Saturday, May 26, 2012

Massachusetts ALLIn May 2012

I have wanted to meet Sandra for so long and was thrilled to finally do so!

We had such a nice time at the ALL In May gathering!  I had that great feeling that I get after being with other unschoolers afterward!  Here's the link to the Massachusetts ALL in May 2012 conference:

The presenters, all of whom are lovely and inspirational:

Sandra Dodd

Joyce Fetteroll

Meredith Novak

Brie Jontry

This was the main cabin where the discussions were held, where people hung out and where there was a great buffet table.  It had three bathrooms, several bedrooms, a large living room, a dining room, a kitchen and a porch.

View of the front of cabin looking toward the lake and Gaga Ball Pit.

Lots of people drew with chalk.  Kanoa drew a bit too!
 Wolfie was so kind hanging  out with Kanoa so I could attend the talks.  

These 2 videos are of the kids playing in the Gaga Ball Pit.

For those who want to make one in their own backyard now, here is a site with directions on how to do so:

Some photos of the kids in action:

Photos take on Saturday May 19th, 2012 during some of the talks.  They came out a bit dark (sorry!).

Joyce's presentation

Brie's and Michael's and Noor's presentation.  Loved what Brie and Michael and Noor shared - thank you  Michael for being so honest and sharing your experiences!

Joyce is as lovely in person as she seems from her writing! So glad to meet her!

Wolfie following Kanoa.

Run!  Fast!  Everyone's counting to start another game of Gaga Ball!

Joyce and Me holding Kanoa

Makana holding the REAL Smilie ball!  Haha!  Smilie stayed ALIVE! :D

Makana made these snowmen and the I love Mom behind it.

And I made an I love Makana back to her!

Me, Jules and Amy - Always so good to see them!

Meredith!  Another person whose words are so clear, right on and inspire me so!

Ken and Erika always know how to have alot of fun and put smiles on people's faces.  
Erika says so many great things and during one of the sessions said "I run towards joy!" - I love that!! 
What a picture that gives me in my mind!  Shouldn't we all run towards joy!

Edwin, Fernanda holding Zolay Dezta and Karen Dematos

Getting ready for the ropes courses.

Love those missing teeth!!!  And two more are missing on the bottom (ones next to the middle ones)!

Waiting to pull the first person so they can SWING!

Amelia was the first to go.  Ken assisting with the ladder.

Katie, the instructor, explaining what to do.

Now she's in the air....


And there she goes!

Ken standing by Lily as she gets ready for a turn on the swing.
Katie explains how to check the gear.

There goes Lily!

Marla watching as Lily enjoys the swing.


This ropes course was vertical...and high!  If you look carefully, you can see someone climbing (they were up higher, but I missed the opportunity to get that shot).

Another swinger

Look!  No hands!

Makana eagerly waiting to swing

Katie explaining what to do to Makana

Up, up....and swing!

The poster many folks signed!

Yeah!  So glad to have finally met Sandra in person!

It was an honor to listen to and talk with Sandra as she is such an inspiring and caring person as are Joyce, Meredith and Brie and others. So lucky were we all to be able to come together with such great weather and company! It was so uplifting to be around this group of people and to talk about unschooling. I feel blessed! Thank you!!

All three kids (Kanoa, Li and Makana) fell asleep for part of the ride home.  When that happens, it is so quiet and Jim and I talk, talk, talk.  

 The last talk on the schedule for Sunday morning was about changing the world:

Changing the world
What are we doing, beyond the "unschooling without a curriculum"? How does unschooling affect our larger lives? How do we affect others and pass on what we are learning?

A friend emailed me a speech by Nipun Mehta this morning and it reminded me of unschooling and that morning talk.  How does unschooling change the world?  Read the last part of Nipun Mehta's graduation speech to UPenn's 2012 graduates (see below).  My favorite part is the underlined section, especially the last sentence of the large paragraph although it is summed up in "Change yourself - change the world."  I like the part about the things that help us often being small and invisible and happening within ourselves, that's why I think that sentence is so true!  When we shift our thinking and our attitude, we can feel more appreciative and treat ourselves and others better.  How we treat our children does make a difference in how they think and treat others, including their children.  The principles behind unschooling which include acts of kindness and generosity and peace have ripple effects.  Laurie

"I want to close with a story about my great grandfather.  He was a man of little wealth who still managed to give every single day of his life.  Each morning, he had a ritual of going on a walk -- and as he walked, he diligently fed the ant hills along his path with small pinches of wheat flour.  Now that is an act of micro generosity so small that it might seem utterly negligible, in the grand scheme of the universe.  How does it matter?  It matters in that it changed him inside.  And my great grandfather's goodness shaped the worldview of my grandparents who in turn influenced that of their children -- my parents.   Today those ants and the ant hills are gone, but my great grandpa’s spirit is very much embedded in all my actions and their future ripples. It is precisely these small, often invisible, acts of inner transformation that mold the stuff of our being, and bend the arc of our shared destiny. 
On your walk, today and always, I wish you the eyes to see the anthills and the heart to feed them with joy. 
May you be blessed. Change yourself -- change the world."

If you want to read the whole speech, you can read it at


  1. In the second video and some of the GaGaball still photos, I'm the tall thin boy in the green shirt and beige shorts, with the hat. On the poster, my signature is tiny, beside the gray line, which is a rocket which was supposed to launch the second day, but didn't.(It launched may 22nd, instead).

  2. Cool! I remember talking to you and you showed me the pictures you were working drawn to scale and one freely drawn. Glad your rocket launched! It was so nice to meet and chat with you! :)