Please read all of this before deciding whether you want to attend.

Who should come?
Unlike some gatherings, this is ideal for a parent (or two) to attend alone. Two moms attending together can be fun, if one parent needs to stay home. There are more notes about children below, in case you do need to have your child or children with you.

What is the name of this kind of gathering again?
Always Learning Live Unschooling Symposium.
This specific one is called ALLive in Maine. It is the last one scheduled outside of New Mexico.

What's the difference between a symposium and a conference?
I intend to provide a quieter, gentler extension of the Always Learning list. Or maybe a funnier one with snacks.

I like quieter gatherings with shared experiences and time to think. It will be rich in information, but intimate. No really early sessions.
Where is it going to be?
First Congregational Church, Camden Site/Directions

Why a Symposium?
Why smaller and quieter?
So we will have time to speak calmly, to wind down slowly, to clarify, to laugh and to smile. Time to think.

Are babies and young children okay to bring?
Yes, sure, and we'll have a place for them to play, not far from the presentations/discussions room. If you bring toys to share, bring Very Quiet toys, please. It will be possible for parents of younger children to stand where they can hear (but not see) the speaker and see their kids playing, too. You might bring a blanket or futon for a child who's young enough to nap, and put them in a corner if they're sleeping.

What about older kids?
If it is not feasible to leave your children elsewhere

The kids who might be the most bored are the middlin' ages, but if they're too old for toys, they might be old enough for games. (The church has wifi.) If they need to run, or if they're loud, it would be better to leave them with friends or relatives, as we won't have children's activities.

For some kids, it might be a good idea to bring another adult, but because we don't have a hotel site, that could be expensive.

Judge all this by how much you want to concentrate on the presentations and discussions, and how well your child can entertain himself quietly or get along with others he's never met.

I don't figure teens will have any problem hanging out with other people of all ages and finding things to do or games to play, either near us or in the rooms or out and about in the neighborhood. They might want to listen to the presentations, too. Any of the children are welcome to do that, or to be in the main room if they're quiet.

More on the basic idea:
When people go to a homeschooling conference, it's likely there will be speakers who aren't homeschoolers and might not even know any unschoolers.

When unschoolers go to homeschooling conferences, the same thing can happen, in that even the homeschooling speakers might know nothing about unschooling.
Catering to the hyperactive:
We hope to have tables for everyone, with paper and coloring pages. Feel free to draw, doodle, color or work puzzles. It's okay for to play on a phone or iPad (wifi available). Some people can listen better while they're doing something else at the same time.

We will have snack food available all day, and please bring something to donate to the collection—finger-food only, monkey-platter style. People can listen better if they're not hungry or thirsty.

Basic understandings:

If you're not sure whether the subject matter will interest you, read some of these first:
Definitions of Unschooling
Getting it
Help for New Unschoolers, which includes links to many things, including Joyce Fetteroll's site, and Pam Laricchia's, which has a free introductory series on unschooling
If those things seem crazy or wrong to you, read more before you decide whether to attend.

In the past when people have attended without knowing what they were getting into, they were unhappy, and their unhappiness brought down the tone of the day. The idea is to discuss unschooling with and among unschoolers. No one will be pressed to speak or contribute, but those who are new to the ideas should be aware enough of them to be happy to be there.

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