The Unschooling Summit Schedule

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June 10

12 p.m.

Patrick Farenga

Patrick Farenga is a writer and education activist who worked closely with the late author and teacher John Holt and continues his work today. He is the president of HoltGWS LLC. and published Growing Without Schooling magazine (GWS) from 1985 until it stopped publishing in 2001. GWS was the nation’s first periodical about homeschooling, started by Holt in 1977. The Farengas unschooled their daughters, now aged 26, 23, and 20. Unschooling is a word created by Holt to describe how people learn in the world without using conventional school techniques and materials.

Farenga speaks as a homeschooling expert at education conferences around the world, as well as on commercial radio and television talk shows. His media appearances include The Today Show, Good Morning America, Voice of America, Geraldo, Learning Matters, CNN’s Parenting Today, The Dr. Drew Pinsky Show, and Fox and Friends.

Farenga has written Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling (Perseus) and The Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling; articles about homeschooling and democratic education (Encounter Magazine, Summer 2011); and essays about unschooling in a number of publications such as Un Mundo Por Aprender (University of Colombia, Bogota, 2011), and the entries about homeschooling for the International Encyclopedia of Education, 3rd Edition (Elsevier, 2010) and the online edition of Encyclopedia Britannica (2012, forthcoming).

The Origins of Unschooling

4 p.m.

Tamala Takahashi

Tammy Takahashi is the author of Deschooling Gently and Zenschooling. She has been an active homeschooling volunteer and advocate in California for 10 years, as well as a regular speaker at homeschooling and education events and conferences. Tammy is also a volunteer and regular speaker in Toastmasters, a non-profit organization dedicated to public speaking and leadership training. Her other interests are Zen Buddhism, knitting, and yoga.

Deschooling, Socialization & Friends

May 22

10 a.m.

Laurie A. Couture

Laurie A. Couture is an Attachment Parenting and unschooling coach, public speaker and the author of Instead of Medicating and Punishing: Healing the Causes of Our Children’s Acting-Out Behavior by Parenting and Educating the Way Nature Intended. In March 2012, Laurie was a guest on the Anderson daytime show, hosted by Anderson Cooper. She was also featured as an expert in the documentary film, The War On Kids (2009).

In 2010, Laurie was a recipient of the NH Manchester Union Leader’s Forty Under 40 honors. In 2009, her book was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Magazine Book-of-the-Year Awards. Laurie has spoken at conferences across the country, inlcuding at the Life Rocks! Radical Unschooling Conference in New Hampshire and the ReThinking Everything Conference in Texas. She writes a blog, hosts a YouTube channel and a podcast and has been a contributor to several magazines and other media. Laurie has a background as a child trauma specialist and mental health counselor. She has previously worked in the social services and education fields. Laurie is the proud unschooling Mom to her remarkable 18 year old son, Brycen, who is a performing musician and chainmaille artisan.

Attachment is
the Foundation

4 p.m.

Corin Barsily Goodwin

Corin Barsily Goodwin founded GHF in 2004 to address a growing need for support and advocacy. Prior to that, she served as the Gifted/Special Needs Advisor for the HomeSchool Association of California and co-chaired their Legislative Committee. She has been presenting workshops on giftedness, learning differences and homeschool related issues for many years. Her articles have been seen in NAGC (US) Parenting for High Potential, 2e Newsletter, California Association for the Gifted’s Gifted Ed Communicator, the NAGC (UK) magazine, California HomeSchooler, SENG Update, Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, and many other publications. Ms. Goodwin also serves on the SENG Editorial Board and the Advisory Board of the Asynchronous Scholars’ Fund, and is excited about her recently released book, Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Work for Your Atypical Child,” with co-author Mika Gustavson, published by GHF Press. She lives in the woods of Southern Oregon where she homeschools her 2e children.

Mika Gustavson

Mika Gustavson, MA, MFT is a counselor who specializes in helping the gifted to thrive. A homeschooling mom herself, she specializes in providing support to families considering paths-less-taken in learning, nurturing and parenting. She leads groups and classes for parents of gifted, quirky, intense, anxious and twice-exceptional children, as well as providing trainings and presentations for educators and other professionals on issues touching on giftedness, homeschooling and parenting. Ms. Gustavson serves on the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum’s Professional Outreach Committee, and is a community board member for Camp Summit for the Gifted. She has published a number of articles in print and online venues, and is the co-author, with Corin Barsily Goodwin, of Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child. She works and lives in Silicon Valley in California, with her husband, son, an ever-changing menagerie and too many crochet projects.

Gifted and Twice Exceptional

May 23

10 a.m.

Debra Snyder

Deb Snyder is an inspirational speaker, spiritual teacher and the award winning author of Intuitive Parenting: Listening to the Wisdom of Your Heart. Her personal exploration into heart-centered living stems from her own unique experience with her daughter, Raegan Aria, who was born with a rare brain malformation. Raegan, who is nonverbal, used a form of energy communication to reach out to her highly intuitive mom in time of great medical crisis and thus saved her own life. After this amazing experience, Deb went on to study the science & theories behind energy and has launched her business “HeartGlow” to educate and inspire others to shine bright!

Deb’s formal education includes a degree in interpersonal communication and a Masters and Doctorate of Philosophy in Metaphysics. She is an ordained spiritual counselor and board certified holistic health practitioner. Deb focuses on bringing her HeartGlow methods and techniques to the world to inspire, promote healing and enhance loving communication between people. Her articles on spirituality, intuition, telepathy and parenting have been featured in numerous magazines, websites, newsletters, and publications. As an inspirational speaker and teacher to groups large and small, she offers her heart-centered services in workshops worldwide.


4 p.m.

Mary Hammond

After years of practicing Dynamic Energetic Healing®, a model in energy psychology, as a Licensed Professional Counselor with clients, and teaching Energy Psychology and Play Therapy to professionals– with the Energy of Learning, Mary Hammond is returning to her original career roots as an early childhood and college educator. Mary, a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor, has counseled and taught children and adults for twenty-five years. Her fascination with the mind-body paradigm led her to pursue energy psychology. She is both a student and a pioneer in this burgeoning field– discovering, teaching and writing about the nuances of moving energy for performance and health. Mary, a Diplomate Comprehensive Energy Psychology, served on the board of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, and is a professor of energy medicine at Energy Medicine University She has a private practice in Salem, Oregon and travels widely to teach. She has two generations of children and grandchildren.

Energy of Learning

May 24

10 a.m.

Linda Dobson

Linda Dobson and family began their homeschooling journey in 1985, and she’s been an advocate ever since. She has traveled the country, staying in touch with parental concerns and educational approaches across the U.S. and Canada. Home Education Magazine columnist, homeschooling consultant, editor, author of eight classic homeschooling books, and creator of the Parent at the Helm website, where you’ll find news, information, resources, and book reviews to empower homeschoolers, other parents and teachers invested in their children’s education.

The Art of Education

4 p.m.

Marty Forte

Martin Forte and his wife Carolyn are owners of Excellence In Education and Excellence In Education Academy. Martin is also one of the co-founders of the California Homeschool Network. Both Martin and Carolyn are avid supporters of homeschooling and have extensive speaking experience as well as radio and television experience for the last 20 years. They are also certified learning style specialists through the Learning Institute of Ventura.

Martin has become a popular speaker concentrating on subjects from Delayed Academics, Thinking Out of the Box, Learning Styles, Using games and activities, Father’s Role in Homeschooling, The Politics of Homeschooling and his very popular Dr. Homeschool presentations.

Martin and Carolyn have are in the process of developing their latest website as well as updating their popular book “The Game Curriculum”.

All About Dads

May 25

10 a.m.

Diane Flynn Keith

Diane Flynn Keith is a veteran homeschool mom and a renowned and trusted voice for education outside the traditional classroom walls. Her mission is to liberate families from conventional schooling to live extraordinary lives.

Diane and her husband, Cliff, unschooled their two sons for most of their lives. They are adults now and have productive careers as musicians.

She coaches and mentors tens of thousands of unschool and homeschool families through her writing, speaking engagements, programs and websites including and

She is the author of the best-selling book, Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities To Turn Travel Time Into Learning Time that is available in both paperback and Kindle format. Learn more at

Diane also publishes the rave-reviewed ClickSchooling e-zine that provides free, daily, web-based learning activities to 25,000 subscribers worldwide.

Diane’s latest project is her new book, Papa’s Pearls: A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children, that will be released early this summer.


4 p.m.

Nathen Lester

Nathen has worked with unschooling teenagers for 13 years at Grace Llewellyn’s Not Back to School Camp and is a couples and family therapist with a private practice specializing in unschoolers. In his spare time he writes music and is researching for a book on long-distance relationships.

The Needs of Teens &
Young Adults

5 p.m.

Wrap-Up and Q&A

May 28

10 a.m.

Peter Gray

Peter Gray, Ph.D., is a research professor of psychology at Boston College. He has conducted and published research in comparative, evolutionary, developmental, and educational psychology; published articles on innovative teaching methods and alternative approaches to education; and is author of Psychology (Worth Publishers), an introductory college textbook now in its 6th edition. He did his undergraduate study at Columbia University and earned a Ph.D. in biological sciences at Rockefeller University. His current research and writing focuses primarily on children’s natural ways of learning and the life-long value of play. He writes a regular blog, called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today, and he is author of a forthcoming book by that same title, His own play includes not only his research and writing, but also long distance bicycling, kayaking, back-woods skiing, and vegetable gardening.

Survey Results: Why People Unschool

4 p.m.

Sandra Dodd

Sandra Dodd lives in Albuquerque with her husband Keith, son Marty (23) and daughter Holly (20). Her oldest, Kirby (25), lives in Austin. They were unschooled throughout. Sandra has been supporting other unschoolers for over 20 years now, in person and through her writings.

Sandra is a former English teacher who was trained in alternative education in the early 1970’s, and taught for six years in the town in which she grew up. Her later jobs all involved words and ideas and learning too, and now she spends her time helping other parents find ways to live more richly and peacefully with their children.

Since 1996, Sandra has spoken on unschooling at conferences, and as her children got older, her range increased from North America to Europe and India. This summer she’ll speak in France, Scotland, the Netherlands and England. Plans for 2013 include Portugal, England, Australia and India (and possibly Germany and Spain), in addition to more local appearances.

Radical Unschooling

May 29

10 a.m.

Barbara Lundgren

Barb is the founder of the Rethinking Everything conference, now in its 16th year. Despite years of education, she has learned the most from being a mother and watching her children grow and take on the world in their own terms.

Rethinking Everything

4 p.m.

Johnny B. Truant

Johnny B. Truant is a human potential, personal development, and entrepreneurship blogger. He writes regularly for and, recently released his first novel, and is the creator of the “punk rock business course” Question the Rules. Johnny is also runs the Virtual Ticket conference for BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

Unschooling & Entrepreneurship

May 30

10 a.m.

Pamela Moss

While writing a philosophy dissertation on homeschooling, Pamela read John Holt’s Teach Your Own and decided then and there to unschool her kids — once she and her husband had them!

They might have predicted that 19 years of unschooling 2 kids would include: making Eygptian mummies out of oranges; Family Math; ‘staircases of books;’ historical reenactments; guinea pigs and a rabbit; science experiments; countless hours of drawing and doll play; more countless hours with Carmen San Diego, the Zoombinis, and the Sims; making short films; years of outdoor adventures with Earth Arts and Women of the Woods; mastering 4 instruments; writing 8 books; learning 2 languages; composing, casting, performing, and filming 1 musical; jobs babysitting, waitressing, assisting at the Farmer’s Market and a day care center; couch-surfing in England, fishing in Alaska, several trips to Denmark, au-pairing in NYC.

They never predicted it would also involve stints in school for both girls, or getting a literary agent at 15, or majoring in French and English at very UN-unschooling Cornell.

And they never even imagined that Pamela would end up ‘unschooling’ herself — and find an unexpected new path as an international life coach, speaker, writer, and visionary artist featured in a #1 mysticism bestseller, private art collections across the US, and onstage with John Assaraf of the “The Secret.”

Visit Pamela’s website:

Your Passion, Your Work, Challenges & Joys

4 p.m.

Pam Sorooshian

Pam and her husband, Cyrus, unschooled their now-grown daughters. Roya, 27, is just completing a masters degree in counseling on her way to becoming a licensed family therapist. Her thesis was on homeschoolers and therapy. She is married and expecting a baby in October. Roxana, 24, will graduate in June with bachelors degrees in history and drama. She starts graduate school in September. Rose, 21, has an AA degree and a certificate in ASL interpreting and is working toward a bachelors degree in Deaf studies.

Pam is an economics professor who has also worked as a consultant on energy conservation projects. She is on the Boards of Directors of the HomeSchool Association of California and the National Home Education Network. Pam has been writing about unschooling for many years and is a regular participant in online unschooling discussions. She has spoken at unschooling conferences all over the country.

Is It Child-Led?

May 31

10 a.m.

Astrid Witt

Astrid is a teacher, speaker and founder of a global telesummit “What the Experts Know”, an interview series designed to question our current educational systems. She has an additional certification as a “Learning Coach”, a child centred concept to make learning more effective and meaningful by implementing the findings of neuroscience into everyday practice. Her passion is to spread enlightened information from the cutting edge to all those willing to wake up to the fact, that traditional schools still teach to the needs of the 20th Century instead of helping children thrive in the rapidly changing world of the 21st Century.

(If schools were willing to organize learning according to the needs of children, versus forcing them into an artificial structure that was invented at a time when neuroscience was unknown – many of the problems in today’s schools would dissolve. Today we understand how brains learn, yet in our schools we stubbornly refuse to make use of this knowledge.)

What The Experts Know About Education

4 p.m.

Ariane Benefit

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed. is a highly sought after life and business design coach, mentor, and productivity healer. Ariane is the founder of Agile Life Design™ a human-centered approach to navigating Life 3.0, letting go of what is no longer working, and designing your way back into the “agile zone” – your place of optimal functioning, fit, flow, flair and flourishing.

For over 30 years, Ariane uses her own recovery from “addiction to achievement” and the chronic depression, exhaustion, overwhelm, and disorganization that comes with it as an opportunity to live what she teaches every day.

Ariane’s practical yet deeply insightful perspective on designing your environments and your whole life to “fit” you is particularly appreciated by outliers, neurodiverse, and exceptionally gifted, talented and highly sensitive people everywhere.

Her expertise with healing chronic disorganization, clutter and productivity addiction has been featured in such notable publications as The Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, and The Washington Times.

Ariane earned her multidisciplinary Masters’ Degree in Education, combining Psychology, Technology and Business, from the University of Miami. Pick up her complimentary Agile Life Design Toolkit at

Your Life Design

June 1

10 a.m.

Jeremy Stuart

As an editor, Jeremy’s involvement in the television and film industry has spanned over 20 years. He has worked on hundreds of music videos, commercials, and corporate projects, as well as award winning documentaries and short films.

Some of his clients have included Lucasfilm, National Geographic, Yamaha, Virgin America, Sony Playstation, Dave Matthews Band, Acura and Peoplesoft. Jeremy is also a homeschooling parent.

The Movie

4 p.m.