Hello from Marshall, Texas!
The crew has been barreling across the southeastern United States en route to Cleburne, Texas, and our newly refurbished (I hope) Warrior RV motorhome.
Last evening we were like Mary and Joseph, going from inn to inn and finding all full. I don’t know what’s going on in Louisiana and east Texas, but the economy here looks pretty good. We finally found a temporary home here in Marshall.
We got the call that the Warrior was ready to go while we were attending The Autodidact Symposium unschooling conference in Columbia, South Carolina. So, without hesitation, our destination changed to Cleburne.
The Symposium had a big impact on my wife. And on me, too.
My wife had been curious but uncertain about the unschooling direction that we have been taking in educating our kids. But the warmth of the reception that she received, and the overwhelming intelligence and peaceful character of the unschooling families that we met there, really put her at ease.
Although I was already comfortable with our current unschooling direction, this was the first time that I had met, face to face, others who were sharing our unique path.
It was great to meet teens who were a “product” of this unschooling path, and to hear of the extraordinary number of PhDs and otherwise highly accomplished individuals who were emerging out of this self-directed method of learning and growing.
My kids had a great time. My oldest in particular. He wants to travel North America again. Except, this time, we will be visiting unschooling conferences each month wherever they are held. I think that he enjoyed the camaraderie he found with the other kids there. Remember, going in this unschooling direction was his idea.
The conference itself was organized and managed completely by a 22 year old unschooled young man. His last year of formal schooling was the sixth grade. The conference went off without a hitch. At the end this young man received a standing ovation.
The last speaker at the Symposium was a young lady of 20 years, who spoke to the gathering as if she were 40. An accomplished artist and scholar, she had been self taught her entire life. I know that when I was 20 years old, I had never met such a person as she. I hope that my children turn out half as well.
And that’s what all of this is about, isn’t it?
We can agree to disagree on all of the theories as to what approach is best for raising our children. But, in the end, it’s the results that matter. I like the results that I met in the flesh over the last several days.
I believe that, for too long, we as a culture have failed to question the fundamental approach that we take to raising our children. We believe that we have no choices. We do what we are expected to do.
I have discovered that we have many choices. Take your time, teach yourself about what is out there. And approach everything with a fresh and open mind.
So many of the hard challenges that we face today are the products of our own, unconscious decisions. If each of us wakes up to those decisions, just imagine all of the good that we can accomplish. And all of the misery that we can avoid.