Saturday, October 31, 2015

No big deal

They love to go Trick or Treating but the candy is no big deal because they can have it whenever they want.
—Pam G

from Halloween Candy and Choices, or "Candy Gets Dusty"
photo and artistry by Hema Bharadwaj

Friday, October 30, 2015

Making contact

When I say my kids make good eye contact, I mean GOOD eye contact, not constant or inappropriate eye contact. There's such a thing as too little, and such a thing as too much. Looking at the thing the other person is talking about, or holding her hand and looking at her hand, or brushing her hair and only glancing at her face once in a while could be way more helpful.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Natural human nature

Try not to go against nature, when you're aiming to "be natural."
photo by Sandra Dodd
of artistry by Devyn (6)


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Clear and free

There is quiet beauty somewhere near you. If it's hard to find, close your eyes and imagine some. Look at art, listen to music. Breathe a little more deeply, a little more slowly, and you'll be better for yourself and for those around you.
photo by Irene Adams

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Seeing many things

Seeing layers is good. Depth of field applies not just to visuals, but to awareness in other areas too. Consider as many factors as you can, whether in images, patterns, ideas or words.
photo by Colleen and Robbie Prieto

Monday, October 26, 2015

Care more

I don't like divorce. I don't want any children who can avoid that disaster in their lives to live with it for the rest of their lives (and any parent who wants to think it doesn't affect the child forevermore is practicing self-comfort at their children's expense). I would much rather, when and if it's possible, help the parents both be the kind of people who care more about their children than they do about themselves.
photo by Cathy Koetsier

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Slowly but quickly

"While we have faced many attachment challenges as a result of my kids' foster care experiences and my own difficult childhood experiences, our home has experienced so much positive as a direct result of moving "slowly but quickly" into unschooling."
—Rebecca F.
photo by Chrissy Florence

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Everywhere, all the time

My response to this question, from 2009:

What resources do you use for your children’s “educations”? Feel free to comment on the word “education”.

We don’t “educate” our children. We help arrange so that they have so many learning opportunities they can’t possibly take advantage of them all. We have friends with interesting jobs and hobbies. We invite them over, and we visit them. We have a house full of books, music, games, toys, movies, art materials, plants, food and dress-up clothes. We don’t expect learning to happen in the house, nor in museums, but we know it happens everywhere. We don’t expect learning to happen during daylight hours or on weekdays. We know it happens all the time. So we don’t “use resources” except that we see every thing we discuss or see, smell, touch, hear or taste to be a resource. It’s not a word we use, because it’s all of life.
photo by Cá Maciel

Friday, October 23, 2015

Foundations and preventions

"Asking how to prevent kids from lying is sort of like asking how to get a steeple bell 50 feet into the air. The answer begins with building a foundation on the ground which hardly sounds like a way to get something into the air."
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, October 22, 2015

More learning

All other things being equal, for me I decided in favor of something new and different, over something same-old, when there was a draw about which thing to do or which way to go.
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Toys in every room

Colleen Prieto wrote this, at the end of a longer, spookier story:

My son has toys in every room of our house, and his dad and I provide lots of bins and shelves and baskets to make straightening up for visits from friends and grandparents easy for whoever wants to help with the pre-visit clean-up. Because to us, a neat and orderly house with lovely, Perfect rooms and a minimum of Stuff isn't worth trading a relationship with a Child Who Will Be An Adult Before You Know It. — No way.
—Colleen Prieto
photo by Sandra Dodd, at Collen Prieto's house
(There was a Lego Viking ship behind me, on a shelf.)


Monday, October 19, 2015

Healthy gratitude

I'm writing this just after returning from a long afternoon at the urgent care center.

If you're reading it in health, at home or out doing something that takes strength and stamina, please breathe in a bit of appreciation of your abilities and breathe out enough gratitude to share.
photo by Holly Dodd

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Relax into peace

"Power struggles can disappear when the person with the power stops struggling."
—Deb Lewis

Kirby Dodd age five asleep under a rocking chair
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Succesful and happy

"In my mind, partnering with kids isn't about having them be In Charge—and it isn't about having parents be In Charge—it's working together, with the more experienced partner (the parent) taking the initiative to help days (and nights!) be successful and happy."
—Colleen Prieto

Child-led? Problem...

Who's in Charge?
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, October 16, 2015

Stranger danger

In response to a question about "unschooling schools":

If a democratic school is chosen as the lesser of some array of school evils, that's fine.

If it's being chosen because the parent believes that professionals and strangers can "unschool" their child, then that's a problem with their perception of unschooling, and a potential loss of a wonderful home environment.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Accessible enlightenment

Janine wrote:
When my family started unschooling, my partner and I felt the spirituality of it immediately...
. . . .
It's grounded, realistic, accessible enlightenment.

Read the whole thing, halfway down this page:

photo by Sandra Dodd, of the calliope on an English carousel
that now lives in a mall in California


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Touching, playing, knowing

"How do you know they're learning?"

The people who ask that question are looking at the world through school-colored glasses. Those same parents knew when their children could use a spoon. They knew when the child could drink out of a cup. They knew when walking and talking and bike riding had been learned.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Play, Wonder, Smile...

"Play. A lot. Wonder. A lot. Listen. Observe. Smile. A lot."
—Karen James
photo by Leon McNeill

Monday, October 12, 2015

Is this the way?

If you're going the wrong direction, don't keep going.
Check your direction
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Different realities

When our oldest was five and our third was still inside me, we stuck our toes in the homeschooling waters, and asked ourselves some serious questions. We bypassed the regular serious questions. We weren't worried about socialization. We weren't worried about times tables. What my husband and I asked when our should-we-do-this eyes met was "What about marching band?"
. . . .
A few years ago I reviewed my progress and realized that my three lovely children who are busy every single day and who can converse about any subject neither read books for fun much nor do they play any band instruments whatsoever.

More of that at "Books and Saxophones",
an article written in 2003 when my children were 16, 14 and 11.
They are, as this quote is posted, 29, 26 and 23.
The photo shows me, Marty and Kirby, before Holly was born.

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Of course I was nervous when they were out late sometimes, but I would think of the things I was doing at their ages, and remember that my kids had better resources, more practice making decisions, and had me and their dad ready to help them without penalty if they needed us.
photo by Sandra Dodd, 2005
Photo note: They were home, dressed as movie characters,
for Kirby's 19th birthday party.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Keep your balance.

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.

photo by Lisa J Haugen

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A secure, lively life

"People of all ages don't like others to build walls around them that prevent them from exploring what intrigues them, from doing what they enjoy. Yes, people want to feel secure, but they want that security to allow them to live life, not preserve their life."
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Unmeasured and whole

If you are not required by law to test your child, don't choose it.

Because a test score is never ignored, tests affect the relationship between parent and child, and many unschoolers want to preserve their child’s journey to adulthood unmeasured, uncompared, and whole. It might seem crazy from the outside, but the disadvantage of testing is real.

The second paragraph above is from
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Not blindly

I don't care if people disagree with me. I wouldn't want anyone to agree with me blindly, nor disagree blindly.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, October 5, 2015

Right where you are

If every conscious decision is taken with the intention of getting closer to the way one wants to be, then in a "getting warm / getting cold" way, it's not nearly as distant as one might have thought. You never even have to leave your regular house, car, family. It's right where you are, only the thoughts are different.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Patterns and plans

Colleen Prieto took this photo of her odomoter. I love the pattern, and the reflections. If it's too small to appreciate, click the image for an enlargement.

Seeing patterns and appreciating them will help with unschooling. It adds to wonder, and awareness. In Gardner's Intelligences, it's about spatial reasoning and nature intelligence—seeing what is like what, and seeing and predicting change and outcome.

Intelligences, or more images and some writing by Colleen Prieto
photo by Colleen Prieto

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Conversational support

If a child says "I wish I could fly," he doesn't want to hear that he can't. And he probably doesn't want his mom being so "supportive" that she suggests that he can do anything he wants to do if he wants it badly enough.

He might just like to hear "Wouldn't that be cool?" or "You could see inside the neighbors' back yards," or something simple and conversational.
photo by Sandra Dodd of an ostrich that lives
right next to "Los Pollos Hermanos"

Friday, October 2, 2015

Gently accepting

Being with our children in direct and mindful ways made us kinder, gentler and more accepting. We were more playful and full of wonder, as we saw the world through their eyes.
photo by Claire Horsley

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Create and maintain

Unschooling is creating and maintaining an atmosphere in which natural learning can flourish.
photo by Janine Davies