Friday, November 30, 2018

A drop of water

Karen James took this photo, and wrote of it, "A forest in a drop of water."

It reminded me of this, from "Disposable Checklists for Unschoolers":

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, internment camps, segregation, patriotism, music, uniforms, insignia, religion....
Karen took a photo of a forest and of unschooling in a drop of water.
photo by Karen James

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Wrapped in thought

"Self control" is all tied up with being bad, and with failure. Choices, though, are wrapped in thought, power and freedom!
photo by Elise Lauterbach

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Simple wisdom

One zen student said, "My teacher is the best. He can go days without eating."

The second said, "My teacher has so much self control, he can go days without sleep."

The third said, "My teacher is so wise that he eats when he's hungry and sleeps when he's tired."

My kids did that!
The quote came to me from Bela Harrington.
photo by Lydia Koltai

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Thoughts can flow

The clearer your mind is of trauma and fear, the more easily your thoughts can flow, and connections can be made.

Don't think of your brain. Think of your mind and of your awareness. A little tiny brain can hold a LOT of information. A big fat one can fail to do so. It's not size, it's peace and use.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, November 26, 2018

Sky show

Free show! Look up.

Trees change, clouds change, you might see stars, or the moon. Birds or flying machines might make special appearances.

Feel the air on your face. Breathe in peace. Summon up your gratitude.

From his perspective, a younger, smaller person might look up and see you, in the sky show.

Same sky, another view
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Move to life.

Don't rush. This is a hard but crucial piece of advice. Rush to take him out of school but don't rush to replace it with anything. Bring your child home, don't bring school home. You don't even have to bring their terminology and judgments home. You can start from scratch, brush off the labels, and find your son where he is. Forget school. Move to life.
—Sandra Dodd
March 2000
newspaper interview

Unschool Quote-arama
photo by Holly Dodd

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Sun, or moon, or fire

Sometimes light is from an Aha!! lightbulb moment.
Sometimes light is more information, or seeing from a new angle, "in a new light."
Sometimes light is from the sun, or the moon, or a fire.
Sometimes light comes from just lightening up. (Not "lightning up," or "lighting up," so spelling will make a big difference, in those lights.)

Live lightly.
photo by Kes Morgan-Davies

Friday, November 23, 2018

There is no "have to"

It is such a relief to know that there is no requirement here. You can just be yourself and follow what interests you. There is no “have to” hanging over your head...
—Maria Randolph
Deschooling with Maria Randolph, at
photo by Robin Bentley

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Comforted, entertained, loved

Too many parents talk and talk to their kids, and ask them how they feel and ask them what they need.

Learn to guess. Learn to provide in advance. Food is good to practice with. Soft, clean cleared-off beds are good to practice with. Clearing off space for video gaming is nice. Soon you start to think about heat, softness, clean clothes, toothpaste before it runs out, favorite foods when you shop. And then people feel heard and comforted and entertained and loved.
photo by Lydia Koltai

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thoughtful generosity

If someone gives you a blanket when you need a blanket, just because they know you need one and think you might like to have one, it's better than a hand-quilted show-piece given to someone who had blankets.
photo by Janine Davies

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Leaning toward balance

On finding balance:
Lean by thoughts and decisions.
Lean toward what you understand, and what makes sense.

Too far? Lean back.
Just right? Do more with your children, while you're in that state.
photo by Sandra Dodd; Castle of the Moors, in Portugal

Monday, November 19, 2018

Walk where you are

What is peaceful for one might be spooky for another. Be a comfort to your child and to others on the path with you.

If no one knows what is around that bend, approaching it calmly and confidently is better than pre-emptive dread and fear. Don't be surprised to find an easy, joyful time.

Being where you are now might be the best preparation for being where you will be later.
photo by Heather Booth

Sunday, November 18, 2018


Pay attention to your child and help him do/find/see/experience things that will interest him. Help him be his best self as often as you can.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Art Supplies

Deschooling usually involves seeing everything in a new light, or re-naming things we see all the time. If someone thinks of "art" as a school course or in "an art room," breathe that away; shake that off.

If you think of "real art" as oil paintings and marble sculpture, expand your definition.
photo by Janine Davies

Friday, November 16, 2018

Tweak it.

See how it's going at your house.

Tweak it.

Move toward a good relationship, move toward being more present, and then you start to understand.

Extras with Sandra Dodd (at 2:45 on the countdown)
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Looking, reading and logic

To say peace doesn't need quiet doesn't mean that all noise is peace. Quite a bit of understanding unschooling is looking at all your thoughts, and the things you read, with as much logic as you can gather up.
photo by Janine Davies

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Step in, play around

Don't let unschooling disturb the peace.

Unschooling can bring more peace, but step in gradually, and play around in it before you go into the deep waters.

For new unschoolers:

Not so new? Here:

photo by Doug James

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Real relationships

There are multiple facets that make unschooling work best. The two biggest facets that go hand in hand for me are the absence of school and school think, combined with real working relationships with my kids. People can go and do one or the other and not let them overflow into each other, but it won't be as bright and sparkly.

Relationships and wholeness
photo by Colleen Prieto

Monday, November 12, 2018

Happily and successfully

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

Unschooling happily and successfully requires clear thinking.
. . . .
Unschooling well requires understanding the underlying philosophy of how children learn, and the principles that guide us in our everyday lives arise from that philosophy. It isn't some new kind of parenting technique that can be observed and applied without understanding.
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Janine Davies

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Better, happier, more peaceful

"Are there ways of living with people that can make life better, happier, more peaceful? Are there ways of living that can make life worse? Doesn't it make sense to choose to live together in a way that will make life better?"
—Deb Lewis
photo by Amber Ivey

Grabbing hold and changing

"When I stumbled across unschooling I grabbed hold. I read and I tried things and I moved further away from the childhood I had known to the parenthood I wanted to know."
—Schuyler Waynforth
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, November 9, 2018

Surprising beauty

Why travel to an art museum when a bus stop can do this?

But it won't do it all day, or every day. Light, projections, shadows, are fleeting, and people aren't always there to see them.

Art museums are good, but art is unfolding all around us.
photo by Elaine Cambridge

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Memories and peace

Sometimes a peaceful time is still confusing and noisy. Experiences and perceptions differ, and your memory might not match your child's about one thing or another. Something one found stressful might be a memory of joy for another.

Do your best to find the peace and joy.

Charlie eats an apple
A Loud Peaceful Home
photo by Sarah Dickinson

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

A fun, new song

The separation of learning and fun is the only thing that keeps learning from BEING fun.

Perhaps this will be seen as preaching to the choir, but I prefer to think of it as teaching a new song to an experienced, enthusiastic choir.

Living becomes learning
photo by Holly Dodd

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Patterns and games

Many games involve patterns of colors or numbers. Think of that, even when you play games like Rummy or Poker. Tile games and matching games are easy to see. Many single-player games with cards or moving pieces on a grid to let all the cars move, or match-three games, are all about seeing patterns, one step at a time.

Having read that far, I hope you thought of one or all of these, too:
Patterns galore. Play with them.

Seeing patterns
photo by Sandra Dodd, of some old-style cards
in the barracks at Fort Stanton, now a museum


Monday, November 5, 2018

The air is sweet

Sometimes the air is sweet.

A change in the temperature, time outside after much inside, being in a more rural place than usual, new rain—these things, and others, can make air seem especially rich and good.

Being open to noticing the air can make life rich and good.
photo by Jo Isaac

Saturday, November 3, 2018

In the old days...

Sometimes when I see something unusual, rare, or notice something from a special angle, I think of how important an ability to draw was before there were cameras. Someone who didn't have a chance to draw, or couldn't draw from memory, wouldn't be able to share with others except with words. I like words, but I wouldn't be able to describe these chimneys, which I got to see from the roof of East Barsham Manor, in Norfolk.
Weird that I saw them.
Nice that I had a camera.
The builders had no idea, in 1620, that a camera would ever come along.

Abundant Beauty
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, November 2, 2018

Something changes everything

"I'd never heard a baby's first laugh. Hearing the sound of that laugh and seeing the joy in my boy's being opened up my whole world at that moment. I remember the room getting brighter, lighter, softer."
—Karen James

You will want to read the rest, I think:
photo by Karen James

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Creating more peace

I'm not interested in helping people battle or fight or struggle. I want to help them find joy, gratitude, abundance and peace.

Fighting a lack of peace isn't creating more peace.
photo by Colleen Prieto