Saturday, February 28, 2015

They *know* things.

Teens who were always unschooled *know* things that other people don't know. My children, for example, know one can learn to read without being taught. teenaged Marty, Holly, Kirby, on their way to a van to go to a partyThey don't think it, kind of believe it, or have a theory about it. They know that it's possible to be honest and trust your parents. They know it's possible for a fourteen year old girl to hang out with her older brothers pleasantly and at their request. They understand why those with unlimited TV in their own rooms can go a long time without turning it on, or why they might want to leave it on to sleep. They have years of experience with the fact that someone with the freedom to choose to stay awake will get sleepy at some point and want to go to bed and sleep. They all understand when it's worth going to sleep even though fun things are going on, and they know how to decide when it's worth setting an alarm to get up.

There are many adults who don't know those things.

"Unschooled Teens: How are they as people?"
photo by Sandra Dodd, of three teens on the way to a party together, long ago
__ __

Friday, February 27, 2015

A changing environment

Many parents want to change the child, instead of changing the child's environment by (in large part) changing themselves.

dad and daughter walking on fallen leaves on sidewalk
photo by Chrissy Florence

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Softer and Safer

The Parenting Peacefully page has something at the bottom about making better choices. This can move you from wherever you are to wherever you want to be. It will take dozens or thousands of choices, and sometimes you'll be hungry or angry or tired and might speak or act in a way you didn't choose—that just popped out—but if you see it as a single moment, a single incident, and put THAT in with the bad examples, you can be a softer, safer element in your child's life and in your own.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The distant future...

If you're looking up at the Sky of Imagined Tomorrow, you're going to stumble on something with your very next step. Look at where you are.old tree with many roots above ground, growing around rocks
photo by Colleen Prieto

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Air and sunshine

Lay your fears out to dry in the air and sunshine.
photo by Janine (click it, and again, for details)
(I'm grateful to Mia Fiore for saying something nice about the quote, and so inspiring me to use it.)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Being; trusting; seeing

"Unschooling, in a very real sense, is a mindfulness practice. Being in the moment with our children, trusting the flow of life, seeing our connections to them and to all of the universe."
—Ren Allen
I don't remember who took the photo, but it's of me, Marty and Kirby

Sunday, February 22, 2015

They just like it

My children have curiosity and joy and compassion. I will not trade that for all the worksheets in the state. My children have never 'gotten an F' and they've never gotten an A. They like learning because they like it.
photo by Lisa Jonick

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Beauty in the moment

Parvine Shahid wrote:

Eyo and I were looking through photos and we came across a couple he had taken during our last flight from London.

I was reminded of that moment we were sitting on the plane, looking out of the window. He decided to take some pictures and said, "We are out of Earth—it looks like we could walk on the clouds!"

The world can look very different in each moment and that reminded me of the importance of slowing down to be able to see the beauty in each one.
—Parvine Shahid
photo by Eyo Shahid (click it, to enlarge)

Friday, February 20, 2015

One of the best parts

"If you want to unschool. You should be willing to—expecting to—rejoicing to!—grow and change. It's one of the best parts."
—Lisa J Haugen
in a facebook discussion

photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mystery word history

Many words carry a story with them. Why an old word here, and a new word there? If you can't figure it out, maybe you know someone you could ask, or you could look around.

Don't believe every word-history story you read on the internet; there's some nonsense, but you can learn how to double-check, and after playing with etymology a while, you'll get better at spotting fiction.
photo by Holly Dodd, in India

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Special places

What memories, sights and sounds can make a place special?a cat in a child's indoor play tent
photo by Marta Pires (but the tent is here, too)

Other special-place posts:
Normal or exotic? and Learning at home, and in other special places

Monday, February 16, 2015

Words and thoughts

Words and thoughts are what you will use to change your beliefs and behaviors.
Tool used to create the image is gone now. Sorry.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Do, offer, think

"When we can we should always do more, offer more, think more, and make our bit of the world as big and full as we can for our kids. Our kid's lives get bigger and better when our thinking gets bigger and better."
—Deb Lewis
child on a an indoor climbing wall
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Lack of control

You don't need to control yourself to keep yourself from being controlling. Make generous, kind choices, over and over, as often as you can.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, February 13, 2015

Real and good reasons

Every choice you make should be made consciously, thoughtfully, for real and good reasons.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The safest place

daughter leaning on her dad, smilingMake yourself your child's safest place in the world, and many of your old concerns will just disappear.
Being a safe place
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kids blossom

Robbie holding a hawk, by a stone well with a roof

Kids blossom and get bigger from doing adult things because they want to, instead of kid-things they have to do because they're small.
photo by Colleen Prieto

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


"I want my kids to feel empowered, so I empower them."
—Jenny Cyphers
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Monday, February 9, 2015

Love and respect

"Start with love and respect and all the good things follow—it is not magic, and it is a lot of hard work especially at the beginning."
—Marina DeLuca-Howard
siblings in profile at seaside at sunset
(one day on Always Learning)
photo by Chrissy Florence

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What the...

"People learn by playing, thinking and amazing themselves. They learn while they're laughing at something surprising, and they learn while they're wondering 'What the heck is this?'"—Sandra Dodd

Note: The quote lives at that address, but (awkwardly) it also shows up in the random quote in the upper corner, with my name after it (as above).

A sweet message arrived yesterday:
Hi Sandra,

I just wanted to share this funny story. My son Angel (9) was reading to me the daily quote from the top right corner of your website, he read it out loud as this:
People learn by playing, thinking and amazing themselves. They learn while they're laughing at something surprising, and they learn while they're wondering "What the heck is this Sandra Dodd?"
We both laughed heaps!

Tan Hibbert
photo by Sandra Dodd's computer (you can click it bigger)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Books and clocks. . . music, blocks

Meredith Novak wrote, on facebook:
If you live in a home with books and clocks, movies, music, blocks, games, dishes, furniture, toys, clothes, the internet, and adults who are interested in kids, girl with her playdough foodthen you have "the basics" all around your kids all the time. And because those basics are there, kids will learn about them&mdashthey'll learn that words are a valuable tool and there are many ways to use them. They'll learn that numbers and patterns are as useful as words and sometimes better than words for a given purpose. They'll learn those things without lessons, living and playing and snuggling on the couch with you without ever needing to draw a line between those things and learning.
—Meredith Novak *
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, February 6, 2015

No pressure

There was a question once about a resistant child.

Model trains, WWII, Japan—any obsession or "limited" interest touches on geography, history, materials, technology, cause and effect, human actors, religion, engineering, art, languages, all kinds of stuff.

The best thing an unschooled child can have is a parent who realizes there is learning in everything. As to "resist," it can only happen in response to force or pressure, right? Parents should resist pressuring their kids, I think.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Old and new

London Eye, behind a Georgian-or-so buildingRight between the past and the future, here we are. What's new today is getting old tomorrow.

Be glad to be there as the future reveals itself. You'll be able to say "I remember when that was new..."
photo by Sandra Dodd, of part of The London Eye

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


I regret some times I spoke without thinking first, without breathing first.

Live (think, breathe) as well as you can now so your own list of regrets will be as short as it can be. You will sleep better in future years if you breathe before you speak today.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Do things and go places

 Thames, bridges, boats, from the London Eye

Say “yes” a lot. Do things and go places and explore the world together with your family — whether the world, to you, means your backyard, your neighborhood, your town, your state/country, or a giant chunk of the globe.
—Colleen Prieto

From Colleen's writings at the bottom of:
photo by Claire Horsley

Monday, February 2, 2015

Exotic whatever

Look around for what is new and different.

Be open to unexpected art.

Words are new, but the ideas are a good match for:
Suggestions for Creating Abundance when Funds are Low
photo by Sandra Dodd