Thursday, September 30, 2021

Philosophical and spiritual

Unschooling can make life better. Really, fully unschooling becomes more philosophical and spiritual than people expect it to.
photo by Gail Higgins

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

On beyond children

Principles of unschooling, once well understood and practiced, can be extended beyond the children.

✓ Positivity +
photo by Ester Siroky

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The benefit of providing choices

Jenny Cyphers wrote:

My kids grew up being able to do a lot more things than other kids they knew because their parents allowed for it to be so. We didn't have to, we chose to do that because we saw the benefit in doing that.

—Jenny Cyphers
photo by Cathy Koetsier

Monday, September 27, 2021

Reading reading reading

I really suggest reading reading reading — Sandra and Joyce have so much on their sites that we could spend a lifetime pondering it all. Let it wash over you.

You'll be glad you did. was mentioned and the other is
photo by Mary Lewis

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Experience and knowing

Once someone was going on about power, and giving children power over themselves, and the power to decide what to learn.

As we had been talking about natural learning, naturally I responded:

"The power to decide what to learn" makes a pretzel of the straight line between experience and knowing.

My children don't "decide what to learn, how to learn, and when to learn it."

They learn all the time. They learn from dreams, from eating, from walking, from singing, from conversations, from watching plants grow and storms roll.

They learn from movies, books, websites, and asking questions.

They eat when they're hungry (when possible or convenient; I'm making a lunch for Holly to take to work today as she's working in the flower shop for eight or nine hours, as Mother's Day is Sunday here).

They sleep when they're tired, unless there's something they'd rather do that's worth staying awake for. They don't always "decide" when to wake up. They wake up when they're through sleeping, or when the alarm goes off if they've chosen to get up early, or when I come and wake them up if they've left me a note.

the original is here
photo by Gail Higgins

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Honest and fair-minded

When parents are not honest and fair-minded, the children can come to disregard their information and advice.  For unschooling, I think that's the greatest danger.

photo by Jihong Tang

Friday, September 24, 2021

Sweet, light balance

Cameras can stop time. Memories can try. But really, the moment is gone and new moments are coming.

Keep your balance, live lightly, be sweet.
photo by Parvine Shahid
__ __

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Incredibly freeing

Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

The main idea is about seeing everything we do as a choice.

What locks people in "have to" thinking is they close the doors of choices they will not for various reasons take. They often end up with only one door open and it feels like they have to take it. And they feel trapped.

. . . .

That mental shift can be incredibly freeing. A situation that looked like a box with no exits suddenly becomes a wide open field that someone is choosing to stay in.

"The main idea" referred to Thinking About "Have To"
For more context, and the part I left out: Answers and responses...
photo by Janine Davies
(sorry I didn't have "a wide open field")


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Attention and interaction

Caren Knox wrote:

I've come to realize that my kids need ME—not just in the same room, not just nearby, but by my attention and interaction—my full self.
. . . .
Awareness that you're making these choices is very powerful.
Caren Knox

Mindful Parenting
photo by Lydia Koltai

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Sweet little moments

Sometimes the solution is to forget about the larger problem and be physically comforting to your child right then, that moment, and smile and sit in a rocking chair or something.

Enough sweet little moments like that, and "the big problems" don't seem so big.

this and more at *Being* with kids
photo by Schuyler Waynforth

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Perspective and patterns

The patterns you and your children see are worth exploring and expanding. The connections you make are your model of the moment, and ultimately part of your model of the universe—past, present, future, imagined, revised, spooky and sweet.
photo by Annie Regan

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Moment of realization

An unschooling moment of realization (one of those things that you know, but have a moment of knowing it even more):

Learning is learning whether or not it's planned or recorded or officially on the menu. Calories are calories whether or not the eating is planned or recorded or officially on the menu.
—Pam Sorooshian

Several Definitions of Unschooling
photo by Cass Kotrba

Friday, September 17, 2021

Warmth and peace

"I'm amazed at not only the change in me but also how the little changes in our family form random, occasional pockets of warmth and peace. Hopefully, those little pockets will get larger and more frequent until we are fairly awash in it!"
an expression of appreciation for discussions
photo by Sandra Dodd
(sunlight flashing through a faceted amber-glass leaf)

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Healing through actions

A ten year old boy was being unkind to his five year old brother. Their mom thought it was partly from the older boy having been treated badly when he was in school, and wrote, "Some of those memories and hurt feelings have carried over and he's still
working through them and learning how to treat others."

My response:

You could tell him that he will help himself heal and feel better by being the kind of person he would like for his brother to become. (Nicer than the kids at school.)

It's bringing us closer together, I've noticed
photo by Janine Davies

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Yes, please; sunshine

Saying "Yes" more than you might have brings sunshine to your life.
Yes   ☀️    Yes   ☀️    Yes!
photo by Karen James

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

To be nourished...

Rippy Dusseldorp described her intentions:

To be nourished from beautiful and interesting ideas, people, places and things.
       To learn from everywhere.
              To take time to reflect.
                     To be daring.
                             To have adventures.
—Rippy Dusseldorp
Benefits beyond just "be a better parent"
photo by Elise Lauterbach

Monday, September 13, 2021

Without pressure, without shame

I believe that if children learn happily, without pressure and without shame, that they will continue to do so for the rest of their lives.

Why Radical Unschooling?
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Better, for your future children

If parents become complacent and don’t think that they need to do better and could do better, then they can’t do better, and they won’t do better. And if they’re ever going to get to be the unschooling parents that their future children need—their bigger, older children with bigger questions and problems—they need to keep getting better.

Changes in Parents
photo by Holly Dodd

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Shapes and meanings

Toddlers want to name things. They're learning words. This picture might show a circle and a square.
For an older child, thoughts might be about "window" or port hole or whether it's still a window if you can't see through it.

Some adults might think about materials or purposes, and others about what plant is portrayed and why.

Things are seen at different levels and depths by different people in different circumstances. Connections are made to prior imagery and knowledge in each viewer. Thoughts of what something is or isn't, and ideas about what it is like or unlike, are the thoughts learning is made of.

That's how learning works.

Connections: How Learning Works
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, September 10, 2021

The balance point

Some parents label unschooling as "child-led learning," and so they think they're going from "parent led" life to "child led" life, but the balance point is that the family learns to live together harmoniously.

Harmony makes many things easier. When there is disharmony, everyone is affected. When there is harmony, everyone is affected, too.
photo by Renee Cabatic

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Sharing contentment

The damage done by negativity is a knowable thing. If the mother can't find contentment, she has none to share with her children.

Sharing Negativity (how and why not to)
photo by Jo Isaac

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Optimistic and involved

Deb Lewis:

There were times when things were really tight for us. I mean no gas money and beans and rice for dinner every night.

If I had it to do it again I would use the credit card more. Not go crazy but if twenty or thirty dollars made a big difference in the life of my kid then I’d do that. If you’re justifying coffee and makeup or other adult things that aren’t strictly necessary, then make that same effort to justify some things your kids might like, too. Don’t always sacrifice kid things because they seem less important or urgent.

But don’t underestimate how wonderful your happy presence can be for your kids. Be sweet and playful and optimistic and involved. Give them lots of your time.

—Deb Lewis
Luke jumping, and his dog, with both their shadows on the wall
Quote edited slightly to make it more past tense
Original here: Suggestions for creating abundance when funds are low
photo by Jill Parmer

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

"Why not?"

I've been saying "why not?" more often and it feels good! I think it's rubbing off on my husband.

Always Say Yes   Say "Yes" More!
photo by Sarah Dickinson

Monday, September 6, 2021

Easy cure

When a mom expressed that she felt guilty that she might not be doing enough, I wrote:

"If you don't feel like you're doing enough, do more. Easy cure. 🙂"

Jill Parmer quoted me, and added:

"As I paid closer attention to my kids, and less about what I should put into them, I found it easier to find ways to do more. Like lingering longer at an ethnic grocery so they could look around, and finding things that would relate to their favorite games, or their interests."
More, about 1/5 of the way down
Experiences / Building an Unschooling Nest (chat transcript)
photo by Sarah S

Sunday, September 5, 2021

For now...

Laurie Wolfrum, on responding to critical questions about your parenting or unschooling:

Some phrases to keep in mind:
Periodically we evaluate how things are going.
Nothing is written in stone.
For now, this works for us.
We’ll see how things go.
—Laurie Wolfrum
photo by Daniel Moyer

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Attitude: nature and nurture

white flowers
My attitude is a big shaper of my childrens' attitude toward work AND toward me.

Living Better Without Requiring Chores
photo by Cathy Koetsier

Friday, September 3, 2021

What if a child says no?

This is my writing, in 2003, when my kids were 12, 14, 17 or so.

Sometimes one will say "I'm really not feeling good," as Holly did yesterday, and her need for juice, a blanket and some mom-comfort were real. She has a cold. So that was suddenly more important than her helping me get firewood, or whatever it was. I really don't remember anymore.

Nobody's ever said, "NO, I'm playing a video game, do it yourself." But they have said "When I get to a saving point."

The more we said yes to our children, the more willing they were to say yes to us. It worked like please and thank you did!

...on family life
photo by Holly Dodd

Thursday, September 2, 2021

No substitute

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

There is no substitute for being authentically "there" for them—for genuinely trying to help them resolve problems. For putting your relationship with them at the forefront of every interaction, whether it is playing together or working together.

None of us are perfect—we'll all have some regrets. But with my kids 19, 16, and 13, I can now say that I will never say anything like, "I wish I'd let them fight it out more," or "I wish I'd punished them more," or "I wish I'd yelled at them more." I will only ever say that I wish I'd been more patient, more attentive, more calm and accepting of the normal stresses of having young children.

One interaction at a time. Just make the next interaction a relationship-building one. Don't worry about the one AFTER that, until IT becomes "the next one."
—Pam Sorooshian

Becoming the Parent You Want to Be
photo by Roya Dedeaux

Pam's offspring are all in their 30s now, and being kind to Pam's grandchildren.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Being WITH; being aware

This is about BEING with your child. Being WITH your child. Being with YOUR child. If I emphasize all the words at once, the emphasis goes away again. Very much, though, it's about how the parent is being, and that the being should match the child's being, for a moment.

BE with your child's being.

Emotional Perspective
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp