This is the first page of the book Moving a Puddle, a 2005 collection of my published articles, up to that point. This one was in the newsletter of the state homeschooling organization. "Susanna" in "ask Susanna" was Carol Rice, who had been one of the La Leche League leaders at the first LLL meeting I attended.

This writing is being added to my site for being 25 years old, in 2017—the same year Just Add Light and Stir was seven years old, and the year of the 10th Learn Nothing Day.

When I wrote this, I was in my 30's and had three children aged six and under.

The first paragraph has terms I used because it was for a general homeschooling audience.
The second paragraph foreshadows Learn Nothing Day celebrations in the following century.

—Sandra Dodd, 2017


“How do I structure our days
and how do I structure our learning time?”

I felt moved to suggest an answer to the question about how to structure a day of child-directed learning. I think it should be “Woke up, got dressed, ate, played, ate, played, etc.” In other words, I don’t think there should or can be any “days off” from child-centered “education.”

If this seems wrong, try this experiment: Keep your child from learning anything for a few days. Make sure that from the first waking moment there is nothing learned, no new material, no original thoughts to ponder, etc. The only problem is that you would have to keep the children from playing, talking, reading, cleaning or repairing anything, etc.

We have a new neighbor who attends private school. On the way home one day he wanted to get an invitation to come back to play the next day, and he phrased it this way: “Does Kirby have homeschool tomorrow?” (My less memorable answer was “homeschool is just sort of whenever.” Had I known I would be writing this I would have tried to be more profound.) The answer was YES! but that might have made my neighbor feel unwelcome. Little does he suspect that he is a guest instructor at our 365-day-per-year homeschool!

(This was part of the “Dear Susanna” column in the September 1992 issue of The Connection, the newsletter of New Mexico Family Educators. Kirby was six years old. The neighbor was seven.)

Learn Nothing Day Just Add Light and Stir Moving a Puddle