Sandra Dodd

I answered some questions for a project for which I don't think they'll be used now. Glenda saw them and wrote:

"Sandra, if you're so inclined, I think your answers to these questions would be great to share on-list. Not necessarily going into the back story about where they came from or all the hoopla she's created off-list -- but I do think the answers would be beneficial for list members. I know, for me, it can be hard to be concise in my answers to questions non-unschoolers have, and it's nice to see examples of concise answers, especially (for me) to questions 5 & 6."

1. How does learning differ from schooling?

Learning happens within the learner. That can happen in school or out of school, but it only happens within the person who's gathering and assimilating new information, ideas and skills.

2. What is your opinion of the school system? (Do you condone?)

"The school system" is too broad to have one opinion about. There are all sorts of schools, and different "systems" in different countries. It's not for me to "condone." I accept it; it's there, it exists. If any of my children had wanted to go to school, they could have. I think when parents themselves choose homeschooling regardless of their children's desires or preferences, it's as bad as forcing a child to go to school. Without the child having chosen to be where he is, he is powerlessly entrapped. Each of my children had the option, all the time. Holly visited schools in the U.S. and U.K., and considered going to 8th grade, but decided against it. Marty's taking community college courses; got a final "A" in an economics class this week. We haven't vilified school, just provided cool options!

3. Does society *need* to ensure "educated" citizens? (if so, by whose standard?)

What societies and governments choose to do is beyond my personal area of interest. I'm interested in how learning works, and how joyful families are when all involved have a great range of choices. No one runs "society," but each nation or state has a government of one sort or another, and most of them have opinions about what they need and what they are willing to legislate and pay for. I spend my time and energy helping parents who want to know more about parenting peacefully and creating an environment where learning can flourish.

4. Are the three "R's" really important? (reading, writing and arithmetic) Why or why not?

Of course they're important, and people can learn them naturally and happily. Music, art, history, thought, humor and food are important, too. Through pressing those things on children who are too young, aversions can be formed, and that's a problem schools and very many homeschoolers create for children. The question as it's worded is fairly foreign to the sort of homeschooling our family practiced.

5. What about working Moms? Can they home educate?

Some can and some can't. Stay-at-home moms can't all home educate. It's more about personality, temperament, desire and willingness than about employment status.

6. What is one important thing that the newbie and/or skeptic should know about home education?

Nothing can guarantee that a child will "have no gaps" in his education, and no one knows today what a young adult will need to know fifteen years from now.

Anyone who wants to lift any good parts and pass them on is welcome to.



Thanks for sharing these Sandra. I found it interesting how these answers, brief though they are, represent a very different world from that of the questions. I got the impression that the questions are coming from quite an anti-school angle, and are trying to divide the world up into all-or-nothing categories. And it would have been very easy to answer in the same vein, about how toxic school is blah blah blah. But Sandra's answers cut across all that and say, hang on, what's important to me is the peace, happiness and learning of my family and other families seeking those things too. It's refreshing to have such a clear and positive focus.