Main Presentations

The full 2017 conference schedule can be found here.

 2017 Presentations


Erika Davis-Pitre

Sharing the Joy of Unschooling!

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”.

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. A moderated discussion will follow immediately after the presentation. Everyone is encouraged to participate. All are Welcome. This presentation will NOT be recorded.




Jocelyn Cooper

From Teenager to Young Adult, Parenting through the Transition

Buckle up and go for a ride as Jocelyn shares insights into what it’s like to parent teens as they become young adults. Hear what types of circumstances might arise and ways to stay encouraged in the midst of it all.



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Marla Briggs

Trusting Your Child

After over 10 years of unschooling, I’ve learned that one of the most basic principles of unschooling is to trust your child. Trust that they will learn what they need in life to succeed (however you and your family may define success) and be content. When things are getting panicked or you are beginning to doubt the journey, sometimes it helps to just step back and trust that your child is going to get what they need (and of course there are always the boards and other unschoolers to turn to). Unschooling doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be any bumps and bruises through the years or that life will be perfect (if there is such a thing), but by being there for your children and trusting their needs, and providing them with good, honest information, unschooling can be a valuable lifestyle (even through the bad stuff). I’m going to discuss our unschooling journey with our 2 kids, Amelea (18 yo.) and Lily (13 yo.) and how I slowly made the transition from “questioning unschooling mom” to trusting my children’s unschooling journey by listening to them and providing them with good, honest information.




Martin Whitehead

An Unschooling Retrospective

I will share stories and lessons from my unschooling life with my family. All told, it will encompass what I have seen in 23 years as an unschooling dad and how it has made me a better man.



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Carolyn Winkler

Unschooling in Unknown Times

Sometimes it’s easy to think that unschooling will insulate us from the “real world” (which is true, to a certain extent, thankfully!). But we still have to deal with uncertainty and disappointments. From parents getting older (and dying), to divorce, and the everyday challenges of being in relationships with other humans (friends, kids, co-workers), it can be tempting to think that the grass might be greener if our kids were just in school. After many mostly idyllic years of unschooling young kids, the past 5 years have been some of the most difficult and also most rewarding of my life. I’ll share some of my struggles, books that have inspired me, and ways in which I’m continually reminded how grateful I am to have had so much time with my kids and my appreciation of this amazing unschooling community.


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Jayn Holly Coburn

A Teen’s Perspective: Learning Through Technology

I will be using my personal experiences with gaming, “screen time”, and other associated taboos to help show my specific ways of learning and exploring my interests throughout my life, and to help quell the fears of those who doubt the benefits and legitimacy of just letting your child learn through their interests.


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Robyn Coburn

Unschooling Misconceptions – Updated

I address many of the common myths and confusing ideas about what unschooling is, and how it works, that might be barriers to your practice, as well as offer strategies and thoughtful answers to the questions that other people in your family or community might ask about it. This is a great talk for people who are new to unschooling or considering making the cognitive leap.

The View from Here

A hindsight look at the theory, the practice, the never-ending path, and how unschooling changed my thinking about almost everything.


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James Coburn

Unschooling Perspectives

Raising a daughter from a baby to young lady over the course of 17 years sure has given me some perspective. My talk will focus on that perspective, gained over the years as a parent of a challenging (to me) daughter. We started in an apartment near LAX where we lived and grew together. We knew from the start that we were not going to send Jayn to public school.

But how did we get there?

In some ways I was just doing the opposite of what my parents did. But that evolved dramatically. I will talk about how my perspective on mothering and fathering a child has changed, how we often carry our parents into this relationship with our kids, and what I might have done differently. (Not much)