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Learning in Freedom

Welcome to Learning in Freedom, a blog all about the learning adventures (and mishaps) of the Allen family. My four children are unschooled, following their interests and passions every day and living the lives of their choosing. The purpose of this blog is to share our every day lives (and my not-so-humble opinons) with anyone interested in stopping by. We hope this will give a glimpse of how natural learning unfolds from day to day......

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Live and Learn conference '08

Community: 1. A unified body of individuals 2. a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society e: a group linked by a common policy

But it's so much more than that. Our Live and Learn experience starts on Tuesday night, hanging out with the Pirro family in downtown Jonesborough.

The children all find treasures. Lovely things born of curiosity and interest and I am reminded of a favorite Plato quote: “The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.”

Scott's lovely things are "crystals", which are simply some landscaping rock. I think it's that glitter effect he loves.

A puffy seedling and bright orange leaf round out their "lovely things". Dontcha love the contrast of that orange against the purple? Yum.

Wednesday morning we are off to Asheville to go get the rest of our crew, Trevor and George, then up to Black Mountain to meet our tribe at the Blueridge Assembly.

3. A group of people sharing an occupation, interest, or habit: a tribe of graduate students.
4. Informal A large family.

Ah yes, that's more like it. A large family. A large, strange family to be sure.

Scott informed me that this is his favorite friend. I said "Wyl is your favorite friend?"
"Yeah, my other favorite is Phantom Hourglass, but Wyl is my most favorite". So Wyl ranks over a video game? That's pretty cool!

Sierra, Sadie and Kyra decide who is sleeping where....they're so happy to be together again.

Total tired silliness ensues. Nothing new.

The view from Lee hall is awesome. Even more awesome when the landscape is punctuated by intelligent, brilliant, interesting unschoolers sharing their passions.

The ATC funshop was a huge hit...as always. What is it about ATC's that can really bring people together and keep us in one place for HOURS? Gotta love it.

Fire was ATC obsessed all week. We created by the pool and late at night in the Weatherford dining hall. Good times...

These ladies have been a part of my ATC trading for several years now. Some trades via the mail and others in real life. Some of their cards are amongst my favorites. It was awesome to sit and create and trade with them again.

The frosting funshop. Sierra and Sadie concentrate on their works of art.

So pretty. Later on it got veeerrrryyy thick with frosting and even had another cookie layered on top. We found out the blue frosting is evil.

The blue frosting dot that shall not be removed. No matter how you rub it. No matter how you lick it or otherwise try to remove it. Scotty was stuck with that bit 'o frosting for a while!

The passion basket donated by Imagination Tribe! It was heartwarming to see everyone's handmade contributions. Years ago, Imagination Tribe was just an idea in my head and to see the manifestation of that at a conference again was really great for my soul.:)

An impromptu hair dye funshop in my room. Our master of hand drumming, Caren, decides she needs some color. The color seeped over to her son and another friend....they were both dye virgins so it was a lot of fun!

Some of the amazing teens/young adults. To be witness to their growth and changes from year to year has been one of the coolest parts of this whole Live and Learn experience for me.

The awesome threesome together again....

Some divas taking a break. One conference diva, one WoW diva and one doll-making diva all chilling out.

The energy at Live and Learn always centers around handmade items and sharing interests. Brandon and Tori look on as some henna tattoo's get shared. Note: Tori and Brandon couldn't make it up from Pensacola so LeaAnn sent me flat versions instead. They weren't as lively as the real-deal, but man did they get some laughs. That's Nancy holding them in this photo...with her gorgeous jewelry for sale.

The talent show is a huge highlight. Some of the gurls take a bow after their "gum" skit.
Sierra loves her gurl crew!

Scott took this picture of Sierra and I on our way to the pool. It was his VERY favorite place at the conference.

After proclaiming that he would NOT go off the diving board, he ended up going off it again and again and again...pretty much until they kicked us out. About four hours all told. Can you say Tiiiirrred?

Tori and Brandon stop by the second ATC funshop.

Thank goodness for Dave and De! Scott did not like the cafeteria at all, though you wouldn't know it by this picture because he happily ate with Wyl's family. They kept him happy with movies and a DS almost the entire conference. I had such a hard time trying to fulfill responsibilities while Scott did NOT want to come with me anywhere (other than the pool). I felt so torn, but he was totally content to just be with them, playing games. THANK YOU to them for everything! It was huge to know he had an adopted family while I was busy.

Tori and Brandon meet more conference attendees.....

My giant sunflower head got adopted by the Bothwell family....

Getting ready for the tower of doom. Ok, it's really called the Odyssey.
It looks very high from down below...though I'm sure it looks even higher when you're on the wires!

Sierra gets ready with the safety course. Kelly, Beth and Ben are on her team.

Kyra and Fire sit this one out, but we enjoy watching together.

Sean gives us a bit of bravado. Hang on to your rope dude!

Sierra and Ben help each other traverse the last bit. At the end of your Odyssey journey, you slide down a hydraulic zipline. She absolutely loved it, but said "It was harder than it looked" afterwards.:)

Scott was over at this section with the swingers (that just sounds wrong doesn't it?). I missed his first swing ever, but here's a shot of Jessica flying high.

Some end-of-conference activities at the picnic on the lake.

Then we're off to Alice's house in Asheville for some post-conference chillin'. It was an awesome week, with awesome people, making awesome connections.

There are a lot of missing pictures here because most of my conference experience is on film, including the masquerade ball. I also have no pictures of the Amy Steinberg concert, though that was a HUGE highlight of the week for me! Such amazing energy. The tribute to Lisa Heyman (while Wide-sky-life was being sung) had us bawling our eyes out. Our day-after was spent with the Kreams, Bowmans and Gavins in Asheville where we had a great time swirling in and out of stores, talking and eating together. I miss my tribe already!

When I attended the very first conference in 2002 I had no idea how it would affect our lives. It has had a powerful and dramatic impact on us and we are SO thankful for the friendships forged there.
Thank you Ben and Kelly for all your efforts over the years. We are eternally grateful for the connections made through Live and Learn and the magical ripple effect of this gathering.
We found our tribe that year, and while it has grown and changed and experienced some deep loss, we know where we belong.

Some other attendees blogs can be found here:

Nancy's A Happy Childhood Lasts Forever.

Laura Endres of Wistful Wanderlust.

Kelli at Our Joyful Life.

Laura at sssmommy.
(yes, this is the now-famous Laura
who started Radical Unschooling Network).
Part 2
Part 3

Kass at Liberal family living.

Madeline at Barn Raising.

Mindy at Dancing Chickens.

Flo at Sumbthuckers.

Ronnie and Frank of The Zombie Princess.

Gail's Hummingbird Heaven.

Heather at Swiss Army Wife has four L&L
Part 1
Part 2
Part 2.5
Part 3

Jeff over at Free Boys.

Joni of A Joyful Journey.

Faith at Bearthmama.

Deanne at Learning Always and All Ways.

And finally, there are a TON of photos at Flickr for your post-conference enjoyment and an awesome video at Youtube created by my friend Geri. It's a tribute to Live and Learn over the years. Watch for a certain teen I know with a hugely tall mohawk.;)


Blogger Julie Colibri said...

Hey there! Your blog is great. I'm currently a graduate student in Corvallis Oregon (American Literature), and freescooling and unschooling have been on my mind a lot lately (I'm currently a TA teaching freshman composition). I'm glad to see folks out there putting these great ideas into action!

Rock on!

11:24 AM  
Blogger LeaAnn said...

You guys are awesome! Thank you so much for taking B and T with you. Someday we *will* show up for real at some gathering. The pics on flickr are great......now I need to hang with some unschoolers.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous suchlovelyfreckles said...

Wow, I love your blog. This looks like great fun. I think I'll have to add you to my blog roll. :)

Greetings from Portland, OR. :)

12:22 AM  
Blogger Zenmomma said...

Looks like another amazing week.Wish we could have been there. Next year at LIFE is Good though! :o)

2:19 AM  
Blogger Zenmomma said...

Looks like another amazing week.Wish we could have been there. Next year at LIFE is Good though! :o)

2:19 AM  
Blogger laura said...

i love all the great pix...can't wait to see the others you took with film.

we had such a great time. i'm sooo glad you talked me into going. we'd wanted to go the past few years after tracy told us about it, but it was never possible until this year...imagine that!!

i'm trying to read everyone's L&L posts, but i feel like i may never get to them all...

9:17 AM  
Blogger Madeline said...

Sierra has such a gentle, strong presence. I look forward to getting to know her better, as well as your whole family! We wanted to do ATCs with you but had our funshop at the same time. I know it will happen some day. Thanks for listing these blogs. I look forward to checking them out.

9:45 PM  

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