Thursday, March 31, 2016

Positive, abundant gratitude

Finding the positive, finding abundance, finding gratitude, will take a person in an entirely new direction, and many of the other problems fall away effortlessly.  photo IMG_3437.jpeg
SandraDodd.com/understanding
photo by Chrissy Florence

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Explore the world

"Children will flourish if their needs are joyfully met as they explore the world. Creatively support your child in what he's genuinely interested in."
—Debbie Regan

 photo Playing with Lego as a family.jpg
Sometimes they're exploring imaginary worlds.

SandraDodd.com/teaching/problem
photo by Abby Davis

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Angels and chickens

Knowing I wanted to use this photo of Lydia Koltai's daughter and a favorite chicken, I pulled up my site search and put in "angel" and "chicken," partly as a joke—thinking I might get a quote with one of them.

Up came the page on cakes. Well, then! I invite you to go there and read the brief story of how my young boys, during a viewing of Spartacus in 1994, helped me discover one of the coolest things of my whole life—that the candles on birthday cakes, and the cakes themselves, are sacrificial offerings. Also they're sweet, and fun. There's light. There are wishes. There is celebration.

Cherish those things.
SandraDodd.com/cake
photo by Lydia Koltai

Monday, March 28, 2016

Diverge!

 photo 20150707_154547.jpgI had a professor, years ago, tell me that one mark of intelligence was the use of tools other than the way they were intended to be used. I thought that definition would show up in other places in my life, but it hasn't. So here I share it with all of you. Try not to say "That's not what that's for" too quickly—your child might be about to do something quite intelligent.


"If you want to be creative, stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterizes children before they are deformed by adult society."
—Piaget, quoted by Deb Lewis
in "Unguided Discovery"

SandraDodd.com/deblewis/discovery
photo by Andrea Taylor

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Resting

 photo IMG_4844.jpgIf you get to sleep for a long time, be glad. If your sleep is interrupted, try to be like a cat, and just accept it. Measuring sleep and being angry about the clock will lead to neither peace nor rest.
Children will wake you up. Breathe in love and remain restful.

SandraDodd.com/peace/
photo by Ve Lacerda

Friday, March 25, 2016

Dial it up!

The edge of the ocean isn't a static, solid line. Waves and tides make it beach, and water, and marine habitat, and land, back and forth, up and down, neither all nor nothing. Learning is that way, too, if you can relax.


See if you have a dial in your mind that says "everything" at one extreme and "nothing" at the other. It's impossible for anyone to do everything or nothing. Maybe label it "too much" and "not enough" instead, and try for the midpoint. Replace any on/off switches in your mind with slide bars or dimmers!"

SandraDodd.com/balance
photo by Janelle Wrock

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Once you start looking...

 photo IA2_2133.jpegOnce you start looking for connections and welcoming them, it creates a kind of flow that builds and grows.
SandraDodd.com/connections/example
photo by Chrissy Florence

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The turning point of deschooling

 photo 2011 05 20_6227.jpgRecovering from school is only part of a parent's deschooling process. Trust is involved, but it's an evolving trust. First one might read about or even meet some older unschooled kids and see that they're doing well. But it seems they can distance their own families a bit by thinking "Well that's fine for her kids—but mine might not be as [insert one:
    special
      bright
         gifted
            open
               calm
                  creative
                     sociable] as hers are."

The turning point comes when one sees the natural learning start to shine from her own child. Then she goes beyond trusting other unschoolers, and starts trusting natural learning.

"Of your own certain knowledge…"
or
Seeing the light with your own eyes

photo by Erika Ellis

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Being together

When a child lives with his parents, it's good if the parents appreciate and nurture what it is "to live," and if they can see the value of the "with."
Read about the New Wheelbarrow or perhaps more Togetherness
photo by Jo Isaac

Monday, March 21, 2016

Be a safe place

Here is how to make yourself a safer, more peaceful person, before you even finish reading this post:

Just let your breath out, and don't breath back in right away. Empty out.
You can't talk without any air in you.

That will seem like five seconds, if you're full of adrenaline. But it will be one second or less.

Then your body will naturally fill back up, whether you want it to or not.
And the breath you breathe in will be all new oxygen. Not that dirty used adrenaline cloud you had built up before that. It might not totally dissipate in one breath; it might take three.

Hold it in. Top it off. Hold it. Let it out slowly—all the way out. Huff out the rest. Hold it out. Breathe in slowly...

There are a lot of people in prison for life who might not be there if they had known they could let all their breath out, breath back in, hold it.

And there are parents who swat their kids, or yell at them, or say something mean the kid might remember for life, when they could have breathed out, huffed out the rest, breathed in a deep breath.

Deep breaths will probably help. You don't have to do it formally, and nobody even needs to know you're doing it.

SandraDodd.com/chats/breathing
photo by Rachel Singer

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Life changes things

Noticing and appreciating change and variation is good artistically, emotionally and scientifically.

Life changes things. See that, accept it, and flow.
 photo IMG_3357.jpg
SandraDodd.com/flow
photo by Shannon Loucks

Saturday, March 19, 2016

...like it's 1999

This is the 1999th post, and it reminded me of the Prince song. That song came out in 1982, before I had children. It was quite futuristic, right? For most of 18 years, he was singing of something distant.

All the children born before then are adult-aged now. Most of the children of readers of this blog were born in the 21st century, and might need some explanation to appreciate that song.

You're living in history! It's flowing around you and through you.
 photo DSC03028.jpg
The very first post, and why
photo by Sandra Dodd, of Holly doing something
more like 1899, but in 2015.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Live, see, and think

 photo IMG_2390.jpgUnschooling isn't another version of a curriculum, that will take four hours a day. Unschooling is a different way to live and to see and to think.
SandraDodd.com/seeingitcomments
photo by Julie T

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Most things are many things

 photo LydiaKoltaiWaterFlower.jpgFew things have only one name, one use, or one aspect. People have different roles and relationships, skills and traits. The same tree will look different in different stages, seasons, and times of day.

See things.
Appreciate them.
SandraDodd.com/awareness
photo by Lydia Koltai

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Slightly new is new

 photo IMG_2558.jpgChange one thing: timing, route, store, choices, order, station, dishes...

One change affects other perceptions and connections.
Normal or exotic?
photo by Sandra Dodd

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spinning

Movement can be joy for children. It doesn't need to be organized, formal, or measured. Spinning for fun, jumping, climbing, rolling down a hill—think back to your own childhood memories of moving in new ways.  photo _MG_6538_Edit.jpeg
SandraDodd.com/physicality
photo by Chrissy Florence

Monday, March 14, 2016

Just enough peace

Can there be too much peace? For learning, yes. Learning requires mental arousal. If an environment is so still and barren that one's  photo IMG_3710.jpg curiosity isn't sparked, then people might be closer to a state of sleep than of excited curiosity. Life can be too dull and quiet for learning to spontaneously happen.

Can there be too little peace? Yes, and in many ways. There can be too much noise, stimulation and chaos. So finding the balance place and the comfort level is part of creating a peaceful home.


SandraDodd.com/peace/noisy
photo by Andrea Justice

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Serious fun

"Fun is serious. Fun is important, especially for kids. Don't underrate fun. People who are not happy as children seldom find easy or lasting happiness as adults."
—Deb Lewis
 photo JanineToyGuns.jpg
The quote comes from something beautiful, and serious, about Scooby-Doo
at the second link here: SandraDodd.com/scoobydoo
photo by Janine

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Help on the journey

Shared from e-mail, with the author's permission:

"I just started to think and learn about unschooling late last year, and when I first signed up for Just Add Light and Stir I couldn't imagine how the kinds of things photo photo 1-1.jpg you post would help me understand unschooling. But as time goes by I feel like these posts are almost what has helped me more than anything! I find that I really look forward to reading them every day, and they accompany me on my journey into this new territory."
—Susan Walker

SandraDodd.com/beginning
photo by Elise Lauterbach

Friday, March 11, 2016

Happy heroes

 photo 805.jpgCourage, real or imagined, can make a person bigger—larger of soul and of confidence. "Big hearted," it once meant.

When a parent has the heart, and soul, and confidence to stand heroically between a child and fear, that takes courage. Defending a child from criticism and negativity (even from our own) makes us bigger.
SandraDodd.com/deblewis/courage
(The words above are Sandra Dodd's, new today,
but the link is to "Becoming Courageous," by Deb Lewis.)
photo by Julie D

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Special delivery

 photo RobynC.jpg"Food you want, served to you by someone who loves you and brings it to you with a smile and a hug, has magical powers to heal and replenish the soul as well as the body."
—Shan Burton
SandraDodd.com/service
photo by Robyn Coburn

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Connect the dots

History is infinite, that's for sure. You've gotta start somewhere, and pretty much it doesn't matter where you start because it's all connected, like a universe-sized dot-to-dot you could never finish but you started when you were born.
SandraDodd.com/history
photo by Lisa Jonick

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Look, learn, proceed

 photo DSC02939.jpg"Unschooling is really about learning without school. Radical unschooling includes all learning, not just academic learning. What encourages and supports learning in your child(ren)? Look at that. Learn from that. Proceed from that."
—Karen James
from SandraDodd.com/otherideas
photo by Sandra Dodd

Monday, March 7, 2016

Time and support

Ronnie Maier wrote:

"Unschooling works because the unschooled individual has the time and support to follow the interesting byways that lead to real learning."
 photo talia2.jpg
SandraDodd.com/socialization
photo by Talie Bartoe

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lucky baby

 photo IMG_4926.jpgA rich world for a baby is similar to a rich world for anyone else. A baby is a person. A lucky baby has an adult partner who understands that.
SandraDodd.com/babies/infants
photo by Ve Lacerda

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sorting, sort of

Church photo DSCF4514.jpgThings will get better as you weed out negativity and focus on what’s good and positive.

The quote is from a private e-mail. This page is a match:
SandraDodd.com/deschooling
photo by Sandra Dodd, of a card from the singing game "Encore"

Friday, March 4, 2016

Patterns built and found

 photo ChairsParasolHolly.jpgPeople naturally look for similarities, differences, and patterns. We name and categorize. It's a natural part of learning, and it can be fun.
SandraDodd.com/skills
photo by Holly Dodd

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Warm home

 photo catsink.jpgSmall moments of peace and calm can add up to contentment. Gratitude and acceptance contribute to satisfaction. Having a warm home isn't an absolute, and it's not magic. It's the accumulation of positive choices that create a nest for humans (and their significant animal others).
SandraDodd.com/nest
photo by Janine

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Quiet antiques

 photo IMG_0190.jpgLook around you for simple bits of older art, technology and history. See and appreciate these quiet antiques.
SandraDodd.com/curiosity
photo by Holly Dodd

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Calm acceptance

 photo IMG_4122.jpgSometimes 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."

SandraDodd.com/unexpected
photo by Julie Markovitz
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