Sandra Dodd expounds on how people learn

This site is the "office" of Sandra Dodd, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mother of three (Kirby 14b, Marty 11b, Holly 8g), some kind of unpaid musician and writer, sort of a teacher, occasionally a counselor and usually opinionated, Sandra is found mostly on the message boards at www.unschooling.com in the Conversations with Sandra Dodd folder. A great site for new homeschoolers is can be found at the National Home Educators Network site.

SANDRA IN PERSON (outside New Mexico, speaking...): March 10, 2001, at the Seventh Annual Southern California Homeschool Conference at the Long Beach Airport Marriott Hotel. This is sponsored by BayShore .


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!?"

I'm a big John Holt fan. Even the names of his books are informative and inspiring: Learning Without Schooling; Learning All the Time; Never Too Late; Teach Your Own (less inspiring title, but great book). Growing Without Schooling (GWS) carries on the work of John Holt. They have a website and a catalog (John Holt's Books and Music) and a magazine (Growing Without Schooling) which I highly recommend to anyone interested in unschooling. (Looking in Amazon.com will get you a bunch of fly-fishing-in-Montana stuff; wrong John Holt.)


If unschooling can't work in the real world, nothing at all can. People will say "How will they learn algebra in the real world?" Is there algebra in the real world? If not, why should it be learned? If so, why should it be separated artificially from its actual uses? "Why?" should always be the question that comes before "What?" and "How?" There is a Sesame Street book; if you find it and don't want to keep it, buy it and I'll reimburse you. It's called Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum. There is a "things under the sea" room and "things in the sky" room, but still each room is just a room in a museum, no windows, everything out of context. Then he opens a big door marked "everything else in the whole wide world" and goes out into the sunshine. There is unschooling.


The way adults tend to learn things is the way people best learn--by asking questions, looking things up, trying things out, and getting help when it's needed. That's the way pre-school kids do it too (maybe minus the looking things up), and it is the way "school-age" kids can/should learn as well. Learning happens inside the learner. Teachers are lovely assistants at best, and detrimental at worst. "Teaching" is just presentation of material. It doesn't create learning. Artificial divisions of what is "educational" from what is considered NOT educational, and things which are "for kids" from things which are NOT for kids are not beneficial for kids or adults either one. Finding learning in play is like the sun coming out on a dank, dark day.

                Have fun!!

John Holt / GWS
Home Education Magazine's Forum
FUNschooling (catalog and lots of links!)
NHEN (National Home Education Network intro page)
Education Otherwise (United Kingdom Support and Info, with contacts in Europe and Japan, and great links)

OTHER RADICAL not-necessarily-unschooling HOMESCHOOLING:
There is a Pagan "cover-school" and website called Goddess Moon Circles.

Return to (or visit for the first time) Sandra Dodd's Life-and-a-Half or the autobiographical page .

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The "mini quiz" above is really a learning survey, not a quiz. SandraDodd@aol.com

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This page was last updated Thu Aug 3 23:59:52 2000 EDT

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