Sunday, February 14, 2010

On the Right Path

Me and John Gatto

Yesterday, I attended the Unschooling Conference here in Madison and it was a great experience. I had a chance to to talk with some friends and meet some new homeschoolers/unschoolers. I also had a chance to sit back with a hot cup of good coffee and listen to John Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down and Weapons of Mass Instruction. He is full of life and enthusiastic about every question he was asked. As well as very approachable. You really felt like you wanted to talk to him for hours. I only hope that I have that kind of passion when I'm 75.

The conference had a limited amount of participants which made for a lovely environment. I was also pleasantly surprised by the delicious and healthy food for breakfast and lunch. I was expecting a sub sandwich and some chips. Instead, there was a salad of mixed greens, homeade soups and homeade ginger cookies -delicious. (Thanks again to the amazing cooks!) A sure fire way to feed the soul while pondering big education questions.

What I walked away with was a sureness about what we are doing. I heard John Gatto and Jen Lynch ( )another fellow unschooler speak and offer a lot of insight about the power of Play. I also gained a lot from asking and talking about my concerns (really talking, without a fear of being criticized for how we have or are doing things) I learned a lot from listening to other participants ask the same questions that had been rolling around in my brain. I only wish that I had asked these questions a few years ago. I may have not been ready for the answers then but right now, the answers fit perfectly for us.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Get to go to Gatto!

I am thrilled! I have been trying to get a ticket to the Unschooling Conference for a few weeks and earlier today, I received a call that there was a cancellation. One of the first home schooling, un schooling boks I ever read (even before we took our daughter out of kindergarten) was John Gatto's Dumbing Us Down. After much deliberation, and reading his book and John Holt, the deal was sealed. The philosophies from the books still resonate in me when I feel myself getting tugged into questioning our decision to home school. You know when you read something and it hits your inner core? That's Gatto & Holt for me. So, as you might suspect, I'm really excited to have this opportunity to hear him tomorrow. I'm also happy that I get to be immersed in the energy with other home schoolers. It will be a terrific day and some day, my son will learn to read Gatto the right side up.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I have a sweet tooth...

I'm so excited to announce the opening of my business with my dear long time friend and business partner, Anastasia. We have known each other for so long and always been so thrilled to share our creations with each other that we finally decided to share them with everyone! Confectionique is a confectionary of gifts re-imagined. In other words, we find trinkets and turn them into treasures that we hope bring a smile to someone. Our only caveat to having our business is that it has to be fun. Between you and I, I'm having a wonderful time! I would be so delighted if you'd check out our latest creations at

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Natural Process

After we started home schooling, we pulled away from signing up our kids for numerous activities. I would get pangs of guilt mixed with anxiety when I would over hear other parents (home schooled and not home schooled) talking about running their children to different classes (music, foreign language, gymnastics, sports, art...) Yet, whenever I asked my kids if they wanted to sign up for any classes, their response was always "no". Now, I am thrilled that my kids (on their own) are asking to take some classes. I think that I am most excited because they are finding interests of their own that they are genuinely (without bribery or threats on my part) wanting to try on. Don't get me wrong, I don't know which method is the best (introduce a child and they might like the activity-how will he or she know unless exposed to the activity? vs. wait until he or she picks their own interests) I just know that we couldn't continue to invest in classes that involved us bribing or threatening in order for our kids to attend regularly. It also put a very unrewarding dent in our checking account.

So, currently at our house, I have a young man taking fencing lessons and a young lady taking horse back riding lessons. On the horizon, I see electric guitar lessons and bongo lessons-oh and ramen noodles and ear plugs.