Saturday, April 30, 2016

"Do you just..."

Me, Orion, making cookies on the iPad (playing a game)Unschooling isn't "just" doing anything. It's stepping mindfully toward more and greater peace and partnership—toward an easy environment for learning to happen all the time.
Words above, Sandra Dodd. Link, Pam Sorooshian:
photo by Jihong Tang, of Orion and Sandra

Friday, April 29, 2016

If you borrow it...

"Be responsible for your own thoughts and feelings, and notice when your thoughts are borrowed."
—Cheri Tilford

The quote is not from this page, but it relates.
photo by Sandra Dodd, at a McDonald's in India—
(note the Veg Pizza McPuff)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thoughts, words, actions...

"I was frequently reminded that 'thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become your character and your character becomes your destiny'. My dad was gifted at helping me be more thoughtful with my words and actions, and make better choices. He was the kindest person I knew."
—Rippy Dusseldorp Saran
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp Saran

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Small things are big

Taking food to someone who is reading or playing a game or watching a movie and just putting it where he or she can reach it without any instructions, warnings or reminders is a great gift. It is a simple gesture, and a profound service.
photo by Hinano

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The path ahead

When the path is clear and easy, relax and enjoy the peace.

When you come to obstacles or there's more than one path, you'll be rested and prepared to choose based on what you know and what seems to lead you nearer to safety and growth.
photo by Pam Laricchia

Monday, April 25, 2016

Learning by touching

boy with a manual typewriter

An adult with 20 or more children to watch will say "Don't touch it" quite often. An unschooling parent might rarely need to say it, being close at hand.

As my children had examples of people being gentle with their things, and were with me when I was gentle with other people's things, it was easy for them to learn to examine objects without being rough or careless.
photo by Jo Isaac

Sunday, April 24, 2016


young child climbing a ladder

Up seems better than down in many ways—mythologically, linguistically, psychologically. Birds are up. Sun is up. Perk up. Cheer up.

Things are looking up.

A happy spiral upward
photo by Megan Valnes

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Good to great

Good things build up gradually into great things. Bad things erode faith and trust.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, April 22, 2016

Better everything

Learning to be kind and gentle to a child will make you a kinder and gentler person. Learning to make choices that make you kinder and gentler to a child—more generous, softer, more patient—will help you be a better partner, adult child, neighbor, customer at the grocery store.
photo by Karl Morgan (I think)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Clutter or beauty?

Clutter and beauty can coexist. Seeing what's interesting can remind you that clutter can be cleaned up later, but beauty should be seen whenever possible.

When children are older, clutter can subside. Find the good parts today.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Quiet abundance

Health, sunshine and opportunities can be the best parts of life. Children's blessings are parents' blessings.
photo by Ve Lacerda

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Take your time

Sometimes a day comes when the best thing to do is to eat leftovers and hang out.

Don't feel bad about some slow days of rest and recovery.
(That link doesn't have those words, but it has calming ideas.)
photo by Katy Jennings

Monday, April 18, 2016


Sometimes children are soft, in soft surroundings, and a mother's heart is soft.

Sometimes they're loud, sticky, and stinky. Sometimes moms are frazzled.

Remember the quieter times will be there, too. Help to soften their lives.
photo by Lydia Koltai

Sunday, April 17, 2016


"I sometimes look back and see how far my thoughts and actions had shifted from where I started and it was (and is) dizzying and exhilarating. Things that made me feel panicky five years ago are now so accepted and normal and joyful in our house. And I am still moving forward and trying to choose from more and better choices every day."
—Anna Black
photo by Megan Valnes

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Aware of words

Heather Booth wrote:

One of the things that helped when I started unschooling was becoming aware of the words I used. The clearer I became in my thoughts and the more aware of the impact of my words, the better I was at being an unschooling parent.
. . . .
"Read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch" and "Say yes more" are great phrases to get you going in the right direction but if you are still saying "have to" or "junk food " or "screen time" then you're stuck in negative thoughts.
—Heather Booth

Weed Away Words
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, April 15, 2016

Stop time

Cameras can stop time. Memories can try. But really, the moment is gone and new moments are coming.

Keep your balance, live lightly, be sweet.
photo by Parvine Shahid
__ __

Thursday, April 14, 2016

This planet

"Unschooling requires you to take joy in life. It requires you to appreciate the wonders of the world."
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Becky Sekeres

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Stop and hush

Meredith Novak wrote:

Ultimately, what helps most to do first was not set myself up to yell—and that meant going back a few more minutes and noticing how things went wrong in the first place and changing those dynamics. Most of them were about expectations I had—kids should or shouldn't do some thing. As I worked through expectations like that, there was less to yell about.

So basically I worked the problem from both ends—I found ways for life to flow more smoothly for my family on the one end, and learned to stop and hush and start over on the other.
—Meredith Novak
New at the bottom of
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, April 11, 2016

Health and contentment

I think learning happened better here when our focus changed to their mental health and feelings of contentment.
Sandra Dodd, quoted by Joyce Fetteroll at
The Unschooling Philosophy
photo by Celeste Burke

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sleep when you're tired

It can help to encourage a child to sleep when he's tired. When children get older, parents can do it too, without feeling guilty, if it has been a policy for anyone without immediate responsibility to sleep when sleep comes.
photo by Nicole Kenyon

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Empowering Others

Helping people learn to find their own answers is vastly superior to distributing answers on demand. . . .
Empowerment is a principle, not a rule. Learning to examine one's own life and needs and beliefs is necessary for unschooling to work.

These quotes were about unschoolers helping other unschoolers, but the ideas work with parents and children, too.

Younger Keith Dodd and his baby Kirby
photo by Sandra Dodd

Totally lifted from September 20, 2010
so that I can go back to bed to recuperate from a long, hard week.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Dark corners, lit up

"Don't let fear and worry drive your decisions and interactions with your kids, though. If you focus on joy and partnership, dark corners won't seem dark. You and your kids will be able to illuminate them together through open dialogue and trust."
—Jo Isaac
photo by Erika Ellis

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Acceptance and relaxation

"When kids feel respected, when they've experienced a life time of their desires being respected and supported to find safe, respectful, doable ways to get what they want, kids won't push the envelope into craziness. That behavior just doesn't make sense to them.

"Kids who've been controlled focus on pushing against that control, sometimes focus on the hurt of not being accepted for who they are, and do things just because they're not supposed to."
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Andrea Taylor

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

School days

One wonderful thing in unschooling is realizing you don't know whether it's a school day or not. It is evidence of deschooling.

Don't forget school days completely, though, because you can plan outings when the museums and playgrounds are empty. There won't be a crowd at the cinema.

Old information has new purposes.
photo by Jane Clossick

Monday, April 4, 2016

The more you know...

When I was a student I often asked why something was important to learn, but my teachers rarely had good answers.

When I was a teacher, I was asked those things too.

Then one day, the question came phrased a new and better way: "What is this GOOD for?" The answer I gave then changed my life and thinking. I said quickly "So you can get more jokes." I think we were reading a simplified Romeo and Juliet at the time. I could've gone into literature and history and fine arts, but the truth is that the best and most immediate use of most random learning is that it illuminates the world.

The more we know, the more jokes we will get.

The larger paragraph above is from:
To Get More Jokes
or "Thinking and Learning and Bears"
by Sandra Dodd, 2007

photo by Heather Booth

Sunday, April 3, 2016


It will help you heal from your childhood, to be a good mother. Seeing your own child's bright eyes when you do something sweet can heal the child inside you who would have loved to have had someone do that to, for, with her, years ago.
photo by Rodrigo Mattioli

Saturday, April 2, 2016


So what do we need besides seeing things in a new light, trying to be more understanding about noise and mess, and being our children's partners? I mean tools for moving toward being with children in new ways?

Maybe LOVE the mess

See it as evidence of health and joy and learning, and then it's not "mess," it's proof.
photo by Julie Markovitz

Friday, April 1, 2016

Critical Thinking Day

Don't believe everything you read or hear today! It's April Fool's day, and people will be trying to trick you or trip you up.

All the rest of the year? Don't believe everything you read or hear then, either.
photo by Sandra Dodd