Monday, August 27, 2007

Living and Learning Then and Now

What a difference three years makes.
Next week, we will be heading out to Live and Live Unschooling Conference in No. Carolina. When we began the homeschooling part of our family's journey, we were all unsure of how it was going to look, be, feel, etc.
I was surfing the internet, and came across the Live and Learn conference in Peabody, Mass. It looked so cool (kids can come to everything! there is no curriculum discussion! live and learn! a round table on your out of sync child! talent show! Oh.My.God!). I was so excited, and it was only a few weeks away. We lived close enough to drive, my mom offered to pay for a family registration and we set off for the day. It was so unbelievably amazing that we stayed for the night.
So, we became unschoolers overnight.
As we are finally getting back to another Live and Learn conference, I have been gently looking at the other family that attended that conference and how far we have all come.
I remember thinking that everyone there was shockingly creative. There were all these raffle items that people had made (while their kids were home?!?!?), books people had written (about things other than children?!?!?!), talented adults and kids dancing, singing, running, jumping, grooving with mechanical hamsters, handling future guide dogs, discussing hair dye and duct tape, and everyone was grinning from ear to ear (with their children??!?!?!?).
Even my daughter was recruited to a cheer leading troupe. She bopped up on stage.
One! We are the Unschoolers!
Two! A little bit Louder!
Three! I still can't hear you!
More! More! More! MORE!
I was beginning to be one of these grinning from ear to ear people.
My son, who at the time LOVED his stroller, was the only child in one. Every other child was held or free range. There was a five year old who roamed confidently with her walkie talkie.
I kept grinning at her.
I couldn't figure out how all these people knew each other ~ well, it appeared. How was that woman (who looked AMAZING and had like a little posse of kids...) who I knew was from Colorado such good friends with that guy from Massachusetts? Had I stepped into something where everyone was somehow related? During the talent show, the "cool people" were in the back drinking wine and throwing their arms around each other. With, yep, more grinning.
There was the girl who recited a whole bunch of The Emperor's New Groove by heart, and the family that "Rocked the Funshops!"
Now, it is three years later. I know some of these people. I love some of these people. I will fling my arms around some people that I have never seen in real life.
I will grin from ear to ear.
In fact, I am even bringing some art to raffle, and a poncho I knit myself. Me ~ one of the creative people.
Most of all, I hope I can hold in my heart the memory of when I was baffled, enthralled, mystified, and eager to know more but not even knowing what questions to ask.
I hope I recognize that look on some one's face, as Valerie and Joyce recognized in mine, and start talking. Maybe even fling my arms around him or her.
But, I will definitely grin at them ear to ear.
And that doesn't even brging to touch on how my children have changed, but that is for another post.


Deanne said...

I love your description of the conference. I felt the same way at my first one, and even the second one. This one I'm determined to meet my on-line friends IRL! So I hope to connect with you there. :)

Christy said...

I haven't been to a L&L since Peabody and I was just like you there. A newbie that didn't know anyone and was too shy to talk to anyone. Luckily, I already knew Lanie and she came with me so I had someone to cling to. I hope to make another L&L someday, now that I know so many more people. Have a great time!

Madeline said...

I came to your blog after reading in your comment on mine that you have a red head. What a handsome red head he is too. I am so glad to see that you are going to be at the conference. I missed last year's but have been to the others but still feel a bit nervous. It is sooo big now. I look forward to meeting new people as well as to all the reuniting. This post got me even more excited; didn't think that was possible! I'll look for you and maybe we can meet IRL.

Jean said...

Such a nice post, Jessica. I too love the unschooolers we have met. Unfortunately, the L&L has been out of our reach. We have met some great families that are local unschoolers, though. I can imagine how that must have been.