Sandra Dodd

Lee Stranahan who interviewed me and put up two videos on YouTube (two
so far) also talked to Holly that day (and to both of us the week
after, but that might be for a different project).

Two of the comments there are friendly and positive but they highlight
the differences between what we're going and what it looks like we're
doing. If I commented to these people out in public, it would seem
like a quibble over nothing, but here on this list I think people
begin to see the differences, so I'll comment here!

-=-You can always go to college later. Take some time to travel. Your
mother taught you to make the world your classroom, take advantage of
that. Go back packing in Europe or South America.-=-

Holly's been to Europe. She's choosing among cool options right now.
She turned down a request to go to England and Wales with me. Her
life is full and rich.

Also, I didn't "teach her to make the world her classroom." But
still, the comment was intended to be positive and encouraging.

-=-Home schooling is only good when you have good parents. Reg school
is only good when you have good schools. To each his own but you
should go to college if you can. If nothing more than the experience
it is well worth your time.-=-

Even the best of schools have many unhappy kids in them. And that
last line on "the experience is well worth your time" about college is
interesting. If it were a free experience that might be very valid,
but many kids are using college as they only way they know of to
escape the bonds of their parents' homes, and the use it as a go-crazy
place and time.

I wouldn't be surprised if Holly ended up in college at some point
because of her interest in memory and dreams and cognition. But I
woudln't be surprised if she didn't, either.

Anyway, the video is here. It's just two minutes and forty seconds:


Pam Sorooshian

On 5/22/2009 8:46 AM, Sandra Dodd wrote:
> If it were a free experience that might be very valid,
> but many kids are using college as they only way they know of to
> escape the bonds of their parents' homes, and the use it as a go-crazy
> place and time.

Even if it was free (and the community colleges here are darn cheap),
the real cost would be what is given up by putting their time and energy
into it. These unschooled kids take their own lives seriously and
haven't been brainwashed into thinking that nothing is more important
than school. That doesn't stop when they are young adults - they don't
see college as the entire point of their lives, like so many kids right
out of high school do.

Roya liked college a lot - she got into it early and got involved in
campus activities - that suited her really well. She was in a small
vocal ensemble, involved in the ceramics lab, on the speech and debate
team, and so on. Then, when she transferred to a 4-year college, she
majored in "Recreation and Leisure Studies" and took classes in things
like, "The Universality of Play" and the attitude of all her professors
was that the best learning happens in what people think of as
recreational activities. All perfect for her.

Roxana is an intellectual and academic type of person - she LOVES it.
She takes history and literature and anthropology classes for the fun of
it - she's a drama major - those classes are all 'extra'. If she doesn't
make it as a musical theater performer, she'll be an academic - probably
get a PhD. She loves college. (Doesn't always love the idiotic way
things are run, the sadistic or incompetent teachers, etc, but the
overall experience is what she loves - the academic way of life is
perfect for her.

Rosie didn't think she'd want to go to college - figured she'd do
something else like run her own karate studio, eventually. She's a very
physical person - plays soccer, has a black belt and teaches martial
arts, dances, etc. She's 18. But she's been taking musical theater and
some other fun classes at the community college and finally was able to
get into an American Sign Language class - and she's super good at it
and loves it. So then she investigated how to pursue interpreting as a
career and discovered a 4-year university near us is the top one in the
west for Deaf Studies. Just yesterday she met with an adviser from that
university and she's planning to go there in a couple of years - she's
ALL excited. It is an awesome program and she'd be living on campus with
Deaf roommates and getting lots of interpreting experience. So - now
she's got that goal and has figured out everything she needs to do to
get there.

However, an interesting thing came up as she was planning her next
couple of years. Turns out that all the interpreting courses are offered
only in the evenings. But she plays soccer two nights a week and teaches
karate two nights a week and does not want to give those up. She decided
she could spread out her plans to take a little longer to get to the
university - take fewer classes this year and stick with her martial
arts and soccer for one more year. She's not in a hurry. The adviser
from the school was ALL about how she could get there and get through
the program as quickly as possible - Rosie was having trouble figuring
out what the hurry was. So the adviser gave her a plan in which she
could start going there in fall 2010 (not this fall, but the next) and
Rosie was thinking more of taking her time and getting there in 2012.
The adviser seemed to think she should just completely and totally
"focus on school" as if nothing else in her life mattered. Rosie came
out of the meeting with the adviser and refigured all the course plans
so that she could fit in the other things that are important to her
(including her family life and her boyfriend and social activities like
regular game playing).

So - I've spent my kids lifetimes saying, "College can be cool, but
better to only go if you really want to." I've often, very very often,
talked about how awful it is for the students who are there because
their parents say they can only live at home if they stay in school.
I've often talked about how awful it is for those kids who drift into
college without having a clue why they are there - just not knowing what
else to do with themselves. I've talked about how they are picking
college majors based on liking the teacher of a particular class without
any sense of wanting to pursue a personal passion. I've been negative,
more often than not, about college because the vast majority of the
students I have really should not, imo, be there. And I have a family
with a history of going to college much later in life - not right out of
high school - and I've talked about that proudly and happily with my kids.

And yet, I have one graduated and thinking about grad school, and two in
the midst of going to college. The difference is they are very very
clear in their minds that they are choosing it from among a lot of
options and they very much know why they are there and they are
realistic about its value - they definitely don't see "getting a degree"
as enough of a goal to make it worth it to be there - they are there for
the learning and the experience itself.


Robin Bentley

I'm catching up on posts (nowhere near through them all <g>) after the
Life is Good conference, but I checked out Holly's vid. In addition
to her presence and sparkle, I noticed her speaking cadence is very
much like yours, Sandra. You can tell she's your daughter. It's sweet.

Robin B.

On May 23, 2009, at 5:26 AM, carenkh wrote:

> Holly's video, and the 2 of Sandra, are now up on, of all places,
> the Huffington Post.
> or if that doesn't work
> What a surprise to see that this morning!
> Caren