Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Bergman Family: Vickie, Nick, Louise, and Emmitt

We are the Bergmans. We live in southeastern Connecticut. Nick and I have been married almost 6 years, and we have two children, Louise (5) and Emmitt (3). I started reading about radical unschooling about 2.5 years ago, and it did not take me long to realize that this was the lifestyle I wanted for our family. Fortunately, Nick has an open mind and a lot of trust in me. I am grateful for his willingness to embrace unschooling, and together we are enjoying watching our kids grow and learn, and learning along with them.

Nick and I own a small tennis shop inside an indoor tennis club, and Nick is an expert racquet stringer. I also tutor school kids (mostly in math) in the afternoons and Nick teaches tennis and paddle tennis. This schedule is great for our night owl rhythm. We get to see Nick even though he works late, and the kids and I enjoy our leisurely mornings with French toast or pancake breakfasts.

Louise and Emmitt play pretend a lot (Emmitt loves to set it up: "You be... and I'll be...") and they get a lot of inspiration from watching shows on Netflix. Some of their favorites right now are Busytown Mysteries and Power Rangers. We play with cars and Barbies and dinosaurs and swords and lots of other things that aren't necessarily meant to be toys. One of Louise's favorite activities is arranging things, like flowers and other fun stuff she finds around and puts together. We all like to make elaborate villages using all different kinds of toys and household objects. Emmitt does a lot of puzzles these days. He likes to pick one and do it over and over again. He also loves to make people laugh, which he does by telling silly jokes or making funny faces or staging dramatic falls.

Some of our other favorite things to do are: go to the beach and collect sea glass and shells, jump on beds, build and knock down things, make pretzels, go to the library, and play computer games.

I have been reading unschooling lists and lots and lots of pages on Sandra and Joyce's sites for over 2 years, and I am very much looking forward to meeting some of the wonderful people behind these amazing resources and connecting with some other families.








Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Progress, and topic-call

Eleven families have paid, and eleven of those who have indicated intent to attend have yet to finish that registration. Pass this blog address on to anyone who might be interested, and you can register at the registration tab above, if you don't need bunks on site.

Camping is free.

Joyce and Brie have topics (I'll get descriptions up before long) but Meredith and I were going to see what some of you wanted to hear. Any requests?

I plan to talk a bit about what we're doing that's not so obvious (the bigger picture, of this kind of unschooling), and other than that I'm open to ideas.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Nearby hotels

Not all, but some:
The Wulfrums have decided to stay here:
website: www.holidayinnmarlboro.com
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites
265 Lakeside Avenue
Marlborough, MA 01752
Telephone: (508) 481-3000 Fax: (508) 480-8530
Mapquest.com shows how close the hotel is to the ymca center:
http://www.mapquest.com/#f7fcac5fa9dbf2e76632534e
320 Sewall Street Boylston, MA 01505 (ymca)
265 Lakeside avenue, marlboro ma (hotel)
15 minutes, 12.18 miles
119 for two double beds, 10 xtra/night if a cot brought in


Speakers might be staying at Classic Suites, in West Boylston (George is the one who knows those things, and I have a note out to him for other recommendations.)

Some of the hotels are nearly full because of weddings and graduations (the trouble with May).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The James Family—Doug, Karen and Ethan (9)

This note arrived May 13:
I feel very sad to say that our family won't be able to make it to the ALL gathering in Massachusetts this May. We were all really looking forward to coming. My uncle passed away this morning. The funeral will be held that same weekend in Montreal, Canada.

Doug and I met over 20 years ago. We married ten years ago, and had our son, Ethan a year after we wed. Attachment parenting came naturally (but not necessarily easily) to both of us.

When Ethan was 4, he attended a coop nursery school three mornings a week. We had just moved to Ithaca, NY, and this seemed like a nice way to meet new friends and to help us jump into our new community. Most days, I stayed with him at the school, helping out the teachers and the children where they needed me, and making myself available for Ethan.

When Ethan finished nursery school at five, he was finished with school. He was very clear about that. He had fun at his
nursery school, but he didnʼt want to go to kindergarten, and we didnʼt want to make him. For the first couple months of our “kindergarten” year at home, I planned a few activities every day, but it soon became clear that what Ethan needed was someone to support his explorations, not plan his day.

I began reading more about unschooling. It has taken me a long time to deschool. I think I still have a ways to go, but I can now clearly see and appreciate the learning in everything we do. Doug has always been very supportive, and I believe we make great partners in this unschooling journey together. Ethan loves his life, and that has been a fabulous incentive for us both.

Doug is a professor of computer science at Cornell University. He studied physics, applied math and computer science during his undergraduate and graduate years in Canada. I studied visual arts and english literature. I am an artist. Both Doug and I have maintained a love of learning and curious natures. Although going through school in a conventional manner, we were both highly motivated to pursue each our own interests in each our own unique ways. We are best friends, and have long enjoyed
playing together. We have a happy home, and feel quite blessed.

I donʼt remember when I started reading on the Always Learning List, but I do know that it has changed the way I parent for the better in so many ways. Consequently, it has changed me for the better in so many ways as well. I am excited, and a bit nervous, to meet some of the people who have written such inspirational, yet humbling, revelations on parenting and learning. As well, I am looking forward to meeting families that live as we do. Doug is looking forward to meeting the people I am always talking about.

The Cummings Family

Hi! We are the Cummings Family. Chris (Dad), Bonnie (Mom), Meredith (12), Tess (10), Emmett (4 - although he has decided to be 5 instead :) and Vaughn, Bonnie's stepson, (17) who stayed in school until this year and who will stay home to work at his new job. We live in Easton, PA.

We decided after Meredith's first few months of Kindergarten that homeschooling would be a much better choice. We had thought she would want to finish Kindergarten, but Meredith had other plans and told us very clearly that she would prefer to start right away. That was 6 years ago and we've never looked back! We started out as 'eclectic homeschoolers' and quickly moved to unschooling, then to the realization that it was the whole lifestyle for us, not just 'not doing school'.

The girls run an American Girl Doll club.

Meredith loves to draw, currently anime & manga; to play with and redesign Monster High Dolls; and listening to music and learning to play her guitar; she is currently helping the family to become more earth-friendly.

Tess loves doing gymnastics and anything else climb-ey and bendy; is interested in everything about music and likes to play drums; she loves to draw; and caring for her many dolls and her tremendous stuffed animal collection; she plans to own a bakery one day.

Emmett loves Thomas trains; anything to do with garbage trucks; digging in the dirt; playing with collections of anything; and pretending to be all kinds of exciting things (a pirate, a knight, a ballerina princess, and a construction truck driver are some recent favorites).

Chris is the world's greatest Dad, a drummer, a senior manager at Verizon, and an awesomely fun guy.

Bonnie loves being a Mom and stepMom, likes to crochet, loves taking a gazillion pictures of the kids, and being silly whenever the mood strikes.

Here are some pictures from last week's backyard circus :)






Saturday, March 10, 2012

A few more notes (site rules)

Pets are not allowed

Cars should be parked near the lodge or in the parking lot, after unloading. Don't do anything that would block emergency vehicles.

The Lodge

The main building for our use is The Lodge. You can look at some photos here: http://ymcach.org/lodge.html. We'll use the dining room for speaking, and leave the living room for kids to hang out during presentations (though they're welcome to be in either room).

There are more photos of the lodge here: http://ymcach.org/lodgevt.html.



Friday, March 9, 2012

Registration opens slowly

I have nineteen pre-registrations. I'll go through those in order, negotiating what needs to be paid for for each family, depending on sleeping arrangements and ages of kids.

There are very few private-bunk-room situations, so that will be a first-requested (and then paid) order. If you're camping or commuting, that's easier.

The basic rates are:
One person:

$60

Two in a family
age four or over

$80

Three in a family

$90

Four or more

$100


Plus, if applicable:
$10 per bed in a private room or $5 per bed in a shared bunk area

Each family will be asked to bring some food to share, and to help with the maintenance of order and happiness.

There are some restrictions on our use of the site; any family finding them too limiting might not want to attend.
Those who do attend will be expected to help their own children and others keep the peace and safety as stipulated by the site manager.
  • NOBODY near the lake, at all, in any way. (We would have to hire their lifeguards, and it's quite expensive.)
  • Quiet after 10:00; REALLY quiet after midnight.
  • Those under the age of 12 should be in the presence of adults.
  • No dunking, in the basketball area. Playing basketball is fine, but dunking could break the equipment.
  • Stay off the wooden swing near the caretaker's house. It's private property.
  • There is a bell hanging in a wooden frame. Don't play with it.
Questions can be sent to me or left as comments below.