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Moving a Puddle
and other essays by Sandra Dodd
I told my friend, "You're going to want to leave this book out where you can pick it up anytime you're feeling dull. It's magic!"

Melissa Wiley

Thank you for your wonderful book! I have enjoyed every page, and wished there was more.

Linda Barlow, South Africa

Meghan Anderson-Coates wrote, "Moving a Puddle is fabulous! I lend mine out all the time! I highly recommend it :-)"

I found the sweetest mention on a Scottish site:

Another fantastic book if you are feeling wobbly or afraid about your decision is Moving a Puddle by Sandra Dodd. I keep it by my bed for a 3am dose sometimes.

Other Reviews

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On We Read         on LibraryThing

Contains 48 essays, the original version of the interview with Emily Subler from 1998 (longer than was published), and dozens of photographs.

162 pages plus intro

Thanks to Rue and Jon Kream; Jon helped get the formatting right.
Thanks to Kelly Lovejoy for reminding me.
Thanks to Pam Sorooshian for trading experiences and thoughts for years.
Thanks to Keith, Kirby, Marty and Holly for their willingness to share.


These essays and little riffs were published between 1992 and 2005, during which time my firstborn son went from six to nineteen years of age. In earlier writings I used terminology I have long since abandoned, but I notice that in the first one I did put quotation marks around “education” because even when Kirby was first-grade age, I knew the idea of “education” was a mire. Better to start clean with the simplest ideas, and so gradually I let go of more and more schooly-words.

The overall theme is how learning, parenting and everyday life can be in the absence of school, viewed from different vantage points over a dozen years. I hope there are ideas to help every reader, whether homeschooler or not, whether unschooler or not. Any parent or anyone who loves learning for fun should find something to help thoughts form and swirl.

Knowing I’ve left a few out, I tried to indicate prior publication, as these essays have all been published at least once. I was compiling credits and dates from paper copies of newsletters and magazine I’ve collected, and a few were unreceived or unfiled. Articles have been published in international magazines, and in local/regional publications in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia and France. “Public School on your Own Terms” was translated into Japanese when Linda Dobson’s book in which it appeared was translated some years ago. “Playing” will appear in a book in France within the next few months, and as I was doing final edit I received a request for permission to translate that essay into Italian. People say the water’s all the same, so something that starts in a puddle in New Mexico can end up being a fluff of a cloud in Italy or France. It’s all connected.

Radical Unschooling * Parenting Considerations * Articles by Sandra Dodd * Current Thoughts