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Speakers

2020 Speakers 

Matt Berg 

Matt has been happily married for 22 years to Theresa Berg.  They have two adult children who attended public schools, and two younger children who’ve been 100% homeschooled.  Matt has spent the last 18 years training and implementing industry best practices within the trucking industry.  Join the Matt Berg Experience TM TED Talk edition.

 

Empowerment

Building a strong organization begins with a leader that empowers others to find their own way/voice/role/skills.  When we empower, we: create synergy, build self-confidence, increase trust, advance self-fulfillment, become self-sustaining.  Whether we study large companies or small volunteer groups, empowerment is a key element to long term success.  Come learn how to recognize, cultivate and encourage empowerment in your local tribe.

Why we do what we do

It’s not that we’re avoiding educating our children.  We’ve just decided that education shouldn’t be a “One size fits all” approach.  We are a tremendously diverse group, on a wide spectrum in our approach to help our children become successful adults (defined as YOU please).  No matter where you are on your journey, enjoy the adventure, relish the time with your kids, and learn from so many who have ‘Been there, done that’.  Many come to call us their Tribe! 

Ed ForteauEd Forteau

 

 

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

 

 

 

Don and Gina Grothoff

How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk

 

Raina and Steve Hodgson

Bus Build

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fred Kluth

Demystifying Dungeons and Dragons

 

 

 

 

Traci Meiler

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

 

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, 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 not 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 or pursue 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!

Panels

Ask an Unschooled Teen

Grown Unschoolers