Friday, December 19, 2014

Five requests (please pick one or two and help me out)

My website will be thirteen years old in two months. It grows all the time, and I'm proud of it but it costs $131.28 per year. I have that a a few more expenses I would like to ask for assistance with.
 photo image108.jpg
Perhaps your life is richer and more peaceful than it would have been without this collection of writings.

It's Christmas, and many families with young children are beyond budget this time of year, so I've thought of some alternatives that don't cost anything but would still make life better for other unschoolers (or maybe others), and I want to leave a hint about how much I love Christmas cards.

Thank you for considering this. I know it's a busy time of year. I appreciate your interest in my work, and your time.

The photo is Marty and his new bride, Ashlee, with Holly and Keith on the left, and me and Kirby on the right.
We don't have full=sized photos yet, but maybe you can see a bit of us, on November 20, 2014.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Generosity, Principles, Food and more

New writing by Karen Aye Angstadt, lefthand column, about the effects of generosity:

I'm not announcing all the chat transcripts we edit and publish (Marta Pires helps me) but there are several lately. They are at when they're finished.

Some of the recent completions are:
Principles of Learning
"Is this enough?"

Click the photo for my best writing of the month and an accidently wonderful photo.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Schuyler; Growth, Video Games

New photo of Schuyler, playing a ukelele, which she does well and often:

New, by Karen James, on top of a great page that's not often linked:

New by Karen James, bottom of this page (the top part by Karen is older):

I collect these one at a time, so I didn't notice until I was about to add a photo that two of them are Karen James. And really it's three of them, because Karen came back with an addendum about video games. THANK YOU, Karen, for your contributions to the collection of great writings for unschooling parents!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Abundance, "Me" time, the deeper nature of unschooling

New quote by Joyce right up top, on the "Abundance" page:

New page on "me time":

Addition, second box on the right, to "Reality as an environment for unschooling"

The photo, a link, by Sandra

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Surprises, young adults, learning and "issues"

New page on stories of children surprising a parent or two by some knowledge or action:

New, right-hand side, Joyce Fetteroll and her daughter Kat on differences Kat sees between herself and schooled co-workers and acquaintances:

Debbie Regan wrote something great. I lifted two parts and deposited them on "The Problem with Teaching"
and "When Parents have Issues"

photo of baby Kirby Dodd is a link

Friday, October 10, 2014

Healing, Spanish discussion, a downside of choice

New page on healing, with links to a dozen other pages on healing and change:

In Spanish, on Facebook, Radical Unschooling en Español, group created by Alicia Gonzalez:

New page, not new writing. Choice creates a burden (a comparison to women's movement problems from the 1970's).
(Not a light and breezy page. It burdens the reader with a reminder not to burden other parents or children.)

The photo is a link.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Priorities, Albuquerque ALLive, Hema Bharadwaj

New photo (by Lisa Jonick) and caption/quote (mine), you can't miss it, partway down:

Albuquerque ALLive, registration open, December 27-30, 2014

The Big Book of Unschooling is dedicated to Hema Bharadwaj, because it was her idea, and prodding, that got me to write it. Here's a paga about her. She will be speaking in Albuquerque in December.

She and other speakers are linked in a tab at Albuquerque ALLive link above.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Being more positive; Strewing, spirituality; Peace

Something new and very positive by Tina Bragdon, on the negativity page, halfway down, after the boldface Bible verse.

Interview from a few years ago, newly uploaded (used to be a link; other site is gone)
and a transcript of that with listen-along capability:

Sixteen minutes about peace—podcast by Amy Childs, but I'm about half of it.
That site is gone, but I've embedded it here in 2023, with notes:
(Other voices there: Ren Allen, Richard Prystowsky (from an older recording) and Rippy Dusseldorp)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Later unschooling, Marriage Strengthening and Divorce Prevention

About the chances of success coming to unschooling later…. an update added (bottom), links and a photo:

I hope my readers won't need these, but you might find yourself advising a friend who could use knowing!

Added (second item there) to divorce prevention page:
Something BIG happens when a person turns away from selfishness to service.
Something HUGE happens when a person can care about another person more than about himself. (and more)

Cleaned up and linked elsewhere, an obscure page for helping prevent divorce:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

writing, interview, curiosity

New page on Seeing Writing (Writing, and whether it can be "just learned")

Interview (from 2009, with new notes and links on the page; sound file to hear there or to download)

Photos were added to the curiosity page:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

DOH! Sorry a draft launched.

True! This page isn't finished!

How much is enough? [This page needs two more links, and pull posts from Just Add Light and add quotes from other places on the site)

Reminders: I'm speaking in Maine in September, various places, and one night in New Hampshire:

I've been interviewed a few times for a series on unschooling Amy Childs is doing, and the one about the benefits of unschooling only has me and Amy. (Most have three to six voices.)
(Others can be accessed in the lefthand list there.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Enough? Gradual Change

How much is enough?

Lisa J Haugen wrote about beginning more gradually. It's the fifth item down:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gratitude; Change; Factors, problems and considerations

 photo DSC00493.jpgGratitude for common, simple, homey things

Benefits gained from the Always Learning discussion (bottom of the page)

Factors, Problems and Considerations
Parts are new, parts are older, but this is the first announcement of the page here

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Openness to Experience, Interview Bits

Newish page, expanded quite a bit:

Amy Childs is creating a series of +/- 15 minute podcasts about unschooling. The first one was about Learn Nothing Day. She asked me for people she could interview about that, and asked them about other things, too, so some of those voices will come up in future podcasts.

My favorites so far:
Learn Nothing Day
Who Can Unschool?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Spouses, Bonding, "Behind"

 photo hollyhall.jpgSomething new at the bottom, about peace with spouses (works for children, too), from Rippy Dusseldorp

Bonding, with addition of writing by Caren Knox and Joyce Fetteroll at the bottom:

New page with something by Debbie Regan about whether an unschooled child can "be behind."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Service, School, Small Words

 photo IMG_0952.jpgNew on the "service" page, by Manuela Jaramillo, righthand column, partway down:

School might be better for some kids. New, by Karen James at

More added to the page looking at lyrics and poetry using almost all native English words:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Interviews by video and podcast, new this week

Amy Childs has done a beautiful podcast about Learn Nothing Day. Besides my voice and Amy's, you can hear Alex Polkowsky, Hema Bharadwaj, Julie Daniel, and Amy's daughter Kayla.
(Sound file, fifteen minutes)

a couple of links to go with that:
"Try not to learn. Don't try to learn. Those two aren't the same thing but they're close enough for beginners." (from the last paragraph of this 1998 interview: An Interview with Sandra Dodd

Criticism of Learn Nothing Day:

Yvonne Laborda and María José Cifuentes interviewed me on June 17, from Spain.

It will be at, with two others from María José Cifuentes' video hangout shows.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why we unschooled, feedback, open, half empty

"Why we unschooled" (written a few years ago, about a story from 1990 or so)
This is on my blog, but I suppose some of those posts should be included as resources. I won't announce all of them, but you can subscribe there if you're interested in more personal things about me or my family.

Nice feedback, lefthand column. I don't save all of it (some I print and put in a special box without quoting elsewhere), but these seemed special.

New page on being open to things, people, life:

Older page I thought had been announced, because I had used it on Just Add Light and Stir
It has a good story, so I'm glad I discovered it hadn't been announced yet! and I added a bit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Gratitude, Tree of Knowledge, Maslow

Gratitude—living with gratitude all the time. (Additions at the top of the page.)

A new image (a video Alex Polikowsky showed me) has been added to this page
and I quoted from that (obscure) page on Just Add Light and Stir

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (serious and humorous)

Photo of a lone tree by the side of a two-lane highway in southern New Mexico, in early morning sun.
(Links to a Just Add Light and Stir post.)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Connections, Videos in Spanish, Interviews

Colleen Prieto on very cool connections her son is making, on the Connections page, down near the photo.

Three videos; two I'm in (English and Spanish) and one my book is in (Spanish). New to that page.
(Two have been announced here, the third had not.)

More links added to the page of interviews—the videos above, and the interviews of Rippy and Julie (announced here recently):

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Questions & Answers, Spelling, "Education"

Two pages on questions, with easy-to-remember URLs, "faq" and "questions":

Spelling, new title art

Problems with education. Frank's part was there, my part added, and links added.

The image is Pam Sorooshian with her grandson, Wyatt, and links to a quote from Pam ten years ago.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Learn Nothing Day, Julie Daniel

I'm moving all my Learn Nothing Day notes and art to a blog with a randomizer. If you subscribe to that blog, you will see each new bit of art, and some of the older things, once or twice a week until it speeds up in late July. (Then, a long break until next year.)

The Learn Nothing Day feed is showing up on my main page, too (next to Just Add Light and recent posts from this site news blog).

My interview of Julie Daniel, which was in the March issue of HSC's magazine The Homeschooler:
Unschooling in the World: The Efficiency of Unschooling

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Rippy Dusseldorp Saran interview, learning, food problems

Unschooling in the World: Kinder and More Compassionate
"Rippy Dusseldorp Saran lives in the Netherlands, in Leiden, with her husband, Graham…"

About unschooling working the same for all children (rediscovered from 2005 writing) (2nd item, 2nd column)

Imperfect page, not new, but a couple of new things in the righthand box:

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Breathing, Mindfulness, Video games and special needs

New on breathing, Caren Knox (in a box 2/3 down), in response to a meditation question.

Continuing to collect examples of cool clues from unintended phrases (righthand box, bottom).

Thanks to Joyce Fetteroll, this page has been updated and expanded!
Kathy Ward was one of the early online writers, on unschooling. At the time there was a great deal of ADD/ADHD concern; Kathy addressed that. Also, video games and dyslexia.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Not on my site, but me:

Homeschooling: Cómo ayudar a nuestros hijos a tomar decisiones

Streamed live on 22 Apr 2014

Maria José Cifuentes, Yvonne Laborda, Sandra Dodd

Sandra Dodd e Yvonne Laborda hablan de que dejar a nuestros hijos tomar decisiones, si es que a nosotros no se nos dió esa oportunidad, puede ser sanador para nosotros como padres. También se habla de que tomar decisiones empodera, del peligro de pensar que "tienen que..." o "no tienen más remedio que ...", de si realmente toman decisiones o si actuan según el ambiente familiar, de educar sin escuela (homeschooling, unschooling…)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Overuse of the word "addiction"; mind and awareness; recovery

 photo DSC01479.jpgColleen Prieto wrote a lovely response about addiction, and I saved it, about a third of the way down:

Rescued writing, many authors, on cognition and learning:

Recovery from childhood trauma, top of this page, new by Karen James:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fears, looking at and overcoming them

 photo DSC00246.jpgI left a set of three links in a discussion and discovered one of them had never been annouced here, and is not in the randomizer:

Fear, overcoming

Another, called "fears," is in the randomizer and was announced in 2011, but here it is again:

And a page about letting go of fear and control regarding food, with something new by Karen James:
(It is in the randomizer at, but hadn't been announced here.)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Chat transcript: Learning from our children

Marta has edited the chat from February 26, when the topic was Learning from Our Kids

That is now associated with a web page which was announced a bit back, but I'll include it again:

The image is a link.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Facts change, skepticism, protecting children (and integrity)

 photo DSC09573.jpgSometimes facts change. It's a comfort to accept that.

While working on a follow-up to the Texas Unschoolers Conference in Austin (to be announced later)
I linked a page on skepticism for them. It was first announced here in 2006, and added to in 2011.

That led to a page called "Protect Your Children."
Now the /protect page has a disclaimer that changes the nature of the information in an interesting way.

(and the image is a link)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Schuyler, new quotes; Meredith, on pressure

Some quotes from Schuyler's presentation about parenting teens, given in March 28, 2014 at the Gold Coast session of ALLive in Australia, have been added to existing pages:




Meredith wrote something good about the problems with pressuring children:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I have not updated the randomizer on my site since October 2011. I'm making this note for my own good. I'm about to make a(nother) new page. There are many new pages not on that randomizer. I will need to come and mine the announcements here to find two and a half years' worth of additions.

Right now, there are 734 pages at the randomizer:

I expect that when it's updated there will be a thousand. (There are over a thousand pages at the site already, but some are subsets of other main pages, or aren't worth being one of the randomizer target pages, for one reason or another.)

Meanwhile, I'm adding a randomizer to this blog. If you've come here to read something you hadn't read before, and if the randomizer on the website is getting boring, try the link at the top left here (or at

Friday, April 4, 2014

Active Unschooling, Deb Lewis, Australian follow-up

A response to a claim that watching TV, listening to music and playing video games were passive activities sat quietly for six years until it was linked on an Australian blogpost. Fluffed-up and polished:
Main text is by Amy Carpenter, who wrote that she hadn't seen it since it was new, and was glad to be reminded.
(Thanks to Kim Houssenloge for stirring it back up!)

Deb Lewis was the guest "speaker" at the Wednesday chat on March 26. The transcript is here:

There are follow-up pages with notes intended for attendees of events in Australia last month. They are listed here so they will eventually go on the randomizer,and because they might be fun as random resources now.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Finding math, Pam Sorooshian, Alex Polikowsky, Sandra Dodd on TV

Karen James wrote about how Ethan discovered math; I snagged it.

Chat with Pam Sorooshian (transcript from March 12, 2014):

Chat with Alex Polikowsky (transcript from March 19, 2014):

I was on TV in Australia for a large part of seven minutes on March 24, 2014:

Deb Lewis was the chat guest this week; that transcript will be provided soon, or check the sidebar in a few days or a week, of the blog where the other two above are, to see if Deb Lewis's is there.

The photo is a link.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy, Learning from our children, Look directly

About happiness itself, in children. Contented peace.

Things unschooling parents have learned from their children
Including poetry by Frank Maier, and a chat transcript

Look directly at your child—a collection of quotes and links about seeing children clearly.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Perspective, Futures, Service

Perspective, new page. Kind of a continuation of Priorities

Investing in the future—supporting a child's interests

New quote on the Service page, fifth down on the right (Nicole Kenyon)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Becoming a Better Partner

In English and in German:

An article written for the German parenting magazine Unerzogen; appeared there in their fall 2013 issue, but I just learned of it recently.

Here it is in English with photos by Joyce Fetteroll (thank you, Joyce!)

and a PDF of the article in German as it was published last year:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Good mom or bad mom, uneaten candy

 photo DSC00017.jpgTwo new bits on True Tales of Kids Turning Down Sweets
Top two and Sylvia Woodman with a photo of Halloween candy, halfway down.

New, second item, "How does it balance out?"

A thread rescued after it was deleted by the original poster, but some of the comments were good.

The photo is a link.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Pass the Bean Dip, Addiction, Prejudice, Sugar

Laurie Wolfrum did a presentation in November, 2013, on how to handle friends and relatives' disagreements and questions. She has let me host the text of that talk.

Addiction, an argument by Joyce added, upper right:

Prejudices (very new; might have typos or bad links):

Sugar (started a while back, finished to add to the page on prejudice):

Friday, January 17, 2014

Calm; and which is better: Refresh or restore?

New page, with a collection of Just Add Light on being calm:

And here's an older page:
How subtle can language considerations really get!?
Perhaps the most obscure page on my site. (No, it's not really.)

Important message to anyone who opens that page, or any page ever in your life:

If while you're reading you think "That's WORTHLESS!" then close the page, because to you it is worthless.
IF, while reading, you think that it's cool, or interesting, or it had never occurred to you, or you wish it had been longer, click some of the links, or google something up.

Each passageway can be an adventure, or you can turn and do something different.

(Leaving Hebrew poetry behind and zipping ahead a few thousand years,
down at the genius bar, "refresh" and "restore" mean very different things.)

Other obscure pages that mean nothing to some people, and much more to others:

Small-word beauty:

and a small-word problem (problems with "we"):

Monday, January 13, 2014

Etiquette, Barbie, lettuce

Etiquette, Manners, Courtesy (a new page, and a chat)

Barbie is better for children than a mother's negative assessment of her own looks, or a child's.
New writing up top, quoting mothers with long experience with mothers and daughters:

Karen James asked her son what, of everything in the grocery store, he would like her to bring home (just below the box):

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Natural Born Learners (new book I'm in)

I am featured in one of the chapters of a new book,

Natural Born Learners: Unschooling and Autonomy in Education.

My part is an edited transcript of a radio interview in which the topics were strewing and spirituality. (Here is access to the original sound file, and the chapter will be a longer version of this: "Living Unschooling".)

Book Launch
Natural Born Learners: Unschooling and Autonomy in Education

January 2014—Natural Born Learners: Unschooling and Autonomy in Education edited by Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko and Carlo Ricci.

We are pleased to announce that our reader is live.

Humans are natural learners. This collection of essays challenges much of mainstream beliefs about how people learn, encouraging the reader to consider deeply the need for learners to be trusted and listened to. Many of the authors in the book begin from a learner-centered, democratic perspective. Divided into three sections, the first part of the book deals with what constitutes a learner-centered approach to education. The second section addresses how some have implemented this approach. In the last section, learners who have lived learner-centred learning share narratives about their experiences.


“For those who want to restore natural learning—whether for themselves, their children, or all of society—this book is a great resource. We can all learn here from contributors who have helped to explain how natural learning works, from those who have helped to make such learning more possible in today’s world, and from those lucky individuals who grew up learning naturally.”

- Peter Gray, Research Professor of Psychology at Boston College and Author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self- Reliant, and Better Students for Life.

“This book explores the roots of self-direction and offers a series of highly insightful and creative ways to help people be open, peaceful, natural learners. The roots of democratic living are fostered by what is said here. School administrators, teachers, parents, students, politicians and virtually all citizens will benefit from reading this. I most highly recommended this unusually fine and stimulating book.”
- Conrad Pritscher, Professor Emeritus, Bowling Green State University


Most of the pieces in this book are derived from interviews aired on the Radio Free School program that ran from 2002 to 2008 on 93.3 fm CFMU in Hamilton. It is divided into three sections:
1. What is unschooling/natural learning/self-determined learning;
2. What does it look like in practice, and;
3. The stories of those who unschooled and are now adults.

Foreword                                                                                                i
Introduction                                                                                            v

Part 1  What is Self-Determined Learning and Unschooling?    1 
Chapter 1    Schooling: A Highly Questionable Practice         2
                    John Taylor Gatto 
Chapter 2     You Don’t Have to go to Grow:    14
                    Growing Without Schooling 
                    Pat Farenga 
Chapter 3     An Education in the Age of Climate Change       31                                         
                    Satish Kumar 
Chapter 4    A Learning System Fit for a Democracy    40
                    Roland Meighan 
Chapter 5    An Interview About a Sense of Self     50
                   Susannah Sheffer 
Chapter 6    Trust, Not Education    71
                   Aaron Falbel 
Chapter 7   A Conversation About the Magical Child    88
                  Joseph Chilton Pearce 
Chapter 8   Hold Onto Your Kids       99
                   Gordon Neufeld 
Chapter 9   The Price of Praise            Naomi Aldort 
Chapter 10 The Words We Use:                      116
                   Living as if School Doesn’t Exist    
                   Wendy Priesnitz 

Part II   Lights. Camera. Action! (This is How it Works).        121        

Chapter 11      We Don’t Need No Education,
                        We Don’t Need No Thought Control:
                        Reflections on Achieving Musical
                        Literacy and the Importance of Unschooling        122
                        John. L. Vitale. 
Chapter 12      What Does it Mean to be Educated?                138
                        John Taylor Gatto 
Chapter 13      Democratic Schools                         149
                        Jerry Mintz 
Chapter 14      Aware and Alive                                   164
                        David Albert 
Chapter 15      From Albany to Now                                 173
                        Mary Leue 
Chapter 16      Guerrilla Learning                               179
                        Grace Llewellyn 
Chapter 17      Getting Kids on the Streets                      188
                        Matt Hern 
Chapter 18      Improving Unschooling through
                        Strewing and Spirituality     199
                        Sandra Dodd 
Chapter 19       Learning Together by Starting an Educational Co-operative       215
                        Katharine Houk 
Chapter 20       The Everyday Lives of Black Canadian
                        Homeschoolers                   221
                        Monica Wells Kisura 
Chapter 21      The Praxis of SelfDesign as a New Paradigm for
                        Learning      233
                        Brent Cameron 
Chapter 22      Home Education in Quebec                         256
                        Christine Brabant 
Chapter 23       Learning From Within and From All That is
                        Around Us                        264
                        Seema Ahluwalia and Carl Boneshirt 

Part III  They’ve Grown Up              285         

Chapter 24      Life is a Field Trip and You don’t Need a Permission Slip         286
                       Dale Stephens 
Chapter 25      Pioneer Unschooler           292
                       Kate Cayley 
Chapter 26     Growing up Weird               300
                       Kate Fridkis 
Chapter 27      I Love my Life              305
                        Eli Gerzon 
Chapter 28      I’m Educated          314
                       Candra Kennedy 
Chapter 29      Redefining Success               324
                       Jessica Claire Barker             329
                       Peter Kowalke 
Chapter 31     I’m Unschooled and Yes, I Can Write           336
                       Idzie Desmarais 
Chapter 32     The Subtle but Radical Frame of Being a
                       Contributor Versus Being Successful            340
                       Sean Ritchey 
Chapter 33     More Time is More Freedom               348
                       Brenna McBroom 
Chapter 34     Motivation, Method, and Mastery: How I learned                352
                       Music Without Being Taught.                                                                          Andrew Gilpin 
About the Editors 360

Editors Biographies:

Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko is a free-lance writer and blogger. She blogs extensively at Natural Born Learners ( and has founded Personalized Education Hamilton to facilitate self-determined learning in her community. She works for a not-for-profit environmental organization as a project manager and coordinator. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario with her husband and three children who were all unschooled for a time.
Visit her website to see other writing at

Carlo Ricci is a professor of education and currently teaches in the Graduate Program at the Schulich School of Education, Nipissing University. He edits and founded the Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning. He has written and edited a number of books including The Willed Curriculum, Unschooling, and Self-Direction: What Do Love, Trust, Respect, Care, and Compassion Have to Do With Learning; and Turning points: 35 Visionaries in Education Tell Their Own Stories (AERO, 2010) with Jerry Mintz; and The Legacy of John Holt: A Man Who Genuinely Understood, Trusted, and Respected Children (HoltGWS, 2013) with Patrick Farenga. He has also written numerous articles on unschooling and self-determined learning. He lives in Toronto, Ontario with his wife and two children.

Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko
905 529 7408

Dr. Carlo Ricci
(519) 752-1524 ext. 7510

Follow our blog
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Over 200 half hour MP3 radio free shows searchable for download/podcast at
Personalized Education Hamilton
Natural Born Learners

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Learning, gratitude

New pages:

Pam Sorooshian, ten years ago, refuting a bad characterization of unschooling:

Joanna Wilkinson is through with unschooling! (read the bottom first, if you want, when you're there)