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2020 Speakers 

Ed ForteauEd Forteau

Ed had successful corporate careers in engineering and sales and marketing management with two Fortune 500 Companies. He left the corporate world to pursue his passion of being a consultant and advisor to business owners and entrepreneurs. In 1999, he founded Win/Win Professional Marketing & Sales Association, which focuses on growth strategies for local businesses. You can find him at http://edforteau.com/


Guerilla Online Marketing Tactics For Local Businesses

2 secret marketing methods guaranteed to bring you new customers/clients with zero advertising costs, and 3 completely free methods you can implement right away.

I will also create a customized marketing action plan (at no charge) for each attendee to make 2020 your Best Year Yet! (limited to the first 25 attendees).


Lillie Forteau

Lillie is a woman who puts her creativity, love, and passion into everything she does. From singing to pottery, writing to costume making, one could easily call her a renaissance woman. At the age of 17, she cannot wait for more new and exciting opportunities to come her way.

Teen Entrepreneurs

Learn to be a better entrepreneur from a teen’s perspective. For teens and adults alike, there will be something for everyone. In this talk, I will go over the basics of starting up your own business, and answer questions you may have about expanding your business in a variety of ways.

Creative Writing Workshop

Words stuck in your head? This workshop/masterclass will help beginner to advanced creative writers improve their craft. We will cover several writing topics, from advanced worldbuilding to the correct places to put commas. There will be prompts and time for questions.


Don and Gina Grothoff

Donald is an author, speaker, EFT Practitioner, and mindfulness coach, a path that was preceded by working in food sales and building websites. Gina is an Occupational Therapist, Child-Led Learning Coach, Writer and runs a NC homeschool website. Gina and Don work together as Behavior Transformation Specialists and run Focused Healthy Family and Family OCD in Charlotte, NC.

Gina and Don began the homeschooling journey in 2001 following the lead of their then, 4-year-old son. All three of their children who are now 22,18, and 11, have led them down the non-traditional path of unschooling and following their passions.

Along with the joys and challenges of everyday parenting, the Grothoff family has experienced issues with mental illness including a sudden personality and behavior change in their child. Through a traumatic and difficulty journey with many mistakes made along the way, Gina and Don found they had to take the advice from the professionals and modify it to fit their values and beliefs about parenting.

Because of their journey, Gina and Don are passionate about helping other families with similar challenges. As part of their conscious, collaborative and respectful parenting philosophy, they lead communication skills workshops based on the book: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.

Don is the author of the E-book “A Trip to the Non-Sensical: A Dad’s Journey Through His Daughter’s OCD”, in which he shares his personal experience guiding his family through a traumatic diagnosis. Gina has 2 blog sites sharing her life journey and experiences with an emphasis on conscious parenting and child-led learning has plans to turn her many blog posts into a book in the near future.

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen™ Intro Workshop based on the book of the same name by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
The goal of this workshop is to introduce you to some practical, effective methods of communication that will make your relationship with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding. Areas discussed include helping children deal with their feelings, engaging cooperation, alternatives to punishment, encouraging autonomy and freeing children from playing roles.  Improving our communication skills can help us with all relationships in our life and these tools can be applied to adult relationships as well.

Parenting with Special Needs

Whether you have a child with mental health issues or other health issues or you as a parent struggle with issues such as depression, anxiety or energy-taxing health issues, join us for our talk on parenting with these extenuating circumstances. We will share resources and tools for navigating your journey and our experiences with our own family challenges


Raina and Steve Hodgson

Bus Build








Fred and Vivian Kluth

Unschooling Dungeons and Dragons

What do Dungeons and Dragons and Unschooling have in common? They are are epic adventures!  During this talk, Fred and Vivian (Father and Daughter) discuss the similarities between D&D and Unschooling, the co-creational aspects of the game/unschooling, educational aspects of the game and talk about how D&D has become ingrained into the fabric of our family’s journey through life.


Not my Father’s Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons has been around for 45 years and over the last five years has been experiencing a renaissance.  Father and Daughter, Fred and Vivian will take a humorous look at how the game has changed over the last 45 years. We will discuss how the game has been come more accessible, inclusive and fun. 


Traci Meiler

Traci Meiler started the homeschooling journey in 2007 following the lead of her then 5-year-old son. In 2010 she realized she had been unschooling all along, and continues to deschool whenever it becomes apparent, albeit less frequently now. She has been volunteering with her local La Leche League for 16 years, which lead her to a more peaceful parenting philosophy than she was raised with. Traci has been married to her husband Matt for 19 years, and mom to Tim 18, Ryan, 14, and Amelia 12, who have never been to school. Traci holds a BA in Psychology and describes herself as a field research scientist, with a focus on Human Development, Socialization, and Education. Her projects include: biologically normative practices, healthy attachments, sleep behaviors and patterning, age appropriate activities, gifted and talented programming, and community based socialization.

Setting the Stage for Success: Creating environment for your unschooled child

This is a hands on, minds collectively working session. We will briefly discuss success, and what that looks like for the unschooled child. We will reflect on the physical and mental spaces we live in and identify problems. Then use the other experts in the room to make plans to redefine our physical and mental environments. We will break into small groups with specific topics important to the people present. Small group breakout topics could include, but are not limited to: Family sleep sharing, adapting living spaces for interests, unschooling on the road, adjusting mainstream ‘rules’ to unschooling philosophy, goal orientation, supplying fuel & tools, partnering, finding opportunities in our communities and creating community.


Jonathan Pearl

Jonathan and Cheryl have been unschooling their three boys (17, 14, 11) since 2009. Jonathan has lived many lives to date: He ran a landscaping business to pay his way through his undergraduate years at Indiana University-Bloomington, studying music. He performed as a singer and actor across the USA and parts of Europe. He received a PhD in Music & Cognitive Science from UC-Santa Barbara in 2005, and has taught at colleges and universities. He founded and ran a research and development business in speech synthesis technology for most of a decade. In 2013, he started a new career as a financial advisor, now financial planner. He lives with his family, two cats, and a bearded dragon in Marlborough, MA.

All About Money, Investing, and Finance (even what you didn’t think to ask)

Jonathan will present some of the basic concepts, principles, products and strategies for organizing your finances today and planning for your future. What are the “three pots of money”? What is a mutual fund, an ETF, bonds? How and why should you invest in “the market”? What is the difference between a Traditional and Roth IRA? How risky should you be? This is intended as an interactive talk, so come with your questions and ideas, and together we’ll see where it leads.


Liz Ryan

Liz Ryan is a whole lot of things, once she stopped focusing on her “whole lotta not’s”. Imagine that? She has unschooled her kids accidentally since her first was born in 2011. She has been on a constant journey since then, unlearning all that she grew up believing to be true. She has an affinity for all forms of the word “f*#k, sprinkling it like MSG. She has been a financial advisor since 2006 and working independently since 2011. She published a children’s book in 2017 after self-learning the process from start to finish. She spends most of her days figuring out what substance she stepped in, trying to drink enough water & coffee, and living the dream attempting to be present. One of her biggest accomplishments though has been accepting herself for who she is, so she can do the same for her kids, and anyone she meets.
Welcome Home To Ourselves: Changing Our Narrative
Body positivity is a buzz phrase that has made its rounds all over social media, but what does that look like in action? What does that look like in the midst of day to day life? How does this have anything to do with unschooling? As parents of unschoolers many of us have tuned to deschooling ourselves, or even our kids if they started out in public school. It only takes a few minutes of walking the halls of UWG to see our kids living their truths unapologetically, but how do we get to that same space?  How can we meet ourselves from a place of love and compassion, changing our narratives of intrusive thoughts, our egos, and our stories we have created about ourselves? When we embrace the human we already are, and always have been, the lies we were conditioned to believe melt away.
Come join our little magical community for an interactive experience of peeling back all of our layers, our fears of being seen and heard, and living in the now! Uncover your badassery and show up as the best human for yourself. Preteens, teens, adults: this is for all of us.
“My love, if you don’t speak to yourself like the most beautiful love story you have ever read, then how are you speaking to yourself? If you don’t look at yourself and see your soft rolls sitting one on top of the other, like volumes in a library, then how do you see yourself? If you don’t feel all that life has to offer in this very exact moment, in your very exact body, taking up all the damn space, then what do you feel? You ARE the better. You ARE the best. There is simply no room for anything else.”
The Science Behind Journaling & How It Can Alter Your Life
Join Liz for an in-depth journey through “future self journaling” from the work of Dr. Nicole LePera. Learn how you can rewire your neural pathways to heal through the simple act of journaling. The daily practice can be done by anyone, children included. We will discuss the science behind journaling, walk through the daily practice step by step, and dive deep into healing ourselves. There will be Q&A, and journaling resources on hand for adults and children. Liz will give real examples of how this has changed multiple areas of her life, from relationships with her children to relationships with herself. Come relax and join our community in this transforming act of compassion for ourselves.

Steve Ryan

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 …

Michelle Wilbert

Michelle Wilbert is best known at UWG as “Mary’s Mom”. Michelle is a writer with work published in a variety of print and online media since 1998 including being a regular reviewer over the last six years for The Englewood Review of Books and MomEggReview.  She is a spiritual director/retreat leader in the Contemplative Traditions and a writing workshop facilitator using the Amherst Writers and Artists method. Michelle is the owner and craftswoman of “Blue Heron Handcrafts: Traditional Goods for the Home and Family where she makes handmade beeswax candles and other herbal products.   Michelle is also a retired midwife who continues to guide families and birth workers as a “Knowledgeable Companion” in birth, parenting and family life.  She is Ben’s merry wife and the mother of four unschooled adult children: Stephen, Emma, Hugh and Mary Wilbert.

Creative Expression and Rhythm in Family Life

Creativity springs from being human–we are creative people by nature and how we then nurture that creativity in ourselves and our families requires attention to daily rhythms in family life that support creative expression and the ability to see the creative potential in our everyday lives and work within the family.  Most of us struggle with this idea as something “extra” that we can’t ever seem to find the time to explore. In this talk, I’ll share my own creative journey as an unschooling parent and midwife in my family’s early years and now, as a writer,  writing workshop facilitator/ retreat leader, spiritual director and small creative business owner and craftswoman.



Jim Woodman

Jim Woodman has been an unschooling dad for over 10 years, and has worked in the insurance industry for over 25 years. He does not have a license to sell insurance, and will not try to sell you anything. He is also a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, enjoys music, and makes his own beer. Jim has been married to Sylvia for almost 20 years, and they have two children, Gabriella and Harry.

Misinformation Super Highway  

Updated with new examples and sources! The internet can be a great source of information, but misinformation can travel just as quickly. How do you determine which items you should trust, and which items you should not? In this session, Jim Woodman will offer tips and tricks on how to find what you are looking for, and how to check out anything you hear about, to determine how credible it is.

Finances for Unschooling Families

Is money tight? Not sure what to spend money on first? There is a lot of financial advice out there, but unschoolers often have different exenses and priorities. This discussion will include the basic financial advice, and also talk about some of the unique challenges that unschooling families face.


Sylvia Woodman

Sylvia Woodman is insatiably curious. She loves meeting new people, traveling to new places, tasting new foods, and learning new things! She has been learning, thinking, and writing about unschooling for more than a decade. She spends time on Facebook helping out on several unschooling groups including Radical Unschooling Q&A and Radical Unschooling Info. She also spent over a decade volunteering with her local La Leche League Group. Sylvia has been married to her husband Jim for 19 years and they have two children Gabriella (15) and Harry (13), who have never been to school. She loves reading, yarn crafts, black coffee, and floating on the Lazy River.

Typical Unschooling Days – “What do you do all day?”

One of the most common questions that unschoolers get asked is “What do you do all day?” Most people have an image of homeschooled kids “doing school” at home with little desks, and a dining room or spare bedroom converted into a “school room.” Most unschoolers I know don’t do that. But what do they do? How do they do it? What does it look like? What does it feel like? And most importantly: How can I help you get started?

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!


Ask an Unschooled Teen

Grown Unschoolers