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Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  206 ratings  ·  31 reviews
How does unschooling work? There are many ways families can optimize natural learning in their lives, and find joy and laughter along with it. New unschoolers have had the same questions over the years, and experienced unschoolers go through some similar stages of nervous doubts. This book addresses and summarizes dozens of concerns and puzzlements about whether and how ch ...more
Paperback, First Edition, 371 pages
Published November 2009 by lulu (first published 2009)
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Kelly
Jul 27, 2013 added it
Sandra is one of the most well-known names in unschooling. She can be perceived as VERY tough on individuals who post on her Yahoo Groups list, Always Learning. The list is intended for very pick-apart-analyze-the details-of-your-thinking discussion of the topic of unschooling. It's my opinion that Sandra comes across as tough on posters, because she is fiercely dedicated to protecting children from what she perceives to be harmful practices engaged in by well-meaning (or not necessarily so well ...more
Kathleen O'Mara
Jan 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling book is intentionally written for the radical unschooling parent, however, any parent who wishes a better relationship with their child, better learning strategy and just an all around calmer household would do well to mine this resource for the jewels within. It is unquestionably about parenting in a loving way.

Employing short essays to frame and focus on particular aspects of child-led learning, assembling a child focused household, Sandra Dodd’s book bri
...more
Alex Polikowsky
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This books lives in my bedside table. I often re-read chapters here and there.
It is an easy read book with short chapters but the content is nothing but life changing.
Thank you Sandra. You wise words and observations, you candid telling of your own family stories , are so inspiring and clear.
Mindfulness , joy, peace, connection for raising, living and learning with our children.
That this book has to offer.
Kate Hyde
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an AMAZING book! I've been interested in the concept of unschooling for a while now, but I've never seen it so well explained as in this book. Like the author says, unschooling is really an extension of Attachment Parenting.

This book isn't only about an educational philosophy - it's about a whole new way of parenting (at least, new to me!). So many of the parents I know - even the Attachment Parents - limit their children's choices in many ways (mostly in the areas of TV and food). But thi
...more
Krista
I admittedly didn't get very far into it (though I did skim-read through the rest) but I struggled a lot with the tone in which she seems go be implying that if you don't go 100% all-out Unschooling as SHE defines it, then parents will "make a big confused mess of their home and children".
Talking with other homeschoolers, they agree that Sandra Dodd definitely prescribes an all or nothing approach, which is just not for me. I consider us to be part time unschoolers, and I believe that is OK.
I w
...more
⚜️Trea
I thought this was a great introduction to Unschooling! It talks about what unschooling is, how it is a bit different from deschooling, and then takes you on a skipping journey about the author's experiences and anecdotes. I viewed it as more of index of learning more so than anything else, but I did find it very useful!
Desiree
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: homeschool
revising this because the author took offense and called me out about what i wrote.

i'm not sure why it's unreasonable to come to the conclusion that this is a copy/paste of her website when the dedication says "For Hema A. Bharadwaj, who said she wanted my whole unschooling website in a book. I said it wasn't possible, but the thought stayed, and here's an artistic impression of my website in a book, for Hema." but i used that word "just" and apparently there are some copy/pasted things, and so
...more
Kim
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Loved it! Though it seems written more for the radical unschooler (hey, I do tend to get a bit radical with my philosophies! ;-) and I may not follow all of Sandra Dodd's advice (I don't care what anyone says, having a consistent bed time works for my children AND me!) I do love how this is more than a book about learning without school, it is a whole parenting book that offers fantastic insight into growing your children into wonderful, individual and whole beings...and experiencing growing rig ...more
Jessica
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very eye-opening, thought-provoking book that I know I will be turning to over and over again. I keep going back to re-read everything and think, "Wow! That is SO interesting. I never thought of that before. There is so much truth to that!" I've thought about unschooling off and on for years now and I think it truly is the best way for people to learn. If your child isn't pressured or afraid to learn, they'll learn. It's easy. I've seen it in my own life.
Katy Barrett
Oct 06, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a good book, but I didn't realize beforehand that it's just a copy/paste of pages from her website. It might be nice to own it, and leaf through the paper version rather than reading it online, but it probably wasn't worth getting through inter-library loan, since it's not a "sit down and read it through" type of book. I'll just continue browsing her website! :)
Heather
Aug 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is by far the best parenting book I have ever read.
Gemma
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommended to anyone with children.
Monica
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Monica by: Kathy Paffumi
Shelves: education
So good I feel like I should go back and read it all over again just to make sure everything sunk in!
Sara
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
This is a collection of quotes from Dodd's blog, lectures and other work. I like what she has to say, I just did not appreciate this format at all.
Megan
I little too "radical" for my taste. started to get annoying, but still liked it.
Natalie
yikes, I’m afraid to review or leave a star rating based on what I see on other reviews, but I think it boils down to I didn’t need this book at this moment in my life. I have a love / hate with what I saw as a shallow depth in a variety of topics. It’s all just too short and I wanted more navel-gazing, but I’m also extremely long-winded and introspective myself so it’s an unfair imposition to place.
Stephanie
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! We're aren't exactly "unschoolers" But Sandra has lots of great tips and encouragement for Homeschool families. I love hearing from people who have children who have graduated from homeschool. It's not so easy taking advice from people who have younger children. I feel they lack some of the experience that I need to glean from.
Aaron
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
A bit dated, and not structured as a book in terms of chapters. Rather, each section is distinct and can be read stand alone or in its entirety. Explains and provides examples of radical unschooling philosophy.
Lori Scheffler
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I can't help but admire an author who causes me to seriously question my values even if I fundamentally disagree on a number of points. I loved the challenge of reading this book and will adopt some of her wisdom into my parenting style. I might have rated it higher if I didn't place it in the category of parenting books written by parents of compliant children who therefore think it must be what they did that made their kids so compliant and what other parents are doing wrong that causes non-co ...more
Justine
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a very helpful book for unschooling families or for those thinking of unschooling. Essentially a paper sample of what is on Sandra's website, the book is great to just have around and pick up and read when you have time. It is not a "how to" book, but more of a book giving you things to read and think on over time.
Tim
An eclectic collection of material (from Sandra Dodd's website) covering a variety of issues in unschooling. If you are interested in what life might be like without school, and without all the (often unspoken) rules and attitudes that go with it, then read this book.
Heather
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
This book had some of the best general parenting advice I have read, whether or not you're interested in unschooling. If you are not interested in radical unschooling, however, it comes across as pretty harsh and judgmental to adults (though very open-minded toward children, which is refreshing).
Katie
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of information about parenting
Tori (Book Chick)
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This had a lot of great info. It was nice to see I'm not the only one thinking the way I think regarding school.
Sara
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Filled with encouragement, information, TONS of resources (and not just her sites) I really enjoyed this book. I have a feeling it will be a reference I look back to often.
Wendy
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book has been such an encouragement to me. I want to unschool but have been really hesitant, but after reading this book I really "get it" and am looking forward to Unschooling.
Sarah
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a great overview of unschooling. It's very similar to her blog. I enjoyed it very much.
Jessica Richards
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
Love her thoughts on peaceful parenting. Lots of wisdom, regardless of your school choices for your kids.
Laura
Jan 16, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by ED Snapshots
Erica Mensch
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book will live on my coffee table as a reminder of what “real learning” looks like for each individual child. An absolute joy to read!
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