Saturday, April 30, 2022

What's different?

Don't scoot through your day without using your senses. What is happening around you? What is new and different? How could you easily make others safer and more comfortable?
photo by Gail Higgins

(quote is from page 203-236 of The Big Book of Unschooling)

Friday, April 29, 2022

Knowing where you are

Parents with a realistic and considered awareness of what their own freedoms are within the laws of the apartment building, housing development, city, county/parish/township, state/province or nation are free to share some of those with their children.

We let Holly choose carpet once, but we couldn't have legally required her to pay for it, as she was only eight or nine at the time.

We have surprised waiters in many restaurants by turning to our children questioningly when the waiter asks the adults "Would you like to see the dessert menu?" They're even more surprised when the kids say, "No thanks," or "I'm full," while making friendly eye contact with the waiter.

More, in context:
photo by Cátia Maciel

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Seasons, in and out

Seasons change, and yet it's the same old seasons, in the same old order.

People can change, but they're still people, who get excited about snow, and then frustrated with the same snow, and then tired of snow.

Snow is natural, and it's beautiful. It is natural for people to have short attention spans, to want to make things better, to see what could be, should be, might be, and to think about that instead of what *is*, in that moment. Accept that human nature, like snow, can be welcome, beautiful, irritating, and sometimes dangerous.

Be careful walking, and driving, and help others be safe.
photo by Amy Milstein

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Healing for parents

(When some unschooled kids found the terms "class clown" and "teacher's pet," they didn't understand the concepts.)

It can be healing for parents to think back to their own sorrows and then to their own children's freedom from those experiences. Look at what a change you have made in the world by not passing those things on! And how comforting for my own soul that my children could be helpful and funny without being pointed at and laughed at and becoming the butt of a joke.

Other unschooling parents commented, too:
photo by Vlad Gurdiga

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Make Choices

People have thoughts and reactions every half a second. Question them all. Witness and consider them all. Make choices. Make choices that move you toward being more at peace with your child.       Quote's source, on Always Learning

photo by Cátia Maciel

Monday, April 25, 2022

Humor helps

Deb Lewis wrote:

Studies are now popping up suggesting laughter makes our brains work better, reduces stress and helps sick people get well...

I don't think humor will guarantee my kid will have a better life, but I know it won't hurt him. If all it does is leave him with happy memories of his childhood and parents, I'll count it among our most useful tools."

—Deb Lewis
photo by Elise Lauterbach

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Where do rainbows come from?

This cat seems to have rainbows coming from its nether parts. When I said so, Brie said it just needed a Pop Tart. I didn't get it, but Brie, and then Holly pointed me toward Nyan Cat, and I learned things. Useful things? Used to explore and to get more jokes! Usefully made me laugh.
Cartoon unicorns are out there producing rainbows, too.

Other Rainbow Connections? Noah, leprechauns, Dorothy Gail from Kansas, Kermit the Frog, The Rolling Stones, John Sebastian, and all the others you've already thought of or will remember or discover later.

photo by Brie Jontry

Nyan Cat was created by Chris Torres, in Texas, in 2011.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Colored lights

How do you get a rainbow into your house and onto your cat?

Most indoor rainbows are induced, created, spring from a prism set up on something in a windowsill, or a faceted crystal hanging in the window, or prismatic window coverings or stickers.

Light-separating gadgetry needs sunlight, though, and cats love to find a sunbeam.

Even without cats, you might be able to bring occasional rainbows into your home.

The rainbow tag on this blog will bring up some indoor rainbows, and many actual full-sky arcs. Enjoy
The last rainbow cat
and there will be another tomorrow
photo by Amber Ivey

Friday, April 22, 2022

Looking at whole lives

People live all over the world, and each life is different. Some people have horses, while others don't. Some can see the ocean every day; some never will. Some know all about snow, and others can't really imagine it.

We don't know in advance how lives will flow and grow, even while we're living in that flow.

Looking too closely for too long can bring frustration. "We had a meal today without vegetables, Oh NO!" or "This toddler didn't nap, and so Oh NO!" Look back at those in a week or a year, or in thirty years, and the diet will have averaged out, and the toddler will have slept.

Looking at details is good, but once in a while, take a long view of the lives of your grandparents, neighbors, friends, even maybe fictional characters. Sometimes the details dissolve into history, or are fleeting, or can be smiled away.

Find peace and hope in everyday ways.

photo by Cathy Koetsier

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Principles instead of rules

"The Principles apply universally. That's what makes them Principles instead of rules."
—Robyn Coburn
(but the original is here on Always Learning)
photo by Janine Davies

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

One step; another step...

How often do you make a choice?
How often do you think "I have no choice"?

How do decisions happen?
How small a decision can you make?
        to pause?
        to smile?
        to sign your name bigger and happier?
        to open your windows and your thoughts?

Considering Decisions
photo by Nicole Kenyon

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Confident, happy and glad

When my oldest was 18, I was recounting some current doings, and concluded:
He's confident in his skin, in his mind, and in his being.
He's not afraid of his parents.
He goes to sleep happy and he wakes up glad.

My priorities could have been different.
photo by Roya Dedeaux

Monday, April 18, 2022

Parental passion

When someone wrote "With younger kids, there is no opportunity to pursue my own passions," Pam Sorooshian responded:

Make becoming a fantastic mom your passion. Make learning all about those kids of yours, your passion. Make having a peaceful and joyful home your passion.

Then you can pursue that while still being fully present with your kids.
—Pam Sorooshian

some commentary on Facebook
or you could read about "Me Time"
photo by Kinsey Norris

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Backyard peace and beauty

This photo inspires me to remind people that there can be quiet contemplation next to silly play, and you might have brief solitude, even if someone sees you and takes a picture.

There can be peace in the backyard.

Even in the most candid of mom-photos, a kid's sleeves can impressively match the trampoline.

Observe, appreciate, slow down, accept.

Being Home:
photo by Sarah S.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Freedom and flexibility

Because I was able to be home with them, they didn't have to wait hours to consider whether to talk to me about something or to just share with school friends, as I usually did when I was a kid. Other kids don't always make the sagest of advisors.

We could watch movies together at leisure, and pause and come back to them, or watch the good parts over and over. Some families are trying to squeeze a movie in between "dinnertime" and "bedtime" and wouldn't even think of watching one in the morning or during lunch!
—SandraDodd, 2009

Two of several responses about the advantages of being home, at Homeschooling: Freedom and Fun For Your Family. Also on that page: Alex Polikowsky's answers to the same questions.

(studio photo)

Friday, April 15, 2022

Dance, sing, listen, play

Learning about music can be as happy as dancing in the back yard, singing in the car, or going to watch a bluegrass band at a street festival. Listen to different oldies stations. Play with online song sites. Rent videos of concerts or operas and musical theatre. Don't "make" anyone watch them. Watch them yourself, and others might come to join.

page 83 (or 92) of The Big Book of Unschooling
photo by Cátia Maciel

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Real world

The thing I think I've seen more than anything else in some of the older unschoolers, the people who are teens who haven't been to school much or at all, is they are so whole. Their place in the world is real. They're not preparing for the possibility of applying to have a place in the world after they're grown. They are in the world. And there's something so different about that.

Unschooling and Real Learning
photo by Sarah Dickinson

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

"Truths" that aren't

If someone says "Without high school, one is doomed to poverty," that is a false statement. All of us probably know people who didn't graduate from high school (or its English-school-system or other equivalent) who are happy and maybe wealthy. All of us know (or have been) people who went to a university for four or ten years and ended up working side by side with people who maybe graduated from high school and maybe didn't. is a good continuation,
but the quote is from page 47 or 51 of The Big Book of Unschooling.

photo by Gail Higgins

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Pleasant associations

Finding ways not to be grumpy about dishes is a good model and practice field for other choices in life.

We get our dishes from thrift stores, mostly. If one of them bugs me, it can go back to the thrift store.

Sometimes when a mom is really frustrated with doing the dishes, it can help to get rid of dishes with bad memories and connections, or put them in storage for a while. Happy, fun dishes with pleasant associations are easier to wash.
photo by Gail Higgins

Parts or versions of the text above have appeared in this blog five times before. It's simple, but people forget.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Adult decisions

When a young adult has been making real decisions for years, and what their parents want is to help them think clearly and to make careful decisions based on the preferences and beliefs of the young person himself, the same old world looks very different.

Young Adults: Partners
photo by Janine

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Fuel and downtime

Connie/Otherstar wrote:

Whenever we go out, I make sure that we have lots of foods available so they don't get hungry. I watch for signs of being tired because I know that when my girls get tired, they seem to lose the ability to communicate. Letting them get overtired or over-hungry and then expecting them to communicate with you and negotiate with you isn't appropriate. For that matter, it isn't good for adults.

There have been times that we have gone out and lost track of time and we have all ended up grumpy and hungry. My husband and I will stop and get food for us all. Until everybody is fed, we don't address anything. After we all eat, then we may talk. Usually, feeding everybody eliminates the problems though.
—Connie (Otherstar)

There is more. It was not easy to choose a small part
of the longer writing at Healing Presence
photo by Sarah S.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Choices add up

Small moments of peace and calm can add up to contentment. Gratitude and acceptance contribute to satisfaction. Having a warm home isn't an absolute, and it's not magic. It's the accumulation of positive choices that create a nest for humans (and their significant animal others).
photo by Roya Dedeaux

Friday, April 8, 2022

Peace and confidence

"If you answer every question with honesty you never have to be nervous about the next question because you already know the answer. Take the chance of being uncomfortable for those few minutes of honesty. It's worth the discomfort for the peace and confidence and integrity it will build in you."
—Deb Lewis
photo by Belinda Dutch

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Calmly confident

Stay at the playground. Play with sand and water. Find seeds. Sit in the shade, and in the sun. Set ice in the shade and in the sun. Write with ice on a sunny sidewalk. If there's a brass plaque at the park you can set a piece of ice on it when it's hot and get the letters in reverse, melted into the ice. Don't talk about WHY those things happen unless the kids ask. Just let it happen. They'll figure it out.

Once they get the hang of figuring those things out, they'll be able to figure out harder things. If they practice on cheap and easy stuff (ice is great—in the bathtub for floaty-toys, crushed ice for snacks...), they'll be calmly confident about figuring out increasingly harder things.
photo by Nina Haley

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Richly and joyfully

Unschoolers don't "just live." They live large. They live expansively, and richly and joyfully. Those are the things that make it work.
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Don't let this happen to you

When The Lego Movie was new, I was watching Australian TV in some public place and I wrote:
A movie reviewer on the Australia Broadcasting Company, giving a just so-so review of The Lego Movie, explained herself to the other reviewer by saying "My inner child was buried long ago."

Don't reject the playful, hopeful parts of you thinking that it's the mature thing to do. A person can't be whole if part of her was buried long ago. can expand on that
(but here's the original, on my facebook page)
photo by Gail Higgins

Monday, April 4, 2022

Experiencing progress

In a longer description of her family's change from organized homeschooling to unschooling, a mom named Julie wrote:

I got angry about something and I yelled at one of the kids. I shocked myself!! It sounded so horrible, not to mention unnecessary. And weird. I realized it sounded weird because it isn't something I do very often and although I felt bad for yelling, it felt good to know that it was the first time in a long time.

Enjoying My Kids
photo by Gail Higgins

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Stepping outside

If you can leave the schoolish building your own mind has built, that has "academics" sorted and stacked against old walls with bad memories, you can see the light of the real world outside.

How Elvis Appears to Unschoolers
photo by Ester Siroky

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Imaginary magical gifts

From an article about coming-out parties for unschoolers:

What if you could give magical gifts? How about the ability to change bodies long enough to see the world as your children see it? Perhaps just a few doses of magic to make time stand still, just a little while. More time and space? Unlimited patience! Friendly neighbors. A perepetually well-running van in the mom's favorite color. Intuitive knowledge of child development would be a good gift for homeschoolers and all their friends, neighbors and relatives. If you figure out how to produce such gifts, please remember me after your friends have all they need.

Unschoolers' Coming-Out Parties: Wishlists for Unschoolers
photo by Lydia Koltai

The link above is full of of actual practical non-fantasy ideas, but it was written in 1999. If you read it, think of current and future supplies and gifts for children.

Bonus link: Abundance

Friday, April 1, 2022

Many things

Few things are just one thing. Most things are many things.

Karen James is doing ceramics these days, and so her bowls are a hobby, a collection, a puzzle to fit safely into the cabinet, or efficiently into the dishwasher. They are also dishes, and bowls.

Thinking about what things are is philosophy, and language, and a puzzle.

Liking your dishes is good for your mental health. Liking hobbies, collections and puzzles will make life better.
photo by Karen James