Tuesday, May 31, 2022

No matter how old

For a parent who didn't know about attachment parenting early on, those things can be compensated for by being gentler to older children, and patient, and loving.

For those who were gentle and attentive to babies as people, remember that your child, no matter how old, is still that same person who trusted you the first days and weeks and months.

It's easy to forget, and to be impatient and critical. It happens at my house. It can be ever easier to remember, with practice and focus, to choose quiet and soft, still.

A Quiet Soft Place
photo by Julie D

Monday, May 30, 2022

Quiet and still

There are seasons and reasons that can disturb sleep and peace. Find moments of beauty and of calm, of stillness and dark, when you can breathe more deeply, speak more softly, and rest.

Five minutes of calm and of gratitude can reset your soul.

When you breathe
photo by Nicole Kenyon

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Live, play, explore, enjoy

Colleen Prieto wrote:

I do my best to make sure my son is undamaged. I was told when I was a child “you haven’t earned happy yet – talk to me when you’re my age – when you’re my age we’ll talk.”

I don’t think kids should have to earn happy when there’s the opportunity to let them live every day, out in the world (not in a classroom), making their own choices without guilt and shame, enjoying today instead of spending every today preparing for tomorrow as if today’s not good enough and tomorrow’s the only thing that counts.

I wish more people could see that (to me anyway) that’s what unschooling does. It lets kids live. And play. And explore. And enjoy. It lets them live like they don’t need to earn happy.
photo by Cátia Maciel

Friday, May 27, 2022

Learning while laughing

People learn by playing, thinking and amazing themselves. They learn while they're laughing at something surprising, and they learn while they're wondering "What the heck is this!?"

Amusing confusion
photo by Cátia Maciel

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Detours and side trips

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

Unschooling is sort of "messy" in that there isn't a "plan" and kids can often go in one direction for a while and then seem to come to a dead end and turn around and go off in another direction. It isn't like a kid who studies certain high school subjects—a couple of years of science, four years of English, a year of American History, and so on—and then goes on to sort of do that same thing in college—follow a predetermined path. Unschooled kids often "meander" in their lives. They proceed in fits and starts. They detour. But those side trips can turn into their main life's journey when you least expect it. 🙂 And they all add up to make the child into the person they are becoming.
—Pam Sorooshian

Games...Rich Life
photo by Sarah S.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Focus on the positive

Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

People who look at what they have and how they can work with it find the ways quicker (and are happier) than those who look at what they don't have. That sounds harsh but it's true for everyone, regardless of how fortunate someone feels someone else must be. It's not easy! It's a *choice* to focus on the positive—a choice one often needs to remember to make repeatedly—because the alternative gets in the way of moving toward something better.

—Joyce Fetteroll

photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Find ideas you like

Find ideas you like, but remember that all parenting happens at your house, not online, not in groups, but within the parent. Your relationship with your child doesn't need to be approved by strangers. It needs to be the best you can do with your child, yourself, at your house. If you need ideas, the world is overflowing with good ones, and bad ones.

photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, May 23, 2022

Getting it

When people say "I read [whichever] webpage last year, but..." and I say "Read it again," I think they might think I'm accusing them of not having read it, but it's that after using the ideas a while, the description makes lots more sense.

Whatever it is we're learning—crochet patterns, musical notation, using crutches, building a fire, making cookies—hearing instructions (or reading them) makes VERY little sense at first. Later it makes more sense. But after trying it and figuring out some things for ourselves, and then going back and looking at the directions, they come to life, in color, and they make 3-D sense.


Read a little, try a little; wait a while, watch
art and photo by Roya Dedeaux

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Happy health

"Happiness is good for health! If something that makes a kid happy is deemed unhealthy by a parent, it will create stress and division. That kind of stress is NOT healthy. That kind of division works against the kind of relationship between parent and child that makes unschooling awesome!"
—Jenny Cyphers

photo by Sarah S.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Really unschooling

Gradually, steadily, consider what might be better, how you would like to be, and what you have learned will help.

Be in the immediate presence of your own child, with the awareness and knowledge you can use to make that moment better.

The kinder thing, the better thing
photo by Nina Haley

Friday, May 20, 2022

Ease, joy, and sparkle

"Unschooling, for me, works better as a practice and less well as an identity. I can always get close, understand the problem better, and lean on unschooling principles to find more ease, joy, and sparkle."
—Tara Joe Farrell

photo by Cátia Maciel (her camera, anyway)

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Everything counts

Ginostra, on Stromboli; walls, railing, sea, mountains, sky

Where learning is concerned, it's never too late and everything counts.

photo by Dylan Lewis

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Being very careful

Y'know when people say "Don't try this at home"?

Homeschoolers can do the same kind of damage school does, if they are not Very Careful not to.

Some Thoughts about Later Reading
photo by Sarah S.

Those cookies are not really sad or damaged, but I don't have many somber photos in the stash! They are ACTing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Clearly and plainly honest

Deb Lewis wrote:

A child who can't trust his parents, not because of any malicious intent on the part of his parents, but because of repeated false information, is at risk of not seeking help from his parents when he really needs it. Who will he turn to? It might be someone who does not have his best interests at heart.

Truth is a sensitive thing and a parent's fear might prevent her from thinking and being clearly and plainly honest.
—Deb Lewis

photo by Kirby Dodd

Monday, May 16, 2022

Sorting, comparing, naming, learning

For the parents, deschooling is learning about learning.

For the parents AND the children,

Sorting through things is learning.

Sorting through ideas, and songs, and art, is learning

Comparing things is learning about them.

Contrasting things is learning about them.

Categorizing things is learning about them.

Naming things is learning about them.

Naming radical unschooling is learning about it.

photo by Sandra Dodd, in Holly's candid kitchen

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Delight with them

Karen James wrote:

Pay close attention to your children. Really see what they are doing, what they are interested in, what they are enjoying, what frustrates them, what they like and what they don't like.

Notice how they think. Notice what kinds of things bring them delight. Delight in those things with them. Find ways to add to their experiences. Be open to the things you bring being passed over. Notice what kinds of things are embraced.
—Karen James

photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Then what?

With logic, or engineering, storytelling, sports or tricks, it's fun to wonder about the result one change or action will have.

Mindfulness is about remembering that what I'm doing right now is going to have an effect on what will happen next, not just in my own life, but in other people's lives.

photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, May 13, 2022

Comfortably oneself

Karen James wrote:

I've been reflecting on the idea of potential...

I think, six years ago, I was thinking of the potential to be anything. Now, six years later, as I watch my son navigate his teen years, and as I come to understand him and myself better, I think the potential to be comfortable enough in one's own skin, to be fully and unapologetically oneself, is what is so great.
—Karen James, 2018

Growth and Potential
photo by Sarah S.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Other ways to the same place

Sylvia Woodman, in an interview:

What they were able to read was not connected to what they were able to understand. They had very big vocabularies, they could understand very sophisticated content, but they weren’t necessarily going to go to a reference book to learn more. They had other resources available to them. They had podcasts, they had YouTube, they had voice-to-text if they wanted to communicate with people; they had lots of other ways of getting to the same place.
—Sylvia Woodman

photo by Sylvia Woodman

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Books, directly deposited

Deb Lewis wrote:

Listening to audio books is a wonderful way for kids to experience great stories beyond what they'd be able to read on their own. (And beyond what their moms have voice for!)

photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

"What do you mean?"

Concerning the "socialization" question...

It might be useful to ask conversationally, "What do you mean?" It's very likely they don't know what they mean. It's a question asked out of very vague fear. If they have an answer, say "Can you give me an example?" It probably won't take much to lead them to see that they haven't really thought much about the topic.

Some home educating families feel that they're on trial, or at least being tested. If someone asks you something like "What about his social growth?" it's not an oral exam. You're not required to recite.

You could say "We're not worried about it" and smile, until you develop particular stories about your own child. It's easier as your children get older and you're sharing what you *know* rather than what you've read or heard.

(listen there about socializing vs. socialization)
photo by Nina Haley

Monday, May 9, 2022

Calm and thoughtful

Don't rush into anything. Parents should learn to be calm and thoughtful instead of panicky and reactionary. It's better for health and decision-making, and it sets a good example for the children. Don't live in fear when you can live in joy.

Time, change, learning
photo by Holly Dodd

Sunday, May 8, 2022

You can go on and on!

Linda Wyatt wrote:

Play with patterns. Play with sets. Go outside and throw rocks and pay attention to the paths they travel. Drop stones into a pond and watch the ripples. Figure out why buildings don't fall down- or why they do. Ponder why the wind off Lake Michigan travels through the city of Chicago the way it does. And Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains... what's different in very windy places? How do you need to change things to accommodate that? Or other weather? Why are most of the roofs in places that get a lot of snow not flat?

I could go on and on and on and on. You can, too.

Question everything. Figure some of it out.
—Linda Wyatt

photo by Sandra Dodd
of wall art at Bhava Yoga Studio

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Some things you can't see

"Looking back, we can often see the path pretty clearly. But we can't look ahead and know what the path is going to be."
—Pam Sorooshian

photo by Nisa Deeves

Friday, May 6, 2022

With and for, not against

Parents who say anything is stupid (laws, art, music) are working against their child's peace and learning, not with and for it.

Living in the Real World
photo by Brie Jontry

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Wonder and discovery

No matter how your children learn, take a few more opportunities to share wonder and discovery with them. It will enrich you all.

photo by Sylvia Woodman

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The same old story

On a remote farm, there was a nephew, an uncle, a beautiful too-closely-related strongwoman, a wrinkly little one with a stick who was more powerful than appearances suggested...

Little did they know the fate that would take them to a distant place.
I didn't do the art, but I like it. The storytelling is mine.

The juxtaposition of Jed Clampett and the Jedi is a good example of "comparison and contrast." Without using that phrase you can look for, or induce (if you can do it casually and for fun) situations in which your children are comparing one thing to another, looking for similarities and differences.

Just because something is silly doesn't mean high-level cognition isn't happening. If humor helps, find it. Make it. Appreciate it in your children.

...Thinking and Learning and Bears
photo art... shared on facebook, and I can't credit it

Tuesday, May 3, 2022


Take this lightly. Play around.

Play with words, with ideas, with thoughts.
Play with music.
Play in the rain.
Play in the dark.
Play with your food.

But play safely. Play is only play when no one involved is objecting. It's only playing if everyone is playing.

Pretending, with a barn swallow's nest
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, May 2, 2022

What do you want?

When you know what you want to find, it's easier to see it. If you know you want learning and peace and joy in your life, removing the smallest of obstacles or distractions will let those things shine forth.

photo by Sarah S.

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

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Smooth it off

If you want a peaceful life, smooth off the rough parts. Take away the dangerous and irritating things. Spend a moment appreciating peace when you see it or feel it. It's not something you can do once and for all. It's a way of living.

photo by Roya Dedeaux

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