This week we are at Kalahari for a regional “Unschoolers” conference. It is the fifth year this group has organized the event and the second year we have attended.
While I do not define us as an “unschooling” family, I do think we have a pretty relaxed and eclectic style that overlaps unschooling in some ways. This year we participated in several of the group activities and really had a good experience doing so.
We checked in on Monday afternoon and I helped with the registration area for an hour. It was a nice opportunity to meet a few other families and break the ice a bit. The girls had a chance to check out the kids’ room, full of arts and crafts and dress up playthings.
Later on that night we attended the Cake Meet and Greet. Each family brought some kind of cake and made a little poster as a way of introducing themselves. Here is our cake, a chocolate birthday cake that the kids made and decorated almost entirely themselves:
There were about six banquet tables full of cake at the meet & greet. Of course, we could go through the line and eat as much cake as we wanted. The number and variety were equally impressive, not to mention the creativity behind each one.
Tuesday we spent much of the day in Kalahari’s waterpark with another friend who was attending.
DH came in on Wednesday and spent the day with us. We had a great time and the girls became much more adventurous on the waterslides. S7 is now past 48″ tall and is able to go on almost everything, and she did. O6 is only 44″ and was very bummed at first that she was required to wear a life jacket in all of the open water areas, but was thrilled to discover she was tall enough to go on some of the slides (and that they did not need life jackets!) She and DH went on the zip coaster a lot.
That night, DH went back to the room to do a little work and I took the girls to the family dance. They got to see a group performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller Dance. It was really well done and obvious that the participants had been practicing all week. Of course, this has led to many hours of watching MJ videos on You Tube, a discussion of the influence of Motown, and their discovery that the “girl” who sings “A-B-C” on their Family Dance album was actually a ten-year old boy.
On Thursday, the girls led a “funshop” (fun workshop) on Elementary Ballet Steps. It was actually quite impressive, being the first time they had “taught” anything. Before leaving home we put together a rough outline of what they wanted to cover.
But it was really quite spontaneous, with S7 explaining all the positions and the steps they knew and giving the other kids a chance to try them out a few times. She copied some elements from her own teacher’s class style but also did some things very much in her own way. O6 was a little shy and, while she participated with a smile and offered a few things of her own to the class, she was much more content to let big sister lead the show.
In the evening, S7 participated in the group’s talent show. She brought her violin and played the Twinkle Theme and Jingle Bells. I was so proud of her for getting up there and performing. It was a rather large room and I think she was a little surprised by the number of people when we got there (probably close to 150). But she was a trooper and marched right up on stage and played. She only made one small mistake but kept on going. I think the only person more proud of her at that moment was S7 herself. She was grinning from ear to ear afterwards!