A mix of over 40 adults and students took part in the AEROx 2019 Regional Gathering this weekend hosted by Longview School in Brewster, NY.  We had a diverse group of adults and teens from CT, MA, NH, NJ, NY, VT, and Ontario Canada. 

The feedback indicated that everyone found it useful and had a good time. AEROx’s are smaller gatherings that are more regional in nature. They are designed to promote networking and support for the work that AERO members are doing.  

Teens from Longview School, Liberated Learners, and other Unschoolers led the event through open planning sessions, panels, and breakout sessions. 

The event started with check-ins and greetings of old and new friends, and the group sharing a meal together. The evening then moved into a welcome on behalf of AERO and Mark Jacobs on behalf of Longview school.  

From there Mark kicked off a discussion by Longview students Harry and Raphael about the function and structure of their democratic school meeting. They masterfully took us through the process and fielded many questions. The students said, “This is the absolute best part of the school,” and “trust is what helps us believe in the process.”

The students said, “This is the absolute best part of the school,” and “trust is what helps us believe in the process.”

Saturday brought in more attendees. The first opening planning session was led by Longview students.  

Longview students present at AERO
Unschooling Expert Kerry McDonlald at AEROx
Molly 13-year-old unschooler

The first set of breakout sessions featured the school starters workshop, art in the classroom workshop and some impromptu sessions.  Fourteen people attended the school starter workshop representing eight proposed new educational alternatives. These included public alternatives, unschooling centers, a music-themed farm school, and a holistic program for at-risk youth. The impact of the new vaccination law was discussed.

A highlight of the AEROx was a presentation by Kerry McDonald and her daughter Molly, a 13-year-old life-long unschooler, on Unschooling, Vision and Reality.

Saturday evening featured a presentation by Longview students on the foundational aspects of their school. It included the judicial committee, democratic meeting, internships and the responsibilities every member of the community takes in making sure the school and school members are taken care of.

After more workshops, the AEROx concluded at lunchtime on Sunday.

Thank you to Longview School staff and students and all who participated to make this such a wonderful event! Contact AERO if you are interested in hosting an AEROx.

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