Tuesday, February 28, 2017

That voice

"Be their support system. I want so much for my kids to grow up and hear that mommy voice in their head saying positive supportive things, not tearing them down, but encouraging them—and especially not a voice to be resisted."
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ease up, to help

Try to ease guilt and expectation and pressure. Those don't help the family unit.
photo by Hannah North

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lovely things

Ren Allen wrote:

Plato said: "The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things."

While I agree wholeheartedly, I think he should have said "The most effective kind of education is that PEOPLE should play amongst lovely things." Learning is for always. Playing amongst lovely things has the power to heal lives, heal families and liberate people. That's really what unschooling is in a nutshell—playing with lovely things, ideas, people and places. We say "living is learning" but "playing is learning" too.
—Ren Allen

photo by Janine

Saturday, February 25, 2017

When children choose foods

A mom named Evie wrote:
"Everything I've read about has really happened. The first couple of days, my youngest ate nothing but Twinkies and Spider-Man snacks. Then, amazingly enough, he got up the next morning and asked me for grapes for breakfast. You could have knocked me over with a feather! It truly didn't seem possible until I experienced it for myself."
How does it balance out?
photo by Julie van der Wekken

Friday, February 24, 2017

Easy steps

Thinking of "better choices" instead of "RIGHT choices" is an easy step to a world of other easy steps.

photo by Karen James

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Seeing peace

Words and photo by Belinda Dutch:

My teenagers who don’t always find it easy to ‘hang out’ together, sharing the fire. Dog is just out of shot. Louis is watching an instructional video on a game made by a friend and Olly is watching real people jumping horses. I ealised that this would normally be interpreted grumpily as ‘today’s teenagers always plugged in, should participate in the real world more,’ and instead I relish it as ‘my teenagers peacefully hanging out together and with me, while following their passions and engaging with the world.’

Thank you for helping me see that! And if you ever want to use the pic you are welcome :-) it’s nice and wintery….

Learning to See Differently
photo by Belinda Dutch

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Make the world better

If by "change the world" a person means "make the world better," then step #1 must be to decide right then not to make the world worse.
photo by Lisa Jonick

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Whole and healthy

We can see how controlling food is related to controlling education, sleep, playtime and other areas of our childrens' lives. We can mess them up early (which our culture applauds) or we can learn to let them grow whole and healthy and strong and free, not crippled in mind and spirit.

photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, February 20, 2017

Don't make a big deal

Something by Lyle Perry:
Plan on doing most of the cleaning for awhile. Better yet, plan on doing ALL of the cleaning for awhile, and whenever someone else pitches in, you may appreciate it more. Try not to look at it as "I have to do it all!", because you don't have to do it all. There's always a choice. If you don't feel like cleaning today, then don't. Will the house get messier? Yup. Is it a big deal? Shouldn't be. ...

Cleaning doesn't have to be a big deal. Don't make it a big deal and your kids may be more inclined to follow in your footsteps.
—Lyle Perry
photo by Alex Polikowsky

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Are you joking?

People with younger kids who "are not writing," think again. Are they joking with you and others? When they ask questions, do they think a bit
so they can word the question clearly? Are they starting to choose one word over another, for some dramatic or emotional or humorous or feelings-sparing reason? Writers need to do those things.

When they answer questions about a movie they've seen, do they take their audience into consideration? Who wants the short version, and who wants the long one? Who would rather hear about the characters than the action sequence? Writers need to think of those things.

(with samples of unschoolers' writing)
photo by Christina Kaminer Yarchin

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A little bit of magic

"Strewing for me, is a little bit of magic. It's like the potential energy of wonder that's all stored up in something unexpected, waiting to wow a person specially primed to be wowed by its offering. Each person brings their own experiences and interests to everything they meet. It's a mystery what might capture the imagination of a person and to what degree it will hold their attention. But that's the fun of strewing and finding, I think. For me it is!"
—Karen James

photo by Erika Ellis

Friday, February 17, 2017

Loftier dreams

“How do you transition kids from rules and chore lists if the kids are older?”

“Go gradually. Don’t enforce so much. If they say, ‘I’m tired,’ then say, ‘Go to bed.’ Don’t make a big announcement, ‘We’re now unschooling.’ Just start saying yes more. If kids can only drink one soda a day and have to go to bed at a specific time, they often grow up to have dreams of drinking lots of soda and staying up late — and don’t we want kids to have bigger, loftier dreams than that?”
photo by Chrissy Florence

Thursday, February 16, 2017


In my life I put learning first. I always ask myself, which thing will help them learn more?

Why Radical Unschooling?
photo by Lisa Jonick

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Choosing not to "have to"

Please don't think that you "have to." Then it won't be a fun choice you've made.

There are a few phrases that can keep parents from really relaxing into unschooling. Letting go of "teaching" and "have to" will go a long way toward seeing learning and choices. And not just seeing them, but feeling them comfortably, living with them, and with them in you.

SandraDodd.com/haveto and SandraDodd.com/wordswords
photo by Eva Witsel

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Partnering and changing

"Partnering with my children and changing the paradigm in my family—that feels like the ultimate victory to me."
—Janine Davies

photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, February 13, 2017

Keep your strength up!

People used to say “you should be ashamed” lots, to and around me, when I was young. And I was, I just hadn’t found the reason for it yet. Shame is like an indwelling virus that surfaces when we’re weak, in those who caught it.

That's darker than some quotes, but read it in context:
photo by Gail Higgins

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Whole people, now

Your children are not works in progress. They are whole people, now and from the day they were born. If you can try to see that, rather than think people are not finished until they're finished, it might help you.

photo by Sandra Dodd, of Adam Daniel picking out a souvenir shirt
at the Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Untangling ideas

Clarity of thought is helped by clarity of language. Even when others aren't around to point at problematical terms and phrases, individuals can become more conscious of their thoughts by looking at, hearing, the words they're using to express those thoughts.

Rephrasing is untangling. If one cannot rephrase something, it very likely means they aren't clear on what they're talking about. When something vague or spoken from rote is turned into normal words the speaker/thinker actually uses well and clearly, it's like turning the lights on in a jumbly dark room.

photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hardly any words

Unschoolers have experiences other homeschoolers don’t have.

Unschoolers know things that teachers can’t learn in or around school.

Unschoolers who start early enough can have relationships with their children for which there are hardly any words.
photo by Janine

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Teaching gets in the way

"Teaching" is a problem, in an unschooling light. Learning is the goal, and teaching gets in the way.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Thank you!

Yesterday there were two posts, by mistake. Today I will say thank you to readers, to those whose quotes I've used (usually from writings I've saved on my website), and to those who have taken beautiful and sweet photos and let me use them. This is post #2300 or so. A few dozen have been repeats. Sometimes a favorite quote has been re-run with a new photo and new title. Some are too short, some are too long. Several hundred have been just right.

Sometimes I'm too tired, and I'm getting old. I hope you won't mind when I miss one, and will consider it a win when my error nets you a bonus post.

Save a few of your favorites for a rainy day, and think lovely thoughts toward those folks who are quoted and credited when it's not my own words or photo (or yours), please. Thank you for reading.

Slowing down
photo by Lydia Koltai

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Laughing and smiling

Most of the best things that have happened, I didn’t foresee. I just can’t bring myself to think that a day spent laughing and smiling and doing things that are enjoyable is bad.

photo by Sandra Dodd

Curiosity and gusto

In the middle of something a little longer, about becoming an unschooling parent, Pam Sorooshian wrote:
Overly self-centered people can't do it because it requires a lot of empathy. People with too many personal problems that they haven't addressed in their own lives probably can't do it because they are too distracted by those.
People who are too negative or cynical can't do it because they tend to crush interest and joy, not build it up. People who lack curiosity and a certain amount of gusto for life can't really do it.

On the other hand, we grow into it. Turns out that we parents learn, too.

So—when we are making moves, taking steps, in the direction of unschooling, turns out the trail starts to open up in front of us and we get more and more sure-footed as we travel the unschooling path.
Pam Sorooshian, on SandraDodd.com/lazy/parents
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, February 6, 2017

Don't use up all your tickets!

Sometimes I've advised people to pretend they only have three hundred "no's"—they have a little ticket they have to spend every time they say no. And they better save some because some people use them up before the kid’s three.

What if your child grows up and you still have 150 tickets left that you can chuck in the trash? That’s pretty cool.

photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Conscious and clear

Living mindfully and making conscious choices for clear reasons is what a solid, thoughtful life is all about.

photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Contentment and happiness

Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

While unschooling parents should keep the environment lively, bringing in new things to leave about—see Sandra's Strewing page—new or old favorites of yours TV shows and movies, taking them places—a new playground, a new grocery store, an historical re-enactment, a polo match—the indicator of how well you're doing should be your kids peace, contentment and happiness."
—Joyce Fetteroll

photo by Sandra Dodd, in Schuyler's back garden

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Designing a parent

child 'skipping rope' with a scarf.jpg
Dark thoughts or light? Worms or sky?

If you're making a decision in some moment... will you take the low road and have a low-energy, Eeyore moment? How much energy would it take to have a Pooh moment instead, or even a Tigger moment?...

If you were designing a parent for your child, wouldn't "happy" be pretty high on your list?


[quote is from The Big Book of Unschooling, page 193 (223 in new edition)]
photo by Janine

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Supporting interests

My husband loves to support her (and my) interests. So he's made a point to find carousels for us to visit when we travel.
. . . .
I know you will not be at all surprised how one simple choice to ride the carousel at the zoo has led to so many fun and interesting experiences, but it has been so wonderful for me to see it firsthand.

photo by Beth Lamb