Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fourth Annual Charlotte Mason Conference Alert!

Child Light USA posted the first teasers for this year's conference from June 11-14, 2008. Dr. Milton Uecker will cover upper elementary and lower middle school math manipulatives at the preconference, while the theme of the conference is "From Rewards to Relationships"--a perfect theme for parents autistic children moving from behaviorism to relationships. Almost everything you need to know about fees, logistics, lodging, weather, time and dates, etc. is here. I have two important reminders: (1) BRING LINENS--I did not the first year and (2) REGISTER EARLY--you save money by registering before April 30, 2008. I plan to register after they post the online registration form (due on or about March 1), but, if you are just itching to mail yours in now, you can find the mail-in registration here. You can find a quick list of the presentations here.

This year, the conference will include a book club discussion on two books by Alfie Kohn: Unconditional Parenting and What to Look for in a Classroom. Jack Beckman, one of the contributors to When Children Love to Learn, will host the discussion. Last year, I had read only half of the book and did not get much out of it as I could have. So, to quote Pamela, "You must be 18 years or older to order. Call now!"

I will be presenting again and again and again! As a Navy brat of seventeen years and Navy officer of fourteen years, you would think I should had mastered the acronoym, NAVY = Never Again Volunteer Yourself. But no, I plan to speak three times : "Moving from Behaviorism to Relationship," "How Vygotsky’s Work Parallels Mason’s Work," and "Scaffolding with Special Needs Children."

I usually only speak on two topics, but I think God intended otherwise. It all came to a head last month! Carroll Smith's wife, Andy, called me one day to talk about using Excel to store and manipulate registration data. She asked about Pamela, and I blithely ran my big mouth about this new relationship therapy for Pamela. Andy was very intrigued by relational ways of addressing autism, so I described some of the methods from Awakening Children's Minds by Dr. Laura Berk. Andy got very quiet and suddenly asked, "Are you talking about scaffolding?" Then, she zapped me an email with Carroll's article on scaffolding and narration. She told me that they have been looking for a speaker to present two plenary sessions on the work of Vygotsky (who is featured in Dr. Berk's book). GULP!

When I recovered from the shock, Andy and I both realized that this was a cool God moment. About a year ago today, I began exploring Relationship Development Intervention, and last October, I narrowed my focus on Vygotsky in my reading and blogging. Traveling on parallel tracks, Carroll was writing his article on Vygotsky and narration, hoping someone could discuss Vygotsky from a Charlotte Mason point of view at the conference. Then, Andy and I realized the connection during a phone call about Excel spreadsheets!

ChildLightUSA also just launched a blog with weekly posts and have a total of four free audio files posted from last year's conference! And, they just gave their website a new overhaul.


poohder said...

Hey Tammy, on your never ending list of things to do!! lol!, because of your one year anniversary of RDI, I would love to see a summation of your thoughts on Pamela's progress with the core deficits of autism via RDI.
I think it would be very helpful for your blog readers especially the new ones. Rhonda

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

I wanna go!!!!!