Monday, August 9, 2010

Freedom-Based Education Conference Outline

After brainstorming with a few different people, I've come up with a pretty vague outline for what I want this conference to look like.  My vision for this conference, if you will.  As things move further ahead, it may very well change, but right now, this is what I've got.  Note that when I say "we" I'm referring to both myself and everyone who's contributing to the planning of this event.

Theme/overarching message: Freedom based education can be for everyone.  Looking to break the myths of who unschooling and freeschooling is for, and to give the tools and information for people to *make* these types of education available where they currently aren't.

A two day conference, held close to downtown Montreal (probably) and easily accessible by public transport.  Either in a hotel's conference space, or, preferably, in a separate venue but with a nearby hotel that we've worked out a special rate for conference attendees.

Talks and workshops split roughly half-half between unschooling and freeschooling, with hopefully some other talks and workshops that don't fit into either of those categories directly (what's wrong with the school system, freedom based education at the university level, learning centers and co-ops, etc.).  Also a film screening room and a vendor hall (with vendors that we've approved, so meet with the vision for this conference).

Something I feel strongly about is that everyone who wants to should be able to attend, so there will be a sliding-scale registration fee for attendees, as well as an added note that if the lowest end of the scale still doesn't work for you, contact us and we'll work something out.
We'd also like to find multiple sponsors to lessen the cost, and have a food collective or similar there so that food can be bought, but isn't included in registration fee.

Speakers from across North America (if we can afford them).  We still need to put together a list of speakers we'd love to have, and want to approach to find out more details...

And I think that's basically what we've got right now.  There are other details, but that's the general overview!  So, what do you think?  Does that sound like a conference you'd like to attend?  Any suggestions or ideas that you'd like to share?  Speakers you think we might want to look into?  Comments are very welcome!


  1. This does indeed sound interesting. I especially like the idea of making it financially accessible for anyone who is interested in going.

    My suggestion for a speaker is James Marcus Bach, author of SECRETS OF A BUCCANEER SCHOLAR an excellent book that I highly recommend if you've never read it.

    I wish you great success in this endeavor!

  2. I am a single mom, on welfare at them moment, but very interested in unschooling my daughter. She's only 10mths now, but the learning has already begun!
    I am very interested in attending this conference, so love the idea of it being accessible to lower income families.
    One thing that interests me is how people are managing, financially, to unschool .. what are parents doing to have more time to be at home.. (I notice a lot of artists, writers etc who unschool...)

    When will this conference be happening?

    Thanks and good luck! looking forward!

  3. It would be great to have Jerry Mintz as a speaker, if he can come. I found him very inspiring and interesting at the anarchist bookfair.

  4. I would love to see a session on sharing what unschooling looks like to each individual, how they go about it and what they are doing.

    Now that I think of it they don't have to be live, but sent in with registration on paper that could be put up on a rotating screen or the walls. Either way it would be a sharing of what unschooling is to each individual.

  5. This sounds great so far! I hope my son and I can come--we'd have to drive up though from Ohio...oh wait, what are passport rules now?! Have to look into that...

  6. I'd love to go. So very far away...

  7. Sounds very good so far. How about Wendy Priesnitz? Christine Brabant is in montreal and she might be willing to speak.

  8. Thank you so much to all of you for your interest, support, and wonderful suggestions!

    @Anonymous: In April or May 2011, hopefully.

    @Sara: At this point, you need either a passport or a passport card (good for land crossings but not air ones).

  9. I am in North Bay and there is a local professor at the University of Nippissing, Dr. Carlo Ricci. Google him, he has numerous videos of his lectures all on Unschooling! I am unschooling my 6 year old this year. Super Excited! I have a new idea of how to do this as a single mom. I have contacted the YMCA to become a home care provider. Perfect way to have fun with kids all day and make a living! I was going to pursue a degree in social work through distance education but wanting to do something that will work for my sons homeschooling and not cause me to be under too much pressure with studying, etc.....A work in progress. I would love to hear of ways to produce income from home.....I really appreciate this blog!

  10. I'd love to come to a conference like this one... even all the way from Texas, if I can manage it!! I am in love with the unschooling theory, but find I am too much of a control freak to let go just yet... My two youngest start Kindergarten at the public school in a few hours, and we have a 13-year-old who we are piece-mealing a homeschooling curriculum for. :D