Presenters

 2014 Presenters

Robyn Coburn

Robyn began her career as a creative artist 35 years ago designing and making art fashions and working in freelance costume and set design in Sydney theaters.  After graduating from the University of Wollongong School of Creative Arts, Robyn was the Technical Director and resident Designer at The Rep Theatre, the graduate company of the renowned Ensemble Acting Studios, where she taught technical theater to the acting students.

Since coming to the United States in 1992, Robyn has worked in theater and  independent film, before stepping away from the art department to focus on writing, her art doll crafting business and unschooling her daughter, Jayn.  Robyn wrote a monthly column for Connections e-zine of unschooling and mindful parenting, and has contributed articles to Life Learning and Live Free, Learn Free magazines. She wrote the column, “Crafting for a Greener World” for Natural Life Magazine, for two years and still intermittently contributes crafting how-to’s to the website under that banner.

Robyn maintains blogs about  crafting and textile arts,  including her handmade art dolls.  She is currently working on several scripts, and occasionally turns her attention to a crafting book about upcycling your old clothes with traditional fabric art techniques, and her upcoming crafty school projects series for middle schoolers, Craft-It-Easy.

In the meantime, Robyn publishes The Creativity Blast Blog – a program for rediscovering and reclaiming your creativity. Every week she explores a  theme in a post, and daily tweets suggest related projects and ideas.  Read all about it and sign up for the newsletter at IggyJingles.com. In addition her newest business project is Robyn Coburn Résumé Review – helping people start their career in film and theater production with a properly formatted résumé and cover letter.  More information at WorkInProduction.com.

Robyn has been a main speaker and presented numerous funshops at Live and Learn Unschooling Conferences, and at Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference in San Diego.  In 2012 she spoke at North East Unschooling Conference near Boston. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband James, a freelance production sound mixer, and Head of Production Sound at Los Angeles Film School, and her artistic daughter, Jayn (14).

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Jess Robertson

Jess is a certified Awesome Dad! Well, maybe he’s just certifiable, but his kids and wife think he’s awesome. And, that’s what really matters. He is also an unconditional parenting coach and author currently residing in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

Jess has been a parent since 1996. He has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Clark College, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Montana, and a Master of Science in Education from Capella University.  He has worked in the fields of Early Learning and Social Services with families and children ages birth to eighteen, since 1994. Jess has been a parenting coach since 2006. As a parenting coach Jess has facilitated learning in both group settings and one-on-one with parents. Most recently, before founding Radical Family! Parenting Coaching, his work with families included advocate roles that offered support services and family education. Jess also has experience working with families who include children with behavioral and cognitive concerns and/or diagnoses. Jess has also taught numerous educational workshops, served as adjunct faculty, and provided mentoring to teachers within the Early Learning academic community. Jess has studied behavioral theory extensively and been certified in multiple parenting curricula. Realizing that most parenting curricula recommended child behavior modification strategies that had potentially  negative side effects, Jess has developed a philosophy that focuses on parenting with Compassion, Honestly, Respect, and Unconditional Love.

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Jenna Robertson

Jenna is a wife and the mother of three girls ages 13, 14, 17 at conference time. Her family began it’s unschooling journey 6 years ago at their first LIG conference. At the time her kids were still attending public school.

Jenna has been reading and learning about parenting for over 25 years. She started reading Mothering magazine while working as a nanny in in her teens. She continued to nanny into her 20′s. Having married a man who worked in the field of Early Childhood Education, and who now works as a parenting coach, she may not be a parenting expert but she lives with one. Jenna’s really here for the kids. She wants the world to be a place where all children are treated with respect and raised without punishment, bribes, threats and other manipulations. She wants children to feel safe and loved unconditionally for who they are at every phase of their journey to adulthood. She considers herself just another parent who is learning and growing. While she doesn’t always get it right, Jenna’s gradually reaching a place with fewer moments that she’d like a do over.

Jenna will be presenting Some Days Are Hard.

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Matt Jones

Matt has been an Unschooling Dad since 2008 when he and his wife, Brandi, withdrew their son Joshua after six weeks of first grade in a public school in Arizona.  Along with Jacqueline (two years younger than Joshua), they’ve never looked back!  Matt and Brandi were leaning toward an unschooling lifestyle from the beginning as both were avid readers of the works of Alfie Kohn, and his ilk.  (In fact, they heard Alfie speak in 1998, and soon after Matt became Alfie’s first web site administrator.)  “Curriculum Night” at Joshua’s school was just the last straw!

This is the Jones Family’s sixth unschooling conference (three in San Diego, two LIG in Vancouver) and Matt’s been a regular contributor to the Dads’ Panel and at SSUDs since their second conference.  In 2010, the Jones Family relocated from Arizona to Felton, California, where they live among the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains with their many, many pets.  Matt works “over the hill” in Silicon Valley at Intel Corporation, where he’s had several career changes since starting as a recent college graduate in 1996.

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Robin Bentley

Hi, I’m Robin and I’m an introvert.

You might not see me hanging out in the community spaces at LIFE is Good. Too much noise, too many people, too little time to think. I hang out in my room with my daughter, Senna. Or I hang out with a dear friend or two. Or I get busy volunteering behind the scenes. So you might be wondering why I’m speaking at the 2014 LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference.

Oh, I have no problem getting up on stage (I’m an inveterate talent show participant and Greybeards Hot Backup Chick), and you already know, I’m sure, that many actors and performers are introverts. Yup, I’m that kind of introvert. I’ll be scurrying back to my safe place, once I’m done. If you have questions that won’t fit into the allotted time for my presentation, you can FB chat with me. But first…I’ll need a nap!

By further introduction, we’re Canadians living in Washington State. My husband Ross (former race car driver, current race car driver coach) and I have been married for almost 28 years, together for 31 and friends for 35 years. We have one daughter, Senna Michelle Victoria Bentley, who will be 19 years old at LIG 2014. Senna is, well, the light of our lives. All three of us are introverted, to varying degrees. Introverts have a lot to say, but often don’t take the opportunity to say something because a) they go over and over their contribution, trying to get it to make sense, formulating the perfect response b) someone else says it before they can get their words to straighten up and fly right c) that person has said it better, in the introvert’s self-deprecating opinion or d) they need a nap.

So I’m going to get up and say some of what I could have said back in 2007 when my daughter and I attended the first LIFE is Good conference. Yes, it’s taken me 8 years to do it. How’s that for “taking time to formulate a response!” Much of what I’ll say probably hasn’t changed, core belief-wise, since then, but my experiences have broadened my understanding of those principles; they’ve been documented, refined, enjoyed, and learned from (and sometimes, I have been a slow learner). I’ll finally be sharing some of them with you this year. I hope to make it worth the wait!

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Jenny Cyphers

Jenny is a mom to 2 daughters ages 20 and 12 (at the time of the conference). Both have always been unschooled. Jenny found unschooling way way back in the unschooling dot com board days, when her oldest was 5, and was so excited she never looked at any other way of doing this homeschooling thing. She’s been actively reading and writing about unschooling online for many years, mostly because she finds it the most interesting thing to read and write about. She has other interests, which almost never stray from the arts. Her kids have helped her grow as an artist simply by being the kids they are/were and doing their thing and needing her support.

Jenny is a dance instructor, seamstress, and pretty much a dabbler of many things. Jenny has spent the last 20 yrs helping her kids do the things they want to do and often writing about it. Central to everything is being happy! It’s pretty damn important, or so she says. Her younger daughter believes she has wrinkle smile lines from smiling that prove it. It, meaning happy, not old!

Jenny lives with her hubby and family in Beaverton, OR.

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Shonna Morgan

I stumbled upon the concept of unschooling while my 3 older kids were in obligatory grade school in Italy. When my family returned to Canada in 2005 we began our unschooling journey with our 5 kids. My first LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference in Corvallis Oregon in 2007 was life changing, and we have been fortunate enough to attend every single LIFE is Good since! Excited to share with others what LIFE is Good means to us.

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Funshop and Panel Discussion Presenters

Karen Dematos
I am a radical unschooling mom to two awesome boys, Josh, 17 and into all things with wheels, and Eric, 11, is my gamer kid. We are driving to LIG in our new-to-us RV from Massachusetts, where we live with two cats and our pup, Lucy!

Karen is hosting the What is Soul Collage? funshop.


Paul Ellis
Paul Ellis is an Unschooling dad that just recently moved from Bellingham, WA to Portland with his wife Dana and two of their kids Otto (16) and Miranda (5). Their oldest, Lauren ( 21) has moved to Seattle. He loves Unicycle, cocktails, Sci-Fi, and his family.

Paul is hosting the Unschooling Unicyclists Unite funshop.

Julia Berrelleza
I am a 10 year old from northern California.

Julia is hosting the Monster – The Drawing Game funshop.

Marek & Stefan Lewis
Marek and Stefan are 9 & 7, have always been unschooled, and are huge fans of 3DS play, Wii gaming, and PC games like Minecraft, Terraria, Realm of the Mad God, Starbound, & Castle Crashers. This is their fourth time attending LIG & they look forward to hanging out in the computer room.

Marek & Stefan are hosting the Nintendo 3DS Meetup! funshop.

Colleen Paeff
Colleen Paeff is a former bellydancer turned unschooling parent. She teaches online research skills to homeschoolers and their families and has led teen clubs focused on crafting, film appreciation, and video games for her local homeschool group. She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband Warren, an assistant film editor, their son, Jerry (18), an avid gamer, their dog Suki, a master hole digger, and their cat Ravenpaw, a ninja bird killer.

Colleen is hosting the Super Hero Search Strategies funshop and the Awesome 80′s (& Slightly 70′s) Dance Party.

Julie Bazuzi
Currently hailing from the quaint and artsy Port Townsend, WA, Julie is a full-time unschooling mama to three awesome people (ages 12, 8, and 8) and partner in life to a wood-chopping, language-loving, computer junkie. She loves art, dancing, reading, movies, listening to the owls on nights when she can’t sleep, and DIY anything. She has been an art enthusiast all her life and recently took up the brush/pencil/brayer with a new dedication. Now she spends as much time unschooling herself in new art techniques and mixed media as she can manage. This is her fourth year at LIFE is Good and her first time hosting a funshop. She can’t wait to make art with you!

Julie is hosting the Artist Trading Cards funshop.


Benji B’Shalom
I’m Benji, 19, a lifelong unschooler and co-founder and captain of the Portland Quidditch League. I first played quidditch about a year ago, and I’ve been working ever since to found a competitive team here in Portland. I’ve been an avid Harry Potter fan since I was a wee thing, and I love the opportunity to bring this aspect of the books to life. I also think it’s a great way to keep active, and it’s unbelievably fun.

Benji is hosting the Real-life Quidditch funshop.

Stephanie Cutler
I am currently owned by 3 beautiful daughters. We like to travel, hang out with friends and host a lot of parties at our house. Looking forward to forming a group of fabulous dancers to mob Esther Short Park.

Stephanie is hosting the Flash Mob funshop.


Joel Berrelleza
I am a 15 year old unschooler from California.

Joel is hosting THE ULTIMATE ULTIMATE TAG GAME funshop.

 


James H. Coburn IV
James H. Coburn IV is a production sound mixer working on independent feature films as they come along. He shares his love of all things sound with the students at Los Angeles Film School. More about film sound is on his website, www.MovieSoundMixer.com.

He loves gadgets, geekery, & computer gaming, and is a Mac not a PC. He is a licensed Amateur Radio Operator (Ham) with the call sign W6JHC. His other interests include precious metal clay jewelry and watching Formula One racing. James lives in his new home with his wife Robyn, and their always unschooled daughter Jayn (14).

James is hosting the Nitrogen Ice Cream funshop.


Renita Keatley

Renita lives in Vancouver, WA and is a mom to one fabulous daughter and long time partner to a great guy. She is also the volunteer wrangler for this conference. She thinks that you can help make the conference great by volunteering!

Renita is hosting the Ultimate Werewolf funshop.

Emily Troper

Emily is the full-time mother of four amazing people (ages 22, 14, 12, and 9 years) and lives in Portland, Oregon. She came to unschooling via alternative early childhood education in the early 90′s, and in more recent years has worked as a postpartum doula, respectful childcare provider, and parent educator.

Emily is hosting the Pippi Longstocking Appreciation Club funshop.

Anne-Marie Fjeld

I’m the mom of three awesome boys who do not share my fiber obsession, a member of a local spinner’s guild and have been knitting since age 7 thanks to my beloved granny :)

Anne-Marie is hosting the Fiber Geeks Unite! funshop.

Cerie Couture

I have been a veterinarian  for 20 years and a mom for 17.  I have shared my love for kids and animals with my own kids, their friends, homeschooling co-ops, and Funshop-style classes in libraries and community centers.

Cerie is hosting the What Your Pet Can Teach You  funshop.

More Presenters will be added soon!