Sunday, September 30, 2018

Tidbits here and there

Joyce Fetteroll, in Five Steps to Unschooling:

Forget the linear approach to learning we grew up with. For instance, we learned that the way to learn is to read "all the important" stuff about a subject gathered and packaged for our convenience in a textbook and then move on in line to the next package of information.

Sure, sometimes an interest will cause kids to gather up a huge chunk of learning all at once. This is easy to see. And easy to overvalue as the "best" way to learn.

More often kids will slowly gather interesting tidbits, making connections as things occur to them to create a foundation. They'll add pieces here and there over the years to build on that foundation. This is not so easy to see going on. And very easy to undervalue.

So, if we can train ourselves to see that process we can help it along by valuing the times when they see Thomas Jefferson on Animaniacs and then later on the nickel and then still later on Mount Rushmore. Those moments will establish a feeling of recognition and familiarity. Then the more tidbits they gather about Jefferson, the more interesting he becomes. And the more interesting he becomes, the more they want to know about him.
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Julie D, of a younger Holly Dodd and a little Adam Daniel

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Fond remembrance

When stress comes and you need a break, sometimes bringing to mind one shining moment, however small, will help. Remember, if you can, a scent or an emotion, the feeling of the air, or a sweet word spoken another day, another place. Breathe in that remembrance and be at peace in that one breath.

Be grateful for that memory.

The next moment might be easier.
photo by Sandra Dodd, of Holly Dodd in Florida, in warm sunshine

Friday, September 28, 2018

A smile instead of a frown

"Love that sunset. Want to tell you that magnet sits on the door of my fridge and the words have allowed me to move forward so many times when I would have been stuck in a negative place. Sometimes just knowing you can give a smile instead of a frown is all it takes."
Photoshop by Holly Dodd
Photo and quote by Sandra Dodd
(The magnets are business-card sized, not as big as the image here.)

That photo with more sky, no words: Waking up Happy
"Love that sunset. Want to tell you that magnet sits on the door of my fridge and the words have allowed me to move forward so many times when I would have been stuck in a negative place. Sometimes just knowing you can give a smile instead of a frown is all it takes."
Photoshop by Holly Dodd
Photo and quote by Sandra Dodd
(The magnets are business-card sized, not as big as the image here.)

That photo with more sky, no words: Waking up Happy

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Running or risking

If a parent runs frightened from too many things, they will lose dignity, the child's trust, and their ability to unschool as happily and effectively as they could have if they had been calmer and more accepting of risks.
(In context the dignity and trust bit refers back to something, there.)
photo by Karen James

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Look around

Be open to the unexpected!

You never know what you might see, or who might be watching you.

Surprise opportunities
photo by Jo Isaac, of a barking gecko

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Confidently build more confidence

Each time you think of something to help them with what they're doing, needing, learning, you become more confident.

Each success builds confidence, and makes it easier to have future success.

from a discussion of "Who Can Unschool?"
photo by Sarah Dickinson

Monday, September 24, 2018

"Can you explain calm?"

Calm is calm. Not frantic, not excited, not frightened or frightening. Calm, like water that is neither frozen nor choppy.

Calm is possessing the ability to think, to consider a situation without panic.

Calm is not perpetually on the edge of flipping out.

That and some discussion of how to be calmer
photo by Heather Booth

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Happiness is good for health

"Happiness is good for health! If something that makes a kid happy is deemed unhealthy by a parent, it will create stress and division. That kind of stress is NOT healthy. That kind of division works against the kind of relationship between parent and child that makes unschooling awesome!"
—Jenny Cyphers
photo by Sylvia Woodman

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Happy, calm and loving

"Don't bring all the scary, negative and dark stories from the internet into your home. It will make your home and your lives scary, negative and dark. The most important thing you can do for your children's health is to provide them with a happy, calm and loving home."
—Eva Witsel
photo by Colleen Prieto

Friday, September 21, 2018


The words people use will make or break their understanding.
photo by Lisa J Haugen

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Growth is good

Principles are beliefs, touchstones, things a person bases decisions around.

The idea that one can't make a choice without considering two or more options isn't a principle. It's a logical fact.

The idea that choices can lead a person nearer to the way she wants to be might be the principle that growth is good and growth is possible.
photo by Noor JontryMasterson

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The world changes slowly

The world changes slowly, but it tends to stay changed! Flight was not possible before balloons. Food storage and transportation were difficult before canning and refrigeration. Without today’s wealth of books, videos and online information, home learning would be much more difficult. We can live in the light of our shared knowledge and ideas, in freedom and with confidence, at the cutting edge of education’s future.
photo by Sandra Dodd; a hot air balloon visible out our back gate

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Near and far

This apple was in yesterday's post. I didn't move it, I moved the camera.

That's my sister, on stage, singing and playing guitar. She isn't doing that all the time, but she was then.

It seems there are no people listening. There were a hundred of them, but mostly behind me, and outside the tent.

What any one of us sees isn't everything there is to see.

Here and there
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, September 17, 2018

Unexpected thoughts

Juxtapositions, surprising connections, odd pairings—these make jokes, or frighten cats, or confuse us long enough for our brains to reach out for explanations we hadn't thought anything about before.

The connections might be visual, historical, linguistic, musical, real or imaginary. None of that matters, when your mind builds a new idea, and it's yours to keep.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Gentle peace and patience

Struggling is harmful. Don't struggle.

And don't "just" relax, relaxing blindly, but relax into new knowledge of the value of gentle peace and patience.
photo by Cathy Koetsier

Saturday, September 15, 2018

How had I done this?

Little by little, years ago, I started to see that each little idea that had changed my own family had the potential, if I could explain it clearly enough, to change another family. Just a little was enough. As more and more families shared their successes and joys, the world changed. As more information was gathered and put where others could find it, the rate of change increased.

When I was first unschooling, we waited two months for a new issues of Growing Without Schooling. There was no internet discussion at all. When that began, a few years later, it was user groups, not even e-mail or webpages yet. Today someone can get more information about unschooling in one day than existed in the whole world when my oldest was five. I'm glad to have been part of honing, polishing, clarifying and gathering those ideas, stories and examples, and keeping them where others have quick access to them.
photo by Lisa J Haugen

Friday, September 14, 2018


May you have peaceful days of abundant love and light.
photo by Zoya Bharadwaj

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Curiosity and Joy

Be the kind of person you want your child to be. Nurture your own curiosity and joy. Find gratitude and abundance. Explore. Make connections, on your own. (video and transcript)
or maybe They just like it.
photo by Kristy Hinds

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The mysteries of the world

Being new to the world, and you being his host (and partner), any light you can shed on the mysteries of the world, and any clues you can give him on what's likely to happen and what's expected of him would be good for all concerned. Advise him what might happen at a wedding reception, or a birthday party, or at a place he's never been to before. Show him how to eat a new food he hasn't seen. Help put him at ease if he's nervous. Provide him all the coaching and reassurance he wants, and no more than he wants.
photo by Karen James

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Flowing, clear, refreshed and alive

Parents should keep life flowing, clear, refreshed and alive.
photo by Ester Siroky

Monday, September 10, 2018

A distant tree

Come into my thoughts a minute, just a little.

"The tree was framed by this doorway." But the doorway was just sitting there, before the tree first grew. They both are there, all the time, now. What framed the tree was where I was standing when I saw how pretty it looked, and took the photo in such a way that the whole tree showed, and the whole doorway showed. Distance mattered. My height mattered.

Many relationships between things, between places, or people, depend on the perspective or the effect of another person. Surely the perception of two things changes, depending on many factors.
photo by Sandra Dodd, in Avebury

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Blending in

I noticed, because it was exotic. I was far from home.

Birds where I live, I can easily ignore.

People want to blend in, not to be seen as different. That's why sometimes unschoolers would like to be around other unschoolers, so they're not noticed so much. It's understandable.

Sometimes, if you have the energy, even though it might be more work, be willing to be noticeably exotic.

Learn and be an example
photo by Sandra Dodd, in Avebury

Saturday, September 8, 2018

From a different place

"Your perspective will change when you've experienced new things, seen the world from a different place."
—Debbie Regan
photo (click it) by Annie Regan (no relation, except in the ideas!)

Friday, September 7, 2018

The up side...

It's easy to think our "up" is everyone's up, and our focus is the obvious way of seeing. Let your children see in their own ways, and if you're lucky they will share with you.

"What's up?" can have a special new meaning.

Thinking and choosing (also upside down)
photo by Karen James

Thursday, September 6, 2018

In a moment

"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 Karen James

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Seeing through

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.
photo by Kristy Hinds
So much, in that photo!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Simple advice

"The advice that has helped the most has been the simplest. Be present. Be helpful. Be kind."
—Virginia Warren
Chat on "getting it," August 2014
photo by Roya Dedeaux

Monday, September 3, 2018

Magical and transformed

Parental encouragement, smiles, acceptance and support are what turn plain or unsettled life into magical and transformed shared lives.

"Getting it"
photo by Lisa J Haugen

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Eight Light Years!

Okay, eight years. Lots of light, but slowed down Earth years. Slowed down-to-Earth years.

September 2 is Just Add Light and Stir's anniversary!

May the richness and riches of this trove of words and photos seep into your soul and give you sweet dreams and good ideas.

Airy and Bright
Homely home-made cake, and photo, by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The abundance of possibilities

"Unschooling is about living in the abundance of possibilities, not in fear of somehow not fitting the mold. It's been remarkable to me to see where natural learning can take a person. For me, after ten years of unschooling our son, it has become a kind of celebration of human potential."
—Karen James

The abundance of possibilities (longer writing)
photo by Ester Siroky