Thursday, August 31, 2017

Poised and confident

I expected my children to learn, and they did. What surprised me was their ease at dealing with people of all ages, from younger children to adults. They made eye contact and shook hands from an early age. They're poised and confident.
the photo is from 2007, and is a link

P.S. I know kids are different; the statement above was about my kids.
Kids who aren't so at ease can benefit from being at home without pressure.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

More power

Help your children to be powerful. Let them have all of their power and some of yours.

(quote is from page 171 or 194 of The Big Book of Unschooling)
photo by Janine

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Slow change

Living means changing. Appreciate the good things, however plain and simple.

Don't rush, don't stop, but live.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, August 28, 2017

Learning, relationships, integrity

Everything counts.

If school and grades form "the object" and life is the field, many things "don't count."

Living without school or schoolishness, everything counts.

In learning, in relationships, concerning integrity—everything counts.

The Luminous Mind, Episode 197, Sandra Dodd, “Everything Counts”

photo by Gail Higgins

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Making the world better

"The longer I live the more convinced I am that the way children are parented/raised has the greatest potential for changing the world. Raising whole, healthy people makes the world better."
—Brie Jontry
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Learning, peace and kindness

Learning, peace and kindness make marriages better.

(and friendships, and partnerships with children)
photo by Karen James, of a painting by Karen James

Friday, August 25, 2017

More "more," less in between

"Everything in moderation… no. Not everything. Not very many things at all. Bad things at the minimum, good things to the maximum, and hopefully not much at all sitting sadly in the in-between."
photo by Colleen Prieto

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Inventory your abundance

You don't need a full list of things to be grateful for, to feel abundance. Maybe think of three, and then take that smile into your next few hours, if you can.

Here are three of mine: Kirby and his wife own a house (own a mortgage, anyway) and this is their beautiful walkway at night.

Marty and his wife will have a son, in December or January.

Lately and coming up, Holly has participated in several interesting and unrelated classes and workshops in dance, songwriting, burlesque, and yoga.

It's fun to see them continuing to stretch up and outward, and it's nice late at night to know they're all safely asleep in their various homes.
photo by Destiny Dodd

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

An investment

Karen James wrote:

It might not seem like it now, but those early years pass fast. . . . I don't regret a single moment. If anything, I wish I'd given more. I still have time, thankfully.

It did take a lot of my time, attention and energy, and there were times when I was really, really tired at the end of the day, and mornings when I was slow to want to embrace the day. But I see all that time and energy and attention as an investment—in my son, and in my own future. If I get to grow old, I hope these are some of the moments that bring colour to my winters.

Please read the beautiful entirety of that at
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Choosing food

If children are allowed to turn foods down, they're not forced to eat, and they're given choices, they will come to choose good foods, know when they're hungry and when they're not, and actually learn to listen to their bodies and know what they need.

This is such a departure from tradition in our culture that it seems altogether wrong, at first.
photo by Sandra Dodd
of cream cheese, peanut butter and honey sandwich
with grapes and banana


Monday, August 21, 2017

Agree, disagree, but think first.

I don't care if people disagree with me. I wouldn't want anyone to agree with me blindly, nor disagree blindly.

Nothing personal to me—I just want to present information for people to consider.
—Sandra Dodd
1995 or 1996

(In a discussion, I care that the information presented is helpful to unschooling.)
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Two-way change

Unschooling is more than just the absence of school. As we change, our perceptions change, and the perceptions of others toward us changes.
photo by Brie Jontry

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Peace in the bank

Do what will help your baby. Be the gentlest, sweetest, most attentive mother you can possibly be, and you will be putting peace in the bank for you and your whole family.

Though that was written about infants, it could work with older kids, too!
photo by Lydia Koltai

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sit still

On bonding with babies:

"Sit still with them. And when they are still, sit still with yourself. Don't use so many moments of the day to do anything."
—Schuyler Waynforth
photo of Sandra and Holly Dodd

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Go for healthy.

There is a difference between lack-of-mental-illness and mental health. What I mean is that one is not right on the edge of the other. There is a large land between being incapacitated and being really healthy and energetic and usful to other people. Don't settle for barely-back. Go for healthy.
photo by Lydia Koltai

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A tiny change of course

A different approach to life yields a very different set of results.

You don't have to turn 180 degrees from the way you would have lived before you decided to parent differently. At first it might seem pretty close. But as you move further from the starting point, you will see what a difference a tiny change of course made.
image by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Better moments

It helps a lot to try for better moments not days. Don't judge a day by one upset, judge it as a bad moment and move forward. A little bit better each moment. A little bit more aware.
—Schuyler Waynforth
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Monday, August 14, 2017

Talking less

"It was nice to be more quiet—to let things go unsaid. Not talking automatically and at length gave me more time to think about what I really wanted to say, if anything at all. I found I had fewer regrets—wishing I'd said something different or not at all. By talking less, I became a better listener too, I think."
—Karen James
photo by Sandra Dodd, outside a watermill

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Comfort and strength

I have comforted my "inner child" by comforting my own children. I have felt like a stronger, better person by being a stronger, better mom. Then it's not imagination, it's reality.

Helping them grow up whole helped me feel more full and whole myself.

Changing the present, healing the past, hope for the future
(from a comment I made there)
photo by Sabrina Peng

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The expectation of learning

It seems lately that more and more people want to know exactly HOW to unschool, but the answer is not what they expect.

Looking back at these stories, in light of others like them, the best recommendation I can make is to open up to the expectation of learning. It helps if the parent is willing for a conversation to last only fifteen seconds, or to go on for an hour.

Remember that if your “unit study” is the universe, everything will tie in to everything else, so you don’t need to categorize or be methodical to increase your understanding of the world. Each bit is added wherever it sticks, and the more you’ve seen and wondered and discussed, the more places you have inside for new ideas to stick.

A joyful attitude is your best tool. We’ve found that living busy lives with the expectation that everything is educational has made each morning, afternoon and evening prime learning time.
The "lately" in that quote was in 2002.
The photo is Holly's hand, in August 2017.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, August 11, 2017

Abundant beauty

Listen, feel, look. Something will be beautiful, even just for a moment, if you are present and open.

How much beauty would make a beautiful moment?

What could be set aside so that beauty could fill its place?

Turn your face toward beauty.
Turn your heart toward beauty.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Just add peace and stir

"Reading 'Just Add Light & Stir', then the link-following that follows has saved me from negative-mind-spiraling quite often recently."
She wrote that after having quoted this:

"The more local and personal peace there is, the more peace there will be in the world."
—Sandra Dodd

Knowing Peace
photo by Sarah Dickinson

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sunny and dry

Look for usefulness.

Look for beauty.

Hang out, you and your laundry.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Choose to live lightly

I think to move toward humor, live lightly and not so ponderously.

Problems can be seen as temporary setbacks instead of life-ruining horrors, if you remember to choose to live lightly.

Humor (chat transcript)
photo by Julie D

Monday, August 7, 2017

Change in ourselves

"Unschooling is *much* harder than school at home because it takes a great deal of self examination and change in ourselves to help our kids and not get in their way!"
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Megan Valnes

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Two things, two words

I wrote "two things, two words" as a title but most things have more than one name, most words mean more than one thing, and "two" is too small a number for this.

I've brought a photo by Lisa Jonick to help you consider this. If you try to say in one word, or two, what the photo shows, you will leave out three or four important parts.

What is the glass? Mirror. Window. Barrier.
What is the cloth? Backdrop. Projection screen. Drapery.

Is the tree touching the cat? Not really, but it envelopes him and his eyes turn to tree. Behind the cat is the reflection of mountains. It seems to be a continuation of his back. And as this is not "a photo of the mountains," the mountain seems to be inside the house, with the cat.

Lisa saw this, photographed it, saved it, shared it.

There will be many things in your life that you see, or fail to see. Seeing, thinking, naming, all have to do with thought, and categorization, and learning. Take a moment to see what you see richly, and deeply.
photo by Lisa Jonick

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Don't taint the ice cream.

It creates a trap, a trick question, an adversarial relationship, an opportunity for failure, if there is "a right answer" to the question "What do you want to eat?" Or if an overjoyed "can I have some ice cream?" is met with a sigh, and eyes rolling, and another sigh, and a dirty look, and a summary of what the child has already eaten that day, and a reminder of when the next meal is, and a head shake, and a mention of ingredients... or even ONE of those, it taints the ice cream. It harms the relationship. It makes the child smaller. It does not, correspondingly, though, make the parent larger.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, August 4, 2017

Thinking and wondering

"Sometimes people just want to wonder, rather than *know*. Or maybe they will want to know in the future, but right now they're just thinking on it and wondering."
—Tam Palmer
Laughing and wondering might help, too.
photo by Colleen Prieto
"Barn Swallow fledglings — Rye, NH"

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Look for this!

"Don't look for 'behaviors.' Look for learning and thinking and pondering and excitement and happiness!"
—Robin Bentley
photo by Sarah Clark

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Closer and better

"The ONLY way I've learned how to be a more present, more caring, generous partner with my kids was by being with them, trying on choices closer and closer to radical unschooling, learning from those choices, then choosing again, better, each time (most times)."
photo by Megan Valnes

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Explore. Connect.

On a scale from dull and dusty to bright and shiny, where is your life? How much of the happy outside world is flowing in? How much are you and your children interacting with the bright, shiny parts of the world outside?

Unschooling should and can be bigger and better than school.

If it's smaller and quieter than school, more should be done to make life sparkly.

Let one thing lead to another for you. Explore. Not the parent pressing the kid to explore, but the parent exploring and connecting.
photo by Sandra Dodd