Showing posts sorted by relevance for query parents of unschoolers. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query parents of unschoolers. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Huge and wonderful choice

little Kirby feeding ducks at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque

Robyn Coburn wrote:

Intentions matter. Guidance offered from the place of partnership and trust has a different feeling, avoids rebellion, and is just plain less focused on the trivial. Guidance means optional acceptance instead of mandatory compliance. Guidance means parents being safety nets, not trap doors or examiners. Guidance facilitates mindfulness. Directives shut it down, and may even foster resentment instead.

The idea of Unschooling is for parents to be the facilitators of options, the openers of doors, the creators of environments of freedom, and the guardians of choice, not the installers of roadblocks and barriers. Unschoolers are making the huge and wonderful choice to renounce our legal entitlements to be the authoritarian controllers of our children's lives, and instead choose to be their partners.
—Robyn Coburn

SandraDodd.com/choicerobyn
photo by Sandra Dodd, of a long-ago Kirby

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Priorities, influence, reading

A story from when Kirby was in his late teens:

Kirby was reading aloud the other night from a gaming manual to that big batch of guys who went to see Pirates of Penzance with us. Kirby and Marty really wanted to go to the play. As things turned out, three unexpected others went with us. That was fine. They went because they were involved in a roleplaying game, and wanted to continue it later, and because they trust Kirby and Marty's judgement about what's cool.

They had fun, and came back and played several hours longer afterward. But Kirby, one of the youngest of the seven there, and one of the "least educated," was reading difficult material aloud to attentive others, one of whom... has a college degree, one of whom has two years of college, and none of whom had any reason to say, "Let me read that." He could've been reading it for taping, or radio. Expressive, clear, no hesitation.

He's confident in his skin, in his mind, and in his being.
He's not afraid of his parents.
He goes to sleep happy and he wakes up glad.

My priorities could have been different.


Kirby is in his 30s now, married, and reads each night to two little girls. I wish I could hear it sometimes.

SandraDodd.com/priorities
photo by Sandra Dodd— not of that night's game, but there's Kirby in black to the right, and Marty in green, with other unschoolers

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Intentions matter.

Robyn Coburn wrote:

Intentions matter.

Guidance offered from the place of partnership and Trust has a different feeling, avoids rebellion, and is just plain less focused on the trivial. Guidance means optional acceptance instead of mandatory compliance. Guidance means parents being safety nets, not trap doors or examiners. Guidance facilitates mindfulness. Directives shut it down, and may even foster resentment instead.

The idea of Unschooling is for parents to be the facilitators of options, the openers of doors, the creators of environments of freedom, and the guardians of choice, not the installers of roadblocks and barriers. Unschoolers are making the huge and wonderful choice to renounce our legal entitlements to be the authoritarian controllers of our children's lives, and instead choose to be their partners.

SandraDodd.com/choice
photo by Sandra Dodd, inside a tile shop in Austin
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Monday, October 8, 2012

The openers of doors

"The idea of Unschooling is for parents to be the facilitators of options, the openers of doors, the creators of environments of freedom, and the guardians of choice,
not the installers of roadblocks and barriers. Unschoolers are making the huge and wonderful choice to renounce our legal entitlements to be the authoritarian controllers of our children's lives, and instead choose to be their partners."
—Robyn Coburn

SandraDodd.com/choice
photo by Edith Chabot

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Stimulating environments

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

Unschooling is dropping the conventions of schooling, eliminating such things as required subjects, reading and writing assignments, and tests, and entirely replacing those with the creation of a stimulating, enriched environment and lots and lots of parental support for kids in pursuing their interests and passions.

LOTS of parents create stimulating environments and give lots of support for their kids' interests; this is not unique to unschoolers. What makes it unschooling is that unschoolers give up the rest of the schooling and trust that their kids will learn what they need to learn by being immersed in the rich and stimulating environment and with parental support of kids' interests.

—Pam Sorooshian

Definitions of Unschooling
photo by Sandra Dodd
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stimulating environments

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

Unschooling is dropping the conventions of schooling, eliminating such things as required subjects, reading and writing assignments, and tests, and entirely replacing those with the creation of a stimulating, enriched environment and lots and lots of parental support for kids in pursuing their interests and passions.

LOTS of parents create stimulating environments and give lots of support for their kids' interests; this is not unique to unschoolers. What makes it unschooling is that unschoolers give up the rest of the schooling and trust that their kids will learn what they need to learn by being immersed in the rich and stimulating environment and with parental support of kids' interests.

—Pam Sorooshian

Definitions of Unschooling
photo by Sandra Dodd
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Sunday, May 6, 2018

Intensity and focus


Pam Sorooshian wrote:

Is unschooling right for everyone? My answer is, "It depends." I think ALL children can learn and grow and thrive as unschoolers. But I also think it takes an intensity and focus on living life with a great deal of gusto on the part of unschooling parents. Unschooling parents work hard. For example, they must develop a very high level of sensitivity to their children to know what to offer, when to support, when to back off, how busy they want to be, how much solitude they need, when to nudge them a bit with encouragement, when to get more involved, and so on. AND parents need to be able to always have their kids and their interests in the back of their minds, thinking always about what would interest them; bringing the world to them and bringing them to the world in ways that "click" for that particular child. And it takes a great deal of trust that the child will learn without external pressure.
—Pam Sorooshian

I LIVE THEREFORE I LEARN: Living an Unschooling Life
photo by Cathy Koetsier

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Beauty and options

I want to present a portal to a beautiful piece of writing by Robyn that all unschoolers might want to read (or re-read) called "The Beautiful Park". I won't quote from it, because anything said is a spoiler. It is experienced anew each time it is read.

I will quote from something I saved as "Robyn Coburn on Giving Children Options":

"The idea of Unschooling is for parents to be the facilitators of options, the openers of doors, the creators of environments of freedom, and the guardians of choice, not the installers of roadblocks and barriers."
—Robyn Coburn

more by Robyn Coburn
photo by Karen James

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Options, doors, choices


Robyn Coburn wrote:

The idea of Unschooling is for parents to be the facilitators of options, the openers of doors, the creators of environments of freedom, and the guardians of choice, not the installers of roadblocks and barriers. Unschoolers are making the huge and wonderful choice to renounce our legal entitlements to be the authoritarian controllers of our children's lives, and instead choose to be their partners.
—Robyn Coburn

SandraDodd.com/option
photo by Sandra Dodd
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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

SandraDodd.com/robyncoburn
photo by Jayn Coburn

ORIGINAL POST, Corrected

"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

SandraDodd.com/robyncoburn
photo by Jayn Coburn

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Without effort, without knowing

When people ask a structured family how much time it takes to homeschool the response usually ranges from three hours a day to six hours a day (much more than kids actually spend in classrooms in school). When you ask an unschooling family how much time it takes to homeschool, first there's a pause. I've heard, in rapid succession in groups of unschoolers, "None" and "All of it." Their range is it takes from zero hours a day to 24 hours a day.

When learning is recognized in the fabric of life and encouraged, when families make their decisions based on what leads to more interesting and educational ends, children learn without effort, often without even knowing it, and parents learn along with them.

All Kinds of Unschooling
photo by Sandra Dodd

Friday, December 9, 2011

General happiness

Pam Sorooshian wrote, in a discussion on December 5:

Our goal as unschoolers isn't 'have fun'—that's not ambitious enough. That's good as a goal for a birthday party, but not for parents who have taken the responsibility for helping their children learn. We are aiming
for more than that—we are expanding our children's horizons and helping them deepen their understanding of all kinds of things in the world.
. . . .

Learning is intrinsically satisfying and so a child should feel generally satisfied and happy if his/her life involves lots of opportunities for learning. I think general happiness is a good gauge of whether things are going well...but to say that our purpose is to have fun is to vastly understate and mislead about what we're doing.
—Pam Sorooshian


SandraDodd.com/pamsorooshian
photo by Sandra Dodd, of the peel of a little orange that came off all in one piece
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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, March 17, 2014

Let joy replace fear

There is a kind of magic thinking that says television can rob people of their imagination, but that if parents sacrifice televisions, children will be more intelligent.


. . . .
[A]mong unschoolers there are many who once prohibited or measured out TV time, and who changed their stance. Learning became a higher priority than control, and joy replaced fear in their lives. I can't quote all the accounts I have collected, but I invite you to read them.
SandraDodd.com/tv

The quote is from page 136 of The Big Book of Unschooling
photo of Holly and Orion by Sandra Dodd

This is a re-run from 12/31/10, when Holly was a teenager and Orion was a little boy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A lot of DOING

I think unschoolers should let their kids do what they want all day in an attentive and enriched environment.

The parents should be facilitators of natural learning, providing new and interesting things for their kids to experience, being supportive of their children's interests, providing them materials and experiences with music, food, art, materials...

It's a lot of DOING, and being, and learning, for years and years.

SandraDodd.com/neglect (cheery neglect)
photo by Sandra Dodd, of Robbie Prieto's Viking ship
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Friday, December 31, 2010

Television and video media

There is a kind of magic thinking that says television can rob people of their imagination, but that if parents sacrifice televisions, children will be more intelligent.


. . . .
[A]mong unschoolers there are many who once prohibited or measured out TV time, and who changed their stance. Learning became a higher priority than control, and joy replaced fear in their lives. I can't quote all the accounts I have collected, but I invite you to read them.
SandraDodd.com/tv

The quote is from page 136 of The Big Book of Unschooling
photo of Holly and Orion by Sandra Dodd

Monday, November 2, 2020

Learning leaps and lingers

School creates the illusion that learning is a smooth curve, divided into hours, units, terms, years. Sometimes unschooling parents look for that.

Often, learning happens suddenly, like a flash. A person "gets it" or makes a connection between two things. It's fine to rest for a few days after that!

Folklorists who study traditional ballads say "A ballad leaps and lingers." Later, films did that, too. Though many ballads are ancient-old, they are a bit like movies. They might start in the middle of an action scene, or with a mysterious dilemma. A scene might be portrayed in great detail, and the next scene pick up six months or three years later in the story. Learning can be that way.

Doing something "in fits and starts" means there are stretches of quiet nothing, and then suddenly things are happening. Then nothing, again, for a while. Learning is like that.

In the novel Shogun, the character Mariko says early on:

We have a saying that time has no single measure, that time can be like frost, or lightning, or a tear, or siege, or storm, or sunset, or even like a rock.
Try not to measure.

The learning Curve of Unschoolers
photo by Karen James

Friday, August 9, 2019

Just right

This was originally written in 2010,
so "recently" and "new" are nine years old now.



When I was little, I always liked the musicality of the story of The Three Bears, with its "too hot, too cold, just right" and "too hard, too soft, just right."

Recently I was interviewed and responded to a question about what can be a hurdle for new unschoolers, and what advice I would give to beginners:

"Read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch." That's my new improved advice for anyone about anything. Some people think they can read their way to a change, or discuss themselves into unschooling.

It's important to find out what others have discovered and done, but nothing will change until the parents change the way they respond to the child. But if the parents change EVERYthing about the way they respond to the child, that creates chaos, and doesn't engender confidence. The child might just think the parents have gone crazy or don't love him anymore.

One solid step in the direction a parent intends to go is better than a wild dance back and forth. And if that solid step feels right, they can take another solid step.

the full interview, by Kim Houssenloge, of Feather and Nest
Photo by Linnea, with Holly's camera

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Just right

When I was little, I always liked the musicality of the story of The Three Bears, with its "too hot, too cold, just right" and "too hard, too soft, just right."

Recently I was interviewed and responded to a question about what can be a hurdle for new unschoolers, and what advice I would give to beginners:
"Read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch."

That's my new improved advice for anyone about anything. Some people think they can read their way to a change, or discuss themselves into unschooling.

It's important to find out what others have discovered and done, but nothing will change until the parents change the way they respond to the child. But if the parents change EVERYthing about the way they respond to the child, that creates chaos, and doesn't engender confidence. The child might just think the parents have gone crazy or don't love him anymore.

One solid step in the direction a parent intends to go is better than a wild dance back and forth. And if that solid step feels right, they can take another solid step.

the full interview, by Kim Houssenloge, of Feather and Nest
Photo by Linnea, with Holly's camera