FOSDEM 2013!

Tomorrow I fly back to Brussels, to attend FOSDEM 2013, where I’ll be presenting on GNOME’s community, my experience becoming involved over the last year and our efforts to expand it. Assuming all goes as planned I’ll be arriving in Brussels around 8:30am on Friday and am planning to help in the setup of FOSDEM in the afternoon, maybe  catch a nap and then off to the FOSDEM Beer Event. On Saturday & Sunday I’ll be (mostly) hanging out at the GNOME booth, answering questions and hopefully meeting lots of new people 🙂 If you’re around, stop by and say hi!

In any case a big thanks to the GNOME Foundation for sponsoring me!

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Unschooling

My oldest son Andros is in Kindergarten this year, and up until January 1, 2013 was enrolled in our local public school. However starting a couple of months ago now, he started complaining he didn’t want to go, which I can understand – I hated school and as a result was ‘home-schooled’ from 4th grade on. As such, I simply could not bring myself to force my child to go to someplace that he didn’t want to go, and which I too despise.

So, as of last week we are officially homeschooling. However, in reality we are unschooling – as originally described and promoted by John Holt and the “Growing Without Schooling” newsletter. Unschooling is the act of trusting kids to learn, without having to be actively taught. Allowing them to pursue their own interests and trusting them to learn as they do so. Realizing that nearly everything kids do is learning, especially in the early years.

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Understanding that their building with blocks, legos, train tracks, etc is instructive. Building with blocks or legos is math – different shapes and sizes (lengths, widths, etc), its also science – engineering to be exact – designing roads, buildings, animals, etc. The skills used are related to creative and critical thinking and so precursors to english & writing, as well as art.

Of course, since I’m an advocate for Free & Open Source Software (FOSS), they are also using computers to learn. They have my old desktop with Xubuntu installed and numerous educational programs – Tux Math, Tux Typing, MathWar, Gcompris, etc. Inevitably an hour or so of each day is spent on the computer, playing these games. They also both have Leapster Explorer’s, though these are primarily saved for in the car going places.

Anyhow, I am excited to be unschooling my boys as I was. It is a fun, exciting process and one which has no real beginning nor end. Unschooling is life learning – understanding that learning does not only take place at a desk in school, but everyday and every moment of our lives, for as long as we live.