Nice quote

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." Neil Gaimon

Unschooling


What exactly is unschooling?

Unschooling is a form of homeschooling in which parents facilitate and support their child's interests by providing a rich, interesting and stimulating environment.  Parents act as facilitators and partners with their children and help them to do more of what they love.  Unschooling allows children to learn and grow in their own way and time, supports the continued love of learning, and enables the parent/child relationship to flourish.  
Fmi: http://sandradodd.com/unschooling 

Sandra Dodd explains unschooling (5 minute video): http://sandradodd.com/video/doright

Is it right for you and your family?  How can you find out?

Read a lot about it.  A LOT.
  1. http://sandradodd.com/help is a great page to begin.  There are several links to check out from this page.  http://sandradodd.com/deschooling is another good one.  
  2. If you are thinking of unschooling or ready to begin, request Pam Laricchia's free book "Exploring Unschooling" (this used to be her email series...it is now incorporated into book form) to be sent to you by clicking here: http://livingjoyfully.ca/newsletter/. If you prefer to listen to information via podcast, click here: http://livingjoyfully.ca/podcast-2/. She has blog articles on this page http://livingjoyfully.ca/blog-topics/ and Toronto Conference Talks (TUC Talks) to listen to here: http://livingjoyfully.ca/conference/
  3. Read some books.  (See below for suggestions.)
  4. Explore Sandra Dodd's website http://sandradodd.com/ and Joyce Fetteroll's website: http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/ and as of January 2015, there is another website to check out: Unschoolingmom2mom 
  5. Join one of the bigger unschooling yahoo or facebook groups (see below for suggestions).
  6. Attend a conference.  They happen all over.  Here is a yahoo group that provides dates of large conferences in various parts of the country.  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/unschoolingcircuitriders/ Or scroll down to the bottom of this page for conferences in and close to Maine.  Another couple of sites to get information about unschooling events are:  http://familyrun.ning.com/events/event/listUpcoming and http://www.theunschoolersemporium.com/unschooling-conferences/
  7. Check out the CHILDHOOD REDEFINED SUMMIT - Will surely be a life changing experience!!!
Try it.  Pretend your kids are on summer vacation and do all the cool things that you'd normally do with them.  In your spare time, study unschooling!  If you feel you want to control something, organize your tupperware, work in your garden, write to one of the yahoo group lists for help and ideas.  Don't change everything in your life right away, but gradually say yes more.  

Give it time.  http://sandradodd.com/kellylovejoy/stages

Sandra's advice: "Read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch."

Notice the learning that is happening.  If you are concerned about whether or not your kids are learning, you could keep a little journal or some notes or pictures to remind you of what they are doing and learning about.  Once you see that learning is happening naturally, you might not feel like you need to keep a journal of reassurance.  However, if you enjoy keeping a journal, maybe it could turn into a sentimental scrapbook documenting your lives as a family living and learning together.  http://sandradodd.com/gettingit

Two of my favorite books: 

"Free To Learn" by Pam Laricchia 
$2.99 for ebook or $9.99 for paperback.  Also available on amazon.com
http://livingjoyfully.ca/books/ 
Also check out her other books "Free to Live" (published in 2013) and "Life Through the Lens of Unschooling: A Living Joyfully Companion" (published in 2014).  Click here for details on "Life Through the Lens of Unschooling"

"Parenting a Free Child: An Unschooled Life" by Rue Kream 
Order directly from Rue for $16.00: skreams@comcast.net
Mainers can borrow this book via the Maine Library Lending 
system as the Camden Library has it: 
http://minerva.maine.edu/search~S71?/akream&search_scope=50/akream/1%2C2%2C3%2CB/frameset&FF=akream+rue&1%2C1%2C  

Two of my other favorite books, both by Sandra Dodd:

Moving A Puddle http://sandradodd.com/puddlebook

Big Book of Unschooling http://sandradodd.com/bigbook/


Podcasts
Why Unschool? podcast by Amy Childs: http://unschoolingsupport.com/why-unschool/
Some other links to check out

Learning VS Teaching - http://sandradodd.com/teaching/

Pam Laricchia's book "Free to Learn" explains about learning vs teaching as well.  

Great articles by Danielle Conger (After you click on the link, scroll down to see more favorite unschooling writers at the bottom of the page.): http://sandradodd.com/danielleconger/ (Use the Wayback Machine linked to the top of the page if you can't access the article you wish to read)  

Pam Sorooshian has written many great articles:  http://sandradodd.com/pamsorooshian   
One of Pam's articles not to miss is called, "I Live, Therefore I Learn: Living an Unschooling Life." http://sandradodd.com/pam/ilive
Her blog is great too!  Love this post about the parent's role in unschooling 
http://learninghappens.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/unschooling-is-not-child-led-learning/ 
Her kids are now in their 20's and in college/grad school:  http://sandradodd.com/college 

How To Unschool article by Pam Sorooshian:
http://homeschoolingresourcesandideas.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-unschool-by-pam-sorooshian.html

And another "Pam Sorooshian on How Unschooling Works":
http://sandradodd.com/pam/learningworld

I love what Colleen Prieto wrote about unschooling here: http://sandradodd.com/colleenprieto/

Examples of typical unschooling days/moments: http://sandradodd.com/typical

More examples of Unschooling Moments (Claire K's blog/site)

Rejecting a Pre-Packaged Life: http://sandradodd.com/joy

Unschooling in action!  Check out what this 11 year old boy was interested in (sewers) and how he connected what he learned to a game he was playing (Minecraft):
http://sandradodd.com/sewer

Principles vs Rules:
http://sandradodd.com/danielleconger/rules.html and http://sandradodd.com/rules

This page has links to so many other great pages and respect is integral to unschooling:
http://sandradodd.com/respect/

Choices, freedom, and other difficult ideas: http://sandradodd.com/coaching

Choice vs "Have to" (this is important to understand) - This is a great link, especially if you put pressure on yourself to do certain things or feels like you "should" or that you "have to."  This reminds us to consider all choices and options and to then consciously choose what to do for your own meaningful reasons. Even if you make the same choice as you would have without thinking, how you feel about that choice might be very different - likely more positive!: http://sandradodd.com/haveto 

Misconceptions of unschooling:  http://sandradodd.com/misconceptions 
Being your child's partner: http://sandradodd.com/partners/child.html  

Jeff Sabo's blogpost on being your child's parent AND friend.  
This is only one of his amazing posts. Take the time to read more!
http://justabaldman.blogspot.com/2011/10/myth-series-2-kids-need-parent-not.html

"Leap of Faith" - Dagny Kream's 2008 Northeast Unschooling Conference talk: 
http://frecklesfilledwithlove.blogspot.com/2008/09/dagnys-speechfinally.html 

Pam Laricchia's article "Helping Your Spouse Explore Unschooling": 
http://livingjoyfully.ca/blog/2013/09/helping-your-spouse-explore-unschooling/

Links to other unschooling blogs: 
http://enjoylifeunschooling.com/resources/ and  http://thinkingsticks.blogspot.com/

Link to Ronnie Maier's new blog: http://asoftplacetolandparenting.blogspot.com/p/about.html

Teens who came later to unschooling: http://sandradodd.com/teen/latertounschooling

The Beginners Guide To Unschooling by Leo Babauta:
http://zenhabits.net/unschool/

"Unconditional Parenting" by Alfie Kohn Available in book or DVD. You can get a 2 hour dvd (in lecture form) from the Camden Public Library - Though Alfie Kohn isn't an unschooler, this dvd is excellent and available through the Maine Library Lending System: http://minerva.maine.edu/search~S71?/tunconditional%20parenting&search_scope=50/tunconditional+parenting/1%2C1%2C2%2CB/frameset&FF=tunconditional+parenting+moving+from+rewards+and+punishments+to+love+and+reason&2%2C%2C2

Joyce Fetteroll's Unschooling Toolbox:
http://homeschoolingresourcesandideas.blogspot.com/2013/09/joyce-fetterolls-unschooling-toolbox.html
Yahoo Groups  - Read the group descriptions before posting.  Notice especially Sandra Dodd’s, Joyce Fetteroll's, Pam Sorooshian’s, Pam Laricchia's, Meredith Novak's, Anne Ohman's, Deb Lewis', Kelly Lovejoy's, Brie Jontry’s, Connie Coyle’s and Colleen Prieto's posts.

UnschoolingBasics http://groups.yahoo.com/group/unschoolingbasics/
(This group has become a "read only" group.  That means you are able to access old messages to read posts, but not post anything new.)

AlwaysLearning (Sandra Dodd's list): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AlwaysLearning/
ShinewithUnschooling (Anne Ohman, Pam Laricchia, Anna Brown and Amy Carpenter-Leugs' list): 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shinewithunschooling/ 


A note about reading on yahoo and facebook group lists: 

"I remember the first few times something I wrote was challenged. I did stop, let my feelings calm down, thought about it, let it sink in, tried to look as I was someone outside of it.

I learned so much!!!

I still learn and things I write here still get picked apart !!!

And you know what happened because of it?

Not only I am much more careful about what I write anywhere, much more careful about what I say,  but much more careful of my thoughts!

That has made a huge difference in being a more calm and loving mother. I can stop and take a deep breath and pick apart and CHANGE the thoughts in my head!!" 
And why is it important to be aware of your thoughts?
Consider this....

Watch you thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”



Not sure who originally wrote the above words, but they used to hang on a plaque in the office of Dr. Thomas Hafner, DDS in Upper West Saddle River, NJ.  This and similar quotes have been attributed to many different people: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/01/10/watch-your-thoughts/  I was reminded of this saying by reading a facebook post about Rippy Dusseldorf using it in an interview in The Homeschooler Magazine (to which you can subscribe to via the link below).  Update: Just got my first issue of The Homeschooler Magazine (with Rippy's interview in it)!  It's great (the interview and the magazine in general)!  

Joyce Fetteroll on how our thoughts can affect our children:
http://sandradodd.com/lazy/kids 

Facebook Groups: 

Radical Unschooling Infohttps://www.facebook.com/groups/303347574750/ 

Magazines/Newsletters:

Living Joyfully Newsletter: http://livingjoyfully.ca/newsletter/

"The Homeschooler" Magazine.com
http://www.homeschoolermagazine.com/main.html
https://www.facebook.com/TheHomeschoolerMagazine?ref=br_tf

"Growing Without Schooling" magazines can be viewed online for free 
http://www.holtgws.com/gwsarchives.html

Life Learning Magazine: http://www.LifeLearningMagazine.com

Free selected articles from Life Learning Magazine:
http://www.lifelearningmagazine.com/selected_articles_from_Life_Learning_Magazine.htm

Parental Intelligence Newsletter -  The newsletter is no longer being published, but is still available to read online: http://www.parental-intelligence.com/

The Natural Child Project - http://www.naturalchild.org/

The Daily Groove: Scott's newsletter gives inspirational words each day with regard to living with our loved little ones so that we enjoy parenting and our live in general more. 
http://www.enjoyparenting.com/

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A post that may be helpful for beginners from the Unschoolingbasics list by Alex Polikowski:  

"...how does one go about unschooling? "
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"I did attempt this once a few months back and felt like they would just play all day and not learn anything at all."
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I find the above statement hard to believe. Children learn through play. Even schools know that.  Did you have to teach your children to walk and talk?  Read some more: http://sandradodd.com/pam/ilive 
-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-
"My hubby does want evidence that they are learning something so I feel I have to prove that we do "school". How do you let go and trust that they are learning or will learn what they need when they are ready?"
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"I guess I am looking for suggestions on starting and record keeping. Is it okay to let one child build all day (tents, forts, club houses and tower from all sorts of stuff) and the other to do arts all day? Are they really learning anything? "
-=-=-=--=-=
How could he not?
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"What about math?"
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The last couple of days I have been pulling out different games to get a way from the workbooks yet still feel like they are getting something. Should I make them play games? "
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 Make them like force them? Unless you want them to hate games I would not force them ever.  If you are playing with them for fun and they want and like them go for it.

 Misc. Question: 
Can you unschool (only "academics") and still have limitations on food, tv, bedtimes, computer time, etc? http://sandradodd.com/option

Chores post by Pam Laricchia - which after you have a better understanding of unschooling might explain why one might not want to impose chores and joyfully model instead:
http://livingjoyfully.ca/blog/2013/08/chores-unschooling-childhood/


For Mainers - Conference and online groups:

Maine Unschooling Network: http://maineunschoolingnetwork.blogspot.com/p/about.html

And Maine Unschooling Network facebook group: 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MEUNetwork/?fref=ts

UnschoolingMaine yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UnschoolingMaine/

Unschoolers Seek facebook group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/220213058080163/

Maine Unschooling Mini-Conference (one day conference in Camden, ME)
This year it will be on Saturday September 19, 2015 at the Congregational Church.
http://maineunschoolingminiconference.blogspot.com/

Maine Unschooling Mini-Conference facebook group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/362963810453305/?fref=ts 

Large Unschooling Conference in Massachusetts

 (Aug 27-30, 2015): 

Northeast Unschooling Conference in Wakefield, MA (end of August):
http://www.northeastunschoolingconference.com/  










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