Do It!
page 20 of The Big Book of Unschooling (2009 edition)
online chat, October 5, 2011

October 5, "Do It," page 20 of The Big Book of Unschooling

Sandra Dodd: RLG, should we call you RLG?

RLG: ok

Sandra Dodd: Who are you?

RLG: I am new to unschooling My name is Adelle

Sandra Dodd: Okay.

Sandra Dodd: Today's topic is about page 20 of The Big Book, but if you don't have that book, please take a quick look at /doit

Sandra Dodd: For the ALL Unschooling Symposium, Pam Sorooshian's talk will be "Things My Unschooled Kids Didn't Learn"--Jill is doing something about finding the fun in everyday activities, and Deb Lewis is working up a title for hers.

Sandra Dodd: I just put up a new Deb Lewis page, something I'm rescuing from a site that's going to go down soon. /deblewis/monster

Sandra Dodd: Adelle, are you by chance anywhere near New Mexico? (Or, alternatively, rich and crazy?) Because there's a symposium here in late December (after Christmas) with some of the best contributors to unschooling discussions *ever.*

RLG: No lol I am in Florida

Sandra Dodd: /all

Sandra Dodd: perhaps better.

AlexPolikowsky: Has it ever been a discussion about why people want to unschool? Just thinking that if the parent clearly knows why they want to unschool that it may be easier to just do it

Renee S.: Alex, I knew why I wanted to unschool and the learning part of it (letting go of shoolish thinking, etc.) that was easy for me. But, I still found it difficult to do.

Robin B: What did you find difficult, Renee S.?

Renee S.: For me, the difficulty was changing my own behavior and my parenting. And time... conventional parenting takes a lot less time. ;)

Robin B: True, in some ways!

Jill Parmer: Did you want to cling to your old ways? or did you have such fast conventional responses that you did not have time to bite your tongue?

Robin B: It also requires less thinking.

Robin B: Conventional parenting, that is.

RLG: It's been hard for me because of record keeping and wondering if I have enough to show. I focus more on that than my kids. I recently joined an umbrella school which has relieved 95% of my stress.

Sandra Dodd: Adelle/RLG, all that record keeping is local and not philosophical.

Sandra Dodd: Record keeping isn't part of unschooling. It's part of living in Florida.

Sandra Dodd: And as you go along, you'll find it becomes easier to do that and not to worry about it. Have you looked at the notes on my site that others have used to describe what they've done?

RLG: Yes I am so glad all I have to do now is report attendance.

Sandra Dodd: /unschoolingcurricu...

Renee S.: Jill, I don't know if i was clinging to them, or just relying on them. But, playfulness has never been my strong suit. So, just being a little less serious and also coming to see my kids in a different light helped.

Sandra Dodd: I think it's hard to change anything we do without thinking.

Sandra Dodd: And life's really comfortable when things can be done automatically.

Sandra Dodd: Eventually, I automatically unschooled.

Jill Parmer: Ah. Interesting, Renee. I'm very curious how people who aren't so playful get on with unschooling.

Sandra Dodd: I think it can be healing when the lack of playfulness came from childhood messages from others. "Act your age" and "Don't be a baby" and "Be serious."

Sandra Dodd: It's good to revisit those and see them from a different angle.

AlexPolikowsky: I get the feeling some people want to do it because they think it is cool or very revolutionary and not really put much thought or time to read and learn about it

Renee S.: Yes.. and escpecially when I started to examine why I thought those things of my own kids - I had very high expectations of my daughter when she was very little - stop acting like a baby thougths (when she WAS a baby)

AlexPolikowsky: Maybe that is all about the past topic about who can unschool or not

Renee S.: Alex, I think some people think unschooling is easier -- because they haven't taken the time to read about or really learn about it.

AlexPolikowsky: Yes Renee

Andrea: I'm not very playful, but my husband is very, very I think we balance each other out

Sandra Dodd: Andrea, you still probably should try to be more playful (or appreciative of play) so he's not responsible for balancing you out entirely.

Andrea: Oh yes, it is something I work on every day

Jihong: i am seriously lacking of playfulness. so I have to relearn to be playful and I am trying to bring in playful people into our life. for example, I have learned a lot from Matteo since he stayed with us three weeks ago

Sandra Dodd: Importing playmates is not a bad idea at all, even when parents are playful people.

Sandra Dodd: Kid learn from other people--new ideas, new ways to play with the same old toys, new information on movies or books or stories they already liked, etc.

Sandra Dodd: So Alex is asking something about the first step of "do it," and partly it is to know what the person wants or expects "it" to be!

Sandra Dodd: Some people unschool because they think it will be easier. And in a way, it can be easier **for a playful parent.**

Maybe much harder, for a parent who isn't playful at heart.

Rebecca Allen: I used to think I wasn't very playful. My husband is playful in a boisterous way. I am playful in other ways though.

Sandra Dodd: Some people unschool because they think it will be cool, but unless they themselves are fun to be around, and beneficial to friendships and situations, there will be no coolness to gather or share. Then they get all cranky. Cool doesn't come with the kit. It's in the perceptions of others around. So partly that's going to depend on the area, neighborhood, social group of the family, too.

Sandra Dodd: What's cool in Oregon might not NEARLY be cool in Mississippi.

Sandra Dodd: Cool in New Mexico can fall very flat in Connecticut.

Andrea: That's a good point, Rebecca...there is more than one way to be playful. I help the kids get things set up and do lots of Legos and card games, but the role playing things are hard for Barbie and Littlest Pet Shops

Renee S.: I relied on my husband to provide the fun... but really I was just policing 3 people instead of 2 -- it worked better when I started to actually see the value in the loud playing or running or around

Sandra Dodd: "Policing" Renee?

Renee S.: But also, when conflicts or difficulites arrived I found that once I learned to be more light about it -- the kids could move through it easier and faster

Sandra Dodd: Herding, stopping, blowing the whistle on? Protecting property from?

Renee S.: Policing = "that's too loud" "thats too rough"

Sandra Dodd: Me too, Andrea. I don't "play Barbie" much."

Sandra Dodd: Renee, do you say "too loud" and "too rough" too much and too easily?

Renee S.: I definitely used to -- I think now I think it and go do the dishes or something somewhere else

Sandra Dodd: If your husband is being playful enough for both of you, maybe he shouldn't be treated like one of the kids when he's doing that.

Renee S.: That is definitely true.

Sandra Dodd: I called Marty (yelled "Marty!") when I was in the hot tub and he was in the house the other night, and Holly said it was after 10:00 on a weeknight and I probably ought to get out and go talk to him quietly, and not yell.

Sandra Dodd: She was right.

Marta BP:

Sandra Dodd: I got the impression when you said " I relied on my husband to provide the fun... but really I was just policing 3 people instead of 2 " that you considered him to be one of the kids, at first, back then. But when you

Sandra Dodd: started seeing the value,

Sandra Dodd: did you feel like one of the four, rather than three against one?

Sandra Dodd: I'm asking because I'm hoping it's about feeling part of a group, partners--rather than adversaries. The playful ones vs. the responsible ones.

Renee S.: Yes, Sandra, I think that is exactly what happened.

Marta BP: how can we develop our playfulness?

Jill Parmer: **how can we develop our playfulness?** Find fun things to do. Try something you've always wanted to do, but haven't because..... Look at your kids, how are they having fun? What do you enjoy, that's fun, right?

Robin B: If you're not a "playful" person (like playing Barbies) you can be a happy facilitator of play.

Sandra Dodd: I wasn't good at playing Barbies, but I was good at finding other girls to come and play, and providing space, and storage equipment, and new Barbie clothes (and sometimes bags of used Barbie clothes from thrift stores)

Sandra Dodd: Start to see fun in the absence of toys or play equipment.

Renee S.: Being in the moment helps me to be more playful.

Marta BP: yes

Robin B: We have fun with wordplay and puns and language silliness.

Sandra Dodd: Fun at restaurant tables (not loud rough fun; quiet fun), and in the car, and standing in line, or sitting at the department of motor vehicles.

Rebecca Allen: It's possible to be playfully responsible too. Helping folks aim for an appropriate volume to the setting, in a calm way rather than a harsh way.

Sandra Dodd: In a doctor's office waiting room (I was just in one this morning, but not with a kid), you could use a magazine and let each person pick a thing from each set of open pages to be "his"--we used to do that with catalogs when we were kids.

AlexPolikowsky: I play a lot by setting up the Barbies, dressing them and taking care of their hair

Jill Parmer: Having family jokes or phrases from tv shows; having fun in the kitchen while making food. Making fun food from funny cookbooks.

Sandra Dodd: Each of us would pick something that we wanted, or "had" or dibbsed.

Robin B: Same here, Alex. My mom used to make Barbie clothes for my dolls; I make costumes for Senna.

Rebecca Allen: We have been making costumes for Quinn, dolls and costumes for the dolls!

Robin B: Oh and my sister knit clothes for my dolls; I still have them.

Jill Parmer: When my kids were out of diapers, I used the diaper bag for years after that, stocked with markers, books, paper, little games, all kinds of goodies.

Marta BP: I think I had an idea of myself as a non-playful person, but ever since I started reading and understanding more about whole-life unschooling, I'm finding it easier and easier to think of fun things to do and easier to enjoy those moments and laugh a lot with Constança, my daughter

Sandra Dodd: Yes. Playfulness can be the most responsible thing possible, in a stressful situation. Calmly causing more calm and peace when there is ponderous seriousness in excess.

Sandra Dodd: Smiling and laughing are themselves sweeter than the absence of smiles and laughter. Baby steps toward loosening up stress and fear.

Robin B: Reading can be playful; find funny or exciting books to read to kids. I think people can get stuck in the "I. Must. Play. Legos." kind of zombie-thinking.

Sandra Dodd: True, Robin!

AlexPolikowsky: We have family jokes and phrases we use like " over 9 thousand" from dragon ball z

Marta BP: lol Robin

Sandra Dodd: Holly and I were going through kids' books she might sell at a fundraiser for the a capella groups she's in. She said "Not that one about Henry the Duck breaking a hole in the wall."

Sandra Dodd: She found it and put it in a safe place.

Rebecca Allen: Quinn had a really exciting learning time yesterday. From what I gather from the outside, she was able to write some words and read them from her mind rather than copying.

Andrea: The more I play, the more I *want* to play, if that makes sense.

Robin B: We have those, also, Alex. Many Monty Python, Pokemon, Digimon, TV Tropes references.

Sandra Dodd: How cool, Rebecca. That's a milestone.

Sandra Dodd: Andrea, it does make sense.

Robin B: Yes, Rebecca.

Sandra Dodd: And it makes biological sense, because it's healthy.

Rebecca Allen: She was so thrilled. "My brain is a miracle! I can see it in my mind!"

Sandra Dodd: And it feels good to feel good.

AlexPolikowsky: Yes robin we do too so

AlexPolikowsky: So much fun

Robin B: "My brain is a miracle"!! She's so right.

In an exchange about connections, later, Rebecca wrote "Our brains are magical, as Quinn says! (I misquoted her in the chat when I said she said her brain was a miracle. Her word was really 'magical.')"

Either way, it's a sweet thought. —Sandra

Sandra Dodd: "My brain is a miracle" is so sweet. I read it to Holly.

Jill Parmer: That playing dinosaurs or Barbies, was pretty boring for me. Luke had all these scenarios in his head, and I never did them right to him. So I got into the habit of saying , "what does my guy do now?" and he'd tell me, and that made it now so frustrating for me.

Sandra Dodd: For people having a hard time with playfulness, these will help (I hope):

Rebecca Allen: I probably would have missed that had she been in school. Like a mom missing a child's first steps while in day care. And Quinn probably would have experienced in differently.

Robin B: Yes, Jill. I had that experience with Senna and Playmobil.

Sandra Dodd: /wonder and /playing

Sandra Dodd: No kidding, Rebecca. The teachers would have taken full credit for it.

Marta BP: thanks Sandra!

Sandra Dodd: It would've been "Good job. Told you so!"

Rebecca Allen: She was writing her own lyrics to World of Goo music. She was making a musical, she said.

Rebecca Allen: It was fun learning in so many ways.

Jill Parmer: So cool, Rebecca about Quinn.

AlexPolikowsky: Gigi has been constantly asking questions about numbers - what is 6 plus 6 and mu h more

Sandra Dodd: The "do it" page on my site was created as a balance to /gradualchange

Sandra Dodd: Yes, people need to move toward unschooling in a somewhat methodical, careful way, but they can't take five years to do it.

Renee S.: My son, Sean is asking about numbers in the same way.

Jill Parmer: Methodical, Sandra? I'm not sure I moved toward unschooling methodically.

Sandra Dodd: And yes, some people jump so far so fast they're lost and confused.

ColleenP: my son has always loved numbers - so when he was almost 2 we bought a bunch of calculators and left them around - like a whole pile - he LOVED playing with them and still does - we have calculators everywhere : )

Sandra Dodd: Somewhere between flinging oneself into the dark and taking too long to get there is the just right way to do it.

Sandra Dodd: Doing a little at a time, what one understands, doing more of what works and less of what doesn't until it's all working!

Sandra Dodd: How did you move toward unschooling, then Jill? How did you "do it"?

Jill Parmer: Well, I was so excited by the ideas I was reading at unschooling . com, that I charged ahead fairly quickly. My biggest glitch was going to fast for Steve, so I did need to back up and clean that up. but...

Robin B: Speaking of playing with dinosaurs, my fave clip from Firefly:

Sandra Dodd: I have fallen down from just walking too fast. From walking on rough ground, or down stairs, in the same way I would be walking on flat linoleum.

Jill Parmer: So many of the ideas made sense, and I think I had most of the personal characteristics that we talked about last week or the week before, so that helped immensely. looking back.

Sandra Dodd: I fell down last month in a hotel room. Tripped on a backpack I had JUST THEN my own self set there.

Sandra Dodd: So I know too fast and too thoughtlessly.

Sandra Dodd:

Sandra Dodd: I fell down the stairs here at my house when the kids were younger. Marty was 12 so I guess they were 9-14 or so.

Sandra Dodd: I was carrying TWO xerox boxes full of stuff downstairs. Stacked. I couldn't see. Yet I wasn't stepping carefully on each step, thinking about safety.

ColleenP: do you think Sandra though that it's better to go too fast than not fast enough, if someone can't get the right speed? I'd think yes, myself - that plunging down the path is better than never stepping on at all...

Jill Parmer: From what you are saying, I wasn't in the dark, even though I felt like I was going fast.

Sandra Dodd: I just thought I would trot down in ideal, magical safety way.

Andrea: I agree with Colleen

Sandra Dodd: Plunging is a danger in any circumstances, though.

Sandra Dodd: Too fast can be as bad as not fast enough. Families have divorced over "too fast." So "too fast" can lead to "no unschooling ever for you."

ColleenP: interesting

ColleenP: I don't have personal experience being married/partnered with someone who's not on board with unschooling so that perhaps skews my experience

ColleenP: skews my impressions, rather

Renee S.: I don't think unschooling is for everyone -- so for some, it may be better to never step on the road

ColleenP: yes some are not a match with unschooling, but for those who could be, I'm sad to picture them reading and wondering and thinking but not trying and doing

Renee S.: I know people who plunged without good understanding or a plan and now claim Unschooling doesn't work.

RLG: I think it all goes back to get rid of what doesn't work and keep what does.

Jill Parmer: Your question, Colleen, doesn't make sense to me. People are going to try unschooling if they want to, and fears and confidence and glitches are going to determine the speed, I think.

Jill Parmer: I also think it's better to never step on for some people.

ColleenP: Jill I know people who ponder and ponder instead of just acting and figuring it out—and I can see them getting stuck on something like "how fast is too fast" and never getting going—that's what I mean—that trying it and figuring it out would be better in that case than more pondering, perhaps

Jill Parmer: Ah.

Jill Parmer: I think they should never step on, then.

Andrea: But so many times, people completely throw out bedtimes, for example, because that's what they think they need to do to radically unschool. And then they come to the list asking for help.

Rebecca Allen: Could be about learning styles though, Colleen. Or personality. People operate at different speeds.

Jill Parmer: Sounds like they are WAY over thinking it and not taking any action, won't get the benefits that other making it work are.

Andrea: In that case, they didn't set a speed their kids were comfortable with...they listened to what other people were saying instead of being aware of their own family's needs and dynamic

AlexPolikowsky: I guess for us it was easier since we did not parent like them mainstream. It was a continuum of attachment parenting

Sandra Dodd: So wait. Let's summarize. What were the good parts? Andrea wrote " they didn't set a speed their kids were comfortable with...they listened to what other people were saying instead of being aware of their own family's needs and dynamic. That's a good summary of how sometimes people overshoot the mark and get lost in the woods.

RLG: and then they go back to what wasn't working instead of re evaluating

Jill Parmer: Right, RLG/Adelle, when you hit a glitch, reevaluate or back up some steps, find out how you messed up the message.

AlexPolikowsky: I see a lot of more confusion from going from set bed times to no help from parents . It's like they do not know what to do so they do nothing

Sandra Dodd: Here's a shocking politically-incorrect unschooling question.

Sandra Dodd: Should there be "lessons"? A curriculum?

Sandra Dodd: Should there be introductory material for unschoolers that they can come to online and go through 'methodically'?

Jill Parmer: Erm....does not compute. What are you asking?

Sandra Dodd: There have been a couple of people move toward that in the past. Pam Sorooshian and I have talked about it, and each time said "nah..."

Sandra Dodd: but we see failures.

Sandra Dodd: Failures who went very quickly in a bad direction, over a cliff.

AlexPolikowsky: What? Like unschooling rules?

Sandra Dodd: No, like "first do this. Did that work? Okay, next do this...."

ColleenP: not a curriculum, but an unschooling flow chart - that I could picture!

AlexPolikowsky: No I do not think so because it will be different

Jill Parmer: But how did the failures happen?

Jill Parmer: I think it is because people don't keep learning about unschooling. or stay in the discussions to fine tune these interesting/shocking/min d opening ideas.

Sandra Dodd: The failures happened, maybe (I think Pam thinks sometimes) because my site is too huge and confusing, and people will get a little bit of bad advice from an article or a TV show, and they start in a bad starting place.

Sandra Dodd: They're waiting for their kids to declare a passion, or they've told their kids they never have to go to bed again, ever.

Serah: When I was first starting out was looking for methodical, rule-based approach to implenting the ideas.

Sandra Dodd: A screwy starting place that doesn't lead to a next step

Jill Parmer: If there was a beginner site, like you say above. It takes away the deep thinking. Which I think is really really needed in unschooling.

Sandra Dodd: I agree, Jill.

Andrea: Maybe a flow chart would work...

Renee S.: But, it was just said that looking at your own kids and adjusting according to them and their needs is the key -- so the flow chart would work differently for different kids

Sandra Dodd: And that's why we've always given up. Because it's being willing to really explore and learn that makes it work!

Jill Parmer: Yes!

Serah: flow chart would be great

Andrea: oops, ColleenP already said that

Rebecca Allen: I agree, Jill. Maybe a list of questions would be good. Each person needs to find their answers.

Sandra Dodd: Renee, maybe the flow chart could occasionally say "Are your kids happy?"

ColleenP: I'm totally envisioning a poster that could hang on the wall detailing an enormous unschooling flowchart... hmm... and yep Renee S a flow chart allows for differences and different starting points and paths etc.

Jill Parmer: I don't really like the flow chart idea. for the same reason, as taking away deep thinking.

Renee S.: That would be good. Happiness is a good marker/guage I think

Sandra Dodd: Jill, maybe the flow chart could have "learn more about something new" in little leafy branches that don't come back to the main chart.

ColleenP: I think a flow chart an lead you to think not control your thinking, crafted carefully

Sandra Dodd: I realize the irony of telling people to "do it" when "it" is so nebulous.

Serah: when i went to the Ohio conference there was a presenter there who had made a flow chart, and there were stops after each section to ask, if you and your kids were happy

Sandra Dodd: Serah, if you know who the presenter was, maybe she would let me put it on my page.

AlexPolikowsky: Who was it? Do you remember?

Serah: I think it was Lisa Bentley?

Robin B: No relation, by the way.

Sandra Dodd: There's a chart I rescued from another site going away (that's one of my hobbies.... reclamation) and it's not a flow chart, but it's kinda cool. Now if I can find it...

Sandra Dodd: /unschool/difference.html

Serah: found it


[Note from Sandra; I found the right links later. The intro is here:]

Sandra Dodd: Oh. Nice, Serah. Only it's not quite "how to unschool." Still, it's cool.

Sandra Dodd: It did have "are your kids happy?" (sort of)

Serah: I really liked it when she presented. It spoke to my schoolish mindset thinking when starting out

Robin B: Hey, the movie she mentions (A Life in a Day) was made on Learn Nothing Day.

Serah: ya after each major decision

Sandra Dodd: Wasn't that cool? I liked that factoid/coincidence.

Sandra Dodd: People do say they wished they had unschooled sooner. I have a whole collection of that. /ifonly

Sandra Dodd: But there is too much too soon, sometimes.

Jill Parmer: So I'm thinking about the people that drop bedtimes, and go haywire, and then say they can't unschool.

Jill Parmer: And I thought questions might get them to thinking why they did that.

Jill Parmer: But then I realize everything comes down to fine situations.

Serah: I resisted unschooling for a long time, since I first heard about it 8 years ago. I am so glad to have chosen now to embrace this lifestyle.

Sandra Dodd: I just got a note about Just Add Light and Stir:

We've been unschooling for 9 years and I've been receiving your daily quotes for only a month. I'm finding them so enriching and nourishing. Thank you for reminding me what's important, it eases my fears and oozes love into our moments as a family.
(I don't usually look at e-mail, but I'm waiting for something that might apply to all this chat.)

Jill Parmer: Like someone could say, see I need bedtimes because my spouse works early. Rather than helping someone be quieter.

Rebecca Allen: There are others who say it's not working because their kids aren't keeping up with what schooled kids are learning. So the flow could go back to looking at your own child. Comparing your child's present to your child's past rather than to other children.

Sandra Dodd: "Progress."

Rebecca Allen: Yes, progress.

Sandra Dodd: But sometimes people don't think of ways to measure progress without school measures.

ColleenP: maybe that's one of the issues - that people want a definition of what unschooling success is - how do they know when it's working?

Jill Parmer: So if someone sees things so black and white, I don't think unschooling will work. It seems to work if people can be creative, and willing to find solutions, rather than about speed.

ColleenP: it's not like school success where you get an A and your parents are happy and tell the neighbors

AlexPolikowsky: That would go back to why people want to unschool

Sandra Dodd: "Are your kids happy?" that could be the "when it's working" evidence.

ColleenP: yep it all goes back to happy!

AlexPolikowsky: If you want them to learn Latin and win spelling bees than not going to be the path to take

RLG: agree

Sandra Dodd: -=-Like someone could say, see I need bedtimes because my spouse works early.-=-
Sandra Dodd: Jill wrote that and it's something to which I would respond "'I need'" isn't about your kids."

Sandra Dodd: And then some people would assume I meant it's more important for kids to do what they want than for a spouse to sleep. And in those cases, I think it's about seeing extremes (dichotomies) and not all the world in between.

Rebecca Allen: So it's not just "are your kids happy?" It's about all family members.

Jill Parmer: Right, and it's more so much more....quietness for someone who needs sleep, appreciation and helpfulness to the bread winner,

Sandra Dodd: But if we press people to live by principles, some will want a complete list of "the principles" so they can memorize them and recite definitions, thinking that's what it takes.

Sandra Dodd: So we're defining the problem, at least.

Andrea: I think when people want more rules and more guidelines, they need more deschooling.

Jill Parmer: I really really liked what you said the other day on Always Learning, about having witnesses. Showing yourself to others face to face, and in some cases writing.

Sandra Dodd: Oh. Doh. What did I say? That it helps to at least imagine having a witness?

Jill Parmer: yes. Real people to help you, give you suggestions, but that also means showing oneself.

Jihong: if people want to measure, they have to define their goal or their interpretation of success

Marta BP: gotta go! dinner's on the table! thanks for the lovely chat, once again lots of food for thought ;)

Sandra Dodd: Some people would take that to mean that unschoolers should pay others to be their mentors/coaches, but I haven't seen people volunteer to do that who seem worthy of coaching others.

Jill Parmer: eeek, right.

Sandra Dodd: Living in public, maybe. At least online. Blogs. Something.

Andrea: Having ColleenP and her family as good friends has definitely helped us

Jill Parmer: It's so twisty.

Sandra Dodd: If someone keeps a blog, they're writing and putting pictures out and that will keep them self-conscious (in a good, healthy way), self-reflective..

ColleenP: back at you Andrea

Jill Parmer: Ah yes, self-reflective. There goes that idea about thinking again.

Rebecca Allen: Today, I will write on my blog. There. Now I'll have some motivation and accountability.

Sandra Dodd: Playgroups, park days, unschooling support groups. That can be the "witness" function.

Sandra Dodd: Good, Rebecca. Thanks.

Andrea: Yes, definitely.

Capn Franko: Ronnie does that for us consistently. I only occasionally post.

Jihong: Unschooling is very hard to understand for Chinese not that many chinese unschoolers

Sandra Dodd: You wait for the rant to build up in you, Frank.

Andrea: LOL

Capn Franko: Whcih is fun but that menas I'm usually writing from a negative position. I'd like to be more positive.

Sandra Dodd: China has had some problems in the past 50 years. It wouldn't have made sense pre-revolution, and it doesn't make sense after, either.

AlexPolikowsky: I need to blog more for my kids ! So much great stuff to write that I don't want them to have those memories

ColleenP: LOL for the record I'm the ColleenP from NH - aka Robbie's mom - not sure where the other ColleenP lives but she's hopefully also not a mom to Robbie because that'd confuse the heck out of me

Andrea: I started writing things down in an old fashioned journal.

Sandra Dodd: Frank, think of it this way: There are LOTS of ballads and songs about losing wars, about losing love. Not many about "we won!"

Rebecca Allen: That's why I'm doing it too, Alex. Though Sandra's reason for self-reflection is good too.

Andrea: and I also live in NH and my kids love Robbie

Capn Franko: The other ColleenP used to blog as "The New UNschooler' and she's in So. Cal.

Sandra Dodd: So decide whether you want to blog like the Scots write about war.

Jihong: facebook is the only place I can write down a few words. After kids go to sleep, I am exhausted too. I wonder if it is because they are still will get better when they get older? I mean, I can get more time to write?

Andrea: Most likely, Jihong.

Sandra Dodd: Absolutely, you'll have more time to write. See chart here: /howto

Robin B: Colleen, the other Colleen P has one son, Jerry.

Sandra Dodd: Seriously. My kids are grown. I went to Hawaii (AS YOU KNOW), and India and the UK

ColleenP: Robin - excellent - that helps me tell us apart

Sandra Dodd: And they were fine with it, because they remember me spending 20, 19, 18, 17 hours a day with them.


Sandra Dodd: Would you consider, next chat, Colleen, adding a NH to it? Or using your real last name? That would be helpful, if you wouldn't mind.

AlexPolikowsky: Jihong you do not need to write but put pictures and a line saying things you all did with Facebook most is gone and yes it gets better with having time

ColleenP: yep I can do that

Rebecca Allen: Last night, Quinn asked me to play a game with her. She said that we had only played together all day, but we hadn't played yet at night.

Andrea: Jihong--sometimes I write notes in my iPod Touch. Easier to find later than on Facebook

Jihong: my 12-year-old nephew is still in China with his parents. He talks about how much he "hates" his mother. How horrible his home is (he said monster home), and how much he wants to run away...all because of the pressure he gets from his parents, school, and society. It just reminds me of why I want to unschool and why I want to try harder

Jill Parmer: Maybe not try harder. Maybe relax into.

jesiyvonne: Hello all. I am new to unschooling and just found the site and chatroom today!

Jihong: Yes, Alex. I take pictures and keep records that way. I do wish I had more time to write and look back

Sandra Dodd: Here's a good starting place jesiyvonne: /beginning

jesiyvonne: My baby son is only 6 months old but I definitely plan to keep him at home for studies. I was homeschooled as well.

Sandra Dodd: or /help

Sandra Dodd: If you're still unschooling in a few years, you won't be thinking about "studies."

jesiyvonne: Thanks! Although the laws are so weird now! My friend wants us to move to Mongolia with her, that would be a great place to 'unschool'!

Sandra Dodd: Is The Big Book good enough for beginning? I started on "the Little Book of Unschooling," as a beginning thing, but...

Serah: I like that Jill

Sandra Dodd: Where are you, jesi?

jesiyvonne: Haha yeas, I mean for learning. I cannot stand the school system. It is flawed and failing. The idea that a teacher can be horrid and not even teach but not lose their job at all appalls me. I went to school for one semester in 9th grade and it was a nightmare! I am in Madison, WI at the moment! But definitely we are not staying here... too cold!.

Robin B: Sandra, I still think a "Just Add Light And Stir" little book would be a great thing. Like daily meditation in your hand.

Rebecca Allen: Too much talk about school, Jesi!

Sandra Dodd: Robin, we've thought about that (Holly and I).

Sandra Dodd: Jesi, don't think about school if it makes you unhappy.

Jill Parmer: Look at your son, Jesi, and not at school.

Sandra Dodd: Choose happier thoughts.

Sandra Dodd: Don't be appalled.

AlexPolikowsky: That would be a lovely little book!!!!

Rebecca Allen: I like cards, like meditation cards. Those would be nice with your "Just Add Light and Stir" words and photos.

Jill Parmer: He will have his own thoughts and be there to help him and support him.

Sandra Dodd: If your brain has "horrid" and "appalled" and "nightmare" in it, you'll pollute your child's environment. And your own.

Robin B: Ooh, an unschooling card game!

Sandra Dodd: /negativity

jesiyvonne: I know I know! I just get scared at the thought of some gov't making me take him to school. Some states are very hard to get around. Maybe you could help me with that? Are there any good links for homeschooling laws?

Jill Parmer: An Unschooling RP TCG (role playing, trading card game!)

Robin B: Yes!

Rebecca Allen: How would you make it into a game, Robin? I was thinking of ways to pull them out randomly rather than in any order in a book.

Sandra Dodd: The first project I ever wanted to do hasn't been done. That's a plan for a box of cards called "365 days of Unschooling" with things to do or think or look up, and let them be random.

jesiyvonne: We're positive thinkers! Don't worry about me, just a worrying mama. ;)

Jill Parmer: I think that was an oxymoron of a statement, Jesi. :-P

Robin B: A worrying positive thinker!

jesiyvonne: Haha!

Andrea: Google it for your state...and find unschoolers in your groups, etc

Sandra Dodd: I'm not worried about you, but you can't say you're a positive thinker. You can SAY it, but you just showed us a little dump of your candid thoughts, and they were nightmarish and negative and appalling.

jesiyvonne: I apologize.

Sandra Dodd: Don't apologize. See it and think about it.

jesiyvonne: Sandra that is a wonderful idea! The cards.

Sandra Dodd: I have a couple of lists of 'cards' but keep dropping that in favor of other ideas.

Rebecca Allen: Oooh, I'd give those out as gifts for sure, Sandra.

Andrea: I have a set of those for 50 art projects...i love them

Robin B: I don't know. I like Sandra's idea though. I had a 365 Things to Do card game when Senna was little.

jesiyvonne: It's good to keep on your toes in this society I think maybe.

Jill Parmer: I like the card idea, way more than the beginner site or flow chart.

Andrea: There are only a few states that are difficult, jesi.

Sandra Dodd: Don't worry about all the states, just where you are.

Sandra Dodd: And why Mongolia? Why do you think Mongolia would be a good place to unschool? Serious question.

jesiyvonne: My husband and I have great dreams though, one is to travel with our little one. We think that this would be a good way to show him all the cultures of the world. Actually seeing them!

jesiyvonne: Oh yes! My friends there raise a three year old daughter (they're from the US originally) and they unschool/homeschool, they're new there.

AlexPolikowsky: I can get you some local contacts if you need

Sandra Dodd: -=-Its good to keep on your toes in this society I think maybe.-=-

Sandra Dodd: It's good to keep on your toes no matter where you are.

Robin B: Worrying makes you think you are doing something, when you're actually doing nothing. I know because I come from a long line of worriers and it sucks the energy you could use to do something positive instead right out of you.

jesiyvonne: Not new there I mean new to unschooling.

Sandra Dodd: "Seeing" a culture isn't the same as living in it. And if he only "sees" other cultures, what will be his own culture?

jesiyvonne: Good point Robin! Time to stay active.

jesiyvonne: Well I mean immersing oneself in a culture and living like the locals.

Sandra Dodd: It's an interesting idea, but when he's older you might see the benefit of living in his own culture.

jesiyvonne: Yeah exactly! He could come back more cosmopolitan in a sense, and also be more thankful for all of the amenities we have here. Running water, etc.

Robin B: It can be a good thing, travel, but kids can have their own ideas about what is a good way to live. It might be staying home .

Andrea: Not necessarily, Jesi.

jesiyvonne: We've traveled a bit ourselves so its really important. We mostly plan on leaving by the time he's 2 1/2 then husband will be done with grad school.

Sandra Dodd: How old is he?

jesiyvonne: He's so tiny! 6 months hehe

Andrea: When he is little, he will probably be happy to be wherever you are, but as he gets older, he might really dislike traveling/moving.

Jill Parmer: Living like the locals is very romantic, but you might be appalled at local culture around the world.

jesiyvonne: He's such a wonder though. But husband and I grew up in simple societies/family. And we very much want to give that to our child as well. There is so much around in this society.

Robin B: Um, what do you mean "there is so much around in this society"?

jesiyvonne: That's true. When I lived in Jamaica it was very much out of my comfort zone. But the Mongolian lifestyle and culture very much appeals to us, as well as Vietnamese. My mother is Vietnamese.

Sandra Dodd: Few foreigners can even begin to live like the locals, though, because the locals will treat you as guests, and you'll see it from the outside.

Jill Parmer: And you can usually leave whenever you want.

Sandra Dodd: A friend of ours spent a few months in Mongolia recently on a biology research project. She was glad to go there, and glad to come home. She's a pretty happy kid though; she was unschooled.

Rebecca Allen: Living simply can be limiting. Unschooling is about opening up life to more, in many ways.

Sandra Dodd: It could be cool for young kids though. Maybe not so much as they get older.

Andrea: Unschooling is also about living in the real world, not avoiding it.

Sandra Dodd: Mongolia is the real world.

Sandra Dodd: It would limit input, not to know the language.

Andrea: Yes, true, but the statement "there is so much around in this society" made me think of avoiding the real world, Sandra.

jesiyvonne: As in a privileged society there are many distractions from ones life. Yes unschooling I love the nature aspect. Getting out in it. Yes I agree with the real world, but I feel the world of TV, oh yes thanks Sandra! Yes Mongolia has still many pristine natural areas. Translating friends! Tiny one would learn fast as well. We would like to do holidays to Vietnamese family too to be closer would be wonderful.

Rebecca Allen: Simple and cosmopolitan don't go together for me.

jesiyvonne: I mostly meant the distractions, TV, Advertising, Social pressure to 'be someone' with a 'career/job'

Robin B: Uh-oh. Red flag.

Andrea: What nature aspect?

Robin B: TV and advertising and social pressure *are* part of the real world.

jesiyvonne: oh I mean the definition term: familiar with and at ease in many different countries and cultures

Robin B: Social pressure can be worse in other countries.

jesiyvonne: They are in a way but our addictions to our selfish desires I think makes us forget about the simple wonders of life and there seems to be a lot of static in cities, although they are great places to see and visit!

Rebecca Allen: And what do you mean by simple"?

Jill Parmer: Right Robin, Social pressure is in every society.

Sandra Dodd: There's some "pristine natural area"

jesiyvonne: One could have the same effect living in the woods or rural areas of the US too.

Sandra Dodd: Jesi, you're kind of hyperactive, right?

ColleenP: I think if you can find the wonder in life and in your surroundings and in the little things as well as the big, you can do that in the city or the country

Robin B: So, Jesi, I would read, read, read about what unschooling, especially radical unschooling is, while you have moments while your son is little.

jesiyvonne: As in not so many luxuries. No 24/hr access to the internet/satellite/cable TV. A bit yes! We don't have a TV anyhow, so it's not a new thing for us. We just see.

Sandra Dodd: You said you've just discovered this today, and jumped in and told us all about it. It might be better, if you want to learn about unschooling, to assume that some people have already learned a lot about it, and done it for ten, fifteen, twenty years.

jesiyvonne: Mmhm! What is everyone's favourite book about unschoolin? I'll visit the library!

Sandra Dodd: Buy this one. It's not at the library: /bigbook

Robin B: What if your son wants to watch TV?

jesiyvonne: That's ok. If his friend had it he totally could. That's his freedom, but we just don't watch it in our house.

Robin B: Yes, buy that one.

Sandra Dodd: (It's in four or five libraries, but I don't know which ones.)

jesiyvonne: I'll definitely get that one! Wow!

Robin B: It would be good to examine that idea "we just don't watch it in our house." As a start .

Jill Parmer: So what if he wants to spend more time at his friends house than home, because they have more things he wants?

Sandra Dodd: You have time, jesi. It would be really good for your soul and your mind if you would slow down.

Jill Parmer: Yes.

Robin B: Breathe!!

Sandra Dodd: There's no sense going to Mongolia if you can't even slow down in a chat where others know more about the subject than you do.

jesiyvonne: I guess I mean I feel that unschooling relates to my life view in the fact that we are all free people, children included! And that learning is a natural thing that everyone does.

Sandra Dodd: If you decide what you and your husband will do, that can harm your relationship at some point.

jesiyvonne: I'm sorry. I meant about my life of travel. I didn't mean to come off as knowing anything about unschooling.

Sandra Dodd: You can decide everything for a six month old if he's not nursing. If he's nursing, he probably gets to decide when he's done or when he's hungry.

Sandra Dodd: If you try to decide everything for a one or two year old, you're headed for a world of trouble.

Sandra Dodd: If you're so free, why are you worried about the laws of all the states, and crowded by cities and afraid of TV?

Sandra Dodd: Seriously, you seem unable to chill out even here with several people asking you to. It's a little amusing.

Sandra Dodd: I think travelling is awesome. I think planning really far in advance is counter productive.

Sandra Dodd: Going to Mongolia for a while after grad school sounds pretty cool, though!

jesiyvonne: He definitely decides when he eats. I very much agree though. If anything at all happened and he did not want to travel, we would not. He is very important. I'm not so afraid of TV as I feel it hampers real thought. I don't mean to come off that way, I just want to answer your questions and let you know that I mean no harm or stand on a viewpoint. Everyone's life they have is best for them. I meant it more as a dream. It's good to dream.

Robin B: Live in a yurt! Keep camels!

jesiyvonne: Camels stink! Horses!

jesiyvonne: They spit at you the meanies. ;)

Jill Parmer: That's a good start knowing that learning is natural thing that everyone does. If children are free, will yours have the freedom to choose enjoyment of tv over travel or over a hike?

jesiyvonne: One spit on my father. Hahaha

jesiyvonne: Most definitely Jill! But not all the time! ;)

Robin B: I don't agree that TV hampers real thought. And camels are at least as interesting as horses.

Jill Parmer: Ah, so he won't be free all the time, only the time you give him to be free?

Sandra Dodd: Jill, don't ask her questions she can't answer without saying things she might want to take back someday.

Jill Parmer: Alright.

Jill Parmer: Don't answer my last question. Sorry about that.

jesiyvonne: It's relative the TV thing. Some people get a lot out of it.

Andrea: The other night, a discussion at our house about Dayton, Ohio, somehow turned into a discussion about Niagara Falls.

Sandra Dodd: Jesi, let it go. Keep an open mind.

ColleenP: real thought in the real world... I'm giggling picturing kids in Mongolia watching TV - real all over the place ;)

Andrea: And now we're saving for a trip to Niagara and the kids Googled videos about the falls.

Sandra Dodd: Try not to be so hyperactive in discussions, if possible. Here's my best advice about learning more about unschooling: "Read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch."

Robin B: TV's are huge in Mongolia. Watched a film about that at the IMAX a few years ago,

Andrea: Not exactly TV, but without videos, it would be more challenging to find out about it.

jesiyvonne: No Jill I thought it was a great question. I would like to know about your life in unschooling, what is a day like with your children?

Robin B: Nice.

Sandra Dodd: Jesi, here's a collection of typical days: /typical

jesiyvonne: I really yearn for the personal stories of people and their personal experience.

jesiyvonne: Thanks!

Jill Parmer: Thanks for the great chat. See you all next week.

Andrea: Jesi, try finding some unschoolers were you live.

Sandra Dodd: The chat has ended. Next week we'll be talking about teachers, page 21. Read it, please.

Sandra Dodd: If you follow those three links up above, Jesi, you can read for days.

Sandra Dodd: if you order the book, you can participate in these chats. We're going through the book. Next time, page 21.

In the Big Book, that page links to: and to If Only...

The Big Book of Unschooling Directory of the Big Book Chats Chat Transcripts on other topics