Catch Up: Birthdays, Conferences, and LWOS Post

Yes, it’s been almost two months. So much to do, so little time! First, some birthdays came and went. My oldest turned 20 a few weeks ago, which means I have my first child in the twenty-something category. It was also the first birthday I didn’t get to spend with a child, as explained in my last post. But, my daughter and I had fun putting together our first “care package” for him with a few goodies. He e-mailed me telling me he received it and that he didn’t take long to “down the chocolate goods”. He was into Japanese cooking just before he left and had binged on some Japanese products before leaving, so I stuck a last package of udon noodles in the package. He commented that “the udon was a bit random, but appreciated.” Then he went on to put in a few more Japanese food product orders for next time. He continues to flourish on his mission, and is currently serving in his first location: North Salt Lake, UT.

Eli turned 16 yesterday and most of the family went to Cracker Barrel for his dinner outing. It can be hard and sad when your whole family can’t go to these types of things. Adam is just not at a place that he can tolerate that type of outing, so Abbey stayed home with him. She is such a gracious giver! On the other hand, she knows that she has a blessed life in being my traveling companion to conferences as well as much freedom in going wherever she wants when she needs to go. But, it’s still a choice to be amazing . . . and she is. Anyway, Eli wants to buy Rollercoaster Tycoon III – Wild as his gift.

And, speaking of conferences, Abbey, Eli and I just returned from the InHome Conference this past weekend, and we all had a blast! I still vote it as the best organized and most diverse inclusive conference I know of for both adult and children/teen workshops. Plus, we feel like such family among the organizers as we have attended and presented since 2000. I was invigorated and newly enthusiastic about some of my passions as I contemplated various things on my long drive home.

As always, my right-brained learner workshops were well-received. I presented a workshop on my Collaborative Learning Process for the first time that had mostly good reviews, with a few people who didn’t like it at all, which is always expected. It was my largest attended workshop this time, so there will always be someone who came and was expecting something different. Since this process has an unschooling “flavor”, and I didn’t write it up as such, some may have attended that don’t embrace that idea at all.

I became especially empassioned about the special needs arena after serving my second year on a special needs panel. I’m finally beyond frustrated about presenters who espouse the IEP/school process within special needs. I SO want to be a voice that shares another way . . . and, yes, to me, a superior way, than schools can provide our very different children. Around the discussion table after the conference, the organizers were eager to have me present next year at least one special needs workshop specific to autism, but they are open to me throwing in other ideas as well for another workshop.

On a similar note, I was able to speak to the organizer of Rethinking Education in Texas, Barb, on my way down as a potential speaker at her conference on Labor Day weekend. We are now working out the details, and I shared my enthusiasm about special needs topics that I would love to showcase at her conference, as well as the well-received right-brainer topics, so we’ll see how it all works out . . . Sometimes, passion and purpose hurts Undecided

Last, my recent post is up at Life Without School called From Snakes to Unschooling that I had posted here last year. I added some attributes to it based on the comments here at my blog, so go check it out and see what comes to mind for you. I actually should have mentioned two lessons for mom from that story. The one I didn’t mention, and I may add it after it is off the front page, is that children will learn what they are interested in if you supply the materials and resources for them, and be available and attentive to their requests.

I’m going to try to get back on my blog wagon . . . I missed everyone, but I had to prioritize, as you all can understand, I know!

5 responses to “Catch Up: Birthdays, Conferences, and LWOS Post

  1. After listening to you at InHome 2007, I got a copy of “Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World.” So far I am finding my son in every page of this book. What a revelation this is! I am more excited about unschooling than ever! Thanks for presenting the Right-Brained Children workshops. I hope to catch more of them at Inhome 2008.

  2. I think it is probably a good idea not to advertise your collaborative learning workshop as an unschooling approach. I bet there were some folks who attended that would have been put off by that term (since it gets misrepresented in the media so often) that might have decided to rethink on the basis of what you propose. I think it is unreasonable to expect everyone to like the workshop and if only a small minority were dissatisfied then you had a successful workshop. If everyone liked it, I’d be worried that some folks who could have benefited didn’t come because of perconceived ideas.

  3. I’m so excited with you, Ivy, as you continue to discover on your journey with your son! Let me know how I can further assist you!

    Jove, I completely agree and it’s exactly why I don’t “package my workshops as unschooling”, because, first, as you mentioned, I don’t want people to be turned off from coming where they might really benefit just because of a word they might carry that has a connotation for them that is negative. Secondly, all of my workshops are first and foremost about what I learned from my children, because that’s how I homeschool, in relation to what they share with me about what they need and who they are, etc. It just happens that some of my children’s needs look a lot like what we call “unschooling”. But, I didn’t choose unschooling and fit my children into that. So, since I am sharing about my children and their learning lives, and others have children with similar learning lives, they can benefit from hearing how that looked in our home and where my children are today as a result.

    So, yes, my message is about the right-brained learner, another message is about special needs, another message is about learning stages that I came to realize each of my children navigated . . . each person can decide what that “looks like” in terminology 🙂 but I won’t pigeon-hole myself that way.

    In fact, although I spoke at Pat Farenga’s unschooling conference, Rethinking Education will be my biggest foray into an exclusive conference, so we’ll see how I feel about it. I wanted to explore the option, and Barb’s conference seems like a good one to do that with, particularly this year with some of the people I recognize and admire.


  4. Happy Birthday to both your guys, and congratulations on yet another successful conference.

  5. “I’m finally beyond frustrated about presenters who espouse the IEP/school process within special needs. I SO want to be a voice that shares another way . . . and, yes, to me, a superior way, than schools can provide our very different children. ”

    I am so with you on this! Thank you for your dedication to showing that there IS another (maybe even better) way to education “complicated” children beyond the IEP process.

    Welcome back, by the way! The conference sounds wonderful!

    Also I can so relate to the bittersweet feelings of celebrating a birthday without the entire family. Unfortunately, I’ve been there, done that…

    Have a good day!