Jen Kendall has been attending UWG since 2010 – and has the totebags to prove it! She has two children, ages 17 & 15, who are thrilled to be attending their 10th Unschoolers Waterpark Gathering. Although her kids have always been home educated, it took Jen several years to call herself an unschooler. Now she runs and/or moderates several unschooling-focused groups, including two Facebook groups and an Unschooling Gamers discord server. She and her husband and kids live on a little hobby farm in Northeast Ohio.
An Unschooling Retrospective
Looking back on 17 years of home educating, would I go back and do anything different if I could? Here’s our family’s story, including the small but important events that made two parents steeped in schooly thought transition completely to unschooling.
There’s An App For That
When should your kid get a phone/tablet/device? Should you let them have TikTok? What even is a Discord? Let’s talk about some of the tech platforms out there and how to help your kid develop a healthy relationship with them.
UWG Past, Present and Future
Join me for a casual discussion about the origins of UWG, what we have tried to accomplish over the years, the behind the scenes of conference planning and how you can be a part of the ongoing tradition of Unschoolers’ Waterpark Gathering.
Mental Health topic TBA
Steven Ryan and his family has been a part of the UWG community for the last 6 yrs. Steven and his wife Liz decided to unschool shortly after having their first child Sully (9), before knowing anything about unschooling. They now have 3 more children: Maggie (6), Veda (4), and Redd (2). Steven comes from a rural community in PA and was pushed through school, as most of us were. From selling candy in 3rd grade with a friend out of a tackle box and being suspended for it to flipping items like helicopters. All to keep from having to work a 9-5 job. Steve would probably have been voted in high school least likely to succeed, although from a past riddled with the makings of a mini-series, he consistently proves there is no clear path to success in life. Steve is the perfect mix of Sanford and Son meets Elon Musk. His entrepreneurial spirit and drive is contagious! Come join him this year at UWG to share his version of the chickenpox lollipops!
What would life look like if… – A DIY approach to acting on those what ifs!
From the beginning of time, everything has had to be tested before it has hit “its” stride. We are not different, whether that be with unschooling or pursuing interests, hobbies or careers. I am no Tony Robbins, but I do my best, in my way, to inspire others to step outside their comfort zone and be their very best.
Fear is a motivating factor for all of us. From heights to spiders, they are real…but some are unwarranted fears that stem from a deep inherited gnawing that “we just can’t” or “aren’t good enough” or whatever adjective you use.
I want to share my experience and, ultimately, hope and motivation to explore more of those things you keep putting off, whether it be wanting to write a book, pursuing a career, or asking for that raise. It takes the right people at the right time to help bridge the mental gaps we create in putting thoughts into action.
With a little encouragement and effort, we are capable of amazing things! My title, “What would life look like if I…” is then something each year we can share collectively at UWG. I will have a sign up book and I will periodically check up on you to see how your pursuit in conquering your “thing” is going.
Come join me and let’s mark this day as the day you decided to move forward in wanting to …
Heather Schleidt and her husband live on a 65-acre farm and run three restaurants. She never intended to homeschool, let alone, unschool, but after learning about the principles of unschooling and researching many of the pioneers like John Holt, John Taylor Gatto, and Sandra Dodd, she was intrigued at the idea of allowing her children the freedom to design their own life, free from arbitrary rules and assignments. Heather and Markus have four children and each of them have a unique path they are on. The oldest, Mitchell, got married in 2020 and started his own business in 2021. Lukas,18, has found his own passion in working out, playing chess and video games, and spending time after work with his friends. Their third son, Parker, focuses on video games, Boy Scouts, and working a part-time job. Heidi, the youngest, dances and has been in professional shows and is currently starting her own Etsy business. The original critics of the unschooling path have seen the joy that the children have for life and have leaned into trusting the process. One of Heather’s passions is to get people to educate themselves and to challenge them to think outside of the box. Unschooling works for many families – come learn how unschooling might work well for your family!!
Ask an Unschooled Teen
This is a great opportunity to get answers to your most pressing unschooling questions from the perspective of a teen or young adult unschooler. This years teen panel includes Kyle Kennedy, Heidi Schleidt and Ely Vuksonovich.
Join unschooled adults Amanda Campbell, and Josh Ward for a fun and informative Q and A session.
Unschooling Q & A
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!
Our Unschooling Q and A panel will include veteran unschoolers Jen Kendall, Heather Schleidt, Barb Splett and John Splett.
Permaculture, Food Forests and Gardening Round Table Discussion– Join in a lively discussion of all things gardening related, with an emphasis on integrated growing techniques. What’s worked, what hasn’t, what’s your next big project or your favorite part of your garden. We’ll have a projector and screen available for anyone that would like to share pictures.