another of Wyatt, and his Mom!)