2022 Panels 

Click here for the full conference schedule.

The Big Six

What Are The Big Six?

The Big Six are the parenting issues that historically have come up most often on unschooling e-lists, groups, and discussion boards. Most folks trying to understand the parenting aspects of unschooling will be concerned by at least one; some by several. If you are worried about any of these areas, know that you are not alone.

In no particular order The Big Six are:

  • Sleep (“what, no bedtimes?!”)
  • Chores (especially tied to consequences)
  • Food (“but I want them to be healthy”)
  • Television
  • Electronic Gaming (yes, this is different from TV concerns)
  • Personal Hygiene/Appearance/Self Care

The Big Six Panel Discussion is designed primarily for newer unschoolers, to address these most basic issues. The Panelists have been unschooling for many years, repeatedly reassuring new unschoolers about these very fears. In the course of answering questions and discussing typical concerns, we will show how these issues are generally approached, based on our real living experiences with our own long-time unschooled children. Ultimately how you come to handle these basic issues becomes the foundation of your whole unschooling life. They are paths to understanding the tentpoles of unschooling – Trust, Partnership, Living By Principles, and creating an enriched environment where natural learning can flourish. Moderated by Carolyn Groves.


2022 Discussions


How do u talk to mad/sad/scared people???🥺👉👈

a.k.a. Active Listening, Reflection, & other Peer-support Tools for Hard Conversations

Talking to people when they’re emotional is hard. It’s also something ALL of us have to do many times in our lives, sometimes WHILE WE’RE EMOTIONAL TOO. So let’s gather some tools to help us take care of ourselves (and the people we’re talking to!) in those difficult moments.

This will be a guided discussion around sharing tools for how to show up in hard conversations while respecting your boundaries & values, and seeing the whole person you are talking to. There will also be some opportunities to practice active listening, reflection, and new tools for engaging with conflict in a playful low-stress environment. Hosted by Leif Schmit.

*Part of the Teen Scene program and intended for teens only.

American Politics 101

Aimed at new and soon-to-be voters (but open to all), this will be a quick and dirty run down of how American government is structured, how it works in practice, how the parties work and what they stand for, the issues, and anything else you need to know to feel empowered and less intimidated to fill out your ballots in every election cycle. We can cover any questions you have, how you can be politically active outside the polls, and spend as much time as you want on whatever topics are most confusing to you within this very broad and confusing subject. Hosted by a tried and true politics junkie. (Full disclosure, your host is a radical leftist, but will remain unbiased unless asked about her personal opinions.) Hosted by Marjie Maier.

*Part of the Teen Scene program, but all ages are welcome.

The Big D

Been through or going through a divorce while unschooling?  Come share your stories, questions and insights.  This is not a “sit around and bash your ex” session; but rather a place where we can learn from one another the best way to support our kids and ourselves during this challenging time. Hosted by Carolyn Groves.

Talking About Race and Racism: A Frank Discussion

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. Hosted by Erika Davis-Pitre.

Build It and They Will Come

How can you create an unschooling community where you live? Chrissie, along with lots of support from various unschooling besties, has spent the last 3+ years building a supportive unschooling group in a very conservative, traditional town. It has been an eye-opening, sometimes lonely, sometimes traumatic, but ultimately fruitful endeavor. Hosted by Chrissie Korolsky and Debra Greywolf.

Grown Unschooler Circle

A circle chat with 18-20whateveryearold unschoolers who have some experiences and knowledge to share! It’ll be an organic discussion between everyone who shows up, facilitated by me(Leif!) to spread the airtime around and support a respectful and compassionate conversation.  We’ll probably touch on various topics including:

– Dealing with capitalism (jobs, rent, money, burnout, etc.)
– To college or not to college?
– What are the unique barriers and privileges we experience as unschoolers when pursuing      careers, further education, and navigating adult spaces?
– How do we hold onto unschooling principles in adulthood? Can we? Should we?
– Finding community and building solidarity
– Facing the various existential threats that our generation is faced with

There’s no obligation to participate in the discussion, listeners are SUPER welcome! We’ll have an inner circle of our guests** and any teens who want to participate in the discussion*, and an outer circle to listen and lurk from, with the option to move between them at any time.
*Participants are welcome to pass on specific questions or topics, you don’t have to talk just because you’re in the inner circle.
**Part of the Teen Scene program. Adult Guests, please reach out to leif.schmit@gmail.com if you’re interested in participating! We want this to be a space where teens feel comfortable to ask hard questions.
Hosted by Leif Schmit.

Let’s Talk About Sex!

A sex-positive, nuts and bolts discussion covering a wide range of sexual health topics including consent, safer sex, birth control, and more. Participate as much or as little as you feel comfortable. Get your burning questions answered anonymously, practice putting a condom on a cucumber, or just watch, listen and learn. Hosted by Marjie Maier.

*Intended for teens only please. This session will NOT be recorded.


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). Hosted by Erika Davis-Pitre.


The Secret Society of Unschooling Dads is guaranteed to host a round of lively discussion. This is a ‘dads only’ session to allow the menfolk extra freedom to talk, share and get those questions out in the open. Beverages, support and honest discussion will be the name of the game. Hosted by Scott Tucker.