Speaking Schedule

If you would like me to speak at your event or to your group, please contact me at idziedesmarais@gmail.com.  If it's something local (Montreal and surrounding area), I'm happy to do Q & A's, panels, and/or short speeches for only the cost of transportation (bus fare, basically), simply because I think it's important that people learn about unschooling!  However, especially for longer speeches though for the above as well, being paid something and thus helping to support me and my ability to write, travel, and speak, is something I would very much appreciate.  I'm very open to discussing and trying hard to make things work for everyone involved!
I'm also happy to travel to speak, with similar views on cost (paid transportation, beyond that it's negotiable).  Contact me!

Upcoming Events

May 21st 2016
Panel description: Meet three Quebec youth who lived through schooling at home. Presenting Joriane, Felix, and Idzie.

Past Events

January 17th 2015
L’Éducation autrement: Des écoles alternatives au unschooling 
Montreal, Quebec

Exploring Unschooling: Re-Imagining What Education Can Be

Many people are now familiar with the term “unschooling,” but often don’t know what it actually means. What makes unschooling different as an educational philosophy? How has it shaped the lives of grown unschoolers? What potential does it hold for transforming how we think of “education,” how we treat children and teens, and the roles individuals play in their own learning? Drawing on her experience growing up without school, Idzie explores these questions and more.​

August 27th-30th 2015
Northeast Unschooling Conference
Wakefield, Massachusetts

Talk TBD

December 4th 2014
The Scenic Route to Success: a Teen's Guide to Life Without a High School Diploma (panel discussion)
Ottawa, Ontario

June 3rd 2012
Montreal, Quebec

August 30th-September 4th 2012
Rethinking Everything Conference
Dallas, Texas

Idzie is facilitating four talks/discussions entitled What Do Unschoolers Do?, The Art of Nonconformity, Misconceptions of Unschooling, and Unschooling is Forever. Find descriptions for all of those talks here.

September 9th-11th 2011
Toronto Unschooling Conference

Against the Current

By unschooling, we're taking a very obvious departure from what the dominant culture expects us to do, but I don't think it's always clear from the get-go just how many small ways we're pushing against the current in the choices we make and in our day-to-day lives. Added to that, many of us have also made radically different choices in many other aspects of our lives beyond what's strictly covered under the label of unschooling: in how we live, what we think, and how we navigate in the world. How do you navigate when the way you live seems so different from those around you? How do you find people to connect with when you find yourself struggling to find common ground with many people around you? To answer these questions, and many more I'll be discussing in this talk, is an ongoing process in my own life, a process I'm happy to be sharing and discussing this year at TUC.  

September 10th-12th 2010
Toronto Unschooling Conference

Unschooling is Forever

Unschooling is the realization that life and learning are not two separate things.  Yet even with this realization, sometimes end-points start sneaking in.  But in a philosophy such as this, can unschooling (life=learning) really end neatly, can you just unschool grade school or highschool, finish up with unschooling, then move on?  Unschooling is to me, as I continue through what are usually considered the college years, not only the realization that life and learning are not separate, but also the realization that unschooling can be a lifelong process of growth and discovery.  Learning is everywhere.  School, be it elementary, high school, or institutions of “higher education”, is optional!  I’ll talk about my lifelong journey of unschooling, my feelings on learning and education, and about what happens next for an unschooler when those “high school years” have finished. 

May 30th 2010 
The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair
I'll be speaking as part of a panel on Radical Learning and Education, as part of the Anarchist Parents Room.  Description from the site:

An introduction to alternative forms of education, beyond compulsory state education. We will explore ways to support kids in leading their own learning and education. Find out about education alternatives in Montreal and beyond.

The first part of this discussion will look at radical education alternatives in the Montreal-area presented by members of the Rad School, Cap Libre and a presentation on “Unschooling: Learning through Living”.

The second part of this discussion will look at other worldviews of radical alternative education. Presenters will include Jerry Mintz from AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization in New York).

Our presenters will be speaking about their experiences creating radical spaces for education of children. Various examples of “free schools” and “autonomous schools” will be presented, as well as examples of home-schooling. Our presenters collectively have many years of experience with seeing children grow and thrive in spaces that encourage and value true freedom and independence.

May 1st 2010 
Association of Christian Parent-Educators of Quebec Conference (check out their website here)

My mother, Debbie Smart, will be on a panel entitled Educational Approaches.

April 24th 2010
The Quebec Association of Home Based Educators (QAHBE)/L’Association Québécoise pour l'éducation à Domicile (AQED) Symposium

I, along with my mother Debbie Smart and my sister Emilie Desmarais, will be doing a bilingual talk called:

Living an Unschooled Life

Description: Interested in the unschooling philosophy, but not sure how it works in practice?  Here's your chance to hear all about living an unschooled life from those who have been doing it for a while!  The speakers will give a brief description of the unschooling philosophy, talk a bit about their journey through unschooling, and then open up the floor for questions and discussion!

Check out the symposium brochure here for more information (it's bilingual, with everything written first in French then in English).