Sunday, January 13, 2008
Saturday I attended a local unschooling conference here in Madison. It is the first conference related to homeschooling that I have attended and I was not sure what to expect. The session descriptions sounded interesting--but with very young children, some topics are not in our scope yet.
The morning started with a keynote from Manish Jain, who is the coordinator and co-founder of Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, in Udaipu, India. His discussion and presentation which included concepts such as learning cities, community, sustainable/self-sufficient villages, organics, integration of life and work, meaningful work and unschooling just floored me. As he quietly discussed concepts and ideas from his own experiences, quoted Gandhi, and showed images from communities in India, I just felt like yelling YES YES YES YES!!!
The concepts discussed touched on so many things we envision for our family and aspire to integrate more fully into our lives. There are many things we are doing (and so many more we want to be doing), but we are doing them in a bubble, in a way, since we don't really know other local families pursuing many of the alternative ideas of education, sustainability, life, food, and economy that we are working through - hopefully to a more integrated community vision. "Community, community, community," as Manish said.
I only attended the morning portion of the conference, but talked to my husband all afternoon about the keynote -- and went through the Shikshantar website and read many of the papers and information on there. What great food for thought. I found out after the conference many others were also impacted by the concepts presented by Manish, and there are people who are interested in continuing the dialog. How cool is that?
What a great morning. And the extra bonus was meeting a fellow blogger live and in person!