Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Kindness, grace and generosity

"Kindness, grace, and generosity go a lot further toward creating warm relationships and a joyfully harmonious home than measuring out equality."
—Meredith Novak
photo by Chrissy Florence

Monday, January 30, 2017

Problem solving together

"Three skyping with a friend in another town, all in the same server, problem solving and being together." —Holly Blossom

A month ago, I needed a photo to go with a Deb Lewis quote, so I asked in a facebook discussion "Does someone have quick access to a photo of a kid or kids or family watching TV, at your house?" I got dozens that day, and more later.

Since December 31, I have used one of those in every post. If you noticed, cool. If you didn't notice, that's even better. Many were not "TV," and that's fine. The categories are blurring together.

I will go back to more variety after today, and use some of the others from this collection here and there. There are photos that show interaction and peace, relaxation and excitement. Some showed lone thought (though the photographer was there) and some were group activities. You're looking into some backlit screen as you read this.

Rejoice and be grateful for our ability to share.

photo by Holly Blossom

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Slightly different

photo TVEvaWitsel.jpg

Stop thinking you know what they need and what you need. Try a new angle, a different trajectory.

. . . While you're playing, think about the huge difference made by a slightly different angle. Put your desire to control into that for a few days, therapeutically. While you're playing, think about what you can control, and why you would want to.

photo by Eva Witsel

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Clearer and easier

If a person wants to live in the light of his goals and intentions, then the "better choices" need to be made in that light. The clearer you are about where you intend to go, the easier your decisions are.
photo by Roya Dedeaux

Friday, January 27, 2017

Choosing choices

Go for ways to be kind, be a partner, say yes more than no, don't label children, HOPE that they will be better able to tolerate lots more things as they get older.

Choices are the way to go. Moms can practice them first, and help children have and make them as years go by.

photo by Andrea Justice

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Fairly seamless

"I just never separated what I knew and was doing from what my kids were doing, and that helped. So it was fairly seamless for me. My whole life had been about learning and about education. That's what I always wanted to do from the time I was six— to be a teacher. My other backup plans were to be a missionary or a journalist. Pretty much I cover those three every day."
—Sandra Dodd

photo by Sadie Bugni

P.S. Usually if the words are mine I don't credit so overtly, but this is an odd statement and so I figured I'd better own up to it in a more personal way.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Creative solutions

Deb Lewis wrote:

It's my goal to help my son get what he wants. That's my focus and the foundation of our unschooling adventure together. I see myself as his facilitator, someone to make his progress easier. I could have told him there was nothing we could do about this particular problem, but I don't want him to simply accept what comes along. I want him to have examples of hope and attainment. It's an important skill to be able to find creative solutions to problems.
—Deb Lewis

photo by Holly Blossom

Monday, January 23, 2017


Ren Allen wrote:

John Holt said: "To trust children, we must first trust ourselves...most of us were taught as children that we can not be trusted."

They go hand in hand for many of us. Taking that leap into trusting them was the act that lead to trusting myself.
—Ren Allen

photo by Jaimi Meyer

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Julie, Adam's mom, wrote in 2009:

Adam and I went to a concert in London for children under five. It was very interactive with the presenter asking questions as they introduced the different instruments.

Adam was really engaged with it and was answering lots of the questions identifying the instruments. When he identified the piccolo the lady presenting it said how did he know what a piccolo was and he said “I watched the Tweenies. And they are very interested in music and they talked about the woodwind section in the orchestra. So I’ve seen a piccolo before."

It was really funny because a lot of the people who were there don’t let their kids watch TV and kind of look down on the Tweenies.
—Julie D

photo by Remy C BW

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Finding joy

"Looking for joy doesn't mean living in la-la land. Quite the opposite. For me, it means being grounded in reality instead of fear, and connected rather than living parallel lives with my family members."
—Jen Keefe

photo by Antje Bebbington

Friday, January 20, 2017

No time wasted

Visual dictionaries, books of birds, mammals, local flora, the dictionary, encyclopedia, atlas, almanac—these books can be used by the hour or by the half minute. There is no time wasted when children are thinking, asking questions, fitting new information with what they already have, and all the while smiling and laughing. Have fun!

The quote is mine (Sandra Dodd) from an article
written before Google searches, before YouTube.
I love the internet. Google Earth, bird sites,
visual searches, etymonline.com, music videos...

photo by Jamie Griffin

Thursday, January 19, 2017

More 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 Allison Waters, who wrote
"My son and nephews, all unschoolers, watching
'Howl's Moving Castle' and waiting for tea!"

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kindness and creativity

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

"Homeschoolers think a lot about learning—but they often focus on learning to read, write, do math, or learning science or history, etc.

"Unschoolers tend to take that kind of learning for granted, it happens along the way. Instead, as we get more and more into unschooling, we tend to focus on things like kindness and creativity and honesty—all those character traits that will determine *how* their learning will be used in their lives."
—Pam Sorooshian

photo by Jamie Lee

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Good and happy

"The best thing that any parent can do is to make their life with and their relationship with their children as good and as happy and as stress-free as possible."
—Schuyler Waynforth

photo by Jo Isaac

Monday, January 16, 2017


When I was 19 and "studying learning," by taking psychology and education classes, one of my more interesting professors said that intelligence involved the ability to use tools in ways other than those for which they were intended. I liked that.

The image stayed in my mind for decades as I watched some people inflexibly say "don't do that" or "that's not what that's for" while others smiled, and laughed, and said "Oh, cool idea!" or "That will work!"

Whether it's about intelligence or it's creativity and joy, it's a good combination of thought, action and acceptance.

The tool-using theory isn't one of those listed.
It might be an engineering talent, so spatial and logical?
Or it might be art. Fun to think about.

photo by Roya Dedeaux

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Healthy behaviors

"It's not because unschooled children are superior that they won't exhibit the behaviors that parents fear. It's that their lives lack the factors that cause children to use TV in unhealthy ways."
—Joyce Fetteroll

photo by Brandie Hadfield

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Who they are

Jill Parmer wrote:

"A huge shift for my deschooling was that I wanted my kids to be like certain kids I was reading about on the message boards. And when I had that thought, it shocked me. I realized I was not seeing my kids as who they were, that I was still wanting them to be....something else. That shock was enough to make me banish that thought and look directly at my kids and play with them and have fun with them."
—Jill Parmer

Deschooling chat transcript
photo by Alicia Gonzalez-Lopez

Friday, January 13, 2017

Involved and busy

About "academic things":

If the parents are really involved and busy, and inspiring and inspired, and interested and interesting, then I trust it will happen.

I know it will NOT happen if the parents are cynical, negative, critical, shaming.

Parents, if they're considering homeschooling, need to make it better than school or not do it.

The quote is from a section starting about 47:20
on the recorded interview you can hear here:
2009 interview by Sandi Schwartz
photo by Donna Anderson

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Whole individual learning

Whole individual learning is the ONLY way anyone can learn.

Each child builds his own internal model of the universe. School tries to insert one but it can't. It just can't be done.
photo by Marin Holmes

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Full, real lives

I see my children living full, real lives today, right now. I don't see them as students in preparation for life, who after a number of years and lessons might be considered "completed" or "graduated." It was a long way to come, and I never even had to move. I just had to look at what I considered to be real.
photo by Melissa DeLong

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The farther it will flow

"If learning were a river, a question might be a tributary. Answering the question will add to the river. The more tributaries, the larger the river, and the farther it will flow. As long as the questions come, we answer them, and the learning continues to flow."
—Nina, of "Amor y Risa"

photo by Remy C BW

Monday, January 9, 2017

Open to wonder

"Unschooling doesn't start at the rules in your head, it starts with each individual child. If one of your kids is curious about something and you're tempted to shut it down—because it's scary to you, because it might be dangerous—that's a problem. It's a big obstacle in your relationship with your child, one that sets up your kid to have to choose between mom and wonder. Wonder, for many people, is worth some risk. It can be worth physical risk to physical people. It can be worth a relationship with a parent, or both parents, or a whole family."
—Meredith Novak

photo by Amanda Lyn Custer

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Joining in joy

#1 reason to love the internet: You're reading this page!

#2 reason to love the internet: pictures, music, video, art, voices... (Oh wait; that's lots of reasons!)

I love the internet,
I love my website,
I love history, and
I love the future.

Robyn Coburn wrote something once about her dad, who was a professional juggler. I put it on a webpage, as a connection from another juggling page I had, and...

One thing led to another. She got to see video of her dad juggling. You can see it too, because the internet is wonderful.

Reasons to love the internet
photo by Amanda Lyn Custer
Robyn, on her dad, and the video of him

Friday, January 6, 2017

While recovering

What advice do you have for families who are new to homeschooling?

Don't spend money at first. Read, meet other families, let your children have time to do what they're interested in, or what they weren't allowed to do before because of school.

If they want to read or play in the yard or ride bikes or watch movies or draw or paint or play games, make that possible for them.

While the children are recovering, the parents can learn about what they want to do and why, and how. There is more online about homeschooling than anyone could ever read. Find the writers and ideas that make sense to you, and pursue that. Don't rush into anything. Parents should learn to be calm and thoughtful instead of panicky and reactionary. It's better for health and decision-making, and it sets a good example for the children. Don't live in fear when you can live in joy.

photo by Hannah North

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Some of the best of everything

Whatever you do, make it fun, interesting, comforting, memorable, unusual, familiar, nourishing, productive, or restful. If it can be three or four of those things at the same time, good job!

Precisely How to Unschool
photo by Erika Andromeda

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Real true, big enjoyment

Colleen Prieto wrote:

I am quite pleased that everyone in our little family feels quite free to be enthusiastic, passionate, and extremely into whatever we're into at the moment. All things Star Trek, cemetery exploration, birding, keeping track of the Yankees, Minecraft, and photography are things that right now are taking up most of our time. I don't think we're obsessed and I don't think we need to be more well-rounded and find "moderation." I think we're happy and having fun and learning , and that to me is all good.
—Colleen Prieto

The title of this post is also a Colleen quote from this page:
photo by Sadie Bugni

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Being comfortable is part of being at peace. Perhaps they are the same thing.

Learning can't happen well without peace, so provide the elements of a peaceful life as often as you can, in all sorts of ways. Become comfortable with peace.

photo by Jessica Sexton

Monday, January 2, 2017


"When you give, give as happily as you honestly can, and give with the receiver in mind more than yourself. That spirit shows, and is meaningful."
—Karen James

photo by Hannah North

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 2017

I'm home from a New Year's Eve party at Marty and Ashlee's (our middle "child," now 27, and his wife of two years). They live in the house Keith and I were in when we were younger than any of our kids are now, where we lived when our children were young, and where we lived until Marty was nearly 9. There were people there tonight I've known for years and some I just met. Nice people.

It's too late to get a good post together; sorry.

Best wishes for peace and happy surprises!