Fun Fun Fun

September 12, 2011 @ 4:34 pm | Filed under: , ,

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.

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7 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Penny says:

    I am so profoundly jealous. I can’t even express it. Happy for you, though. Just SO WISHING WE COULD HAVE GONE.

    Can’t wait to hear about the Blake Boles talk – please redirect if you post at GeekMom, ok? Pretty please? It would be interesting to hear Jane and Rose’s take on their Boles talk as well, if they are so inclined. The perspective of those actually being homeschooled is often very different from those who are homeschooling them and were traditionally schooled. If that makes any sense, which it might not. And I’m pretty sure this whole paragraph is a grammar nightmare. Apologies for that. The grammar police of the house (age 10) is asleep!

    Beanie’s friend is beautiful. An artiste of many talents!

    Thanks for sharing, can’t wait to hear more!

  2. sarah says:

    I too am jealous! And I very much want to hear more about Blake Boles. Especially if the girls are willing to give their perspective. I don’t want my dd to go to university, as it’s a very different scenario here to that in USA, but I often worry about my approach, so any information or discussion is always welcome.

  3. Mary G says:

    how awesome that y’all are out there and can take advantage of such riches! that would have been a conference me and mine would have really loved.

    hope all is well … hugs to one and all …

  4. Ellie says:

    Do you know? I have never once attended any sort of homeschooling conference (despite homeschooling for the past however many years it’s been now Eli is grown). I think because I am so innately shy of crowded spaces. And also because I grew up being schlepped to multiplel LLL conferences, Parent Craft conferences, and Higher Ed conferences every single year.

    It sounds like a lovely time though, and how nice that it was local! I will be curious to read about the college oriented talks.

  5. Melissa Wiley says:

    I’ve added a link to Blake Boles’s Zero Tuition College website above (well, and here too, obviously). 😉 Maybe I’ll write up some notes on his talk here, quickly, and do a more in-depth interview piece for GeekMom. Which piece I will definitely share here!

    @Mary, there are some wonderful unschooling conferences around the country, including Live & Learn, which is sometimes in NC. And the best *general homeschooling* conference I’ve ever been to is the one held by VA Org of Homeschoolers, which usually takes place in Richmond, I believe.

    Unschooling conferences (well, I’ve only been to this particular one, twice now, but I’ve read accounts of others, and I listened to all the talks from Live and Learn a few years ago) are quite a different kind of event in comparison to most of the broader homeschooling conferences I’ve been to—very family-oriented, lively, loaded with hands-on activities, kids and adults participating together. Whereas the general hs’ing conferences are more vendor-focused: serious moms poring over materials and curriculum. For me, an unschooling conference is more like a short family art camp. 🙂

    @Ellie, mulitiple conference a year, every year?! Yikes, I can see that that would grow wearying, especially for an introvert. My Rose had a wonderful time last weekend, but she chose to sit out the Friday—stayed home with Scott and our littles instead—and by Sunday night she was VERY ready for some peace and quiet.

  6. Lisa says:

    What a cool conference! Homeschool conferences here are an excuse to plan a theocracy. Much better where you live!!
    Can’t wait to hear more about “Zero Tuition College”–I’ve posted about a number of college books recently so that’s right up my alley.

  7. mamacrow says:

    Its funny you should mention your first Martha book – I got my hands on an unabridged copy and devoured it whole yesterday – love it!