Unschooling: What It's Really All About

Sandra Dodd; Albuquerque, New Mexico

Interview by Sandi Schwartz for her Leading Edge Parenting series, which she gave me permission to share freely after it was a week old. The interview was by phone on September 30, 2009.

If you would rather download a sound file to listen to by MP3 player or iPod, click here

Or listen to one of these, here (same reccording, different code in case some browsers like one better than the other).

Note: I did tell her I didn't believe in "Law of Attraction," and she said she wouldn't bring that up, but the intro to the recording says something about that. Don't be spooked. :-)


Sandi Schwartz; Temecula, California
photo by Organic Photographs

Here's the description Sandi put on her website. I didn't write this. It's a little embarrassing, but kinda sweet, and in the three weeks around that interview I did send copies of The Big Book of Unschooling all over the U.S. and Canada, to Scotland, England, Wales, Denmark, The Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and India.

UNSCHOOLING- What's It Really All About? - Sep 30, 2009    Wednesday, 12:00 PM

Join Sandra Dodd, international leader of the Unschooling movement, as she shares her passion and knowledge about creating a home environment in which natural learning flourishes.

I really liked Sandi and this discussion could have gone on a long time, and happily. She was great at folding me back toward the middle when I'd get out to the edge. Sandi had done a lot of reading and research in advance, and talked about her experiences as a teacher in school-reform days too, which was very cool! I enjoyed the hour. There are only a couple of things I wish I'd said a little differently, but overall I think it was really good.

Links will open in a new window, so it should safe to click them while you're listening.

The quote Sandi read at the beginning was by Nora Cannon:

"The thing that works with unschooling is to follow delight - and scatter it like a flower girl in front of the bride - not every petal will be crushed to release fragrance - but enough will. ...of course to follow delight, you have to admit to yourself that you feel delight." —Nora Cannon

It's on the "strewing" page here: SandraDodd.com/strewing
I said "lame" a dozen times or more. Sorry. It was the word of the day. Lame.

A couple of things I liked from this interview that I said:

(Of unit studies, or any creative plan):
Those things, in the hands of someone creative and enthusiastic, can be really vibrant and cool.

And those things in the hands of someone who didn't really want to do anyway, and thinks it's stupid, can be as lame as anything ever was lame.

(Then I said something like that for unschooling to work, the parents need to be curious, to like to learn, and like to be with their kids.)

When Sandi asks whether I just trust that academic things like math, reading, science and history will get covered over a child's 15, 16 or 17 years, I said (in part):
If the parents are really involved and busy
and inspiring and inspired
and interested and interesting, then I trust it will happen.

I know it will NOT happen if the parents are cynical, negative, critical, shaming.

Parents, if they're considering homeschooling, need to make it better than school or not do it.

Principles instead of rules: SandraDodd.com/rules

Making peace between siblings: SandraDodd.com/peace/fighting

Choices: SandraDodd.com/choices

Myths Too Many Parents Believe: SandraDodd.com/myths

A good page for beginning unschoolers: SandraDodd.com/help

Other sound files

Other interviews

Random pages on my blog