Answers, details and little ideas about
the ALL Unschooling Symposium


This is what you could ask for as a [winter-holiday-of-your-preference] gift!

If I'm good at presenting information up front, there won't be any "frequently asked questions," but in traditional online lingo, this is a FAQ. Some of the paragraphs have been lifted from the actual answering of individuals' questions.

*Who should come?
Unlike some gatherings, this is ideal for a parent (or two) to attend alone. Children are welcome, and there will be games and things to play with, and lists of things outside the hotel to do, but the presentations will be by and for unschoolers—parents and young adults who were unschooled throughout. 2014: The Daniel Family will speak, with Adam who is nine, and who spoke on his own in 2011.

*What is the name of the gathering again?
Albuquerque ALLive

Terms have evolved and varied. At first I was calling it Always Learning Live, but that's long. What evolved to be quicker and more descriptive is the "ALL Unschooling"... Symposium. Sometimes I call it "that thing in December," but it's not specific enough. "ALL Unschooling" is shorter and clearer. I should have named it something else. :-)

The hotel calls it "Sandra Dodd's Conference," so when you make a hotel reservation, that's what they want to hear.

*What is it?
What's the difference between a symposium and a conference?

I intend to create 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. No long hikes between presentations with a ten-minute "passing period." Time to sit and visit and play. There will be table games, toys, puzzles and coloring sheets.

Originally, speakers were invited based mostly on their value to the Always Learning discussion. Lately, personal experience with them has been a large factor. And lately, the hoppinest discussions are on facebook at Radical Unschooling Info. The discussions will be all unschooling, all the time.

The week between Christmas and New Year's. The hotel rates are good for a whole week, and every night will count toward our group's credit (applied toward meeting rooms). If you want the full conference experience, try to stay at least Saturday through and Monday nights. Then people can leave to have New Year's at home or somewhere. But if you want to stay longer, others will be too, and it will be helpful toward the cost of the symposium (for us to get the conference rooms and to cover some of the nights the speakers stay), so THANK YOU for staying at the hotel!

*Where is it going to be?
Howard Johnson's Albuquerque East Directions and map

*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, right next to the presentations/discussions room. If you bring toys to share, bring Very Quiet toys, please. We'll bring quiet toys and paper and pens from our house. It will be possible for parents of younger children to stand where they can hear the speaker and see their kids playing, too. I'll bring some futons for naps for younger kids, so they can sleep where we are, too.

*What about older kids?
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. They can stay in either of the main rooms, or there's an entryway with tables. We also have one other smaller room across the (small) hotel available for games.

If you have a nine year old (give or take four years, depending on the kid), it might be a good idea to bring another adult or to leave him with another adult. Judge that 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.

*If you ski, Sandia ski area is accessible from the tram which is only eight miles from the hotel. If there's no snow yet on the north side of the Sandia Mountains, Santa Fe Ski area is 60 miles north.

Sandia Peak or Ski Santa Fe

*What kind of games and game room?
Popular from other years: Chronology, Writey-Drawey, Wise and Otherwise. We'll take a pile of board and table games and people can play them or not.

Probably there will be hand-held games being played here and there, and maybe some games in rooms. It won't be an anti-gaming gathering, just keep an eye on your things to keep them close and safe.

*What about food? Food in rooms, food during discussions, restaurants between:

Our hotel is across the parking lot from a large Target store that has groceries. The $56 rooms each have a fridge and a microwave, so people can eat on the cheap.

Click here for details on restaurants in walking distance and within very short drives: FOOD

*Museums, good ones:
None of these will be open on New Year's Day.

Explora Science Center and Children's Museum

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (dinoaurs and stuff)

The Albuquerque Museum (history and art)

The three museums above are next to each other, and next to a park; just sayin'... if you come to town early, stay late, or need a break from the symposium, there those are, nine miles from the hotel.

National Museum of Nuclear Science and HIstory, 1.6 miles south on Eubank (the same road the hotel is on)

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, about 12 miles west

Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, 14.2 miles northwest

Rattlesnake Museum, in Old Town, just past the first three listed above, so a bit over nine miles, and harder to park. But you could park at the Albuquerque Museum and walk, maybe, or in one of Old Town's parking lots.

The Blog (where the news will be; you should subscribe!)

The Schedule Registration and Reservations