Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Growing and learning

"Things change. Our kids get older. They outgrow stages we think they never will. They learn all they need to know, in their own time."
—Heather Booth

photo by Cátia Maciel

Monday, February 26, 2024

Say yes when you can

My kids are great at delayed gratification, all of them. They have saved money, earned money, bought small things, and large things, waited for friends to visit, waited for holidays and parties, and because they're busy and secure people, they could always find something to do. But they were also generally sure that as soon as it WAS possible, they would do it, or have it. That's because they had lived their lives with parents who were their partners and who helped them, rather than thwarted or frustrated them.

Some kids get to 18 and they're sick and tired of waiting, and they don't want to wait anymore for ANYthing. Some turn to drugs, drinking, partying, charge cards, driving too fast... When parents have a choice of saying yes or no, and they choose 'no' because they think it's good for their child, they are putting that pressure and tension in the bank to gain interest.

Say yes when you can, especially if it's about something that will help your child learn. If you can't decide, think "Will he be happy and learn? Will this help with unschooling?"
2013, Sandra
of kids who were in their early- to mid-20s then

photo by Holly Dodd
of herself wearing a top from the 1970s that I handed down to her, with an orchid plant rescued from a trash can

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Quietly empty yourself

Quietly empty yourself of much of what you think you know. If it were working, there would’ve been no reason to ask us for help.

With a mind open to change, then, go here: Read a Little

photo by James Coburn IV

Saturday, February 24, 2024

The world expands

When people are able to relax into learning without the self-consciousness of whether what they're learning will impress the neighbors or make them more money, the world expands hugely.

Quote from side commentary, but this works:
photo by Nina Haley

Friday, February 23, 2024

A learning environment

Our entire life created a learning environment for our children, every day, at home or out in the world.

Debating How Kids Learn
photo by Jesper Conrad

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Our own real thoughts

In your head, you have some repeating-loop messages. Some are telling you you're doing a good job, but I bet some of them are not. Some are telling you that you have no choice, but you do.
We can't really think until we think in our own words without the prejudicial labels and without mistaking the voices in our heads for our own real thoughts.


photo by Christine Milne

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

An interested and interesting adult

Someone wrote to me: "I’m starting to see why you admire John Holt. Will you tell me more about him?" I responded:
I admire his courage and his writings. ...

He wasn't married. He didn't have kids. What he learned he learned from other people's kids in classrooms and when visiting in their homes, and he was SO interested in kids that their lives were different just for his being there, so what he saw often was how a child is in the presence of a really interested and interesting adult. That's the part I want to emulate.
Because John Holt was SO interested in children, every time he interacted with one, he saw a child interacting with a fascinated adult. THIS is one of the things unschoolers need to remember. When the adult brings boredom, cynicism, criticism and doubt to the table, that's what he'll see and that's how he'll see it, and it will be no fault of the child's whatsoever.

photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Be reliable

It will add calm, value, and solidity to your life if you're reliable, honest, and trustworthy.
(Thanks to Amber Ivey for saving a quote I could build from here.)
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, February 19, 2024

Compassion and kindness

Robyn Coburn wrote:

I think that any time we get caught up in the idea that the child is "being disrespectful" (self-focused thinking) it can be harder to get back to thinking about what they are feeling, the need is they are expressing, and how to help them either fill the need, or cope with it being impossible right now, with compassion and kindness.
—Robyn Coburn

photo by Robin Bentley

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Enthusiasm for happenstance

A researcher wrote:
Sandra's theory of "strewing" highlights the role of the parent, both in the support they provide children and how they reproduce enthusiasm for happenstance.

I really like the buildup to "happenstance," and the use of that word, but as picky as I am, I want to clarify that we didn't "reproduce enthusiasm." We HAD enthusiasm.

Vanessa Bertozzi, from her MIT Master's thesis on unschoolers and media,
2009, page 80

SandraDodd.com/strewing describes strewing better.
photo by Gail Higgins

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Being safe, being trusted

Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

If your default answer is no—by the *kids'* standards even if *you* feel you say yes a lot—then they're likely to 1) see the world in terms of impossibilities rather than possibilities or 2) ask someone else who may be less trustworthy.
—Joyce Fetteroll
Be their trusted partner.

photo by Rosie Moon

Friday, February 16, 2024

CORRECTION ("When Jayn Reads")

Sorry for the bad link before.

Robyn Coburn wrote:

There is no doubt that one day, in the fullness of time and at the right time, Jayn will become a reader. I have no doubt that she will slide into reading with the relatively effortless grace that so many other Unschoolers report of their children as they gain literacy with their parents’ support in their text-filled environments.
. . . .
Without any pushing, independence will come at the right time for Jayn’s needs. Without any pushing, her only struggles will be with her own impatience—not any of mine. At the right time Jayn will launch herself into the world of independent discovery through solitary reading, and I will see less of her. I will have to wait to be invited into her private world that presently is a place that is always open to me. And I will treasure the memory of when I was as essential to her understanding as I hope to always be to her heart.

She will be a reader. But I’m in no hurry.
—Robyn Coburn

When Jayn was seven, her mom wrote that (and more, and it's beautiful: When Jayn Reads). Jayn is 24 now, and earned a university degree with honors. For the follow-up about Jayn's reading, you can listen to (or watch) this interview of Robyn, by Cecilie and Jesper Conrad: Robyn Coburn | From Doubt to Devotion - The Unschooling Transformation

photo by Jayn Coburn


"When Jayn Reads"

Robyn Coburn wrote:

There is no doubt that one day, in the fullness of time and at the right time, Jayn will become a reader. I have no doubt that she will slide into reading with the relatively effortless grace that so many other Unschoolers report of their children as they gain literacy with their parents’ support in their text-filled environments.
. . . .
Without any pushing, independence will come at the right time for Jayn’s needs. Without any pushing, her only struggles will be with her own impatience—not any of mine. At the right time Jayn will launch herself into the world of independent discovery through solitary reading, and I will see less of her. I will have to wait to be invited into her private world that presently is a place that is always open to me. And I will treasure the memory of when I was as essential to her understanding as I hope to always be to her heart.

She will be a reader. But I’m in no hurry.
—Robyn Coburn

When Jayn was seven, her mom wrote that (and more, and it's beautiful: When Jayn Reads). Jayn is 24 now, and earned a university degree with honors. For the follow-up about Jayn's reading, you can listen to (or watch) this interview of Robyn, by Cecilie and Jesper Conrad: Robyn Coburn | From Doubt to Devotion - The Unschooling Transformation

photo by Jayn Coburn

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Focus on what you're doing

Jenny Cyphers wrote:

I compared homeschooling to school a lot for a long time. It seemed so big and relevant. Then, when Chamille was about 9 or 10, I stopped reading the local homeschool boards and focused more time on reading only about unschooling. That's when my focus changed greatly, from what we weren't doing, to what we were doing.
—Jenny Cyphers

moving to more positivity
photo by Sandra Dodd

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The way we live, the way we think

Lyle Perry wrote:

I know how scary it is to think about letting go of what's 'normal', and I know it seems impossible to think about your kids learning on their own, but it's all very possible. More than possible. It's waiting to happen. It's happened for us, and we were as 'normal' as anyone else.

Unschooling has had an incredibly positive impact on our lives, and not only in an educational aspect, but in everything we do. It's changed the way we live, the way we think, and the way we look at the world in general.

photo by Sandra Dodd, of artistry by Irene Adams

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Relax into safety

The word "struggling" is used too much lately. Everyone says they're struggling about everything.

Please consider re-phrasing. If you think of the situation in your own words, you will think of it, and see it, and respond to it more clearly.

And anytime people describe things as a battle, a struggle, a fight, they're categorizing the thing as though it's fighting back, and they're in danger.

photo by Sandra Dodd, of Holly posing her shadow

Monday, February 12, 2024

A good grasp of unschooling

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

How we lived was completely unrelated to school and no longer in reaction to school, once I'd gotten a good grasp of unschooling.
—Pam Sorooshian

at Always Learning
extended Sorooshians, years after that writing;
photographer unidentified

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Pathways and connections

"I learned early on that being excited with my kids about whatever they are excited about opens pathways and connections that are magical—not just for their learning but for our relationship and their relationship with the world."
—Jen Keefe

"Following their Interests": SandraDodd.com/jeninterests
photo by Ester Siroky

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Better now

The second you have a positive attitude, even fleetingly, your life is better, right then.

SandraDodd.com, any page
photo by Sandra Dodd, a library in Bangalore

Friday, February 9, 2024

Being merry and light

If a single, childless person wants to spend a LOT of energy being negative about school, cataloging school's ills, revealing and reviewing school damage, then that's a hobby.

If the parent of unschooled children wants to do that, I think the energy and emotion could be better and more positively spent being merry and light with children who are not in school.

No one can have everything. You can't store up and identify with cynicism, pessimism and self-righteous ire and still pour out joy and happiness to your family.

moving away from negativity about school
photo by Nicole Kenyon

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Slide bars or dimmer switches

Rather than moving from one edge of a dichotomy to the other, the goal is to move to a whole new previously unknown middle place. My model won't work in everyone's head (as we're not as plug-and-play as some would like to think), but here is one way to look at this problem: See if you have a dial in your mind that says "everything" at one extreme and "nothing" at the other. It's impossible for anyone to do everything or nothing. Maybe label it "too much" and "not enough" instead, and try for the midpoint. Replace any on/off switches in your mind with slide bars or dimmers!

photo by Rosie Moon

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Tiny sparks of imagination

Lyle Perry wrote:

Unschooling is like the tiny sparks of imagination that arc through a person's mind when they really watch a bird fly for the first time, and the huge lightning bolts of clarity when they realize how that miracle can actually happen, that make unschooling work.

I think one of the most difficult things for people to grasp about unschooling is the time factor that can be involved between connecting those tiny sparks to the huge lightning bolts. It may be days, months, or years between the time a person watches something happen and the time they understand why or how it happened. But the time factor doesn't make the event any less important, and in many cases it's the time factor that makes all the difference. A person understands when they are ready to understand. No time schedule can ever change that.
—Lyle Perry

photo by Karen James

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

The open flow of real-world sharing

from 2004, Sandra Dodd:

The best thing unschoolers can do is to unschool well. The best thing those who are interested in helping others come along the same path can do is explain what helped it work well.

Reading other families' personal stories, hearing about paths that didn't work well and others that did is what helped me when I was new to this, and that's what I've been involved in helping happen ever since—real unschoolers sharing their real experiences.

Some people don't want to share in public and that's fine. Some people share things in public that turn out not to be true, and that's not cool. But over the years, many hundreds of unschoolers who first found one another through AOL's message boards, or at conferences, or through e-mail correspondence have met other unschoolers in person, and each person must ultimately gauge for herself who to emulate or trust or to go to for inspiration or whatever. There is no central board certifying unschoolers or conference organizers or listowners. It's the open flow of real-world sharing.

In 2024 I'm still offering a hand.
photo by Linda Wyatt

Monday, February 5, 2024

Be there, listening

bouncy house
Deb Lewis wrote:

Once you’re really listening to your kids and not your sense of injustice, you’ll find that answering them and interacting with them is intellectually rewarding and stimulating and fun. It’s not something you *have* to do. It’s something you *get* to do for a very little while. You can’t change this need your kids have right now. You can only change how you see it, how you think about it and meet it. And that’s good because that’s entirely in your power to do.
—Deb Lewis

photo by Sandra Dodd
in Northern Ireland, years ago

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Be more involved

Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

Unschooling is the opposite of both authoritarian and hands-off parenting. It's neither about creating rules to remote parent nor about letting kids jump off cliffs. It's about being more involved in kids lives. It's about accompanying them as they explore, helping them find safe, respectful and empowering ways to tackle what intrigues them.
—Joyce Fetteroll

photo by Eleanor Chong

This image might be hard to interpret. It's wintry yard art. A forked branch was stuck in a container of water, and when the top layer froze, it was pulled out and hung up as a temporary decoration.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

More peaceful, more loving

If you can envision the kind of relationship and the life of learning you want to have, then every time you make a choice, choose the one that takes you nearer to that goal. Learn to make many choices a day and choose the more peaceful, more loving options whenever you can. Choose to make your life more positive, and less negative.

(video and transcript)
Related info: Better Choice
photo by Cátia Maciel

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Being, in balance

Sandra, about Always Learning (the discussion list referenced):

I think finding balance is probably the hardest thing. It's easy to make an extreme caricature of "being an unschooler" rather than finding a way to live unschooling. Someone recently assured us she was "doing it," but having someone else say "that's it, you're balanced on that bicycle" is worthless if the bicycle falls over. There's doing, and there's being, and there's "it," and the reason this list exists and thrives is that those ideas (doing, being, "it") live in the realm of philosophy, of the examination of ideas, of the weeding out of error and fallacy.

Half of me says "bummer" and half of me says "cool!" and so at the balance point of those two, we continue to discuss unschooling.

photo by Linda Wyatt

Wednesday, January 31, 2024


It seems that once unschooling is going that it covers everything, and there are no wasted moments, or wasted thoughts.
but you don't have to take my word for it:
Shockingly efficient
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Benefits of laughter

Deb Lewis wrote (in 2007, so that's the "now"):

Studies are now popping up suggesting laughter makes our brains work better, reduces stress and helps sick people get well. St. Jude's Children's hospital is part of a five-year study about laughter and improved medical outcome. The study may very well expand on a finding by the renowned Dr. Seuss, which says, in part, "Today was good, today was fun. Tomorrow is another one."

Laughter has helped my own family through hard times. Sure we would have come through the hard times anyway, but we came through them with less stress, fewer lasting scars, and lots of great one-liners.
—Deb Lewis

from "Unschooler's Pipe Wrench,"
photo by Janine Davies

Monday, January 29, 2024

Fun, connection, learning

In response to a question from a mother of four-year-old girls:
"What does unschooling look like at this age?"

Clare Kirkpatrick wrote:

It looks like it does at any age: fun and connection. Do what is fun for them. If you're also working on better connection with them, a closer relationship with them, you'll also start to learn what they may find fun that they don't yet know about. Also do what is fun for you. Learning to help yourself to do fun things will help you realise that your children's learning and richness of life will come from helping them to do things they find fun.

At the moment in my house, I am having fun thinking hard about unschooling. My husband and my 12 year old are having fun and connecting with each other by playing Call of Duty together. I have helped my 6 and 8 year olds by making some space for them to build a little home for their polly pocket dolls out of wooden blocks and they are now having fun working on that and playing together. My 10 year old is having fun watching Mako Mermaids on Netflix and occasionally turning round to watch her sister and dad playing and ask questions about the game. Actually, while I've been writing that, the six year old has now snuggled next to my 12 year old to join in the chat about the game. Connection and fun. And, therefore, learning.

—Clare Kirkpatrick

photo: selfie by Sven, the dad

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Peace and love and health

Things get done, and there's no benefit to stressing out. If dinner's going to be late, a late dinner after some calm sweet mom-time is going to taste WAY, way better than a late dinner after an hour of mom-screech and accusations and whining and crying (regardless of who's making the noise). Be as sweet and as peaceful as you can be. It will make a difference to you and to the kids and your husband and your dog (rat, cat, horse, neighbors).

Whatever negativity is put into the house affects everyone.
Whatever peace and smiles are put into the house affect people too.

So you can take an hour to make dinner, and that hour might not start until 7:00, or you can take two or three crazy hours to make dinner, and the dinner won't be any better.

Ramen in a happy environment is better than four dishes and a dessert in anger and sorrow.
Advantages of Eating in Peace
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Connections coming and going

Diana Jenner wrote (not "lately" anymore):

Football has been a big connector lately. Hayden loves claw machines and on our trip won (bought) a KC Chiefs window hangie thingamabobber. He thought we should send it to the "unschoolers who sing the Kansas City Song" (Ken & Amy Briggs). When we were at Burger King the other day, the kids' prizes were NFL related. He first found KC Chiefs and reiterated his connection to the team, which led to a talk of the Briggs' actually living in NY -- "NY has TWO teams!!" As he browsed the other teams, he happened upon Cleveland Browns -- "Oh! Now I get the joke on Family Guy!! Cleveland's last name is Brown, I thought it was because of his skin color, well it is! Both!" I didn't realize how many football jokes have been on that series, but Hayden knew of a few others and it is just now that they're connecting and beginning to make sense.

I never knew how multi-layered most movies and television shows are, until I lived the freedom of no censorship with my kids. I'm excited to watch Shrek again with Hayden... we've not seen it in over a year and I know his sense of humor has drastically changed, he's more aware of innuendo, it will most likely be a whole new movie for him. I will miss his *younger* perspective as much as I look forward to this *older* one.

—Diana Jenner


also consider SandraDodd.com/again, about watching things again

Hayden playing in a fountain,
photo by Gail Higgins, I think,
or maybe by Diana Jenner

Friday, January 26, 2024

Different needs at different ages

A mom determined to limit her child's access to sweets wrote "I try to model healthy eating."

I responded:
Healthy eating for an adult woman isn't the same as for a teenaged boy or an eight year old girl or a two year old or an infant.

photo by Sarah S, of Minecraft-themed food

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Relax inside yourself

Someone wrote once:
"I really have to be vigilant on myself and try not to control."

I was amused, but responded, in part:

Being "vigilant" sounds like absolutely exhausting effort. Relax. You do not "have to be vigilant." Especially not on yourself. That's you watching yourself. Way too much work. Let go of one of those selves. Relax inside the other one. Have a snooze. Don't be vigilant.

When you wake up, think. Am I glad to be here? Is this a good moment? If so, breathe and smile and touch your child gently. Be soft. Be grateful. Find abundance. Gently.

photo by Denaire Nixon

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Looking and asking and thinking

Kelly Lovejoy wrote:

No one chooses to unschool without questioning. That's the nature of the beast. Parents who aren't going to question things—every thing—are not going to unschool. It just won't happen. The radical unschoolers I know are passionate about questioning and learning more. They don't let things rest. They keep looking and asking and thinking about things. They're voracious learners themselves, so they are excellent models for their children.

Those who choose to "go with the flow" and who accept whatever they are told and who refrain from thinking too much will be modeling for their children too.
—Kelly Lovejoy

photo by Nicole Kenyon

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Visions of input

There was a time when the only way for a kid to get information from outside his home and neighborhood was books. (Think Abraham Lincoln, log cabin in the woods far from centers of learning.) Now books tend to be outdated, and google.com is better for information. If Abraham Lincoln had had full-color DVDs of the sights of other countries, of people speaking in their native accents and languages, and of history, he would have shoved those books aside and watched those videos.

When someone thinks books are the one crucial step to any further learning, then books and school have crippled that person's ability to think expansively, and to see what's unfolding in front of them in the real world.

That was written in 2010. I would like to upgrade my imagined young-Abe-Lincoln to streaming services.

photo by Sandra Dodd, in Texas, when DVDs were abundant

Monday, January 22, 2024

Learning without instruction

It will help the children immensely to have the deep confidence that they can learn without instruction. Any child who has learned to read without "being taught" cannot doubt that he can learn other things without finding a teacher and following a prescribed course.

Confidence Grows
photo by Grace Santangelo

Sunday, January 21, 2024

What leads to learning

Mary Ellen / nellebelle wrote:

The girls and I did a *unit study* on the Olympics. I use the term loosely, because I didn't sit down and plan units or require reports on what they learned. Basically, we watched and watched and watched Olympics coverage, bought the official program in order to follow events more easily, got library books about Michelle Kwan and other Olympic stars present and past, and recorded some of our favorite events for repeat viewing. We even got the Olympic soundtrack CD. While watching, all sorts of tidbits came up for discussion. Where our favorite athletes were from had us frequently grabbing the globe or an atlas. How were events scored, why did some countries have many participants and others only a few, what is a sport, sportsmanship, and much more. Some nice unplanned things occurred at the same time. Pat was working with some people from Spain, and a couple of them came to visit. They came to dinner at our house and spent the evening watching and discussing Olympics with us. This was the night that Ice Dancing was on, and we had a spirited discussion on whether this should qualify as a sport, or not. It was exciting for all of us to have a foreign person associated with the international sports industry spend time with us. That it happened during the world's most popular sports competition was really cool.
. . . .
It never ceases to amaze me how doing one thing can lead to learning about something else.
—Mary Ellen

Part of something longer, SandraDodd.com/t/cheesy
photo by Cathy Koetsier, on a visit to Cambridge

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Your child and the world

"Bring the world to your children and your children to the world."
—Pam Sorooshian

How to Be a Good Unschooler
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Friday, January 19, 2024

Exploring locally

Deb Lewis wrote:

I have found so many interesting things to do around our little town just by talking with people and asking questions. I ask everyone questions about what they like to do, etc. I have met so many people with interesting hobbies who have been happy to share what they know with my son and show him their collections.

The man who runs the local green house lets us help transplant seedlings. He grows worms too, and lets Dylan dig around in the worm beds.

The guy who works at the newspaper speaks Chinese and draws cartoons. He's given Dylan lots of pointers about where to get good paper and story boards, etc.

The old guy at the antique shop was a college professor and is a huge Montana History buff, whenever Dylan has questions, we go browse the antiques.

The lady at the flower shop keeps birds and lets Dylan hold them when we visit.
—Deb Lewis

some local particulars from Deb Lewis's "List of Things to do in the Winter"—a long list of things a parent and child could do if it's cold or they want to explore SandraDodd.com/strew/deblist
photo by Diane Marcengill

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Listening, observing, exploring, helping...

Rebecca Creighton wrote:

I'm grateful for this forum that is helping me learn that it (unschooling, parenting, relationships, life) is not about perfection, right vs. wrong, a formulaic way of doing something, or a specific outcome—but rather, it's about listening, observing, exploring, helping, growing, awareness, choices—getting better at those things—little by little.
—Rebecca Creighton

The quote was slightly edited by Rebecca, for me to use. The original is in a comment at What peace feels like
photo by Jesper Conrad

Thinking in your own words

If people can come to understand why it matters whether they use "teach" or "learn," they can start to get other subtleties and REALLY start thinking their own thoughts, consciously and mindfully.

Saying what one means rather than using phrases without thinking is very, very important.

Hearing what I say as a mom is crucial to mindfulness.

If I don't notice what I say, if I don't even hear myself, how can I expect my kids to hear me?

If I say things without having carefully chosen each word, am I really communicating?

Mindful of Words
photo by Marta Venturini

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Aim for better

Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

Rather than shooting for perfect, why not aim for better? Perfect you're bound to miss and you will have failed. But better is doable. 🙂

We all have issues about something. They go deep and are tangled up around other stuff but working at them bit by bit can make them better.
—Joyce Fetteroll

photo by Hema Bharadwaj

Tuesday, January 16, 2024


"To nourish" someone goes above and beyond food. "Good food" served with shame or pressure loses all its goodness, to a child. A loving relationship can last forevermore. Ice lollies and popsicles are gone in no time.

Let their memories of treats, and of meals, of childhood, and of parents, be warm and comforting.

Advantages of Eating in Peace
photo by Elaine Santana

Monday, January 15, 2024

Purposes and directions

Have purpose, don't just go through thoughtless motions.

That was a comment by me/Sandra in a discussion on facebook once but a good match from my website is
Mindful Parenting.
photo by Renee Cabatic

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Chaotic, random, effortless

"School is to unschooling as foreign language class is to learning to talk. The first is orderly, thorough, hard and hardly works. The second is chaotic, random, effortless and works like a charm."
—Joyce Fetteroll

photo by Julie D

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Exploring interests

Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

What sets unschooling apart from other homeschooling approaches isn’t children making choices. It’s parents creating an environment that supports exploring interests. It’s creating an environment that allows children to make choices based on interest.

Unschooling is *parents* creating the environment that allows children to choose. One choice might be to go to school. But children aren’t unschooling in school. They aren’t unschooling in a class. They aren’t unschooling when they do a workbook. They’re learning.
—Joyce Fetteroll

photo by Cátia Maciel

Friday, January 12, 2024

Let the light shine

It's easy (and well-rewarded by positive attention from other adults), in some circles, to be controlling parents.

Probably everyone reading this knows that, but unschoolers have figured out ways to step away, just far enough to let the light shine on options and choices.

Confidence can grow when unschooling starts working well, and everything seems clearer when it's happening at your house, and not theoretical.

photo by Diane Marcengill

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Learning what they know

"How do you know they're learning?" The people who ask that question are looking at the world through school-colored glasses. Those same parents knew when their children could use a spoon. They knew when the child could drink out of a cup. They knew when walking and talking and bike riding had been learned.

Here's how I learned that Kirby knew about the Huns: He was waiting for me to give him a ride, while I was talking on the phone to a local mom who was considering homeschooling. We were discussing unit studies, and I said they weren't necessary, that people just keep learning their whole lives. "You can't finish China," I said, and Kirby commented dryly, "The Huns tried that."

So, on my mental checklist, I note Kirby identifying the Huns, using the word in a sentence, knowing a dab about Chinese history. But was I testing? Was he reporting? Neither. He was just making a joke. And it was sufficient for me to discover what he knew.

photo by Jihong Tang

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Rethink what you're trying to do

"Rethink what you’re trying to do rather than how you’re trying to do it. Get a new perspective on it so you can see things in a new way."
—Joyce Fetteroll

photo by Karen James