Showing posts sorted by relevance for query /julie. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query /julie. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Shockingly efficient

Julie Daniel owns a company that advises people on efficiency and productivity. I interviewed her and asked whether unschooling had seemed inefficient. Her husband works with her, and she quotes him:
When I first started to explore unschooling one of the things I found very exciting was how amazingly effective and efficient it is. My husband, James, says it is 'shockingly efficient'. There isn’t any of the wasted effort that goes along with trying to entice someone to pay attention to something that they don’t care about. We notice what Adam is interested in and we think about what else he might find interesting and we provide opportunities to explore those things.

Mostly when people think about being 'organised' they think about structure and predictability. For me the point of being organised is to achieve a particular objective. I actually really like that I don’t need to have a lot of structure to achieve the goals of exploring cool things, learning about the world and having fun. Of course some of the basic organisational skills that I have learned do come in handy, like knowing where to find things that I’ve saved and keeping track of our calendar so we know where to be and when. But in terms of Adam’s learning I don’t feel the need for structure and predictability because I can see how incredibly efficient his natural learning process is.

—Julie Daniel
The Efficiency of Unschooling (interview)
photo by Julie Daniel

Saturday, January 12, 2019

People are different

Julie Daniel wrote:

One of the things that I really liked about the home education group was that the children were all different ages so Adam never realised that he was unusual in being able to read so early. Of course he knew that some children at the group could read and that some couldn't but in his mind that was just part of the concept that everyone is different — some children could run really fast and some were slow. Some children could go all the way across the monkey bars without letting go and some couldn't. Reading was like that. Some could, some couldn't. He didn't seem to notice until he was quite a lot older that he was an "early reader". And I liked that. It wouldn't have been possible in a school environment.
—Julie Daniel

The lead-up to that is here:
photo by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Julie, Adam's mom, wrote in 2009:

Adam and I went to a concert in London for children under five. It was very interactive with the presenter asking questions as they introduced the different instruments.

Adam was really engaged with it and was answering lots of the questions identifying the instruments. When he identified the piccolo the lady presenting it said how did he know what a piccolo was and he said “I watched the Tweenies. And they are very interested in music and they talked about the woodwind section in the orchestra. So I’ve seen a piccolo before."

It was really funny because a lot of the people who were there don’t let their kids watch TV and kind of look down on the Tweenies.
—Julie D
photo by Remy C BW

Friday, October 12, 2012

Let learning live

"I remember Sandra writing recently that if kids are interested, they're learning. I repeat that to myself, almost as a mantra. And I no longer worry that all they want to do is play."
—Genevieve Raymond
Learning to see differently
photo by Julie D

The original Julie D image disappeared, so this is a 2023 replacement, same photographer.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Curious about the world

Julie, on what is needed for unschooling:

"I think a lot of what makes somebody a good unschooling parent is being curious about the world, about what’s going on around them. And willing to look at interesting things, and see interesting things everywhere, and help the child to see interesting things everywhere."
—Julie D.

Who can Unschool? (sound file and transcript)
photo by Sandra Dodd

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

Friday, August 19, 2022

Ukulele window

There is something you already have that can be fun and soothing: words. "Ukulele window" has a pretty rhythm, and is fun and easy to speak. Feel all the positions in your mouth, and think of other windows, other places, with a ukulele, or two or ten. This photo was taken in England, somewhere.

The colors are pretty. Someone decided in which order they should be arranged, while the display was set up. Most are probably off in homes—all sorts of places, with all kinds of people.

No one gets to know, but anyone can consider and imagine the possibilities.

Ukulele was originally a Hawaiian word. Window was lifted from Norse, but that's where words come from—all over the place.

The more you know, the better ukulele windows will be.
photo by Julie D

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ease into change

Instead of just going from lots of control to "do whatever you want," a really sweet way to do it is quickly but gradually. Quickly in your head, but not all of a sudden in theirs. Just allow yourself to say "okay" or "sure!" anytime it's not really going to be a problem.

If something isn't going to hurt anything (going barefoot, wearing the orange jacket with the pink dress, eating a donut, not coming to dinner because it's the good part of a game/show/movie, staying up later, dancing) you can just say "Okay."

And then later instead of "aren't you glad I let you do that? Don't expect it every time," you could say something reinforcing for both of you, like "That really looked like fun," or "It felt better for me to say yes than to say no. I should say 'yes' more," or something conversational but real.

The purpose of that is to help ease them from the controlling patterns to a more moment-based and support-based decision making mindset. If they want to do something and you say yes in an unusual way (unusual to them), communication will help. That way they'll know you really meant to say yes, that it wasn't a fluke, or you just being too distracted to notice what they were doing.
photo by Julie D

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thinking, seeing beings

Children have been whole, thinking, seeing beings since the day they were born. Assisting them to learn and to find their strengths and to explore the world and its possibilities is preparing them for their unseen futures.

Mommy-labs Interview, October 2012
("Children" replaces "they," to allow the quote to make sense out of context.)

photo by Julie D

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

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

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shared fun

The side benefits are family togetherness, common experiences, and fun!

As partners and supporters, if one of us is having fun, the others are glad, and happy, and often right in the midst of that same fun.
photo by Julie D

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Kindness, generosity and joy

Meredith wrote:

Kindness and generosity and joy are important to me. So if I look at my daughter and she seems dissatisfied or bored, I want to do something to help—I want to spread some kindness and joy. So I'll look for ways to do that. Will it help to visit more friends? Go someplace with animals (my daughter loves animals)? Is she happy with her current animation program or is she ready for something more complex? Has she finished her latest graphic novel? Does she need new shoes? Do I need to spend more time hanging out with her? Play a game, maybe (video or board game)? Go on an adventure together? Write together? I suggest things based on what I know about her—what sorts of things make her smile, light her up with enthusiasm, or pique her curiosity.

When I focus on those sorts of goals, learning takes care of itself. That's something that can be hard to see right away, especially if you have some schoolish expectations as to how learning happens. Read more about natural learning so you can build up some confidence.
—Meredith Novak
photo by Julie D

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Learning without effort

When unschooling is working really well, learning will be happening, for kids and parents, without effort.
The Fabric of Life
photo by Julie D

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rainbows on cookies

I'm singing in my head, "Rainbows on cookies, and whiskers on kittens..." Not a good combination, perhaps, as sanitation goes, but I wanted to mention combinations.

People can be single-minded and see the world in a granulated form, as individual, unrelated things, but that limits learning. Sometimes two things meet unexpectedly, and happily, and new thoughts arise. Look for those connections and welcome them!

If you want to sing along with "Rainbows on cookies," here is a link to an interestingly illustrated version of the song, sung by Julie Andrews (with the original words).

Photo by Holly Dodd
Cookies by Sandra Dodd
Rainbow by a combination of the sun and a crystal in the kitchen window

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Time out

There have been a couple of errors lately, and I wanted to take a minute to talk about the blog. I misspelled the name of the Concorde in yesterday's post. Julie D, who has provided me with some nice photos, and who crossed the Atlantic by Concorde more than once, caught that. I spelled it as though it were part of Flight of the Conchords, and if anyone isn't familiar with that duo, this is a fun intro.

On February 10th's post, one of the links was broken when the e-mail went out. It was repaired that morning, on the blog, but for those who missed it, here it is with the link working: Disharmony for a good cause

Two nights ago in a conversation here at the house, I was telling a friend that the photos I use aren't really very good, and that Lori Odhner's daily mailing (Marriage Moats) has GREAT photos. The very next night I was talking to another friend by phone, and she brought up how much she loves the photos on Just Add Light and Stir.

I will continue to do what I'm doing until frustration outweighs satisfaction, and I quit and do other things.

Until that happens, here are two other resources some of you might subscribe to, or peek in on occasionally. One is an infrequent blog about connections and thoughts, called Thinking Sticks: Playing with Ideas. The other is a little more frequent, and links new pages or notable additions to existing pages on my website: Unschooling Site News,

If one day a post from Just Add Light and Stir seems too small for you, or it wasn't something you needed to read, maybe you could go and poke around one of those other blogs and find some sparkly ideas.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 28, 2021

A natural part of the world

In the midst of some bad ideas, someone contributed this to an unschooling discussion once: "Children (under the age of five) are like scientists from an alien world."

I responded:
No, they are natural parts of their OWN world.

Robyn Coburn mediated with: "I believe the visiting alien idea, is one that is mostly useful as an aid to assist impatient or pushy parents (probably not Unschoolers) to be more compassionate—an analogy rather than a true metaphor. One thing that seems to unite Unschoolers is acceptance of their children's individual timetables."

Talking to Babies
photo by Julie D

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy monkey

toddler getting new shoes

I went to the grocery store alone. It was crowded and people were moving fast, but were calm and smiling. I saw three young children. Their relatives were being very sweet to all of them. In other families, older kids were being helpful.

On the way to my van, a man who was 35 or 40 was happily riding the back of his shopping cart down the hill toward his car, with the wind blowing his hair.

On the way home, I thought of the cutest thing I had heard. A young mom had been holding a toddler, and he said something and touched her mouth. She said, "Monkey?"

He indicated that she was right.

"You're a monkey?"

"Happy," he said.

"You're a happy monkey? Happy monkey!"

And he was. He was very happy.

So easily, we can tip two degrees over into the sorrows and fears of the world. Without trying, we can fall into a pool of despair and take our friends and families down with us.

Not everyone can be happy today, but if your child is whole and well, for one moment or for ten do your part to help him be as happy a monkey as he can be.
photo by Julie D

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Calm acceptance

children in mismatched rainboots

Sometimes the smallest thing can make child extremely happy. Sometimes parents can find joy in relaxing around fears and pressures. Without dress codes and early-morning school bells, or other kids to ask "Why are you wearing that?!", there can be leisurely days of choices and creativity, while parents practice saying "yes" and children play without worries.

Jenny Cyphers once wrote:
"The big upside of unschooling, in my opinion, was that it also created an unexpected peacefulness, fulfillment, and happiness for all of us."
photo by Julie Markovitz

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Joyfully detoxing

Paula L / "Paulapalooza" wrote:

Okay, not all days will leave us feeling as if we are Julie Andrews spinning around on that mountain top singing "The Sound of Music," but so many of my days leave me with just that feeling.
. . . .


You know, I spent a good 30 of my 35 years in some type of structured setting, striving to please others and live up to their standards, which I convinced myself were my own. I feel that I will be detoxing from this for the rest of my life, and it's a joyful process. Living outside the box makes me a person at peace, a person people constantly observe as "always so happy." I used to be very good at "blooming where I was planted," which was of course not true happiness, and the strain inevitably showed. I am finally happy on my own terms, and the difference is obvious to me.
—Paula L

A happy free day!
photo by Vlad Gurdiga

Also by Paula L, beautiful, but I cannot match a photo to it:
A Day of Wonder
It's sweet and poetic; please read it.