So, this time, I felt much more relaxed and was able to enjoy myself and really see how amazing these people are and how open and loving they are with their kids, even when their kids are doing things that more traditional parenting models would be worried about or try to squash through various methods of "discipline".
One of the most important things I walked away with from this year's conference is the importance of connection and staying in relationship with your children. This wasn't new to me, but it was just great to be surrounded by people who were actually talking about it and living it.
Sandra Dodd was one of the main presenters, and I enjoyed all of her talks, though I missed the one on balance. Darn it! She really emphasized the idea of staying connected to your children and prioritizing your relationship with your child above those of others, like friends or colleagues. I notice now that I am working part-time out of the home, I do have to think about that more than I had before when I was working from home. Sometimes I put my children behind the other people and things happening in my life, and I want to be aware of that, so that I can keep my priorities straight - which are staying connected to my kids - and also my partner, Nicole.
I also attended a great circle chat with Erika Davis-Pitre about the teen years. I really appreciated her openness and her emphasis around staying connected to your teens by being there for them even when they are experimenting with such things as alcohol, sex, and whatever - as many teens do - even unschooling ones!
The talk that Lyla Wolfenstein gave was also a great reminder and expressed a similar path that I had undergone when transitioning from more control to less control to not controlling. She posted her talk on her blog, which you can find here. I highly recommend checking it out.
Finally, I enjoyed a talk by Ronnie Maier where she talked about fears and how to deal with them. I especially liked her explanation of PUPD (periodic unschooling panic disorder) and her ideas on how to handle that. LOL!!
I had a great time and only regret that I didn't get to more chats. Luckily there is always next year and we plan to attend.
The kids had a great time and got to meet some new friends. They too are looking forward to next year and being able to connect with others.
Boys connected with Roman and Jordi from Vashon Island over Realm of the Mad God, as well as with Seth, Zane and others.
The Minecraft Mini-Con was popular with all our kids. Avery joined The Hunger Games Minecraft game and the girls played with Minecraft boxes, cut-outs, etc.
Emily and Sophia spent a lot of time in the arts and crafts room making all sorts of fun things!
Other things that the kids enjoyed included: Nerf gun wars, soccer, capture the flag, dancing, Fairy Godparents, swimming, staying up late amongst a crowd of kids, making things with balloons, DDR, talent show, buying stuff from the entrepreneurs (especially the hair bows), and, of course, the Monday picnic. We are excited for next year and hope to stay in touch with new friends throughout the year.
Big thanks to Mary Gold, conference organizer, and all the others who helped put together this amazing event.