Saturday, July 31, 2021

Still, think.

child walking on a fallen log
"For a lot of people, thinking too deeply about what they believe is too painful. It's just easier to do what was done to them."
—Deb Lewis

The quote is the end of something longer here:
Encouragement to think, detox, recover: Deschooling (newly improved page)
photo by Lydia Koltai

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Count to ten, but WHY?

About calming down by counting to ten...
Counting to ten only works if you're breathing slowly and deeply and looking at (or thinking of) the sky or something else airy and big and peaceful. The purpose of counting to ten is to let the adrenaline pass and to think of some good options from which you can choose. If you count to ten holding your breath, holding your frustration, with a roaring anger in your ears, the adrenaline isn't dissipating—it's just being focused into a beam of extraordinarily dangerous power.

While you're breathing, you might want to think, "I love these people," or "whatever I say could last forever." Think of what you want to be and what you want to create. See what you want, and what you don't want.

A Loud Peaceful Home
photo by Sarah Elizabeth

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Time and space

When you find ways to offer your partner space and time to be alone, it will eventually benefit the whole family.
photo by Shawn Smythe Haunschild

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Growing things

Think of growing—of food, of knowledge, of trees, of children. Life is ever-changing. Provide water and support if you can. Share your shade and a resting place.

photo by Holly Dodd

Monday, July 26, 2021

Speaking and writing (thoughtfully)

When people speak without thinking, they're speaking thoughtlessly. Very literally so.

When people write without thinking, they're writing thoughtlessly. No sense arguing about that. It's just better to work on being thoughtful.
photo by Ester Siroky

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Language and thoughts

Watch your language, because then you wlll see thought processes you might not have seen otherwise.

Watch your thoughts, because without doing that you can't really learn to choose better reactions.

Sandra, in a discussion, 2007
photo by Brie Jontry

Saturday, July 24, 2021

How to avoid learning

If you want to avoid learning, it's best not to look, or read, or wonder.

Don't even click links.
photo by nobody; avoid photos

Friday, July 23, 2021

Joy and flow

"Where joy is, you will find learning. Where joy is, you will find flow."
—Clare Kirkpatrick

Parent paragraph of that above—all Clare's words:

"I see lots of reasons for NOT limiting my kids' time on the computer or game playing or watching tv or knitting or reading or playing with barbies or playdough or baking or anything. Those reasons are that where joy is, you will find learning. Where joy is, you will find flow. These are all things we want to *help* our children do *if* that is what they want because we want them to learn. I could, if I wanted to, name many, many things that my children would *not* be doing if I had limited their time doing the things they love, including being on the computer and gaming."
—Clare Kirkpatrick

Generate Joy
photo by Kinsey Norris

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Principles over rules

If people are living by rules, it's nearly impossible to tell what it would look like to live by principles.

Once one is living by principles, it's nearly impossible to make a move that's contrary to those principles. It doesn't happen overnight, but it's much different than just changing from one set of rules to another.

from an Unschooling Discussion post at googlegroups, November 2007
photo by Holly Dodd, of Lily Y., at a symposium

Wednesday, July 21, 2021


Choices have transformed our lives. Limitations do not transform lives. They limit lives.
photo by Sandra Dodd

If you want to listen to me talking about transformations, here. "Something big starts to change."

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Thoughtful, patient, kind

When people make changes in their lives that make them more thoughtful, more patient and kinder, they'll be better partners, and neighbors, and dog owners.
One day on facebook...
See also
photo by Annie Regan

Monday, July 19, 2021

Belief, values, atmosphere

"Be who you believe it's best to be. Act according to your own values. Create an atmosphere where making a kind choice is easier than making a hurtful choice. Create an atmosphere where everyone feels safe."
—Joyce Fetteroll

Joyce Fetteroll, at Always Learning in 2013
A good link to go with it might be Building an Unschooling Nest
photo by Sarah Dickinson

Sunday, July 18, 2021

More calmly alive

Find things that make your children's lives better and that make you and your family feel more calmly alive in the world.
from a post on the Always Learning list
photo by Holly Dodd, of an indoor lizard who poses in various places

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Even better...

girl sitting on a horse, face upraised, eyes closed
Here's a misuse of "just," from 2004. We were talking about principles over rules, regarding teens going out with friends, and the possibility of living without solid curfews. I wrote:
"When things are handled matter-of-factly and the kids KNOW the parents love them and will be there for them, a lot of the air of danger and urgency just dissipate."
It's way too late, but I wish I had written "can dissipate." For one thing, there's no guarantee. Also, if it happens, it's not casual magic.

If trust and love do bring feelings of safety and calm choices into a teen's life, that's solid, and good, and should not be dismissed with "just."

JUST. Just what?
photo by Shan Burton

P.S. Should've been "dissipates" in the original anyway, for the technical among us. There are discussions in busy moments, and then there are quotes from those, years later.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Generous, soft, patient

Cyrus and Wyatt—grandfather and child, with a book
Learning to be kind and gentle to a child will make you a kinder and gentler person. Learning to make choices that make you kinder and gentler to a child—more generous, softer, more patient—will help you be a better partner, adult child, neighbor, customer at the grocery store.

The original writing recommended this page: Parenting Peacefully
photo by Pam Sorooshian

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Posture, tone, words and action

Peace, in an exchange, has to do with tone of voice, eyes, posture, attitude, intention, compassion—all the non-verbal communications that go with words and actions. Don't underestimate your child's ability to read beneath and around and beyond your statements. You would do well to try to read behind his words, too.

Parenting Peacefully page of The Big Book of Unschooling
(Page 243 of new edition; 209 of older version)
photo by Sandra Dodd, at an old house in France

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Following curiosities together

"Once I started to see how interesting so many things are, it reignited my curiosity about life. Now, my kids and I have a great time following our own, or mutual, curiosities together and one thing *always* leads to another. Always!"
—Jen Keefe

photo by Chelsea Thurman

Monday, July 12, 2021

Healing, and wishes

Deschooling, when done thoroughly, leads us through all the stages of our own lives, gradually, as our children get older. As each of my children reached the ages in my life that I had stress as a kid, I had emotions arise, again, but with the third it was milder than with the first.

It's healing, to treat our children in ways we wish we had been treated.

When Parents Have Issues
photo by Jennifer Christensen

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Excitement, peace and humor

It's possible for a childless person or couple to live a long life without ever thinking about values. It's possible to go along with the crowd and get a nice place to live and a car and watch TV every night and pay the bills and not think about what might have been better or different.
        . . . .

What if a family wants to step off the path and look around on their own? What if a family wants to take a different path to the future that's quicker, or more dangerous, or more leisurely, or funnier? Will their values then involve excitement or peace or humor?

the quote is from a page called "Values" in The Big Book of Unschooling,
but it is linked to
photo by Elise Lauterbach

Saturday, July 10, 2021

If a tree grows...

These flowers and this tree live near people. Some don't.
Not only do some people not live near plants like these, there are many plants in the world that will live, reproduce and die unwitnessed by any humans.

No matter how much someone knows about the lives of millions of people, there will be some individuals who never heard of him, and lives he will never see or imagine, even in a distant way.
photo by Gail Higgins

Friday, July 9, 2021

Inspired and inspiring

About writing, like dancing, there's technically proficient and then there's inspired and inspiring, and they're not always both in the same place in the same time.

There's more about real writing at
photo by Karen James

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Easier to be patient

If you start living with your child at his or her pace, it will be easier to be patient.
The Big Book of Unschooling, page 272 or 315 (new edition)
photo by Amber Ivey

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Unfounded fears

Joyce Fetteroll, on unfounded fear:
It's natural to want to be safe rather than sorry. In fact it's natural to listen to fears. Evolutionarily speaking if an animal runs when frightened but is wrong, nothing is lost except dignity. If an animal doesn't run when frightened but there is something wrong, they're dead. We're wired to listen to our fears.

But these warnings aren't about known dangers like earthquakes in LA or tornados in Oklahoma. This is about protecting your kids from shadows that might be dragons.

So while your family hunkers down behind dragon-proof walls, your kids' friends will all be out playing happily as though dragons don't exist.
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Karen James

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Wordlessly and gently

Decision time isn't about what you will do next year or for the rest of your child's life. Decision time is about what you will do in the next five seconds. I recommend getting up and doing something sweet for another person, wordlessly and gently. Never send the bill; make it a gift you forget all about. Do that again later in the day. Don't tell us, don't tell them, just do it.

Decision Time from Always Learning
photo by Karen James (her artwork, herself)

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Variables, around "importance"

Sometimes in certain meetings* this question is asked:
"How important is it?"

Recently at the dentist I was under the effect of nitrous oxide, having wild, flying thoughts, and that question flitted through. I thought the profound answer was "It depends what 'IT' is, and it depends who YOU are."

When the drugs wore off, it seemed less profound, and I thought I would keep it to myself, but the very next day my husband mentioned something being like life and death to some people, and nothing at all to others.

The photo here has the top of the monument cut off, but guess what? It's not a photo of that monument. It's an image of a dad and two daughters, who happened to be within sight of (and within camera frame of) a famous thing when they were interacting with each other so sweetly.

photo by Chrissie Florence

* The "certain meetings" are likely to be Al-Anon or Adult Children of Alcoholics, where people can be hung up on problems they didn't create, or on fixing things they can't fix. It's a good question lots of times, though, when someone is wound up and hyper-focussed on something that can't be fixed right there, right then (or ever) by them.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

May your thoughts be merry and bright

Merry thoughts, fantasies, whimsies and dreams to all.
Learn Nothing Day is in three weeks.
Learn Nothing Day
photo by Zann Carter

Friday, July 2, 2021

You could be wrong

Part of deschooling is reviewing how we learned what we know, and how legitimate that knowledge is.
photo by Chelsea Thurman

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Peace, comfort and kindness

Light can come from you, today, in small ways. If you are gentle and patient when you help a child, that creates peace and comfort. If you smile at a stranger, give someone a seat, or hold a door, you have transformed a moment. The light you add to their day can warm your own soul, too.

Kindness lights up the world.

Light up the world
photo by Renee Cabatic