Roya Dedeaux

==some participants seek, for example, advice about their child who found a
workbook and started filling it out and got stuck ==

There is a disconnect between what people are "seeking" and what they are
receiving. I have been watching people get upset when they ask a question
(for example) about workbooks, and get answers that are asking them to
think deeper, or take a step back and have a bigger perspective.

Over and over again I watch as people react defensively to "think broader"
or "try for even better."

The moderators of lists over and over again ask people to wait and read
before posting, so that they have some idea of the purpose of the list and
the tone of the answers.

There are a few things I want people to think about, based on what I've

1. Semantics do matter. When all we have are the words we write, it is
about semantics. I have seen over and over again people say "we're just
arguing about semantics." Well, yes. How we convey ourselves, what words we
choose - they are all we have in these forums to express what we are
thinking. If other people are frequently misunderstanding what you meant to
say, it should be a clue that you are not as articulate a writer as you may
have thought.

2. Defining the term and proper usage of the word "unschooling" is also
important, in discussions where you are talking about unschooling. In
discussions about how to raise poultry, not so much. But other words would
be important to define. If we have a debate about the best way to build a
coop and then it turns out I've been talking about a garden shed the whole
time, it matters. I have also been watching as people say "yes, well, I
hate defining things so I don't." When someone comes to a forum where
unschooling is the topic of discussion and they take issue with defining
the word itself, they basically say "the entire premise of this forum is
stupid." The same goes when someone blithely says "I didn't like that term
so I made up blahblahblah instead." The only way anyone else will know what
it is they are talking about is if they go on to refine the definition.

3. You're asking for it. I fully expect after I hit send this post will be
dissected and things that I "didn't mean to say" will come forward. Which
is good - this list is like a mirror to reflect deeper thought. If I plan
to continue thinking, writing, and talking about unschooling, I welcome
reactions so I can continue to gauge how I've been perceived and how I can
further clarify turning my thoughts to text.

4. A lot of other people read this. Your post may open a door to an
important discussion (moderators will know what else may be important to
other people because they have seen every question a lot of times already)
which will become bigger than the original topic. So you will have to use
some critical thinking when you read, and decide which pieces apply to you.
You also may have to be open to the idea that your question, just by asking
it, shows that your thinking could be broader. People will catch that, and
challenge your thinking. If you do not want your words and thoughts to be
discussed, don't post.

This is not the first time any of this has been said, but maybe another
voice saying something in a slightly different way will reach a slightly
different audience.

--Roya Dedeaux

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Sandra Dodd

I don't want to make parents feel bad about themselves. I want parents to make decisions that lead them not to have things to feel bad about. Big difference.

I pulled that (I wrote it in 2010) out to use for Just Add Light and Stir. I wasn't looking for that. I was looking to see whether I had put up a blog post about art modelled on Kirby, my oldest, a few years back (a character in an illustrated story/comic book). I didn't find it, so I'll put it up before the links all die off. He's been "cartoonized" again, so I figured I would put them in the same place. A new collection.

But what I did come across was this:

It was about someone having posted something cheery on her facebook page (a quote from me) and then came the criticisms. Then came the defenses. Someone (I don't know who, didn't save the name, it's nice, but the name doesn't matter) wrote:

I used to dismiss nearly everything Sandra said... I believed if she couldn't communicate with parents the same way she believed we should communicate with kids, she wasn't "walking the talk". As I've grown as a parent and unschooler, I see her words so differently now. Where others see (and I *used* to see) harshness and negativity, I see clear, caring communication. I don't know if I can explain the switch that happened. When I got that she was speaking to me as the mother of my children, NOT the injured child of my mother, that's when I saw her differently.


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Pam Sorooshian

On Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 11:15 AM, Sandra Dodd <Sandra@...> wrote:

>>When I got that she was speaking to me as the mother of my children, NOT
> the injured child of my mother, that's when I saw her differently.>>

I remember when this was said and I have repeated my version of it others
many times, telling them, "Please listen to Sandra from the point of view
that she's assuming you're a strong adult who prefers clear and blunt
comments because it is worth it to hear it, even if, at first, you react
with hurt or anger, because it is for the sake of your children."

I also remind people that they can listen to whatever anybody says and then
walk away completely unchanged if that's what they want to do. Nothing said
here ever has the power to force anybody to change.

In one of the very first times I heard Sandra speak in person, she talked
about "thinking dangerous thoughts." She told the audience to be brave,
duct tape themselves to a chair, get someone to spot them, and go ahead and
think whatever thoughts they might be afraid to think. When they were done,
they could get up and walk away as if nothing had happened.

I have applied that to all unschooling discussion since then - that was
almost 20 years ago. I have had my feelings hurt, have had rushes of
adrenaline and anger and defensiveness. I figuratively sit myself down and
duct tape myself to a chair and think about why I'm having that reaction -
why such a strong reaction to something said by someone who can't do
ANYTHING to me - can't make me change anything at all about my life. When I
think I've been completely misunderstood or unfairly characterized I think
(dangerously) "What if they're right and that IS what I meant/said/did?"
Sometimes it takes me a few days to be clearheaded and calm enough to
think things through - but I always learn about myself and come out of it
with more insight and more determination to be the best parent and person I
can be for my family.

Wish I had a nickel for every time I've told someone that I understood that
this is hard and that they feel insulted and attacked but that IT iS WORTH


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