Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Journey to the Live and Learn Conference in St. Louis

Now that I've finally figured out how to get pictures on here I want to record some of the highlights of our trip. To get there we went through Tenn. stopping at our friends' new Mexican restaurant in Chattanooga (which was great- I'll plug it when I get the address again!) and then spending the night near Nashville. The next day we wandered around Nashville discovering an old fort museum near the river. It was a very hot day! Back in the car, Jesse navigated, Gillen read and they watched Cirque de Soleil on the DVD player that we bought with our collected change this summer. We loved seeing the flat lands of Illinois. None of us had ever driven west before. Huge expanses of corn fields.

Back to the trip - the conference for unschoolers from everywhere!!! Lots more people than the past two years that I've gone. It was chaotic but felt so safe. There were so many respectful parents and happy children and what really impressed me (besides the talks) was the way that the teenagers interacted. It seemed that they didn't break off into cliques but instead hung out together as a large happy inclusive group, drumming or singing or (I heard) staying up all night talking together and playing instruments.

The kids and Nicolas went to the St. Louis Zoo ( and it was a highlight for them. I asked Gillen and Jesse last night, prompted by an article in a magazine we like called "All Round", what the most amazing thing they'd ever seen was. Gillen said it was the bird house at the St. Louis Zoo. He came home with all kinds of bird feathers he found there on the ground of birds he'd never seen before. Jesse's most amazing thing was this Yu-GI-Oh card that he saw in the "Yu-Gi-Oh lounge" at the conference (where he spent most of his time finally getting to learn Yu-Gi-Oh). The card is Obelisk the Egyptian God and he hopes to find it somehow in the future. It belonged to another boy named Jesse. The older boys there were so patient and generous and impressed by Jesse as they first taught him and then played with him over the four days. Jesse has definitely discovered a new passion in this game.

Another highlight was the City Museum. All of the conference attendees needed to vacate the hotel on Sat. night (due to a wedding) so we all went here. It is a piece of art - a labyrinth of tunnels, climbing apparatus and slides that are both outside and indoors and that lead to different levels and even to a plane that seems suspended in mid-air outside! It was frightening trying to follow our kids through these mazes. But I thought it was so amazing that it was worth it. There were also adult sized ball pits, a huge fire with marshmallow roasting supplies, a skateless skateboarding room and Art room (we never got to the last two areas as well as so many others).

The kids discovered Geocaching at the conference, which is a satellite controlled treasure hunt. Once you find the geocache box, you trade an item for anything in the box. Gillen wants to find geocaching here in GA now. I would also like to pursue letterboxing, similar but without any technology, which is refreshing.

On our last day in St. Louis we checked out the famous arch (HUGE!!!) and went to an unschoolers' picnic at Cahokia Mounds.
We stayed there, talking to so many new friends, until the beautiful sunset sent us into our car and back on the road home. What a trip.


Lostcheerio said...

Welcome to the world of blogging. :) You're off to a great start. We are another homeschool family blogging our mania. Nice to meet you! :)

Madeline said...

Thanks. Nice to meet you too. Blogging your mania? What do you mean?