Panels & Discussions

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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 Genna McLeod & Frank Maier

Teen/Young Adult Panel: Unschooling the Teen Years & Beyond

Are you a teen with questions? Are you a parent of a teen wondering how you’ll get through? Are you raising tweens and wondering what’s to come? Join us as a panel of teens and young adult unschoolers answer your questions. Hear the good, the difficult, and the ever-inspiring lives of unschooling teens and young adults. Moderated by Ronnie Maier.

Dads’ Panel

Do you have a burning question for the dads among us? Do you wonder what goes on in the male psyche when the subject of unschooling is the topic under discussion? Have you been curious about what goes on in those SSUDs meetings?

Well, we won’t divulge *that*; but here’s your chance to visit that undiscovered country called What Goes On in Dads’ Heads. Join a panel of unschooling dads for a Q&A session. Discover their challenges and inspirations as they answer your questions and share a glimpse into their perspective on unschooling life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

EVERYONE is welcome. That’s the point of it. We know you have questions. Come ask them. Anonymously! So you can let it all out. There’s nothing to fear but fear itself. Moderated by Frank Maier.


Unschooling & College

Are you or your kids thinking about going to college after unschooling? Want to talk about your own experience with college? Come join us to talk higher ed. Hosted by Nola Aycock.

Neurodiversity & Unschooling

Come discuss how unschooling benefits neurodiversity with a focus on acceptance and advocacy. Neurodiversity means that naturally occurring, beneficial biodiversity includes neurological diversity. Neurological differences, or neurodivergences, are to be recognized, respected, and accepted. These differences can include dyspraxia, dyslexia, attention deficits and hyperactivity, dyscalculia, autistic spectrum, Tourette’s, epilepsy, bipolarity, and others, including those self-identified as neurodivergent (ND).

Unschooling’s basic tenets of trust and mutual respect between parents/caregivers and children as well as acceptance and allowance for each child’s unique learning style are especially beneficial for ND children. The lack of acceptance and support for children in traditional schools is often a more pronounced, damaging problem for an ND child. This has led more and more ND families to discover unschooling as of way of supporting children’s learning.

We will have an informal discussion where those who identify as ND or have ND family members will be encouraged to make connections. As this will be safe space, no discussion of cures or causes will be allowed. Stimming welcome. Feel free contact host ahead of time with any questions. Hosted by Dana Maya.

Unschooling in BIG Families

Let’s share ideas, tips and tricks that make the “big family unschooling” work. Hosted by Rachelle McCloud.

Unschooling an Only Child

Come discuss the challenges of unschooling “just one” child. No sibling conflicts! But what’s on the flip side? We’ll share ideas to ensure your singleton learns how to interact with same age peers and eventually become a productive member of society without growing up in the constant company of siblings. (It can be done!) Hosted by Kim Zerbe.

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.

Gender and Orientation: Queer Queries

Let us delve into the swirling fog of identity, self-expression, and the issues that gender, sexual, and romantic minorities face. Whether you’re an ally seeking a better understanding of inclusive language and advocacy, or a queer or questioning person bringing your own insight and questions to the table, you are welcome. Hosted by Teo Cináed.

Making a Living as an Artist

Are you an artist looking to make the jump from amateur to pro? Maybe just interested in what it would take to live your life doing the art you love? Pop in to this discussion where you’ll hear about my experience becoming a 19 year old unschooled theatre professional, important things to think about as an artist in this world, and an open discussion where we can share tips, experience, and do some Q’s & A’s! We’ll touch on topics like the myth of “the starving artist”, how money can affect the artistic work you do, and why be an artist when you can be a lawyer or a doctor? (Spoiler: artists are just as important) Hosted by Leif Schmit.

Helping Friends Through Hard Times

A discussion of how to approach and help friends going through situations that seem toxic/harmful to themselves (self imposed or from an outside cause), and ways you, as a friend, can prevent the situations they are in from getting worse. Including information on how to recognize drug and alcohol addiction, self-medicating and harm reduction. Hosted by Rachelle McCloud & Cyndi Connolly.

Sex, Drugs, & Drinking

A discussion for parents! Few subjects cause parents as much anxiety as sex, drugs, and drinking! Bring your questions and concerns. We’ll discuss age-appropriate behavior, what to expect, what to prepare for, and how to navigate this period. It’s not as scary as you may be imagining! Hosted by Kelly Lovejoy.

Unschoolers’ Mental Health Talk: Guided Discussion and Support

Join Rachelle as she facilitates a discussion about mental health concerns, diagnoses, treatment, and support relevant to you. You’ll have the opportunity to meet other unschoolers who have had mental health challenges as well as those who love and support someone with a mental health challenge. You’ll get to ask questions and hear responses from Rachelle and other participants in the group as we share our experiences, challenges, triumphs, what has worked and what has not. Hosted by Rachelle McCloud.

Teen Sex Talk

Teens only PLEASE.
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 MJ Maier and the LiG Teen Scene.


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 Mark McLeod & Dan Lake.