What is Unschooling?
pages 3-5 of The Big Book of Unschooling
online chat, July 27, 2011

What is Unschooling?

pages 3-5 of The Big Book of Unschooling

online chat, July 27, 2011

Sandra Dodd: Did everybody look at that beginning part of The Big Book? Pages 3-5

Sandra Dodd: (Don't say no. Just say yes or be quiet. :-))

Jill Parmer: Sounds good, Sandra. yes, I read it.

JennyC: yes

Robin: Yes.

Sylvia Woodman: Yes

Renee S: Yes, I did. I re-read last night as it had been a bit since I read the book. :)

Chris: Yes, but I looked on my phone (ibook) and guessed about page numbers

Sandra Dodd: Ah. :-) Hadn't seen Jill here. It makes me want to remind people of the in-person opportunity in Albuquerque, end of December, to meet Jill and hang out with me, Joyce, Pam, Deb Lewis and a smattering of our kids.

Sandra Dodd: Maybe all our kids, but I doubt it.

Sandra Dodd: http://alwayslearninglive.blogspot.com/

Jill Parmer: I even wrote notes in my book. Because I wanted to remember things.....not because I was a certain kind of student growing up. :-P

Sandra Dodd: So was there anything in those three little pages anyone's interested in enshrining, disemboweling, messin' around with?

Chris: page 40 - 51 if I hold it horizontally and my font-size is just-so ;-)

Sandra Dodd: I read something I wrote in 1986, and was wishing I hadn't written it if I did. :-)

Chris: I just registered for ALL -- Monday

Sandra Dodd: I have no idea what I meant to write. Sorry. Was wishing I hadn't written it AS I did.

Jill Parmer: Are you talking about something in those few pages, Sandra?

Sandra Dodd: About the idea of "child led" or child focussed.

Sandra Dodd: It's not that it's not a good first or second step away from a curriculum, but people shouldn't live there.

Sandra Dodd: It seems, in retrospect, to have caused more harm than good.

Sandra Dodd: People wait for their kids to lead. :-)

Sylvia Woodman: What do you mean by that?

Chris: I liked those three pages because they make unschooling sound so sane and practical and normal -- not like some freakish, fringe idea

Robin: I was just going to bring that up in context of some people seem to also go to the opposite extreme, filling their (little) kids lives up with so much that they barely have time to breathe.

Robin: Chris, I agree. I smiled as I read those pages.

Jill Parmer: I noticed on pg 3, in the Open Classroom part, a teacher "following" the students and record it. And I know parents following kids around is a problem in getting unschooling.

Chris: I was guilty of waiting for my kid to lead -- misunderstanding/misinterpreting those words -- but I'm not sure I was first introduced to that idea through your writing Sandra.

Sandra Dodd: Sylvia, some people will say "I tried unschooling, but my kids didn't seem to have any passions or desires."

Sandra Dodd: So people can overplan, but people can underplan. And some of the underplanners say "Well since it's child-led learning, and my children didn't lead, we put them back in school."

JennyC: right Jill because that isn't being with your kids

Jill Parmer: I find kids fascinating, and I enjoy watching people learn/un

Robin: Parents don't act as facilitators in that case. Kids don't know all the possibilities. Parents can bring possibilities to their children.

Chris: It was after waiting and watching for Zach to take off with his passions and interests, to no avail, that I came back around to your writings and began to see unschooling as something requiring more of my involvement and input, not less.

Jill Parmer: Oops didn't mean to send that part yet.

JennyC: I know one parent who did tons of planning and then expected her daughter to "lead" in all of that little free time she had, but then didn't like what her daughter was doing

Sylvia Woodman: So Chris - what did you do differently after that?

Sandra Dodd: Jill, what I meant in that open classroom description wasn't the teachers sneaking around behind them, but making notes about how many minutes they might have spent doing what kinds of activities, how many books they had finished, what math concepts they had demonstrated in the course of some game or project or volunteer help. Someone who's putting books on the shelf might have been demonstrating knowledge of alphabetical order (if fiction) or numerical ordering (if Dewey system or whatever), and it might be written down without talking to the kid about it.

JennyC: tracking for accountability

Sandra Dodd: I like the idea of people doing things all together, in natural ways, as a family, as friends, as a group.

Robin: Sandra, you talk about balance and I think that's important with regard to making an "environment flowing and rich" (love that phrase).

Chris: I started spending more time with him, working to understand that what he was interested in was valuable and that he was learning from it. I joined him and facilitated his interests. Before, I was waiting for his interests to look like school.

Sandra Dodd: Right, Jenny. They wanted to show that the children were learning, without talking about or focusing on that.

Jill Parmer: I see that, Sandra. I was being very picky, about parents staying in the teacher role, hence following around.

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Robin: And that description is probably helpful for parents who submit a "progress report" for their state.

Sandra Dodd: Outside of New York or Pennsylvania where people have to have portfolios and all, are you seeing parents following kids around in an irritating way?

Robin: Noting, without making a big deal about it.

JennyC: not at all Sandra

Sandra Dodd: Robin, the description above?

Robin: The one in the book and above.

Chris: I think that reading "Teenage Liberation Handbook" hindered my deschooling a bit. It's probably better for kids who have been to school -- but not so good for a parent who has always tried to unschool.

Jill Parmer: No, I'm not. wow. I usually see parents way to separate and hands off from their kids (unschooling parents).

JennyC: even in homeschooling circles, the parents track the homeschooling only at the desk and then leave it there

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JennyC: I'd agree with that assessment Chris!

Sandra Dodd: Just this morning on Always Learning I risked irritating someone by saying a video she had linked wasn't going to help people unschool.

JennyC: there is a lot of pressure on a kid to perform

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Sandra Dodd: It seems pretty harsh to start telling people that the Teenage Liberation Handbook isn't going to help. :-)

JennyC: I love that book though

Jill Parmer: I used the Teenage Liberation Handbook, for things I could share with the kids when they were interested in something.

Robin: But you were right to point that out, Sandra. And it might be okay to say if you're already unschooling the Teenage Liberation Handbook might be too leaving-school focused.

Sandra Dodd: But I know what you mean. Without a wound up or depressed or resistant teenager's energy to fuel the change from high school to real world, parents of young children might not find a lot of use for it.

Sylvia Woodman: The teenage Liberation Handbook was the book that introduced me to the idea of homeschooling.

JennyC: I think the title says it all, really... "teen" age

Robin: When I read it, it gave me a chance to mourn the possibilities when I was a teenager and to understand some of the things I went through. But I didn't pick it up after that.

Chris: I encouraged Zach to read it but I don't think he could relate at all to it. He wasn't escaping school.

Jill Parmer: Why did you encourage Zach to read it?

Sandra Dodd: That's another good use, Robin, is the "what if" feelings on the part of the parents.

erinmn: Hello everyone. We are still inching our way along in unschooling and learning more and more as we inch. I have been reading Growing w/out schooling 1977-1979 compilations. I am very curious of how, from my understanding, Holt's terminology of "unschooling"

Mux: Just got here and have few questions (got the book this morning I ordered it month ago and it came in today - coincidence:)

erinmn: Sorry, did not get a chance to finish...2 year old help

Chris: Jill - I was trying to get him to see what he could/should be doing -- learning without being made to do school. I didn't get it yet then.

Sandra Dodd: Chris please review the ages of Zach's home/your change of focus/asking him to read that book.

Robin: Hi Laura!

Jill Parmer: ah.

Sandra Dodd: erinmn, have you read those first three pages of The Big Book of Unschooling? The definitions of unschooling?

Sandra Dodd: I'm not trying to be mercenary, but would like to keep this mostly on topic. ;-)

Mux: If unschooling is something like an open school - why choose unschooling if there is the other option?

Sandra Dodd: What other option, Mux?

JennyC: there aren't any open schools around where I live!

Robin: Open schools don't exist anyomore.

Chris: 5 - 11 - relaxed homeschooling/academic unschooling; 12 - 13 - turned more to homeschooling (because I didn't feel like unschooling was working - that was around when he read TLH); 13 - 18 -- radical unschooling

Robin: anymore.

Sandra Dodd: There are a few, Robin.

erinmn: included anyone "homeschooling" at the time to what is now thought of as an offshoot style of "homeschooling". I was linking this in w/Sandra's definition from the book. Would love to hear from those who have been part of this track for a very long time and have watched the evolution.

Sandra Dodd: An open school is still a school.

Mux: For example Sadburry Valley school or similar?

Robin: Okay, but not widely?

Sandra Dodd: You mean why would someone do it (whatever we consider "it" to be) if there is a school we could send our kids to?

Sandra Dodd: Not widely, no.

Mux: Yes.

Jill Parmer: Do you want to unschool, Mux?

Robin: The idea of an open school is just the jumping off point for unschooling (for Sandra, anyway).

Laura Zurro: would a Sudbury be an example of a free open school

JennyC: I don't think so Laura

JennyC: very distinct difference

Chris: Zoe was 6 when Zach was 13 -- she's been radically unschooled all along --

Robin: That's a big question - Why would we unschool instead of sending our kids to an open school?

Sandra Dodd: It's the method. As educational methodology goes, what we're doing is "open classroom." There was a fair amount of research in the late 1960's to prove and support those methods.

erinmn: Sandra, I did read the book and it was reading the GWS that peaked my interest.

Mux: What if I'm not familiar with the method - would it make me less competent to unschool?

Laura Zurro: I'm curious how the Sudbury Schools differ from unschooling...have been trying to wrap my head around that for awhile can someone explain

JennyC: When I think of open classrooms, I think of spaces designed with specific learning intent, left for kids to find, designed to lead kids in certain directions

JennyC: perhaps I have it all wrong though

Sandra Dodd: When John Holt started GWS, he was accepting letters (and typing them out for reprinting, or at least some of them or the good parts). He was doing what yahoogroups or facebook can do now, which is redistributing people's words about the same topic.

Chris: Laura - unschooling encompasses your relationship with your children -- not just their learning

Sandra Dodd: Only it took a month or more, or three months, for something to come back around, if it did at all.

Robin: Mux we just talked about what it takes to unschool, recently, on the Always Learning list. First and foremost - wanting to do it.

Sandra Dodd: Because he was being the clearinghouse, and trying to get people connected with other unschoolers (there were always listings in the back of people who wanted visitors to come stay with them), he wasn't rejecting anyone for being way schoolish.

Sandra Dodd: But he himself was never recommending that people use schoolish methods, not even in schools!

Laura Zurro: okay that makes sense

Jill Parmer: I think the idea of pursuing one's interests right from your own home, gives a sense of being capable. You don't need to go to some other place (a school building) to learn.

Sandra Dodd: So nowadays some people will say that John Holt didn't distinguish between unschooling and school at home, but as he was ALWAYS opposed to school at home, that can't make sense.

JennyC: democratic or free schools, are places to go and be where there are people there to facilitate and the kids get a large say in what they do

Sandra Dodd: He did have both represented in Growing Without Schooling, though.

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Sandra Dodd: Mux, what do you mean " would it make me less competent to unschool" ? Not knowing about The Open Classroom?

Mux: Well, I have a specific situation

Pamela: My son Milo (now 20) went to Sudbury Valley. He hated it and says now that it was a little like Lord of the Flies. 5 year olds were allowed to smoke (theoretically).

Mux: where I have no unschooling or homeschooling community anywhere near

erinmn: Thnks, that makes sense.

Lylawolf: my son didn't like the free school he went to for a couple months. it wasn't sudbury exactly. but i bristle when people say freeschools are like "unschooling" schools. because they are only that in the sense of no required curriculum. there's so much more to unschooling.

Pamela: I went to an open classroom school in Philly in the 80's. I remember being largely bored. The materials were all sort of dry and educational -- not things I would have played with or been interested in if given other options.and getting bullied pretty savagely.

Sandra Dodd: I shouldn't say "opposed to school at home" (John Holt)--but rather that he seemed (from what I've read) to assume that people would try it, see that it doesn't work, and move toward open-classroomish natural learning.

JennyC: and there ya go! That would be a big reason why being home and unschooling is better than any open classroom!

Mux: so I need more to be sure to do it. (although I said to my family I'm not sending kids to school and they weren't supportive :)

Sandra Dodd: I want to address this, but I need to read to catch up: -=-When I think of open classrooms, I think of spaces designed with specific learning intent, left for kids to find, designed to lead kids in certain directions-=-

Robin: Join unschooling lists, read Sandra's book, go to conferences.

JennyC: Mux, then this will be a good chat for you! Open classrooms really did and do exist, and can be related, at least academically to unschooling

Kelli: Mux, how old are your children?

Shan: I have an acquaintance with three children at a Sudbury school. Apparently, if there is a cobnflict between children there, the teachers will only step in if the children ask. SO, if their feelings are too big and immediate to allow for that, and a child pshes or yells at or gits another, that child will be punished.

Mux: 6, 4, 1

Mux: I know that unschoolers experience much, hang out with other unschoolers and so on, but I don't have that opportunity here

Shan: I dislke that idea, becase I know many adults who have a hard time dealing with emotions like that, or who cannot articulate a need for help. To penalize children for the same seems extremely unfair.

Robin: Mux, the suggestions I made are a way to create a community for now, in absence of irl unschoolers nearby.

JennyC: we don't hang out with many unschoolers, never have really

Kelli: Mux, don't know if it would be too advanced (others please weigh in) but I found Rue Kream's Q&A style book helped me to articulate what we were doing and why.

Kelli: It's called Parenting a Free Child

Robin: Us neither. We've made friends at conferences, though, and on-line.

Pamela: Mux, we don't hang out with other unschoolers except at conferences once or twice a year.

Jill Parmer: Maybe don't announce to anyone that you're going to or not send your kids to school. Sandra has said something like....we're going to try this for now, and if it stops working we'll do something different.

Robin: Rue's book is good, yes.

Robin: Good idea, Jill.

Sandra Dodd: Rue's book can help a lot. (Someday we'll discuss the idea of "freedom" which some unschoolers go too far with, but yeah... the practicalities are great.)

Sandra Dodd: Pamela wrote: -=-When I think of open classrooms, I think of spaces designed with specific learning intent, left for kids to find, designed to lead kids in certain directions-=-

Jill Parmer: Unschoolers don't need to hang out with other unschoolers. You can hang out with interesting people in your community.

Laura Zurro: Mux we used to worry about this and are now moving to a community with several unschoolers but all of a sudden it's not really an issue to me anymore if it works or not with other unschoolers because of hte support I get online

Chris: Mux, we don't have many unschooling friends around here -- especially not radically unschooled

Kelli: It was useful for me in explaining to others when we began unschooling

Mux: OK. THanks.

Sandra Dodd: No she did not. Sorry. She wrote that she went to an open classroom school

Sandra Dodd: and the materials were dry and academic/schoolish (Sorry lost that quote).

Laura Zurro: maybe you can read some of hte blogs as well from unschoolers who are in areas without other unschoolers

Sandra Dodd: then (I say, my opinion) it wasn't a very good open classroom set-up.

Sandra Dodd: The whole idea was to bring the real world in, and to some extent take the kids out into the world, even though sometimes they didn't go past the playground.

Sandra Dodd: Or a few field trips, but they tried to bring real people in.

JennyC: it was my quote and Pamela added that she went to a dry and boring open classroom

Jill Parmer: When someone says they are an "unschooler", it is no guarantee that your personalities/interests are going to mesh.

Sandra Dodd: The quote above was JennyC? Is she gone?

JennyC: or that they are actually unschooling

JennyC: no, I'm here!

Sandra Dodd: Okay. I think the quote is true and should also be applied to unschooling more than some people do.

Sandra Dodd: Strewing can be designed to lead kids in certain directions.

JennyC: I do, and I make no apologies, guide my kids in certain directions

Sandra Dodd: I know there are some unschoolers who would say "manipulation" but I don't care, because I haven't found anyone else's unschooled kids to be cooler than mine

Laura Zurro: Mux Jill hit it right on the head about not necessary hitting it off with other unschoolers

Kelli: Amen Jill! We've experienced unschooling families with different interests and parenting philosophies from ours. Sometimes it's harder, maybe the word "unschooler" creates too many expectations. Most of our friends are school-at-homers or public-schooled kids.

Robin: Yes, as if their home was a Montessori or Waldorf school (that's what I think of when I imagine areas designed to direct kids).

Shan: I think I have an example of how the natural flow works, with some guiding but not pushing....

Robin: Jenny, can you explain that?

Sandra Dodd: If a kid seems clue-free about history, then the parents should maybe choose history over same-old when they're buying a poster or video game or movie or choosing a museum to go to.

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Jill Parmer: I agree, Kelli, I think people do put way too much expectation on the word "unschooler".

Shan: A few weeks ago, Jeremiah and I were both up all night. He loves the dawn, so I was keeping him company, and we were chatting about whatever.

Mux: Yes Laura Zurro I got it.

Mux: )

Robin: Jill, you can see that when you go to an "unschooling" conference. Folks are all over the map.

Robin: But they are helpful (conferences that is).

JennyC: Parents decide all the time how and what they want for and of their kids. I've come to accept that I'm no exception. I'm not going to force it like most parents, but I'd be in denial if I had no idea of what or how I want my kids to be

Sandra Dodd: If life is busy and the parents are overcoming their own fears and prejudices and blindspots, if the parents are consciously deschooling, then it's likely that all kinds of topics will come around, and all sorts of connections will be made.

Shan: He decided to write some things for me in a Pokemon code he's memorized (writing is a new skill he's really building, now).

Sandra Dodd: -=- I'd be in denial if I had no idea of what or how I want my kids to be-=-

Sandra Dodd: -=- I'd be in denial if I had no idea of what or how I want my kids to be-=-

Pamela: I have been feeling more and more confident lately about unschooling, yet I must say I have curbed my strewing/creating an environment for learning. We are still deschooling and rebuilding trust with each other. Oscar is very sensitive to any action on my part that smacks of coersion.

Sandra Dodd: You would be an idiot if you had no idea of how or what you wanted your kids to be.

Sandra Dodd: And I don't mean "be a doctor" or "be a ballerina," but be someone others want to be around, be honest, be curious.

Robin: And that's about parenting, really, not just unschooling.

Robin: "unschooling"

Shan: He used a book as a lapdesk, and put it down when done. I remarked that I had been wanting to look at that book (They Came in Chains, the Story of the Slave Ships), and picked it up to fl through while we talked.

JennyC: right, and I do have these somewhat unspoken ideas that I'd like from my kids

Kelli: A Montessori-type setup in the home, with lots of interesting things to touch and talk about, is especially useful for younger kids. Not talking about schedules and control, just having lots of interesting things to discover.

Sandra Dodd: I agree.

Shan: I showed him a picture or two (he likes history in images and stories and re-enactments), to see if they'd pique any interest.

Sandra Dodd: Toy dishes and toy tools, or real (small fun) dishes and tools. Small shovels (more than Montessori... moving on out into the world) and kids-sized things.

Sylvia Woodman: It is a little crazy in here. I'm having a hard time figuring out what is going on.

JennyC: living anywhere in any point in time has never been a free for all. Sometimes I think unschoolers feel that way about unschooling

Jill Parmer: Or pulling out dried beans, and sheets, a pan of water, paper/scissors, etc.

Sandra Dodd: If you want to read it without it jumping around, click on Save / Print in the upper left.

Robin: Sylvia, that chats go very quickly and in different directions.

Robin:

Sandra Dodd: You don't need to save or print.

Kelli: People are making suggestions for Mux and lil' ones, plus there's a philosophical discussion going on:)

Robin: Jenny, good point.

Sandra Dodd: Read the page that's up (something like 15/15) and if what you wanted to read is before that,

Pamela: Do you think strewing looks different for older kids? What kind of strewing do you guys do for your kids over 11 or 12?

Sandra Dodd: change it to 14/15 or whatever. When you're done, click "return."

JennyC: one of the kids staying with us is thinking about going to community college in the fall. taking one class

Shan: He reads very well, but asked me if I would read some of it aloud. So we spent 45 minutes, reading accounts of the ships, the Amistad story, action and sale notes, Frederick Douglass, the cotton gin, and several detours along the way.

Sandra Dodd: And this is part of why I don't want people saying hi or bye, or letting babies play with keyboards, because it's fast enough already.

JennyC: she was lamenting that she might get there and be bored and then feel like chucking it all aside for an adventure that comes along

Shan: Then he asked if we could "finish it" later, because he was ready to go to bed.

Jill Parmer: I still look for things to strew with my kids (13 & 17) But mostly it's they are interested in something and I'm working to keep up with adding/supplimenting.

Shan: And so we stopped.

Robin: At that age (and at 16, for mine) I add to what she already likes and go in different directions from that, ie. new manga, music, anime, games, books.

JennyC: so I told her that no way would it be that way because whatever she was studying, we'd all find very fascinating, so much so, that we'd be in her books and business

Sandra Dodd: Videos, articles, supplies.

Sandra Dodd: Provisions. :-)_

Shan: Some of it was my idea, some was his, and it all hapeened while we were snggled together on the couch, enjoying each other's company.

Kelli: Pamela, most of our strewing for the 13 year old is through conversations, netflix, etc but mostly following his interests for now.

JennyC: and that she wouldn't be isolated to do her school work, like she was when in public high school

Sandra Dodd: Pamela, instead of just providing for him, find things to do together, and for him to see you reading/watching/playing with, too.

Pamela: That's what I do. Oscar is very into food and media so I got mega cable, HuluPlus, Netflix, and bring lots of cool food into the house. I do make monkey platters.

Robin: New tv shows, outings that involve a drive (she likes to just listen to her music with movement and scenery).

Kelli: He loves drawing house plans right now and so we buy pc software, took him to talk to architect friend, listen to his ideas, etc

JennyC: It occurred to me, in that moment, that anything brought into our home, even something school kids might find to be drudgery, we simply would not feel that way, it would be one more interesting thing to learn

Sandra Dodd: Don't think of it as "coercion." That word is awful, and the self-conscious avoidance of it can be crippling to people. It can keep them from having a decent relationship because they second-guess every single word and action.

Sandra Dodd: Those ideas are open-classroom wetdreams--the idea that they could have provided materials and resources for EACH CHILD, not just a generically interesting-for-age bunch of stuff.

Chris: I agree with Jill -- depends on the kid -- if their needs/wants change then change with them. Zoe is wanting more going and doing so I'm finding things to do that match her interests -- dance, anime/manga club at the library, cooking workshops etc.

Kelli: the key is to not be attached to an outcome over whatever you are intentionally strewing:)

Sandra Dodd: which Kelli is here?

Robin: It's by bringing all sorts of possibilities in when they're younger that they find what really interests them as they get older.

Chris: she also wanted to test her bravery so we've been watching movies that she used to be afraid to watch -- ones I've already seen but it's fun to watch again with her

Sandra Dodd: Kelli who?

Kelli: Kelli Bailey from AL, my secong chat, talking too much?

JIHONG: Second that, robin

Sandra Dodd: Thanks. No, just didn't now who it was.

Shan: I send Jeremiah interesting links on Facebook, sometimes, for him to discover. Other times, we explore a series of links together, with everyone getting a chance to pick where we will look next.

Kelli: I don't get to do these often, usually read them afterward

Pamela: Hmmm. I'm not sure how to describe it, then. Oscar is very sensitive to any action on my part that might have an agenda. My hope is that, when he trusts that I am a trustworthy partner, he will be more receptive, but our relationship is the most important thing to me right now.

Sandra Dodd: I wish people would use whole names in the case of common first names. It's helpful for figuring out who's who and for knowing whether it's someone with teens, or someone with babies, or what.

Robin: Not so much that you overwhelm young kids, but many ideas and thoughts that they can take or leave.

Sandra Dodd: Not talking too much, just not being surely distinguished from Kelli Traaseth.

Kelli: sorry, I don't ever expect to be recognized, did not think of Georgia Kelli:()

JennyC: I did a lot more things when Chamille was young than I do with Margaux

Shan: Pamela, Jeremiah also doesn't like agendas, and I did use them when he was much younger. But he loves for me to share in his passions, and unearth interesting things, and share my passions with him, and to listen to his hopes and dreams and personal research.

Sandra Dodd: And you won't ever be recognized if you don't use your whole name. :-)

Jill Parmer: Can I turn us back to

JennyC: more outings, more hands on things

Jill Parmer: "What is Unschooling"?

Chris: right Sandra -- I mix people up sometimes too -- Pamela vs. Pam S. most often

JennyC: yes, Jill

Jill Parmer: About the part..."Is it passive?"

Sandra Dodd: So, Chris. Please use more name if you can stand to next time. And Pamela, if you don't mind. Thanks.

Sandra Dodd: I think "child led" is the passivity problem.

Chris: I will, for sure

Sandra Dodd: Parents waiting for "it" to happen.

JennyC: funny, I was just going that direction!

Kelli: The physical environment seems to be more important for my 10, 6 and 3 year olds, but at 13 just following interests and pointing out new things WE hear about/learn

Pamela: Exactly, Shan! We watch Chopped!, Iron Chef, South Park, Curb Your Enthusaiasm, Man vs Wild. We play so many games, from Boggle to Little Big Planet. I hang with him and we talk and talk and talk.

JennyC: what I do with Margaux looks more passive than what I did with Chamille

Jill Parmer: I was thinking that sometimes looking at unschoolers (some of them :-) it looks SO easy.

Sandra Dodd: This is my favorite thing to do or hear: " I hang with him and we talk and talk and talk."

Sandra Dodd: About it looking easy: "As we get older and our kids grow up, we eventually come to realize that all the big things in our lives are really the direct result of how we've handled all the little things." —Pam Sorooshian, June 4, 2007

Sylvia Woodman: i'm relieved to hear this Sandra, b/c I was starting to worry!

Jill Parmer: The active for me is in keeping up with the kids, some it won't look like much to outsiders, but I'm always thinking about showing something to them I've found. or looking for things in the internet.

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Sandra Dodd: Sometimes "showing them something" is just singing part of a song, or telling a story, or sharing a photo.

Pamela: Yeah. I am feeling really good. He is so much happier, more engaged in the world, more self-assured, able to talk about how he feels, ask for what he needs. A MASSIVE improvement since leaving public school a little over a year ago.

Kelli: I get irritated sometimes, I admit, when friends think my kids are "easy" or their personalities make it "easier" for me, and they use it to justify not unschooling their own kids.

Sandra Dodd: Holly sat near me last night playing me parts of music and videos so I would know more about her boyfriend Will. He's very sweet.

Jill Parmer: And the kids are talking, focused, reading, watching, playing, going to do something, and that's active (compared to a kid who has to sit there and struggle though some workbook.)

Sandra Dodd: I was getting the remedial-Will-info because I was gone two months. :-)

Kelli: They say, "oh, I could never do that, but it's perfect for your family!"

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JennyC: that would have been true for Chamille, she was an easy child, but then I had Margaux, so all those people can be quiet!

Sandra Dodd: And at the beginning of the chat she was going through photos from old conferences, tagging people, and talking about the relative merits of various conferences she had attended.

Kelli: Pamela, i can hear your joy:O)

Laura Zurro: If I even mention homeschooling let alone unschooling I get the "social" aspect thrown at me. And when CAitlyn was younger and very shy I was told to just stick her in school so she could get used to the real world.

Sylvia Woodman: Hey Shan the natives here are getting restless so I'm gonna jump off the chat but can you please get in touch with me later re: Tomorrow?!

Sandra Dodd: I don't think everyone can unschool. I don't think every child is a good candidate.

Kelli: I have 4, with varying "ease" so yeah, they can be quiet!

Sandra Dodd: Sylvia, it's not always this fast. Maybe try again. :-)

Robin Bentley: Sandra, just a housekeeping item. Can we talk in a different window without disrupting the chat? Sorry, all.

Jill Parmer: REally? I thought it was more, I don't think every parent is a good candidate.

Shan Jeniah Burton: Sylvia, yes, I will.

Mux: How do you know good from bad candidates?

Renee S: I'm seeing in parents waiting for "it" to happen - and "it" not happening that they conclude, unschooling doesn't work vs. they might not be doing it well?

Mux: For kids as for parents?

JennyC: I suppose if you are looking at it from a team perspective then it would take all the members of the team to make it work!

Kelli: I could take the smoothness of it as a compliment, instead of worrying that people think i don't have to work at it. :)

Sylvia Woodman: I got the hang of it after a bit Sandra but my kids are ready to have me join then again. I'll read the transcript later. Take care everyone!

JIHONG: Yes, I am curious what makes good candidates, parents and children

Robin Bentley: Mux, what do you mean by "good or bad candidate"?

Kelli: Yes, Renee! that's where "wanting it" shows importance, many give up (there were times i wanted to) but hanging in there creates great rewards!

Robin Bentley: With regard to children?

Sandra Dodd: I'll be right back. /bye

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Pamela: For me, Mux, it was getting to place where I was truly willing to take a leap of faith in the inherent wisdom of my kid. Trust him and really let go of the idea that to be a good parent, I had to punish, force, etc to help him grow up to be a good person.

Jill Parmer: Robin, do you know if that list of what it takes from a parent to be a good unschooler, that we came up with at SUSS?

Mux: Well Sandra said :"I don't think everyone can unschool. I don't think every child is a good candidate." so I'm wondering?

Jill Parmer: I remember things like: enjoys your own children, having a playful attitude, willing to change direction, stuff like that.

Pamela: My ability to do that made it possible for me to unschool.

Jill Parmer: Yeah, unfortunately we'll have to wait for Sandra to return for that answer.

Robin Bentley: It might be on Sandra's site. Not sure. But Alex came up with something on Always Learning that could be a starting point: interesting; curious; engaging; loves to be with their kids ; creative ( not necessarily artistically but thinks outside the box); a good friend to their children; happy; content; loving; present; mindful; a partner supportive; joyful; finds joy in seeing the kid's joy!

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Robin Bentley: She's doi ng some Chatzy upkeep.

Laura Zurro: Robin/Jill I'd love to see that list

Robin Bentley: I'll see if I can find it.

JennyC: I liked what Alex wrote!

Jill Parmer: I'm really curious what Sandra has to say about come kids not being good candidates. The only kids I've seen who like school better than unschooling, are kids who's parents aren't really being with them, and supporting them and their interests.

JIHONG: I am having tons of fun unschooling :))

Pamela: It's hard to imagine what kind of child couldn't unschool. Maybe one who is very social and charismatic? A natural leader/politician type?

Lylawolf: li

Lylawolf: oops

Lylawolf: i think a child like that would thrive as an unschooler - would likely go out in the world and DO a lot

Jill Parmer: Well you just described Kirby, Pamela, and he unschooled.

Lylawolf: i am curious for sandra's response too

Jill Parmer: Kirby is Sandra's oldest.

Mux: OK.Thanks.

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JennyC: Jill, or kids whose parents are boring and not very interesting

JennyC: or find no way to be interesting with and for their kids

Jill Parmer: yes!

Mux: What if boring parent wants to unschool?

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Pamela: Well, there you go. So, if a parent is an able unschooler, what type of child might not thrive?

Shan Jeniah Burton: Mux, maybe they could learn to be LESS boring, first.

JennyC: I don't think it would work!

Sandra Dodd: The chat room had expired. We weren't "premium," and that was affecting people's ability to get in here, so I went to make a payment. Sorry.

Robin Bentley: Mux, they'd have to examine their boring-ness and make some changes.

Shan Jeniah Burton: For us, here, it is all about passion. Passion is seldom boring.

Robin Bentley: Just so you all know, we can all contribute to keeping the chat room available, so Sandra's not the only one on the hook for it.

JennyC: it is a significant and noticeable difference between schooled kids and unschooled kids, their ability to not be bored

Renee S: Was just going to ask how to contribute. ;)

Shan Jeniah Burton: Paypal.

JennyC: go to Sandra's website, there is a paypal button there

Sandra Dodd: They raised the price, too (not a ton, but some).

Jill Parmer: I really dont' think you could be a boring parent an unschool. REally there's no way.

Robin Bentley: Or to think about their boredness and find something to do or think about.

Sandra Dodd: If anyone wants to know some recent expenses and consider helping: http://aboutunschooling.blogspot.com/2011/07/new-search-function-wednesday-chats.html

JennyC: or maybe not, I don't see it

Robin Bentley: Mux, what does being boring mean to you?

Sandra Dodd: I promise to make good use of donations.

Renee S: thanks. I would have looked there eventually.

Sandra Dodd: Maybe I should put a donations button the unschooling page?

Pamela: I just asked Oscar if he ever gets bored. He said brightly, almost surprised, "No."

Sandra Dodd: I only have them for book buying and symposium-registration.

Shan Jeniah Burton: I went to payal and sent funds to sandra@sandradodd.com. It worked fine.

Mux: I don't know I just wanted to ask you that same question? I don't that there are boring people at all (ate least not to themselves)

Pamela: He says he gets tired of things and moves onto something new. So simple.

Robin Bentley: Yes, Sandra, do that.

JennyC: the only times in my life that I have been truly bored have been in school

Renee S: I think a button is a great idea.

Sandra Dodd: Clarity, please: " I don't that there are boring people at all (ate least not to themselves)"

Sandra Dodd: Meant to write "ClariFy"

Sandra Dodd: Sorry.

Chris Sanders: I think she left the word "think" out

Mux: If someone seems boring to you he might be very interesting to someone else, so

Sandra Dodd: You don't think anyone is dull?

Mux: Yes.

Sandra Dodd: I've been around some exceedingly dull humans.

Jill Parmer: (Sandra, does Paypal take a big cut? Would you prefer paypal or check?)

JennyC: I've met dull people

Sandra Dodd: Flat as a pancake. No emotion coming.

Shan Jeniah Burton: I think some people DO bore themselves. I know several who seem to expect others to entertain them, or who seem to need to be buying something new, always, and who still live stagnant lives where nothing really changes, deepens, or broadens within them.

Pamela: If a child finds their parent boring, that matters. I hardly ever visit my parents largely because they make no effort to engage. I end up feeling both bored and hurt.

Lylawolf: if you choose "personal" tab on paypal, there will be no cut...

Sandra Dodd: Paypal doesn't take much, Jill. You can pay he fee yourself if you want to call it a gift and then they'll give you the option to pay the fee. If you mail a check there are fees on your end, and a 1st class stamp.

Shan Jeniah Burton: Didn't know about the fees. That meansd some of what I donated went to Paypal.

JennyC: Yes Shan, I've met people like that!

Sandra Dodd: If a parent is cynical and pessimistic, they won't have much to offer their child in way of seeing the world as a place of sparkling possibilities.

Pamela: Hurt that they can't stretch themselves enough to connect with me. They never have. Won't bother to strain themselves. My mother is always on her iPhone, even during meals at restaurants during rare visits.

Sandra Dodd: Anyone who's looking at the world through suck-colored glasses will not learn easily, naturally and for fun.

Sandra Dodd: A parent can't take a child out of school and tell him "Now. Learn. I'll be over here sighing and reading irritating political blogs."

JennyC: and the children of cynical and pessimistic parents will be cynical and pessimistic, nothing is a kill joy more than that!

Shan Jeniah Burton: Most of my family of origin is. I really never noticed it until Facebook. SO many posts about how bored they are, that I often end up hiding them so I don't give into the urge to say, "Well, then, go DO something instead of whining about it!"

Robin Bentley: Snort, Sandra!

Chris Sanders: Pamela, doing for Oscar what you wish your parents had/would done/do for you will be healing.

Sandra Dodd: Yes.

Shan Jeniah Burton: *suck-colored glasses*!!!!!!!! Oh, that is so perfectly apt!

Pamela: It absolutely has been, Chris. Profoundly.

Sandra Dodd: And stretching oneself enough to be with the person she's eating with, at least for the length of the meal, is a gift.

JennyC: even Chamille will ignore her phone for a dinner out!

Sandra Dodd: Mux are you secret or did you say where you live?

Mux: OK. You convinced me. That is great said Sandra.

Sandra Dodd: Was the question about why people would unschool if there was a perfectly good alternative/open/democratic school nearby answered?

Mux: I live in Bosnia

Pamela: My mother proudly states that she generally does not care for the company of others. Claims it as a fact of her nature.

Lylawolf: if you ansered the question about which kids aren't a good fit for unschooling, i missed it...

JennyC: didn't expect that answer at all Mux ;)

Chris Sanders: I've finally started coming around to feeling forgiveness and even compassion for my parents, in spite of all the ways they don't live up to my idea of who they should be. Kind of applying some of the principles of unschooling to my relationship with my parents.

Sandra Dodd: Hey, well I was in France in July. That's as close as I've been.

Mux: :)

Sandra Dodd: Are you in contact with European homeschoolers?

Mux: :)

Sandra Dodd: If not, write to me later and I'll try to get you some links.

Mux: Yes in Croatia

Sandra Dodd: I'll be in London again next summer. June, i think, but it's not set.

JennyC: Pamela, maybe since she claims it as a fact, she doesn't feel compelled to use social niceties

JennyC: she's trying to push people away

Robin Bentley: I've been to Croatia (however briefly ).

Jill Parmer: Sandra, I'm curious about your comment that some kids are not good candidates for unschooling. What type of kid?

JennyC: kids who want to be in school for sure

Sandra Dodd: I stayed with a former-Czech family in Scotland, a family with a formerly-Polish dad in England, and am in ever closer contact with a Russian mom married to a German dad living in Edinburgh. But that's not going to do your kids any good, is it? :-)

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Robin Bentley: Hey, Alex!

Pamela: I think that's true, JennyC. I struggle to make peace with them. Wish I didn't. Wish I was all zen about it.

Mux: :)

JennyC: Alex, that list you wrote on Alwayslearning was great!

AlexPolykow: HI I am sorry I just got in but when I tried earlier it said I needed to be a paid member

Sandra Dodd: Yeah, kids who don't want to be with their parents. Kids who are solidly at the point that they do NOT want to do what their parents want.

AlexPolykow: t said the 10 spots for free were taken.

JennyC: that would be the kinds of teens that land at our house

Sandra Dodd: Alex, the room status had expired. I'm sorry. There are lots of free spots now. I didn't know it had happened.

Sandra Dodd: I stepped out and paide for it. :-)

AlexPolykow: Hey Jenny thanks.

AlexPolykow: That is OK

AlexPolykow: OH OK

Mux: That's why it's difficult, homeschooling here is not legal and is unfamiliar even, so it's too weird :)

Sandra Dodd: If it's not legal, then don't do it.

AlexPolykow: I was willing to get a membership but since I was making kuch I let it go.

JennyC: so, if you keep your kids home, what are you risking?

Sandra Dodd: Find ways to enrich your lives around school and in spite of school. Don't risk losing your kids.

AlexPolykow: I will read back archives later. But I missed chatting with you al! I missed Sandra while she was jet-setting around Europe!

Mux: I'm not sure if it's the right thing to do considering that, but I know too much now I feel ill if I'd have to send them

Sandra Dodd: Genetics, as a field of study, is pressing onward, and evolutionary biology and anthropology all together are coming up with some things that are inherent/genetic. Stronger in some people than in others. Heritable.

Sandra Dodd: One is creativity.

AlexPolykow: Mux I would not risk my kids being taken from me.

Sandra Dodd: "Openness to experience."

JennyC: maybe look at all the alternatives, even in Germany there are sudbury type schools

Sandra Dodd: Mux, maybe read here: http://sandradodd.com/schoolchoice

Sandra Dodd: Not exactly parallel but it might help.

Sandra Dodd: So, Jill. What else did you mark in your book? :-)

Jill Parmer: Already talked about...passivity.

Sandra Dodd: If someone says "It's fine for your family," or "of course it works because you're the mom," there is probably something to that.

Mux: OK. Thanks.

Sandra Dodd: For years people have been saying "anyone can unschool," but I don't think it's as true as I once thought it might be.

Jill Parmer: It jumped out at me, because some homeschoolers think they are not doing enough if they are not forcing their kids to do workbooks and stuff that looks like school.

Shan Jeniah Burton: "Openness to experience"....yes. When Jim and I were traveling, it changed both our perspectives and worldviews. A relative of mine also traveled for several years, yet seems utterly unchanged by the experiences of those years. Maybe a lack of "openness to experience"?

Sandra Dodd: I assumed (as others do, I think) that lack of energy and creativity were all damage done to an otherwise "normal" (ideal) psyche/personality.

Jill Parmer: So some people see my ease with unschooling and think it is too easy or passive.

Sandra Dodd: But researchers are finding that it seems some people are born super curious, and others pretty passive!

Sandra Dodd: I think so, Shan.

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Jill Parmer: Did the article say what the passive people do, or how they go about life/

Sandra Dodd: So in 100 years, people might be able to have a blood test early in life and know whether they need a curriculum or just to hang out and play video games and play with the dog. (I'M JOKING, mostly. They won't have the same kind of video games in 100 years.)

JennyC: when Chamille was born, she seemed a very passive baby and little kid comparatively, but it turns out that her mind is always going a million miles a minute, no passivity there

Sandra Dodd: It wasn't an article (if you're talking to me). It was things from a couple of books about personality and evolution.

Chris Sanders: and some people can have the curiosity schooled out of them, temporarily at least -- me

AlexPolykow: Guess I am in the super curious category.

AlexPolykow: Maybe that is why unschooling works for me and my kids?

Sandra Dodd: Someone earlier said something about natural leadership and charisma.

JennyC: Passive people probably don't question the status quo so much, maybe are okay with doing their work and going home and eating and watching tv

Jill Parmer: I've seen something like that too, Jenny. When we're on a long road trip, Addi and Luke will sit in the car and not want to do anything. Then we stop somewhere and they tell me these long stories or ideas. like an explosion.

JIHONG: Me too, Alex I am learning as much as my kids if not more

Shan Jeniah Burton: The one who traveled and wasn't touched by it lives her life as a series of roles. If she is playing the role by the rules, she considers that a success. If a better (in her interpretation, and usually one with more external attention or accolades attached to it), she will trade in the old and assume the new. it)

Sandra Dodd: And if we are going to accept that some people have that, it must follow (and not be denied just to be polite) that some must be natural followers, and not very charming.

Pamela: I recently made up a word (I felt there was no precise term for it: Ripescence. It means the ability to be lit up by something, sort of like receptivity that results in joy/delight/excitement. I think it's akin to super curiosity, but would be used as an adjective, like "musically ripescent"

Pamela: Ripe for being moved by something.

Chris Sanders: maybe I've never been a passive person -- never satisfied with status quo -- but I wasn't empowered until I had kids -- then I started taking charge

Pamela: I think I needed the word to describe many facets/situations that emerged from unschooling.

Shan Jeniah Burton: I never UNDERSTOOD the status quo. Still don't. I shake my head a lot at things people accept and assume. I always want to question - even my own assumptions.

Robin Bentley: Jenny and Jill - what you're saying about your kids highlights how learning happens internally, too. Like all the activity in the world sometimes isn't necessary evidence of learning.

JennyC: I really liked the dissection of Winnie the Pooh in the Tao of Pooh, to explain personalities

Shan Jeniah Burton: Sandra, in M*A*S*H, t was said that some people are "good order-takers".

Sandra Dodd: "Receptive" wouldn't have done it, Pamela?

AlexPolykow: could it be that some people's curiosity are not considered, or worth, comparatively. Like when a kid is curious about video games then they would say he is not curios enough but if he was curious about history than he is??

Sandra Dodd: Ripe?

Sandra Dodd: Poised?

Laura Zurro: Time to share the computer with Caitlyn - will read the full discussion later.

JennyC: Pooh bear is very still and seemingly does very little, but he's very good at what he does, which is to be still and think

Sandra Dodd: I'm not saying that other people will say "curious enough" or "not curious enough." I'm saying that there are some people for whom the opportunity to explore and learn naturally might not be a great deal.

Pamela: Receptive can be easy-going, adaptive. It doesn't sparkle.

Robin Bentley: Piglet seems full of fear, but he always comes through somehow, in the end.

Shan Jeniah Burton: Alex - that sounds true, It was true, for me, as a child. I write, I sang, I sculpted with the clay in the yard, dried weeds and seeds in the porch rafters, gave the cats physicals, and loved Star Trek. None of those was considered "worthy".

JennyC: while rabbit is always going and doing and going and doing and fretting about being still

AlexPolykow: Like I am curious about everything, pretty much everything I will google, read about, watch videos but my husband ( terrible school experience) is not like that. He definitely is only curious about a number of subjects.

Sandra Dodd: Consider that perhaps it's not just school, with your husband.

Sandra Dodd: How are his parents and siblings and cousins? Curious?

JennyC: your hubby has focused fascination

AlexPolykow: Exactly Sandra

Pamela: My word means a sort of turn-on-ability. Easily turned-on, readily turned-on.

Chris Sanders: Stress and busyness (ie. work) can interfere with curiosity too, I think

Sandra Dodd: There were other factors listed in a book (otherwise very irritating book) but all the notes are in the other end of the house, and I'm sitting in front of a fan, and I'm not getting up

Pamela: Curious is a pre-state. Curiosity leading to investigation. Ripescence is inherent, almost genetic. We've started using it a lot.

AlexPolykow: The problem is that I am a super curious person and my siblings are not as much as me. My sister is more than my brother .

Jill Parmer: In some areas I'm really happy being a follower; in other areas, I'm happily snooping along an interesting trail I've found.

Robin Bentley: Some people are content where they are. Not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe not as good for pushing outside of one's boundaries to help someone else, but in a family, at least one person might be the curious one for unschooling to work.

Chris Sanders: When I'm very busy with the business of living and raising a family, and I'm tired, I'm not so receptive or turn-onable to curiosity

Shan Jeniah Burton: Alex, we have both in our family. With my father, it was an inside joke that him sharing an article with someone was anointing them family.

AlexPolykow: I have to say my husband has gotten a little more curious , maybe because of me? So now he asks me to google something all the time.

Sandra Dodd: So if one has a child who isn't super curious, unschooling can still work as long as the parent and child are partners and the parent isn't trying to shame or change the child

Robin Bentley: Yeah.

Chris Sanders: a parent can supplement a child's lack of curiosity by sharing some of their own?

Shan Jeniah Burton: My mother, on the other hand, doesn't seem very interested in many subjects at all, and far fewer as she ages.

Sandra Dodd: Child. Not chile. :-)

JennyC: compared to what that same child would be doing in school, it might be miles and miles better for that child to sit and be still with a curious and kind parent

AlexPolykow: Robin you are so right. Some people are content where they are.

Sandra Dodd: I'm not saying anyone should stop unschooling about all this. I'm saying that it is possible there might be another family that says "This would never work for us," and it might be true.

Jill Parmer: Sometimes Addi (17) didn't look very curious to me, then years later she'd explain something and I was blown away with all that she thought or found out about situations.

Sandra Dodd: Not everyone would be able to make pottery, if that had been the central most prized skill in our culture. Or weave, or make bread. Some are better at those things than other people.

JennyC: and that goes back to the negative pessimism, if one is content being where they are, lets just hope that if they are unschooling, that they are happy and optimistic about it

Pamela: I am super curious, Oscar is not. He is about love, comfort, closeness, peace, laughing. Maybe that will change, maybe not. It has helped me grow sooo much to become his partner and see all the wonder in him, even though we are so different.

Jill Parmer: Maybe just by making that statement, one can tell it wouldn't work for that family.

Shan Jeniah Burton: Jill- Jeremiah doesn't always share what he thinks as it's happening, either. When he does, it can blow me away.

Robin Bentley: For some people, it's discernment, though Shan. I'm not interested in getting involved in political movements, for instance. Narrowing of focus isn't all bad.

JIHONG: I think the limitation on the parents part will limit the children. Sometimes, it may be better to send kids to school to get more exposure and expand their horizon

AlexPolykow: Sometimes you curiosity is satisfied with just a little information. Some times you need a lot more. The first instance it may look like the person was not curious at all.

Sandra Dodd: That all said, I still think unschooling can work for any kind of child, from severely autistic, Down Syndrome, serious disability up to objectively obvious-from-a-distance gifted-as-all-getout.

Sandra Dodd: And I think the methods are the same.

Sandra Dodd: The "will work" and "won't work" is not on that plane. It's on the willingness plane.

AlexPolykow: I agree Sandra.

Sandra Dodd: "Don't want to" might be all it takes to keep it from working. And certainly "Don't care" could keep people from learning to read, or count, or to tell a bird from a dog.

Shan Jeniah Burton: Robin, I'm not talking about that, though. I'm not interested in activism, or soccer, or any number of other things. My mother is walled-off, closed, not open to learning more about anything not directly related to herself.

Robin Bentley: If it's a choice between being with boring but willing parents and going to school, for some kids they'd rather be home with their parents, I think.

Pamela: I would have been better off safe at home, neglected, than bullied the way I always was in school. I have no doubt.

Robin Bentley: Okay, I understand, Shan.

Sandra Dodd: Luckily, much of "academic learning" comes along with language learning. Knowing the words for things helps us sort things out, and sorting things out leads to taxonomy and logic and comparison/contrast and new/old and familiar/unfamiliar and philosophy.

Sandra Dodd: So it's probably not a total loss if a kid who has no joy in curiosity at least can speak a language. :-)

Robin Bentley: So I don't think "expanding their horizons" by sending them to school is necessarily the answer. School doesn't always expand kids' horizons .

Shan Jeniah Burton: It's a general lack of sparkle, the way I perceive it. Like the difference between a flowing river in the sunshine and a stagnant, polluted pond with rotting things in it.

JennyC: I see it as expanding their horizons within a very specific perimeter and then ending that expansion once it has reached the end of the bubble

Pamela: I must go. It's Oscar's birthday -- time to bake the cake! Thank you all or the chat. So glad they are back!

JennyC: school, I mean

Sandra Dodd: Bye, Pamela. Nice birthday thoughts.

JIHONG: At least you have the opportunity to meet some inspiring figures if you are lucky. Some parents are so tunnel vision that they may hamper the children's learning

Shan Jeniah Burton: Happy Oscar joins the world day.

Robin Bentley: I think of a good unschooling home as being interesting, safe, a place to learn, a nest - as Sandra describes it. It doesn't have be exciting and physical and new at every turn, all the time.

Robin Bentley: Happy Birthday to Oscar!

Pamela left the

Sandra Dodd: Yeah, not all the time, Robin, but sometimes exciting and new.

Sandra Dodd: Balance.

Robin Bentley: Absolutely!

Sandra Dodd: Does anyone have an unrelated unschooling emergency or issue we can help with for ten minutes?

Sandra Dodd: Holly and I are going shopping for a few Kirby-party things.

Sandra Dodd: on the hour (2:00 my house)

Robin Bentley: Whoo-hoo. Kirby-party!

AlexPolykow: we are slower in the Winter here at home but the rest of the year there is never a dull day.

JIHONG: Thanks for the chat. See u all next time. Will paypal u, Sandra

JennyC: winters are a whirlwind of holidays

Robin Bentley: Bye Jihong! Keep having fun!

Shan Jeniah Burton: Happy birthday to Kirby, two days early (and to me, too!).

AlexPolykow: but in the dead of a very cold winter here in Minnesota we just lay low !

Robin Bentley: Happy Birthday Shan!

Robin Bentley: Laying low can be nice.

Chris Sanders: I'm off to help Zoe figure out her choreography homework -- ugh! bad dance teacher sucks at communication and bristles at kids who ask questions. But Zoe wants to stick with it -- she says, "It's good for me to learn how to deal with people like her."

Shan Jeniah Burton: Thank you. I like sharing Kirby's birthday. =)'

JennyC: I'm sorry Chris!

JennyC: too bad she can't get another instructor!

AlexPolykow: well I will go read the chat!

Chris Sanders: S'okay -- I'm impressed with Zoe's pragmatic approach -- she's not taking it personally

Jill Parmer: Sandra, I want to thank you SO much for all the work and discussions you do. And that is what I would have written on the paypal note, but I clicked "pay now" before I realized there was a place to leave a personal note. Because of all your work, our family life is wonderful!!

Robin Bentley: Yes. I second that, Jill.

Sandra Dodd: Zoe's interested in it because she got to wait until she was nearly grown to mess with it, I'm thinking.

Chris Sanders: Jill, if I could click on a 'like' button, I would! Ditto.

Shan Jeniah Burton: What Jill said, because I couldn't improve on it. =)

Sandra Dodd: Thanks, Jill and Robin and Shan and Chris and anyone else who's thinking nice thoughts about me. :-)

Chris Sanders: She likes the challenge now -- and her friend is in that class and she doesn't want to abandon her. They're the two youngest ones in there.

Shan Jeniah Burton: I am listening to giggles right now. There was a time when I would have been yelling, and listening to sniffles.

Chris Sanders: Jill, if I could click on a 'like' button, I would! Ditto.

Shan Jeniah Burton: What Jill said, because I couldn't improve on it. =)

Sandra Dodd: Thanks, Jill and Robin and Shan and Chris and anyone else who's thinking nice thoughts about me. :-)

Chris Sanders: She likes the challenge now -- and her friend is in that class and she doesn't want to abandon her. They're the two youngest ones in there.

Shan Jeniah Burton: I am listening to giggles right now. There was a time when I would have been yelling, and listening to sniffles.

Sandra Dodd: I've been doing nothing lately but unschooling website, presentations, trying not to lose photos of families I stayed with, etc.

Sandra Dodd: All day every day.

Chris Sanders: Okay, now, really - bye, and be well everyone!

Sandra Dodd: Though I expect (hope) it will calm down soon.

Sandra Dodd: I have a few mostly-unscheduled months coming up. :-)

JennyC: Thank you for all of that! all that work you do makes a huge difference!

Sandra Dodd: Thanks, Jenny.

Shan Jeniah Burton: That sounds like bliss after happy busyness.

Sandra Dodd: In the past few months I've spoken to people who had been homeschooling for years, and had heard about and rejected unschooling, or who thought they WERE unschooling, and they listen to me a while and get tears in their eyes.

Sandra Dodd: So I'm either meeting up with people who need it, or i'm getting better at saying good things, or something.

Robin Bentley: Sandra, you've planted some seeds whilst in the UK, as I see a number of people on the AlwaysLearning list from overseas.

Sandra Dodd: The intensity lately has been very....

Sandra Dodd: intense. :-)

Robin Bentley: Time to rest.

Sandra Dodd: I might go to South Africa in a year and some.

Sandra Dodd: Rest?

Robin Bentley: Well, time for contemplation?

Jill Parmer: Sandra, can you put something like that on the ALL unschooling conference page or somewhere.

Shan Jeniah Burton: I listened to you and got tears in my eyes. And then I thought a lot, and observed, and considered, and made some changes in myself, and our better life got WAY more awesome.]

Sandra Dodd: Maybe, Jill, but I'm feeling odd that in the three day schedule I'm in for an hour. :-)

Jill Parmer: I think people can be intimidated by you, but it's that interaction that shows them that there is a real person with really great ideas to think about.

Robin Bentley: Well, maybe we'll come early and stay late and monopolize you.

Sandra Dodd: And maybe just because someone gets emotional doesn't mean it will last a month or a year.

Shan Jeniah Burton: Some of what you said was not easy to hear. Usually that's a sign that it IS what I needed to hear most.

Jill Parmer: Well you could schedule yourself more, but even if you didn't , you are going to be talking A LOT.

Robin Bentley: Plus we also see how you are with your family and the things you do for people who attend. That means a lot, too.

Sandra Dodd: Shan, I'm kind of working on a book about changes people made, so I might save that quote and talk to you about it in a few months.

Sandra Dodd: My kids will probably be more useful. People can talk to them on the side all they want to.

Jill Parmer: Bye all, have a great week, gonna go on a walk with Addi.

Robin Bentley: Bye Jill. Hi to everyone!

Shan Jeniah Burton: A few months would be good. I can identify the changes, listlike, but the deeper insights and continuing revelations don't have lots of words attached, yet - more sensations, a feeling of bigger rightness, blossoming, maturing......

Shan Jeniah Burton: I've wanted to write you about it, but I don't have the words, yet. Too bust living it.

JennyC: I haven't been writing much lately

JennyC: but I will get back to it one day!

Shan Jeniah Burton: Jenny, I am writing a LOT in my head, waking myself up to write for an hour, without pen and paper, then going back to sleep. But I feel a wave cresting, and when it does, I expect I will write a LOT!

Shan Jeniah Burton: I did write something I thought was really important to me personally, about expectations and humanity and relationships.

Shan Jeniah Burton: But I haven't reread it, and it could be garbage!

Sandra Dodd: Thanks, Shan.

Robin Bentley: I'm off. Take care, all.

JennyC: you could just mark it down as a diary entry!

Sandra Dodd: Thanks for being here, Robin and all o'ya'll

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