Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Easier to jump

Humor is a great warm-up for any thinking. If one's mind can jump to get a joke, it will be easier for it to jump to synthesize any ideas, to make a complex plan, to use a tool in an unexpected way, to understand history and the complexities of politics. If a child can connect something about a food with a place name or an article of clothing, parents shouldn't worry that he hasn't memorized political boundaries or the multiplication table.

photo by Janine Davies

Monday, June 29, 2020

Changes in the parents

I think the most common changes parents have reported are that they are happier and calmer, and have become clearer in their thought processes. The "reports" I hear are often in online discussions, so that might explain the latter. When people help each other work through confusions in thinking, writing becomes clearer.

Slack and other rare and priceless things
photo by Elaine Santana

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Thinking, feeling, living, learning

How are you thinking?
How are you feeling?

How you are thinking and feeling is how you are living and learning.
Sandra Dodd; March 7, 2007
not in an unschooling context, that first time

photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Relax, see, appreciate

If you hold on to all your old ideas and fears and images of learning, every bit of that builds a curtain of "what should be" and you can't relax, see and appreciate what is.
Unschooling:Getting it
photo by Elaine Santana

Friday, June 26, 2020

From the inside...

Debbie Regan wrote:

"From the outside, unschooling may look like no chores, no bedtimes, no education, no discipline, no structure, no limits, etc. But from the inside, it's about learning, relationships, living with real parameters, partnership, navigating turbulence, making connections, joy, curiosity, focus, enthusiasm, options, following trails, fun, growing understanding, opening doors..."
—Debbie Regan

the original
photo by Kathryn Robles

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The beginning of paths

Karen James, in a comment once:

"Question everything"...I love it! As a kid I was told I asked too many questions! As a parent, questions are the beginning of paths to places we have yet to visit, and are so exciting for that reason!
—Karen James
in response to this

photo by Jo Isaac

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Being the same

Even when it's not as clear as you're used to, the sun is as bright as can be behind the clouds.

It's the same sun.

Even when it's not as clear as you're used to, love is as bright as can be behind fear and frustration.

It's the same love.

Today, be present and patient.

photo by Beth Fuller

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Doors might stay closed a while

We can't see how today will affect tomorrow. There are gates and walls that might have beautiful things on the other side, but there's no hurry to know.

Skills—mad skills, normal everyday skills, abilities, aptitudes, intelligences
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, June 22, 2020

More and more cheerfully

You should help him pick up his toys, and the more cheerfully you do that, the more cheerfully he will help you.
photo by Meredith Dew

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Breathe and smile

Who you are, no one else can be.

Who you are now is not who you were before. Who you are today is not who you will be tomorrow.

Breathe and smile and step toward your future.

photo by Elise Lauterbach ___

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Bigger and smaller

One of the easiest things is to try to keep something the same size all the time. It's easy to try, not easy to accomplish. People and their surroundings change. What was cozy can seem too small. The size of a problem, or a thought, a dish or a bathtub, can seem to change depending on circumstances, and on what you're thinking when you look at it. Children grown and change.

Still unschooling endures, and Zann Carter, who took this self-portrait, wrote "to me unschooling is as positive as unchaining, unbinding, unleashing, unfolding, unfurling, unlimiting...."

Zann's beautiful writing helped many people understand unschooling, when the ideas were newer.

Unfolding, unfurling
photo by Zann Carter

Friday, June 19, 2020

Limit limitations

If you limit things, kids just want them more.

If you wouldn't limit books or Lego-playing time, why would you limit the
other things?

Unless they really have choices they aren't really making choices.

Mindfully and Deliberately
photo by Renee Cabatic

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Right there, right then

Pour kindness and generosity out, and there will be more kindness and generosity right then.
photo by Chelsea Thurman Artisan

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Being means being

Pushpa Ramachandran wrote about being with her child:

“Being” with her means being mindful...

“Being” with her means being available to play...

“Being” with her means being emotionally available...

“Being” with her means being connected. In body, spirit and mind. Connection translates to being curious about something that she might have found. Connection translates to trying to find more things that might tie into something that she might have liked before. Connection could translate to being excited about a bug or a thread or a cartoon. It means creating a life that is full of rich experiences, some of which might be jumping in puddles, or holding a snake. Others might involve just going grocery shopping or scrubbing the kitchen floor. The idea of connection at the core, I think, is to feel alive, rejoice in her feeling alive and live those moments together.

Estar con los hijos (translated by Ana Paulina Maya, in Colombia)

Being with my child
photo by Pushpa Ramachandran

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Needs all met!

I often think back to the things I learned in La Leche League, from readings and other moms. If you nurse a child a long time does it make him dependent on the mom? Seems to be the opposite. If you hug a child every time he wants a hug, does it make him want a hug-a-day for life? You WISH!

The more they get, the less they need.

Quote from a very-early online chat for homeschoolers,
late 1995 or early 1996, SandraDodd.com/detox
photo by Elaine Santana

Monday, June 15, 2020

A living, breathing thing

Unschooling lives (is alive; breathes; functions) where the learning is happening. The learning is supported and fed by the relationships between the parents and children.

Not changing (where unschooling is compared to fire)
photo by Ester Siroky

Sunday, June 14, 2020

What's important?

Debbie Regan wrote:

What is important for your family—peace? joy? doing fun things? well-being? growing and learning? comfort? delight?...

What can you do to enhance what's important—more flexibility? more listening? more engagement? more calm? more kindness? more fun ideas? more soft places? more interesting/happy options? more generosity? more creativity?...
—Debbie Regan

photo by Eleanor Chong

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Lot of choices

I used to remind my kids [that] I had a moral and legal obligation to clothe them appropriately, and I didn't have the option to ignore that. I could give them lots of choices, but within the bounds of what was appropriate to the situation and the weather and the laws.

When a family starts talking about "ultimate" freedom or total freedom, or any of that, they just haven't thought about it very clearly.

from "Always Learning," in 2011
photo by Sarah S.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Surrounded by generosity

"When I get up and get a glass of water for my child, while I'm filling the glass, I imagine that cool water going into their mouth and down their dry throat and how cool and sweet that feels to them—how their thirst is being quenched. And I very very often give them the glass along with a kiss on the top of the head or at least a smile.

"Being generous in a zillion little ways surrounds the kids with generosity. That's the environment I wanted to create."
—Pam Sorooshian

(the original writing was on facebook)
photo by Sabine Mellinger

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Cool! Lucky.

I don't look at the state's requirements. I look at my child's opportunities. And I think the moment that the light is on in his eyes and he CARES about this tiny bit of history he has just put together, that he wants me to say "YES, isn't that cool? I was much older when I figured this out. You're lucky to have great thoughts late at night."

Late-Night Learning Comments
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Learning by looking

"When my son was little, we would go to the zoo and try to show him the animals—any animals. His attention was on the lights, grates and plumbing of the zoo! He observed these everywhere we went, no matter the place!"
—Karen James
Little Things, where Karen left that comment in 2010
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Before long, it was most of the time

What helped me, when I had babies, was breathing before I spoke or before I decided, and eventually, taking a breath when I felt my thoughts get zippy-fast. I didn't always do it, but increasingly, many times a day, I did. Before long it was most of the time. That was growth. That was good.

I wrote that as a comment at Growth is Good.
photo by Kayla Wenzel

Monday, June 8, 2020

Every leaf is for real

"Practice" is the actual doing of a thing. Some people practice patience, therapy, medicine, or Buddhism.

Sometimes a person will use the word "practice" when it would be better to use "experiment" or "drill" or "train." In that "experiment" or "work until it's right" way, trees never "practice" making leaves. Every leaf is for real.

And so it is with learning. "The practice of learning" is actually doing it.

Each bit of learning is real learning.

Holly Dodd photo

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Responsible for, and to

You are responsible for the child, but also responsible to the child.

—Marina DeLuca-Howard

A teen boy out with his mom—what's "the secret"?
photo by Sarah Elizabeth

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Open to the moment

Sometimes it's hard to know whether to look at the flower or at the leaves or at what might be in the darkness behind, or up at the sky, or to turn around and ignore the flower completely. There might be a bird in a nearby tree, or an interesting sound coming from a window.

Plans change. It can be good, upon occasion, to just listen and look and explore. Sometimes it's fine to just see a flower and not say a word about it.

We could call those moments restless confusion and indecision, or we could consider ourselves being open to the moment, in a state of wonder and curiosity.

Keep a positive light on what's outside you and within you, and your world will be a better place.

Being present in the moment
(Text is repeated from 11/19/10, but other details changed.)
Photo by Gail Higgins

Friday, June 5, 2020

Everything is bumpy

Today's text is taken from my FB memories yesterday, things written by others:

2010: "I wish people who think unschooling is about doing nothing could know that it's about everything!"
2011: "I have enjoyed reading Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling. It has been my "go to" book that helps me to get over some bumps in the road."

SandraDodd's Big Book of Unschooling
photo by Sandra Dodd

The photo is from 2013, when Joyce Fetteroll and I visited Marta's family in Portugal, and spoke there. It's a Moorish castle near Sintra, built in the 8th century, captured and claimed by the first Portuguese king in 1147. It was in the same "memories" set.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Invisible learning

You can't see what children are learning. If you're lucky, they'll give you clues, but even they are unaware of how much foundation is forming for what they will encounter tomorrow and next year.

"The more things something can remind you of, the more you know about it, or are learning about it."

CONNECTIONS: How Learning Works
photo by Elizabeth Anne

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Better than perfect

"Better" is better than perfect.

Don't be competitive, with yourself or others.
Aim for peace and improvement.

photo by Gail Higgins

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

A clearer, brighter light

Sandra Dodd:
Principles that applied to the kids applied to the adults, too, and we all experienced and shared more patience and understanding.

Karen James:
The deeper we applied the principles of unschooling to our lives with our son, the more we saw each other in a clearer, brighter light.

Each quote above is slightly longer at this link,
Spouses / Partners, where Karen's is in the first comment.
photo by Gail Higgins

Monday, June 1, 2020

Providing for your child

Once, long ago, a mom came to complain about her son wanting a toy. I wrote this:

If the begging is on the increase he's needy, but not for robots. Give him something: time, back rubs, a new tape or CD of something he likes, or rearrange his room, or make his favorite food. There are cheap and free things you can load onto and toward a needy kid. He's not being selfish to actually need more attention, more mom, more recognition of self. And you won't be spoiling him to meet his needs any more than you would be spoiling him to make sure he has a blanket on his bed, and a pillow, and a bath sometimes and toilet paper for his butt. There are necessities, and attention and direct one-on-one regard is one of them, bigtime.

(the December 2001 original)
photo by Cass Kotrba