Sunday, December 30, 2012

Online Resources

Joyce Fetteroll's site: http://joyfullyrejoycing.com

My own site: http://sandradodd.com

Pam Laricchia's: http://www.livingjoyfully.ca

Pam Sorooshian's blog (linking to my favorite post there): http://learninghappens.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/unschooling-is-not-child-led-learning/

Just Add Light and Stir (subscribe to get it each morning by e-mail): http://justaddlightandstir.blogspot.com
Unschooling Site News (news of SandraDodd.com): http://aboutunschooling.blogspot.com

Links to mainstream articles on unschooling and related topics, mostly. http://unschooling.blogspot.com


Always Learning discussion list: http://sandradodd.com/lists/alwayslearning.html
That leads to a page about the discussion, with a link to the joining page at the bottom.

A facebook group where lots of Always Learning regulars post: Radical Unschooling Info      http://www.facebook.com/groups/303347574750/

Joyce mentioned this in her talk:Radical Unschoolers Network
    http://familyrun.ning.com

This has subgroups, such as Canadian Radical Unschoolers (the CRU!) and other regional or special interest groups.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Snow in the mountains in Utah

The Collins family from Utah can't make it, because of snow in the mountains.

Roxana Sorooshian is coming after all, so all three of Pam Sorooshian's daughters will be here.


Eileen Mahowald

I am Eileen mom of 3 tweens :D I am attending ALL Unschooling Symposium 2012 without my family which is unusual but fitting for us.

We began our radical unschooling approach to the education of our children about four years ago after a few years of eclectic homeschooling our first kiddo, Felix.

My husband George & I have shared 1/2 our lives together. We are in our mid to late 40's and this year we celebrated our twentieth wedding annivesary. Our children are Felix (12, soon to be 13), Ericka (9, soon to be 10) and Carly (9 soon also to be 10 as they are fraternal twins).

Our young family has grown more gracefully in our relationships since adopting priciples of peaceful parenting and adapting our ideas of how learning occurs. I am ever grateful to Joyce Fetteroll as her web page was were I first gleaned ideas about peaceful parenting. The clever trail I discovered there has opened my world and that of many people whose lives I come in contact. It is an exciting time and just as technology has exploded so has the personal growth for my family. We have taken what seems like a quantum leap.

At times I become confused and lack confidence while toggling what is a terrific way of being for our family to a challenge in how to manage so many new concepts. For example, we have possibly over worked our attempt to find friends in the unschooling community.

Naturally the children maintain lightness in interactions and friendships. The complexities adults manage are sometimes too much for me. My experience with other radical unschooling parents has not always been terrific and I have learned we are incorporating unique ways of educating and living not joining a group. We have tried to maintain relationships with whole families but it hasn't always worked out.

I wholeheartedly appreciate Sandra's work in continuing the dialogue and sharing the ideas of what helps radical unschooling work. I am blown away with Sandras subtle style and appreciate her ethics. An example of this is in her recent talk at Un in the Sun Florida conference where she commented that she really "liked" her husband Keith.

I have been exploring meditation and took a class on equanimity. To me Sandra's sincere comment was profound within its subtley and I was deeply touched by its meaning. So very thoughtful with words and deeds I seek to learn more from Sandra and her close group of friends.

I also love the fact that Sandra seems to be free of what I think of as "hang ups'. I aspire to this as I do not enjoy the identification some moms have with being super conscientious about diet, health, expected ways of being, lables for behavior and most importantly the complexities of how people manage and cope with the stresses in life. I love Sandra's dedication to preserviing relationships and how to be less self centered and more partnered.

At one time I viewed the many and varied people who write and support unschooling (from Joyce,Sandra, Pam S., Deb, Meredith, Anne, Pam L.ect.) to be "Superstars". Today I know these are people who share their stories and ideas to help others improve families and generations to come. They are not untouchable as I once imagined. The regularness of these dynamic people gives me great hope that my family too can share in this great opportunity for educating in a loving, exciting, respectful and amazingly rewarding way.

These days George enjoys Yoga and works diligently crafting relationships as a terrific salesman. I work at improving my ability to live thoughtfully instead of reactively and use the intuitive nature I have to help my children flourish as young people.

Felix loves his Xbox Live gaming life. He has many friends and spends 4-8 hours online. We have hosted many a teen gathering and though he isn't actually a teen most of his friends are. Felix is quiet spoken like his mom and incredibly social like his Dad.

Ericka is our family's most auditory and well spoken kid. Recently she has listened to the Hunger Game series 3 times over and loves to do crafting while listening. She has also watched the movie 4 or 5 times. She is intrigued with the detail of the story and though she is not fluently reading, when she does she will expect rich content. Gymnsstics and friendships are a main focus. Ericka enjoys Girl Scouts and relaxed living.

Carly loves lists, being organized, knowing what's next and helping mom. Carly learned to read over the past several months with texting to Dad and writing notes and invitations. She loves to play with her Ipod 5 and has a blast texting and facetiming with her neighbor friend. She is frequently found doing handstands and she also is a beatiful swimmer.

I am keenly aware of how sweet and intelligent my kids are.

We are joyfully learning and living with great intention.

My learning style is with lots of research, listening watching and borrowing ideas and ways of being. Georgie is a doer, a connector of people. Sometimes I have to watch out for what I wish for, as his quick action makes things happen.

I am sometimes deliberate to process information slowly. This works fairly well for me and allows my experiences to percolate so I can make changes when I see I have moved in a direction that doesn't serve our purposes for learning and peace.

Looking forward to a few days of radical unschooling philosophy and discussion.

(The length of this intro lends a better glimpse as my quiet ways may never afford such detail of my life.) :D

Chat soon (I love the affection of this salutation though it may not quite fit me) :D,
Eileen




Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Boyd family from Petaluma CA

Hi everyone! We are the Boyd family: David, Colleen and Anna Sophia (age 14). We live in a small town in Sonoma County, CA about 45 minutes north of San Francisco. We are currently vacationing in Santa Fe, and looking forward to driving down to Albuquerque on Thursday. We have been Homeschooling since Anna Sophia was 3 years old, and though we began with a Waldorf approach, it quickly evolved into relaxed Homeschooling, and then Unschooling. Since Anna Sophia was born, David and Colleen have shared working, parenting and homeschooling equally.

Colleen works as an executive consultant and loves to tend her big garden, hike in the hills with our standard poodle Rosy, and read about all kinds of subjects.

David is an artist in a variety of media, including sculpture, photography, drawing, painting, and all combinations of the above. He enjoys playing violin and mandolin, cooking, and at the moment, researching an art project that he is working on about Death Valley.

Anna Sophia is an enthusiastic musician, who enjoys violin, classical voice, guitar and piano. One of her favorite activities is acting, and she loves all aspects of opera. Anna Sophia loves to read, write and create costumes, and some of her favorite books include Harry Potter, The Penderwicks, anything by Jane Austen or Elizabeth Enright, books by Eva Ibbotson, and especially books by J.R.R. Tolkien. She is interested in math and physics, and is looking forward to taking an American Sign Language class in January.

Colleen and Anna Sophia are definitely going to attend the conference, and David is still undecided.

See you Thursday!

Anna Sophia in Santa Fe last week:

The whole family in Jan 2012 after an opera performance - Anna Sophia still in costume:

Bonny Moss and Sean Leonard

We're the Leonard and Moss family, and so excited to meet everyone!

We currently live in quirky, quaint Madrid, NM, and frequently spend time with family in the Pacific Northwest, Chicago, and Brooklyn. We are avid (one might more accurately say "voracious") readers, every one, and are currently reading several books each, and The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien, out loud as a family - a book we somewhat seriously refer to as the most important book ever written. We are also very silly, and besides reading we love to chase Mama around the house while screaming with laughter and end up in a cuddling heap. We are pretty geeky, it must be said. We also prioritize social justice work when we can, and are doing our best to raise little rebels, though most of our time is admittedly spent just keeping everyone fed, clothed, and cuddled.

Orion (newly 9, "Big Brother") has attended various schools off-and-on. Last year we realized a long-time dream of homeschooling, and quickly discovered that what we do is really called unschooling. He has happily been an unschooler for a couple of years now - though we always approached his education this way even when he was also attending school. He is a talented dancer, and reads anything and everything he can get his hands on. He is mad about "science" and is constantly conducting experiments with anything that is handy, from chemistry to physics to robotics. With several scientists and inventors in the family, he gets some good support in these endeavors. He loves to travel; particularly on his solo trips to Brooklyn to visit Uncle Logan, an journalist, activist and mentor in Occupy and other movements.

Peregrine (15 months, "Little Brother" ) is currently focused on physics and communications. Favorite activities include taking everything out of the local cabinets, playing raucously with Big Brother, and being naked. Also he thinks breastfeeding is pretty cool, and food too if he gets to take it out of a bag first. Now that he's discovered books, he really feels like he's arrived. We think he might have said his first word this week: "Duck." Mostly he says, "hoidle-doidle-doidle."

Sean Leonard ("Papa-man") is a skilled carpenter and computer programmer. He builds websites for small businesses, and is something of a Wordpress expert. He also does a lot of other stuff with computers that sounds like gobbledygook when he tells me about it at the end of a long day. I'm pretty sure he's a genius. He loves geocaching and science fiction and is passionate about freedom of the internet.

Finally, Bonny Moss ("Meema" or "Mama-man") is the official reader-alouder. I have studied as a performer off and on, and was a bellydancer until very recently. Currently all my interests are second to parenting, which i find fascinating, fulfilling and sometimes frustrating. I was homeschooled my whole life (including some, but not much, school) - really unschooling. Though my parents are radicals in the political and social sense, it was not "radical unschooling", a notion that we are still exploring with delight. I found Sandra Dodd through some roundabout list on Amazon, found the symposium on her website and signed up right away. We can't wait!





Monday, December 24, 2012

snack table, checklist

Checklist

I wanted to remind you of the checklist at the blog, and request donations for the snack table.  Things that don't need refrigeration are best.  Non-messy fingerfoods are perfect.

If you're flying, maybe when you get here and go shopping (if you do) you could pick up a bit extra of something you enjoy and think kids might like, too.   If no one is hungry, fewer people will be cranky.

Perhaps you will be gifted with cookies you don't especially love, or fruitcake.  I like fruitcake.  

Please don't forget to drink more water than you think you need, while you're in New Mexico.  It's high and dry, the air is thin, people tend to evaporate.  

Joy, health, love and peace!  (let's aim for that; food and water will help)

(If you don't recognize "joy, health, love and peace," it's from a wrenning song... an old winter tradition  once practiced by boys in England and Ireland, at least, involving a bird and some door-to-door begging on December 26, sometimes with a song; several songs are known. One starts "The wren, the wren, the king of all birds, St. Stephen's Day was caught in the woods..." so that's the king reference.  Sorry about the advertisement, if you get one.)  



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Shelby and Lily Coleman

Our little family is very excited about attending our second Symposium put on by Sandra Dodd and her great family. My name is Shelby Coleman and my daughter is Lily Coleman, age 12. I have kept Lily with me at home since she was 5 years old. I only learned the term "unschooling" 2 years ago while attending an unschooling conference near Boston. Turns out there was a name to the way we were living. Such a thrill! We have since attended a few conferences and the symposium in Albuquerque last year and made many new, good friends in the process. By incorporating the wisdom of Sandra and the other experienced unschoolers our world has been greatly improved. More joy, less tension. More fun.

We live in both in Pasadena (during the winter months) and on Long Island, NY (during the summer months). We have two dogs, a Chocolate Lab and Lulu, a miniature dachshund and 2 cats, Palo and Puma. My sister has 2 boys, age 8 and 11 and she also "unschools" her kids, which makes life a lot better for all of us.

Lily loves Minecraft, WOW, Skylanders, animals, vehicles of all kinds  and watching TV. I am a stay at home, work from home Mom. I love being a Mom and that is pretty much what I do, 24/7.









Joyce needs you to bring...

IF anyone here has any of these things handy that you're willing to bring for a project Joyce is doing, she needs two things:

1.   Sandra, could you ask those who are coming to the conference that if they have them, to bring a metal loose tea tin—or something similar—at least 3" on one side that they don't mind donating?

Here's what I mean:

Tea tin →

Bigger is okay but I'm going to put in something that's 3". It also needs to be metal so I can attach a magnet to it.

(She has some, but maybe not enough for everyone, and could use more.)



2.  If it's not too late, put in a request for a small smooth stone too. Maybe eraser size. Something that's comfortable to carry in a pocket.

Joyce

How many people?

I'm working on name tags.   Some people are undecided, some families are half in, half thinking about it, but here is a kind of picture of who's coming:

Moms:  20
Dads:    12 (possibly 16)
Young adults: 8   (18 to 28 years old)
Girls:  10 (maybe 11) *
Boys:  12 (maybe 13) *
Babies:  2 (boys; not counted otherwise)
Grand parents, possibly 2

I'm not putting ages on name tags, but here are the
children's ages, including the two undecided:

Girls:
14
12
11
11
8
8
7
6
5
3
3

Boys:
14
13
11
11
10
9
9
8
6
5
4
3

So the total is 64 to 72, I think, counting babies.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Lila Family

We are the Lila's pronounced (lee-la), coming from Ontario, Canada.  There's Arif (Abba / Dad), Serah (Mom), Qays Muhammad (10) and Mujahid (8).  This time only Arif and Serah are coming by ourselves, and the boys will be home hanging out with cool friends who are hoping to Unschool their little one who is due in May!

We have been Unschooling for almost 3 years now, coming from a few months in school and a very school at home type environment.  Mujahid was a major force in helping us embrace this wonderful lifestyle and we are very blessed to have the opportunity to come to this conference.   We LOVE movies, all kinds!  Some of our interests include basketball (watching, playing and NBA2K12), xbox, trampolining, swimming, parkour, reading, listening to audio books, games of all kinds, painting, going camping, fishing, skiiing, and traveling all over the place!

We are looking forward to coming to Albuquerque, meeting you all and learning more about Unschooling, the Always Learning way :-)

The schedule

For those who have already read the schedule, please read it again.
http://allunschooling2012.blogspot.com/p/schedule.html

Nothing is rearranged, but I've put descriptions of three talks, and then changed my first one because it was going to be too much like others.  I will riff on connections and partnerships, and work in introductions to some of the event's activities, making connections to and between some of those. :-)

I did get helium for Friday night!

Several new families have registered.  You might want to check with the link that was in an e-mail from me sometimes in the past week (if you're registered you should have received one).  There actually are two different people named Colleen Boyd.  They're friends and are coming to hang out with each other, in part.  One Colleen is from Petaluma, California (but will be coming from Santa Fe, an hour north) and the other is from Las Cruces, New Mexico (five hours south).

People leaving very early on Sunday who need the airport should probably arrange for the hotel shuttle, or a ride from someone with a car who's also heading out.    More rides will be available whenever people get tired of the Dodd family panel, but I don't want any Dodds to leave for airport runs while we still have an audience.

The Cogliser Family

Ya'at'eeh (Hello) everyone! We are the Cogliser family from the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance Arizona. Our little tribe of five consist of myself (Dawn), my husband Bob, our 13yo son Sage, our 11yo daughter Jemma, and our 9yo son Zane. We are originally from New Jersey but last fall moved across country to live and work here on the rez. We have unschooled all of our children since birth and are thrilled to be able to attend the symposium this year! So here is a little more about our family.

Zane is a very active young dude which you would not believe when you first meet him. He starts off very shy out of the gate but finishes strong! He is a ball of energy and loves to talk. His hobbies include anything Lego and building with Minecraft. He also loves riding bikes and just about any type of play outside.

Jemma is our creative soul. She loves to take recycled items and create out of them. She draws her own designs and brings her designs to life with items that would otherwise be thrown away. She has been known to make fashions out of recycled paper, scrap cloth, and duct tape. She is also into music and often fills our home with her singing, guitar playing, drumming, and when we had a piano that too! You typically find her with one or more of our 5 pets draped across her lap or her shoulders.

Sage is our science, computer guy. He can often be found with either a lap top or a controller in his hand. He has been known to master games in a single day. He enjoys learning to program and hopes to create his own computer games. He is a master of winning contests and the UPS man knows us by name because of it. He is best known for his dry sense of humor which keeps his mother laughing a lot!

Dawn is the resident medical mama in the family. She is a registered nurse at hospital on the rez where we live. She is currently in graduate school becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner. She has worked most of her life with underserved communities and loves what she does for a living. Her hobbies include repurposing old furniture (she loves freecycle!) and hiking. She can often be found taking on some new activity especially on the rez. She is part of the Heal the Healers group at the Tsehootsooi Medical Center where she works and can often be found in or around the Hogan talking with the traditional practitioners.

Bob is the awesome dad who takes care of all those listed above as well as the furbies in the family. He is a computer programmer by trade but after being laid off several years ago he decided to take a new journey and became a EMT. He worked as the healthcare provider at YMCA camp which was an amazing experience that allowed him to take the kids to work with him. He is often found around the fire pit cooking up some amazing creations. He is famous for his homemade whole grain pizza cooked over the open fire. He shares Sage’s dry sense of humor and is a friend to everyone.

As far as homeschooling, we have historically tried almost every approach and it became very obvious early on that we were unschoolers at heart. Of course our children made this decision for us. Sage is a very high functioning Aspie guy and as such we needed to follow his lead and teach him the way he learned. When our other two children were born we did the same with them. Here we are 13 years later and it works just fine. We are excited to meet other unschoolers and to learn what has worked for other families. Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!

Peace,
The Cogliser’s









Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Catherine Forest and Family

Hi, I am Catherine. I will be coming to the Symposium with my amazing partner J-F and our 3 wonderful daughters, Mara and Aïsha (8 yo identical twins) and Mathilde (7 yo). We are a digital nomad family (a newly coined, very hip term, that I am still not sure that I like to say that we work online and travel full-time!). We are currently on a year-long road trip across Canada and the States in our travel trailer (and planned very carefully to be in Albuquerque just at the right time!). We spent last winter in Costa Rica, came back to our little foot on the ground at home in Orford, Quebec (Canada), rented it again and left for the Yukon, near Alaska, last summer (where we lived for 5 years from 2003 and 2008 and were our 3 girls were born).

We knew from the start that we wanted to homeschool and the girls never even went to daycare. I slowly build our translation business, working when they napped and at night in the beginning (while J-F worked as a translator for the Yukon government, from English into French). We moved back to Quebec in 2008 to take care of my grandma who moved in with us on a little hobby farm, where we had a huge garden and animals to care for. I had created that little Waldorf inspired heaven that I dreamed of... but you know what? We were all miserable... JF and I were so busy transforming the veggies and milk into cheese, butter and more, baking sourdough bread, memorizing rhymes and stories and drawing perfect chalkboard images at 10 pm for little girls that sighed when it was time « to do school »... We sold the farm and went on our first road-trip across Canada. This is during that trip that I read a life-changing book from Leandre Bergeron: For the Sake of our Children. This sent me on a quest and I discovered unschooling and read and read all I could find on Sandra and Joyce's website...

It took me a while to get it and to free myself from the Waldorf background... but I think I am finally there. Still reading, still learning, of course. This is a journey, but my beautiful girls are amazing teachers... now that I truly listen to them.

I am really looking forward to meeting each and everyone of you at the Symposium,

Catherine

http://catherine-et-les-fees.blogspot.com/

Family photo : Catherine, 34, Aïsha, 8, Mathilde, 7, Mara, 8, J-F, 35


First photo (dark pink sweater): Mathilde, 7


Second photo (light pink sweater): Mara, 8


Scooter photo : Mathilde in a skate park in Cortez, Colorado


Jumping photo : The twins, Mara and Aïsha, 8


In a canyon : Mathilde, JF, Mara and Aïsha


Second to last (serious look): Aïsha


Last : Catherine, very happy!







Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Justice Family

We are the Justice Family from Phoenix, Arizona. Mom & dad are Ken & Andrea. We were highschool sweethearts and have been inseparable since we were 15.

Fast forward 14 years and we now have three kids ages 5, almost 4 and 1, a girl and two boys. And now we are all inseparable ;) Unschooling feels to us like a natural extension to attachment/peaceful parenting. We are excited to meet other unschooling families and absorb all we can from those that have been at this longer than we have. As a family we have many interests, we love being outside, reading, making and fixing stuff, roadtrips and having fun! Oh, and we eat...a lot :-)

Andrea

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Teeter Family

Hello everyone!!

We are the Teeters!  There's Russ (dad), Trista (mom), Brooklyn (6 1/2), and Sam (4 1/2).  We currently reside in Albuquerque, but only for a short time.  Russ works for Sandia National Labs, but at the Livermore, CA branch.  He got into a program into a 6 month program in Albuquerque, so are here through March.  Then the plan is to return to Livermore (unless Russ can find a job here at the ABQ branch--crossing our fingers!!!).  We love Albuquerque and have no desire to leave!

We made the switch to homeschooling a year ago.  Brooklyn had been in two different Kindergarten classes (a charter school in North Carolina and one of "the best" schools in Livermore).  In just 4 months she went from vivacious and full of wonder to "I hate reading and math" and being suspicious of us showing her new things, afraid we might be trying to teach her something.  We pulled her out of public school, and after a couple of more months I re-stumbled upon unschooling.  Trista jumped in head first, which in hindsight wasn't the smoothest choice and resulted in a bit of a bumpy road.  Fast-forward to now though and we are loving life!  Just a year ago we would require Brooklyn to read us a book at bedtime if she wanted us to read a book to her...I'm sure you can imagine how that went (and we were surprised that she hated reading?!)...  Just the other night we were snuggling in bed and Brooklyn says, "Mom, can I read you a book??  I just love reading!!  I know I can only read the small words (not so), but I would like to try."  We also underestimated how much deeper each of our relationships has become--we've learned not to look at how successful a day is based on how many things we get crossed off of our To Do lists, but by how many snuggles, spontaneous "I love you"s, and "You're the best mom/dad/brother/sister in the world!"s we get.


Some of our interests include:

Russ:  hiking and camping, cooking, wrestling with Brooklyn and Sam, learning different programs (currently learning Blender), building things (he's a KEVA blocks master!), watching documentaries and Mythbusters (his and Brooklyn's favorite show to watch together), listening to audio books, and is a coffee fiend!

Trista:  camping, crocheting (just finished a giant Minecraft creeper head blanket for Sam for Christmas!), reading at least 8 books at a time, snuggling in her PJs on the couch with a hot cup of tea,  and has learned WAY more than she ever thought about computers via Minecraft.

Brooklyn:  gymnastics (but at home, not at the gym), making her own experiments with kitchen items, swimming, watching dog movies, collecting stuffed animals, wants to be the first kid host on Mythbusters, loves Minecraft and making her own skins, dark chocolate, talking in accents, and reading Bad Kitty books.

Sam:  wrestling with Russ and Trista, is a Popsicle enthusiast, loves anything Minecraft, climbing trees, building with KEVA blocks, anything Mario Brothers, and loves seeing how adept our cat is at landing on its feet...


We are so excited to attend ALL!!  We are going to do our best to mingle and talk to you all, but we are natural introverts and we do love to stick to those dark back corners of the room...don't be afraid to drag us out though!  Please!  :)





Sam isn't in the second photo because he's the one who took it.


Lisa Jonick

UPDATE:  Alistair (8) is coming, too.  

And if you're interested in a hike on Sunday afternoon, speak with Lisa during the symposium.




Hello everyone!

We are The Jonicks. Lisa, Michael (my husband), Alistair age 8, and Emmett age 5. We live just down the road from the conference, so I will be the only one attending. I am leaving my boys with my husband to have some weekend fun, but would love to bring them all on a hike after the talks.


Alistair is 8, he is really into birds, nature, drawing, legos, and rock climbing. Emmett is 5 and he loves his toys madly! Anything that is good guys vs. bad guys, robots, bugs, and he has a killer sense of humour.

We have just begun our official Unschooling journey. My oldest son Alistair did a little bit of pre-school, and 2 months of a half homeschool/half school school. It was not for us. A couple of years ago I read Teach Your Own, and understood the ideas of Unschooling intellectually, but not in a really deep down way. We have been mostly reluctant Unschoolers up until now. I have never been able to implement an academic style homeschool schedule, but I did do the homeschool freak out once in a while and would pull out the math workbooks and reading lessons. I am leaving all that behind, and am now fully embracing Unschooling.

A few weeks ago I ordered Sandra's Big Book of Unschooling and I think I finally get it! I am really jazzed. I have always had to understand things on an emotional level before I could fully grasp it. Sandra's book did it for me. Getting Unschooling from a Mother's perspective, an Attachment Parenting perspective, really sent it home for me.

I am very excited about commiting to the practice of Unschooling. I have small doubts in myself, but being able to read women like Sandra, Joyce, and Pam everyday helps keep my confidence up, and my head full of ideas. I can't wait to hear all the speakers and meet all of the families at the conference. See you soon!

Cheers, Lisa Jonick


Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Collins Family

I received a note on December 26 saying there was too much snow in the mountains between Salt Lake City and New Mexico. Safety is important; I'll be sorry not to meet Skyler and Julieta.


We are the Collins Family from Salt Lake City, Utah. We are Skyler (dad), Julieta (pronounced hoo-lee-et-uh, Mom), Skyler, Jr. (7) and Liani (pronounced lee-annie, 3). We've been unschooling Skyler, Jr. since September of last year (he attended 1 week of kindergarten and a year of formal preschool), and Liani since birth. We don't know any other unschoolers in our area though we're friends with a couple of homeschooling families (one with older kids). We're mainly looking for support and guidance and hope to make some new friends.

Dad is a software quality assurance engineer and mom stays home with the kids (she works harder than dad, for sure). Skyler, Jr. loves video games (he's conquered several), dinosaurs, and super heroes. Liani loves animals, Diego and Dora, "reading" books, and painting her dad's nails. Both kids share a gelatin business as equal partners and absolutely adore each other. They are constantly wresting and playing cheerfully, though they do have their "disputes" from time to time. That's it for now, and we're excited for the ALL conference!

(For the record, our children know full well that Santa is "pretend", like are Diego and Spiderman, and they love them all anyway, and the Santa in the picture is my Uncle Rick, with my Aunt Sherri.)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Renee Cabatic

Renee Cabatic's family attended last year and this year Renee is going to be a presenter.

Here's their family's bio from last year. The Cabatics NOTE ADDED DECEMBER 15:

Here's how we can recognize XuMei this year (photo lifted from Facebook):

Thursday, November 1, 2012

More on Pam's presentation

Pam Sorooshian posted this to Always Learning a week and a half ago. I thought I should put it here, too, as a preview. I'm looking forward to her presentation.
At the upcoming Always Learning Live Unschooling Symposium (ALL) in December, I'm going to be talking about what made me think unschooling was a good idea back umpteen years ago when we started. I've been thinking about that a lot, lately. I thought SO much more in terms of "education" back then, that my reasons all had to do with how the kids would learn math or science or history or reading and writing in natural ways that wouldn't destroy their love of learning. It is really interesting to me, now, that those are NOT the main reasons I think unschooling is wonderful. They seem pretty trivial in comparison to the really big important things in life that have so much more to do with character and behavior. I'll talk about them, but I no longer have any concern about whether or not unschooled kids will learn to read or write or do math or whether they'll have "gaps" in their education. I guess I'll talk about why that seems like a complete nonissue to me, these days.

I'm also going to talk about what I have learned about unschooling. I've learned a lot about it in just in the past week, so this talk is definitely a work in progress. What I have in mind is talking about some of the things I did not know about unschooling until we'd done it. The one thing I've been thinking about this week is that unschooling is a profoundly optimistic decision and that it involves a huge commitment to living a very optimistic life. I'm going to talk more about what I mean by that and what happens when children grow up that way - kind of amazing.

I'm also thinking a lot about the damage done by schooling - thinking of this in contrast to the above. Schooling is a quite pessimistic endeavor. It assumes negative behaviors are normal, expects the worst, and sets up system with a zillion rules and consequences for breaking the rules. It assumes kids don't want to learn and have to be bribed or punished to get the learning into them. What effect does living in such a pessimistic environment have on kids?

Scientists who study this stuff report that pessimism and optimism seem to be slightly inherited - maybe due to being connected to other factors that are genetic. But they are also largely learned habits of attitude. I think it is possible that THE most significant thing unschooling does is nurture optimism.

-pam

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pam Sorooshian's topic, and other encouragement!

Pam Sorooshian:   "Learning is Learning: Unschooling Everything"
What was the basis for our decision to unschool? What made us think it was a good idea? What were we hoping to get out of it? How did we first apply our ideas about how children learn to conventional school subjects and then begin to go beyond that to apply them to all kinds of learning? And, along the way, what did we learn about unschooling?

Keith, Holly and I have returned from the Florida Unschooling Conference, and now there is nothing to keep me from telling everybody to COME TO ALBUQUERQUE.

For those who are not on the Always Learning discussion list, please consider joining.

I was interviewed (at length, by e-mail from India, with side discussions) and two long blog posts contain the good parts of that exchange.   Pam Laricchia (who lives in Ontario) has created a really great introduction to unschooling that you can sign up for and receive in installments.  The author of a blog called ZenHabits wrote a beautiful description of unschooling.  Links to all of those are gathered here:   http://aboutunschooling.blogspot.com/2012/10/new-interview-new-resources.html

Some families planning to attend are in early stages, so please do take advantage of Pam Laricchia's newly and freely offered introductory materials before you get to the symposium.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Children's playroom and a cake

Last year the side room dedicated to young children's play had a nylon tunnel, dinosaurs, and a few other things.

Since then I've thought of other things we have that would be fun and not noisy, so that room might be the best of the three. :-)

Related to having bought a cake for the second anniversary of Just Add Light and Stir, we're planning to get a cake from ABC Cakeshop, a local bakery that makes beautiful and great-tasting cakes. We plan to have the snack table as last year, and at some point we'll have an Always Learning cake.

Cakes...

In case you haven't seen my cake page...
Musings about the Meanings of Cake Eight hours after I thought to myself, on the way out to water the yard, "I really should put up a webpage about cake as a sacrifice," I was looking at unschoolers' blogs with a "next" function on a blogring, and came to this photo...