18 things I learnt from the S-COOL HOMESCHOOLING/UNSCHOOLING BIGGEST MEETING EVER IN ITALY.

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Our mechanic crashed our car prior to going to this unschooling/homeschooling event. Yes, you read that right. So the five of us were left with a very small 4 seater car which belonged to the garage. It wasn’t great. But we got there. The girls took the train with Ant and I drove with Jahli. Things don’t always go as planned.

Turning up in Rimini was like going to Blackpool in the height of summer. I had a sleeping boy in the back and due to the fact that my sat nav didn’t work and nobody knew where the campsite was, I got to explore the streets of Rimini. Finally, I ended up going to the station to get Ant and the girls. I had planned to be there early and set up camp but it didn’t work out that way. So we all squashed in the car and we found the campsite. With Ant at my side, everything, as always, seemed a bit more possible.

The campsite was full of families. All our friends from the alternative school were there, which was wonderful. There was also a train that ran through the campsite, which was not wonderful. It was near our tent. Trains are quite frequent on that line. I need say no more, you get it.

But we were there, at the BIGGEST UNSCHOOLING/HOMESCHOOLING event in Italy and it was great.

The kids all trouped around together, some helped put up the tent, we were all snuggled in then there was the hugest storm ever and we heard the infamous sound of dripping. So Ant and I moved into the kids’ section of the tent and we slept with them.

The following morning, we met Sven Poppleman and his family from the lovely blog ‘Wherever We Park is Home.’ I knew they had a big camper van so I walked around until I found the only one with a UK number plate. I stood outside it like some strange stalker, to meet a bleary eyed Sven and Marissa and their two lovely kids. We had met online and I have been following their journey. To actually meet up with them, in the flesh, was great.

We met people from Colombia, the US, Canada, Germany and South Africa. And of course we met lovely Italians.

We camped next to a man who let his kids draw all over his car. In the picture below, his son had drawn the life cycle of a frog. In Italy, the man told me, the automobile is sacred. So he causes a lot of a stir when he pulls up at a place with dinosaurs and monsters drawn all over the car. But, he said to me, the main problem was this: When he met other families with children, the kids of other families would start asking their parents if they could draw all over the family car. It was funny to watch my friend’s son with his marker pens merrily drawing away on the side of his silver motor.

car drawing boy sm

 

Things I have learnt from The S-Cool Unschooling and Homeschooling meet up in Italy.

 

 There seems a lot of incapacitating fear around taking children out of the system here.

 Unschooling is relatively new as a concept in Italy.

 The use of the internet does not seem to be very present in the way kids homeschool/unschool in this country.

 There are a lot of Italian people who really want positive change for their children.

 It takes a lot of courage to step out of society and do something different.

 The group of Italian people I met spoke from the heart, and it was very moving to hear some of the stories as to why people had made massive life changes.

 It feels to me that the unschooling/homeschooling decision is made mainly from the heart.

 Trying to have a meeting on the beach is tricky as the wind carries your voice out to the sea and children sometimes flick sand in your face.

 It is better to be in community, than to try and do everything bravely on your own.

 Children love children.

 It had vaguely crossed my mind to let the kids draw on the four seater mechanic’s car, but then I realised I am not that spiteful.

 My Italian is good but not as good as I would like it to be to really express myself well when talking to a large group of people.

 Children who are unschooled or homeschooled are polite, loving, curious, caring and very inventive. Especially when it comes to making money at their own market stalls.

photo jam

 Parents need to support each other when making big decisions like unschooling or homeschooling.

 Life is so very short. Childhood is even shorter.

 I am grateful for all the people I met, for all the stories I heard and for all the contacts that I have made around unschooling in Italy.

 Deep in my heart, I feel we are doing the right thing for our kids.

 When we are fearless, we really can do anything.

 

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About the Author

Lehla is an illustrator and an author of books, she has written for The Guardian. She trained as an actress at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She wrote The South African Illustrated Cookbook, The Lovely Book for Wonderful Women and she illustrated a kid’s book by M.J. Amani called ‘Excuse Me, I’m Trying to Read’ and also ‘I am Me, You, Us and We’ by Caroline Trowbridge. Above all she is a mother to three fast growing kids, she juggles her time between them and working on new books and projects. She has recently co authored with Anthony ‘Jump’, Fall, Fly – from schooling, to homeschooling, to unschooling’ Her art work can be seen at http://lehlaeldridge.wix.com/lehla-

16 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Maria Armignago says:

    Thank you so much for writing such a clever and moving article! I had the same feelings at S-COOL! <3

  2. It would have been nice to have met you! Perhaps I did… Thank you for your kind words.

  3. scriviasole says:

    We weren’t there but we’ll try to be there next year, we’re new to homeschooling, our daughter was supposed to start 1st grade in September but we decided that we wanted her to have a better childhood than that of most children. Thank you fro writing this, thank you especially for writing this: Life is so very short. Childhood is even shorter.

    Because I think this is the most important reason we chose to homeschool. I don’t know yet how it will be but I know that it can’t be worse than make her live 1/3 of her life closed in a classroom.

  4. scriviasole says:

    Sorry, I’ve just realised that I wrote using the past, she should start 1st grade next September but she won’t. 🙂

  5. Hi There,

    Good luck with your journey with home schooling. It sounds like it will be an exciting adventure for you. Yes, I do think about life being short and so very precious…thanks for your words.

  6. Ha, I didn’t notice! Are you Italian and writing in English? If so your English is very good!

  7. Thanks for your lovely words.

  8. Selina Gough says:

    Hiya, sounds interesting. I’m wondering if there were lots of different approaches and did you find anything particularly inspiring? It can feel so good to be amongst others who unschool. It can be a nerve wracking journey I know, and just to see other unschooled kids and talk with others who share your ideals can be really powerfully affirming.

  9. I was inspired by a talk by a women called Virginia Scarsi, she did a great talk about technology and unschooling, she told me about great website, some of which we use some as of yet not. The main inspiration for me was hearing other peoples reasons for unschooling or homeschooling, they were often very personal from the heart life changing moments that had made them re think their whole lives. I also realised how daunting it is at the beginning and how brave people were, and how intimidating it can be. It made me feel that we had actually come quite a long way. I was also surprised at how few bigger unschoolers there were. There were many different approaches and there were ideas that we don’t follow but it was good to hear them. I also realised that to me there is a big difference between homeschooling and unschooling. I would like to see an unschooling meet up in Italy. So those are my thoughts, it was lovely to meet fellow people that Unschool or Homeschool though and there was a lot of dancing and chatting!

  10. Selina Gough says:

    Sounds great. What’s the website if you don’t mind sharing?

  11. Selina Gough says:

    Oops, meant the website that Virginia Scarsi talked about…

  12. Aaah sorry. http://htwins.net/scale/ The Scale of the Universe, Khan Academy, Spotify, Ted talks, Wikipedia. I know a lot of these but I would add to that list Ted Ed, School in the Cloud, SKype in the Classroom and one is saw today called DIY.org. There is so much out there on the internet. In fact the list is endless!

  13. Selina Gough says:

    Thanks, that’s brilliant. We’re a bit Luddite about this kind of thing but I like to introduce the odd interesting thing, when we have decent access to internet that is!

  14. Maria says:

    Hi everyone! Can someone please advice what the formal Italians laws are on unschooling (not homeschooling). Thank you!

  15. Hi Maria,
    The best website to go to is this one http://www.controscuola.it/info/ Erika is a great resource and she explains clearly on that website.

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