Sunday, September 25, 2011

What are we learning now?

A new school year has started and even though we don’t ever stop learning at our house, we do mark the end of one learning year and the beginning of another as September 1st.  It’s easier to answer that question, “What grade are you in?”.  I think it also gives my daughter a sense of progress.  This year is especially exciting for her because now she is “in Highschool”.   Every year seems to be filled with new exciting things and this year is no different. 

To start the year off, we took a trip to San Diego to attend the Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by people who truly celebrate their children for who they are.  The main theme of the conference seemed to be “have fun!”.   There were workshops on tutu making, hula hooping, art, magic wand making, globe trotting, skipping college, how to be a medieval knight, learning how to meet people, poetry writing and even a surfing lesson.  There were also discussion groups for parents and teens to talk about unschooling topics.  It was a great way to start the year.

Now that we have returned home, we are trying to establish a weekly schedule so that I can adjust my availability to meet Tessa’s transportation needs.  Things that Tessa plans to do on a regular basis include meeting weekly with her Algebra tutor, Creative Writing group(weekly), guitar practice, reading, making art, visiting the Innovation Lab, learning to speak Italian and attending Access, a homeschool enrichment program.  At Access, Tessa will take classes on things she is interested in like guitar, ceramics, art, soccer, book making and literature. 

In November, she will travel to Durango.  She will stay for a month with a group of teens at the local hostel and try to write a whole novel.  During her stay, she will also take writing workshops and go on several field trips.

Tessa isn’t the only one pursuing new skills.  Besides working 24 hours a week at the library, I am also working on learning to speak Italian.  I’m learning new exercises to hopefully reduce or eliminate my neck pain.   I will continue reading about things that interest me like education, child development, and creativity.

In October, I am taking on a personal challenge of making at least one thing everyday.  I will display my progress on this blog just to keep me motivated and honest.  I got this idea from the TEDxBoulder conference Tessa and I attended last night.  I love being creative but tend to spend more time reading about it instead of just doing it.  

The TED conference was a great experience especially for Tessa and her friend.  I was disappointed to see so few teens in the audience. I want to expose Tessa to inspired people who think “outside of the box” as much as possible.  I think it will give her hope for her future and give her a sense of empowerment, that’s my hope anyway.

What kinds of experiences do you think teens should have available to them?
What things are you doing this Fall?