Friday, January 7, 2022

Five solid tools

Alex Arnott wrote:

Principles of unschooling that have helped me relate differently with my own highly active nervous system:

  1. expanding awareness to include all the joy life offers rather than zooming in on the negative;
  2. developing a habit of questioning the assumptions my mind make about potential dangers...learning not to take all my thoughts so seriously all the time;
  3. developing mindfulness to slow down when my mind feels chaotic so I can reconnect with my values which in turn helps create the condition to make better choices;
  4. learning the joy and privilege of being of service to others...I cannot overstate how vital this has been for my mental health. It’s helped me reconnect to others in meaningful ways;
  5. deliberately choosing love, which is a wonderful antidote to fear/anger.
These are just a few examples of what’s helped me learn how to be solid in the face of anxious personality traits.
—Alex Arnott

Parenting Peacefully
photo by Karen James

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Who reads how

Written when my kids were teens:

Kirby reads like a lawyer. He can skim a rules book or instructions for a game, and explain simply and clearly to others. If he forgets a detail, he'll be able to find it easily.

Marty likes humor and history.

Holly's main reading is on the internet, but she likes name books, and other non-fiction and trivia. One thing she doesn't use the internet for is definitions and spellings. She likes my old full-size American Heritage Dictionary, and will sprint upstairs to look something up on the slightest excuse.

Three Readers—
(It's all one paragraph in the original.)
photo by Sara McGrath

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Taste, touch, see, smell, hear

Kids will want to taste snow. Help them find some that's clean enough. Same with icicles. You might know what dirt is on the roof, but let that go; find a cleanish one.

Kids will want to touch snow, see it, smell it. Just the other day a kid in my yard was talking about how different it sounded, walking in it on the third day, than the first day. It was squeaky, when it compressed.

What seems old and normal to you will be new to each child who is born and sees things for the first time. Be patient and generous and maybe you can see it again, as though it were new to you, through their eyes.
photo by Ruqayya

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Evidence galore

Deb Lewis wrote:

All those questions about how a kid would learn if he didn't go to school and my answers were things like "I think people learn best when they learn on their own terms," "I trust," or "I believe."

Bah! If I'd only thought about it a little harder! There's evidence galore! There's evidence throughout human existence. There's evidence in the fossil record. Stone age evidence and Bronze Age evidence and evidence in every archaeological site in the world. Humans learn.

They learn what the other humans around them are doing. They learn by living.

And now there's the evidence of my own son's life. He is surrounded by the things that interest humans in the twenty-first century. He is surrounded by the whole of human history. He is a citizen of the world in a time when access to information has never been easier. He is learning all the time.
—Deb Lewis

The Evidence of Years—Deb Lewis
That boy later learned Italian, and visited Italy.
He let me use some of his photos.
photo by Dylan Lewis

Monday, January 3, 2022

Learning will be like breathing

Children don't need long explanations to learn something if it's something they would like to understand better right at that moment. If you can learn to live at the edge of knowledge and curiosity, learning will be like breathing.
(quote from The Big Book of Unschooling, page 112 or 123)
photo by Colleen Prieto

Sunday, January 2, 2022

There were, and will be, dishes

Before I was married, I had dishes and I washed them. When I was married, I had dishes and I washed them. I have children, and sometimes they help me, but they're my dishes, and I wash them. When my children leave, I will still have dishes. I will still wash them. Should my husband and I not die at the same time, the one who is left will wash the dishes.
. . . .

If you have dishes you don't like, get rid of them and get dishes you enjoy. Look at thrift stores or ask your friends, or learn to make dishes.

Washing Dishes (philosophical thoughts, not instructions)
photo by Sarah S.

P.S. My kids are grown now, but when Holly's over, she sometimes empties my dishwasher for me. She often picks dishes up and puts them in the sink, if she sees them, even if she's not here for a meal.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Phrases to avoid

"Have to…"

"I was forced to…" or "We forced him to…"

No choice but to…

Your thoughts affect your body. Your moods change your health. Your attitude shows in your face. Negativity will be contagious and harmful to your children.

When you speak or write or hear the words that paint your life as powerless and harsh, rephrase. If you have time, think about where those things came from. If you can trace them back to a certain voice or incident in your memory, remember that, and be prepared the next time.

SandraDodd's Big Book of Unschooling
page 196, or 226 in 2019 edition
photo by Holly Dodd

Good online matches are Choices and the page on Negativity.