Monday, February 27, 2012

Lots of Opportunity

I'm heading off on a short adventure in a couple of days, to a conference. Last year, I attended the main conference by way of a scholarship, which made it financially possible. Even so, the hotel costs were enormous.

This year, I can't afford the registration fee for the conference proper, plus a hotel for  nights, but I'm going anyway, to spend a day and a half on the exhibit floor. My daughter is coming with me.

There are free classes available from three different organizations, plus over 300 vendors, most of whom give away something, ranging from a pen, to complete training programs. This is why I decided to go back, even though I can't go to any of the "real" classes.

The best part, though, is meeting up with the people we met there last year- bloggers we had known online for over a year, some of whom had been very supportive and helpful above and beyond their blogs. One of them, who will be back this year, comes to the conference from Saudi Arabia. Not much chance of me getting to visit with him there.

All the presentations and free materials and conversations all add up to tremendous opportunity to continue my own training and education plan.

In some ways, this is very different from how we as a family and/or as individuals, learn most everything else. We don't typically have any sort of "training plan" or try to gather materials to use for "educational purposes." We get stuff we're interested and do the things we're interested in doing, but most of the time, it isn't in order to learn something. Learning happens along with, or incidental to, the stuff we do.

In other ways, it's very much the same. If one of us wants or needs to know something, we figure it out, one way or another.  And that's what this is- stuff I need to know. Stuff I need to be able to do.

So sometimes, we DO specifically and intentionally decide to learn something in particular. Not as a byproduct, but as an activity in and of itself.

While we're off at the conference, we're hoping to visit the science museum right across from our hotel, if we can find the time. That part is solely for fun, not because it's "educational." There isn't anything in particular there that we are looking for, or hoping to learn.

It can be challenging sometimes to explain the difference between the two to someone who is still caught up in school ways of looking at things. Harder still for some people to let go of labeling and categorizing certain things as "educational" and other things as not.

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