Be Inspired

Main presentations are an hour long and cover a variety of topics to inspire your journey with unschooling.  Please welcome our incredible speakers:

 Miranda Demarest

Miranda lives in shining Ithaca, NY with her husband Cary and her two amazing girls, Alex and Emma, who have been unschooled their whole lives.  She found unschooling seven years ago back when her oldest was three and has never looked back.  Radical unschooling was adopted almost immediately upon joining one of the first national unschooling lists, although it did take her husband a few more years to come on board with that.  The proof was in the pudding and the girls showed him they were on the right path.  Being radical has always come easy for Miranda.  Blame it on her hippy parents!  Her challenge comes with being able to accept that everyone doesn't unschool.

This lifestyle has been such an amazing one for her family; she wants to share it with the whole world.  You might have seen a few of her articles in Live Free learn Free or Connections ezine, or heard her speak last year at Live and Learn.  She’d like to think this is the reason Flo asked her to speak, but she knows it is just because they went to high school together!    

Miranda will be presenting Radical Thoughts for Radical Unschoolers.

 

Sandra Dodd

                              

 Sandra Dodd has been unschooling for a lifetime (Holly Dodd's lifetime), because Holly was born when Kirby was five and the Dodds were in their first year of opting out of compulsory education. The alternative parenting was already going strong, with attachment parenting and family bed picked up from La Leche League when Kirby was a baby in 1986.

Sandra lives in Albuquerque with her husband Keith and two-thirds of their three children. Kirby moved to Austin in August 2007, at the age of barely-21, to work for Blizzard Entertainment. At the time of the conference, Marty will be 20 and Holly will be nearly 18. Keith (the dad of the always-unschooled Kirby, Marty and Holly) is an engineer by profession, a woodworker by hobby and a medievalist by longstanding habit. Sandra is a former instructor of English, a writer by compulsion, and by vocation examines the underpinnings and practicalities of unschooling and mindful parenting.

More information can be found at http://sandradodd.com/unschooling.  
 

Sandra will be presenting twice:  Connections and Transformations.

 

Rain Fordyce

Rain loves living up in the north-northwest with her 3 amazing (and very cute) male roommates. Two are temporary, while they grow bigger every day and one is already pretty big and staying for a much longer term. While learning and growing together, Rain has written a children’s book,I Am Learning All the Time which has unschooling main characters who explore the world of those who learn at home, while building a bridge with those who attend school (and the grandparents who think they should!) As a writer and editor of an online women’s empowerment magazine and community, AuthenticTimes.com, and an inspirational and motivational life coach she has the honor to inspire the fire of others so they can blaze their own trail! Her new powerful tool, the peace treaty was created as she was trying to resist her inner schooled child and realized once again that peace is the only answer. You can catch a spark through her blog, or her free newsletter Inspired Almost-Daily.

 Rain will be presenting The Peace Treaty.

 Beth Fuller

I live in New Mexico with my husband Kevin, our daughter Emma and our mother, Nina.  These last few years we have been experimenting with different ways to follow passions, expand joy, and love each other unconditionally.  Those pursuits have led us to more peace than we ever could have imagined.  Our main activity these days seems to be laughing.  I can often be found listening to Amy Steinberg's music, traveling and co-moderating the Peaceful Partnerships yahoo group.

Beth will be presenting How We Roll.

 

 Erika B. Perkins

Erika lives in sunny San Diego, California with her extraordinary and ever inquisitive unschooled sons Zackary and Zayden and her husband and partner of 23 years Robert.  They also live with five extremely cool cats (Erika is rehearsing for her role of Crazy Cat Lady) and a couple of Pegasus.

Erika has lived a life outside of the norm since she was but a wee babe.  To Erika's dismay and chagrin, her mother was a Flower Child from the 1960's.  However what was the embarrassment of having a freaky organic Mom, turned out to be a boon and Erika learned early on what counter culture and freedom of thought really stood for and it should come as no surprise that upon becoming a mom she took the road less traveled.  The irony, of course, is that she then became the freaky organic Mom herself.  One thing leads to another and home schooling was the next step in her road.  Naturally it couldn't be convential home schooling, it had to be radical (all those hippies she grew up with would be so proud) home schooling, which has been deemed, by those doing it much longer than Erika, unschooling.  Erika will always be grateful to Valerie Fitzenreiter and her book The Unprocessed Child which opened the flood gates of the world of Unschooling.  Erika is also honored to be a  contributing author in Valerie's forthcoming Unschooling Anthology to be titled Unschooling Voices:  Living Unprocessed Lives.

Zackary and Zayden ask more questions than there are stars in the sky and they get that gene honestly as Erika has always had a thirst for knowledge, living in libraries, reading on comic book store floors and devouring books, ideas, concepts and being blessed by meeting so many kindred souls in her life journey that helped along the way.  To that end Erika earned a double B.A. in English and Comparative Literature and M.A. in Comparative Literature from San Diego State University (so many books, so little time).  However her most cherished, and relevant, credential is M.O.M from the Z & Z Academy.  Erika also once led the Corporate Life but is so much happier now that she lives the Mama Life.

In addition to the daily joyZ of living with her boyZ, Erika also enjoys sharing with her boyZ the love of writing, the glory of Geekdom as long time Comic-Con attendees (in our house if you want a crème brulée recipe ask Dad, if you want to know Wolverine's back-story ask Mom!) as well as novice organic gardening.  Erika also turned her avocation of organizing and decorating into a vocation by becoming a Professional Organizer and starting her own company Entropy Organizing which Zackary promptly renamed Entropy & Sons! 

Erika will be presenting The Mission:  Have Fun.  The Prime Directive:  Harm None.  

 

   Jeff Sabo

 
 

Jeff was raised in the traditional "Doctor Spock" way, was a victim of Connecticut public schools, got a couple of college degrees, and spent 8 years in the Army. But when he got together with his wife, Ginger, they quickly realized that they wanted to live and parent in ways that felt more natural. With their children Annie (19), Kai (10), and Kade (7), they have spent the past 10 years following their hearts and exploring various parts of the US, including Monterey, State College, Nashville, and Austin. About four years ago, they discovered unschooling through the readings of John Holt and Rue Kream, and have been learning and growing with unschooling ever since. 

In addition to his primary job as a partner and father, Jeff has had a day job in the corporate world for most of the past 10 years as a Human Resources Manager. He writes a blog (www.freeboysdad.blogspot.com) about the challenges and learnings that come with balancing an unschooling lifestyle with a corporate career. Jeff and his family currently dig their toes in the sand in Carlsbad, CA.

 Jeff will be presenting The Best of Both Worlds: Bridging the Gap between Work and Home, the Unschooling Way.

 

 Pam Sorooshian

 I'm a 5th generation Californian, married to an Iranian man, and mom to three unschooled and now-grown daughters (24, 21, and 18 by conference time). I have taught economics and statistics at the college level for over 30 years. I really love children's picture books - especially Patricia Polacco and the Lobels. Over the years, my family has become more and more immersed in the musical theater world and last summer we finally got to go to Broadway where we saw six shows in six days.

When I was in high school, in the 60's, I ditched school so often that they almost didn't let me graduate even though I had nearly a 4.0 GPA.  My mom interceded and I did graduate and sort of drifted into college, because my boyfriend was going, where I was hugely clueless about what I might want to do with my life. I changed schools and majors quite a few times (including a year going to school in San Diego where I took philosophy and world religions classes). I really could not settle on anything, but somewhere along the way I took a class in which I read Summerhill and some John Holt. I was sold on freedom from coerced schooling, then, but I decided to get a business degree so that I could get a decent job and stop living in what was, in those days, anti-establishment counter-culture hippy poverty. I chose economics because I used to have huge political "discussions" with my very conservative businessman father and he'd always win by saying I didn't understand the economic issues; because there were almost no female economists; and because I could do the math that other people had so much trouble with. Since then I've helped a lot of people with math and given a lot of thought to why most people are at least a little math phobic.

Later, when I had children, I had a pretty clear idea of what "ideal" schooling would entail (lots of freedom) - and when my oldest reached school age we tried to find the perfect place for her. That was right at the beginning of what was the short-lived "whole language," "integrated curriculum," "constructivist math," and "authentic assessment," movement, so we had a few good years of school with no "lessons" or "assignments" or "tests" or "grades." Then the "accountability" craze kicked in and things went downhill fast. I got on AOL where I found Sandra Dodd and others talking about unschooling, and I was instantly hooked. I was, in fact, THRILLED. That was in April 1994 and that was the end of schooling for us.

These days, I devote a lot of time to speaking and writing about unschooling and parenting. What gives me a thrill is knowing that there are children out there who are living happier lives because something I said made sense to their parents!
 

 Pam will be presenting twice: "So, How has Unschooling Worked Out?"  and Unschooling and Math.

Roya Sorooshian

Roya Sorooshian is a 24 year old elementary school dropout, who has been unschooling since her mom pulled her out of school at the age of 10. She has a bachelor's degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from Calstate Long Beach, with certificates in Outdoor Recreation and Non Profit Management.  She is also working on getting a degree in Art Therapy, in order to open her own art camp one day. Roya is also a seller on etsy.com (royaboya.etsy.com) and spends much of her time working on her own crafts.


Roya works for a non profit organization, called Project Independence (www.proindependence.org), that serves adults with developmental disabilities. Specifically, Roya is the Access to Adventure Coordinator, meaning she plans special events, trips, and recreational opportunities...such as a cruise to Alaska, trips to theme parks, and art workshops. It's pretty much the best job in the world.

Roya loves to talk about the fact that she went to community college when she was 13, her experiences working at a daycare for years, her internship as a backcountry ranger in Alaska, Not Back to School Camp, anything art or etsy related, recreation and leisure, and unschooling activism. If you are interested in finding out more, read her blog at http://royaboya.blogspot.com.

Roya will be presenting Roya Repeating Herself.