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The First Ever Australian Unschooling Conference Retreat

Not only Australia’s first ever Unschooling Conference but also my own first ever unschooling conference. Five wonderful days surrounded by parents and children happy in each other’s company. What could be more uplifting?

I’m told that 110 families attended this conference, which was apparently well beyond initial expectations. So – hundreds of people to mix with, which was fascinating for me because I’m usually quite a private person.


It was a pretty full on adventure all in all with a succession of talks and discussions every day for the grown ups and plenty of activities for the children. Sometimes what featured most in the talks and discussions was the philosophy of “unschooling”, sometimes it was the personal experiences of individual unschoolers and their families. I particularly enjoyed hearing other people’s stories and about what they actually do in their day to day lives, and meeting in person a number of people I’ve been following online or who are subscribers to my newsletter. And I got to meet The Sparkling Martins – keynote speaker Dayna Martin and her family. They really are sparkling!

I’m not going to go into the details of the conference here because the schedule of activities and the biographies of all the speakers are readily available at the official Australian Unschooling Conference Retreat website. My main aim in creating this page is to publicly acknowledge the event – the first of its kind in Australia – and to provide a portal through which those who were there can be reminded of it and those who weren’t can find out more about it if they so desire.

Here’s a review of the conference from Arun Pradhan, one of the speakers:

Australian Unschooling Goes to the Next Level

This is from Ela Forest’s majikfaerie blog:

Australian Unschooling Conference

Lauren Fisher wrote this at her blog Sparkling Adventures:

Unschooling Inspiration

There is an Australian Unschooling Conference photo sharing pool on Flickr, which you’ll find at:

www.flickr.com/groups/australianunschoolingconference

If you have a review of the conference on your blog or website please let me know and I will add a link to it.

From a purely personal viewpoint, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to talk extensively about ideas and experiences that I normally rarely talk about in person at all. Perhaps many other attendees also felt the pleasure of being physically present with like minds.

I did think that some of the more controversial issues that unschoolers and “non-unschoolers” alike were curious about or concerned about were difficult to explore in depth – even given five busy days and the amount of information that was exchanged – but that was really due to the complexity of the subject matter. Perhaps some of the conversations might have needed to be continued for weeks! I know I could have said a lot more myself on some topics. But at the very least a solid foundation for future discussion has been established.

In the end, the First Ever Australian Unschooling Conference Retreat was a HUGE success, and as memorable for its atmosphere of enthusiasm, optimism and friendliness as for its well organised exposition of  “what unschooling is all about”.

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