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.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ready for anything

Gillen and Jesse oufitted themselves for a Sun. adventure at the farm with Papa. Gillen is in camouflage in order to bird watch in the woods and has his tennis racquet for practicing with papa at the public court on the way home; Jesse has a backpack filled with field guides for any snakes or bugs or trees they he want to identify and they have their new walkie talkies from the geocache box at the Live and Learn conference last week. They traded "Fluke" for them. This was a DVD I had really wanted them to see because I loved it so much but they were dead set against it. I think the walkie talkies may be cooler than even Fluke.

Later - They saw a Plain Bellied Water Snake and a lizard ("Brown something" says Jesse) and got really wet in the creek. A good day all around.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Thankyou Live and Learn conference...

Until last week, I had only seen one blog entry before and knew next to nothing about them. At the L&L unschooling conference (inspiring, life-changing really) that my family and I attended last week in St. louis, I learned about blogging from Danielle Conger. Thankyou Danielle, for answering my blogging and life questions at the confernce (and in the future : ) ). I am really excited to record our unschooling journey here and to keep in touch with family, friends and unschoolers.

I would love to start by raving about the conference but my time has run out, for now. It is Nicolas and my 10th anniversary! Next week we will be celebrating alone (a rare occurence for us) but tonight we are sharing chocolate and our wedding video with our children and will maybe even share a sip of our wine -the wine we drank at our wedding -- Ravenswood Red Zinfandel - dry, red and mighty fine! So I need to go make our special dinner adn break out the wine and organic truffles.

Welcome to my blog. Wierd word to me still, that. "blog"