Monday, July 31, 2017

Exotic things

I can see mountains from my house.

Something where you are would be breathtaking to someone from a different part of the world.

Normal or exotic?
photo by Chrissy Florence, in Fiji

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Real things

  Life. People can live lives, even little kids live lives, without preparation, learning on the job, as they go. They can learn while doing real things with real happiness and real success.
photo by Sandra Dodd
__ __

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Happy wherever

When you get better at being happy wherever you are, you can worry less about where you go.
photo by Janine Davies

Friday, July 28, 2017

Quiet time for parents

Unschooling takes a long time to learn. Rushing a child to understand something complicated while the parent isn’t even looking in the right direction to see unschooling is a problem that’s easily solved. Stop pressuring the child. Stop “communicating” the confusion. Quietly empty yourself of much of what you think you know. If it were working, there would’ve been no reason to ask us for help.

With a mind open to change, then, go here: Read a little...

Children need time to heal. Quiet time is probably better than constant noise, no matter how much the noise is intended to express love and reassurance.
photo by Hinano

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sleepy feels good

When there are options, feeling sleepy and choosing to go to bed can be warm, wonderful feelings. How sweet, to have a clean bed waiting, and to want to get into it.

On one small bit of gratitude, one can step up and see another one, and another.
photo by Sarah Dickinson

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


"Be thankful. Notice little things throughout the day that are simply good. The health of your children. The pattern on the soap bubbles in your kitchen sink. How perfect a favourite mug feels in your hand or looks on a shelf. A laugh. An easy moment. The breeze. The sunshine. A connection with a loved one. A touch in passing. A deep breath. A full moon. A cat purr. A hole-free sock. 😉 "
—Karen James

Deschooling (by Karen James)
photo by Gail Higgins

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Changing the world

"It's human nature to justify and explain why loving parents did what they did to us. It's also human nature to try to do better for our children than our parents did for us. So those two things together create a tension (like cables on a bridge, holding it in place) that keeps the world from changing so quickly that it's unrecognizeable, but keeps it improving."
—Sandra Dodd

The quote was saved and shared by Susan May on facebook,
from a comment I wrote on a blogpost: "I turned out fine"
photo by Shonna Morgan

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ate, played, ate, played...

I think it should be “Woke up, got dressed, ate, played, ate, played, etc.”...

If this seems wrong, try this experiment: Keep your child from learning anything for a few days. Make sure that from the first waking moment there is nothing learned, no new material, no original thoughts to ponder, etc. The only problem is that you would have to keep the children from playing, talking, reading, cleaning or repairing anything, etc.

from something I wrote in 1992, newly here:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Joyous and hopeful

"I don't remember when I first read Sandra's writings but I do remember what I felt when I first read them. Hopeful, inspired, hungry....

"She has this big idea that the lives of children can be joyous and hopeful and that's a remarkable thing."
Request for Assistance 2017
photo by Janine, this week
words by Deb Lewis, long ago

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Helping someone get going

If you're trying to help push someone's car and it's not going anywhere, sometimes pushing harder helps. Occasionally, though, you just have to say, "Is it in neutral or not?" If they say, "No, it's in first gear, push harder," what are you going to say? You stop pushing and say "You have to put it in neutral first."

So before anyone can enjoy the benefits of unschooling they have to "put it in neutral." They have to take off the emergency brake. Otherwise the car won't move. Too many people say "We tried pushing the car, it didn't move, we bought a new one. Pushing cars never works."

An analogy from 1997, with notes on the "have to" parts here:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, July 20, 2017

All the sugar

If a child has "all the sugar he wants" when he's little, I'm pretty certain that his total will be smaller over the course of his life than someone who is deprived and measured and shamed.

The quote is from Food, eating (transcript of a discussion)
but this might be a better next read: Natural Balance
photo by Celeste Burke

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Too far, too fast

Gradual is better, but when people jump, the reaction of the children to that is really a reaction to all of the controls from the past. And though it's difficult for the parents, it's a crop they planted.

Gradual is better. Pass on to anyone who listens to any of you about unschooling to change gradually and not to jump far.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Relationships are better

"I wish I had known about unschooling from the start, and never done anything else.

"The net effect is (with unschooling), we're all happier. We're less stressed. We have our own schedule - or lack of schedule - not one imposed on us by school, or even homeschooling. The kids' relationship with their dad is better. MY relationship with their dad is better."

A now-anonymous part of the collection "If Only I'd Started Sooner..."
photo by Megan Valnes

Monday, July 17, 2017

Learning and peace

If you know what you believe and what your goals are, then everyday life clears up and you see the benefits and the learning.

If convenience and organization are your primary goals, unschooling might not be viable for you.

If learning and peace in your family are primary goals, convenience will come secondary to it.

[Y]ou have to know what’s more important.

For me it was my child’s peace and comfort and learning, and everything has flowed from that.

Thanks to Nicole Novakovics for finding the quote.
photo by Chrissy Florence

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A surprising thing

One of the many stories at "True Tales of Kids Turning Down Sweets":
Marty had been running around outside in the sun for a few hours, and I offered to take him to Ben & Jerry's. He said he wanted to go home and have real food, not ice cream, but thanks.

If you go where this was first posted in 2010,
there's another story below it: Real food
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, July 15, 2017

You can't see it all

No matter how far you look, you can't see it all.

No matter how hard you squint, you won't understand everything.

Rejoice in what you see and know.
photo by Gail Higgins

Friday, July 14, 2017

All the time

My response to this question, from 2009:

What resources do you use for your children’s “educations”? Feel free to comment on the word “education”.

We don’t “educate” our children. We help arrange so that they have so many learning opportunities they can’t possibly take advantage of them all. We have friends with interesting jobs and hobbies. We invite them over, and we visit them. We have a house full of books, music, games, toys, movies, art materials, plants, food and dress-up clothes. We don’t expect learning to happen in the house, nor in museums, but we know it happens everywhere. We don’t expect learning to happen during daylight hours or on weekdays. We know it happens all the time. So we don’t “use resources” except that we see every thing we discuss or see, smell, touch, hear or taste to be a resource. It’s not a word we use, because it’s all of life.
photo by Cá Maciel

Thursday, July 13, 2017

All the way

"Unschooling is at its core an understanding that learning is a part of being human. It is a recognition that school undermines that by saying that learning needs to be organised, structured and handed down. School argues that certain things are so hard to learn that they must be taught. If you unschool partway you are mixing up your messages. If you unschool math and science and reading but structure nutrition and media studies you are arguing that while a rich and engaging life may make the three "r"s obvious they won't help you to deal with the difficult studies of food and televisions and video games and computers."
—Schuyler Waynforth
photo by Davis Harte

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Let go some more

"I have the attitude of hoping what they're doing is bringing them joy, whether that's watching TV, gaming, building a Lego city, or playing outdoors.

. . . .

"I let go, then let go some more, and in the process discovered a deeper connection with my kids than I knew was possible... and because of the inner work involved, a deeper connection with myself."
—Caren Knox
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Shifting gears

 photo DSC09408.jpgDeschooling is like changing gears.

Go slowly. Go deliberately.

Don't goof around. Don't stall.

How can both be true?
The clutch and the gas.

photo by Sandra Dodd, of
coloring by Holly Dodd, years ago, and
light switch plate by Sandra, years ago

Monday, July 10, 2017

More and more joy

Sudden change confuses kids, they don't trust it, they assume it's temporary, and so their behavior reflects that. And it robs parents of the joy of gradually allowing more and more, as the parents learn more and more. You could have said "okay" and "sure" hundreds of times instead of "whatever you want" one time, and the gradual change would have been a joy.

That was in a discussion and I used "joy" twice in too short a space,
so it's not my best writing, but joy IS what unschooling needs.
photo by Sarah Clark

Sunday, July 9, 2017

To see learning

 photo IMG_6966.jpeg

What we call "deschooling" is about more than school. It's de-tox and recovery from all the ideas that could come between parent and child, or between parent and peace, or that would keep the parent from being able to see learning in all of the fabric of life.
photo by Chrissy Florence

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Just enough

It's good to be grateful for all the things we have.

Sometimes it can help to be grateful to have less, fewer, not as much, as might cause us difficulty. Be grateful for having just enough.
photo by Chrissy Florence

(a rerun)

Friday, July 7, 2017

The clock is not hungry

Little children know nothing of the clock or "tomorrow" or "later."

It will help for parents to learn to live in the moment rather than by the clock, too. The clock is not sleepy. The clock is not hungry. Look at what your real, immediate child needs in the moment, and find ways to adjust your thinking so that it is not always too much for you. SOMEtimes maybe you can't. But if you never can feel the obligation or justification to take a breath and do what he wants instead of what you want, then school might be better for them than any sort of homeschooling—especially than unschooling, which is all about living in the immediate now.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, July 6, 2017

See, touch, hear

Let [babies] hear you speak, and find opportunities for them to hear others speak. Although there are justifications and theories about what babies like and respond to (high voices and sing-songy voices seem to appeal to babies), don't revert to a whole babytalk language with them. Some is fine, but talk to them about real things, too.

Tell them what you're doing with them, and what they're seeing, when they're out and about. Don't quiz them, just talk. It's fine if they can't understand you for months and months. They'll be learning your tone and your moods and the speech patterns of the language even before they have vocabulary. You will be building a relationship that is not based on the meaning of the words, but on the sharing of the time and attention. You're paying attention to what the baby sees and touches and hears. The baby is paying attention to you.

If you can keep that up for eighteen years, you've got unschooling!
photo by Sandra Dodd, up into a little tree I sat under, in a gully;
a banana blossom, in Maui!

(touch/click to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

An examined life

"I think to do unschooling well, it is a fundamental element to have an examined life. To be mindful of our choices and understand our thought processes."
—Rippy Dusseldorp
photo by Sarah Dickinson

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Opportunities and possibilities

photo MeganValnesEurope10.jpg

We do not "school," but, instead, we concentrate on living a life filled with opportunities and possibilities and experiences. Human children are born learners. Literally. What unschoolers aim for is keeping that love of learning and intense curiosity alive as the children grow up.
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Megan Valnes

Monday, July 3, 2017

Public pigeon

All around are stories and moments, props and scenes, entrances and exits. 7/3/17 Public pigeon photo JoIsaacTubePigeon.jpg
Take photos!

Jo took that photo on a continent other than where she lives, neither of which is where I live. Some few readers might be on yet a fourth continent, but will see this pigeon anyway.

I don't think the pigeon and the tube are a good mix, and he will not ride that subway.
photo by Jo Isaac

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Live lightly

Sometimes light comes from just lightening up.

Live lightly.
photo by Sandra Dodd, of a young Holly, in a fleeting moment

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Here we are

It's July! May is history. Those who are long grown probably never thought of a year like 2016 as "history," but now it surely is.

When children live and learn in the world, they will come to see themselves as part of that history more easily than if they were in school where history is in a certain book, in a particular room, at a scheduled hour.

We're moving through time like... we're moving through time as humans do. Looking back, looking forward, sometimes forgetting to notice and remember the here right now.
photo by Janine