After lots of questions about what the Wild + Free conference I attended last weekend was all about, and finding myself struggling to put it into a snappy summary, I decided to capture my reflections on the beautifully interconnected web of ideals, practices and intentions the hearts of the speakers had shared. (Turns out even the Wild + Free website needs a few paragraphs to describe themselves!)
Although the majority of Wild + Free members are home schooling/educating, no specific curriculum or educational material is ever promoted, or one approach believed better than others. This community of families are not just a tribe, but their conferences give an opportunity to hear from those with similar values further along the educational road, who can reassure those of us knee-deep in it, as they have and are seeing the fruits of this lifestyle. Those speaking at the conferences are not just amazing educators, mothers or women, but humans, who know where true meaning lies in life and what is worthy of parents’ time and energy during these short seasons raising our children. It’s seeing life as a messy connection of small moments, usually unplanned, but truly lived by the hearts and minds awake to the pace of simple and ordinary. It’s seeking not only beauty in our photographs, gardens and homes, but in our relationships. Calling it a philosophy on life makes it seem too academic; it’s a getting back to our natural states and finding purpose and personal connection through it and modelling that for our families. It’s the belief that we are nature, we belong in nature, in tune with nature and living more at the pace of nature.
TED talks for adults on happiness, the meaning of life and creative thinking-outside-the-box are shared and applauded by millions. Wild + Free says start when they’re born. Live that life with your kids from the start, and raise a generation that doesn’t have to learn how to do it, they just do it, and they pass it on for generations to come.