Report from Informed Family Life Conference Boulder CO
I just got back from Rahima Baldwin's "Whole Family, Whole Parent" conference sponsored by her organization, Informed Family Life. What a great weekend it was!
I had the privilege of being one of four keynote speakers. The three people preceding me spoke on fascinating subjects (please go to www.waldorfinthehome.org for more information about the conference and to purchase cd's of these talks), mainly to do with supporting and nurturing the growth and potential of modern children. At first I was daunted by the prospect of having to follow these amazing speakers (including Eugene Schwartz who is just terrific) but then realized I was actually in a wonderful position. My subject was the art of homemaking - and I soon realized that I could bring many themes from their talks into mine as I put forward the suggestion that the home is the best place to truly nurture and care for each family member. So that was really exciting. It felt wonderful to be able to bring together the conference in that way through my talk.
I also gave three workshops - one on being at home with under 7's, another on Waldorf and unschooling and a third on language arts. Each was very enjoyable and it was gratifying to see people who hadn't signed up for the latter workshops returning for more and crowding into the room! These talks were not recorded but I have audio downloads available from my web site www.christopherushomeschool.org on the first two topics. There are also a number of blog entries here on language arts - as well as homemaking - which people might like to read!
So the workshops and the keynotes were a joy to present. And, even better, it was lovely to connect and reconnect with so many people! There were familiar faces from other conferences, either my own or from Boulder in the past. And there were several people that I knew only as voices from telephone consultations or as e-mail names on my yahoo group! That was really fun to meet them and to see how wrong my mental images of what they looked like were! Another highlight was going out on the Friday evening into the Rocky Mountains with Barbara Dewey - she and I had spoken about doing this for several years and we finally got to do it. We drove an hour out into those beautiful mountains and stuffed ourselves silly at a amazing German restaurant. Sauerbraten - yum! She and I spent a lot of time together during the conference. She is a wonderful person, with great warmth and humor. I intend to write a review of her "Geometry with 6th Graders" booklet here at some point - might as well give it a little plug now. It is a very good resource for a subject which is often hard for parents to fathom.
I believe the Conference was a success - Rahima seemed pleased by the numbers and by the enthusiasm of the participants and presenters. There were a few grumbles about food shortages on the Saturday but all in all, people did seem pleased by the Conference as a whole. An ecological waste company offered its resources to the conference with the aim of making it a zero waste event. I don't know if this was successful, but it certainly was a great goal to shoot for.