This is a list of some of the program choices for this year's conference. (There are almost always last minute additions we couldn't resist.) We always try to cover the basics that concern people, for both beginning and more experienced unschoolers. We try to make sure there's something for everyone!
 "And another thing..."                                   Deb Rossing

A random assortment of topics and thoughts that might not have been mentioned in other talks. We'll start off with a handful of topics gleaned from years of seeing the same things crop up again and again. Hopefully it will lead to some additional discussion, questions, suggestions.


Better than Sushi, part deux                            Beth Toolan

Unschooling parent, sushi aficionado, and famed diorama artist Beth Toolan will share her experiences as an unschooling parent who worked outside the home and how she learned to embrace life without the structure and discipline of a classroom and a report card. (Beth always got straight A's!)
 
The Biggies
There are questions that always seem to come up for people as they start unschooling. We're giving them plenty of time and space to address and help find solutions for some of these common concerns. We've divided them into three parts, and we will talk you through it all!

Part 1: But what about screen time? Video games? And sleep?  Don't kids need boundaries for these? Hear seasoned unschooling parents offer their perspectives to your questions on these issues.          
Alexis Mercier, moderator

Part 2: Chores, food, and hygiene. Don't kids need to do chores? Brush their teeth and hair? Eat what and when they are told? How will they learn how to care for themselves if we don't make them do it? Bring us your questions and we'll give you our perspective and challenge common beliefs about these subjects.
Sylvia Woodman, moderator

Part 3: But what about Math? Transcripts? College? How do unschoolers navigate without traditional math lessons and school transcripts? Can they go to college?
Kathryn Baptista, moderator

Dad's Panel                                         Drew Dorsey, moderator

It's very common to see lots of unschooling moms writing about and answering your questions online. But, what about the dads? What do they think? What is their experience like? Their perspective? Do you have any questions you'd like to ask them?

Grown Unschoolers Panel                              Julian Baptista, moderator

What happens to unschoolers when they enter the world of adults? Can they get jobs, balance a checkbook and cook a meal? Join the discussion with some grown unschoolers who are making their way in the world with passion, creativity, and a commitment to ongoing learning.

HELP! Unschooling and Chores                            Joyce Fetteroll

If unschooling parents don't make their kids do stuff, how do they handle chores with their children? Are there more choices than making them and being their maid? Come hear some radical thoughts on children and help.

The How and Why of College                                Emmett Dupont
 
Join 22 year old lifelong unschooler Emmett DuPont for a joyful, and sometimes challenging, reflection on their ongoing unschooling experience. After a childhood of never having set foot in a classroom, Emmett, at 15, spent 7 days shadowing 4 friends at 3 high schools, gaining valuable insight on many of the questions that plague teenage unschoolers and their parents: Am I keeping up academically? Am I keeping up socially? What am I missing out on?
After deciding not to attend high school, and with no GED, SAT, or community college experience, Emmett applied to a four-year college and was accepted with academic honors. Now halfway done with their undergraduate degree, Emmett will reflect on the how and why of college, as well as the triumphs, hardships, experiences, and culture shock of entering the academic world as a lifelong unschooler.


The Many Benefits of Screen Time                           Sylvia Woodman

One of the top concerns of parents, all parents, not just unschooling parents, is the idea of how much exposure to screens (phones, tablets, computers, video games) is safe and beneficial for children. As Unschooling parents, our focus is on both the health and wellbeing of our children but also on learning.  In this talk I'm going to share some of the many ways that our family's use of all kinds of devices has brought us closer together as a family and helped all of us learn new
things, about ourselves and the world around us.

The Misinformation Superhighway                                      Jim Woodman

The internet can be a great source of information, but misinformation can travel just as quickly. How do you determine which items you should trust, and which items you should not? In this session, Jim Woodman will offer tips and tricks on how to find what you are looking for, and how to check out anything you hear about, to determine how credible it is.

My Kids Are Grown...Now What? Moms Discussion Group              Brenda Laporte

In a new phase of life with children who are grown unschoolers? As mothers of young adults, many of us are facing new questions, concerns and decisions about ourselves as we shift into this new identity. Come share your thoughts, ideas, feelings, fears...and inspirations with other moms who are asking themselves, "My kids are grown...now what?"

The Reluctant Unschooler                                         Karen Lundy Dematos

In this talk, I will be discussing the many ways that messages we received as children and adults about school, learning, and potential keep us from understanding and moving closer toward unschooling. I hope to help people understand that unschooling is a philosophy that often takes years to completely integrate.

As I share my personal story from enthusiastic mom with a child in public school, to disillusionment, to homeschooling to unschooling, I hope to shed some light on ways my thoughts and fears kept me from moving forward, as well as sharing how letting go of long-held beliefs finally helped me embrace unschooling, and into a joyful way of living with my children.

The Reluctant Unschooler Small Group Discussion             Karen Lundy Dematos

In this small group chat, I hope to follow up my Reluctant Unschooler talk to give people the opportunity to share questions and concerns they may have about unschooling or simply give folks an opportunity to share their stories in a smaller group setting and get support for their roadblocks to unschooling.

Sharing the Joy of Unschooling!                                Erika Davis-Pitre

This talk is all about the Joy that unschooling has brought to my family's life.
I will cover many topics in a humorous and fun way, from just starting out basics (is it supposed to be this fun?), to how to convince your extended family that you are not crazy (really, you're not!) to how You, yourself can become the next great unschooling guru! Come ready to share a laugh, a smile and some good time with your people!

SSUDS Gathering (Secret Society of Unschooling Dads) 
Drew Dorsey, moderator

Calling All Dads! Join a discussion lead by Drew Dorsey and other experienced unschooling dads to discuss openly, honestly, and supportively, challenges and questions about unschooling…from the dad's perspective. Bring a beverage of your choice. We need all dads to participate to help one another move forward in our journey as unschooling families. Don't worry if this is your first time. We'll make introductions at the beginning, and your questions are likely ones that we all have had or are currently facing. All dads (and other parents who work outside the home) are welcome and strongly encouraged to attend.

SSUMs Gatherings (Secret Society of Unschooling Moms)    
Erika Davis-Pitre, moderator

Moms-only gathering for conversation, questions and friendship in a casual setting. Don't miss this opportunity to get to know other unschooling moms and what they've learned on this incredible adventure. If you can't come to the evening Moms-only get together or have more to discuss, there will be a lunch time meeting as well (SSUMs More).

Talking About Race and Racism: A Frank Discussion        
Erika Davis-Pitre          

The idea of race has a difficult and complex history, especially here in the US. It has been used for centuries to categorize, reward, and penalize people based on perceived differences. And despite often being misguidedly defined by skin tone and other physical attributes, race has no genetic basis but this powerful social construction has a tremendous impact on individuals' lives because it is often employed to establish and maintain privilege and power dynamics. Even the definitions of race and racism are themselves a product of racism's long and conflicted history in our society. So with all of that in mind, how does one go about having a dialogue about this important topic? By coming to this informative and lively discussion! This talk will discuss Race and Racism and how it impacts us all, especially us as Unschoolers. Please come with your questions, concerns and solutions as we navigate this very important topic. All are Welcome.

Teen Panel                                             Emmett Dupont, moderator

Learn from the wisdom of a group of exceptional unschooled teens. Get your questions answered and your fears reassured, as the teens share their experiences as unschoolers with humor and honesty.

Transgender Talk                                               Michael Greenspan
Transgender people have been in the media a lot recently. But what does Transgender even mean? What's it like to be Transgender? And what's it like to be, or to know, a Transgender child or teen? Come learn about and discuss Trans issues with a Trans adult who was a Trans child, and who transitioned as a teen. Bring your questions, experiences, and thoughts.

Unschooling Children with Disabilities                                Alexis Mercier
Unschooling a child with disabilities can often feel lonely and anxiety provoking.  Alexis unschools two teen boys who have physical and mental challenges.  This discussion will focus on ways to find more joy in your unschooling life with a disabled child.  We will share our love of life and celebrate our children's strengths!

Unschooling Parents with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses         Kathryn Baptista

This chat will be more of a gathering of parents where we can offer support, ideas, venting, and love. Whining is allowed (because we always try so hard not to most of the time.)

Unschooling Your Teens: Is it what you expected?           Erika Davis-Pitre          

This talk is for all families who either have teens, will have teens soon and/or have the pleasure of looking back on their children's teenage years. It will be a chance to ask questions, share insights, and find support among other families with unschooling teens. Both parents and teens are welcomed and encouraged to attend.