The Wayback Machine saved much of "Ask Sandra" (a.k.a. Conversations with Sandra Dodd), 2003-2005, when the forum was big and busy.

Note to myself:
Move these to the announcements blogs. Started but didn't finish!

ARCHIVED Announcements, Sandra Dodd's Website, 2004 and 2005

2006 and following here

October 17, 2005

Three new things on the "getting it" page:

A sidepiece to a talk Ren Allen and I did on Mindful Parenting at the conference in St. Louis last week:

Halloween page
about candy and anthro-politics, and it leads with two clicks to a photo of when Marty went to a Halloween party (not door to door) as a broken condom, but it's sideways and I'm temporarily without Photoshop. I'll turn it soon, I hope.

October 16, 2005

My first book is ready for sale:
(Plans, talk and writing are already in progress for two more books, but don't hold your breath.)

Also, in case anyone reading here doesn't know, the Live and Learn conference which has so far been in South Carolina twice, Massachusetts once and near St. Louis last week, will be in Albuquerque in September 2006.

Some photos and ideas, and links to photos of this recent conference, are here:

September 12, 2005

This is Deb Rossing's description of strewing, from last month on the UnschoolingBasics list.

On the Joyce Fetteroll page
I've added a link to Joyce's new greatest-hits Q&A page.

I'm adding more and more site search forms, taking out more of the older links and generally cleaning up. You can always find a search form at either
but I'm scattering them here and there as other pages are touched, too.

August 30, 2005


I will work on that page some more, but wanted to let you know it was there. I'll put some information on the translator, Sylvie, and her family.

They rent out yurts for vacationers:

Last week I had a request from someone in Italy wanting to translate "Playing" into Italian. I'll let you know when that's happened.

June 26, 2005

Requiring chores of kids, what it can do, what it can't, what it has done... (Some old, some very new.)

Subject area?mixing it up.

An article on Geography that was in HEM two years ago but had never made it onto their website or mine, until now!

Addition of something new by Pam Sorooshian, several new links and some formatting.

June 25, 2005

It won't surprise most of you to know that I've lost track of all the news, but SOME I can remember.

I upgraded my geocities account so I have lots more memory because I was coming to the top of the 25 MB I originally had. That happened in part because of being given a digital camera. Documenting Holly's trip to England and the tumbleweeds in my yard kicked up the storage count.

I've also been putting in some side topics. Everything ties back to unschooling, pretty much, though. Even one SCA recipe I put online because someone asked for it (and these days it's easier for me to build a webpage than to get a photocopy, an envelope, a stamp...) is now linked to a page on protein snack ideas for moms who want to give kids choices, but choices with protein.

I've been trying for short and memorable URLs, too, so here are some of the new ones, and don't be afraid of the first one (or too hopeful); it's about young teen boys and internet freedom:

Not all brand new, but has a new story and maybe I should link it to that sex page. Definitely.

The shortest one is just barely started:
(which makes it the shortest page AND the shortest address)

Another really short one but not of large usefulness is
It was really fun for me, that day, to find that information the way I did though.

I hope you find something fun and helpful!

And I got a new computer. Woohoo!!!! It's an iMac G5, it's zippy, and leaves LOTS more room on my desk for clutter. It's wonderful.


I'm having fun with two new areas. One sprung from the fundraising, and it's a page on morning glories (for the benefit of people buying morning glory seeds, I thought, but it spread like a weed to tumbleweeds, goathead, and Egyptian onion).
and the others, less complete, link from either of those.

The other is more clearly unschooling related, and that's a series of John Holt book reviews and excerpts, still a-building. Deb Lewis is doing most of the work, and I expect that some others (Pam Sorooshian, likely) will have comments to add about John Holt readings. I'm working through Escape from Childhood myself, and have been collecting others. For years I owned Teach Your Own, Learning All the Time and Never Too Late. Those are good ones, but now I'm thinking of getting the others. In college I was supposed to have read How Children Learn and How Children Fail. I read most of one and some of the other, I think. (Or maybe I read all of both and just don't remember because I didn't "have to" after the test. ) What's there can be accessed here:
Thank you Deb!!

April 30, 2005
Yesterday the kids and I took pictures for Life Learning Magazine to use with a transcript of the radio interview (/radio), which will be published in the July issue. It's not too late to subscribe if you want to get that. I guess there will be one other issue out before that one. Or if you just know that you want that one issue, maybe write and request it in advance. The issue of Home Education Magazine that had my interview years ago sold out of back issues. Maybe if enough people ask, LifeLearning will make extras of this one for the Holly Dodd fans, at least. (There are new photos linked from Holly's page /holly if you click on Blazing Orange.

Live Free, Learn Free ( will have an new article by me in the next issue. The ideas aren't new, but the writing is. It's about my kids learning to read, all in one article. I could've said more, and I have in bits and pieces over the years, but a summary now that they all read well seemed appropriate for helping newer unschoolers. There will be a new article (not yet written) at which is being vamped up (not "revamped," because it never was all filled in before), and how to get started. Though I've written parts of that hundreds of times to individuals or on lists, it's never been all said at once with any organization and polish. Some people don't even realize the very first thing to do is to take the kids out of school.

I've made index pages for Pam Sorooshian and Deb Lewis. I already had them for a few other people. They're listed on the main Radical Unschooling page (/unschooling) but the new pages are easy to remember:

I've tried to make these URLs obvious and guessable, but sometimes I can't remember them myself, so I *LOVE* google.

I have a fund raising page and would rather have cash this season than a drawer with 100 cassette tapes in it, so if you know someone who would like to listen to me talk about unschooling or parenting while they drive around or pull weeds or whatever, here:
and I also have morning glory seeds. And the morning glory seeds have writing with them (kinda like Thinking Sticks have writing), and I'm sending a couple of ounces, not just a few seeds. This is not a puny amount. (Same page.)

So... I've added begging to the site, and am being published in two magazines in the next couple of months. That's the news.

Thanks for reading!


[Below are some, not all, of the earlier announcements from the mailing list. To see the complete set, go to and read the public archives there. Sometimes I just don't have the energy to put them here as well.]

February 28, 2005

Things to do in the winter, times tables, ignore the Ezzos, photos, teens and reading:

Deb Lewis's list of things to do in the winter

Addition to Times Tables stories:

New link on one of the anti-spanking pages, to an Attachment Parenting site's list of articles exposing the Ezzo's (the husband, at least). Teaching people to abuse babies isn't the only personality fault. He's also a liar about his education and his money, and has been thrown out of three churches. That will help those dealing with friends or relatives who are swatting infants on this goof's claim that God said to.
At the bottom of /s/proof

New photos of Holly and Marty

Beautiful account of current feelings on teen unschoolers (particularly her son Julian) by Kathryn Baptista:

linked from teen page

Encouragement for parents of kids not yet reading:
Karen Tucker wrote something great and I'll add other bits there as they come

Old News

January 29, 2005


The following quote was added to the "Serving Others as a Gift" page of the chores section.
Really, I think it?s better to have a dirty house and minimally prepared food than to have filth in the air from guilt, manipulation, and griping.

Cathy in CA (Cathy)


Pam Sorooshian, who teaches economics at college level, has applied economic principles to the question of limiting children's TV access. /t/economics


A couple of teens-and-math stories are added here:


A couple of new bits (or one for sure, if one was announced before):


New, will be expanded or changed; concerns jokes that put kids down in ways to which I think people should try to object more readily.


New page, on Kelly Lovejoy's recommendation. I wish I had started this collection sooner.


Not new; new on my site, with a couple of comments and a quote from Zen Lessons.

Now linked from the Unschooling Peace page:

NEW QUOTES added to the John Holt page


January 1, 2005


Pam Sorooshian, short and clear, on the value of giving children choices.
(and already including another bit by Vicky Bennigan, written the same day in another place, about children who are angry about being controlled taking it out on other children)


New idea in a box at the bottom of the page on rules vs. principles "Self-regulation," some preliminary thoughts. (Send me yours if you want!)


Addition of Shelby's Mr. Ed moment to the Gilligan's Island page.


On "Why Spank?" an addition of a "better tools" bit Joyce wrote, up top (and some reformatting below; not much)


Small addition to the "Strewing" section, so small that I'm quoting it, but it's here:

How Much Strewing? And Can there be Too Little?

The goal is a satisfyingly-immersed-in-life present - not finding ways to sort of trick a kid into learning something.

Pam Sorooshian

I think that "strewing" is a way of creating a rich environment from which children can freely pick and choose. It is *not* a way of slyly constructing a curriculum that includes all the requisite subjects, like math, science, literature, history, etc. Some folks hear the word "strew" and think, "oh, okay, so I can strew that science book or math book or classic." That, in my mind, is not what strewing is about; that's replacing a canned curriculum with a manipulative one.

Danielle Conger

... and it's linked from the main strewing page,

December 17, 2004 New links and format on Rules vs. Principles page:

New page/link on what wanting rules looks like:

Ben Lovejoy on Rules vs. Principles

Two new TV links/pages, the second and sixth links on the TV page

and they are:
What Can Happen if little kids watch TV all day? Will they ever learn?)
Television, Children and Making Decisions Rationally

November 2004

An online newsletter called Growing Together has used "Moving a Puddle" in their current newsletter. I hesitate to even call such things newsletters, they're so elaborate, and it can't be printed out to put in my file, but if you want to go and see the article on a different page, with new intro and credits, it's here, down the middle column. And there's a link to my unschooling page down the righthand column.

October 8, 2004


Joyce Fetteroll has written something inspiring concerning education,
and I've linked it several places, but it lives here:

October 8, 2004


Addition of comments page:


Pam, on Roya's excitement about math:


A comments page has been added to the article on what unschooling does and doesn't look like,
because of something very clear that Mary Ellen (NelleBelle) wrote:


Links to information on that PBS video, and to an interactive history of games here:


links added (quotes were added last time)




"Getting it." Accounts of the magic moments.

KELLY LOVEJOY, added to "teach" vs. "learn"

Also, I changed the top of the page to reflect the fact that more than my one article is down there.

It's a very minor thing, but I love the name of that page.
I already had one named "words" and so I just doubled it, but it looks more like
         word swords
to me, and I like that.

NEW on Rules vs. Principles FROM JOYCE!

Third down at /rules but I'll just share it here, as a bonus. Joyce's writing is so clear and sweet:

Someone wrote: "Rules, principles, is there really a difference?"

Joyce Fetteroll responded:

"Someone said tht principles can be summed up in one word. Rules can't. I'm not sure if I can always do that but it's a helpful distinction to getsomeone started on figuring out the difference.

"For instance a principle might be kindness. A rule is "Don't hit your sister." If there's a principle of treating each other kindly then there isn't a need for a rule that says "Don't hit." "Don't hit," only says "Don't hit." Kids do pick up that it doesn't say don't pinch, don't poke until she cries, don't pull hair ... But as a child is helped to find better (kinder) tools to use to get what they want and their understanding of kindness grows it's understood that anything that hurts someone is unkind so there isn't a need to spell out every hurtful thing that kids aren't allowed to do."

October 1, 2004


The Shakespeare page has been moved, amended, and updated some.

(and don't forget the other Shakespeare info under strewing:


College Considerations for Unschoolers, some links, the beginnings of a collection:


Allison McKee quotes and link added to unschooling definitions page:


Comments on Thinking Sticks. There's a new one by Lyle, but more than that, all the others which I hadn't noticed were set to be white on white are now showing. When I moved that page from another site, I botched it somehow.


Link on Anne Ohman's page to t-shirts with the same saying Anne has on her bumper stickers:

T-shirts by Annie (Cortland & Caedan's mom), profits to go toward scholarship fund of the Live and Learn conference.


Joyce, new bit on chores:


Kelly Lovejoy and Deb Lewis did a little duet on modeling joy:


A poem is added to the section on video game, linked in the "other testimonials section," and is here:

(Main page link is at the bottom of that.)


I've added quotes to the John Holt page and hope soon to have book reviews from an unschooling point of view. I'll let this list know when those are up.

August 24, 2004


This article appeared in the new, first issue of Life Free, Learn Free, and there's a link to their website at the bottom of the article. Though I was willing to wait until their next issue came out to post it, the editor say "go ahead!" And Kirby walked taller and stepped more lightly after he read it. Then I read it aloud to Holly with him in the room, and I stopped at the part about what he had said he might want to be, and asked him if he minded me sharing that, and he said no, not at all.



My last HEM column, July/August 2004 issue, on the value of playfulness.



I have more and better Joyce Fetteroll links


Those of you who read at know Joyce's voice, but for others, I just want to say that Joyce explains some thing more brightly and clearly than anyone else. She goes logically to the facts, and she stuns me sometimes!

Marty, Holly and I will get to stay with Joyce and her family a few days after the Live and Learn Conference in Boston, next week. We met when she came here, and got to spend some time together in South Carolina, too.


Not new, but new at this address, "How Elvis Appears to Unschoolers"



Pam Sorooshian has created a list called UnschoolingStories, and there will be a link here:


And the last topic, so if you don't need this part, you can quit reading now! Thanks for your support and interest!


A page has been added. It's an account of teens gathered without adults, when a discussion of spanking comes up. I really like it.


Ren, bottom of this page. Not new writing, but new to the site:


Added some links that used to be elsewhere.


A new Christian-focus, anti-spanking site was added at the bottom of two pages:


June 27, 2004
"Many cheerful facts about the... hypotenuse"


Music, etymology and math, sort of,


I've had a couple of Anne's things online and now I have a bit more!


Actually, Bugmom wrote this, but it gets a MaryGold link, as it's commentary on "If You Give a Kid a Nintendo..." (linked back from the comments, in case someone here hasn't read it lately!)
(there are older comments there too, but this newer one, up top, is really fun)


List of anti-spanking and pro-spanking links just added at the bottom of this page:

May 16, 2004


First appeared in Acorns, a Pagan newsletter, under the title "A Fascination with Religion," but the original title was "Holly and the Bible." It's part of an intended "connect the dots" collection.


The current column is called "Jubilation and Triangulation." It's not online yet. The new one online (as of May 16) is "The School in my Head."


I found some more Joyce Fetteroll gems I had saved, and though they come up under various topics, I'm keeping a Joyce-links page too

I'll try to add links to the especially Joycelike stuff that's within other topics. I wish I always had, but I think it will work to use google and look for Joyce Fetteroll or jfetteroll if you want to read more before I have more links.


This article has been at HEM's site for a couple of years, but I've duplicated it on my own (with a link to theirs too) so that I could add commentary that came later. Also, in part, so that I can put the link in posts at Long links don't work for me, but short ones do.


Pam Laricchia wrote a great article on her daughter becoming a fluent and enthusiastic reader. It is in the current issue of Life Learning Magazine, and is now here, with appropriate citations and links, AND with an update section!


Various tellers, lots of kids. New collection.


"If I let them..." has some new things, and one BIG one, to which I linked Holly's candid commentary.

That's the newsworthy news. There are always little bits here and there. I'm sponsoring a page (or someday more maybe) of information for some workshops Ren Allen is doing on creativity, so if that gets fancier I'll remind you it's there. At the moment it just has the links she plans to distribute at a workshop. They'll get paper, but the address for the more useful clickable version which is here:

April 9, 2004


and some new format and rearrangement at the teen page:



A short, clear bit on the moment an 18 yr. veteran unschooler "got it." I hope to add more moments to that as I come across them. If any of you want to send me something, that would be great. [email protected]


Added something at the bottom of /truckcomments
listing other things I've put out to do while conversing (in response to a question). It's like strewing, but it serves the double purpose of providing shared activities over which people tend to sit and talk.


I found and edited a good TV debate from 2001. It features Ren telling us she thinks limiting TV is a good thing. And it will as a link to some info on her later change of heart.



I'm still trying to tweak the main page so things are top-level, but I can't do it for everything. I realized the intervew Emily Subler did years ago was buried two levels down, so I've linked it directly from the top paragraph.


Does anyone here know where Emily is these days? I think she got divorced maybe, and if so she might've changed her name. I'd like to contact her if anyone can help me to that. Found her! (She found me, from this, rather.) Thanks.

March 16, 2004

"What Marty Really Needed"

My January/February Home Education column, about Marty and territorial New Mexico, is now here:


The current issue is out, with an article called "The School in my Head," and the May/June article is called "Jubilation and Triangulation." It's about connections, and the week of the hypotenuse. I'll have the former online in May, and the latter online in July, and there you see the pattern.


New link on the Parenting issues page

about Sleeping, Bedtimes, Late Nights and other scary issues


Joyce on logic and how to decide whether to limit things.

This is where a couple of other things tied together, and the set of links at the bottom of that page creates a whole new topic, though I'm not sure what it is. Something like "How important is it?" on a deep level. Some things ARE vitally important (logic), and others aren't (arbitrary controls, for example).

and it's linked to and from this:
"HAVE TO"? Thinking about "have to," for unschooling parents
(used to be on the same page with teach/learn, at but I'm splitting that out)

a link from that:

Typical Unschooling Day

HEM column from May/June 2003
I thought it was online already. It's mostly about a chart we have of the U.S. Presidents.
I'll link it from typical days and on the articles page.

Sharing and Generosity

Sylvia Toyama and a tale of boys being generous with their special snacks.

Two new links on Typical Days

one top right, one bottom left

February 27, 2004
I'm really enjoying putzing with these pages. I told someone the other day whose good bit I had lifted that it was like making a quilt with other people's donated triangles.



A bit about how homeschooling parents themselves learned to read. If you remember clearly how you learned and want to write something for that, please send it to me at [email protected] [email protected]



This is too esoteric for most people, probably. It's about surrendering to natural learning and then being transformed into new material which is not aversely affected by formal education. Maybe it's too metaphysical even for me. Ha! (Not really, but it's hard to summarize in three lines. It's somewhat about that near-taboo subject of "advanced unschooling.")

Clearer and related:

Stages of Unschooling /unschool/stages That's a Kelly Lovejoy article. I'm collecting quotes from unschoolers to illustrate the stages she laid out, and will link those to-be-new pages at the end of Kelly's article, or somewhere on that page.


I love Lyle's courage. He wrote pretty pointedly about Yu-Gi-Oh card obsession and a mother's duty:

/lyle/games and that has a link to another Lyle-page.


There's a new page in the food and eating area:
/eating/balance and new bits up top at

The main page for those is /food


/m/money Sylvia Toyama, on money and concepts.
I have some other things saved somewhere on my mac I can add eventually, but other money stories are hereby solicited!


"Hard Thinking Made Easy" has been finished. The second side was blank (my fault; oops). I finished it at home from my notes, and was able to go all the way to the end, so it will be longer and maybe better. Kelly Lovejoy is selling them at this address:

Two others will be available sometime, and I'll let you know.

There's one there of me and Pam Sorooshian. The plan was for us to talk about each other's children, and we did, but it was my idea based on one BIG discovery I made about Roxana, and I forgot completely to tell that story. So I'm writing it up, probably or maybe for an article in Paths of Learning magazine, and I hope Pam and I can do in writing a little better than what we did in person (which wasn't too shabby! I've heard the tape).


UPDATED May 2004

Four definite, one tentative, two tentative dates; altogether five scheduled speaking engagements:

Las Vegas NV, June 18-19, 2004 [with Holly]

Boston, August 27-29, 2004 [Marty will be on a panel, too]

Chicago, September 11, 2004

MAYBE North Carolina, at a camp with a dining hall, festival-style unschooling event
MAYBE in May 2005, but it's talking-stage-only at this point. If it happens, I'll be there.

DEFINITELY speaking in Florida at Ren's Beach Party
MAYBE it's in early October 2005, but might be later than that

Although it's not going to be a convention in the regular sense, I'm going to speak at some point with my three children and maybe Keith too! We expect to have the whole family there. Ren's planning to get a hotel on the beach, in Pensacola. There will be fun workshops for kids, but not much speechifying. Swimming opportunities (beach and hotel pool), and hanging out with other families, wild singalong music sessions, those are planned.

Details will be at /speaking and will be expanded as I know more.