Friday, June 18, 2021

A step toward joy

Some of the things that help people be confidently in the moment, feeling satisfied and content are:
  • Breathing
  • Gratitude
  • Happy thoughts
  • Fondness
  • Acceptance
At first it might be relief and not joy, but as relief is a step away from fear, more relief will be progress toward joy.
The Big Book of Unschooling, page 275 (or 318)
photo by Ester Siroky

Thursday, June 17, 2021


Think of times you've wanted to hide, or just plain hid. Me, lately, from sunshine, from projects, from people.

Think about when it's okay for your kids to want to hide away a while.

Then, please, try not to hide from your kids. When they're older teens or young adults, you'll get to stay in the shade, procrastinating, maybe more than you even want to. 🙂
photo by Karen James

Wednesday, June 16, 2021


Children sometimes see things "wrong," or from the perspective of someone small and looking up, or just new to the world. Rather than correcting them, which limits their perspective, consider following their line of thought to see how they're coming up with their conclusions, definitions, or theories.

A chair is not "just a chair," if you're lucky.
photo by Karen James

Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Sometimes limitations are physical. Sometimes they have to do with resources, weather, health, fears and random happenstance.

There are no guarantees, but appreciation and gratitude are better than any of their opposites.
Above and beyond limitations; underneath and through limitations
photo by Karen James

Monday, June 14, 2021

What IS "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 Amy Milstein

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Life is lumpy; let it be.

Life is lumpy. Let it be. I'm going to type it again (for my own therapy...skip over it, if you think you've already got it!). "Life is lumpy; let it be."

Not every day is perfect. Not every moment is memorable. Perfection is never perfect. And you know what? That's okay! Fighting it only makes you miserable. You can choose to be miserable, of course. But that's your choice. Hard to feel victimised if you refuse to be the victim...

From a post at the blog Faolmar's Den: "Life is Lumpy"
(backup in case that disappears)
photo by

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Happier, healthier

If small changes of attitude can make more happy moments than before, that benefits everyone involved.

No one can have perfect happiness, but *more* happiness is easy to come by. It doesn't cost any more than less happiness, but it's much healthier and better for the whole family and the neighbors and relatives.
(the quote is from an old discussion, long gone)
photo by Sandra Dodd, in Lisbon, 2013

Friday, June 11, 2021

Simply seeing

leafless tree by roadside with line of mountains behindLook at things others might not see. See their shapes, their backgrounds. Light changes. Wind comes. Things were once younger, smaller, newer. They will be older, different, gone.

See what's around you.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Clearly and maturely

Rippy D. wrote:

[The Always Learning discussion] has helped me think more clearly and maturely. It has helped me change unhelpful patterns and most of all helped me step into the *JOY* of life, connection, partnership with my children and husband. I know how scary it is to feel examined, and I think some other readers interpret examination as meanness, like I once did. I think to do unschooling well, it is a fundamental element to have an examined life. To be mindful of our choices and understand our thought processes.

—Rippy Dusseldorp

Healing Presence
photo by Ester Siroky

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

What time do you want your post to arrive?

Because my original target audience was one unschooling mom in the U.K. in 2010, I put the post in at midnight so she would get it in the morning. Feedburner was set up so that I set my post to go at 12:01 in Albuquerque, so that it would be around breakfast time in Glastonbury.

Years have passed.

The new mailing company works differently. If you like the time this arrived, don't do anything!
[…] delivery time will be at the same hour they followed your feed. For example, if they follow your feed today at 2:15pm, then going forward they will receive the newspaper at 2pm every day. Rationale: at the time when they followed your feed they were online, so it’s likely that at this hours in the future they will be online too, maximizing chances that they read your messages.
So if you want a different time, either subscribe anew (at your chosen time), or unsubscribe, and wait until you WISH you were getting a post, and subscribe. You might miss one.

They don't all need to go out into the world at the same time, but I'll keep aiming for midnight.

I hope this all settles out soon, and that no one has been too inconvenienced.

Here is some water to calm you.
More water
photo by Ester Siroky, in Turkey, of goats (and water)

Impermanence AGAIN!?

It's true; the subscription provider has changed. Feedburner is closing at the end of June, and another company offered to import five blogs for me, so if you want to add any of the others to your feed, they are If you clicked through to the subscription service and saw "Publisher: aelflaed" that's me. When google mail came along, someone snagged my name (probably because it was her name), so I used my SCA/medieval-studies name. "Ælflæd" was like lots of names 1000 years ago, but now it's like Alfred and Elsie (surviving cousins). ANYway.... that's me, on google-owned sites.

There are TWO ways to get to the blog from e-mail now—clicking the post's title, or "read more" at the bottom.

A new option is to get a push notification on your phone, so for those who didn't like the e-mail's appearance on a phone, I hope this is way better.

Changes do not thrill me, and I'm getting old. But Vlad Gurdiga is still young and enthusiastic. He helped with this move as he has helped with many other things involving my collections— moving thousands of photos from photobucket (which kept on changing and losing things and charging more money) to (which he moved from yahoo to another host company). Thank you Vlad, again.

photo by Holly Dodd

The long life of good ideas

There are some people who haven’t been born yet who will, someday, read things Jo Isaac wrote, and other people here. It might be hard for them to find it, or it might not be. But good ideas, written well, can outlive the writers.
Some of my collections, including Jo Isaac: Other Voices
photo by Karen James

Monday, June 7, 2021

If ideas are scary

I’m not trying to be scary. I’m trying to pick ideas up and turn them over and see if they work, how they work, how they might be tweaked to work better.
Always Learning, a discussion on writing, in 2018
photo by Jo Isaac

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Loving, gentle and sweet

Of the Always Learning discussion,
Rippy D. wrote:

For me, this list is like being in a graduate class at university about unschooling. A rapid flow of ideas, critical examination of those ideas and the encouragement to really think your thoughts through. Fortunately, it is a free university run by expert volunteers that make sure the discussion stays firmly on the philosophy of unschooling, attentive parenting and what will help unschooling and what will hinder it. I learn every day how to have a better partnership with my children and spouse, how to connect, inspire, trust and help. And now that I have learned how to read without my emotions interpreting the emails for me, the message is consistently the same — be loving, gentle and sweet with your children, *be* with your children, live joyfully.
—Rippy Dusseldorp

Learning to read on the list, by Rippy Dusseldorp
photo by Roya Dedeaux

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Monumental things

Some things are a pretty big deal.

What's a big deal to one person might not be so memorable to another. Things that changed my life might not have affected my sister at all, and that's fine. Each life is unique, and we don't need to agree on what is or isn't monumental, and why.
photo by Sandra Dodd, in Texas

Friday, June 4, 2021

Ought to "have to"?

The phrases "ought to" and "supposed to" are so old, and have been recited for so many years (hundreds of years) without conscious thought that people don't even think about what they literally mean. "Supposed to" is kind of easy; you can deconstruct it, and it loses a lot of power. "Ought" is related to owing and debt. Obligation. No choice except dishonor.

"We're supposed to..."

"We ought to..."

"We have to..."

Use those with care, and thought.
photo by Ester Siroky

Thursday, June 3, 2021

The world is a wonder

Jihong Tang wrote:
Relevancy is very important in learning. I knew wax's melting point by heart but freaked out when it melted so fast while I was doing project with my [four-year-old son]. I never played with wax before. I knew physics on paper very well but played with pulleys in real life just recently. I knew areodynamics from school but had real appreciation of it through flying kite with my son.

Unschooling my children sparkles my curiosity and burning desire to learn. The world is a wonder!
—Jihong Tang, 2010 (the quote isn't there, but the ideas are)
photo by Megan Valnes

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Learning easily

Having the idea that "learning is difficult" in general could be a barrier to Unschooling with joy.
—Robyn Coburn
Talking to Babies
photo by Roya Dedeaux

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

More, not less

"Children don’t deserve less consideration just because they’re small. They deserve *more* patience and kindness and consideration because they are young and still learning."
—Deb Lewis
photo by Sandra Dodd