Monday, February 28, 2022

Positives (look around)

"Looking for the positives really makes the negatives fall back into the background so far that they drop out of the picture."
—Schuyler Waynforth

photo by Gail Higgins

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Children learn

If an experience is new and different, children learn.
photo by Nina Haley

Saturday, February 26, 2022

More "yes"

About food...

If you're moving from rules and measurements and prohibitions, let them eat more. Let them eat less.

If they ask for another cookie you could say "Okay! Do you want milk, too?"

Don't say "Yes, but only one more" and don't say "Yes, as many as you want."

Say "yes."

"Gradual Change" chat transcript
photo by Sarah S.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Depth and breadth

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

Unschoolers should be offering interesting experiences, ideas, stimulation, music, logic, conversation, images, movement, discovery, beauty, etc. Brain food in abundance. It requires effort. It requires attention to qualitative and quantitative aspects of learning. Depth and breadth—creating a lifestyle in which kids are offered the opportunity to learn a lot about some things and a little about a lot of things.
—Pam Sorooshian

at Always Learning; quote revived by Marta Venturini
photo by Roya Dedeaux

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Oh, wait!

Same boring, stupid, same-old...
Oh, wait! A Quonset hut, back there, with a side building. Look at the tumbleweed. That attachment looks very cool, whatever it does.

photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Nurture and encourage

Can a person create negativity?
If so, a person should be able to create positivity.

Nurture and encourage and enable happiness.

Happiness Inside and Out
photo by Sadie Brown

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Being present with kids

Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

They won't be three forever! Their understanding and needs will grow and change as they get older.

Conventional parenting is not about being present with kids. It's about giving kids rules as a replacement for being there. Same can go for information. Information shouldn't be a substitute for being there and being aware. We should let kids know that cars can hurt them, which is why we steer them clear of the street. But we shouldn't then depend on kids understanding. We need to be there. We need to be aware of our child's tendencies to run to the street when in that type of situation. We need to avoid as much as we can places where they can run into the street until they can understand.

—Joyce Fetteroll

Mindful Parenting and unschooling
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, February 21, 2022

Up and above

Negativity will weigh you down and make life heavy.

Hope and optimism will help you float up and above.
photo by Abby Davis

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Maintenance moment


I am VERY sorry not to have a better post today, but I have glitched something up and just discovered it.

I'll be back, better, tomorrow!

Best wishes,

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Controversial topic

When a family stays together, and when the marriage is improved and solidified, it's not just good for the children. It's good for the grown children, and grandchildren. It's better for holidays and family events, for estate planning and inheritance. It's better for being able to leave photo albums out, and photos of children with their parents still out on the wall, without trying to revise history to keep from offending new wife, new husband, girlfriend, boyfriend. It's better for casual stories like "Remember when we went to White Sands?" It's less likely that a story will need to be abandoned midway or trailed away from because someone who was there, and fun, is now estranged from the family.

I didn't know, years ago, that unschooling could strengthen a marriage. I did know that a good marriage would strengthen unschooling.
photo by a waiter, with my camera, 2011

P.S. Why is that controversial?

I have been criticized, over the years, for encouraging people to be kind and compassionate to partners or spouses. I have also been thanked by people whose marriages became stronger because of those ideas, or by the use of unschooling principes in general.

Although I am sympathetic to people whose marriages have failed for reasons beyond their control, there are divorces that could have been avoided, and there are relationships still in the future that could benefit by being bathed in sweetness and patience, humor and positivity.

Friday, February 18, 2022

More and more learning

Read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch. Read a little more... try a little...

Gradually you will notice more and more learning, and soon it will be happening all the time!

Sandra Dodd, on Unschooling, from the Do Life Right Teleconference 2012
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, February 17, 2022


Control implies one KNOWS the right answer and if he's not "out of control" or "lacking self control," there will be no choice; he will control himself.

Decision making requires lots of data and thought and freedom and discernment.
photo by Holly Dodd

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Energy, focus and choices

Don't look for rules. Look for "better." Some days you won't have the energy to do your best. So find ways to have more energy, to focus, to make choices that lead you toward what you want to do, what your children need, what benefits your family most.

Make the Better Choice
photo by Rosie Moon

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Do the nice things.

I think the role of a partner is not to train the other person, not to shame the other person, not to find a time to say "I told you so."

If you just do the nice things, that's what good partners do.

The Importance of Partnership
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Monday, February 14, 2022

Getting warmer

Once some firewood yielded a surprise.

Think of love, and think of warmth. Remember warm love past, hope for warm love in the future, and help provide warm love now, if you can.

The world is irritating and frustrating these days. I try not to irritate or frustrate others. When I succeed, that makes their moments better, and mine too.

Getting warm (2011)
photo by Kelly Halldorson

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Music as healing

[T]his little ukulele has done for me what none of the stuff that I did as a child ever did, nor what my ranting and raving about my school experiences did. It has let me see how much I enjoy making music. And I enjoy the intellectual pursuit of the skill of making music. ...

So that's part of how I heal from school damage. I enjoy my life doing things that I couldn't do through school.
—Schuyler Waynforth

The quote is part of longer writing about school and music
photo by Sandra Dodd (of Schuyler, with a different ukelele)

Friday, February 11, 2022


Each time I do something sweet for one of my children, it benefits them, and me now, and me-their-age.

about being positive and recovering from childhood hurts
photo by Karen James

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Prevention and healing

Jenny Cyphers wrote:

"Every time I prevent something damaging happening to one of my children, it's like healing a little bit of me. Every time I help my children achieve something wonderful, it's a little bit like healing that little girl that would've like that to happen for me! I love gifting my kids with that! It helps make me a better person to give my kids something better!"
—Jenny Cyphers

Other posts about Healing
photo by Cathy Koetsier

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

With patience and with gratitude

We can't change what happens to people, life is unsure, and we're all getting older. Please continue to help encourage others to use unschooling's peaceful principles to make life sweet and good while we have it. We can't live as we are forever, but we can try to live with fewer regrets, and with patience, and with gratitude.

Be as good as you can be as often as you can be.

Like real life
photo by Cátia Maciel

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Goop, fire, snowballs

When one person says "I like science" and another says "I don't like science," I remember school science textbooks that had geology, astronomy, chemistry, botany, biology, agriculture and physics all in one book.
. . . .
There are many fun things to do and explore that could be called "science," but why not just call them skate boards or miniature golf or basketball or piano or water play or rescuing wounded birds or making goop or collecting rocks or swimming or drawing pictures of clouds or taking photos in different kinds of light or growing corn or training a dog or looking through binoculars or waiting for a chrysalis to open or making a sundial or making a web page or flying a kite or chasing fireflies or building a campfire or finding out which planet that is by the moon on the horizon, or wondering why snowballs take so much snow to make, or how a 4-wheel-drive truck works.

Science and the larger idea of Changing Facts
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, February 7, 2022

Selflessly and sweetly

With a child, being his partner and not his adversary means that situations are not going to involve one of you winning at the other's expense. There doesn't need to be a winner and a loser, when a choice is made. Try to see that in your marriage and in your family. Make decisions that benefit your family, your home, and your children. Do that selflessly and sweetly, and your own life will be sweeter.

Gradually easier
photo by Gail Higgins

Sunday, February 6, 2022

"What paths we will follow..."

"Watching my son follow his interests and learning about his world in the process has been an enlightening experience for me. I have a new confidence in children's curiosity and their drive to learn and explore. As I write, Trevor is developing a a new interest in sharks and I can only anticipate what paths we will follow and what we will learn. Who knows where it will take us?"
—Amy Kagey, about dinosaurs,
but there were monsters, too
Learning With Dinosaurs
photo by Tessa Onderwater

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Happiness is better

"Being happy has never diminished my partnership, and being miserable has never enhanced it."
—Beth Fuller
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Friday, February 4, 2022

Choices can abound

Choices can abound. Parents can arrange life so that their children have choices all the time, and learn to see their own actions as choices rather than "have to's," but none of them can give their children "the freedom" to do as they wish at MY house. Nor in a shop, nor a public place. Certainly not in a national park, or museum, or church.
. . . .

Parents who tell their kids that they can give them "freedom" might be talking about the relative freedom of being out of school rather than in. Once they're in the normal real world, though, continuing to promise freedom isn't as helpful, nor as relationship building, as finding ways to give them choices.

photo by Amber Ivey

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Flow, sparkle, joy

three pairs of  feet on London's Tower Bridge
Unschooling should be better than school; if it's not, the kids would be better off in school. Any unschooler who wants to do just the bare minimum of what she "has to do" to be considered (by whom!?) an unschooler is NOT unschooling well or right. It needs energy, activity, interactivity, flow, sparkle, joy.

other "better than school" posts and sparkling ideas
(quote from 2014, preserved here]
photo by Nina Haley

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Math without numbers

In thinking of mathematics, I operated on the assumption that our children might be more pattern-oriented than I am (spatial and logical intelligences) and that they might be more word-dependent than my husband. We provided games involving patterns–board games, video games, dice, cards, and singing games–and played them with the children. One of the most memorable games was Bazaar, a game with exchange rates and values but requiring no numbers or reading. (In Germany there is a similar game called Bierbörse.) Math was a fun part of the fabric of life. It was the structure of games and of music and of Lego and Ramagon. We talked about proportion and perspective in art and construction, but only in words, not with numbers. They found patterns; I found patterns, and we shared them without me saying "this is mathematics."
Games     /     Geography without maps
screenshot by Holly Dodd, of the game FlipPix

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Fly when ready

The words are mine (Sandra Dodd's), but I was speaking rather than writing.
I’ve talked to kids who said they were so scared and stressed when they were 17, because they knew when they turned 18, their parents were going to start charging them rent, or throw them out, or if they didn’t go to the university, they should go to the military—all this huge pressure to get... to get out. You are done now; we're done.

So people hadn’t considered that they could totally avoid that, that that would be a natural offshoot of radical unschooling.

Keith and I did think, early on, we said what we are doing is inoculating our kids against the trait of some, or the fact of some kids leaving with the first person who says “Hey baby, you wanna live with me?” or “Oh, let’s go get a house”, or, you know, that sort of energy of young people luring other young people out and away, to other states, to other places, to dangerous neighborhoods. We said "It’s going to have to be a pretty good offer to beat what they have at home."

And so that becomes a safety factor too. If the children know that they can stay at home, then someone who comes and says, "Hey do you want come do something with me? Do you want to come live with me?"—it better be a good offer.

Recording and transcript:
photo by Karen James