Sunday, June 19, 2011

Unschooling snapshot

On Friday, Mary Gold and I spent over an hour in Barnes & Noble watching our 17-year-old unschooled daughters, Qacei and Chloe, as they lusted over a particular display of books. The sign on the display? Required School Reading.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

LIFE is Good lessons

LIFE is Good 2011 was not a perfect conference. Things went wrong. Pranks were pulled. Friends' gifts to each other went missing. Another friend spent the end of the conference grieving the loss of her mother. Even so, I loved it. It made me happy. It gave me some more amazing memories to add to my burgeoning "Unschooler Love" file, and I received a good dose of inspiration and renewal. I came away smiling, energized, exhausted, and content with my life.

And then last night I got on Facebook and the LiG group, looking for photos and shared memories and more fun. I found those things. But I also found regrets and complaints and reports about even more unfortunate events that had taken place. I got rather depressed.

But driving to work today—Sitting in Traffic Meditation—something occurred to me: If every conference we attend has a theme, the theme of this one was not "A Series of Unfortunate Events" but "How Unschoolers Respond to Suffering."

Two fire alarms were pulled. We learned that false alarms cost the hotel $500 each and that Mary Gold, our beloved Conference Diva, was deeply distressed. How did the unschooling community respond? They opened their wallets and reminded each other that young people are curious and impulsive.

Some of the treats left by Fairy Godparents (secret pals) went missing. How did the unschooling community respond? They came up with replacement treats and reminded each other that people who take are needy people.

A friend received word Sunday night that her mother had died. How did the unschooling community respond? With an outpouring of love, with songs, with laughter and space for tears. It was a wake to remember.

As always LIFE is Good provided me with an opportunity to learn, to expand my horizons, to experience acceptance, and to see with better eyes. What I saw was unschoolers at their best, responding to the pain of life and the shortcomings of others with grace and generosity. That is the theme and lesson of this conference. I will carry it with me for the rest of my life.