Stay tuned for updates to this page for our 2023 UWG.
Jennel is a former TAB member and a long time 4H member. She has had the opportunity to attend a plethora of skill building conferences and will be sharing job seeking and interview skills in a workshop for youth and as a discussion on how parents can help their kids with this process.
Cindy Gaddis was an unusual child, self-driven to pursue life on her own terms. When her first child was born with the same spirit of learning, it was just a matter of stumbling on the term that described what came naturally: unschooling. Six more children later, all grown now, and 30 years later (where does the time go?!), Cindy became a passionate advocate for understanding and honoring the natural learning path for creative, right-brained children. She wrote her book, The Right Side of Normal, based on what she learned as a (left-brained) unschooling parent observing her seven (all right-brained) children. Cindy continued her passion for creative learning when she fulfilled her dream goal of opening a creative learning center in 2017 in a 1920s farmhouse on 18 acres and primarily mentors middle-high school attendees in collaborative education. You can find her at https://www.therightsideofnormal.com/or at https://www.clclexington.com/ .
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 18 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.
Edible Landscaping and Food Forests– 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.
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, before knowing anything about unschooling. They now have 3 more children: Maggie , Veda, and Redd. 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 …
Create Your Vision Board and Start Manifesting Your Future
Steve will be leading us in making either a physical or virtual vision board. Supplies will be provided but feel free to bring things to make your board extra personal and special.
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!!
Achievement Unlocked: Unschooler Graduation
Your kid is unschooled! You threw traditional schooling to the side and your wheels are spinning! But what about the graduation? The actual adulting part, what’s the destination? I’ve made my way through 18 years of unschooling in one piece, in some mismatched path as unschoolers do. Your kid can (and most likely will!) become a self sufficient adult when they’re unschooled, and I’m walking proof. I’ll share some stories and experiences on how I made my way through processes like getting a job and a drivers license, and how I learned important skills while unschooling.
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 Livi Kendall, Avery Hodgson, Kyle Kennedy, Heidi Schleidt and Ely Vuksanovich.
Join unschooled young adults 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, Raina Hodgson, Steve Hodgson, Heather Schleidt, Barb Splett and John Splett.