First: I stood out. Way out. I am not unused to this, I do it to myself. But, the other women all seemed 10-15 years older than I am, and wore the "mommy" jeans and sweater combo. I'm rocking the bright colors these days. Head to toe, and they felt the need to mention each piece. "How do you get your hair that color?!" (I stood under a unicorn and he pissed on me. How do you think?!) "Wow, I didn't realize they made Care Bear socks for adults." "Oh, even your husband has color in his hair. My husband would never do that." Yeah, well, that brings us to the second point.
My husband and I seemed to be the only couple at least NEAR the same page with each other. Mike was the one who wanted to attend this workshop. He was the ONLY guy. Not only that, each woman at some point in the class said something about their husbands "Being on board, but just along for the ride" as far as teaching their children. And that was the nice version. While I know the bulk of my children's time learning is spent with me, Mike and I are a team. We have different things to offer our children, and different approaches that hopefully compliment each other. I thanked him a number of times during the day for not being a "stand aside Dad" (actually, I used the term douche nozzle) and not just "letting" me teach our children, but being an active part of it as well.
Third: Most of these women were pretty tight laced. A few mentioned limiting their children's access from "bent" or "broken" books and keep their focus on "whole" or "healing" to going so far as to not even allowing their children to pick their own books. I don't think I should limit my children's choice in books. They are all learning opportunities, and my place is to be there to talk with them and work through any questions that may arise. I feel if they are old enough to question an idea, they are old enough to learn about it in developmentally appropriate terms. One example was someone's daughter was "very distressed" while reading Mein Kampf because "It was confusing to her to read about someone she knew to be an evil man, yet read that there were positive things he did." Uh, yeah. Things are not always black and white. Hitler was EVIL, don't get me wrong, but it was an autobiography, of course he is going to make himself sound good. This is an important lesson. And one anyone old enough to read Mein Kampf should be ready to understand. (That book is horribly written, I didn't get more than a few chapters.)
AND THEEENN? (ala "Dude, Where's My Car?")
My true impression (based on these women) is that TJEd is pretty much unschooling retitled to avoid the negative stereotypes. They focus on learning through play as a child, looking back to when ideas were original to understand the evolution of thought, trusting your child's instinct to learn based on their interests, creating a foundation of learning that stays with the child so they eventually seek learning alone, and all while relearning those same instincts in yourself and continuing your education as a model for your children.
I don't feel I learned anything new. I am a little resentful Mike and I spent our first day without kids (we were gone 9 hours!) in a tiny church classroom and I didn't really get much out of it. But, Mike was glad we went and felt it did allow us to act more cohesively in our planning our boy's education. So, I guess it wasn't a total loss. Oh, and there was Taco Del Mar for lunch. So, not a total loss of a day. :-)