Tag Archives: guest speakers

Welcome Laura!

We are ever-so-excited about this newest addition to the 2018 UP line up! If you joined us in past year, you may have met Laura and family at our last few UP conferences! This year we are thrilled about what she will be offering up for our eager ears to hear! Time to register so you don’t miss out on a fabulous time!


Laura Lauzen-Collins lives in Bolingbrook Illinois with her husband and five children, aged 19, 14, 11, 9 and 6. When her first child was born during graduate school for psychology, she knew that she wanted him to learn in a self-directed manner but she was unaware of the unschooling movement at that time. As her son got older and Laura began teaching more developmentally-based psychology courses as well as delving more into educational theory, she had a growing belief that the traditional approach to education was not consistent with how she understood learning to occur and that it tended to squash natural curiosity and motivation. After a few years of struggling through the traditional school system with her son, she discovered the well-established unschooling movement.  This approach provided and continues to provide a solution for the problems that she saw as endemic to the more traditional approach to education and also provided a personal solution for her family.

Laura continues to teach psychology classes at Moraine Valley Community College and DePaul University while striving to provide support for her children’s natural sense of curiosity and wonder. She teaches classes on a wide variety of psychological topics with a focus on the brain and development.

In the last 10-20 years, we have learned an enormous amount about the way the brain develops in infancy, through childhood and into adulthood. The child’s brain is not just less mature than the adult’s brain. Instead the brain of a child is qualitatively different than that of an adult. And beyond the child’s brain, the teen’s brain brings a new set of profound changes. Understanding these differences can be a powerful tool that helps us to better understand how our children and teens experience the world.


Welcome Back Tara and Joe!

Details are a hashin’ and we are incredible excited to announce ALL we have in store! To begin…. We are over the moon elated to be welcoming back Tara and Joe! A very precious family in this ever-growing tribe will be back again for a round-table discussion! Sure not to be missed!

Register your family at www.unschoolersplatform.com/registration!!!


Joe, Tara, Liam and Atticus Dutcher are thrilled to be returning for a third time to the Unschoolers Platform conference. At the 2017 conference, Tara and Joe presented a talk entitled Attunement; Unschooling and Autism which kicked off a wonderful discussion among community members about the unique joys and challenges of meeting every child’s individual interests and needs. 

At the 2018 conference, the Dutchers hope to facilitate a round table-style conversation that touches upon the physical, emotional and communication elements that emerge when families composed of individuals with a variety of different needs are invested in living in attunement with each other.

The Dutchers live in eastern Iowa where Tara works as a freelance musician (www.taramcgovern.com) and Joe works as a corporate trainer. 

Meet Jocelyn!

Have you had the pleasure of meeting Jocelyn yet?

Oh BOY! If you have not, you won’t want to miss her! This extra-special woman is coming on back to UP, and this time around she is sharing some of her super duper experiences and wisdom! We are THRILLED she’s making the trek here to share and inspire and hope you will join her in her exciting discussion group!

Unschooling To & Through the College Years Q & A

Do you have a teenager and wonder how they will successfully transition to college or adulthood?  Do you have younger children and are wondering what this stage might look like?  Join Jocelyn as she shares her experiences and answers your questions about the journeys of teenagers and young adults.

Jocelyn discovered homeschooling in 1993 when she saw a TV news segment about a family of 5 who bicycled together across the US and met all 50 governors. She was instantly hooked by the thought of having fun with her kids as they learned. After reading a preschool curriculum while she watched her then toddler daughter learn so much more and have more fun naturally, she ditched the curriculum and began her journey to unschooling. Jocelyn and her husband, Martin, have 3 always unschooled daughters ages 23, 19, and 13.


Have you met Joe and Tara?

We have a very special family coming back this year! If you have not met Joe and Tara and the boys, you are missing out on something special! We are not only thrilled they are rejoining us this year, but ecstatic they are willing to share their experiences with us! Getting real about unschooing and autism. A lively discussion is to ensue and you’re not going to want to miss out!

So much great to celebrate!

Attunement; Unschooling with Autism
by Joe and Tara Dutcher
Come join us for a lively hour discussing unschooling with Autism! Learn our brief family history and how we arrived at unschooling. Let’s discuss physical needs (sleep, nutrition, sensory seeking/avoidance, etc) and how those needs are accommodated by unschooling. Social needs (emotional regulation, friendship, family relationships, etc) and how those needs are accommodated by unschooling. And we can wrap it up with Q&A and discussion among participants.
The Dutchers have been homeschooling from the beginning. They arrived at unschooling as a natural evolution of their parenting approach. Tara is a musician and music teacher. Joe trains insurance agents for a large company. Joe and Tara live with their two sons in eastern Iowa.

Meet Heather!

As the countdown for registration for the 2017 Unschoolers Platform rolls on we are eagerly planning some exciting workshop, talks and funshops for our amazing community! Topics will be vast, interesting and inspiring! One such topic…. worldschooling! If you have not yet met Heather, I’m pleased to introduce you! You will not want to miss her discussion at 2017 UP!


I’m Heather Clark, wannabe world traveler, vegan, Nintendo gamer, wife and mom to always unschooled 9yo son Jamie. I do yoga and love sailing, baking, hand sewing, Bollywood movies and UK soaps. Our family came to unschooling naturally as an extension of our attachment parenting. I believe there’s nothing more fabulous than living and learning in partnership with our son! We self identify as a worldschooling family and love to travel.
Join her wonderful talk:
Worldschooling – Seeing the world as your school
Worldschooling is about seeing the world as your classroom and striving to learn through adventure, experience and travel. But even if you can’t travel full time – or at all – you can still help your kids get excited about the wonders of the world and begin to see themselves as global citizens. Join in a discussion about learning via experiences, and how the world always has something to teach.
To get registered, visit our Unschoolers Platform registration page!

Dads! Dads! Dads!

We are SO very excited to have Vlaiko join us in gearing up the Dads! stuffs at UP 2017! Dads unite! Have a blast! It’s going to be a special FUN time!



Circle up and join Vlaiko in a conversation about being the DAD in your home/unschooling family!!
Come add your wisdom, anecdotes and thoughts!!
Bring your questions, concerns and ideas!!!
There will be opportunity for all to participate as we take a magic carpet ride through the wonders of having made the choice to home/unschool!!
Vlaiko Manojlovski has been organically settling into the unschooling lifestyle for the last 7 years.  The process has literally unfolded on its own and just gets better everyday!!  Having gone to school this was all counterintuitive out of the gate!!  But the realistic, practical and hard driving truths of the amazing benefits and overall life quality that have come to pass as the result of following his heart have anchored his value systems and philosophies in newly chartered waters – creating a life filled with parenting a-ha moments, deeper connections with his family and a whole lotta’ fun!!!
There will be more than one gathering so stay tuned for details!!




It’s Time Folks!

While we are still all whirling and swirling over our past, most amazing, enlightening,
FUN, truly heart-centering event, we have exciting news for you all!!!



Yep! No joke!!! We have three of the most amazing keynote speakers lined up for you all. Pam Laricchia coming to us from Canada! Erika Davis-Pitre from California! AND….. Sue Patterson from Texas! These amazing, awe-inspiring, and dynamic women are coming to dazzle us in February 2017!!! And you can book your spot NOW!

As our schedule for the week evolves (yes, you heard it…. a week…. we added a day!)…. and our additional inspirational speakers are added to the agenda… as the funshops develop and our family events pan out…. YOU can take advantage of some MEGA early bird savings!

Register NOW (before July 13, 2016) and you will receive:

* The UP Early bird rates! (Note that there is a 3-tiered payment plan option for *any* family registration fee, should you choose to utilize this!)

* TWO free conference shirts!

* A $10 visa gift card to use at the resort (or anywhere you’d like for that matter!)!!

* AND….. the 2016 rates to the Key Lime Key room! Yes! Book your before July 13th and *they* will guarantee that you pay $99.95 per 4-person room ($20 per additional person up to 6 in a room). Note: beyond July 13th, 2016 our group room rate for UP participants will be $119.95 per 4-people a room. (To book your room, you merely need to deposit the equivalent of a 1-night stay. Balance will be due upon arrival in Feb. 2017.)

** NOTE: Both room reservation *and* UP registration must be completed by July 13, 2016 for you to take advantage of these perks.

In addition…..
UP has a brand new tradition we are starting this year! We would like to honor our first registered family for the conference each year! Last year, this was Kate Brandt and family! Congrats Kate! We’d like to offer your family 50% off of your 2017 registration fee! Yippee!!!

AND…. if YOUR family happens to be the first registered for the 2017 conference, we will honor your 50% discount for the 2018 conference!! Get hoppin’! 😉

We are just ever-so-thrilled that the ball is rolling for 2017 already, and we hope you feel the same excitement! Share the news with other home/unschooling friends! Bring your tribe along with you! Come to expand your tribe! Cherish all that UP has to offer, and bring your bright light to share with others! We CAN’T WAIT to see you all in February 2017!!!






Meet Sandra!

We are excited as the time ticks nearer and nearer! The funshops are scheduled if you have not seen them yet! And our speakers eagerly plan their talks with all of us. One of those amazing people is Sandra! If you have not met her yet, I’m pleased to introduce you to her! She will be joining our eclectic panel of amazing homeschool parents to discuss philosophies and the day-in-the-life. We are SO thrilled she will be joining us in just a few weeks!!!


Sandra Estrada – mom to two life-learning children, ages 14 and 11. As a family, our time is spent exploring whatever piques our curiosity. We love to travel, have been to over 10 countries, and road tripped through at least half of the US. I’m looking forward to connecting with seasoned and new homeschoolers at UP. My hope is that sharing our family’s experience will help others on their educational journey.


There is still time to register! Join us!!!


#homeschooling #unschool #unschoolersplatform

Excitement mounting!

Whoop! The funshops are IN and we are getting a schedule drafted for your curious eyes asap!

Shirts are IN and ordered! You’ll be SO excited to receive yours at the conference registration tables!

Conference wristbands in print and on their way!!!


There is still time to register and join in the fun! Don’t hesitate to come to Chicago and jump on the UP bandwagon!

Check out the newest countdown to the right ———————–>

Tick-tock! Just days away! 😉


FUNshop submissions!

We’re in our final day of collections of funshops! Anyone can host anything they’d like, however the submission needs to be in by tomorrow, Friday the 5th!

UP_fun To fill out a submission form visit: http://unschoolersplatform.com/funshops/

Funshop schedule should be out in the next few days! Thanks to ALL of you who have already submitted some SUPER cool workshop ideas! UP just wouldn’t be THIS amazing without your support!!!

Tomorrow is also the last day for reduced rate registration and t-shirt orders.

#homeschool #unschool #unschoolsplatform