Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trust and respect

Trust and respect go together. Someone who is trustworthy will be respected.
photo by Julie D.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Casual and alert

Casual and alert are better than intense and hurried.

Time and money (chat transcript)
photo by Colleen Prieto, whose son loves birds and graveyards
There's another photo, down a bit, here.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sharper tools

Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

The basic idea of unschooling is that we learn what we need by using it. And that's exactly how kids learn to speak English. Toddlers aren't trying to learn English. They're using a tool (English) to get what they want: which might be juice or a hug or picked up to see better. The English tool is more efficient than other tools they've been using: pointing or crying or wishing. And because English is more efficient, they use it more. And because they use it more, the get better at it. Kids learn English (and everything else) as a *side effect* of living and pursuing what they enjoy.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Brave and calm

Be brave,

     be calm,

          be happy.

Becoming Courageous, by Deb Lewis
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sparkly and flowing

Sometimes it's fun to try to think with fewer words.

Unschoolers can move toward "better" by making better choices.

Imagine a way to be. What about clean, moving water?

When you choose activities, responses, thoughts and moods could you choose things more sparkly and flowing?
photo by Maria Wong

Monday, April 24, 2017

Adult things

Kids blossom and get bigger from doing adult things because they want to, instead of kid-things they have to do because they're small.
photo by Donna Anderson

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nurture and share

Be the kind of person you want your child to be.

Nurture your own curiosity and joy.

Find gratitude and abundance in your life.

Explore. Make connections, on your own.

Share those with your children when they're interesting.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, April 22, 2017

If you can...

Sometimes the thing to do is just to go to sleep.
photo by Holly Dodd

Friday, April 21, 2017

The best answers

It's hard to explain unschooling, partly because the best answers are "it depends," followed by questions for the parents to consider while they're making their decisions.
. . . .

Getting unschooling is a process. There will be more to get once you're comfortable with the new understandings and behaviors.

Other factors
photo by Abby Davis
Getting It

Thursday, April 20, 2017


"Radical" means from the roots—radiating from the source. The knowledge that learning is natural to humans can radiate forth from that point in every direction.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Live in the learning

"Child-led, 'wait til they ask'" isn't the way radical unschooling works. It's a way for unschooling to fail, if the parents are twiddling their thumbs waiting for the child to lead, or ask to learn something.
photo by Karen James, of stained glass by Ethan James

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Learning about learning

For the parents, deschooling is learning about learning.
photo by Colleen Prieto

Monday, April 17, 2017

Whole, thinking, seeing

Children have been whole, thinking, seeing beings since the day they were born. Assisting them to learn and to find their strengths and to explore the world and its possibilities is preparing them for their unseen futures.

Mommy-labs Interview, October 2012
("Children" replaces "they," to allow the quote to make sense out of context.)

photo by Janet Rohde Buzit

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Finding art

It's fun to be on the lookout for art in unexpected places. Sometimes people purposely make art and hide it, for kids to find.

Find art wherever you are.
photo by Hinano

Friday, April 14, 2017

"I hope you don't mind"

Dylan isn't twelve anymore; Deb Lewis still writes beautifully.

Yesterday was David's birthday and we had guests. I left dishes in the sink when I went to bed. I got up early with the dogs but then went back to bed. When I got up later Dylan had done the dishes.He said "I know you really like to do the dishes mom, so I hope you don't mind, but I just felt like doing them."

Dylan is twelve.

I *know* living life joyfully makes a difference in the way our kids see us and the way they see the little things that make life better.

—Deb Lewis
photo by Janine Davies

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Grand and simple

Of natural learning, Ren Allen wrote:

By choosing to unschool, I am giving my children the ability simply to enjoy the journey rather than to seek some unknown destination that falsely promises an end product. My children’s lives are their own; their dreams and passions belong to them, and in gathering the bits that matter, they are showing me that natural learning is grand and simple all at once. The light that emanates from them awes me to silence.
—Ren Allen

Crystallized Learning
photo by Lydia Koltai

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

High horse on holy ground

Carol/sognokids wrote:

One day Colton and Bud returned from the library, thrilled with what they had found. A video copy of "Godzilla!" I snorted derisively and suggested that our time would be better spent with a book. I was ignored. They made some popcorn and started the movie. I sat with them on the couch, or to be more accurate, on my moral high horse....

A voice whispered in my ear: Look at them, Carol. Just LOOK at them! .... They were totally connected to each other through their movie experience, and it was a joy to watch. I knew that they were making a memory together....

We have laughed and cried together as we have watched, and we have wondered and marveled.... And when I watch my husband and son stomping around the house like Godzilla as they destroy Tokyo, I know that I am standing on holy ground.

The rest is worth reading, and there's a story by Deb Lewis, too:
photo borrowed from 60 Years of Godzilla

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The light dawned

It was the issue of food that provided the epiphany for me to "get" what unschooling is about. When I realized that there are foods out there that make me gag, and I wouldn't want to have to finish them (or even put a bite in my mouth) the light dawned. Why do it to kids, if there's something that I refuse to eat?
—Heidi C.
photo by Jenny Bilderback

Monday, April 10, 2017


"I think trying to see the world through young kids' eyes can help us move toward wonderment."
—Chris Sanders
photo by Jo Isaac

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Building an unschooling nest

"Building an unschooling nest" is a phrase that has come to mean maintaining a safe, rich, happy environment in which learning cannot help but happen.

What will help to create an environment in which unschooling can flourish? For children to learn from the world around them, the world around them should be merrily available, musically and colorfully accessible, it should feel good and taste good. They should have safety and choices and smiles and laughter.

There is some physicality to the "nest," but much of it is constructed and held together by love, attitudes and relationships. Shared memories and plans, family jokes, songs and stories shared and discussed, all those strengthen the nest.

Quote from The Big Book of Unschooling, page 125 (or 137)
photo by Jennifer Smith

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Inside and outside

I have some good plants in my house. Outside it can be too harsh for most plants to survive, but indoors is safer.
The photo was taken far from New Mexico, but still shows some life inside, and some less-lively structure outside.

Two ideas: Sitting around watching plants grow isn't as good as some other things you could do, and don't be too prejudiced against being inside!
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, April 7, 2017

Confident, happy, glad

I wrote this of Kirby, in 2005 when he was 18 years old:
He's confident in his skin, in his mind, and in his being.
He's not afraid of his parents.
He goes to sleep happy and he wakes up glad.

My priorities could have been different.

Kirby is 30 now. Yesterday he contacted me about plans for adopting his wife's daughter, who is eight, so her name will be Dodd, too. They recently signed a mortgage on the house where she has her own beautiful room.

Context for the top quote about Kirby is in a story here:
photo by Rachael Rodgers

Thursday, April 6, 2017


"The top itself was not what caught Ethan's attention. For me, it was. For Ethan, it was the swirly lines that were the treasure he happened upon and wanted to explore more."
—Karen James, 2017

Strewing in Action
photo by Holly Dodd, 2009

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"We" can be a problem

girl with a rainbow on her face from the windowRemember that your child is a whole separate person.
photo by Amber Ivey

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Good life; less needy

"Parents who do make meeting their children's needs a higher priority will find that life is good and they, often unexpectedly, find that they are, themselves, less needy when they feel like really good parents."
—Pam Sorooshian
Halloween photo by Lydia Koltai

Monday, April 3, 2017

Learning happily

I believe that if children learn happily, without pressure and without shame, that they will continue to do so for the rest of their lives.
Why Radical Unschooling?
photo by Chrissy Florence

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Unfolding, unfurling

[To the frequently voiced complaint that the word "unschooling" seems negative, this was written years ago and has not been bested:]

"Lots of people make this point, but I never see the negation as negative in a value-judgment sense when I use the word—to me unschooling is as positive as unchaining, unbinding, unleashing, unfolding, unfurling, unlimiting....

"All mean freedom and growth and vast possibilities to me."
—Zann Carter

Definitions of Unschooling
photo by Rose Sorooshian

Saturday, April 1, 2017


There do need to be breaks for familiar, comforting activities, but a rich life should include newness for the sake of learning (and fun), and an unschooling parent should be aware of the learning that's happening in the children and in the parents, both. Learning isn't just for kids!
photo by Amber Ivey