Well, our first Unschooler Weekend Gathering is over and my houses is mostly back to normal. I wanted to write about the weekend partially to encourage folks to attend these types of gatherings and also to provide info to those who might be willing to host a weekend. So here goes ...
Friday (3/20/09): Bethani and 3 year old Elyce arrived around 12:30 pm. They are local to LaPlata and we have done various activities together in the past. We talked, cooked, and let Elyce get adjusted to being in a new place with people she did not remember (but had met before). Elyce was just getting comfortable when someone new arrived - Samantha with her daughters Allison (9) and Amanda (11) from Ashburn, VA. Her son (13) had opted to stay home in his comfort zone. Maia and Evan gave tours of the house to all guests upon arrival. By 4:30 pm or so, our friends Danielle and Rob from Bowling Green, VA arrived with their 3 girls Amber, Amalie, and Amaia. My husband arrived about an hour later and the pot luck dinner was mostly ready. We enjoyed spinach and artichoke dip, homemade herb bread, homemade mozzarella cheese rounds, shrimp and rice noodle wraps, cream cheese and raspberry salsa with crackers, applesauce crisp, and orange-y turkey bites. Everyone ate, shared stories, and the kids played inside. We taught some folks a new board game - Ticket to Ride. By about 8 pm, these families were all gone - one to a hotel and the rest to their homes. Around 8:30 pm, Tamara, Jim, Andrew (9), and Rosalie (4) arrived after a long day of work. We chatted, the boys played Halo, and Rosalie was her busy young self. This family stayed with us friday night, so we got them set up in the available spaces. My family decided to go to sleep around 10:30 pm but I understand that our young guests were up till midnight or so.
Saturday 3/21: I started off the day by making homemade waffles - some plain and some pumpkin flavor. I like to serve them with homemade yogurt and maple syrup (not homemade ;-) ). Folks got up over a several hour spread so the morning was fairly quiet and slow with just my family and our 4 houseguests. Samantha called late morning to say that her youngest daughter was feeling ill so they were headed from the hotel to go home. Emily came with Lawrence (1) and Simon (4). Rosemary and Jeff and their kids arrived just after lunchtime and boy was Evan happy. He had met Rosemary, Jeff, Zach and Josh (11) and Bekah (9) at a turnpike rest stop in Ohio on our way to UWWG in February. They all brought nerf guns so the shooting of little foam things began. After about an hour of an all ages nerf war, we opted to head to the indoor swimming pool. Everyone located their suits and towels and a few were borrowed from us for those who left theirs at home. We headed to the pool (and in one case Target for a quick swimsuit purchase) and swam and played for hours. Emily's crew fell asleep on the way to the pool, so they kept on driving home. We returned and ordered 5 pizzas - yum!. Bethani and Elyce returned and Elyce and Rosalie enjoyed playing to together. We got out some more games like Set and Quiddler. Evan invited Zach and Josh to spend the night at our house instead of their camper so they did. The boys were equipped with popcorn, nerf guns, Halo and plenty of xbox controllers, the Dark Night movie, and pillows and blankets to crash with (and beds too should they want to move there). It was Evan's first time with friends sleeping over, so he needed a bit of help figuring out what to do when he got tired and the others weren't yet. So I went to sleep around 12:30 am after providing some assistance. When I got up at 2:30 am to check on them (they were of course saying they would be up all night) - they were all asleep. All was well.
Sunday morning: All 3 boys got up right after 8 am. They went right to playing and frozen waffles. Rosemary, Jeff, and Bekah arrived somewhere around 10:30 and we had a great conversation until it was time for them to head home just after noon. All the guests were gone. technically the weekend was over now. We still went to the rail trail and took a nice long walk/ride and enjoyed the sunshine. We reconnected for the rest of the day and cleaned up from having a young person in the house again (wow is my house not baby/toddler/preschooler proof anymore!).
We found some things left behind and some of our things that went for a trip to Rockville. We are trading back this week. We made new friends and strengthened a young friendship. We still have a fridge full of food! Evan was happiest when their were kids for him to hang with and lots of people to talk to. Maia felt that she could have used one girl or boy to play with that shared her interests. She also thought the house was too full and noisy. Opposites of course. We will do it again. We hope you host an unschooler weekend too.