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  • By Kelly Halldorson
    Jun 12, 2010
    Are you done yet? I’ve never seen you spend this much time reading a book! Jeff told me yesterday as I was nearing the end of reading Sandra Dodd’s Big Book of Unschooling. My copy came in the mail a couple of weeks ago. I always had access to (and often visited) her website just like anyone else with access to internet but for me there is something very different about a book. Yeah, some of it could be a holdover from my book worship but really it’s more about the portability of the medium, ability focus and personalize. I can take a book anywhere. It’s much easier to pick up exactly where I left off when I get distracted and I get to write in it. And you all know I love to write! I can’t wait for the day when you can highlight, scribble on and make notes to *your own copy* of a website. You can probably already do it on some devices…but my dream is something like an iPad where all of *my* notes are saved for my accessibility. So, I guess I should say I can’t wait for the day when I... More > can afford it… or just make it a priority and aim for it. Anywho…getting off track a bit there. First off about the Big Book - I love the size, shape and actual feel of the it. Sandra published Big Book through the same company we used to print Skeletons Don’t Sleep and it’s almost exactly the same size, hers being a few pages longer. The cover art is bright and fun. I like the sun image on the front with all of the activity going on between the rays. When I saw the cover for the first time I thought the sun connection was personally neat. I was introduced to unschooling through a local unschooling group called SUN (Seacoast Unschooling Network). I am now the list owner/moderator of that group. I see how much effort it is to keep a list going and I commend Sandra and her team of moderators for their work on Always Learning. As far as Jeff thinking it took a long time to read….it probably wasn’t so much that I took a long time but more that I was so engaged in reading it. I was/am often rereading passages, sometimes aloud and discussing particular sections along with sharing my perspective and experiences. The books is filled with amusing stories, emails, and notes that you can’t not share. Among my favorites is in the section on fallacies. At the end of the section Sandra includes a note of from a mother talking about all the crazy things her son would and wouldn’t do if she gave him freedom - it’s absolutely hilarious. If my kids had their way, they’d go barefoot outside their own yard, run in the streets between cars, never take baths, never eat their veggies and instead opt for chocolate cake every meal, mistreat animals, burn down the house playing with matches, never go to bed, never brush their teeth, etc. She reads the message to her daughter Holly and records her responses. Holly is 12 at the time. The whole exchange is wonderful and in the end Holly says, “Why the hell would they run between cars in the street?!” Since Zoe is 12 I read the same passage to her curious to hear her response. I didn’t make any comments. I just said, Hey, can I read you something? I want to hear what you have to say about it. She agreed. I read the passage and she responded, very matter of factly… Um, I would brush my teeth. I would take a bath. I would eat vegetables. I would go barefoot. She pauses for a moment, with a slightly horrified look on her face continues. I would NOT mistreat animals, ever. She rolls her eyes and shakes her head as she says the next two I wouldn’t run between cars. I wouldn’t burn the house down. I come from a perspective of agreement with the philosophy in the book and there was really little I disagreed with her on. The Big Book, for me was more filled with affirmations than with revelation but she did such a beautiful job writing, organizing, selecting examples, explaining and questioning conventional thought that I believe strongly this book could help convince (that unschooling is not neglect and maybe it could actually work!) even the biggest skeptic. Then for folks just trying to make life changes, hands down this book has the *most* expansive, practical and organized advice I’ve seen so far. The readability is phenomenal. I find Sandra’s website to be a little overwhelming and somewhat confusing. It lacks a navigation bar and a consistent feel. Simply adding a navigation bar to all the pages would remedy that, easily. Then again I could just be being critical because of my background in site design. There are other books out there about unschooling philosophy and *I* haven’t read them *all* but the Big Book strikes the perfect balance between readability, information and clarity. Some of the books I read provide a great introduction but have much less information and don’t delve so deeply into the nuts and bolts of it all, others have way more information but the organization and readability are lacking. Sandra’s book is clear, fun and sometimes even humorous. She even goes so far as tricking the reader a few times. One time I laughed so hard I almost cried because I fell for it. I’d share it with you here but I’d hate to deprive you of the joy of experiencing it yourself while reading the book. Now, go get the book and read it. You can purchase it online here. It’s worth every penny. peace, Kelly< Less
  • By millionairemama
    May 10, 2010
    I've been following Sandra's unschooling list and reading her website for about a year. I finally invested in her book and I must say it's been very helpful in our unschooling. My husband and I like Sandra's straight-forward approach and way of thinking. I'm passing the paperback on to my husband and getting the digital download for my e-reader so that we can read it together and discuss the topics.
  • By Bob Collier
    Dec 17, 2009
    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.
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Product Details

November 18, 2009
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.37 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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