Sandra Dodd Pt 3 : The Universe Inside Your Head

Video by Lee Stranahan
Transcript by Katherine Anderson

I went to UNM in the early 70s, total hippie days, and we had a philosophy teacher who used to take us out and we'd sit on the grass. She used to wear long vests down to the floor and she was very ethereal and she would kind of pose and center herself. She said though, I'm pretty sure it was in that class, [1] that the universe inside your head is larger than the universe outside... well, she said it's as large. The universe inside your head is as large as the universe outside, and I thought this woman takes drugs. So I heard it and I wrote it down or whatever but I didn't think it was right. But it never went away from me so it was one of those moments where I got an idea that kind of went into time release, though, because I had the idea that it was wrong and stupid but I didn't throw it away. I kept it. It was like a funny rock that I carried around. I thought why would she have said that the universe inside my head is as big as the universe outside.

But as the years went by and I played with that idea I think the world inside is bigger because the real universe only has what actually happens. But inside your head you have all the fantasy versions, and who you might have married and what you might have done, and what if you had lived here and what if you had been a person who moved all around the world instead of staying in one house or what if you hadn't been a person who had moved around? And we have the idea of what would have happened.

I remember I was working in the garden yesterday, in the yard, and I thought it's like the first day of school, kind of, with all your new school supplies, and you think everything's going be great. And some of that garden isn't going to work. You know, whatever, the dog is going to run through on a muddy day or something's just not going to take and I'm just going to stop watering it. It's not going to be the perfect thing I imagined but in my head I have that too. I have that version of what if everything grew and it rained this year, and when I go to England people remember to water it. I don't know.

So people have in their heads everything that they know, everything that that connects to when they're going to learn it and their ideas about why and who. I think that's wonderful.

I also really like Howard Gardner's uhm .. theory of multiple intelligences. I started to say seven but there are around nine of them now... figuring.... As to people's talents, it would have been what was once called talents, but with IQ and that they figure that there's an intelligence, that there's something physical about your brain, your capacity, that makes you smart or not smart compared to other people. What Howard Gardner says is there are different ways to be smart. [2]

That helped a lot with helping other people get unschooling. Because some people will say, "Well, all my kid cares about is music and he can't learn anything from music, so I will let him do music after 3 o'clock after he does all these other things. And we're like, "Well, everything leads to everything. IF all he cares about is music, let that go because music itself ties in with every other topic, everything, and the EASY stuff is math and science. But culture, religion, human anatomy, there is not going be anything that music doesn't get to, I don't think. If anybody sees this... and you think of something that does NOT touch on music in any way whatsoever, my email address is [email protected] and I will ... I'll write it up and we can have an exchange. I'll make a webpage just for your idea.

There was a mom who wrote and said "My kid doesn't care about anything in the world but WWII. He doesn't do anything but draw pictures of tanks and draw pictures of airplanes, and draw maps. He knows all about WWII. He doesn't know anything else. And so I, that was when AOL was new so that was years ago. And that was the first time anyone ever put one of those to me, like tell me how. You know "Prove it. Put up or shut up." And I said, "Ok." So I just started spinning a thing about WWII, you know about how much it tied in. If he knew how they got food to those people and how they were exchanging information, how .. you know... why were those guys there? what were their motivations for being there? he would have the same kinds of questions about every other thing. He would understand other wars and projects if he understood that. You know, you have to get food to people. They have to have a place to sleep. They have to have some clothes. They have to have some water. You know who thinks about that with the war? But he did. That kid did. That kid knew everything. He was just huge into the logistics about who was where and why and how. How can that not tie into everything, including music? [3]

So it didn't worry me, And then somebody I ... I was playing a game, a game I used to play, and they go, "Oh that's not educational." And I said, "I bet you can't name something that I can't tell you what's educational about it and so they said "Elvis Presley." Oh it was so easy. That was so easy. [4]

And I think when people practice that, just playing around, kind of brainstorming, if they just do that at home that helps them understand that it's unlikely that their kid's going to be doing something that isn't educational. It's unlikely that their child will have an interest and a hobby that won't lead to anything useful in their life. [5]

Right now, Holly's working in a flower shop couple days a week and when I wrote to them and said, "I have this kid who wants to learn to do flowers. You think you could apprentice her? I could pay you to teach her some things. She could come help." They ended up hiring her. Well, a couple of things that she had done that helped were Shrinky Dinks and flower fairies. You know just little stuff that little girls do at home, little art projects. But she does them in a really good way. And I showed them her webpage and some of the photos she's done. She's photoshopped some stuff—color changing stuff. And it's not flowers. It's not flower arranging but they know that those are too related. That if she has that sense of form and color that she would be a good candidate to learn to do flowers, and she's doing great. She loves it. [6]

1. It was in that class, but I think there must have been a guest lecturer, or else it was co-taught, because I remember it being a man who said it. I looked for my notes from that class but haven't found them yet.

2. Multiple Intelligence Theory

3. Connections

4 How Elvis Appears to Unschoolers

5. Focus, Hobbies, Obsessions

6. Some of Holly's art

Part 1: Path to Unschooling

Part 2: Unschooling & Real Learning

more videos, some with transcripts

Sound files, interviews and conference presentations

Unschooling Playlist at YouTube