Rude Feedback

I didn't save it all; maybe I should've. It's not fair to put up the positive feedback without the negative, and this page is for long or particularly rude feedback. Some is also here.


Marys Rainbow:
I have read this thread over and over and still fail to see how I am the one treating you and Deb Lewis and others crappily. I was merely annoyed at you for only acknowledging me by
1- saying 'if all is good then there is nothing to discuss or learn' ( which i replied to and you didnt acknowledge)
2- you saying i had bad advice
3- you misquoting me and not acknowledging me again and
-4-5- u get my point... Im sorry If I just made you sad by saying hahaha i have no need for your advice but wtf?? its all i can muster...WT F-ing F?! really... and now you mock my :) and my ♥ and question the way I treat my babes...the loves of my life... Le sigh...Good day,Sandra Dodd
Sandra,

I read your entire website before I subscribed to the list. If all you can do is refer people to read more material – you cannot help me. If I wanted to read more about unschooling information I would buy a book. I have read everything I could get a hold of. What I need is rewording of everyday situations. I spend almost all day everyday with my children, how dare you imply that I don’t spend enough time with my children. My computer sits in the mainstream of our life and we all spend a good deal of time on it –

You know what it doesn’t matter any more I don’t need to explain myself to you. I have unsubscribed from your fucking list. I am sick of your high and mighty attitude. The controlling nature of this list is more then my unschooling mind can understand. You are closed minded and I truly hope karma smites you and yours.

My Defense:

All I was doing was asking her (again) to remove the advertisements from her sigline. Other moderators (on a different list) had asked her to, too, but I don't think she cursed them with smiting. It didn't scare me or hurt my feelings.

I wondered what book it was she would buy if she wanted to learn more about unschooling.

And I wondered how she had read my entire website. I can't even FIND all of "my entire website."


Years ago (January 2004), in reaction to the UnschoolingDiscussion group, a new group was formed with much fanfare (but without a decent name). UnschoolingDiscussions was created, purposely with such a similar name that they hoped they would catch people trying to join the other. On the day I put this here, UnschoolingDiscussion has 1551 members (even though we moved to google and so had some disruption, but it also cleaned out deadwood when we moved). They have 100 members listed. There have only been two posts in 2008 (as of June 10), so I thought I should save their insulting group intro because their list probably will die out.

Sandra note: The "unparenting or anarchy" phrase is interesting, and clearly a suggestion that that's what was advocated on the other list. Any group (list, club) formed in so reactionary a way can't be healthy. It needs to have a positive, happy core and not live in the shadow of the former group.

That's why I've told unschoolers they need to turn away from school and not live in the shadow of school. If they think "school" with every thought, they might as well be in school. Move away from the school. Find strength and joy and *then* you you can have growth.



"LOL" and then saying we're rude for objecting to being laughed at

Some of this exchange was off the list. Someone came to Always Learning to ask about whether and how kids can get into college. She has three children under eleven.

Several people responded. Pam Sorooshian, whose three daughters all were attending (one had graduated) responded. The exchange from here on is me in green, and the other person gets the benefit of having had her name excised.

Anonymized, on the list:

As you could se from my initial post I was simply wondering and wanting to let people know HOW it worked. I wasn't really looking for how children do IN school as I am sure all our children would be capable (a previous post sounded a bit like a resume, lol). I wanted to have something to say to naysayers and also was curious about the ease of it all for the children that choose this path.

[name and kids' names]

"Be who you want your children to be." Unknown "Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

--- On Thu, 4/30/09, Pam Sorooshian wrote:

From: Pam Sorooshian
Subject: Re: [AlwaysLearning] College entry stories
To: AlwaysLearning@yahoogroups.com
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2009, 7:49 PM

On 4/30/2009 1:36 PM, [the other person wrote]:

One thing I have been wondering about/worrying about/battling others about is the topic of college. I do not by any means think it is necessary but I do want the option easily at hand if that is the choice my children make.. Does anyone have any story to share of how they unschooled and their child was still able to go to college? I am not sure what to say when people ask this and then it gets me worrying that it will be a very tough endeavor. I want every door open for them! Thanks in advance
I do not want to encourage you to be thinking about college when your oldest child is 10 years old. Seriously.

But, if it will ease your mind to know that it is possible for unschoolers to go to college, I will tell you that my unschooled kids are either graduated or in college now.

Roya is 24, radically unschooled since she was 10 years old, she graduated with a BA degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies. In college, she won a bunch of merit-based scholarships and the outstanding graduating senior of the year award. She is now the coordinator of a program called "Access to Adventure" - she plans and carries out excursions and activities for adults with developmental and other disabilities. She also does fundraising and hires and supervises student interns. Here is their website http://proindepende nce.org....... [note from Sandra: the site used to be here, but was gone in 2016]

Roxana (21) is going to the University of California, Irvine, in the fall as a Junior. She's probably going to have a double major in drama and comparative literature. She's an honors student and she spent a semester studying in Paris, France, last year.

Rose is 18 and always radically unschooled. She has taken college courses and gotten good grades at the local community college and is now working toward an ASL interpreter license plus fulfilling the general education requirements to transfer to a university and major in Deaf Studies.

Hope this helps - please don't feel you have to prepare kids for college. The best preparation is a full life with lots of experiences.

-pam

Sandra Dodd, on the list:
From: Sandra Dodd
Subject: Re: [AlwaysLearning] College entry stories
To: AlwaysLearning@yahoogroups.com
Date: Friday, May 1, 2009, 8:31 AM

-=-. I wasn't really looking for how children do IN school as I am sure all our children would be capable (a previous post sounded a bit like a resume, lol).-=-

Don't laugh at people's freely offered posts.
If you ask for information and it is provided generously the same day you asked, be grateful, not critical.

-=- I wanted to have something to say to naysayers and also was curious about the ease of it all for the children that choose this path.-=-

"The ease of it" has a great deal to do with how unschoolers do when they get in there, and so a statement like "I am sure all our children would be capable" is not very useful. Each unschooler who does well in college makes it easier for admissions officers to feel good about considering another one.

Sandra, the owner of the list
Seriously, be nice.

Pam Sorooshian on the list (Pam had already responded a the night before I did, but I didn't see hers before I posted mine above):
Re: [AlwaysLearning] College entry stories On 4/30/2009 9:43 PM, [anonymized] wrote:
As you could se from my initial post I was simply wondering and wanting to let people know HOW it worked. I wasn't really looking for how children do IN school as I am sure all our children would be capable (a previous post sounded a bit like a resume, lol). I wanted to have something to say to naysayers and also was curious about the ease of it all for the children that choose this path.
It isn't cool to laugh at what people offer in response to your questions, even if they misunderstood what you wanted.

You said you don't know what to say when other people ask about college and unschooling. What we were giving you was something simple and clear to say. You can now say that you know of unschooled kids who have graduated from college or are now in college and, in fact, they are doing very well.

I know a lot of unschooled kids who have gone to college - each has done it in their own way. Some took college entrance exams and did so well that they were accepted and even given scholarships based on test scores. Some created portfolios or narrative transcripts and were able to get interviews and were accepted on that basis. Some applied to schools that are looking particularly for nontraditional students. Some went to community colleges to get a college transcript and used that in their transfer application. Some took extension courses at the college and then applied with that as their transcript.

-pam

Anonymized, she WISHED on the list, but I sent it back:
From:
Date: May 2, 2009 8:27:24 AM MDT
To: AlwaysLearning@yahoogroups.comM
Subject: Re: [AlwaysLearning] College entry stories

Wow, this list is seriously oversensitive and honestly the responses by many of you all are also insensitive and downright rude. It was a small joke, as it wasn't really what I was asking and felt that particular response was trying to prove something to everyone about how well her children did. I get the connection. I feel that every word stated on this list is over criticized and really nit picked. I am curious if others avoid posting because they worry about the backlash? I know I worry about it. I am not trying to get everyone especially the list regulars upset, and I don't think we need to coddle everyone, but this is supposed to be informative and supportive right??

I do apologize if I offended anyone, just being light hearted not trying to offend. I do appreciate the help but also feel attacked at times, really nitpicked for every word.

The cover note for that return:
From: Sandra Dodd
Subject: post returned
To: ...
Date: Saturday, May 2, 2009, 12:18 PM

You've already insulted the list once. Now you've insulted Pam twice, as she's one of the moderators and will have seen this already. I have no desire nor obligation to allow you to insult people in public again.

If you want to understand better how the Always Learning list works, read here:
http://sandradodd.com/alwayslearning

You might want to seriously reconsider the quotes in your sigline. Laughing at people who helped you generously and freely looked worse with those quotes under it. I'll save you further embarrassment by not letting this through to the list. You didn't hurt Pam at all, but you kinda shot yourself in the foot socially and morally.

If you can't be nice, don't post. That's not difficult.

Sandra

Her response (sent too quickly to have even looked at those links, which doesn't surprise me but did disappoint me):
Sandra, I was simply trying to nicely let you know that it has seemed insulting in the past the way some members talk to each other, particularly to those new to this lifestyle. I feel sad that some may not want to post for fear that they will be attacked word for word on what they have said. It was a little joke and I am simply being honest. If you cannot take any critisism but feel free to dish it out than I do not know what to more to say to you. I am very kind and try to act the way I would like my children to. Humor is a quality that I quite admire and enjoy. It was a small joke and really I was being honest, I am sorry if that was hurtful but you all seem to have no problem with brutal honesty, some thing I was just trying to point out. I have re read what I wrote and still do not feel it was mean at all. Re reading her post, to me it feels aggressive towards me, maybe you could re read that one. Critisism is a good thing and not meant to be mean, I honestly thought it would be helpful to know that some of your comments as well as Pam's are very hurtful and rude to some of us
I already apologized for the initial comment if it was hurtful. [name and kids' names]

"Be who you want your children to be." Unknown

"Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

I had been copying the moderators on those e-mails. Joyce wrote something good to the original poster. Very soothing:
[name] I'm sorry you misunderstood the purpose of the list.

Your unkindness to Pam was in not recognizing and appreciating the time donated to respond to a stranger's question. Depending on the complexity, a response may take 10 minutes to an hour to craft. To in effect say to the free gift of her time, "That was useless to me, you wasted your time," was unkind.

Once a question is posted to the list, it no longer belongs to the original poster. It's for anyone interested in the responses. Just because you don't find a particular answer helpful, doesn't mean it wasn't useful to someone else.

The AlwaysLearning list isn't intended for new unschoolers, though some find it useful. It's specifically for dissecting practices that will help or hinder unschooling. For many the best option is just to read, not to post.

The list's intended audience are those who are consciously ridding themselves of old methods who want help seeing where they're going wrong. It's not a traditional support list for supporting someone where they are. It is a support list for those who are pushing forward past the difficult spots. Not everyone wants to do that in public. That's okay. Many find it useful just to read.

A list is an offer by an owner to provide what the owner enjoys sharing. Unlike the consumer driven world, the goal isn't maximizing customers. The goal is reaching those the owner wants to reach.

The list belongs to Sandra and it's her call on whether a post or poster is contributing usefully, not the list members. If the list as a whole is not useful for you, you're free to pick and choose or to find a list that's more oriented towards your needs. Yahoo offers a wealth of them.

Joyce Fetteroll
AlwaysLearning moderator

The discussion went between Joyce and the poster for a while. I saw all these after they were done:
On May 3, 2009, at 10:14 AM, ... wrote:

Thank you for the explanation. That really does make more sense as to how some of the responses have been written. To me it seemed quite rude at times but I guess sometimes the truth can come across that way. I just felt sad if someone was starting down this path and might be sort of turned away by the way some members spoke or judged them.

As to the comments to Pam, I NEVER said those things and it is an interpretation if anyone felt that way so to put that in quotes is unfair. I do apologize if that is how it came across but that wasn't what I said or what I meant. I felt defensive right away because from her first statement I felt I was being judged and made fun of for thinking of college at such a young age which I wasn't actually doing. I really do apologize that I offended but part of that is also a defensivness on your part just as my post was in reaction to defensivness I felt.

I do enjoy this list and am happy to understand what the purpose is in it. Thanks so much for the clarification and sorry again to all:)

[name, kids...]


From: Joyce Fetteroll
Subject: Re: post returned
To: ...
Date: Monday, May 4, 2009, 7:28 AM

On May 3, 2009, at 10:14 AM, ... wrote:

As to the comments to Pam, I NEVER said those things and it is an interpretation if anyone felt that way so to put that in quotes is unfair.
Which is why I prefaced it with "essentially," as in "in essence". A paraphrase to help you see how what you said read to others.

When someone's asking for free help from strangers, they don't get to dictate what form it takes.

You laughed at someone's help and then criticized it as sounding like a resume. Whether it was a small joke (though it's not a joke if the target of the joke doesn't find it equally funny), or a put down as you imply here:

"It was a small joke, as it wasn't really what I was asking and felt that particular response was trying to prove something to everyone about how well her children did." (In which case it *wasn't* a small joke despite your preface.)

the fact that you're defending laughing and criticizing someone's effort to help is ramping up the unkindness.

If you'd taken 15 minutes from your busy life to help a perfect stranger and they laughed and criticized it, would it feel kind? Would it feel more kind if they defended their laugh and criticism?

I do apologize if that is how it came across but that wasn't what I said or what I meant.
Seeing what our actions and words feel like from the recipient's point of view is a huge help to unschooling. Kids can't react to our good intentions. They can only react to what they perceive.

And it's not that the moderators and owner don't understand that too. We do understand what readers feel like when faced with what to them feels like slams and criticism. That's why the description of the list includes a suggestion to read for a while to get a flavor of the list. (It's good advice for *any* list.) There are also links to help people better understand the list better:

http://groups.yahoo..com/group/AlwaysLearning/

How and why does unschooling work? What kind of parents and parenting does it take? What will help, and what will hinder?

This is a list for the examination of the philosophy of unschooling and attentive parenting and a place for sharing examined lives based on the principles underlying unschooling.

Always Learning will focus on how people learn no matter where in the world they are, rather than on what's legal in any particular country or jurisdiction. *

This is a moderated group, with trapdoors for the uncooperative. (Not moderated in the advance-approval way, but in the be-nice-to-play way. New members' posts are moderated, and it's good to read several dozen posts before jumping in.)

If you've never read any John Holt, please do! Here's a bit: John Holt His thoughts and writing are behind unschooling.

Information on how and why the group is intended to work: Notes on the AlwaysLearning List

This list description above was new in July, 2008. The older description and commentary on the change are here: sandradodd.com/alwayslearning.

None of us want people to feel hurt. But the list isn't a hand holding list. It's a "a list for the examination of the philosophy of unschooling and attentive parenting and a place for sharing examined lives based on the principles underlying unschooling."

It's not a place for people who feel they need to defend themselves. It's a place for self examination. We *do* want people to know that before they post. They'll be happier. And the list will be more useful to them and others.

I felt defensive right away because from her first statement I felt I was being judged and made fun of for thinking of college at such a young age which I wasn't actually doing.
When asking for help from someone, on line or in real life, it fosters greater help by assuming good intentions.

If a stranger asked for help with something then laughed and criticized your efforts, would you feel like helping him further?

If you ask your kids for help and their help is given joyfully but not what you hoped for, you'll foster greater help in the future by appreciating that they wanted to help and took time out of their day when they could have been playing in order to do something for you.

On this type of list when advice makes someone uncomfortable, it's often a sign a way of thinking is being pricked and needs examined. At the very least, it's helpful to read all responses with the voice of a kindhearted best friend. *Everyone* of the regulars is trying to help. *No one* is out for self aggrandizement. If you can't see the good in a post, it's best to assume it's there and you can't see it yet. Which, again, is also good advice for any social interaction. Assume good intent until you've built up a good case for someone's bad intent. It's a good way to keep feet out of mouths.

I really do apologize that I offended but part of that is also a defensivness on your part just as my post was in reaction to defensivness I felt.
This list is not a good place for defensiveness. Mirrors are often harsh.

Another awareness -- that will help you communicate with your kids -- is to recognize that when "I'm sorry" is followed by "but", it negates the sorry. The speaker feels like they're apologizing but the recipient knows it means "I'm sorry you feel that way but I'm still right."

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids WIll Talk is a great book for weeding out similar speaking conventions that get in the way of communication.

Joyce
AlwaysLearning moderator


From: ...
Date: May 4, 2009 11:51:05 AM EDT
To: Joyce Fetteroll Subject: Re: post returned

Joyce, you are so right. I guess I have just been feeling so defensive lately and really just wasn't even aware. I am truely sorry to Pam and everyone else (with no but). I understand what you mean about adding a but after an apology. Thanks so much for your insight. This list is and should be about helping us be better parents not about coddling! That is not easy to reflect on at times for sure but it's a necessary step for improvement.

I apologize to all involved or hurt.

[name,kids]

"Be who you want your children to be." Unknown "Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

Pam sent something just as sweet as Pam's original post. What a waste of time, all of this. Joyce and Pam were sweet and wonderful, though.

[name]--

I'm hard to offend. I posted that about it not being cool to laugh at what someone offers so that you'd think about it because it would help you in benefiting from the list, not because I was hurt.

Anyway, I appreciate your ability to reflect on the whole thing and consider it and learn from it. In fact, I applaud you for it! It bodes well for your unschooling future.

This list can be tough - it isn't for everyone. But it can be life-changing and, looking back, you may someday thank this list for creating great joy in your lives.

I really suggest reading reading reading - Sandra and Joyce have so much on their sites that we could spend a lifetime pondering it all. Let it wash over you.

You'll be glad you did.

-Pam Sorooshian


Thanks Pam! I really appreciate it. I get defensive easily in regards to my parenting, something that needs to change for my parenting to improve! Silly, silly but clearly a good lesson so thanks for taking the time to share and again I apologize. (and read, read, read:)


Positive Feedback for me personally, and about the lists and the old unschooling.com site: Great Feedback on Unschooling Forum and List