Sunday, August 14, 2022

Go with funny

Given a choice between something funny and something somber, go with funny if your goal is peace and learning. Very few things need to be still and serious.

The Big Book of Unschooling, page 128 (or 140)
photo by Cátia Maciel

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Bigger and better

A mom who's going to help a child learn from the whole wide world should herself become ever increasingly comfortable with what all is IN the whole wide world, and how she can help bring her child to the world and the world to her child.

Unschooling should and can be bigger and better than school.

If it's smaller and quieter than school, the mom should do more to make life sparkly.
spiral dragon slide at a playground
photo by Kirby Dodd

Friday, August 12, 2022

Protect your little partner

Me, in a discussion of what was okay for a young child to mess up, in a public park, and how to explain it to him:

If you can't explain something to a four or five year old, just say no. Part of being partners, and being on the same team, is that what he does you're doing too. It's not okay for a mother and child to be doing something others don't want them to do (namely, the owners or managers of a place) and for the mom to shrug wide-eyed and point to the kid and say "He did it."

Gravel, rock and mulch play (on Always Learning)
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Touching, playing, learning

Toddlers touch things. That's learning. New experiences and opportunities help them to learn. They're learning while they're holding new things, playing with water, or rocks, or feeling the air on their wet hands, and the mud on their feet

When they feel the touch of parental encouragement and approval, they learn from that, too.

Toddlers in other posts
photo by Roya Dedeaux

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Share, invite, encourage

Jennifer McGrail, in response to someone who wrote that it was worth the fight to make kids go outside:

"Hiking in the desert is one of my all time favorite things to do. But no one ever found peace in being forced to do something. No one ever found joy in a choice that was foisted on them by someone else. Going outside is one option of many. As with any activity that I enjoy, I might share, invite, and even encourage my kids to join me. But I would never force."
—Jennifer McGrail

8 Battles I Won’t Pick With My Kids
photo by Lisa Jonick

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Amazed and joyful

"That kind of happiness, of being amazed and joyful about everyday little things occurring around us, has made me a much happier person in all aspects of my life."
—Katherine (Queen Jane 555)
photo by Brie Jontry

Monday, August 8, 2022

Stand strong, gently

Laurie Wolfrum wrote:

Whatever you decide to say, be kind to them. Don’t criticize, belittle or shame them for making different decisions or living differently than you do. Give them the respect that you wish they’d give to you.

Something that might help in any case is to explain that –
  • 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
from a presentation on politely withstanding and deflecting criticism
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Your happy, whole heart

Someone asked me, "Are the unschoolers more successful and clever? And do they have more chance to find good jobs as adults?"

I wrote:

I can't say. Even if most were, your own kids might not be. Even if most weren't, your own kids might be.

If what you do is better than school, for your kids, keep doing that. If school would be better than what you're doing, for your kids, in their real lives, then do that.

If you're going to unschool, do it wholeheartedly and happily.
photo by Janine Davies

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Head the right direction

There are paths that lead away from unschooling and paths that lead toward it. There are ways to do it better and ways to torpedo it irreparably.

Just because there's more than one way doesn't mean there's an infinite number of ways.

There's more than one way to get to Santa Fe from Albuquerque. There are four or five ways by road, one much better than any others; there's light rail; there's flight (impractical); there's walking (crazy). There are thousands of ways to leave Albuquerque and get to places far, far from Santa Fe.

Direction, and unschooling
photo by Cátia Maciel

Friday, August 5, 2022

Knowing how to respond

Alex Polikowsky wrote:
There are some big ways that are wrong and anyone can see that. Verbal abuse or physical abuse comes to mind.
But there are small things too.

Principles. The more clear, to yourself, you are about your principles and making better choices, the better you will know how to respond to a child or a situation.
—Alex Polikowsky
(longer original)

Living by Principles instead of by Rules
photo by Graham Dusseldorp

Thursday, August 4, 2022

A good direction

Parents can't be perfect, but they can aim in that direction.

"The right way"
photo by Roya's sister, Rose

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

A road leading somewhere

Deb Lewis wrote, when her son was young:

Our town is small and we've been to the museums here more than once but we still find new things to do here. A new store opened so we checked it out and talked to the owner. The radio station moved from the residence of the owners to a building downtown and we took a tour. The mom-in-law of my employer got a bunch of fancy chickens and we drove out to see them. She showed Dylan a coffee table book about chickens. She showed us her little sun room where she grows orchids.

There's always something to do, someone to talk to, some road leading somewhere.

How Much Strewing?
photo by Cathy Koetsier

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Learning is...

Nothing on paper is learning. Nothing recited is learning. Nothing in a conversation is learning....

Learning is putting information together in one's own head so that it makes new and different sense. It always and only happens inside the learner.

The Problem with Teaching is...
photo by Lydia Koltai

Monday, August 1, 2022

Sugar is sweet

Sugar is sweet, and so are you.

If you're not, consider how much sweeter your child's life would be if you were as sweet as sugar.
"The brain LIVES on glucose. It can’t live without it. And little kids' brains need more glucose than adults'."
photo by Cátia Maciel