On Saturday we drove to Whangarei (about an hour and a half south) so that I could go to an Home Education Symposium. DH
took the children to the local library, then for (homemade) lunch in a park, before meeting friends at the wave pools. The friends used to live in Auckland, and had moved north nearly 2 years ago- it was wonderful for the kids to get together again.
Meanwhile, at the HE symposium, I got to meet several other home educators, including a large number of unschoolers.
Actually, it might have been the largest gathering of unschoolers I have been a part of (irl).
I got to meet one lady who's online posts I have enjoyed for many years. It was a real buzz meeting her at last, and attending her talk on Unschooling: Learning in Freedom. There was a lot of chance for discussion, and I got a bit carried away. For one thing, I find it hard to keep quiet about the wonders of unschooling at hte best of times, but in that setting I felt so comfortable, and I guess so starved of stimulating conversation for the last several weeks- I rattled on far too much. I felt terrible about it, but then I also had 3 or 4 people come to me afterward to discuss a matter further or to say they had appreciated what I had said.
I also know, alas from personal experience, how nutty radical unschooling can sound on first hearing of it. While unschooling for academics made enormous sense to me, having seen how much J-Man had learned without teaching...when I first heard of people who let their children choose their bedtime, or their breakfast, or how much television to watch...well, I honestly thought they were crackers.
It also took me a very long time (about a year, if I recall correctly) before I came to see that if I could trust my child to learn reading and writing and mathematics, I could trust him to care for his body as well.I still wish I hadn't banged on so long and taken over someone else's talk (not that I meant to do that!).
I got to meet Karen (waves to Karen), a closet blog-reader, and that was encouraging in itself that there are people who read my blog, and somehow the muddle of words inspires the odd one or two (very odd...joking, lol).
I went to another talk about "Letting Go", which was also very interesting. It was by an unschooling (solo) father, an ex-science teacher, and the process he went through- from intending to broaden young people's minds, to realising his naivete and seeing that being a teacher was no way to show love to children, to realising his own children needed him. It was terribly touching, and again there was a lot of great discussion.
I chatted to many different ones, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I loved, at the end, speaking to a teenaged home-educated girl, and realising with a shock that while I am (nearly!) 21 years older, I felt no different to her. She was awfully mature, and I wondered what I would think if I met myself at age 14. How can I be such a lot older than someone, but not feel it at all? Oh, yes, there is a mild crisis I guess- I am 35 this week! 35!!?? Ouch!!
dh and the kiddos picked me up soon after the symposium wound down, and we headed to Pizza Hut for all-you-can-eat (their
choice), and I ate a lot. This was not good, because I finally felt like I was getting somewhere with my weightloss plan, but the look on Tombliboo's face when he saw a large (huge!) bowl of jelly babies was priceless. He made at least 7 bowls
of icecream (some with chocolate sauce) and planted jelly babies in the "bath". And no, it was not a shocking waste of ice cream- his Daddy finished every bowl. Turns out Tombliboo prefers cucumber to jelly babies.
We left, very stuffed in more ways than one, and all three children fell asleep on the journey.