Circle Chats and Panels

12113452_10154273554947137_3352473566124197055_oOur circle chats and panels allow you to dig a little deeper into unschooling and parenting topics in a more intimate setting. Get your questions answered, learn from a variety of voices, and share with your fellow conference attendees. We will have a wide range of circle chats, as well as Q & A panels of seasoned moms, dads, grown unschoolers, and teens.

As circle chats and panels are added to the schedule, we will list them here.


Connections, by Sandra Dodd

Personal knowledge is a web inside us of images, ideas, feelings, memories, fantasies and experience. Learning happens when we take in something new and connect it to what we already knew.

What might keep you from doing that more and better?

There is a web outside us, too, of people, ideas and information.

Live in it!  Frolic in it!


Your Own Certain Knowledge, by Sandra Dodd

Vague interest can turn to trust in others’ accounts of learning and of parenting successes. Trust in those stories can give us courage to experiment, and from that we can discover our own proofs and truths to share with newer unschoolers, who might find courage from that to try these things themselves. Faith in others can only take us a little way, though, and then our own children’s learning will carry us onward. Some ideas become theories. A few theories might turn to convictions. Some early thoughts will be abandoned; others will gain substance. After much thought and use, what is left will be what you believe because you have lived it.


Unschooling Your Teens-Is it what you expected?, by Erika Davis-Pitre

This talk is for all families who either have teens, will have teens soon and/or have the pleasure of looking back on their children’s  teenage years.
It will be a chance to ask questions, share insights, and find support among other families with unschooling teens. 
Both parents and teens are welcomed and encouraged to attend. 


College: A One Person Panel, by Roya Dedeaux

Do you have questions for grown unschoolers who have been to college at a young age? Who have gone through community college? Who have received degrees from accredited universities? Do you have questions for college professors who work with students every day? Guess what? I am all of those things! Come with your questions and I will answer them! I have some words of advice, but this is your chance to ask what is on your mind about any part of the college process.


The Healing Power of Unschooling , by Caren Knox-Hundley

Through the many healing modalities I’ve explored, therapeutic methods I’ve tried, and self-reflection I’ve done, nothing has been more impactful, more life-changing, and more healing than becoming a good unschooling mom. Being kind to my kids helped heal the child in me who needed more kindness. Let’s get together and share things we’ve learned and experienced on this amazing journey.


Gentle Discipline (two sessions), by Jennifer Andersen

This is an open forum to discuss what our beliefs about children are, and how to move from punitive to respectful parenting. The session will start with Jennifer sharing a few thoughts, examples, and prompts. Then the circle will open for those new to gentle parenting to ask questions and explore beliefs with those parents who are seasoned.

Due to the continued popularity of this session, we will again have two parts to this circle chat. The second will be a continuation of the first. Please see schedule for details.

Guidelines for chat: please be aware of how many people would like to speak. If you have asked/shared a lot, and others are waiting, please allow them the floor. Sharing many stories is important for personal change when parenting!


Unschooling Beyond Labels, by Alan Marshall

A chat not only for parents of children who might be labeled by medicine or social science, but for any parent who has struggled or is struggling with how to best help a child when they aren’t what we were expecting. We won’t be focusing on how to diagnose or fix the child, but how to live an unschooling life regardless of any diagnosis. Anyone who might find such a discussion valuable is welcome to participate, no matter how typical or atypical others might think you or your children are.


What if my child wants to go to school?, by Alan Marshall

A discussion of what to do and how it feels when a child asks about, shows an interest in, or actually enrolls in school. The emphasis will be on finding the most helpful responses to what can be an emotional choice for unschooling parents. We will seek to find ways to minimize any pressure or stress for the child, the family, and any still unschooling siblings.


Protecting our Partnerships, by Sylvia Woodman

Sometimes the day to day business of raising children and unschooling them overtakes us and we can lose our focus on our partnership.  Let’s spend this hour talking and brainstorming ways we can keep our partnership strong so that when these short years of unschooling our children are over, we don’t look up one day at our partner and see a stranger.


The Big Shift, by Sandra Dodd

When a family moves from already-gentle parenting to unschooling, some think it’s an advantage, but sometimes it can be a hindrance.  Come and hear stories of moving from restrictive, harsh, punitive ideas WAY over to a life of kind respect for children’s preferences, and from telling children to stop asking those stupid questions to being grateful for every inquisitive moment.

What thoughts and tools have helped families make a large shift?   They can probably help with smaller shifts, too.


Circle Chat for Teens, by Kelly Nicole

No easy way to say this, being a teenager can be tough. Kelly Nicole is fresh out of her teens and has faced – and is still facing – bullies, doubt, anxiety, depression, and just about everything else you’d like to throw in the mix. Come chat and learn techniques for dealing with bullies, depression, and everything mentioned above. Bring questions, and feel free to share your own stories as well.


Creating Your Dream Life, by Kelly Nicole

Everywhere you go there are people who will doubt you. Join Kelly Nicole and learn how to overcome their words and jeers, and come out stronger and more motivated than ever. As Walt Disney says – “If you can dream it you can do it!”


Breaking Into The Arts, by Kelly Nicole

Starting a career in the arts may seem improbable, but it’s not impossible. If you are interested in getting started in the arts (whether it’s acting, singing, writing, painting, or anything in between), join Kelly Nicole for tips and tricks of how to keep your creativity, but remember the business side of the arts as well.


Q & A For New Unschoolers, by Sylvia Woodman

Are you new to unschooling?  Thinking about trying it out, but you have nagging questions in the back of your mind?  Are you worried about Math and science?  Chores and personal hygiene? Video games?  Bring your questions and let’s discuss everything you ever wanted to know about unschooling but were afraid to ask!


Money Management for Families, by Rob Endres

Many people wait too long to start saving for retirement and don’t know the best way to do that. Most of us plan to budget our money but never do. Insurance and taxes and 401k plans and IRAs and knowing how and where to invest our hard- earned money can be confusing.

With a proper strategy and management, you can make your money start working for you now to help you create a financially secure future! You can learn about these topics and get your money questions answered in this
presentation developed for unschooling families by Rob Endres. Rob works with many unschooling families and understands their unique circumstances. He spent 10 years as a Certified Insurance Counselor and Partner at Ferguson Financial Group, and now he’s an Investment Advisor for Stonebrook Capital Management,
Inc. and an independent insurance agent.


LGBTQIA Circle Chat, hosted by Heather Hanks

Please join me in a safe place to share your concerns, joys, ask questions, or just be in a supportive
group about all things related to the LGTBQIA family. I am a current board member of Transspectrum of
Arizona, a peer support group for Transgender adults. My goal is to help educate the masses so no
matter the sexual or gender identity, people will be accepted and safe in society.


Asperger’s and Unschooling, by Carma Paden

Is unschooling the right thing to do with a child who has Asperger syndrome (high-functioning autism) or other sensory issues? Come chat with Carma and her always-unschooled Aspie daughter Noa (21) to hear their story and ask your questions.


Parenting Toddlers for Peaceful Teens, by Carma Paden

If you’d like a peaceful home when your kids are teens, it starts when they are toddlers. This follow-up chat to the main presentation gives you a chance to ask questions and hear more details of how to have a relationship with your young children that will grow into peaceful, harmonious teen and young adult years.


SSUMS (Secret Society of Unschooling Moms), hosted by Erika Davis-Pitre

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.


SSUDS (Secret Society of Unschooling Dads), hosted by Wes Crisp

The Secret Society of Unschooling Dads (SSUDs) is a specially designed intensive for dads, dads-to-be, granddads, and the like.  Some of the more experienced fathers in the group will lead discussions on issues typically of concern to dads – college, success, socialization, team sports, and a variety of other topics.  Whether you’re an experienced unschooling dad, or just starting out, come to talk and listen, get some answers, and start to build a community that you can rely on once the conference is over.  It’s not always completely comfortable, but it’s always informative and provocative.  Make sure to stop by the hotel’s Manager’s Reception and grab a snack and a drink before you join.


Parents Panel, hosted by Wes Crisp

Come join experienced unschooling moms and dads as they answer questions about their unschooling journey.  There will be time available during this discussion to answer audience questions, too.


Teens and Young Adults Panel

Come join unschooled teens and grown unschoolers as they answer questions about their unschooling journey.  There will be time available during this discussion to answer audience questions, too.



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