Thursday, December 31, 2015

Leading lightly

John Quincy Adams is credited with having said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
The sentence above came from a post by an unschooling dad, Sean Heritage. In the post he's talking about his unusual approach to his job as a Commander in the U.S. Navy. Some of his ideas might have been inspired by his unschooling experiences, but Sean's ability to see in the way he does must surely be making unschooling easier at his house.

In your family, in your unschooling, in each dyad/partnership within your family, if you inspire dreaming, learning, doing and becoming, you'll be leading in an exceptional way.

Sean's writing from which I pulled the quote: Unicorns and Fairies

Being your Child's Partner is probably the best match on my site.
photo by Megan Valnes

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Peace and joy

Life isn't all peace and joy. Many people will say that, and it's true.

With hopeful, positive intentions and with ever more mindful choices, there can be more peace, and more joy.

Being a Happy Mom

photo by Lydia Koltai

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

When a tree is growing...

Each tree grows from a single seed, and when a tree is growing in your yard what is the best thing you can do for it? You can nurture it and protect it, but measuring it doesn’t make it grow faster. Pulling it up to see how the roots are doing has never helped a tree a bit.
What helps is keeping animals from eating it or scratching its bark, making sure it has water, good soil, shade when it needs it and sun when it needs it, and letting its own growth unfold peacefully. It takes years, and you can’t rush it.

So it is with children. They need to be protected from physical and emotional harm. They need to have positive regard, food, shade and sun, things to see, hear, smell, taste and touch. They need someone to answer their questions and show them the world, which is as new to them as it was to us. Their growth can’t be rushed, but it can be enriched.
photo by Andrea Justice

Monday, December 28, 2015

Side by side

I think being side by side with someone is a good way to focus attention away from eyes yet still on them, so they can speak without the intimidation and confusion of your face right in front of them.
Eye Contact
Leaning on a Truck
photo by Becky Sekeres

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Quiet enough to hear

"They don't need my direction much of the time, but they need me to pay attention to what is happening *in case* I'm needed. I need to be quiet so I'm not filling up their world with my noise, and so that *I* can hear as well."
—Sarah Thompson
photo by Susan Gaissert

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Kids will want to taste snow. Help them find some that's clean enough. Same with icicles. You might know what dirt is on the roof, but let that go; find a cleanish one.

Kids will want to touch snow, see it, smell it. Just the other day a kid in my yard was talking about how different it sounded, walking in it on the third day, than the first day. It was squeaky, when it compressed.

What seems old and normal to you will be new to each child who is born and sees things for the first time. Be patient and generous and maybe you can see it again, as though it were new to you, through their eyes.
photo by Ruqayya

Friday, December 25, 2015


See, appreciate, and encourage imagination.
photo by Elise Lauterbach

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Simple beauty

If you can see the beauty in plain and simple things, the world will be more beautiful.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Be glad to find things in life that can help you choose a good direction.
Photo by Charles Lagacé, in Nunavut.

Marie-France Talbot, the mom, wrote:
"Snow inuksuk (inuktitut for person subtitute) made by my husband and sons. They are usually made of rocks and they indicate direction."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Security and abundance

"Being generous and giving as much as possible to our children gives them joy. It also breeds generosity and creates a feeling of security and abundance. More is more."
—Anna Black
photo by Jane Clossick

Monday, December 21, 2015

A sense of peace

"Radical unschooling can bring about such a sense of peace with one's own self, that it can be poured into the being of another."
—Megan Valnes
photo by Sam Baykus

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Humming along

Debbie Regan wrote, to someone afraid a child was "falling behind":

"While schooly people are focussing on that fictional finish line, the real world is still humming along. People are walking around and past the fretting throng, living interesting lives, doing cool things, being productive, enjoying life."
—Debbie Regan
photo by Talia Bartoe

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Personal connections

Each idea, object, concept, person, song, motion—anything you can think of—has personal associations for you. You have an incalculable mass of connections formed in your brain and will make more today, tomorrow, on the way home, and in your sleep.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, December 18, 2015

Calm awareness

Provide an environment in which they can grow in such calm self-reflection and awareness that they can learn naturally from the things around them.
photo by Erika Ellis

That quote is almost out of context,
though it's half of a sentence, word for word
from the page linked above.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Depth and breadth

Everything counts, and every connection made increases the depth and breadth of the map of the universe each person is building. It makes it easier to learn the next few things, because there are more places to hook the knowledge.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


In weaving, one thread touches all the others. At first, learning is in one place, play is in another, and work is in a third. Unschoolers can gradually become people whose lives are made of learning and togetherness. When play has value, and parents see learning in everything, the fiber and substance of the family's life change.

What is woven into your life is part of your being.
photo by Nancy Machaj

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Think joyfully

"Think creatively. Think joyfully. Cultivate an attitude of enthusiasm and awe at as many things you can find in a day, especially the ordinary things or those things you've looked upon with skepticism and fear."
—Karen James

Karen James, Unschooling
photo by Ve Lacerda

Monday, December 14, 2015

Watch quietly

Thoughts don't show. Provide opportunities and time. Watch quietly. Don't break the spell.
photo by Jennie Gomes

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Being transformed

[There is something interesting] at the crux of the difference between being an unschooler and being however we all used to be before. We had this expectation of how we might be with our children, or how we might be with our spouses, our friends, or neighbors, or roommates. And then something big starts to change. And our attitudes change. And our "being ourselves" changes.
snow angel photo by Janine Davies

Saturday, December 12, 2015

What we give

"What makes our happiness as a family is not what we get from each other, but what we generously give."
—Tori Cotta
photo by Rachel Singer

Friday, December 11, 2015

Gaining faith

We can't know what children are thinking or learning. Two children "learning together" aren't making the same connections. With experience and practice, parents can gain faith in the processes that make unschooling so effective and wonderful.

Building an Unschooling Nest
photo by Celeste Burke

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Way to go!

Choices are the way to go. Moms can practice them first, and help children have and make them as years go by.
two girls looking up what kind of sea weeds they found on the beach
photo by Eva Witsel

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Be glad

Live in the moment as well as you can and be glad of happy surprises.
Living in moments
photo by Andrea Taylor

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Reflecting on shadows

I like this photo. A lit-up tree made both light and shadow.
You affect other things; things affect you.

Try to be happy, because happiness creates a better effect. You will be in shadows, and create some. You will be in the light of others, and some light will shine from you, on you, and through you.

Reflections, Projections and Shadows
photo by Abby Davis

Monday, December 7, 2015

Being valuable

"If we live our values, it's likely our children will value them too. If we impose our values, it's likely our children will reject them."
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Nicole Kenyon

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Light and peace

Many traditional observances involve fire—from candles to fireworks to bonfires.

With apologies to readers in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the tropics, here is a link to Deb Lewis's List of Things to do in the Winter

photo by Bea Mantovani

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Intangible gifts

For many families, this can be a time of stress and love and joy and exhaustion and fear of failure, concerning procurement and presentation of food or presents.

Remember intangible gifts. Remember to be kind and quiet and sweet, around and through the sound and swirl. Be grateful and express your gratitude to others, for help, for health, for being, for smiles, and for love. Touch and speak gently.

photo by Meghan Pawlowski

Friday, December 4, 2015

Safety net

"The goal isn't to set them free. It's to ease back on where they don't need a safety net anymore."
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Chrissy Florence

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Keep the peace

How NOT to watch movies:

Don't be cynical and critical and dismissive. Find the good acting, the good sets, the good props. Don't say "OH BROTHER." If there's a movie you really don't like, don't watch it with your kids.

This link has a new list. While I was in there editing,
I saw the note above, by me, from 2010.
Movies for Unschoolers
photo by Janine
(not of a movie; sorry)


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Doors to creativity

"Unschooling has inspired us all in so many ways, and opened doors to creativity that among other worries and insecurities we just didn't have time for before in the rush and busy of that old life! But mostly I needed to be inspired and have something meaningful and of value to write about, and now I have found it in this wonderful world of unschooling, and making so many new friends, and just so much positivity it's fantastic!"
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Open your mind and heart

"Every time I opened my mind and heart to something my kids loved or were passionate about, or just enjoyed, I learned more about my kids and my life, and theirs, became richer."
—Alex Polikowsky
photo by Jennie Gomes