Holly Dodd

Video by Lee Stranahan, Transcript by Katherine Anderson

Holly was really nervous about being filmed, and she was responding to questions and discussion that weren't kept on the video. When she read the transcript to check it before I was going to post it, she said there were things there she wished she had said differently, but here it is with a good transcript of a nervous teenager (who doesn't really seem so nervous to me, and I'm her mom). —Sandra Dodd

My name is Holly Dodd. I'm unschooled. I'm seventeen. I've always been unschooled. I have two older brothers and they've always been unschooled.

Often, when people find out that I've never been to school, lately (it's a lot different than it was when I was younger) lately though people go "Oh so you dropped out?" And sometimes that's a cool thing. I go "I've never been to school" or like "I've never been to school" or "I'm not in school" and "I've never been to school" and .... I don't know. It's interesting on that because a lot of people (I guess because I'm getting to the age of drop outs and graduating) and they go, "So, where are you going to go to college?" I'm not interested in college. I'm not interested in going to college right now. So people go "Oh why not?" I'm like well I've never been to school. I'm not that interested in going to school... college is school. That's not what I'm interested in. And people are just shocked. People get surprised by that. Which is ok.

When I was younger people would say.. people would say "Well, what do you do all day?" Well well well, what do you mean? They would say, "Well if you don't go to school all day, what do you DO?" I didn't know what to say. I did what I did. What I was doing was talking to them right THEN. Or they'd say, "How do you learn?" I'm six years old, they're like "How do you learn?" I'm like, "Well, what's the question?" "Do you know how to read?" I said, "No." They'd say, "Well, you need to learn how to read." I'd say, "Ok." There's not much to it.

But what I got a lot was "That sucks" or "That's awesome." Often though, people have what.. what they see, if they think it's cool or if they think it's not cool, within a couple seconds or a couple o'minutes, they'll switch sides. I say, "I've never been to school." I say, "I'm homeschooled." They'll say, "Gee, sorry" and then after a couple minutes, they go "Well, that's kind of cool. That's interesting you don't have to go to school." Or they go, "Oh how cool. You don't go to school? Oh that would suck." They go "Man, I couldn't imagine staying home with my parents." And I go, "Ok. I like my parents." And they go, "Oh ok. Well, then that's cool."

Comments from Unschoolers:

BTW Sandra, your daughter Holly was quite impressive on You Tube. My husband wants to hear more from young adults who have been unschooled. I'm going to have him watch her video.

She is natural and at ease in front of the camera.
Her inner glow and confidence shines through.
Not too many young people really have that, many just fake it well. —Meryl

After being a stranger to this list the past 4 years, this is my first glimpse of Holly other than early childhood pics. I was so impressed by her confidence, and how comfortable she was with herself. It bears repeating that her inner radiance comes shining through. Wow. —Carole
Incidentally, I'd like to add my voice to all the others who think Holly's video is FABULOUS! (And, as far as I'd always understood, the convention of talking to an interviewer slightly offline from the camera was developed because most viewers find too much direct-to-camera eye contact overpowering.) ... So confident, so intelligent, so at ease in herself. —Jude X

Someone had commented on YouTube (but the comment was removed, I guess?) that Holly's social skills were so lacking
that she couldn't make "eye contact with the camera."

For crazy comments from people without a clue (and also some nice comments mixed in there ), there are comments under the video at YouTube, and also where it resides (used to be) at The Huffington Post.
In 2017, Lee Stranahan got his YouTube account removed for third-strike posting of terrorist recruitment videos (excerpts from them, as demonstration/reporting—not to recruit, but it's still illegal). Warned twice, he posted anyway, so some of the unschooling videos disappeared, along with all the comments.

Note in June 2019: I'm glad someone did re-upload Holly's interview. That was September 2016, so nearly three years ago, and there is only one comment, from me, expressing gratitude that it was available again. I would rather have it there peacefully than with hundreds of strangers saying she could grow up to be a prostitute, and that was all, or another said she wasn't feminine enough, or didn't pronounce "often" right.

This was on YouTube and Huffington Post, but that youtube account was removed. The text at Huffington, back when it was still there, said this:
In a society that often considers the act of parents teaching their children at home to be something bizarre, the idea of unschooling is about as radical a parenting strategy as one can imagine. It's homeschooling without the artificial structure of formal education.

Sanda Dodd is an renowned advocate of unschooling who lives in New Mexico. Her website SandraDodd.com is a treasure trove of information and ideas about the parenting philosophy she's used to raise her three children Kirby, Marty and Holly. Sandra believes...

People learn by playing, thinking and amazing themselves. They learn while they're laughing at something surprising, and they learn while they're wondering "What the heck is this!?"
So how does it actually work in the real world? Here's an interview with Sandra's youngest, 17-year-old Holly, followed by two longer interview segments with Sandra herself.

Sandra Dodd will be one of the speakers at The Unconvention I'm hosting later this year, a conference about working without a job, education without school and unassisted childbirth.

Though I was willing to speak if that event came together, it didn't happen.
There are another couple from that day, of me, at SandraDodd.com/video, and a transcript of the one that's lost.

more about Holly

more videos

more on teenaged unschoolers