First, a few links for those interested in ideas about who can or can't unschool. I'll put them at the bottom of this page, too.

Who CAN Unschool?

a chat transcript discussing
page 18, Who Can Unschool?

Podcast (recording and transcript), Amy Childs

Possible obstacles to Unschooling

How to Screw it Up

Who Cannot Unschool?

page 26 of The Big Book of Unschooling (2009 edition) online chat, November 2, 2011
(page 29 in 2019 edition)

This chat begins lightly, but skirts the topic all along. It ends about fathers, and the fears of young children (and some adults). I left more in than I sometimes do because of the continuity and flow of it. —Sandra

ColleenPrieto: hi all!

Sandra Dodd: Hello.

ColleenPrieto: sorry had stepped away for a second - just got a basketball hoop from Freecycle and helping set it up while chatting 🙂

Sandra Dodd: Colleen, you're in New Hampshire?

ColleenPrieto: yep I am in NH - fresh off a foot of Halloween snow and a long power outage!!

Sandra Dodd: I'm trying to get people slightly less jumbled. 🙂

ColleenPrieto: I'm Robbie's mom 🙂

Sandra Dodd: Oh yikes. Power outages.

ColleenPrieto: it's unreal - family in CT not expected to be on again til Monday or later - Andrea I think is still out (she often joins for chat) -

Sandra Dodd: OH THIS ROBBIE!!! /bigbook/robbiereads

ColleenPrieto: yep that Robbie!

reneecabatic: awesome pic of a cool kid 🙂

Jill Parmer: That picture is adorable. I like what Robbie said what his favorite part was so far.

ColleenPrieto: Robbie is definitely an advocate of unschooling - you should have seen him the day he realized not all homeschooled kids are unschooled - he was quite bummed on their behalf 🙂

Jill Parmer: Yeah, kids really pick up on that. Addi and Luke are the same way.

Alex P: Sweet Colleen!

Alex P: I hope you are keeping warm over there Colleen. You do have a fireplace or something right?

ColleenPrieto: we have a woodstove which saved us til power came back - also a very kind electrician hooked up a generator Monday (we lost power Saturday) so we were ok til lights came back last night. Many people in NH are still in the dark, so we were lucky!

Sandra Dodd: I grew up in a little town where the power went off a couple of times a month, and joined a medieval re-creation group and came to always own candles, lanterns and camping equipment (including the very non-medieval big-damned-propane tanks)...

Sandra Dodd: The power hardly goes off in Albuquerque, but once when the boys were little it did, and we walked to all the elderly neighbors and gave them a chemical glow stick and a couple of candles. None of them had ever seen a chemical light stick, in 1990 or so, and it was fun to show them to old folks.

ColleenPrieto: yep we're not campers but after the ice storm a few years back (no power for 7 days) we learned quickly how important it is to stock batteries, candles, firewood, baby wipes for handwashing, etc. just in case

Jihong: today I can chat without interruption 🙂 I took my computer to a starbucks

Sandra Dodd: Where are your kids?

Jihong: they are with my mom. I really want to be on this chat today

Sandra Dodd: Jihong are you worried that you're a person who can't unschool? We can use you as a test case. 🙂 I think your family has Chinese, Canadian and American; that's a bonus.

Jihong: I would love to be the test case 🙂 I am more interested in who can unschool, so who cannot unschool is important too. Make sure I will not be that person 🙂

Sandra Dodd: Two languages, relatives in Minnesota, Texas and China. Athletic parents who take kids swimming and hiking.

Sandra Dodd: Those are plus points.
Negative points? Chinese culture and the fact that you were a gifted, preened and pressed gifted student, which is a large part of why you're otherwise where you are.

Alex P: IN 1991, before I moved to Minnesota, there was a huge Halloween storm and it dumped a lot of ice and snow and it was a big mess where people lost their lives and all. It took many days for people to get power back on. So the farm bought a big ass generator that hooks up to the main power line and it runs the whole farm so they can milk the cows and have water for them. SO if something happens to us at least we would turn the power on twice a day for at least 4 hours at a time.

ColleenPrieto: Alex generators are definitely a wonderful, wonderful thing!! 🙂

Sandra Dodd: Alex, I'll remember that if I'm ever writing an apocalyptic story. A dairy farm might have a big ass generator.

Alex P: well it mostly because the cows need it 😉

Jihong: my weak points are "not very organized", still need to be more playful, still get mad when kids don't listen, still lack of energy, still not unschool smoothly, still worreid about if I did too much or too little

Sandra Dodd: "still get mad when kids don't listen"--do you own "How to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk"?

Sandra Dodd: It might be worth getting a copy and reading through it (or dipping into it) frequently. I think if they're not listening, you need to change the way you say things, maybe.

Jihong: I ordered the book, and will read soon

Sandra Dodd: I hope it will help. I think it helped me, when Kirby was little. I needed ways to be that weren't like my mom or grandmother on my mom's side.
My dad's mom wasn't too irritating, except for the fundamentalist Christianity. Much of her criticism was about pollution of purity (not her phrase)

Alex P: Jihong I can relate up to not the still worried part. My worries last a second now. Just yesterday MD was telling me about the difference between two games. Once had Laws of Physics working on it and the other did not. He even understands that.

Sandra Dodd: Alex, was one of them the one with the chains? Things swinging? Or was it Angry Birds vs. Plants vs. Zombies? We discussed those at the Daniels house when I was there last summer.

Alex P: NO he was talking about Minecraft and a game like Minecraft.

Alex P: He was comparing games. One if you destroy a block under a block the top one does not fall and other things like that.

Jihong: for example, every morning, my mind is cloudy, kids get up and sit to watch TV and eat breakfast. I don't mind them watching TV. But if I have the energy and am organized, I can set up some activities and they would jump to it. But most mornings, they sit and watch still takes some time for me to get going. I don't like that

Jill Parmer: I wonder when worrying lessens? Like Alex, my worrying is a fleeting moment. I continue to see things the kids are learning and hearing their ideas, I see them maturing.

Sandra Dodd: Jihong, could you set up activities before you go to sleep, for them to find in the morning? Or could you figure out how to appreciate what they watch on TV rather than seeing it as a failure on your part somehow?

Sandra Dodd: Could you drink caffeinated tea in the morning? 🙂

Alex P: Yes Jill. I see learning so much. My kids are amazing.

Sandra Dodd: Jill, maybe worrying never totally goes away.

Alex P: Caffeine helps me in the morning.

Rebecca Allen: Maybe you're thinking about World of Goo, Sandra. Swinging things and chains.

Sandra Dodd: And it's probably a character trait or personality thing. I worry about things I can't do ANYthing on earth about one way or the other, sometimes, as though my thoughts matter. And not about international politics (where many people waste a lifetime of worry), but about Holly's boyfriend's parents and stuff. 🙂

ColleenPrieto: Jihong my son (he's 8 now) used to get up and watch TV while having breakfast, and while I had coffee. We called it our "ramp up time" - after we ramped up and were energized, the day would go on. Now that he's 8 he rarely turns the TV on in the morning though I still ramp up with coffee. Sharing just to say we still had awesome days - just not busy days early in the morning - and still he learned and grew and enjoyed himself 🙂

Alex P: Same here Colleen!!

Sandra Dodd: Probably, Rebecca. 🙂 I didn't want to play it. Angry birds has all the force and vector stuff I can stand.

Alex P: Watching TV in the morning has been a good way to wake up for the day here

Jihong: Sandra, I see lots of learning from TV. But I don't want TV as default setting. I know they will love to do other things if I set it up. I will try to rearrange my time. Usually at night, I get tired and don't want to do much. I need to change that

Sandra Dodd: -=-But I don't want TV as default setting.-=-

Sandra Dodd: Change that, and your problem dissolves.

Rebecca Allen: I like World of Goo, but I haven't played Angry Birds.

Sandra Dodd: It might be, Jihong, that you are used to worrying in your life, that it is your background state, and you're comfortable that way. So rather than try to learn not to worry, you choose things to focus it on.

Sandra Dodd: That's not healthy for you, really.

Rebecca Allen: Jihong, we have very slow mornings here. We do have sort of a wake up and breakfast routine. It's all slow though. I embrace it. We have busy activity evenings.

Jill Parmer: I would like worry to go away completely, but I'm realizing it doesn't, not so far anyway. I don't like to worry, I don't like it to take up my time and thinking.

Alex P: You are still seeing TV as less than something else Jihong.

Sandra Dodd: And the effect here, on us in discussions, is that you seem constantly on the edge of giving up on unschooling, or in a near panic. It might not be you feel that way, but you're rarely calm and hopeful and happy about unschooling, and it's something you should move toward, solidly and directly.

Jihong: It may not be worry, it is more like questioning or doubt

ColleenPrieto: re TV reminds me of a quote from Einstein that I just read - let me find it - it's about reading and it cracked me up because it's the same sort of thing I hear often about TV

Jihong: I am 100% committed to unschooling. I have seen the amazing impact. But I am 95% fluent in unschooling, still haven't grasped the other 5% yet

Alex P: I feel that too Jihong. Like you are just cramming things for the kids to do so that you make sure they are learning whatever you think they need to know NOW. You rarely relax and enjoy it unless they are doing something valuable to you. I do not want to make you feel bad it is just what sometimes I feel. Anxiety and fear they will not learn enough .

Jill Parmer: I like what Colleen said about tv in the morning being ramp up time. We've called it wake up time here. When people get up everyone needs some time to "wake up" before they are ready to go on to more active things.

Sandra Dodd: Questioning and doubt are the same as worry, biochemically.

Sandra Dodd: And they will keep you from making decisions calmly and smoothly, without passing them through the wall of questions and doubt.

ColleenPrieto: here it is "Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking."

Jihong: I think one of my problems is the old thinking, try to establish a benchmark I can compare to. So sometimes I am thinking, am i doing enough, or am I doing too much. How do other unschooling families work? in school way, there is clear benchmark there and lots of comparison. I dont really want to fall into school way thinking again. I want to be "fluent", "confident", which 95% of the time, I am, the other 5% of the time, I question

Alex P: Well I read too much according to some people !HA

Sandra Dodd: I think your confidence that you're 95% there is keeping you back, too. You THINK you understand almost all of it, but the evidence isn't showing. It's okay not to know 90% of it, seriously. 🙂

Sandra Dodd: Without being aware that there is more to learn, you will not be attempting to learn more.

Sandra Dodd: /gettingit

Alex P: Do not compare. Look at your kids. Maybe it is enough for your son but too much for mine. OR too much for your son but not enough for your daughter.

ColleenPrieto: Alex it cracked me up because it reminded me of past discussions re reading or other pursuits being more valuable and TV and other media less valuable - but if reading is bad, I guess I personally waste a lot of time too ;)

Sandra Dodd: People get more every year or two all the time they're unschooling, because their own experience grows, and their children move through different stages of mental and emotional development.

Jill Parmer: I love to relax and read, but many times it's not lazy habits...I keep getting new ideas.

Sandra Dodd: Colleen, I see that in unschoolers who read six or ten books about unschooling.

Sandra Dodd: All that time reading, when they should have been with their kids. That's why I think "read a little, try a little..." is so important.

Alex P: Colleen my husband is not a reader and he things I read too much. He is nice about it fortunately.

Jihong: OK, I wil. revert back to 10% vs 90% 🙂

Sandra Dodd: Someone in the chat last week said she might want to come to the ALL Unschooling Symposium so she could talk through her doubts about unschooling (or something like that) but it is NOT something people can get to by talking, or by reading, or by coming to chats. It has to be done by that person, with his or her own real children, all kinds of times and places, like riding a bike. 🙂

Sandra Dodd: TONS of people can give a great report on unschooling. They can quote people, recite platitudes, give examples that are out there online, talk about authors, but it's giving a report. Jeez, there are speakers at conferences who are basically giving reports on unschooling. Jihong: I like the quote, Colleen. I see that in my children. Their imagination and creativity are very original and fluid

Alex P: Sandra I read only here and on the list about unschooling. I read about everything from horses, gardening to new technology ....I am just one of those super curious people about pretty much everything.

Jihong: Good point, alex. I need to work on it. I understand it but it climbed back to my mind sometimes

Sandra Dodd: Alex, super-curiosity is the best tool for unschooling, I think. Because if you see it and accept it in yourself and see the value, you will easily be able to see it in your children.

Alex P: That is why I found unschooling, reading about children, parenting, learning, school, and on and on.....

Sandra Dodd: Discussions help a lot, and I like to think these chats help some people some, but it can't be the be-all and end-all of information about unschooling.

Jihong: Sandra, the read a little, try a little and wait, helps me the most! I was reading, reading and reading and accepted it theoretically, but when I was with my kids, I didn't know what to do. I stopped reading, and started trying and waiting. That was much better

Sandra Dodd: Holly is 20 today. I could've stopped writing about unschooling when she 18, or 16, or 10. 🙂
But I don't see many others out there who are better at it, and there are lots of people wanting to know more.

Alex P: Happy Birthday Holly!

Jihong: don't stop yet, Sandra 🙂

Alex P: I am glad you still write about it Sandra.

Sandra Dodd: Right, Jihong!! One could understand theoretically (and pass tests, and give public talks) about bicycling, piloting planes, or building the pyramids, but that doesn't mean they could DO it.

Sandra Dodd: And unschooling isn't about knowing, it's about doing.

Jill Parmer: Sandra, that seems to be one of your fortes though, writing, sharing information, observing/noticing things, and talking about it. I hope you keep doing that.

Sandra Dodd: I'm enjoying it. I've been invited to Malaysia, Portugal, Spain and South Africa.

Sandra Dodd: I'm probably not going, but... it's nice to have people say "we would love for you to come and stay with us and talk to other parents around here, too."

Sandra Dodd: The invitation to the Netherlands was a repeat (I turned them down last summer, and they were going to go to France, but one child had medical issues). So this summer, I'm going. 🙂

Jill Parmer: Yes, that is awesome. And it's proof that you never know where your talents may take you. Writing and sharing information has given you all these opportunities.

Alex P: That is cool Sandra. I would love to go to the Netherlands.

Sandra Dodd: For me, this has been a way to see more of the world (and change a little of it), and that has been my big benefit and reward. Satisfaction of a job well done, and photographs of things I wouldn't have seen otherwise.

Jihong: maybe we can meet you the Netherlands next summer

Sandra Dodd: That would be cool. I'll be in Leiden but I don't know when yet.

Alex P: that is another thing that is big for unschooling parents to realize. That following your passions, even if they seem not financially sound, can lead you to a happy life and a fullfilling career.

Alex P: People make a living because they loved to play video games, or draw, or cook , or belly dance. Anything is posssible not just being a doctor or an engineer. So many people are stuck in jobs they hate and are not happy because they were told they needed to follow a certain path so they would have a job and a future.

Jill Parmer: I think for people who worry and read more than do, should spend the time the kids are watching tv, breath and relax. I'm pretty sure that would be a boost to their unschooling.

Jihong: I wonder if we would keep doing the "round the world" for a couple of years while we can.

Jihong: I will try that, Jill. just be with kids and not to think too much for a while and see how I will feel

Alex P: Yes Jihong be with them and watch them. Be relaxed and happy and present . Do things for the fun of it and not because they may learn something.

Alex P: Jihong there is no hurry. Your kids are very young. There is nothing they need to learn right now, specially nothing that has to do with school like reading and math.

Sandra Dodd: Also, Jihong, there should be 185 days of "no school." Days off.

Sandra Dodd: If you really let that happen, and you relax fully into life, THEN and only then will the really fancy learning opportunities start to show themselves.

Serah: thanks everyone - this is exactly what i needed to read right now. My boys are inviting me to watch Aliens in the Attic with them, off I go. Thanks so much everyone for being here and helping us to come to love and appreciate each moment we have together.

Sandra Dodd: Have fun, Serah!

Sandra Dodd: -=- People make a living because they loved to play video games, or draw, or cook, or belly dance. ANything is posssible not just being a doctor or an engineer -=-

Sandra Dodd: And I'm not making a living writing. Keith is supporting me. And it's also possible to work one job (Keith, engineer) while having hobbies that don't lead to "real money" (nor much, nor any--Keith, wooden furniture for medieval camping; carving knotwork on little wooden boxes; making tents, just all for fun)

Jihong: yes, alex. Watching them makes me realize how my mind was framed by school. Orion loves rocks and mineral. I am happy about that. But I felt puzzled by the way he was learning about rock. for me, it was about reading about rocks, how it was formed, what was in it...all the facts. But I learned from him just appreciating rock itself. He can carry his favorite rock (it changes) everywhere he goes and while he is sleeping.

Sandra Dodd: I've just lately learned that one thing evolutionary biologists are looking at is what is genetically inherited, and what is not. And one thing that is being considered genetic now is openness to new ideas. That would be curiosity, flexibility, wonder. If a family doesn't have that (the parents don't and the kids don't) then unschooling won't work.

Sandra Dodd: But it's unlikely they would have looked into unschooling, too, if they only like what's plain and familiar and "proven."

Sandra Dodd: For an interest in rocks, the difference between wet and dry is fun, and also what will scratch that rock, and what that rock will scratch. He might need a test kit. Anyone know right off hand what's in a geology hardness test set?

Sandra Dodd: I'm trying to remember. A nail... that can't be all. 🙂

Sandra Dodd: And he might not want to try to scratch his favorite rocks, but he might want to scratch others.

ColleenPrieto: my son loves to smash rocks with other rocks - he says to see what's inside... I remember loving to smash rocks when I was little too

Jill Parmer: a piece of scratch?

Sandra Dodd: There's a geologist's tool called a pick, and you might want to get him one.

Jihong: I will look into it. A test kit. No, he wants to drop it, break it and see what is inside 🙂

Alex P: MD and Gigi have a kit. All you need is a nail, copper (an old penny) and a crystal.

Sandra Dodd: Glass, but diamond cuts it and I think a couple of others might mark it but not deep.

Alex P: Yes and glass!

Sandra Dodd: I don't think you should get him a pick right now, but someday, if you're in a place where he can really whack some rocks. Like certain parts of rural Texas and New Mexico. 🙂

Sandra Dodd: Smashing rocks will show you the way they break and that's another identifying factor of various minerals, how they shear. b

Rebecca Allen: The series of books Roadside Geology of (various U.S. states) is fun for road trips.

Jihong: I already got him for his 6-year-old birthday. He loves it and slept with it for a week. I asked him to put the protection piece on the pointed end

Alex P: We just did a lot of rock experiments at Cub Scouts. All easy and fun. You can also use some vinegar to pour on the rock to see if they bubble , If they do they are Limestone. very common aroung here.'

ColleenPrieto: Roadside Geology - going to have to check those out - wonder if they have one for any New England states

ColleenPrieto: just checked and indeed they do!

Rebecca Allen: There is a Roadside Geology of Texas one, Jihong. Roadside Geology of Texas

Jihong: great info about the roadside geology. See, love chatting with all the moms here, very resourceful

Alex P: But we really just love to collect rocks we find interesting. It is fun! Another fun collection is sand. They are all different and you can put them in a little glass and label them with the location, FUN!"

Rebecca Allen: I learned about those on a College Geology field trip from Lousiana to Washington and down the coast and back.

Sandra Dodd: About the "who can" page... anyone interested in talking about that a bit?

Sandra Dodd: I'm willing not to. 🙂

Sandra Dodd: Or to.

Jill Parmer: I'd like to.

Rebecca Allen: Seems like everyone here can. 🙂

Alex P: It is hard to tell who can. Sometimes you think someone would be great but it turns out they are not.

Rebecca Allen: That's true too, Alex.

Jihong: sandra, do you really believe genetically some people cannot?

Marta BP: I'd like to, too.

ColleenPrieto: I think anyone can, providing they want to, and they're committed to the process. Really want to and really committed - not just saying they are and then having their actions show otherwise.

Alex P: Sure if genetically their personality does not allow for being open to what it takes to unschool.

Alex P: Oops I am not Sandra! 😉

Sandra Dodd: If you're right, you're right, Alex. 🙂

Sandra Dodd: I don't think wanting to will do it all by itself any more than a five year old who wants to read can read.

Jill Parmer: I don't think people who really want to and are really committed, necessarily can. Those seem to be more about desire and thoughts, but like Sandra said earlier, it takes doing it. Being active.

Alex P: I do not think anyone can Colleen, I have seen people want to and be commited and they are no longer unschooling.

Sandra Dodd: There are other necessary things.

Sandra Dodd: Some people aren't in a position to do it, emotionally, physically, legally, practically.

Jihong: right 🙂 I feel the ability to unschool was hindered by school. at least that was my case...the more I do it, the more I am aware of the restriction schools put in my mind

Sandra Dodd: Other parent says no, probation officer says no, need to work full time and overtime says no, living with grandparents or other relatives who say "Not in MY house,"...

Lisa Biskup: Right, Sandra.

Marta BP: What do you mean by "legally" Sandra?

Sandra Dodd: If a judge says you can't, you can't.

Sandra Dodd: If you live in Germany, you can't.

Sandra Dodd: If you're in prison, you can't.

Sandra Dodd: if you don't have the part of custody of your children that allows you to decide that unilaterally, you can't.

Sandra Dodd: All the wanting in the world won't change those things.

Marta BP: Ok. I was asking because in Portugal we can homeschool, but not many people unschool because they're afraid.

ColleenPrieto: I don't know - to me there's truth in "where there's a will there's a way" but maybe that's too simple for unschooling. I just know that in my experience, if you really commit to going after something you want, you tend to figure out a way to get there. I'm ok with being not in the majority on that opinion though 🙂 And yes I do agree if there are extenuating circumstances then all the will in the world won't help you - prison, lack of custody, etc. yes.

Marta BP: Sure.

Sandra Dodd: Fear is a block, too. 🙂

Jill Parmer: Right, fear won't allow for unschooling.

Jill Parmer: What Sandra said. 🙂

Sandra Dodd: Colleen, that sounds pretty, but it's limited to people who have freedom of motion and some money to go with it.

Marta BP: I can imagine! 🙂

Sandra Dodd: "Where there's a will there's a way" is a slogan, it's not a truth.

Sandra Dodd: Someone just last week who had.... OH. Jonah Hill. An actor. Was interviewed about doing a voice for a new cartoon show, and he said somewhere in the interview "Sometimes dreams do come true."

Sandra Dodd: That's fluff and nonsense.

ColleenPrieto: I'll think about it - I'm not ready to say I'm wrong yet 😉

Alex P: Yes fear just cannot lead anyone to unschooling or unschooling well.

Sandra Dodd: If every lottery ticket winner dreams of winning, and one wins, it wasn't because that one dreamed it.

Jihong: in my case, I feel I could do unschooling now, but might not if I had children at younger age...I am more mature, calm, content now than my younger age

ColleenPrieto: re fear - if you want to unschool you'd need to set your fear aside. I have a book here somewhere that's called "Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway." It's about saying yep you can be afraid - but that only stops you if you want it to. Interesting read.

Alex P: Colleen it is like saying if I really wanted to be a sprinter I could become one. That would just never happen to me. I do not have the body and genetics to be a Sprinter. I can get faster than I am but will never be one.

Sandra Dodd: There was a great Saturday Night Live bit about Sarah Palin having really wanted to be a candidate, or something I don't remember. And the one playing Hilary Clinton said "right, that's why I lost. I didn't *WANT IT* enough." very sarcastically. 🙂

Sandra Dodd: From page 26 [of The Big Book of Unschooling]:

For many years people have told me "You can't tell me I can't unschool." I seem to be the only person out there saying "Well, then you can't unschool..." when people say, "I can't be with my child every day," or "I can't put any time or money into this," or "I don't mind unschooling if my child will figure out everything on his own, and he's not going to be playing on the computer or watching TV, either." Some people coo and say, "Ooooh, anyone can unschool." I never have said that.

But what people CAN do is to explore and mess around with running, science, politics, cooking... and get better gradually.

Jihong: how about, "anyone can do it", but some people can do it with less struggle and do a beautiful job, but some will struggle

Sandra Dodd: Acting, voicework, writing, weight loss--Jonah Hill WORKED at those things, he DID them, he hung around other people who had done them, he made choices that led closer to them and not farther away, but he didn't "wish it" into reality.

Lisa Biskup: Yes.

Sandra Dodd: "Anyone can do it" isn't true of most things, either.

Alex P: No not everyone can do it. Some do it badly and make a mess out of it. Is that good?

Sandra Dodd: If anyone could do this one thing it would make the world paradise: Anyone can be satisfied with the life he has.

Sandra Dodd: Is the "it" being a sprinter or voice actor or being an unschooler?

Sandra Dodd: Those who are struggling won't be doing it.

Lisa Biskup: Has anyone read The Talent Code? Definitely takes doing, not wanting or wishing.

Sandra Dodd: Lisa, I haven't seen it.

Sandra Dodd: If one can't move quickly toward unschooling without a struggle, unschooling won't work.

Jihong: alex, I am not trying to be argumental...what about it will be acceptable, if for the family, unschooling is better than sending kids to school?

ColleenPrieto: interesting - all things to think about. I do want to say though that it's not the wanting and wishing that I think get you there - not at all! It's the things you do because you want or wish it - that's what gets you somewhere.

Jill Parmer: When I was younger, I was a really good sprinter, but not a long distance runner at all, and I didn't like long distance running. In a physiology class, I learned that there are different muscle fibers, long and short, brown and white. The short brown ones were the sprinting muscle fibers.

Lisa Biskup: Search title PDF to find free online version. Daniel Coyle [Metzger-TheTalentCode.pdf]

Note from Sandra later: It's brief, I read it. His definitions of "talent" and "genius" are non-standard. He's talking about mastery, and that's different, in my opinion. For unschooling, I think it's worth reading, but balance it with Howard Gardner's ideas about multiple intelligences:


ColleenPrieto: I'm anti-manifesting 😉 I don't mean you can manifest yourself into something you want - I just mean if you want something you can work toward it - do things that get you closer not further away. If that makes more sense.

Sandra Dodd: I'm being kind of a pain in the butt, perhaps, but I disagree with this, too: "it's the things you do because you want or wish it - that's what gets you somewhere."

Alex P: that is what I was talking about Jill. Many times it takes more than will and even doing it. Sure you can still do long distance but not in a competitive level. Unschooling needs to be done in a high level or it is not good, in my opinion.

ColleenPrieto: LOL I'm ok with being disagreed with 🙂

Sandra Dodd: Sometimes people get somewhere they never heard of, without having wished it or wanted it, and it's a wonderful place.

Sandra Dodd: Some people want or wish and end up in a dead-end hell hole.

Lisa Biskup: True

Marta BP: That's what happened to me regarding whole-life unschooling Sandra. 🙂

Sandra Dodd: I think wishing for something that isn't what is can be a bad place to be. Wanting something distant and not related to the present isn't very useful.

Jihong: now I see it...for some people, school may be a better choice than unschooling

Marta BP: (the "Sometimes people get somewhere they never heard of, without having wished it or wanted it, and it's a wonderful place." part)

Sandra Dodd: I agree with this part: " I just mean if you want something you can work toward it - do things that get you closer not further away."

Jill Parmer: I agree, Alex. I've seen not good enough unschooling, and it's ok maybe for that family, but it's not got the results I'm seeing in Luke and Addi, and my family.

ColleenPrieto: Sandra absolutely - I don't think it's the only way you get somewhere - I think for example of moms where I work part time (social service agency/Head Start) - they live in poverty and have abusive relationships and can be addicts - they can't unschool now. But if they wanted to, they could make choices that could move them that way. And eventually they might get there - or at least they'd be better off for trying (as would their kids).

ColleenPrieto: and if they gave up drugs and pursued employment and healthy relationships, etc etc. they could unschool one day - not today, but one day.

Sandra Dodd: I had a friend who wanted me to sign for him to go to a local school of Chinese medicine.

Sandra Dodd: He needed two people to vouch for him morally, educationally, and as the people who would be hounded if he disappeared owing money..

Sandra Dodd: I have another friend who, not as a job but as a hobby, was the regional expert in traditional Chinese ointments and balms--like athletic stuff, joint and muscle rubs and (I'm not thinking of the word... like Ben Gay, but it's called other things. Tiger-something, stinky fermented stuff)

Jill Parmer: Tigerbalm

Sandra Dodd: So I took the one friend to visit the other friend, just casually, not "let's go see some Chinese stuff." The older friend is a Kung Fu teacher, has been for 35 years. The younger friend who claimed to be interested in Chinese medicine, showed not ONE BIT of curiosity or interest.

Jihong: how do I or you know I or you are doing a good job unschooling?

Sandra Dodd: He was in a place to learn cool stuff for free. This is the guy who was supplying some of the places where he wanted to study and learn in Albuquerque, and I had taken him to a whole 'nother town to meet him. Zip.

Alex P: Colleen those people you mention are too far from being able to unschool. So much needs to happen before they can think of it.

Sandra Dodd: So I didn't sign his papers. He was kinda pissed, but I didn't care.

Rebecca Allen: How does dreaming fall in this conversation?

Sandra Dodd: What he claimed to want was not what he was actually interested in. He didn't care about Chinese medicine at a direct level. He wanted to sign up for a course, take classes, get a piece of paper, and a job.

ColleenPrieto: Alex right - they are - but all I'm saying is I don't think I can say "you're poor - you're an addict - you can never unschool" - they could make choices and move forward. That's all I mean 🙂

Jihong: I agree with you Sandra. I have met many people who claim to love travel, but don't go anywhere, with every excuse...the truth is they don't love travel, which is OK. Travel can be hard work

Alex P: Jihong are your kids happy and are you happy and relaxed and are you all enjoying and peaceful?

Sandra Dodd: But I love travel writings and exotic photos! I DO.

Sandra Dodd: Arm-chair traveller. 🙂

Alex P: I do not think anyone in that position Colleen would be thinking about unschooing to be told they can or cannot unschool.

Sandra Dodd: I do not ever, EVER want to be on a boat on the Amazon, not for a second. But I love to look at the photos of people who have done that. 🙂

Jihong: yes, Alex... they are happy, I am happy. 🙂

Sandra Dodd: Rebecca, what kind of dreaming? Jonah Hill's "dreams come true"?

Jihong: not that peaceful yet...working on sibling issue and me being mad when they don't get along

Rebecca Allen: I'm not sure. I'm teasing out wishing from dreaming and thinking about future ifs. It's not all within the realm of impossible.

Lisa Biskup: I am happy. Kids are happy. Learning all the time. Curious, engaged, having fun. It's "working" for us.

Sandra Dodd: I don't think anyone said "impossible." But it's not the desire does it. It's not the dreaming. It's the doing. The exploration, inquiry, observation.

Rebecca Allen: Yes, it's the doing.

ColleenPrieto: Alex, moms in that position have absolutely met my son and my husband, seen some of our unschooling life, and asked questions and wanted information. They're not ready - but I can look them in the eye and say "do this first" - get yourself in order before you can help your kids!

Sandra Dodd: Kirby used to dream of working at Toys 'R Us when he grew up. 🙂

Then for a while he thought he might like to work at Nintendo. So I guess he's a failure, because he didn't do either of those things. 🙂

Lisa Biskup: I'm not wishing to be in shape for ski season, I am at the gym working on that. Getting ready.

Alex P: What I see, Jihong, is your anxiety sometimes that they need to be doing something that will lead them to learning something. Like you are always worried they are not learning enough or that you need to create more learning opportunities. Just that. I would say to relax, watch your kids from a peaceful and calm place.'

Jihong: yes, Alex. I will remember that

Sandra Dodd: No, he's a big success, but he didn't dream or work or anything for the job he has. He was qualified, prepared, but he fell into it largely by chance and by having contacts who let him know when the opportunity arose. Networking. Being in the right place, by chance, at the right time.

Rebecca Allen: That's what I'm thinking about...not squashing those kinds of dreams. They are possibilities if the person does the doing. Sometimes the doing makes you realize you don't really want the dream. That's clarification, not failure.

Sandra Dodd: -=-how do I or you know I or you are doing a good job unschooling?-=- It's possible to do too much. The attempt to bypass deschooling will keep it from ever working.

Sandra Dodd: It's possible not to do enough. If kids seem bored dull, do more. If life feels dull, enliven it. If life seems frantic, slow down.

Lisa Biskup: Say more, Sandra.

ColleenPrieto: just saying again - I don't think the wishing gets you there - it's doing the things to make your wishes reality. If you want something and you're willing to put in the time and effort to get there, that's most of the battle. In my opinion. And yes, extenuating circumstances are the exception. My husband is here now reading and says "yep I know who can't unschool - you don't have kids - you can't unschool" 🙂 so that's his example of circumstances!

ColleenPrieto: my obese, diabetic, out of shape brother in law this summer decided he wanted to run a half marathon - he got a coach, changed his diet, started running for the first time in his life, and practiced and practiced. In October he ran 13 miles. His diabetes is gone. He's no longer ill. He wanted it AND he wanted it bad enough to do what he had to do.

Sandra Dodd: AND he could afford a coach, and he was physically capable of learning to run.

Lisa Biskup: Great for him!

ColleenPrieto: Rebecca I totally agree - "they are possibliities if the person does the doing" -

Alex P: If the parent is addicted and homeless they cannot unschool. If those circumstaces change then they may be able to unschool. You cannot know that.

Sandra Dodd: Not everything is a possibility for every person.

Sandra Dodd: So we should only be thinking about how to help people for whom unschooling could work.

heather: I have a friend whose daughter is 10. She's in school. Every morning for a month now there have been tears in the morning. I've been listening a lot about and feeling so bad for her daughter. Today she let her daughter stay home from school and she asked to come over here. She begged her mom to let her do this everyday and to let her be unschooled.

heather: I had a point to that and lost it midway.

ColleenPrieto: Yes Alex but if a person is a homeless addict, they can make choices that will end that for themselves - and that's what we're always talking to clients about - make the choice to make it better, and go from there

Sandra Dodd: Often people will say "So you think EVERYone should unschool?!" And no, I don't. Not even nearly. I don't think anyone should homeschool unless they want to. And of those, I don't think anyone should unschool unless it sounds fun and exciting and would make their lives better.

Lisa Biskup: Exactly.

Sandra Dodd: -=-and that's what we're always talking to clients about - make the choice to make it better, and go from there-=- What clients, Colleen?

ColleenPrieto: anti-poverty work which can certainly involve referring people to counseling, shelters, etc.

ColleenPrieto: but only people who want to get better 🙂

Sandra Dodd: I don't think people in shelters have the option to keep their kids out of school, I'm guessing. Legally. If they're dependent on state aid or some such, probably part of the condition is that their kids are in school.

(I could be wrong)

Alex P: Colleen they may be able one day. What I am saying is that even people in optimal circumstances are not always cut out for being an unschooling parent.

Sandra Dodd: Right, Alex.

Sandra Dodd: Someone could be rich, brilliant, have a huge house and a nanny and still not want to spend more time with kids, or still not want to put even one hour into considering the idea that people can learn outside of school. Or someone could have all those things and just not be able to make the personal changes that it would take.

ColleenPrieto: I don't think you could unschool successfully in a shelter environment - but if you get yourself out of the shelter, you might someday get to that point. Or not. Alex right - maybe that's my issue - there's the question of who can unschool and then there's who "should" unschool. Certainly not everyone should. That I agree with totally!

Alex P: even the ones that want to. What happens is that they do a poor job and kids end up in a mess and back in school or out of the home. I have seen it. I think is about the personal changes and how they see things.

Robin Bentley: I think these things might stop people from unschooling well: incuriosity, aversion to technology, being unable to see the connections between "subjects" (or anything in the world), wanting learning to look like what happens in school, strict adherence to certain views like veganism, raw foodism - anything that puts food controls on others in the family. I'll think of some more in a minute 🙂.

Sandra Dodd: I'm back to quoting that page:

Other people have said, "You can't tell me I'm not an unschooler." Usually it's right after they have told me and a hundred others that they're not really clear on what unschooling is, or that they unschool after school or in the summer, or that they unschool history but not math and English. Those who can't see and don't want to see the connection between music and history, or art and mathematics, and who don't want to try to see such things cannot unschool.
Sandra Dodd: Some people have no interest in how learning works.

Jihong: I agree with Sandra's quote...for people who haven't, cannot and will not make the mental shift, cannot unschool, even though they claim they are is not the same thing

Robin Bentley: The idea that parents have nothing to learn from children can hamper unschooling, too.

Sandra Dodd: More quote:

Someone who wants to teach for a few hours, five days a week, and not be involved with learning the rest of the time cannot unschool.
Alex P: yes Robyn and mandated chores when the child does not want too.

Robin Bentley: Yes, good one Alex.

Sandra Dodd: Heather, I'm sorry to hear that. 🙂

Sandra Dodd: I hope she's a great unschooler, though. 😉

Robin Bentley: Sound like she's already been told she's not an unschooler, Heather!

Sandra Dodd: Sounds like she has a little concern in that area, yeah. 🙂

heather: Yea. I think so.

Rebecca Allen: Alex, Quinn has thanked me lately for not making her do chores. She has seen moms making kids do chores on television.

laura zurro: hi everyone, sorry late from park date. will read to catch up

Alex P: Also when one parent does not want unschooling it cannot happen. I am not talking dads having doubts I am talking about really not wanting it.

Jihong: I wonder if this question is off topic. What about dad's role in unschooling? I assume most moms are the primary role of unschooling...dads are more like a provider and participate as much as time allows

This might not have been answered well, but there was a chat on dads and there's a page.

Alex P: Jihong that would have been a good question last week!

heather: When I first got on Always Learning a friend of mine said Sandra Dodd is my barometer for whether I am going to see eye to eye with someone. She said she would find a way to work Sandra Dodd into the conversation and pay attention to the reaction. I'll admit, that's kinda what I was doing.

Alex P: Rebecca Gigi was begging the other day for me to tell her what to do so she could help me clean a room!

Alex P: "Give me something to do NOW mom!"

Rebecca Allen: It seems some folks who don't want to be told they aren't unschoolers then make up other terms for it. That's okay! If it's not unschooling, then no need to call it that.

heather: From the conversation I have heard I think most of the unschoolers at park day are academic unschoolers and not radical unschoolers.

Jill Parmer: That's kinda funny, Heather. I can totally see that.

Alex P: I should do that ! I got a few new "unschoolers' in our local group.

Jihong: Good to have a exercise I enjoy is to "answer" the questions on alwayslearning list and compare my answer with Sandra's. I learned a lot from doing that

ColleenPrieto: speaking of chores we got a Swiffer Duster in the mail the other day - my son was SO excited - it was like a present just for him had arrived - he dusted for hours!! He got so much joy from "non-required dusting" - reminded me of being required to dust on my list of chores when I was little - never brought me joy!

Sandra Dodd: Work is what you don't want to do--what's that quote? 🙂

Rebecca Allen: Fun, Alex. About Gigi wanting to do chores. It's all about desire.

Alex P: I loved dusting when I was a child!!

laura zurro: we have several people in our group who say they are unschoolers but they are either mixing curriculum or not open to discussing ideas of letting go.

ColleenPrieto: I might have loved it if it wasn't on a check-off list on the fridge... 🙂

Sandra Dodd: More quote:

Someone who wants a kid to get a high school diploma and go to college as soon as possible with no sidetracking and no unnecessary chit-chat cannot unschool."

Some people hope unschooling is easier than school at home.

IF it's easier, it should be because the parents thought it was as fun as dusting when you don't "have to."

Jihong: I don't really have "chores" in my life...I enjoy doing dishes, laundry, cleaning, cooking...when I don't feel like doing it, I will try to find ways around it. I think it is important for kids to see those are not chores...

Sandra Dodd: But Jihong.... they can't see your feelings. 🙂 They WILL be chores if there's shame or pressure. Two people can be doing the same job side by side and one happy and one miserable.

Alex P: We call chores the work done outside in the farm. They are farm chores. So not a bad connotation.'

Sandra Dodd:

If people want the end product of school (diploma, graduation, prom/whatever), they should not unschool. It doesn't make sense to encourage them to do that. Schools give out diplomas every year, all the time, and that's where people should go who want diplomas.
Jihong: sandra, they can see me do those things happily and they want to do them too. 🙂 I don't like "have to", so I don't ask them "have to" do something, most of the time

Sandra Dodd: Trying to convert people to unschooling is some kind of moral and ethical crime.

Alex P: I have not been a good housekeeper lately . I do feel guilty as my mom valued a clean house and I grew up hearing the house was a mess we need to clean it. I have to confess I say that too much. Trying to change that.

Sandra Dodd: Sometimes I think of days when houses had dirt floors and no insulation and walls were plastered and repaired when the plaster broke, rather than insulated dry wall with linoleum or whatever. It's a difference. I grew up in an adobe house. If I put a nail in the wall, I could pull it out later by hand, and patch over with spackling. Or toothpaste. 🙂
And paint over the mark.

laura zurro: I have the same problem Alex - this is probably what prompted Caitlyn to tell me she wants to buy all the cleaning things for me for Xmas

Rebecca Allen: I'm thinking about my attitude about candy wrappers all over the place. I don't want to be grumpy about it when I ask for those to be put in the garbage.

Sandra Dodd: Rebecca, I would say "Don't eat candy if you're not going to put the wrappers in the trash."

Jihong: Alex, my husband Scott is great and very helpful in that department. He never complains. When he would like a cleaner and neater environment, he will take the time doing it. Love that!

Alex P: That is nice Jihong. So there is one of the roles your husband took that helps you unschool.

Jihong: right, Alex...I didn't realize that

laura zurro: I think our issue lately has been that I need to get the rest of the house unpacked so we can find things and it's a struggle for me because I'm a packrat and I spend a lot of time being frustrated, and so does Caitlyn when she can't find things

Sandra Dodd: I would say it to guests, my kids, or my husband. Or put a bowl by where she is, for the wrappers, and then ask her to dump the bowl later. Or better yet, a paper cup so the whole thing can be thrown away. 🙂

Rebecca Allen: That's helpful, Sandra. Thanks.

Jill Parmer: Sandra said **Two people can be doing the same job side by side and one happy and one miserable. ** This seems to come back to genetics, I see people that are happy doing whatever they are doing, and I see people complaining about everything. The complainers shouldn't unschool.
But people can sometimes (some of them) learn to be less cynical and whiney--to learn to see the bright side of life. Everyone can get a little better at it. Or at least practice not whining so much. 🙂

Alex P: Candy wrappers !!!!!!!!!!! I ask them to put on the trash or top of the table so I can just toss itl, MD has a trash can in his room,.

The chat was the week after Halloween, so candy wrappers
were more present than most times of the year.

ColleenPrieto: Exactly - if they want to unschool successfully they can choose to act differently. 🙂

Sandra Dodd: Some people seem to think everyone complains and that it's the cool and intelligent thing to do. And if they keep doing that, unschooling will be a big drag. But if they can move toward joy, then... joy joy joy. 🙂

Jihong: Sandra, I do feel confused about being supportive and no chore with your ability to say "you will not eat candy without putting wrapper in the garbage". Would you please elaborate on that more?

laura zurro: I think Robin and I were talking last week about how unschooling can also help us to change our mindset and things that we want to improve about ourselves provided we're open to it. I know I've made big strides —more than ever before but I have a long way to go.

Sandra Dodd: It shouldn't be "a chore" to wipe one's own butt after going to the bathroom.

Sandra Dodd: Some things are just part of living. If I finish eating, I take my plate to the sink.

Sandra Dodd: If someone is getting up, they might grab some other plates or dishes, or they might be in a hurry and leave the plate. It's not anyone's job, but it's the principle of putting things closer to where they need to be if you're going that way anyway.

Jihong: how do you distinguish "part of living" with chores...

Sandra Dodd: If I blow my nose, I put the kleenex in the trash. It has germs. It's ugly. It's not for throwing on the floor; who would do that!? A sick person! If I'm sick in bed with flu, I might throw them on the floor, until I'm well enough to get up and put them in the trash

Sandra Dodd: Repect for others?

Alex P: "hey candy wrappers in the trash"

Sandra Dodd: Whose job should it be to put the wrapper of candy in the trash?
The one who ate it.
Duh. It's trash.
I can't see why anyone would NOT see that, no matter how little the person is.
If the mom puts a wrapper in the trash for a two year old, she could say so. "Do you want me to put this in the trash, or do you want to?" And nicely.
Not "PUT IT IN THE TRASH" and not just doing it without comment, necessarily.

Jihong: what about, parents complain about picking up after kids, kids should be able to do that, or parents should do that

laura zurro: doesn't it really also come down to modeling and respect for other people in the home?

Sandra Dodd: The answer is "it depends," to everything.
If a mom can't figure out how to persuade or inspire her kids to put the candy wrappers in the trash, then maybe she should just do it herself without bringing it up in this chat.
If a child is exhausted after a day at the pool and the parent is happy the kid got to swim, and picks up the towel and swimsuit and toys and puts them away, GREAT!!
If it was done lovingly, it wasn't a chore.

ColleenPrieto: when I find things around (trash like tissues, crumpled papers, wrappers, etc.) I have the habit of saying "do you want me to get that for you?" whether it's my husband or son who left it there - it's a reminder of "that goes in the trash," without being nasty

Sandra Dodd: If there's a bowl of pistachios on the table, or of cherries, there should probably be a bowl for stems, pits, shells, right next to it.

Sandra Dodd: Same with a bowl of candy; a place for the wrappers.

Robin Bentley: Even restaurants do that for rib bones or fruit pits or shrimp tails!

Sandra Dodd: The end of page 26:

It is possible, though, to change, if the goal is important enough, or if the current emotional state is unproductive or painful. Those who cannot change cannot unschool.
Rebecca Allen: I had not thought of the bowl for wrappers. I just make a pile and then bring the wrappers to the trash when I get up, much like bringing a plate to the kitchen after eating a meal.

heather: "if it was done lovingly, it wasn't a chore" I think this is worth repeating. When I got this things became easier for me and in turn for my family.

Sandra Dodd: The question about candy wrappers sounded to me like a kid was leaving Halloween candy wrappers randomly scattered around the house. And the mom was bugged.

Sandra Dodd: If there are more trashcans or receptacles and the mom can be NOT bugged, that will help.

Sandra Dodd: But if the question is "how can I ask them not to leave wrappers?" I think a paper bowl or cup, or a box that was going in the trash anyway could be a place to put wrappers.

Robin Bentley: Kids are set up not to fail, if there are lots of ways to succeed ie. many trashcans/receptacles.

Sandra Dodd: I'll repeat it.🙂 "if it was done lovingly, it wasn't a chore" I think this is worth repeating.

heather: Yesterday I was picking up candy wrappers next to Austin since I was getting ready to go downstairs. Then I sat down next to him and started eating candy with him. It was fun and he was eager to share with me.

Robin Bentley: Another fridge magnet, Sandra!

Sandra Dodd: (I'll note that for future fridge magnets, Robin; thanks.)

Jihong: I would like some suggestions on this. Orion, 6, afraid of going to bathroom alone, I have bathroom lights on all the time now, still he needs me to go with him, is it just the age, or any other ways to help him? I go to bathroom with him more than 5-8 times a day, since he eats lots of watermelons

heather: I never got a "No" when I asked if I could have a Snickers or a Twix. That may have been different if I asked for Skittles though ;)

Sandra Dodd: It's the age, I think, Jihong.

heather: Austin is 10 and depending on where we are or if the house is dark sometimes he still asks me to go with him. Sometimes if I turn the light on for him it doesn't matter. He was already spooked by the dark.

Robin Bentley: Jihong, think of it as a way to connect still with the little boy that still needs help sometimes.

Sandra Dodd: If you can go with him without complaining, Jihong, his life and yours will be better. And it's pretty easy. And he'll grow past it.

Robin Bentley: If it was done lovingly, it wasn't a chore....

ColleenPrieto: and Jihong remind yourself this stage will pass

heather: 6 is still young. Sometimes bathrooms are scary. They can be dark before you go in, the toilet is loud when it flushes, sometimes the toilet will make a noise when it's not supposed too, etc.

Robin Bentley: Senna (16) still likes her bathroom light on.

ColleenPrieto: was typing that at the same time as Sandra I think

Jihong: yes, I don't mind going...we have small talks at those times, but sometimes I got latched on by Makena, hard for me to go, he will whine and cry

Robin Bentley: Latched on, like nursing?

Jihong: yes, nursing

Robin Bentley: Do you have a sling or carrier?

laura zurro: Yes Jihong I was going to say the same thing as Robin

Jihong: I do, robin...but most of the times, at that moment, not handy.

Robin Bentley: Wear it, then!!

birthday lunch, Sandra. Some are very stylish, you know 🙂.

Sandra Dodd: Or you could say if he can wait, you'll go, but if he needs to go now, just leave the door open and talk to you from there, maybe. Or put music in there?
Holly had a CD player in the bathroom for baths, and sometimes would just play it while brushing her teeth or whatever.

heather: Does he need help getting ready to go to the bathroom? Or just wants your presence? If it's just presence can you not carry Makena while she continues to nurse?

Robin Bentley: Or give him a special flashlight or something to carry with him?

Jihong: Got it. It doesn't really bother is daddy, who thinks I should "train" him not to have that kind of fear. He argued kids going to school need to be able to go to bathroom alone

Robin Bentley: And Jihong, that's a big problem for kids at school.

laura zurro: Kids going to school sometimes simply don't go to the bathroom

Robin Bentley: It's not because the kids want to or feel comfortable doing it. They *have* to.

heather: Lots of kids who go to school hold it out of fear and then have an accident that they are shamed for later.

Jill Parmer: Guessing here, but I think Orion would like the connections he can get with you, Jihong.

laura zurro: Stephane said he would never go at school and was uncomfortable all day.

Robin Bentley: I agree, Jill. Little things for adults, big things for kids.

Jill Parmer: It's easy to focus on Makena, she's tiny and cute.

Rebecca Allen: I peed on myself in class a couple times for that reason. And the teacher told me to wait. Yuck.

Sandra Dodd: There are adults with abiding problems with "elimination" that come from fear and shame from childhood.

laura zurro: sorry Rebecca 😕

Jill Parmer: But Orion is still little and cute too, and I'll be he still needs and wants his mommy.

Jihong: interesting. My husband thinks that is one of the signs my son is not independent enough because I am always around

Sandra Dodd: Jihong, "independent enough" for WHAT!??? He's a little kid. Tell Scott to chill out.
Orion isn't going to school to learn to live without his parents' love and support. as other kids have, as Scott did.

Robin Bentley: What Sandra said.

Jill Parmer: Yep. i agree with Sandra.

heather: Seriously.

laura zurro: yep

Jihong: I did, Sandra 🙂 sometimes scott did piss me off on things like that

Sandra Dodd: I cried at school. I cried at school when I was older than Orion, because I was afraid and I wanted my mom.

Sandra Dodd: Maybe tell Scott to give you one criticism per day, and no more than one.

ColleenPrieto: that's one of the things I love about having Robbie home - he doesn't have to be independent til he's ready

laura zurro: I was reflecting on how much school I missed as a kid - I would get sick for two to three weeks in a row

Sandra Dodd: Tell him to save it for a good one.

laura zurro: "sick"

Jihong: I asked orion why he didn't like school. He said one of the main reasons was school didn't allow mummy to be there

Sandra Dodd: That way he will think about what he most wants to say instead of spouting too much criticism.

Sandra Dodd: Has Orion gone to school? I guess I thought he hadn't.

Jihong: he went to preschool for two weeks when he was 4

Sandra Dodd: Okay.

laura zurro: Is it also a man thing maybe (not all men) but my brother once told me Caitlyn would get over her shyness and clinginess if I got her off the boob, out of our bed and put her in school (2.5 years old)

Jihong: yes, sandra, I used one of your strategies when Scott said we should send the kids to school. I said, I disagree, but let's do it anyhow if you really think that is what we should do. I caught him by surprise. He said, that is not what I meant....🙂 yes, he said sending kids to school, and denied

Robin Bentley: Laura, that's because it happened to all of them. Make the boys independent at all costs. Ugh.

Sandra Dodd: Men are wounded boys, most of them.

laura zurro: my brother has a horrible relationship with his kids and was essentially the "oldest" one who had to be responsible

Sandra Dodd: It's not good to open those wounds too cruelly.

Robin Bentley: Yeah.

Sandra Dodd: They get jealous with "other kids" do things they didn't get to do. It's worth remembering that

Robin Bentley: I think that's why men liked to be mothered, just a little.

laura zurro: yes that came out in my conversation with him - first time he ever told me that

Sandra Dodd: It might help to say "Wouldn't it have been cool if we could've done this when we were little?"

Jihong: one day, Scott showed Orion around the whole house, opening every assure him no monsters....really cute idea, but didn't work...I guess fear is just one of things at his age

Sandra Dodd: Help them picture their young selves in those situations, and it can be healing, if they will and if they can

Robin Bentley: Fear can come and go, as kids become more aware of the world. So it may ebb and flow, Jihong.

Robin Bentley: Logic doesn't make sense with regard to fear for lots of people.

laura zurro: Jihong I am still afraid of things sometimes and just the other night didn't want to go to a dark part of the house

Sandra Dodd: One family had a spray bottle of water and squirted it to repel monsters. if it can be done without lying to the kid, like a "well, we can try it" it could be fun.

Sandra Dodd: Squirt it into dark rooms, or closets.

Robin Bentley: You can feel powerful then, with a spray bottle.

Rebecca Allen: Jihong, have you watched Monsters, Inc.? Great movie.

Jill Parmer: I agree with Robin. Addi was older than Orion and afraid of monsters, and had some magic dust.

heather: The other night I opened the garage door and I could have sworn someone said my name in a whisper from the garage.

ColleenPrieto: a family I know explained the squirt bottle by saying "well if monsters are real then this anti-monster spray is real too... so it'll get rid of them" - the kids totally believed - I thought it was an awesome work-around!!

Jihong: no, will check it out 🙂

Jill Parmer: Or that cute poster on facebook lately, about Teddy Bears protecting kids since 1902

laura zurro: the other thing is that kids are much more open to intuition than adults and they often sense things that we might "reason" away

heather: I did not go into the garage even though I knew it was just my imagination

Robin Bentley: Hooray for Teddy Bears. Cheetahs and wolves protect Senna, still.

Jihong: great suggestions for bathroom and fear in general. Thanks 🙂

laura zurro: have you ever asked him why he is afraid to go to bathroom alone? not in a shaming way but just in a sharing way

Jihong: now I miss my kids...need to go home. Thanks a million for the chat...I am a happy, content and confident mom again 🙂

Sandra Dodd: I think it can be hard to "go" when you're scared, so in a way it doesn't matter why.

Rebecca Allen: Sweet! Happy birthday, Holly!

ColleenPrieto: bye all! thank you for today!

Jihong: he is worried about monsters

Sandra Dodd: If the mom's there and the kid can do his doody in peace, that's important biologically!

Sandra Dodd: Poop has a purpose, and that's more important than training or independence.

Sandra Dodd: The real monster in the situation would be a dad trying to keep the mom from going in there.

Jihong: yes..I actually treasure those moments, poop or pee time

Sandra Dodd: Not all monsters are imaginary. If he wants company and company is prevented or prohibited.... no good.

Sandra Dodd: Thanks for being here.

Jihong: bye

Marta BP: Bye everyone. Thanks for the chat!

laura zurro: bye

In the Big Book, the page we were discussing above links to:

The Big Book of Unschooling

Directory of the Big Book Chats

Chat Transcripts on other topics

More on who can or cannot unschool:
Who CAN Unschool?

a chat transcript discussing
page 18, Who Can Unschool?

Podcast (recording and transcript), Amy Childs

Possible obstacles to Unschooling

How to Screw it Up