Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Book of the Month" at Parental Intelligence!

Curious to know what "unschooling" is really all about?

Read Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling

(That was on the sidebar. The review is below.)

Bob Collier's Parental Intelligence Newsletter (no longer available), a website with an e-mail front (subscription information on the sidebar here: unschooling.blogspot.com) is one of my favorite reads. It's a catalog of what's out there about parenting and alternative education, and every month there are some things I knew about and more that I would have missed.

Bob is a homeschooling dad in Australia who's interested in the examination of what's what and why, and who's generous enough to freely share his collection with others in a easily accessible way.

It's not unusual for Bob to link something from my site, either something new (often written by someone else) or something older that has come to light for him that month, but this time he's actually written something about me and my kids and that's newsworthy to friends and relatives, I guess. So for those of you who read this because you like me, not because you're unschoolers, some of this will be "blah blah blah" but for those who are homeschooling, please do sign up for Bob's monthly newsletter.


Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling

I don't recall now where or when I first encountered Sandra Dodd on the internet, but I've been a member of her Always Learning discussion group since April 2007. It's one of my favourite online places, and I nearly always return from a visit there with an idea or two to ponder upon.

Sandra is the "unschooling mother of Kirby, Marty and Holly, who never went to school." At the time of writing, Kirby is 23, Marty is 20, and Holly is 17, and they're all fine young adults and an asset to the world according to everything I've seen of them and read about them.

In other words, as far as "unschooling" is concerned, Sandra has 'been there and done that' very successfully. Now she's written a book from her experiences in which she paints as clear and complete a picture of what "unschooling" is really all about as perhaps there can be. Is it simply an alternative to the school classroom? Is it an educational philosophy? Is it a parenting philosophy? Is it a lifestyle choice? Now you can be the judge.

I have to say, personally, I don't use the word "unschooling" to describe my own situation. It seems to me a somewhat misleading term now that its historical significance is usually overlooked. But I certainly appreciate that, even so, it's a long established and widely used term that is gaining currency in society at large and I think those viewing the world of the unschooled child from the outside will benefit greatly from having what is meant by this increasingly familiar term explained to them as fully as possible - what is it that actually lies beyond the description "unschooling"? Or whatever else we might choose to call it. In that respect, Sandra Dodd has done a marvellous job. Her book is, however, not necessarily for bewildered members of the general public. It's primarily a book of wisdom for those who are already "unschooling" or who are thinking about it.

Given my admiration for what this lady has achieved and for the depth of her knowledge and understanding, I hope Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling becomes "The Unschooler's Bible". It deserves to be. As well as being an inspiring read in any event, I think it answers every question anybody could ask about "unschooling", or at the very least puts them on the right track to an answer.

Please find out more and read some comments on Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling at this page:


Unknown said...

Wow, that was a great review! I haven't heard of Bob and I plan to look into his stuff later.

I love how he wrote the review. I already have this book on my wishlist and well, now I want it even more, darn it.

Bob Collier said...


Thank you so much for your kind words! I appreciate it.

With extra special best wishes,


Heather's Moving Castle said...

I have the book and I am not letting it go!!! What a nice review, too. I found it very interesting. I do call myself an unschooler and even have a bumper sticker, however, I can appreciate how the term unschooling can be very misleading. It helps us to find each other and share information with other unschoolers and others though---and I love that! I don't walk up to strangers and say I am an unschooler; that would be silly.

Thanks for a great read, Sandra!

Sandra Dodd said...

Bob's in Australia, where the term is even more confusing and misleading than in the U.S. :-)