I’m going to attempt to capture the highlights of the conference from my perspective.
First of all, I have to give a huge heartfelt Thank You to Flo and all the others who helped for not only organizing and executing this conference, but for offering all the speeches on tape for free. (I’m really looking forward to hearing those I missed!)
Of the talks we attended, a few stand out to me the most:
Miranda’s talk and chat Radical Thoughts for Radical Unschoolers stands out because I couldn’t agree with her any more than I already do. (Okay, except on the fate of the internet.) If only she blogged the full depth of her knowledge and her actions (hint hint). She spoke on the taboo subjects of religion, politics and *ahem*…I’ll say intimate relationships to avoid the spam. She tied it beautifully into sustainability and what could be our role as unschoolers. I totally enjoy hearing my friend talk, and chatting with like-minded individuals about the struggles of melding several “radical” lifestyles into one. My own Green Living chat should have been combined with hers!
The next chat that stands out was Pam Sorooshian’s Unschooling and Math. I do believe I’ve found a new favorite “veteran”! So many things overheard or read about unschooling today can easily give one the impression that education is a dirty word in the unschooling world. But the way in which Pam speaks and shares her thoughts, so wonderfully melds the ideas of non-coercive learning with the most uncertain subject of math – and not because it “needs” to be learned but just because it can be so much fun. I got some wonderful ideas on how to support Zeb as he learns and outgrows his own math phobia; things like interjecting the word “yet” or using the term “school math” (as in validating with “Yes, school math does suck”) or new games to share and things to educate myself on. In other words, I need to get over my OWN math phobia!
Rain Fordyce’s The Peace Treaty was so freaking powerful I can’t even comment yet.
There were chats we enjoyed as well; Our LOUD life – about living on the road; Secret Society of Unschooling Dads – which I’m told was an interesting and frustrating experience for many; my Green Living and Sustainability chat. I really loved Strangers in a Strange Land – all about how to cope with the saddening, stressful, or disparaging encounters with “traditional” parenting, such as when our children witness other children being spanked or ridiculed. Ronnie posted the highlights from the chat here: Blog of the Zombie Princess
All of the chats and speakers were good, powerful stuff and I so appreciate their contributions.
We didn’t do many funshops. Our downtime was either spent in the pool or decompressing in the room. Zeb had a blast with the gamers and goofing around with the tribe. He made a new close friend, A. whom we hope to visit. We spent a lot of time with old friends and new friends. And it was so awesome to meet some of the online friends I’ve made through blogging and Twitter…ing. Like Colleen, Amanda and Tracey. Did I mention I even dreaded Tracey’s hair??
I just can’t describe to you how powerful attending an unschooling conference can be. I know it can also be overwhelming especially for those of us that are either sensitive to large crowds or those that are going in without already having made a few connections. But it’s so worth going out on a limb for.
And…well, there is one more thing that came about on this trip; an intuitive feeling from Justin about something he’s been thinking on for a long time. But it’s SO BIG and SO LIFE CHANGING (not to mention a bit scary – for me anyway) that it really deserves it’s own post. Next time, k? 😉[Flickr group: Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference Photos and my entire Flickr Set: Good Vibrations Conf 2009]