Saturday, March 31, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

Gentle moments

"Gentle moments call for a calm mind."
—Holly Dodd
Gentle, patient and generous
photo by Holly Dodd

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Work can be fun

When the adults are happy and the children have choices, work can be fun.
photo by Sabine Mellinger

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Most of what happens in the world, I will never see.

Most of what happens in my own back yard, I don't see.

Most of what I see, I don't understand, or fully consider. That's the way the world is. That's the way people are.

You will see some beauty.
You will understand some things.

Seeing and being
photo by Ester Siroky

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Here and there

Here and there can be in the same place, when we combine them in the same thought, or image. Connect past and future, near and far, personal and universal.

Frolic in your mind.
eclipse photo by Karen James

Monday, March 26, 2018

Your child's mother

"Instead of being my mother's child, I am my children's mother."

The quote is from "Knowing Everything." The title refers to something Kirby asked me when he was little. The rest of the essay is here:

The story also appears in the book Moving a Puddle.

photo by Holly Dodd

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A side effect of unschooling

"The goal of unschooling is not education. It is to help a child be who she is and blossom into who she will become. Education happens as side effect."
—Joyce Fetteroll

Waiting for proof?
photo by Cátia Maciel

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Choice by choice

People can come nearer to the way they would like to be, but only incrementally, choice by choice.

Choosing more peace
photo by Cathy Koetsier

Friday, March 23, 2018

Safe and comfortable

Jenny Cyphers wrote:

In my own experience, I am the protector of my child. From the day each child was born, I took on the responsibility to ensure that my children were safe and comfortable and loved and supported. That didn't stop when we disagreed. It didn't stop when the stakes were high. It didn't stop just because it was a difficult part of life"
—Jenny Cyphers
photo by Amber Ivey

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The more you know...

The more you know about something, the more you can know, because there are more and more hooks to hang more information on—more dots to connect.
Concepts, experience and emotions
photo by Jo Isaac

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Children want to learn

"We who believe that children want to learn about the world, are good at it, and can be trusted to do it with very little adult coercion or interference, are probably no more than one percent of the population, if that. And we are not likely to become the majority in my lifetime."
—John Holt
Teach Your Own
photo by Karen James

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The peace of the world

Everyone who helps others unschool or to live peacefully with their children is contributing to the peace of the world.
(I wimped out of leaving the full, real quote, but I left the positive part.)
photo by Megan Valnes

Monday, March 19, 2018


When I was in elementary school, the lowest marks I got were C's (average) in conduct, or deportment. I talked too much. Way more than once I was shushed in class with the admonition, "You're not here to socialize."
photo by Gail Higgins

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Making things disappear

Unschool as well as you can, and lots of the side questions disappear.
photo by Karen James

Saturday, March 17, 2018

How will you be?

How will you be, as a parent, and why? What's keeping you from being the way you want to be?
photo by Bea Mantovani

Friday, March 16, 2018


"Create a rich environment.
Support and feed their interests.
Connect with them."
—Joyce Fetteroll

Joyce added that my site could have been just that—one page, simple—if natural learning were easy to trust.

Read the rest:
photo by Karen James

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Playing that game

A parent with a child who loves a video game should look at what is wonderful about that. He is physically able to operate the controller or whatever it is (keyboard, wii, touch screen). He is bright enough to figure out at least part of a game that has aspects that would challenge any player. He has found something that sparks his joy or curiosity. He is playing that game, rather than doing something sad or destructive or negative.
photo by Karen James

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Beautiful moments of stillness and calm are around us all the time. Sometimes we notice.

Look Quietly
photo by Annie Regan, who wrote "Possibly my favourite spot in the whole world.
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, just on sunrise in this photo"


Tuesday, March 13, 2018


"Radical" means from the center, from the source, outward.

From the roots to the tips
from the roots of hair to the tips
or the roots of a tree to the end of each leaf
or from the roots of a belief to the end of each action.

follow-up on Why Radical Unschooling?
photo by Ester Siroky

Monday, March 12, 2018

Be nice, often

Be as nice to your child as you can be, as often as you can be.
Partnerships and Teams in the Family
photo by Amber Ivey

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Conscious and continuous

Have a conscious, continuous and mindful partnership with your child.

Partnerships and Teams in the Family
photo by Cátia Maciel

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The universe in a drop of water

Universe-in-a-Drop-of-Water Method:

Can one intense interest come to represent or lead to all others? A mom once complained that her son was interested in nothing but World War II. There are college professors and historians who are interested in nothing but World War II. It can become a life’s work. But even a passing interest can touch just about everything—geography, politics, the history and current events of Europe and parts of the Pacific, social history of the 20th century in the United States, military technology, tactics, recruitment and propaganda, poster art/production/distribution, advances in communications, transport of troops and food and supplies, espionage, prejudices, interment camps, segregation, patriotism, music, uniforms, insignia, religion....

from "Disposable Checklists for Unschoolers"
Disposable Checklists for Unschoolers
photo by Gail Higgins

Friday, March 9, 2018

Worth the work

Pam Sorooshian, in 2007:

I never "got it" about chores until it was really almost too late. My own issues about housework, etc., kept me from being able to embrace whole-heartedly the idea that any kid would ever actually step up and help out without it being required.

I see a HUGE difference, now, though, since I stopped demanding housework a few years ago.
. . . .

What I regret is that I didn't figure out ways to do stuff like this when the kids were younger. I wish I'd made housework entirely optional, but then made it enticing for them to do it with me or with each other, so that they'd have still helped out, but without the tone of it being demanded. These days, when one of my daughters and I wash dishes together, it is fun, because they really know that they have a choice, that I won't be annoyed if they turn me down, so no resentment on their part. Very very worth the extra work I had and often still have to do.
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Janine Davies

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Some of all

School calls a small sliver of the world "all", and we call all of life's learning "some".
photo by Janine Davies

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Laughter and joy

Cass Kotrba wrote:

"It is your responsibility to keep your children safe but that doesn't mean you are a prison guard. Lighten up and try to be fun! Try to think of fun ways to break things up when or before tensions start to rise. Find things to laugh together about. Watch comedies. Find out what your kids think is funny and laugh with them. Let the sound of their laughter resonate deep down into your soul. Find the joy and fuel it."
—Cass Kotrba
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Longterm safety and happiness

"I can spend my energy on limiting my child's world so that he will be safe and happy or I can spend my energy on helping my child learn the skills to navigate our world himself so that he will be safe and happy. I think the latter has a better chance of success in the long term."
—Eva Witsel
photo by Cátia Maciel

Monday, March 5, 2018

Your unique kids

It helps unschooling and mindful parenting to be aware of your kids and their unique needs rather than treating them as generic kids with all the worst possible traits.
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Karen James

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Open and supportive

Three sentences pulled from longer writing by Joyce Fetteroll:

Mom can hold strong beliefs AND open the world to her kids so they feel free and supported in deciding what's right for them—even if it's counter to what mom believes.

*What* that belief is doesn't matter. The belief could be war is evil. The belief could be school is bad. Let's say you believe school is toxic. Many people here would agree with you....

Don't stack the deck so that your beliefs drown out anything else they might want to explore.
—Joyce Fetteroll

What's above is slightly misquoted, but the meaning is the same.
Go to to see what I changed, and those words in context.
Similar title: Open and sensible
photo by Janine Davies

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Oops. Sorry.

I missed a proper post, because Weird Al and Lin-Manuel Miranda were on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, because Weird Al has done a Hamilton polka medley. When Keith told me to turn it on and watch it, my TV hardly worked, so after it was over I looked into ordering another (cheap table-top flat-screen with DVD player). Then I cleaned the kitchen a bit and consolidated the dregs of four gallons of glue for Devyn's slime laboratory, so I ordered more glue, too. Midnight passed.

As consolation for something actually inspiring, here are things relating to my evening's excitement.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, "Weird Al" and Jimmy Lip Sync "The Hamilton Polka" from Niveithika Johnson on Vimeo.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Happy and humming

The parents don't need to know what the child is learning in order for learning to be happening.

If a child is bored and agitated, she's not learning. If she's happy and smiling and humming and engaged with what she's thinking, seeing, hearing, tasting, touching or smelling, then she's learning.

Sandra Dodd, on the Always Learning discussion September 2012
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, March 1, 2018