Dads
page 25 of The Big Book of Unschooling (2009 edition)
online chat, October 26, 2011

This devolved after a while, but I left a couple of topics near the end, about moms' desires to get out more, kids getting along better, and video games.

Sandra Dodd: here's a quote for starters, from page 25 of the book:

Sandra Dodd: If you don't know where you're going, it's hard to begin to get there. If where you want to go is a fantasy, then it's impossible to get there.

Jill Parmer: 12:05 and we already have more than 10. This must be a needed topic.

Alex P: Sandra wrote that for dads but I think it works for moms too.

laura zurro: Reading the page really resonated with me because we are the famliy that has dad out working. He embraces unschooling but hates to read and so relies upon me to share inforamtion and since I'm still learning and trying to understand sometimes things get a bit mixed up

Robin B: This seems to be a common occurence - dads hating to read. I wonder why?

laura zurro: oh yes and since he's French I have to find resources in French to make it easier AND hope he will actually read it in between all the work

laura zurro: we talked about this yesterday at our local unschooling playdate and we all found the same thing

Alex P: Brian does well most of the time but will have doubts here and there so this is a good topic for me too.,

Capn Franko: Counterpoint: Does this quote require the assumption of a planned destination and, if so, is that a necessary thing?

Michele: My husband would rather read other things. But we communicate pretty well.

Alex P: Yes Robin, Brian does not like to read either!

Lisa: I too have been the person who does most of the research and thinking about the kids, learning, etc.

Sandra Dodd: If you have a planned destination and it looks like school, unschooling doesn't lead there. If you have a planned destination and it's fantasy out of your idealized wishful thinking, unschooling doesn't lead there, either.

Jill Parmer: That's what I was wondering too, Frank. I often toodle along without a destination.

ColleenPrieto: my husband doesn't like to read either but he did get thru the first 6 pages of the Big Book of Unschooling the other night

Sandra Dodd: I'm hoping people will want to get to peaceful parenting, to better relationships, and to natural learning.

heather: Monty read Sandra's Big Book. We worked out a deal that I would read World War Z if he read Sandra's book.

Robin B: Ross likes to read, but not necessarily what I used to give him. Almost all of it was from a mother's point of view (attachment parenting, unschooling). I'm glad for Ben's writings and others.

Capn Franko: Ok, Sandra, I grok that.

Sandra Dodd: World War Z is EASY!! That's the one with all the little vignettes about the survivors here and there?

ColleenPrieto: we at our house are not oriented toward a destination other than a happy child growing, learning, and enjoying himself, if that counts

heather: Yes Sandra

heather: I don't like zombies though. Or apocolyptic stuff. It scares me.

Sandra Dodd: Jill, you might not have a destination, but you know what a cliff looks like, right?

Jill Parmer: Yes.

Lisa Biskup: Yes, Sandra, that has always been my goals - peaceful parenting, good and better relationships, and natural learning.

heather: I was willing to be scared though if he would read this totally awesome book I just finished ;)

Michele: Sounds like a great deal Heather.

heather: It was!

Sandra Dodd: Well thanks, Heather. So... I hope he was more hopeful about the world and you weren't too creeped out by the zombie stories.

Alex P: Brian grew up in a farm (still farms) and is very hard on himself about working hard. There are many stories about that and they color the way he thinks.

Michele: And reading something like that can make you feel more grateful for your life afterward (just like I felt after finishing Sarah's Key last weekend, which takes place during WWII).

Sandra Dodd: I have heard, and I believe, that generally school is a girly thing. Aimed at girls, easier for girls, girly-style lessons and such.

Jill Parmer: Also, I was thinking the things you stated (peaceful parenting, better relationships, natural learning) Those are on my mind close to all the time, so they don't seem like a destination so much to me, as a doing those now, while I'm moseying along.

Sandra Dodd: Some things are more manly, maybe. Calculus and Physics. But those come to teens.

Robin B: I think a lot of boys had trouble with reading in school. Bad memories that continue into adulthood.

Sandra Dodd: It is possible, in the larger view of mankind evolutionarily, that reading is a girly thing, and that men doing manly things don't have a lot of need for reading. Storytelling, yes. Factfinding, yes.

Capn Franko: IME in grammar school, it was definitely considered weenie to excel at studies. Ick. Girl stuff.

Lisa Biskup: You might have something there Sandra. I noticed that our two unschooled girls like to "play" school with some of the neighbor girls who go to school, but the boys never play that game. LOL!

heather: Monty still gets hung up on Austin not being taught math.

Sandra Dodd: And I could be wrong, but it's not something I made up altogether all by myself.

heather: When he finished Sandra's book the first thing he said was, "I can get behind all of it except the part about math."

Sandra Dodd: Perhaps, Jill, you have reached your destination.

ColleenPrieto: I don't think you're wrong - school is often about sit still, write neatly, pay attention - certainly boys can do that too, but it seems to come naturally to girls at an earlier age

Alex P: I have read about that a lot lately Sandra. There are books about it. How school damages boys and is better for girls.

laura zurro: Sometimes I'm frustrated because I might understand something and be trying to get the idea across (perhaps in how something was worded to Caitlyn) and when I try to explain why it's better not to say something a certain way he balks at it. Of course it could have something to do with how I approach saying it?

Sandra Dodd: Read another zombie book, Heather, in exchange for him reading all of this: http://sandradodd.com/math I recommend the zombies in the west graphic novel. Whatever it is.

Sandra Dodd: Walking Dead? Not the whole series. One book for one section of a webpage.

Robin B: So maybe we as adult women might need to find better ways to help our husbands understand? Since we cling to writing, maybe naturally?

heather: I think I'll make a trade for watching Dr. Who with him instead ;)

Rebecca Allen: Dr. Who is fun! And some of them are attractive too!

Sandra Dodd: -=- when I try to explain why it's better not to say somethign a certain way he balks at it. Of course it could have something to do with how I approach saying it?-=-

Sandra Dodd: Think "I messages," maybe. Instead of "If you say this, then that.." you could say "I have started saying X instead of Y, because... and it seems to be helping."

Sandra Dodd: Just say it, without requiring it.

heather: just the thought of watching walking dead scares me.

Capn Franko: Dr. Who is unwatchable. Has been since the 60s. There! There--my male perspective.

heather: Frank I'm with you, but I would do it for the sake of a more peaceful unschooling home.

Sandra Dodd: I think the relationship between the parents is crucial to dads moving toward unschooling.

Alex P: Frank I do not think Brian is a DR Who kind of guy. HA'

Capn Franko: And I derailed the generic concept by sapping the specific. Mea culpa.

Jill Parmer: I agree, Robin. I think that's part of helping unschooling thrive in your household...help husbands understand. (Or the spouse going out to work)

Sandra Dodd: If the mom and dad have an antagonistic relationship, unschooling can be the biggest wedge of all, and no partnership needs a wedgie.

Robin B: Relationship is what ultimately did it for us. Ross trusted me (though sometimes he wavered, with old ideas in his head from his childhood) and his trust has panned out. For those who don't know, our daughter is 16 now and everyone is happy.

Sandra Dodd: I think a kid can survive a year of school better than he can survive the parents fighting over whether he's doing math lessons for a year or two.

Alex P: Heather I started watching baseball to connect with Brian during baseball season and now I love it. Had to learn about the game as I had no idea what was going on. Brian loves telling me what is going on!

Rebecca Allen: My husband likes Dr. Who and reading about unschooling if I send it to him in small chunks. And my daughter does not like sitting still for long. It's helpful to look at the individual rather than the stereotype.

Sandra Dodd: Alex, that's a good idea. I leave Keith alone to watch his favorite shows, but if we were in a younger relationship, it might help for me to watch with him.

Sandra Dodd: Same as I would watch a show with one of the kids, if it would help us be closer.

Sandra Dodd: We have Star Trek TNG as something we watched together and can still discuss with joy. : And some movies.

Alex P: Sandra you two did have a lot you shared together, SCA, music .....

Michele: Definitely relationship is important. My husband and I trust/respect one another. I've seen otherwise with my friends who fight over parenting ideas.

heather: example of math anxiety on the part of my husband. Monty was talking to me about how Austin doesn't understand number placement. He was coming up with this really complicated and contrived way of teaching it with buttons in a jar. I suggested that the way Austin is going to get number placement will probably be through video games, not buttons. We laughed and he got it.

ColleenPrieto: Rebecca I agree - my husband doesn't fit many of the the dad stereotypes, and asked me if chat today was going to be about how dads don't believe in unschooling etc. - he likes to point out when people are generalizing about "men"

Lisa Biskup: My husband and I are now divorced (since 1 year ago), but we live only a few houses away from each other in a cohousing community and the kids go back and forth freely. Fortunately, we have been able to continue with unschooling, and we have recently moved toward "radical unschooling" in the areas of media and food, which feels really good.

Capn Franko: In my head I see equal trades as a step toward complete trust and unmeasured sharing. It feels artificial to me, too structured. But it's a way to get to a place of mutual complete trust.

Sandra Dodd: Yeah, we did. We were fine. And sometimes when there are little kids the dad might use favorite TV shows to have a break without leaving the house, and that should be respected. He probably doesn't WANT everybody sharing it. but Alex's story of baseball sparked the thought in me.

Sandra Dodd: I'm not going to feel too guilty about making generalizations about unschooling dads, Colleen.

Robin B: Hey Lisa! You just joined our local list. We met briefly at Life is Good a few years ago.

Lisa Biskup: Yeah! We'll be going again this year, especially because Sandra will be there.

Sandra Dodd: Like what, Frank? Reading about unschooling in exchange for zombies you mean?

Lisa Biskup: Looking forward to hooking up with more unschoolers again.

Robin B: Maybe get your husband on the chat, Colleen. Then he can dispute the generalizations!

Sandra Dodd: Lisa, I am bad with names and so when we meet, brief me, please.

Lisa Biskup: Okay, Sandra. I will.

Michele: Lisa, how wonderful that worked out! I feel bad for my divorced friends and their kids being shuttled back and forth and such.

Alex P: We used to all, specially Brian and MD, connect over Family Guy, not as much lately.

Capn Franko: Yeah. Anytime a "fair" trade is required it seems to me that's rooted in lack of mutual trust and teamwork.

Sandra Dodd: If a woman has to do something special to get a guy to read about unschooling, and if after that their mutual life is better, I'm not going to pull that up by the roots and complain.

ColleenPrieto: Robin he and my son are out getting turkey from a local farm and then getting haircuts - hopefully he'll be back before the chat ends

Robin B: Sounds like they're having fun. That's good!

heather: We're all trying to connect with Minecraft right now. Those zombies don't scare me. We have a server with just the three of us. (monty, austin and I)
And our lives have been better. Much. We all laugh and play so much more than we did.
I talked about this last time I was here, but looking at old home movies you can tell there wasn't happiness. There was a lot of, "Yea, yea kid. Don't bug me now."

Sandra Dodd: Someone mentioned (on familyRUNning?) a few days ago that she's on an unschooling list or something where they're all saying dads should quit their jobs if they're going to be real unschoolers.

laura zurro: Stephane simply doesn't want to read - he's too tired from work normally, but I'm hoping he will try the French articles. He did make a telling comment the other day though and said I was pushing too much and he gets that all day at work -I was trying to get him to go to the park with Caitlyn. But on the other hand he sits and plays WII with her and does other things.

ColleenPrieto: Frank I agree - my sister and her husband are very into "even trades" of time with the kids, "me time," etc. - I don't think it builds their relationship I think it's an indication of a lack of "we're all in this together" thinking

Jill Parmer: I read that too, Sandra. Very odd.

Lisa Biskup: I finally purchased the Big Book of Unschooling on my iPad after having read the website for years and loved it. I told Mike about it and directed him to the website. He was very receptive and even emailed back a few quotes of things he found valuable to him. He is very supportive of unschooling. He only recently was persuaded to go for the media and food changes.

Alex P: With Brian it helps me to keep my calm and not get defensive, easier said than done, and talk to him and point out things that make sense and are simple.

Sandra Dodd: Laura, dads need a break. I remember handing Keith a baby as he walked in, but it's not the best plan.

Robin B: Sandra, thanks again for the magnets. I think those kinds of things can get dads understanding. Short, to the point quotations. Easy to read. Not too in your face. I think those can help.

The Magnets (art set-up by Holly)
purchase of books or magnets helps support the cost of the website
and of this chatroom ($12 a month for the chatroom)

laura zurro: quitting all the jobs wouldn't help families thrive - why would they say that.

Robin B: It's this "un-jobbing" idea. If we're going to unschool, why not un-everything.

laura zurro: Yes I agree Sandra and I'm working towards that - I think it's a bit of challenge sometimes because I'm with Caitlyn 24/7 except for when I go out grocery shopping so I'm trying to find bits of time for myself OUTSIDE of the house.

heather: The other day Monty got all excited when he saw I bought How Children Learn. He said, "I was going to buy that!" I don't think that would have happened if we hadn't traded reading books.

Jill Parmer: I think it is a fantasy about everyone in the family being together all the time and being "free".

Alex P: Sandra I read that on familyRUNing. I was WHAT? I did not get that. Who would say that?

Capn Franko: In theory, it'd be nice for everybody in the family to be free to unschool together. In reality, ya gotta pay the rent and buy food.

Robin B: It's a bit like stamping one's foot and saying "the kids get to do what they want, I want to do what I want."

laura zurro: sometimes I would like a bit of time alone inside so I can miss having the noise if that makes sense?

Jill Parmer: How old is Caitlin?

ColleenPrieto: my husband (who works part time from home, as do I - so we're already living a little outside the mainstream working world) has said many times that if dads go off to work and moms stay home, dads are missing all the fun - not that everyone can "unjob" but we've had many interesting talks about the idea of one parent working so the other can be home unschooling - he wonders about loneliness for the moms

Andrea: "It's a bit like stamping one's foot and saying "the kids get to do what they want, I want to do what I want." --- Oh yes. I've seen it.

Sandra Dodd: Robin, the magnets are between the world and the beer. It's like putting the book in the bathroom. Guys are sitting in there anyway.

Robin B: Exactly, Sandra!

laura zurro: Jill will be 5 day after Christmas

Sandra Dodd: Keith used to say he wished he wasn't missing all the fun, too. But if he had quit his job, we wouldn't have had a house and a car in which to have any fun.

Robin B: I thank Ross often for his work outside the home, as what he brings in allows us to do what we do.

Sandra Dodd: But someone out there is promoting irresponsibility, and I think that's a bummer.

ColleenPrieto: I think I would feel guilty if I were home having the fun while he worked so I could have that life - but again I haven't tried it that way so I'm probably not one to talk

Michele: I would love to be able to make enough money to work outside the home and give my husband a turn to be home with the kids. He'd like it too.

Michele: I might someday. Working on it.

Andrea: It is sometimes lonely, Colleen, and sometimes I feel guilty, especially when we are doing something that I know Ray would really enjoy.

ColleenPrieto: unjobbing/working unconventionally shouldn't be done irresponsibly though - I agree - you can't just quit and figure it out - well, you can, but you might not have peace that way

Lisa Biskup: For many years I was the one who worked and made the money (at home on the computer) and Mike was the person who "had all the fun". Now that we are divorced, we both work part-time and both are around with the kids and have even more support with our partners, family members, etc. The kids are doing very well.

Capn Franko: Ronnie and I have both been freelancing since 95. SometimesI worked more, sometimes hse did. Nowadays, she works more.

Andrea: That's great to hear, Lisa.

ColleenPrieto: yep Andrea it's something we think about and talk about at our house because we are both around and not everyone can be - interesting stuff

Marta BP: how can we make it up for them (the husbands that work and miss all the fun)? I've asked myself that question lately, sometimes I almost feel bad for being the one to stay home and really enjoy this peaceful and joyful with our daughter...

Sandra Dodd: Having been home with three kids under six, I didn't feel one BIT guilty, and now that they're grown and I'm mostly working on my webpages and going to conferences (usually just for room and board and a flight; occasionally there's a bit of income), I don't feel bad either. I'm still helping other families, and Keith gets to help me help them. That's a good deal for him. What he does at work doesn't change the world for the better, but he knows that what we've done as a family does.

Marta BP: Yes Sandra.

heather: That's awesome Sandra.

Robin B: Oh that's really sweet, Sandra.

ColleenPrieto: I'm sure there are many men who are happy to be the "breadwinners" - and many women too - and other people who want to be home - it boils down to what works best for each family I think

Alex P: So Here is an issue. Brian works at home, well out in the farm. He works everyday from 4:30AM until 8-9 most days. MD has been sleeping late and waking up early and spends a lot of time in his room doing things in the computer (sometimes reading books/kindles, sometimes drawing or watching TV) So if dad spends time with him he naturally goes out and helps that with some chores and spends time with him. But dad is busy and tired and when he comes in wants to eat and watch a little TV and go to sleep. When he has to check cows at night MD wakes him up and sometimes goes out with him to check on them. Usually dad is ok with all that but he has been missing MD lately and wanting to see him more doing other things. S MD says he is going to wake up but he is too tired and does not (even when we all try too because he asks)

ChrisSanders: That's kind of how I have always felt about it too, Sandra. RIck used to thank me for being home with the kids because he recognized that he didn't have to worry about them in daycare, or leave his work to make sure they got to where they needed to go. He was better able to focus on his business knowing his kids were happy and well cared for.

Sandra Dodd: Marta, I think not asking dads to get up with babies in the middle of the night is a good way. Making sure they get some recovery time, and as much sleep as they need is good. Nice dinners a few times a week is good.

Alex P: We have had this happen like once a year where Brian is feeling like that. We talk about it and he spends more time with MD and it all resolves but maybe I need some more ideas to help out.

laura zurro: Alex, that sounds a lot like us right now - Stephane is always so tired from work that even when he's not working overtime he doesn't have energy to do things and he feels so guilty

Marta BP: Great. Already trying to do some of that! ;)

Marta BP: Nights have been my responsibility since Constança was born.

Alex P: Yes Laura Brian feels guilty but see because he is just outside MD can go and be with him.

Jill Parmer: I did feel kinda guilty being the at home person. I have so much fun with the kids. But if it was my husband staying home it wouldn't be the same. He's not the fun, let's go do this thing kind of person. When I realized that we were both in the right positions for our family, I didn't feel so guilty.

Sandra Dodd: I think a dad who is peaceful and home doesn't need to play with a child every single day to be a soothing, calming presence in his life.

Sandra Dodd: Tell those guys not to feel guilty.

Sandra Dodd: The kids are safe and warm and will be there when the dad finds some time. My boys spent more time with keith as they got older.

Sandra Dodd: 12, 14, grown---Keith is often their favored parent now.

Robin B: Keith *is* pretty cool.

laura zurro: We definitely figured out that him working was the better choice - we tried him staying home and he did do things with her but he feels that we get out and do so many more things she wants to do.

Alex P: I do Sandra. I also do not complain that he is not with us . I try not and do well most times when we go places we wish he could come with us.

Marta BP: »» I think a dad who is peaceful and home doesn't need to play with a child every single day to be a soothing, calming presence in his life.«« Good point Sandra.

ChrisSanders: Now, we both work, he runs his business out of our home and I have a couple of money-making endeavors I do from home plus I work about 15 hrs per week out of the home. It's nice to just all be around most of the time, and he gets lots of one-on-one time with the kids.

laura zurro: sorry "we" getting out meaning me and Caitlyn

Robin B: Senna has spent more time with Ross as she's gotten older, too. I had to reassure him when she was younger that it would happen, that right now she needed mum evolutionarily-speaking.

Andrea: Marta...when my husband has an extra day off from work, I try not to push him to do family things. I make plans with the kids and leave the house so he can have some peace. I also occasionally mow the lawn, which is normally one of his responsibilities.

Rebecca Allen: Alex, are there some chores around the farm that you could do instead of your husband - to give him some time with your son while they are both awake?

Alex P: I think Brian sees Gigi spending all this time with him and wishes that MD did too.

Lisa Biskup: I see the same thing happening with my partner's son, Dante. He is now 9 and very much wants more of his dad, and his dad is now more able to relate to him in ways that work for him. His mom, Nicole and I are partners and Michael, the dad, is very supportive of unschooling and is supporting the family (Nicole and the kids) financially, and wants to do that. Nicole doesn't work. She has three kids nearly 19, 10 and 9.

laura zurro: Is there anyone who has a very introverted husband ? How did you work in social things with that for instance did you do any conferences? Stephane is willing to try something like a conference but likely will be a fly on the wall so to speak.

Marta BP: Andrea, I have thought of doing just that, but then I'm a bit selfish and ask him to do family things with us because I miss him too. ;) But I agree that it might help to let him relax and do whatever he wants all by himself once in a while...

ChrisSanders: I like Rebecca's question to Alex.

Alex P: Rebecca I help him as much as I can right now. I drop everything in the house to go do stuff for him. But with Dairy farming you never catch up. MD does do stuff for him when he asks. It is just that he usually does not ask for it. He is getting better at it because MD really likes to work and all he needs is to be asked. Not the way my husband was raised.

Sandra Dodd: Keith is an introvert. At a conference he stays in the room a fair amount, goes out for a couple of hours and does a Keith-show, and goes back to recuperate.

Sandra Dodd: He will show more at the symposium in December, probably, because he will be doing things, moving things, cleaning up. But he will probably come home to sleep, rather than stay at the hotel, because it will be more recharging for him. He will say someone needs to take care of the cats, but he would come home anyway.

Robin B: Bye Lisa. See you soon-ish.

laura zurro: thanks for sharing that Sandra because that's exactly what it would be like for us. I have to remind myself that I can't "make" him want to be more involved than he's willing to be

Andrea: Oh, I definitely miss him, Marta. But when he gets one of those extra holidays, I want him to have a break.

heather: When we have people over Monty will usually get up and do the dishes. When I first noticed it I thought it was odd, then I realized he needed a break to recharge so he found a job to do to excuse himself.

Melissa: My husband Brad goes to bed at 9 gets up for work at 6. We (myself and two kids, Katie and Max, 8 and 6) have been going to bed at 1-2 am and getting up around 10. So he is not sleeping with us these days, except on weekends. He and I miss that, just sleeping in the same room.

ColleenPrieto: I think again it boils down to what works for the individuals involved - some men might want peace and alone time to recharge - some might want to squeeze as much kid-time into a day off as they can - I think respecting what people (in this case dads) want for themselves is half the proverbial battle

Sandra Dodd: Keith empties trashcans and takes the trash out, when he needs to leave the room and go explore the surroundings.

Marta BP: You're right Andrea.

Rebecca Allen: Oh Heather! You just gave me an aha about myself regarding those kinds of breaks to recharge.

Robin B: I also have an introverted husband. In fact, I'm an introvert, but a social one. Ross has come to conferences, but generally stays in the room. Comes out for talent shows to see us. Works. Has meals with us.

Sandra Dodd: I agree, Colleen.

Sandra Dodd: I think ideas for how to regard the differences and the contributions dads make is important.

Alex P: Laura, Brian is like that and did OK at the Conference but he did know Ben Lovejoy and David Waynforth from our home and that made a huge difference for him.

Andrea: Very true, Colleen. Sometimes Ray does want to play XBOX for four hours, LOL (with the kids, I mean)

Robin B: Ross will hang out with Frank .

Sandra Dodd: Some women imagine how dads should be, and sometimes it's a male version of the mom they want.

heather: Sandra, sounds like if we got Monty and Keith together for dinner we wouldn't have any cleaning up to do afterwards!

Marta BP: Yes Colleen, I agree.

Capn Franko: I like Ross. I enjoy talking with him.

Robin B: Oh and Ross. He likes to clean up, too!

ColleenPrieto: Andrea you'll laugh since you've been here for dinner but half of why Robert hangs out in the kitchen and does the cooking etc is cuz he says "I'll do more of the cooking and you do more of the chatting" - he likes visitors, but he doesn't like to spend too much time sitting still and talking

Sandra Dodd: When the mom doesn't know how she can picture the dad being otherwise, I'd say: "If you don't know where you're going, it's hard to begin to get there. If where you want to go is a fantasy, then it's impossible to get there."

Capn Franko: I don't make excuses cuz I hate to clean up. I just go have my needed quiet time.

laura zurro: Melissa, we've taken to sleeping separately at time as well - mostly when I'm snoring too loud LOL or Caitlyn is planting a foot in his face or when we're sick. It helps him to sleep when he's going to bed at 7 or 8 and waking up at 3:30 or 5:30 depending upon work

Robin B: He likes you, Frank. You seem reasonably sane .

Capn Franko: So, clearly, I have Ross fooled.

Robin B: Snort!

Alex P: Heck I like Frank too Robin!!!!!

Robin B: I know. He's awesome.

laura zurro: yes Sandra your quote speaks volumes because I am often reminded he isn't the dad I might necessarily EXPECT him to be

Sandra Dodd: When the kids were little, we had adjoining rooms. I was up later than Keith nearly every night, and sometimes I'd sleep there, but if there was a nursing baby, usually I'd sleep in the kids' room, at least at first. Or when the first baby work up.

Sandra Dodd: I'd stay with the kids.

heather: I think unschooling has brought a greater understanding for me of the kind of person Monty is. I rarely get frustrated with him any more. I feel like I understand him so much better.

Andrea: I noticed that at the park the other day, too, Colleen. Robert went and helped with LARP instead of gabbing with the girls

Sandra Dodd: If one kid got restless or crowded, he would go get in the big bed with Keith.

ColleenPrieto: yep he'd rather be doing than talking, for the most part

Sandra Dodd: When we moved, kids had their own rooms, and things were different, but I still slept with Holly a fair amount when she was seven and eight.

Robin B: Even now, I'll stay up later if Senna needs some company. Ross needs to get to bed early as he has an early morning.

laura zurro: LOL and I've given up on trying to create "dad dates" you know...when you say "wow I really like so and so and I think her husband you would get along great!!!"

Capn Franko: We had two matresses on the floor together and the 4 of us co-slept. I was not a great employee during that period. Separate sleeping for me might have helped my functionality.

Alex P: It works best when Brian sleeps in the couch or recliner by the fireplace than in our bed, just because we do not bother him that way and it is his favorite place even before we got married.

Sandra Dodd: Heather, that's true of me too, even though Keith and I were together for years pre-kids. I like him as a dad!

Robin B: He understands and is cool with it, because I also make sure we get some bedtimes together.

ChrisSanders: Rick slept in Zach's room for a couple months when Zach was transitioning to his own room. Now, he hangs out with Zoe late, late at night, before she goes to sleep. It's her teen version of being tucked in. He's a night owl and I'm not.

Robin B: That's a really good point, Heather and Sandra. There are dimensions to Ross that I wouldn't have seen if we didn't have a child.

Alex P: Yes heather, I can see that too with me and Brian.

Andrea: We've had all sorts of sleeping arrangements so that everyone could get enough sleep. Both adults tried to be as flexible as possible.

heather: It's pretty fantastic. Especially looking back at how it was.

Sandra Dodd: It helps to see sleep for what it is, and not as being about discipline or tradition or possibility-of-late-night-sex, as too many families do.

ChrisSanders: Rick's ability to be playful and his love of children was what sold him to me, way back when. I knew he'd make an awesome dad.

laura zurro: it's interesting all of this dad stuff because we've been trying to do local unschooling potlucks and it's always the moms who end up going and someone said but I want it to be a family thing so the dads can be involved but this brings a whole new light to maybe the dads aren't looking to be involved in that kind of thing and us moms are pushing for that

Melissa: I think Brad is a bit bewildered by how late we are going to bed. This is a fairly new shift that has been happening over the last month or two; it is a big adjustment for he and I, but I think especially for him. He's not really getting the opportunity to witness how much happier the kids are when the go to sleep, peacefully.

Alex P: Sleeping arrangements have changed many times here too. Now MD is sleeping in his room. That has never been an issue. I am glad about that.

Sandra Dodd: "he has to..." and "but I might want to wake up and..." Yeah, MIGHT. But needing rest is a constant reality.

Michele: I remember being so happy to see how my dh-to-be played with my niece and nephew.

Capn Franko: Go-cart track outing might tempt dads to be involved.

Andrea: Laura...we've had a few successful family potlucks...late in the day at the beach. Maybe once or twice each summer

Sandra Dodd: It would've my dad, but not my husband.

Jill Parmer: As I saw my kids for who they were, and not trying to make them into something, I did the same for my husband. For example, I can't make him have more energy than he does, so when he needed rest, I didn't say you need to spend more time with the kids.

laura zurro: Jill that's a great observation

Robin B: Chris, I remember when we were first dating. I was coming down the stairs in his house and like a bolt of lightning, it hit me. I thought "I want to have children with this man!" I hadn't felt that ever, even with my first husband.

ChrisSanders:

Sandra Dodd: Nice, Robin.

ColleenPrieto: Andrea mentioned LARP at the park the other day - some of the kids who were there were having a hard time getting along (boys) - my husband went and helped facilitate the playing - his comment on the way home was "we need more dads at these things - dads see things differently" (this was in reference to the way some of the moms were dealing with the disagreements)

heather: I used to make Monty do stuff I thought was important for Austin. Like play catch. If you knew Monty and Austin you would see how absurd that was.

Jill Parmer: I like to go on vacation with the kids, even when they were young, without my husband. He's just not as much fun and patient as me. And him staying home alone was a vacation for him.

Robin B: Go-kart outings rock!

Marta BP: Yes Jill. Have to practice on that one too. ;) Seeing Dad for who he is, I mean.

ColleenPrieto: dad energy can be totally different than mom energy - and a mix is a good thing

heather: I should apologize for that. I just remembered making them go play catch.

Jill Parmer: Now that they are older 13, and 17 he comes with us more.

Andrea: I do that, too, Jill

ChrisSanders: I saw how Rock prioritized spending time with his little brother -- 5 years younger, when we were in college and thought that was sweet. He has three other older brothers but he really focused on the youngest one. He also babysat for neighbors and when those kids and their folks came to our wedding I heard stories about how much fun he used to have with them, rough-housing and playing.

Sandra Dodd: Jill, sometimes we would wait until Saturday to go to the zoo or museum, so Keith could go, but he wouldn't want to go. At first it kind of irked me, but then I saw the sly value in it. He could NOT complain that we didn't include him or that he was missing stuff, if he had the choice and chose not to go.

Sandra Dodd: I didn't set it up, but I banked it anyway.

Alex P: OK I have a question. Because Gigi loves the cows, loves to be out during chores, and is super cute and darling it seems that Brian favors her and I see that MD feels that way. Any ideas since I never felt like my parents favored my siblings but they felt like they favored me.

Sandra Dodd: Heather, you should apologize. It's worth pointing out that you know you've changed and that you would've done differently.

Jill Parmer: I'm not sure he's favoring Gigi? Maybe it's just easier for them, since they connect over chores. But his desire to see more of MD doesn't sound like he is favoring a child.

Rebecca Allen: Alex, is seems like MD maybe doesn't get into farming as much as Gigi? Is there something else that MD and Brian both enjoy doing?

heather: I just did

heather: He laughed.

Sandra Dodd: If he does favor her, just let it be what it is.

Alex P: Yes I am not sure he is but it looks like it from the outside.

Sandra Dodd: parents attempt to deny their real preferences, that's more hurtful than letting it be.

Monty joined the chat

heather: hi Monty!!

Monty: ;)

Sandra Dodd: When parents try to spend equal time, in some kind of measured way, that forced "shared time" isn't very fun.

Alex P: What if MD feels that way Sandra? I think he does.

Alex P: not always but sometimes.

Sandra Dodd: And just because they spend a lot of time together now doesn't mean it won't shift over the years.

ChrisSanders: I think looking for ways that Brian and MD can connect is good -- when Brian watches TV is he willing to watch something MD likes? Or watch MD play video games instead?

Sandra Dodd: What if he does, Alex? What are you imagining I could say?

Jill Parmer: Right, things shift.

Sandra Dodd: If he sees them light up in each other's presence, and you deny it, that doesn't change their lighting up, it just makes you seem awkward (at best) or dishonest.

Melissa: Yes, I think focusing on how to connect might work better than trying to show equal favor.

Sandra Dodd: You're not preventing MD from going out.

Sandra Dodd: My dad liked me better, but my mom used to shame us both about it.

Robin B: Maybe that's the thing that's really between them Alex? Brian is wondering why MD isn't spending more time with him and MD is feeling left out because Gigi is so involved. Maybe an understanding of that for Brian would help him?

Sandra Dodd: And would favor my sister, pointedly, like to balance it out. It was altogether lame and wrong.

Sandra Dodd: I liked my dad because he was sane and interesting. My sister liked my mom... I don't know why. My mom wasn't much nicer to Irene than she was to me, though she definitely liked her better. But both my parents lied, in the face of clear evidence, and said they liked us both equally.

Alex P: I let it be for now but I have said some things to Brian and I think I see I am creating a problem because then he complain that MD is sleeping most of the day and he cannot do stuff with him ......and that is what is going on.

Jill Parmer: For so many years it was easier and more fun to do things with Luke (13). He's easy going, and content. Addi is less comfortable and more cranky, wasn't as much fun. Now, Addi is a blast to hang out with, she's willing to go out and do things, and her observations and conversations with her are interesting.

Melissa: What would that sound like, though, to not lie? "Yes, I like your sister better, but I still love you?"

Sandra Dodd: Marty used to be my favorite. Nowadays we're not as close. Holly and I spend a lot of time and conversational energy together this season. That will probably change again someday. For a while when Kirby was nine, ten, I LOVED any time we spent together. It refreshed my soul.

Alex P: Robin some of it is that. But MD really does not care that much about farming and Gigi does. SO he is kind of left out.

Sandra Dodd: Alex, don't measure it by the day.

Sandra Dodd: Let Gigi have her season or year with her dad. It won't be forever, I'm sure. She'll get girlier, probably, as she gets older.

Sandra Dodd: Melissa, you could say "We enjoy the same movies and have fun together. Different people have different things they share."

heather: wow sandra. I think you just shined a light on what happened in my family. I was my dad's fav and my mom was really mean to me about it and favored my brother--showered lots of attention and gifts on him.

Jill Parmer: I think you need to let Brian off the hook for doing more with MD. And let MD get as much rest as he needs for himself as a growing boy. And support his interests and Gigi's interests.

Sandra Dodd: Don't think in extremes, whether it's saying "I love you both equally" or "YES, I admit it, I love one of you more!"

Robin B: I only have one child and sometimes she's not my favorite . Just like I might not be her favorite mum. But it doesn't last long.

Sandra Dodd: Just don't tell the fib or try to change truth with words.

Melissa: That makes sense.

ColleenPrieto: LOL Robin I have one son and just last night he told me exactly that "you are NOT my favorite mom right now!" (I had suggested he take a shower...) - but this morning all is good again

Alex P: Yes Jill I see that. They used to have basketball and Family Guy but he has been so busy and not doing as much (no time) and Gigi is always with him, well much of the day anyways!

Jill Parmer: And it will change again, Alex.

ChrisSanders: I guess I thought Alex said that Brian was feeling badly that he doesn't connect with MD. If that is the case, then suggesting ways to help him connect without adding more doing to his already very busy and exhausting day might help.

Sandra Dodd: There are different balances different times.

Sandra Dodd: Maybe he's feeling bad because Alex is ragging on him!

Alex P: And Sandra how do you know "ragging" is what Brian used to say I did to him ??

Sandra Dodd: Alex, I know raggin' when I see the slightest edge of it.

laura zurro: alex I would have to say I've been accused of ragging on Staphane as well

Michele: For a while my oldest repeatedly accused me of "taking sides" with her younger sister. I am just able to articulate younger sister's feelings because we're of similar personality (and younger sister was less able to articulate them). I had a hard time explaining this to my oldest though.

Jill Parmer: I'm guessing it's guilt that Brian has, and I think that should be eliminated.

Alex P: Thanks for this talk. It helped me see things way more clear!'

Sandra Dodd: I think making sure each person has food, a soft bed, lots of hugs and smiles might be the best thing for you to do, Alex, and let the balance play out on a larger scale.

Sandra Dodd: Michele, that happened here. Keith would take Holly's side because he was the youngest of three as she is.

Sandra Dodd: He was fighting his childhood battles on our new field.

Alex P: Yes he is feeling badly that he does not have time but it does not help if I tell him that too.

Sandra Dodd: And I would defend Kirby, because I was a firstborn. But we would joke about it, and be honest about it.

heather: I was really scared for a long time to have another child. I didn't want to do to a second child what my mom did with my brother and I. I don't have another child, but I'm not scared to have one now.

Sandra Dodd: And Marty would tell us neither of us knew the pain of being a middle child.

Michele: I was surprised the first few times she accused me of taking sides though, because I didn't think of it as taking sides. I was just speaking for her sister, at whom my older daughter was angry.

Sandra Dodd: Michele, this can help with that: http://sandradodd.com/peace/fighting

Jill Parmer: Steve sometimes asks me if he's a bad dad, because he doesn't spend as much time with the kids, or time every evening. I emphatically tell him no, or stop. Our kids adore him, and the times they do spend together are fun. But for some reason he has this image of amount of time. I lighten that up for him.

Alex P: MD and Gigi still get along great. Last night Gigi, Brian and I hugged MD and teased him and held him in our hug and that did make him happy! Then we let him go upstairs with a big smile. I guess it takes just a minute to connect sometimes.

Michele: My second daughter and I do both happen to be middle children, but we also are closest in personality, which I think factors in more.

Melissa: I very much identify with my son (youngest, as I am). It's true.

Rebecca Allen: We have one child and prefer to do many things in pairs. It's more fun without one of us depending on the activity. Sometimes three is a crowd!

The comment above slid by in the chat, but I think it's important.
People shouldn't be so attached to "whole family" activities.
Alex P: I like that Jill. MY kids , both, love dad. Sometimes more than me! Well many times more than me!

Michele: On a related note, my husband butts heads with our oldest daughter more than the other two kids, and he's a first born too!

Sandra Dodd: I'm calling Keith to thank him profusely.... done. My van's in the shop for new brake rotors in the front. It's not cheap. But I can get it back out and put it on a charge card, and still talk to you guys every Wednesday, and fill my site up with the writing of Ben Lovejoy, Deb Lewis, Schuyler Waynforth, Robyn Coburn... (all have things on the site lately that weren't there before)

laura zurro: So I have a question - since a lot of us have husbands who don't like to read how have you shared unschooling principles particularly if they are working a lot and tired on their time off?

Michele: by just doing unschooly stuff myself and showing and telling him.
Showing and telling less and less over the years; naturally he just sees it

Alex P: I guess I get defensive of MD because he is, in one way, more like me. We both like to research on the computer about what we like, read, watch movies .

Jill Parmer: By letting husbands rest when they are tired.

Robin B: You can take photos of the cool stuff you're doing, too.

Capn Franko: Time for me to go. Y'all have fun. See ya.

Sandra Dodd: Speak with each child separately, and you can be fully sympathetic with that child.

Sandra Dodd: Bye, Frank!

Melissa: I leave books around, and forward the occasional email. Yesterday I was quietly delighted to notice him leafing through Sandra's Big Book on the bed while he was waiting for me.

Andrea: I share little bits here and there. And make a point to tell him about what the kids are learning.

Michele: Thanks Sandra. I clicked and am saving for later. Will be good to revisit your site after a long time busy with other things.

Alex P: I know I am saying things about Brian but I do sometimes call him to tell him how much I appreciate and I think he is awesome as a dad and a husband and also how thankful that he works so hard for us to be homeschooling.

Robin B: That comes through, Alex.

Jill Parmer: Yes, it comes through, Alex, I've heard you say that before.

Rebecca Allen: What Robin said, Alex!

Michele: I haven't thanked my dh in a while for working or parenting, but have been thanking him a lot lately for all the work he's putting into our house redecorating!

Robin B: "The Carioca and her Dairy Man" .

ChrisSanders: I 4th that

Alex P: He really is awesome.

Sandra Dodd: When Keith still thought homeschooling should produce what school produces, I used to tell him one good story each day about something we had done or something one of the kids had learned or discovered or done.

Sandra Dodd: And gradually he started seeing all the coolness. But it also helped for him to meet other unschooling families.

Jill Parmer: My husband thought unschooling was way too ....foofy...airy fairy. So I stopped trying to give him things. I let him have his own interactions with the kids. I helped the kids understand Steve's fears. Over time it grew on him, and he saw the differences in interactions, and other kids.

Sandra Dodd: And to be around other kids our kids' ages.

Sandra Dodd: When he was critical of Kirby's behavior, it was because he was comparing him to something imaginary.

Robin B: It strikes me that once we let go of "homeschooling should produce what school produces" unschooling can really work.

Sandra Dodd: Not to real other kids that age.

Alex P: I did tell Brian the other day all that MD does during the night. How he spent hours one night watching movies about wolves, or writing that story I posted on the group. That made Brian feel better.

Melissa: I am going to plan far in advance so he doesn't have to work during Life is Good next year.

Sandra Dodd: Alex, does he ever look at your blog?

laura zurro: stephane doesn't compare unschooing to school

Robin B: Hey Melissa, did I meet you at LIG this year? I think so.

Robin B: Laura, does he compare it to anything?

Sandra Dodd: There are several new thing by Ben Lovejoy linked now on the dads page

Alex P: NO he does not Sandra. I have not written in a while. I would have a great blog if I did. I really need to write more. We do so many amazing stuff. I got many video and pics and I save things on my documents

Sandra Dodd: http://sandradodd.com/dads (and those not linked yet, I'll put) and from http://sandradodd.com/benlovejoy

ColleenPrieto: my husband was further convinced unschooling was right for us when he met other unschooled kids and saw how (his words) "nice - and happy!" they were - he liked that they seemed to lack the competitiveness and edge that he sees in many school kids-- edge as in attitude

Melissa: Robin, I think so! It's a bit of a blur. But our kids were all Pokemon-ing together.

Robin B: Right!!

Rebecca Allen: Recognizing the cliffs has been helpful for us, especially when the destination feels fuzzy or vague. My husband has talked about things he doesn't like in other families: A dad who has the house alarm alert his phone if the teen even opens a door or window. Another dad who thinks his 3 and 5 year olds should fear him. Matthew doesn't want that relationship with our daughter, and he likes those men less when he hears those things about their parenting.

Sandra Dodd: Alex, I wish you would write more, and that will show progress and changes, so that neither of you will worry so much about a little seasonal blip

Alex P: Yes for Brian meeting Ben and David and a couple more dads at the Conference was great.

Sandra Dodd: Rebecca, Keith found himself not liking his co-workers so much when they badmouthed their teens at work.

Alex P: I am going to make an effort. Specially now in the Winter. The day is just too short!!!!!! ;)

Melissa: I've been a little reluctant and scared to have my husband around unschooler en masse, because he is so introverted, but maybe it doesn't matter if he spends a lot of time in the room, or the pool. HE feels safe just interacting with kids. It's the adults he's quiet with.

Sandra Dodd: And I think it helped him appreciate me when he heard stories of potential or impending divorces at work, and of families where both parents worked and so the dad often had to leave work to go to the school, or to take turns with the mom (whether divorced or not) to stay with kids during school vacations, or to deliver them or pick them up from babysitters.... Lots of motion and grief over their kids that Keith didn't have!

laura zurro: Robin no he doesn't compare it to anything in particular but he does understand that there are so many more opportunities for learning happening all the time. The only thing that sometimes concerns him is if I'm "doing" enough things with her but that is probably based on old conversations that I needed to "do" art and things like that but I've explained that it's not necessary to do "something" every day to show

Alex P: I also have been trying to help Brian more outside, he really likes when I do. I even joked once that it turned him on for me to help him chase cows more than a pretty lingerie and he said yes!

Robin B: Melissa, Ross is the same. Maybe we could get your husband, Ross and Frank to huddle somewhere!

Robin B: Ah, I see, Laura.

laura zurro: Hey Alex maybe you should chase the cows IN your pretty lingerie ;)

Sandra Dodd: Melissa, I wouldn't worry. He doesn't have to "be on" and they won't be grilling him and asking him a bunch of stuff. He can just watch the kids, or hang out in the restaurant or the lobby and talk with just one person at a time or maybe just your own kids.

laura zurro: I'm wondering if maybe blogging will help us also I have been thinking about that lately and maybe it's time to really use my blog.

Alex P: Laura we are in Minnesota! I would become a Popsicle!!!!!

Rebecca Allen: That's fun, Alex.

laura zurro: LOL I won't even go there

Sandra Dodd: I love it when unschoolers blog about their days, even the seemingly "just stayed home" days, when the photos are of little girls smiling up at the camera, and boys playing video games, and people eating snacks.

Jill Parmer: Unfortunately my husband saw some craziness, really poor behavior at some conferences. It did not help him to embrace unschooling. Not everyone who goes to conferences are unschoolers.

Rebecca Allen: Melissa, many teen/young adult unschoolers have their own blogs, so that could be another way for your husband to "see" unschoolers.

Sandra Dodd: It helps other unschoolers, and it helps those families feel solid and it marks the growth and learning. It makes a record of new games, and bikes, and outings.

laura zurro: the funny thing is that I was always reading other people's blogs when Caitlyn was younger and thinking wow I can't be that "awesome" unschooling mom but I've tried to stop comparing myself

Sandra Dodd: Yeah, that's a bummer, Jill

Sandra Dodd: But maybe it made him like YOUR kids more!? (I hope)

Jill Parmer: In 2010, he met and Cyrus Sorooshian and Rosie, and then he had great relief around unschooling.

Robin B: Poor behavior happens everywhere. It's how it's handled that shows the difference between unschoolers and non-unschoolers.

Sandra Dodd: Laura, I think seeing the range of what people are doing is good. And if a mom is feeling inadequately awesome, she should do more.

Alex P: Jill we did too but I pointed out that those people where not really understanding what was unschooling. Between seeing some neglectful parents and The Waynforths he could see a big difference and what I meant.

laura zurro: I think the other thing is I was trying to write in the past with all these great unschooling thoughts when I didn't even understand what I was writing about. I need to just document our time

Melissa: My daughter and I both blog, so he can read those.

heather: I started writing my blog for Austin. I take pictures of what we do and then try to write it in a way that makes him laugh. It's so much more fun for me to blog now. And he helps me sometimes with the stories.

Sandra Dodd: RIGHT. Don't write about philosophy, just say "Look, kittens!"

Jill Parmer: Right, Robin. but it sort of added to his belief that unschooling was crazyies for long time.

Sandra Dodd: I'm glad he didn't meet whoever it is who's saying "quit your jobs!|

Jill Parmer: Are you talking about Steve, there, Sandra?

Alex P: Brian would be appalled by "quit your job"!!

Andrea: I agree with that, laura.

Robin B: I understand that for sure, Jill. I'm more tolerant of unusual dress and odd hairdos and swearing and I wondered if I even wanted Ross to come to a conference at first.

Sandra Dodd: There are people who quit and try to sell other people on quitting, either to join their schemes or scams, or to feel part of a group, a "crowd," a ... ack.

ChrisSanders: Jill, I liked meeting Steve in Vancouver and wished so much Rick had been there to meet him. I really think they would get along well. Will he be in Albuquerque in December?

Sandra Dodd: Yea, but anybody, Jill.

Jill Parmer: So would Steve. He might like the idea, but he knows reality.

Andrea: I mostly just use flickr...few words required.

Jill Parmer: *meaning he would think "quit your job" was kooky.

Sandra Dodd: It IS kooky.

Sandra Dodd: Oh well.

Sandra Dodd: I would like for every family at every conference would be a shining example of intelligence, compassion and good humor.

Robin B: Dream on, Sandra .

Jill Parmer: Yeah, Chris. Steve is a good guy. Sometimes he's grumpy for awhile.

Alex P: that is fairy thinking Sandra! ;)

Sandra Dodd: "Don't dream it; be it."

Robin B: The good thing is that there are a good number of those folks - we need to point new people in their direction. Like to you.

Robin B: To Ronnie and Frank. To Jill and Steve. To Kelly and Ben.

ChrisSanders: I didn't see his grumpiness. Maybe he kept it in the hotel room,

Sandra Dodd: So. Any questions or problems with situations other than dad-stuff? We can go to other topics if people here have current concerns we can help with

Sandra Dodd: Cameron and Duncan are back from Europe, speaking of Ben and Kelly

Sandra Dodd: I was impressed. I don't think any two of mine could've done so well going on a trip like that together.

Alex P: Mine were all dad stuff, but really me stuff!

heather: If that's a no, I have a question.

Robin B: Tell us more.

heather: I guess I need more of something to help me cope.

ChrisSanders: Rick isn't planning on Albuquerque but he could change his mind at the last minute, who knows? He likes most everybody he meets at unschooling gatherings

Sandra Dodd: Tell us your problem if you want, Heather.

Robin B: And we like him!

Sandra Dodd: I like Rick.

heather: Austin loves being at home. He doesn't really like to go out and do things. I do. I've really been exploring that within myself, because I hated being at home and it has carried over into adulthood.

Sandra Dodd: So find someone to be with him at home and go out! I like "out" too, and my kids like home.

heather: That's what we did in San Francisco and it worked out great!

Jill Parmer: Cool Steve story. He was at the neighborhood grocery store with Addi. Two college girls (from Scotland) were in line in front of them trying to rent a video. For some reason they were not allowed to because they didn't have a Colorado ID or some such. So Steve said to put the video rental on our account and that if they ran off to Scotland with the video, he would be happy to pay for it. The girls were grateful, and surprised at such kindness. Steve did something sweet. And the video was returned.

heather: But here I don't have anybody yet.

Robin B: Aww. Sweet, Jill.

heather: I've put the word out to the local groups to have a teen come over, but nothing yet.

ChrisSanders: What a guy!

ColleenPrieto: that's awesome Jill!

Sandra Dodd: Are you wanting us to help you explore being happier at home or what?

heather: I think so, yea.

ChrisSanders: How old is Austin? Sorry if you said earlier.

heather: He's 10

heather: I'm happy, but antsy.

Sandra Dodd: Is there a gaming shop near other shops where he might, if he wanted, hang out a while without you?

Robin B: Did you hate being at home because you were kept home? Or just because you liked to be out and about and you couldn't? Just wondering.

Sandra Dodd: "Antsy" isn't as bad (I'm guessing) as the emotion Austin might have, going out when he doesn't want to.

heather: I know and I keep that in mind.

heather: Making him do stuff makes him more resistant to do stuff. So, we stay home alot and I get antsy.

Sandra Dodd: I liked being out because of the stimulation of different people and places and things. I saw "out" as a special reward, the GOOD part of life, and going back home as the drudgery and the punishmnent. I saw eating at restaurants as Party/Celebration/JOY, and eating home as yuck.

Sandra Dodd: That hasn't gone away for me.

Jill Parmer: Heather, when I'm feeling like that, I look for what it is I really need. If I need something new and sparkly for me, I actually find lots around the house and yard, that I can do that fits into that category.

Sandra Dodd: But my kids never had any of it.

Robin B: That's kind of what I was wondering.

laura zurro: Sandra that is how I feel!

Rebecca Allen: How much out time and doing what would keep the antsy feeling at bay? I like home, but sometimes Quinn wants to be home for more days in a row than I do. Sometimes just going out for coffee for an hour or two alone or with a friend alleviates the antsy feeling.

heather: That's how I felt too and Austin doesn't. He thinks going out is boring and staying home is fun, which, is kinda awesome when I think about how I felt about home at his age.

Robin B: I was thinking that if being home as a kid was yuck, then staying home happily with your happy child would be a way to heal.

Sandra Dodd: Yes, my kids' attitude is MUCH healthier, and less expensive, than mine.

Jill Parmer: Heather if Austin does go out with you what are the outings like? When I stopped thinking we needed to get through all the zoo or something, outings became more fun.

Sandra Dodd: Possibly, heather, would listening to books with an iPod or something (I got a wireless headphone jack) seem like "out"? Another adult voice talking about something interesting, while you're still at home? It helps me. So do movies or old TV series, or newer things. I watched Larkrise to Candleford recently. It was escapism of a good kind.

heather: If it's to the store for food not so bad. If it's to park day he complains. Today is park day and he doesn't want to go. I see progress in my part bc I'm not upset about it, but I'm still ansty.

Sandra Dodd: Ask if he will go for the last hour, and then if it's not too bad, back up the time to not the last hour?

Robin B: We talk about dads healing their childhood by being different with their kids and having the life they wished they had. Maybe it would work on moms, too.

Robin B: Movies work for me, too.

Sandra Dodd: "He complains," might be on the same scale as "antsy." It's not "he balks" or "refuses to get dressed."

laura zurro: I like that point Robin and it makes sense

ChrisSanders: My kids stopped wanting to do park day around that age. They preferred having friends over to do more small group or one-on-one activities rather than the big gatherings at the park

Jill Parmer: Park days were not fun for my kids. There weren't the people there, that they really wanted to play with. So what was the use of park day? Not fun for them.

ChrisSanders: It was hard for me because I did most of my mommy socializing at park days

Robin B: Same here, Chris.

Sandra Dodd: Mine too. Kirby was 11 when he was done with the park days, but we still had kids over, and often more than once a week, and often those same kids.

Robin B: That Senna stopped wanting to go.

heather: Well, he doesn't want to go and I am trying not to coerce him into going. He told me park day is boring and staying home is more fun today.

Robin B: Park days can be boring!

ChrisSanders: so we started having friends over to our house more often. Planned smaller gatherings and outings with the specific people my kids liked to hang out with

Michele: My girls (10 and 8) always ask who's going to be at the park to determine whether they want to go.

Sandra Dodd: Marty still had friends over every Sunday for a long time to play with boffers and such. At least one kid and sometimes lots more.

Michele: And I've been encouraging them to bring stuff. I still try to go because of my 4 year old son.

Robin B: One-on-one worked better for Senna. So we arranged that.

Sandra Dodd: -=- Well, he doesn't want to go and I am trying not to coerce him into going. He told me park day is boring and staying home is more fun today.-=- Don't call persuasion "coercion."

Jill Parmer: Heather what is it you are wanting?

Jill Parmer: Do you want time out with people? Or do you want Austin to want to go out with people? ...

Robin B: Pam Sorooshian had two girls who liked park day and one who didn't, so she brought stuff for the one to play with or read in the car.

Michele: Or maybe worried he's not spending enough time with other kids?

Robin B: If you need the social time, would Austin be willing to take his stuff and stay in the car?

Jill Parmer: If Austin doesn't like park days, go out and do something else with him.

Jill Parmer: Yeah, good idea, Robin.

laura zurro: Caitlyn has had a tough time at park days because she is so sensitive that when other kids don't want to play she gets really upset

Robin B: Park days aren't for every kid. Would Caitlyn like a friend to come over instead? With mom, so you can chat?

heather: He doesn't want to leave the house at all. He wants to stay home and play with his games and his stuff and he wants me to stay with him. I guess I want to be able to be comfortable staying home with him and less antsy.

Robin B: Then you're there for her, immediately.

Jill Parmer: It takes a really long time to get to know others, and I think parents want park days to be instant friends that all like to play together the same way with no struggles.

laura zurro: she likes park day and looks forward to it but it seems sometimes she has a better time afterwards at the library playing with kids who are there. I sometimes wonder if she is not feeling part of a group where all the kids already knew each other. We've only been here for three months

Robin B: Like school!

Robin B: Or our fantasy images of school recess.

laura zurro: lol no fantasy on school recesses here - I was the one no one wanted to play kick ball with

Alex P: I got an Iphone for MD that he uses as an IPod (for 1 cent!!) and that makes him happy at places. I was gifted a Kindle and Md likes to read on that in the car too so I download free books from the library that I think he will like.'

laura zurro: park days are also the chance for mom time to connect in person rather than virtually

Melissa: I find what happens at a lot of park days is the parents want to chat, the kids want to play, they often need the parents to facilitate play, at least for awhile, or periodically to help navigate socially, and the parents don't want to stop chatting.

Robin B: Heather, is he happy having you home while you have a friend over to socialize with?

Jill Parmer: Right, Melissa. I've seen that too, to detrimental outcomes.

Robin B: Melissa, this is true! I fell into that myself and I didn't like what happened as a result.

Alex P: I agree Melissa.

Andrea: Yes, Melissa.

heather: Yea, he likes all my friends.

Robin B: Would that work for you, then? Bringing the outside in?

Marta BP: Yes Melissa.

Jill Parmer: Heather! If you were in my town you could invite me over to knit and drink tea. ;-)

Robin B: Both of which Jill is excellent at!

Jill Parmer: Robin is full of good ideas today.

ChrisSanders: I have a little good news!

Alex P: Yes Chris!?

Jill Parmer: I remember little old ladies telling me to enjoy every minute with my kids because soon the pitter patter would be gone from the house.

Robin B: Nah, I'm just full of it, Jill

ChrisSanders: Zach got his driver's license today! Wahooo!

Robin B: Yay!!

heather: Jill, that would be awesome! ;)

Jill Parmer: And it's true even now. my kids are 13, and 17 and I have lots of time to myself at home and to go out. It feels kinda weird, and I'm a little lost sometimes.

Robin B: Senna's thinking more about it now.

Jill Parmer: Yay, Zach.

Alex P: YAY Zach!

ChrisSanders: Zoe wants to get her learner's permit in a couple weeks when she turns 14 -- she's really happy for Zach but she was starting to feel competitive and thought she might get her permit before he got his license!

Alex P: Even at 5 and 9 I have way more time now than last year! I even go run errands alone! ( but I do beg my kids to go....they turn me down)

ChrisSanders: We're going out to dinner to celebrate tonight! Then we're coming home and playing Mario Kart which Zach will undoubtedly pwn us at.

Jill Parmer: Addi has started driving in parking lots with Steve. She's thinking about taking the test for her permit soon.

Sandra Dodd: Keith and I are going to Austin next month to see Kirby--just us, not Marty or Holly. They've both gone to Austin two or three times each without us before.

Alex P: Gigi rather run errands with dad. He must be way more fun than me.

heather: I think I feel lost. That's it. I feel at a loss for what to do with my days if I am not going out and exploring.

Sandra Dodd: It DOES change when the kids are older.

ChrisSanders: I'm excited to work with Zoe when she gets her permit.

Alex P: That is great Sandra!

laura zurro: We recently got a WII and Caitlyn has said she wants to become the best video game player ever so she can kick her dad's butt! and that I kill all his points LOL

Jill Parmer: Awesome, Sandra.

heather: That's a good thought to remember Jill.

Rebecca Allen: Mario Kart is a fun way to celebrate a driver's license!

Robin B: Heather, are you playing games with Austin? Are you involved in what he loves?

Sandra Dodd: Turns out Heather lives 8/10 of a mile from Kirby, and we're going to go over and play five crowns.

ChrisSanders: He said he wants to drive fast and not worry about crashing!

ColleenPrieto: as long as the newly-licensed remember not to drive like Mario ;)

heather: I watch and look stuff up. He mostly plays one player stuff. I downloaded Minecraft yesterday so I can play with him.

Robin B: That's cool, Sandra!

Michele: Heather, what are your hobbies? Maybe find a new one?

Sandra Dodd: That sounds good, heather!

Rebecca Allen: Mario probably balances out the cautiousness and anxiety of new driving.

heather: Let me tell you that game looks so simple, but it is hard!

ChrisSanders: Cool!

Jill Parmer: I'm starting to do more of the things I used to do...sewing, cooking more, yard work, quilting.

Robin B: You could go out and get him some strategy guides!

Alex P: But driving like Mario is so much fun ( as long as you have some extra lives)!

Sandra Dodd: You can watch all of Deep Space 9 for free if you have Amazon Prime.

Robin B: Feed his passion by getting out of the house.

laura zurro: I have a question -

heather: And we are all so excited to ahve you over Sandra. Austin wants to show you his room

ColleenPrieto: LOL Alex we should all have 3 lives just in case

Andrea: We just discovered the TV/movie stuff on Amazon Prime.

Sandra Dodd: Go ahead, Laura.

laura zurro: Caitlyn has a growing list of Christmas/Birthday wants - much of which boils down to every single ad she sees on TV I will hear "that for Christmas".

Alex P: Get those one-up mushrooms Colleen!

Jill Parmer: I started playing World of Warcraft when my kids did, and that has brought so much fun, in so many ways for us.

laura zurro: I take the time to look at each thing with her and we talk about them but it seems like it's everything she sees and it's not that we want for [lack] toys here

Sandra Dodd: Laura, make a list and put everything on it, and tell her she can't have all of it, but that it will help you to have a list of things she might like to have.

ChrisSanders: How old is Caitlyn?

Sandra Dodd: Ratchet it back to phrases like "all the things she might want someday" or "things that looked good when she saw them"

laura zurro: okay and do I add to the list all the cleaning items and special jeans she sees as well LOL she says she wants to make it easier for me to clean the house

laura zurro: she's almost 5 Chris

Sandra Dodd: So that it never sounds like a guarantee to get all those things.

Sandra Dodd: Yeah. What does it hurt to write them down?

Sandra Dodd: Be careful about LOL.

laura zurro: I'm waiting for her to pick out the super cool thing for me instead of the vacuum cleaner :_)

Sandra Dodd: Are you laughing at her or at our suggestions?

ColleenPrieto: that's what we say here - you can put anything you want on your list - just remember that being on the list doesn't mean it's guaranteed to appear under the tree

Sandra Dodd: Really? Maybe she thinks the vacuum cleaner IS the super cool thing.

Rebecca Allen: Laura, Quinn was 5 last Christmas. She wanted many things. Somehow I managed to get enough and have family get her specific wishes, that she said "I got everything I wanted!" this year (age 6), I need to really think about what to get for her. Not nearly as many wants. She circled an item in a toy catalog that she wanted last year and didn't get.

Alex P: I say usually when we can. Gigi will say" OH I would love that when we can " or Can I get that when we can?" things like that.

laura zurro: chuckling at her cleaning suggestions since our house is always a disaster I was thinking today maybe she could see a cleaning service on TV and suggest that one. I know she's thinking of things that I would like.

Alex P: When we can is when we have extra money and can afford it.

Sandra Dodd: Then don't chuckle, don't LOL, see it as the sweet thing it is.

Andrea: Maybe the mess bothers her, Laura?

Alex P: But we do go to thrift stores and look up prices online. I know you do that too Laura'

laura zurro: we have a LOT of toys.

Sandra Dodd: Putting some toys up and away for a while can be helpful.

Sandra Dodd: Re-combining toys can make them seem new and special.

laura zurro: and she pointed out some monster trucks today which I happened to have a similar bag of waiting to sell on ebay so I gave them to her to play with. She asks for all these things but is also very interested in dinosaurs right now

Robin B: Laura, do you complain about the mess and she's trying to help out with the vacuum cleaner?

Alex P: Last year Gigi wanted everything out of the Toys'r'us catalog. Grandma got a catalog here and all she wanted was a family of tiny little cows!

Sandra Dodd: My kids liked the combination of homemade playdough and Lego. They could make terrain for battles.

laura zurro: Andrea - yes maybe the mess bothers her, I know Stephane is bothered by it and it's one of the things I really struggle with

laura zurro: maybe she's heard him and wants to find some way to help?

Sandra Dodd: Sometimes mixing up the stuff you already have in new ways can be new joy.

laura zurro: and yes I do complain about the mess because I get so overwhelmed :( definitely not one of my strong points being organized

ColleenPrieto: or adding water (for toys that won't be ruined by such) - dinosaurs, legos, etc. become totally different when a dishtub of water is added to the play!

Sandra Dodd: You guys are awesome--still 18 people here at the closing time.

Robin B: Laura, do you have bins for toys? That really helped me get a handle on things and I'm messy.

laura zurro: we also don't have family to give her things it's just the two of us

Marta BP:

Sandra Dodd: I'm willing to stay a bit longer if people want to, but for those who want to go, "ding"--time. ;-)

Marta BP: I love it here!

heather: I went through some old stuff one day recently and put stuff around the house that we hadn't used in a while (games and books and such). When Austin noticed his reaction was similar to that of Christmas morning.

laura zurro: thanks everyone for helping me to see this differently

Sandra Dodd: Bins, or even pillow cases.

Alex P: Laura you did see my video with lots of see through bins! It is great for keeping things a little more under control.

heather: "Oh, you brought that out! Cool! I forgot we had that book!"

laura zurro: yep Alex I did and I have worked to implement that

laura zurro: we're still unpacking from our move

Sandra Dodd: If I could go back and do again, I would rearrange toys more, and bring books out in the open more, rather than always on the shelves.

Alex P: Yes thank you for the talk and ideas everyone, Sandra.

Jill Parmer: Fun chat. Nice to see some new names. Thank you for your time and the room, Sandra. I'm gonna go do things with Addi. Bye all.

Alex P: I got to go. Bye everyone!!!!!!.

Michele: Thanks for the chat. My first one. Glad I finally made it. I get the reminders so I'll try to come again soon.

Marta BP: (I only made it here because I have a very sweet husband that came home and made dinner and is taking care of our daughter so how about that)

Robin B: Nice, Marta.

Andrea:

heather: I put a book on the couch in my office about rocks and minerals. It has lots of pics in it. Everytime Austin comes in here he picks it up.

Sandra Dodd: Nice.

Robin B: Melissa, you still here?

ChrisSanders: Awesome, Marta

Marta BP:

JIHONG/joy joined the chat

Andrea: One of the favorite books in our house is the bird identification book. :It is never on the shelf...

Robin B: Always my favorite! Senna likes it too.

laura zurro: I think that unschooling is actually allowing me to really work at the change I need to make on my own self

Robin B: Big aha moment, right there.

laura zurro: I am guessing I'm not the only one? It has really challenged me to make some changes

Robin B: It can really be life-changing, Laura.

laura zurro: yes Robin I am seeing that.

Rebecca Allen: Yes Laura! Absolutely. So much of it is internal shifts.

Michele: Laura unschooling has definitely helped me grow.

Sandra Dodd: Laura, there are some things here that might make you feel good: http://sandradodd.com/gettingit

heather: Thanks for the chat! I feel refreshed as usual. See you next time!

laura zurro: thanks Sandra

Robin B: I was going to mention to Melissa or anyone whose kids like Pokemon that the new 3DS game Rumble Blast is very cool. Senna's been playing it non-stop.

ColleenPrieto: Robin my son loves Pokemon - so good to know about the game being good!

Rebecca Allen: I've been in and out playing Epic Yarn with Quinn. I wanted to add about organization that having bins, bookshelves, and cabinets was not something I necessarily thought about when getting into unschooling. Those have definitely helped though! We built a tall bookcase that I had planned to add doors to, but it has worked out better to have it open. We have lots of craft supplies there, some in baskets. All visible. They get used a lot!

Sandra Dodd: Keith made shelves to hold xerox boxes. I still have those in my office. Xerox/paper boxes aren't as easy for me to get as they used to be, though. We used to use them for toys, though. The shelf holds eight boxes. We woudln't use the lids, just the open boxes.

Robin B: She says there's not a lot of reading, so could be fine.

Robin B: Senna said Pokepark is the best for little kids, in her opinion.

Rebecca Allen: Thanks, Robin.

Robin B: And Rumble Blast is for the 3DS, so maybe Wii is better for her right now?

Rebecca Allen: I think they might even sell a 3DS + Rumble Blast special package, so yes! We'll give it a try.

In the Big Book, that page links to: SandraDodd.com/dads

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