Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Warm wishes and gratitude

The note below is a few months old, but I've just added it to this page of feedback:

It's just one of many pages that people might never come across, so I thought I'd point it out to this list. I've received a couple of sweet Christmas cards with photos of kids I've never met whose lives are better because of unschooling. I wanted to thank Joyce, and Pam Sorooshian, and Deb Lewis, and others whose words have changed lives, and to thank those who come and read these ideas and try them out, and those who let others know it's working well.

As "Peace on Earth" goes, these are all very large and very real contributions.

Merry Christmas (or happy holiday of your choice).


I just wanted to take a minute, also, to tell you how much I have appreciated the Unschooling list, and how much it really changed my life and the life of my kids. I used to be a mom who (many years ago) spanked, grounded, and did all that other stuff many "experts" in the homeschooling world proposed would help raise good kids. I'm so happy I finally figured out a better way, and I have you, Pam, and Joyce (and Ren!) to thank for it. I, in turn, have tried to pass these ideas and principles on to other people in my life, at homeschool meetings, 4H, foster parent classes, Church, etc.

It's actually been years since I've spanked, but only a few years (since joining the list) that I've learned to REALLY listen to my kids and be a much more mindful parent. Only a few years since I began saying "Yes" a lot more. My kids are happy, funny, outgoing, talented, friendly and especially thoughtful and kind to others.

links and an article
Link to a new discussion list in Panama and one in Germany.
A Loud Peaceful Home
(if you subscribe to Danielle's ezine Connections, you might have
seen this already. The current issue has something about my kids in
driver's ed, but this is from an older issue and was made more public
at the request of a particular local unschooling group who needed it!)

There are a few more links on the Help page, and I'm sorry not to
have kept a list of them.

Another French translation, different site

This is a translation of "Bored No More" which is:

(This and other French translations are linked here: )

(this was sent to the announcements list in November, but I forgot to put it here)

Thursday, October 19, 2006


This note has been brought from an older blog in 2010, and the Connections e-zine is now freely available. There were nine issues, including the sample linked below.

Issue #8
and the links to the archives:

“The piece by Sandra Dodd totally had me all welled up! ALONE it is
worth the price of subscription!”


The subscription to which that reader referred is the $10
subscription to Connections, an e-zine created by Danielle Conger.

2016 note: It's all gone, but my articles and some other folks' were rescued and are on my site, various places.

There’s a sample issue here:

The second “real” issue will be out at the beginning of October. The
article by me last month included my Totally Scientific graph on how
much time to spend with a child at each stage of his life, and
accompanying inspirational text. The upcoming issue will have an
article based on my notes for the talk “Big Noisy Peace,” but it’s
not called that.

As you’ll see if you click on that sample, it’s an attractive set-up
with links back to all kinds of places, and there are quotes from
several unschooling mailing lists, so people can either just read the
highlights that way, or can shop for a list they might like based on
excerpts collected and provided by Danielle.

For people without the time or inclination to participate in a list
every day, this seems a great way to get various people’s opinions
without suffering through too much chit-chat. And it has photos.
Other regular contributors are Ren Allen, Deb Lewis, Ben Lovejoy and
Anne Ohman. Rue Kream has a question/answer spot.

$10 for ten issues (plus back issues) is a good deal. $1 per
carefully edited issue, and you can go back to it anytime during your
subscription period.

At first I was skeptical that it was worth doing, but I really do
like it.


Teens, Mirrors, Art about Art

I've been waiting for these pages to feel more finished, and some have bits I have on hand to add, but before I lose track of what's unannounced, I'll put them out here. Besides, some of you might have great ideas to add. There's another page that ends with "teens" plural, but Holly found a cool photo (she thinks Ren took it) and I thought a simpler kind of index page might be helpful.

I've been working on a set of artsy pages I'm planning to add the photo of Kelly hugging Cameron, from 2005. Haven't yet. ←DONE.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

divorce, chores/gifts, Schuyler and Dan

There have been a couple of discussions of divorce lately and I saved some good parts:

Schuyler Waynforth wrote something really nice about chores becoming gifts, and I’ve added it to an older page:

Others of Schuyler’s writings have been gathered (linkwise) here:
and Schuyler has also become a moderator of the UnschoolingDiscussion list

I’ve made a page of links of Dan Vilter’s writings too:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


a guy wrote:
-=-You have restored (somewhat) my faith in Humanity.
( or at least in you...)-=-

I responded:
Interesting idea, "Faith in Humanity."
Disappointment in all of humanity is as bad as "faith" in all of humanity.

I never thought of it before. Thanks for the new thought you didn't mean to plant!

The topic was my Dumbledore page. That one was announced at, way back. Harry Potter speculation. Don't go read it. But someone came across it and was furious that I had said something right near the top that spoiled the book for him. I think that because the book had been out for six months or more that was his problem, but still I felt bad. I like to be surprised by the endings of movies others have seen already.

So I added a long silly intro to the page
and if you want to look at the intro, just don't read any more of it.
If you do read more of it, don't complain to me.

But for doing that, which I did months back (this guy doesn't check his e-mail much!), I restored someone's faith in humanity.

"Faith in humanity" is one of those idiomatic expressions people use without dissection. I know perfectly well what "You've restored my faith in humanity" means, and how it's used and what it's intended to mean, but not until today did I see it for what it REALLY means.

All of "faith" hinged on me. My action (putting up silly photos and spur-of-the-moment words) changed someone's faith in humanity (so someone said). I guess before I changed that webpage, faith in humanity had been lost. Gone. No faith in humanity.

That's crazy!

First, no one should have "faith" in humanity. In what, ALL OF THEM? ALL humans are worthy of faith? Faith in what way--trust? Support? Acceptance? Humanity robs banks and kills people. Humanity abuses children and steals stereos out of cars.

And we're not a team. And if we WERE a team, neither democracy nor consensus would cause us all to agree and act as a single unit without renegades or detractors.

So where SHOULD faith be?

I think now (as of about fifteen minutes ago) that faith is what some people come to unschooling discussions to find. They want to find some people in whom they can "put their faith." They have some faith and the urge to "put it," and they look at unschoolers.

IF they have faith, then they will... what?
Trust what EVERY unschooler says?

And when one unschooler says something unreliable or off, then the person's faith is broken? Dead? Betrayed? Lost?


a guy wrote: -=- I am genuinely interested (if skeptical).-=-

I wrote: Genuine interest is great. Expressing skepticism to me is a little irritating. Nothing else was irritating.
My kids are 20, 17 and 14 and your skepticism doesn't change their lives.

That was from e-mail. It got me thinking.

Skepticism as the opposite of gullibility is a good, healthy thing.
When someone reads personal accounts of what has actually happened, and what is working so well that a mom will write about her children on the internet and writes "I'm skeptical," it gets personal!

This has been a problem for years, in and around unschooling discussions. It's related to other issues (probably to all other issues), and is probably a problem of the language itself.

"Skeptical" spoken of oneself isn't bad. "Skeptical" spoken in reference to a report isn't bad in the absence of the reporter

If two people are standing at a check-out stand looking at a headline about someone having Elvis's alien grandchild, one might say "I'm skeptical" and no one would be insulted. If I put up a website with a couple of hundred pages of reports of real-life successes of people, many of whom I know, more of whom I trust, none of whom I have reason to DIStrust, and I do it for free, and I do it out of a desire to give others an opportunity to try those things in their own families, and someone writes to me at my house and says "I'm skeptical," it just isn't the same neutral deal anymore.

The e-mail exchange from which the top quote came has been saved here:

While I would certainly hate for someone to write "love your site; I'm gullible" I don't much like "love your site but I'm skeptical" either. I assume that people will read things critically and thoughtfully.

Maybe I just hate e-mail.

I doubt it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

TV and Movies
There are a couple of new things on that page, including a link to:
Movies that seemed very scary from the previews but weren’t so scary, and I noticed after I chose three by that criteria that they are also all fundamentally about parenting (though you would never guess it from the previews!)
New, bottom left, to this page about “what if little kids watch TV all day”
“I used to restrict how much time my kids spent on the computer and tv….I have to honestly admit that we are much happier and I have much more trust in my children the more control I give them.”
There’s a lot of good stuff in between that beginning and end. The writing is three years old, so some of the program and video game references are a bit dated, but it’s my fault for not putting it on the page sooner! I save more things faster than I can make them newly available. The principles and the happiness in it are still quite fresh, though, and comforting.

Pam Sorooshian discovered a report on a TV-viewing study with 300,000 subjects. It’s linked here, bottom right.
The “Snobbishness vs. Godzilla” item that was there before has its own page now: and links to some other monster reports.

Jacki’s daughter Hannah cooked a big fancy meal because of something she saw on TV. There is a fun report, and there are photos here:

There are a few new things on another of the TV pages:
about unexpected learning.

It’s been a great idea-sharing season.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Elvis, Barbie and Rebellion

Two new pages and one with new parts

I’m sure they’ll all have additions over the years, and suggestions are welcome!

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

connections; real reading, really fast

I received the following note, and was pleasantly surprised at the blog entry. Having been badmouthed on a couple of blogs lately, I was nervous to receive a cryptic note to check a blog, but it was great!

thought you might want to read this:

Thank You.

We corresponded a teensy bit about organs, which reminded me to look up more information about reed organs. One thing led to another, and that’s why I made the organ page(s). I already announced them, but there has been news since then about what kind of organ I have.

Thoughts about “real reading” (something new at the bottom of that page)
and it has a link to a new-today page about speed reading

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Decisions, Reed Organ, Juggling
How often do you make decisions?
(I guess this is the shortest thing I’ve ever written.)
In the area of collecting, strewing and making connections, here’s
information about a small reed organ.
Juggling, but art, and music, and ideas about more and better.
This is not exactly on the site, but is exactly on the topics of unschooling and parenting. It’s a commemoration of the last day we had three teenagers, which was Friday July 28, the day before Kirby’s 20th birthday.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

toddlers, deschooling, monsters and cake

This installment is mostly about new art, but you might find articles you had missed or forgotten while you're looking.

new photo (new to the site) of my kids at

"Look for the delight in life and it will infect your kids :-)"
New deschooling description by Joyce
Two nice photos of Joyce, taken by her daughter Kat, added here:

Monster art now with the article for Monster Mania article for which it was intended

Two new cake photos (Ren's Jalen and his Squarebob Spongepants cake) and something Ren wrote about that

Friday, July 14, 2006

food, teens, mystery art, imagination and names

New parts on the following pages:
Another seven-year-old turns down dessert.
Review of teen behavior at conference
How the discussions help people

New pages:
So far, Deb Lewis!
Seems odd this site would need a page called "learning," but things came along that didn't fit elsewhere.
I'm still dinking around with the links to get the art to work on different browsers.
People's names, and place names
A pretty discovery, and a mystery for you.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

How are they as teens?

I've worked on several pages lately and the commonality seems to be that they're about older unschoolers.
There are additions or newness in the following links:
"Will they get jobs?"

Unschooled Teens: How are they as People?
(addition of a few things, notably the tale of Marty's graduation from the Junior Police Academy, a combination bootcamp and daycamp he attended when he was fourteen) and that had reference to a certain rant which is also posted and linked from there
I have named it "Lazy Hedonists" (choosing words from the rant itself)
Some new things, more access
Two new links at the bottom of the box and general page cleanup

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

typical day, female-lead, peace and books
There's a new story on typical days (upper right) involving glowsticks in the hot tub. It's nice.
New female videogame lead sent by someone who happened by.

New on

From the UnschoolingDiscussion list

Sandra Dodd: Some mom reading here might look up and smile at her child, or touch his head softly, or turn off the computer and go watch him build with Lego, or go with him to the park to throw a frisbee for the dog. Maybe without this list she would've told him to just go do something else because she had to fix dinner.

AmyLS: I'd just like to say that the cumulative effect of reading this message board has been much like Sandra said. Saying 'sure!' when my youngest one asked if we could get the Chocolate Lucky Charms, getting up when my kids say 'Hey Mum, look at this...' (instead of...'hold on, I'm doing something'). The insights and vignettes on this board have been very valuable to my family... good writing!

Not central to unschooling, but as sub-info for the Books page

Medieval books and online books
(Those I'll just add to as I come across good things, and if any of you have favorites, please write!)

Thursday, June 29, 2006



You can wonder what's in the fridge, or you can see the world with new eyes. The ability to do the latter is crucial to unschooling.

I'm grateful to Pam Sorooshian, Joyce Fetteroll and to many others who have written things to help inspire wonder.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

music, rules, cards, history and time
Addition of the take of a ten year old named Ben
Expansion of the page
Holly found another online music toy
More specifics on strewing, with stories, by me and Deb Lewis (at the
bottom of that page—worth the visit)
Joyce responded to something from someone who had said her son was
lazy, and the response needed its own page.
links added to the cards page of the games section

The subjects section hasn't had a history page. Now it has the start
of one. Any good ideas?

and that came from some online discussions about time

Happy June!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Logic, presence and deschooling
TV discussion added to one of the Joyce Fetteroll pages. She's so clear.
Link to the above, and something by Pam, and a cartoon that was on the wall in our bathroom for a long time. I don't have the original date, but it's been several years.
"There is no substitute for being authentically "there" for them..."
Something new by Pam Sorooshian (new to me; maybe new to some of your), at the bottom of that page.
Sandy Lubert on Unschooling and deschooling, and changes...
(Notes for her presentation at the recent unschooling conference in Toronto, and photos she let me use.)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

TV, tone of voice, UD, writing, podcast link

Learning from TV has been expanded.

Tone of voice (the mom's):

Reorganized the information relating to the UnschoolingDiscussion list, which was moved last month from yahoogroups to google groups.


A link has been added at
to someone's new podcast collection that's here:

I was quoted in the first one. There are two now, and more intended. If unbridled learning is hard to remember, might not be.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

New and Better site search tools

The simple, free search function I was using became increasingly unreliable and then quit working altogether.
I used Google's free search, and have it in a few places there now. If you come across any of the old plain non-functioning search boxes, please let me know. Google doesn't search within code, so I can't find them that way.

The 404/bad link page has been spiffed up to match that too, so try a bad link of your own device, or this one:
Holly helped me with a photoshop trick I didn't know, and Joyce Fetteroll's advice that making an image file the size you want it to finally be made the whole thing work better, so I'm grateful to Holly, Joyce and Google, and to Danielle Conger for reminding me Google had free web-search links.


Search WWW Search

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Robyn Coburn, reading and vegetables
Links to some of Robyn Coburn's writings
Two illustrations and an link added to a page about my kids learning to read
Also about reading, sort of (spelling, word histories), there are additions on the etymology page at the bottom.
New story there:

Holly has had braces since she was twelve years old. She's fourteen and they come off next month. On her Myspace page she has posted this:
Things to do when I get my braces off:
1. Have corn on the cob like all the time
2. Go to Shoney's and get like a ton of gum from their really cool 25¢ gum machine
3. Eat carrots until my skin turns orange
She doesn't chew gum much at all; never has. But she's frugal, and to spend a quarter to see that big gumball roller coaster work when she can't even eat the gum seems wrong to her. She has definitely been missing carrots, and grated carrots just aren't the same for her.—Sandra

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Certificate of Empowerment, 10th Anniversary!

I have one from the first batch of The Certificate of Empowerment
here. I thought they would be used just that one time, the first
time I spoke at a conference. It was a local conference here in
Albuquerque. I think I had 50 copies, and I signed and dated each
one with "real ink" (a Speedball pen and a blue ink). It says
3/23/96. (Apologies to Europeans—March 23, 1996.)

Since then I've had them photocopied and printed by offset with
colored ink on colored paper, and have passed out thousands of copies
by now and I don't date them, because I pass the extras out at the
next conference.

It's been TEN YEARS since I first spoke and passed those out. Seems
like... ten years.

Kirby was nine, and someone on a homeschooling discussion board
(there was no such thing in those days as a separate unschooling
forum) told other readers that they could disregard me
entirely because my oldest was only nine years old. I didn't know
what I was talking about, she assured everyone. I wonder if her
kids are as happy now, ten years later, as mine are?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Computers, Progress and Bribery
Bit added, lower right, written by Deb Lewis and saved by me but only mounted this weekend! It's cute, and links back to the index page of Deb-stuff.
Susan McGlohn whose e-mail looks like "wifetovegman" wrote something encouraging someone NOT to take her time getting to unschooling but to just get there directly. I added it to the collection called "getting it."
Someone asked whether offering kids an incentive wasn't bribery. This will be added, to, I'm sure. It's another of those things that makes me wish I had saved every good piece of others' writings on a topic.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Pam Sorooshian links, Deb Lewis lists, Strewing

I added some links to my Pam Sorooshian page. The writing was out
there, but now will be more easily found:

Not a new page, but a reminder (and it has been linked another place
or two):
Economics of Restricting TV Watching of Children

I also added to the Deb Lewis lists. Sometimes someone's writing speaks easily to a particular reader, and its nice to be able to give them more of the voice they like.

My writing, from a post on unschooling discussion, added to

There have been a couple of discussions in which people said strewing was manipulative and sneaky. I don't see it that way at all. If I know what kinds of things my children could use being exposed to to be more well rounded, or to "fill in gaps" in what they know, or to take them to another level of understanding, bringing those things up in physical or conversational ways is no more "manipulative" than bringing more fruit into the house if there hasn't been much fruit
consumption lately, or bringing them bottles of water on hot summer days. I don't need to force them to eat oranges or drink water, but I can notice it might be good for them and make it appealing.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

New TV love note

The following addition, with three links for biographical and photo-
reminder purposes, appears on "the Gilligan's Island page" and also
on its own page, though that one won't be linked unless other Star
Trek stuff presents itself down the line.

Star Trek leads to Science and Astronautics

LaVar Burton directed an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation,
on which astronaut Mae Jemison played the transporter operator. In
the commentary following the 6th season on DVD (interview November 8,
2001, on disc 7, "Communications: Bold New Directions"), he said:
Mae Jemison was really thrilling for me because May and Whoopi and I are all fans of the show and have had the conversation among
ourselves that Star Trek was hugely important to us as kids when we were growing up.

I read a lot of science fiction books, as a child. Science fiction was pretty much my body of literature of choice and it was rare, it was not very often, that I encountered heroes in the pages of those novels who looked like me.

So in Mae’s case, Mae Carol Jemison, first African-American woman in space, flew a shuttle mission— became first a scientist and then an astronaut because she watched Star Trek, and one of the messages that she received was that “This is a job that’s possible for you, too, little girl.” And so, to be able to bring Mae on Star Trek in an episode that I directed and just have her be transporter chief, but even more than that, to have Nichelle come by that day and to have the two meet was huge… huge.

For those who aren't Star Trek Fans, Whoopi is Whoopi Goldberg, who played the wise Guinan in TNG (The Next Generation), and Nichelle is Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura, the communications officer, in the original series.

If anyone here doesn't know why it would go with Gilligan's Island,
maybe you haven't been to that page for a while! Check it out—

Friday, March 3, 2006

Chores, ElleGirl article, Dinner fears and joys

Addition to the true tales of children helping with chores when they don't have to:

Holly is in an article in the April 2006 issue ElleGirl, a fashion magazine for teens. The article is on unschooling, and also quotes Brenna and Gail, and Roya Sorooshian. It mentions Kirby and Marty and quotes me. I've been quoted better. So in my frustration I wrote something that's not on the site proper, but some of you might want to read. It's here:
link to scan of article

What about Dinner?
Someone asked a good question and got some good answers at Always Learning. I saved some here:

Friday, February 24, 2006

Contents, Housework, Hannah Jenner

I've been working on the contents page. It will always be woefully
lacking, but it might lead you to some areas you hadn't seen lately
(or ever):
I plan to work on it some more later today.

There's something new and inspiring about housework and chores, at
the bottom of this page, written today by CelticFrau/Nancy B.

That's Hannah on the left.

Diana Jenner's daughter Hannah died this morning, February 24. She
was nine and a half and had leukemia. Her dad died five years ago,
of cancer.

There is a new page concerning the coordination of family assistance,
because it was thought there would be a couple of years of
chemotherapy. The page will remain for a while, as Diana and Hayden
will need support. There are photos of Hannah, in case some of you
met her at Live and Learn conferences near Boston or St. Louis.
the page is no longer up

Even those who don't know the family can benefit by remembering and
appreciating that we are with our children more than we might be in
other circumstances.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

young kids, language, obsession, books

I'm sure all of these will be added to as time goes by.
Fun and Games with Language Arts
A place to send people who ask about "pre-school" and toddler aged kids.
This came up today, and gave me an excuse to link a couple of older bits.
What of a narrowly-focussed obsession or hobby? (I'd love additions for this.)
From a conversation a week or two back, about whether it hurts or helps to avoid babytalk, or to use more than one word for an object or idea.
I've saved a little file called "compost" for a long time, and got a reason to use it. There are links to other pages on "getting it."
Stories about the power and importance of books. A couple of the stories I've told repeatedly are written down. Partly bio, partly evidence for book worship and such.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

I made a mouseover!

Not a big deal for most people, but for me, big deal. House and yard page: if you hold the mouse over the photo of the kids, it should change.

I kind of liked the format of my dog and cats and flowers where they were before, and I don't like it yet here, but will keep working on it.

Saturday, February 4, 2006

new and fun; not so important

I discovered the custom 404 page capability,

so make up a wrong address

or use this one if you want to see it.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

dads, music, nest, peaceful parenting

Good things for Unschooling Dads:

New writing from Ren, and links about mindfulness and living more peacefully:

Links for goofing around with music (and others are welcome!)

Thoughts on creating an unschooling nest:

That last one feels very incomplete, but it's better to let people know than to wait until I think it's "finished."

I'm trying to name things in simple, obvious ways, so these are