Monday, July 22, 2024

Choose and be and do

Don't worry about what kids choose to do. Make sure they have lots of choices, and don't discriminate between what you think might be career path and what might "only" be joyful activity and self-expression, or what might seem to be nothing more than relaxation or escapism. Let them choose and be and do.
photo by Sarah Peshek

Sunday, July 21, 2024

Learning the OTHER things

Sylvia Toyama wrote, in 2004:

This week Andy has figured out money, and it's happened in spurts all week...
. . . .
He has learned all this through his own observations. He figured it on his own, when it made sense to him, because it was now important to him to know. And he has the pleasure of knowing he did it without being 'taught' by someone else. He's learned that he's capable and smart — something you just can't get from a worksheet with some arcane facts memorized.

And that's how they reach the point of 'wanting to learn' — when it matters to them, not when it matters to you or anyone else.
—Sylvia Toyama

You can read the details I left out
photo by Cátia Maciel

Saturday, July 20, 2024

Learning by watching

While you're understanding your children's interests, and getting over any initial embarrassment about your own, remember to have compassion and understanding toward other adults in your life, and what they are learning by watching.
Coconut art by Ishan, from Sri Lanka, whose "fiverr" name was funnymad.

If you can't see a video, Plan B: Coconut (on youtube)

Friday, July 19, 2024

Principles sustain; rules constrain

Ben Lovejoy wrote:

Question the rules, and question the principles as well. But once you and your family have chosen the principles important to the family, you'll find that no one will want to change or break or get around them like they will rules.

Principles sustain a life; rules will constrain that very same life.

—Ben Lovejoy
photo by Sandra Dodd

Thursday, July 18, 2024

When is the test?

[As a kid in school...]
I asked fewer questions when I heard "that won't be on the test" for the dozenth time.

Then when I was teaching, too many kids asked me "Will this be on the test?"

That's when I came up with the test being the rest of their lives, and whether they'll get jokes, or be interesting people, and with "Everything counts."

Everything Counts (other posts going there)

image by Bill Watterson
If you're on facebook, you can click that image to see the original discussion. Other unschooling moms had thoughts on it, too.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Where the learning is

Even if you obtain the coolest tools or toys unschoolers could recommend, natural learning isn't in the toys, it's in the relationship between the adult and child—in the freedom and peace and time to explore and to think.
(The quote isn't there, but similar ideas are!)
photo by Janine Davies

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

A calmer, kinder mother

Below are my comments (Sandra's). They didn't go to the author, because I wasn't in on the discussion where this was first posted. They're for people who come by here ["here" being the page linked at the bottom].

"Am I going to hate, and have to fight, Harry Potter the way I have Pokemon?"
HATE? "Have to"? "Fight"? Eewwww... There is more violence in that question than in all of Pokemon's "battles." And seriously... fighting Harry Potter!? He can kick Voldemort's ass. If only the mom had spent all that energy looking at Harry Potter, or Pokemon, WITH her daughter, instead of being resentful and jealous and spiteful, their relationship might soar.
photo by Rippy Dusseldorp

Monday, July 15, 2024

Learning comes from play

"Real learning comes from play. And it stays longer and means more."
photo by Julie D

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Playing, and happiness

Lyle Perry wrote:

Playing is fun. Playing makes a person happy. Why on earth would anyone want to move from something that makes them happy?

Play has been given a bad rap in our society. It's looked upon as a waste of time. It's not productive enough. And anything that isn't productive (in society's eyes) is a waste of life.

It's all bunk. What is more important in life than "producing" happiness?
—Lyle Perry
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Imagine supporting and accepting

Jenny Cyphers wrote:

I really can't imagine villifying anything in their lives that they might find very exciting. Well, I can imagine it, so I guess that's why I don't do it.
—Jenny Cyphers
photo by Susanna Waters

Friday, July 12, 2024

Approach "better."

Incremental improvement
Approaching perfection, no. Perfection is subjective.
Approach "better."
. . . .

The tool to use to move toward "better" is an awareness of choice.
And practice making choices.
Learning to make choices.

"Happiness Inside and Out"
photo by Brie Jontry

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Loving what you love

Jen Keefe wrote:

Getting to know my kids and subsequently all the amazingly cool "nerdy" things I never would have learned about otherwise has expanded my world. Cynicism always shrunk it.
. . . .

Ditching my cynicism was an awesome lesson. It has let me meet the actual coolest people, try things I used to think were really dumb, and jump all in looking like a total weirdo to stuff I geek out about—even when other people are watching.

Best of all though—I am no longer discouraging anyone from loving what they love. So in turn, I am not discouraging myself from loving what I love.
—Jen Keefe
photo by Janelle Jamieson

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Seeing it and being it

"Seeing wonderfulness in our kids is part of how we get wonderfulness in our kids."
—Betsy / ecsamhill
(fifth comment down)

"Give them power and respect, and they become respected and powerful."
—Sandra Dodd
(more of that)

"I've helped my kids by going toward what they wanted, and been generous, and they've been the same toward me. Sweet."
—Jill Parmer
Generosity begets generosity.
photo by Roya Dedeaux

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

No road blocks

Kelli Traaseth wrote:

When I started unschooling, I thought it was just an educational approach. But as we went along in our lives, so many other things popped up. If they were learning as they were playing, as I knew they were, how could I limit that? How could I say, "time to go to bed now?" Or "time to shut the TV off now" or "shut the video game down now". Unschooling is such a continuum. If I did those above things, I would see them as huge road blocks in my child's learning. I want their learning to be a big freeway, things coming, things going, no road blocks.
—Kelli Traaseth
2004, 8th post or so down
photo by Cally Brown
(not a freeway, but pretend...)

At the old, preserved forum (link below Kelli's name), you can go backward and forward a bit by changing the page number at the bottom left of the page. (In case you want to, in case you go there...)

Monday, July 8, 2024

Interests and activities

Joyce Fetteroll, part of a response about kids missing out on friendships and other kids:
Homeschooled kids get the opportunity to form friendships with people of all ages based on interests rather than birthyears. There's homeschooling support groups, scouts, art and dance and martial arts classes, 4H, church groups, neighborhood kids and so on. It can be more difficult depending on the town's services and the parent's willingness to take advantage of opportunities, but some homeschooling parents end up finding their kids social lives *too* active!
—Joyce Fetteroll
photo by Cátia Maciel

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Seeing and knowing what it is

I think all unschoolers should read as many definitions as they can instead of depending on one definition.

On the other hand, I think that just because there is not a single view, that doesn't mean all views are equal. Just because there is no definitive description of unschooing that doesn't mean everything in the whole world is equally unschooling.

And I don't think there are (as some say) as many different ways to unschool as there are unschooling families. I think there ARE common and shared practices and beliefs among the successful unschooling families.

Definitions of Unschooling

What is Unschooling?

Several Definitions of Unschooling

photo by Christine Milne

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Happy to see the day

When people insist that "all unschooling is" is just homeschooling without a curriculum or without lessons, I don't disagree. They should take it out and put it on billboards. Lobby to get it into the dictionary. Whatever. But when families come to ask how they can make unschooling work, it does no good to say "Just don't have a curriculum. See ya!" It takes layers of understanding, it takes recovery from school, and a desire to have a relationship with a child in which learning is flowing and easy. It takes working to create an atmosphere in which children and parents wake up happy to see the day.
—Sandra Dodd, in 2004
fourth post on this legacy page

SORRY the link above didn't work in e-mail; I've restored it, I hope!
photo by Vlad Gurdiga

Friday, July 5, 2024

Part of life? Fact.

Lyle Perry, as part a description of unschooling:
Facts are all around us, all the time. The difference between school and unschooling is that the facts are not always stated as facts, they are simply a part of life. The facts are not simply "known", they are felt and lived in. I think most unschoolers know as many, or more, facts as schooled kids, they just don't know them AS facts. They know them as part of life.
—Lyle Perry archive, bottom
photo by Rosie Moon

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Twenty days of learning

Ghoj pagh jaj (Klingon, maybe, for "Learn Nothing Day") is in one score of days.

O le aso e leai se mea afia
O Dia de Nao Aprender Nada
Leer Niets Dag
El Dia de No Aprender Nada
Oggi non si impara
Erster Internationaler Welt-nichtslerntag
La Journée Sans Rien Apprendre

Learn now, because it's going to end on July 24.

Score! and counting sheep in prehistoric languages
(with some good comments, there)

photos by Sandra Dodd, with continuing gratitude to Ester Siroky for taking me and Joyce to see some Highland cattle in 2013
__ __

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

A busy, happy swirl

I didn’t expect them to learn so much without me.

Anyone who is involved in natural learning for any length of time can find it difficult to summarize what children have learned academically, because each child’s knowledge comes from such varied sources and is fit together uniquely.

At first, though, I thought I wouldn’t miss a single thing. Then I totally missed them learning Roman numerals, which they learned from the names of a series of MegaMan video games.

I was jealous of that “MegaMan” guy, at first. I felt cheated out of the fun of seeing their eyes light up. But in thinking about that feeling, I realized that if life is a busy, happy swirl, they will learn. Learning is guaranteed. The range and content will vary, but the learning will happen.
—Sandra in 2014, originally
and there's a comment there

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

You don't "have to"

Every time "have to" comes up in writing, speech or thought, back up two words and see it as a choice, and not a have to.

You don't "have to" do that, but your ability to make choices and to live a life of abundant gratitude will be hampered if you don't.
photo by Marty Dodd

Monday, July 1, 2024

Experiences, not lessons

Experience is the only true teacher. Give your kids experiences, not lessons. Give them opportunities to follow their hearts until they exhaust their curiosity. The longer you do schoolish things, the longer it will take for them to find a path of their own because they will constantly be looking for approval for their choices from without instead of from within. Expose them to cool and interesting people whenever you can.
. . . .
Relax. Live life. Breathe. Enjoy. Find yourself. Love your children.
—Jennifer / Jen Fox
from the last comment, here

Jennifer was writing about deschooling, so...
photo by Julie D