Hello, poor little neglected blog. The weekend was much too full of living to leave time for chronicling. And now I could sleep for a week!
The Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference was a blast. Such a fun crowd! Here are a few of the things we got to do this weekend:
*knights and chivalry (Beanie and Jane)
* board-breaking (ditto)
* needlefelting (Beanie learned how and made a lovely new friend)
* drop-spindle spinning (Jane learned how, so AT LONG LAST the spindle I bought for research when I was writing the first Martha book is seeing some use)
* painting and drawing (nearly everyone—there was a wonderful art room set up and you could go create to your heart’s content any time of day)
* “Rock Star Drama Camp” (Beanie attended this most excellent funshop led by the ebullient Amy Steinberg. Later, Amy flagged me down in the hall to tell me Bean’s a natural actress. No surprise to this proud mama who directed her as Feste in scenes from Twelfth Night last spring!)
That’s just a small sample. Flo Gascon, the conference organizer, did an amazing job of putting together a seamless, merry, stimulating weekend—and gracefully weathering the big excitement of the San Diego Blackout.
Some of the talks I attended:
“Zero Tuition College” by Blake Boles, about which I shall have MUCH TO SAY either here or at GeekMom. Fantastic talk. (Rose and Jane also went to a college pros and cons session moderated by Blake. Much food for discussion later.)
Updated: Here’s a link to Blake’s Zero Tuition College website.
“Artodidact” by Brenna McBroom, an inspiring young woman who described her decision to leave college and focus on her pottery with apprenticeships and mentorships. I loved this talk. So did Jane and Rose, especially Rose, who was captivated by Brenna’s pottery (we’d been oohing and ahhing over it in the conference lounge all day, and right before Brenna’s talk, Rose talked me into buying the lovely little pot I kept returning to over and over—I’m so glad I did) and is now burning to take a ceramics class herself. We’ve spent this morning looking at possibilities around town.
“Good Ideas and Bad Ideas” by Holly Dodd, daughter of Sandra Dodd. Holly shared some of her insights gleaned from visiting and/or nannying for many different families around the world.
“Unschooling Lifestyle Q & A”—four veteran unschooling parents answered audience questions. Most of the questions were parenting-focused, and to be honest I always feel a little outside that discussion when it’s from the radical unschooling end of the unschooling/alternative education continuum. I live at a different spot on that continuum and am happy with the way things work in our family. But this talk was lively and enjoyable, even if I didn’t agree with every point made. Heck, the panelists didn’t always agree with one another—that was part of the point, the reason organizer Flo Gascon had structured the panel the way she did: to give a range of viewpoints to common concerns.
Of course the best part of any conference is meeting new people and reconnecting with friends. The hotel had provided a nice big sunny room as a lounge area, and there was always a lot bubbling there. People crafting and chatting, toddlers playing with the toys volunteers had pooled, artisans young and not-so-old selling their wares, and a great deal of laughter. Wonderful, wonderful.