These individuals and organizations will be offering workshops, open discussions, panels, or talks at the unconference. See the schedule for more information on dates and times.
(listed alphabetically by participant’s first name / organization name)
Offering: Garden Tour & Lunch 6BC is located right next the Sixth Street Community Center, where the unconference will be taking place Saturday and Sunday. 6BC has kindly invited our unconference attendees to eat lunch or take a break from the unconference in their gorgeous garden (please stay on the paths when in the garden!) Tables for lunch will be reserved for our unconference from 1pm – 3pm Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting). Additionally, garden Board member and volunteer Janene Knox has kindly offered to give us a short walking tour of their garden on Saturday at 3pm. Meet at the entrance to the garden promptly at 3pm for the tour.
Offering: Raising Free People | A Live Session A brief, live version of a 9-week workshop. We are challenging the things we held in our minds as true, getting to know the world through our own lenses, and seeing how we were participating in the oppression of our own people through our parenting, caregiving, and overall relationships with children. Raising Free People workshop is the space for us to apply what we’re learning* into the way we raise and relate to children. And into the way we support children in owning themselves. Key Question: How do I want to feel in my relationships with children, and what am I doing to stay aligned with my desired feeling?
They believe that children should have meaningful experiences with the world outside the classroom. Students at B.A.A. are given the time to play outdoors, and the space and resources they need to sustain their curiosity, and become inspired, independent learners.
In her community, she serves as president of the Hall Education Fund, Inc., a non-profit that gives scholarships for New Brunswick residents to pursue further education; and as vice president of New Brunswick Sister Cities, Inc. She has served as a trustee of the Friends of the Modern School for many years and is currently the president of the organization.
Offering: (co-offering with Jon Scott) Modern School Collection Presentation, A discussion of the rise and fall of the Stelton Modern School and Ferrer Colony at the special collections archive at Rutgers University, including the educational methods used in the school, the diverse makeup of the community and some examples from the collection. Although the Modern School closed in 1953, its legacy continues today. The collection was established and developed from 1994, when I became the curator.
Offering: Unschooling: Understanding the past, living the present, looking towards the future, To truly understand the unschooling movement – one must understand it’s past. The first part of this talk will focus on the entire history of the unschooling movement, including exploration of Rousseau, Neill, Illich, and Holt’s work. I will then discuss the evolution of homseschooling into different forms or philosophies, including the realm of unschooling.
The basic definition and core philosophy of unschooling will be then be overviewed, including demographics of the movement, why families choose unschooling, and how unschoolers learn without the subject based limitations of formal schooling/a set curriculum. The focus will be on unschooling as completely self directed and intrinsically motivated learning.
Then, the question “what happens when unschoolers grow up?” will be answered. Research focused on unschooled adults’ feelings about their unschooling experience will be reviewed. Then, outcomes regarding higher education, careers, financial independence, and future plans will be summarized.
Finally, the future of unschooling will be discussed. As the unschooling movement has grown over the past two decades, different branches of unschooling have evolved. Worldschooling, freeschooling, hackschooling and unschooling cooperatives will be introduced.
Will unschooling one day serve as a model for more traditional schools in the future? Will we see a push for more intrinsically motivated, self directed learning as part of a push for school reform? Will the more exploratory elements of an unschooling environment make it’s way into the public realm? The future of this movement will be thoroughly explored.
The session will end with an in depth Q and A session.
The archive contains many kinds of objects that are created as part of social movements by the participants themselves: posters, flyers, publications, photographs, books, T-shirts and buttons, moving images, audio recordings, and other materials. Their programming uses this cultural ephemera to animate histories of people mobilizing for social transformation. Use of their collection is considered to be a way of preserving and honoring histories and material culture that is often marginalized in mainstream institutions.
Offering: Online Events Tools: What’s There, What’s Missing, What Do You Need?, Whether you’re organizing a protest on your street, or coordinating hundreds of house parties across the country, you’ve likely used software on the web as part of the process. There are dozens of options available, from Facebook to custom-built software, each with pros and cons. We’ll quickly go over what some of the options are, then discuss what’s been useful and what’s been frustrating about events tools in our organizing experience.
Offering: Stellarvisions: Imagining Futures & Self-Directed Activist Theater, The aim of this facilitation method that Jackie will share is to work with Young People and their undervalued brilliance – and use Theatre metaphorically to critically assess the fragile state of the human world by imagining alternate futures. It correlates strongly to the philosophy of Augusto Boal’s book and practice ‘Theatre of the Oppressed.’ The facilitation also seeks to honor the history of self-directed learning and of the innate play-based learning of our furthest back recorded ancestors based in our most natural instinct to learn. Stellarvisions favors the process of its implementation rather than the outcomes. In bringing this into the classroom or into formal workshops with young people -it is intended that the throughlines are: art and a creative spirit, unlearning reality and learning expansive speculation, performance and physical freedom to express and philosophy.
Offering: (co-offering with Fernanda Perrone) The Effect of a Modern School Education on My Life, my life as a child in the Ferrer Modern School of Stelton from 1934 to 1946 (age two to fourteen) was the most important period of my life. Being allowed to learn by myself, or with others, caused me to be an independent thinker throughout of my career in science. I did not do things that most other scientists do. Not following the crowd, so to speak, was rooted in my life at the Modern School and probably not by my nature. I will review some of these differences from the normal way of thinking in my talk. I credit Alexis and Elizabeth Ferm and my parents for leading me into a life of free thought and action.
Between 1910 and 1960 more than twenty Modern Schools were established in different parts of the country where children might study in an atmosphere of freedom and self-reliance, in contrast to the formality and discipline of the conventional classroom. Their founders, moreover, were anarchists who sought to abolish all forms of authority, political and economic as well as educational, and to usher in a new society based on the voluntary cooperation of free individuals.
Offering: Strewing – confronting your fears, Transitioning toward and/or through Self-Directed Education or Unschooling offers amazing benefits but can also bring levels of unsureness. Through overt and covert moments, challenges, fears, and doubt have the capacity to give you pause and at times come full stop. Through “strewing” (scattering objects that spark interest and curiosity), participants will connect in real-time with all the feels and utilize what’s speaking to them in the moment to define our time together. Through exercises involving movement, writing prompts and open discussion, participants will begin unpacking those feelings, its impact as well as tools that center respectful parenting when connecting with your young people, yourself, and beyond. This workshop is suitable for parents in all stages of SDE or Unschooling seeking deeper awareness when supporting themselves and their young people through this journey.
Offering: K-pop & Me This is a workshop is about my frustrations with regard to the flippant use of Black American culture in media (specifically K-Pop), all while black people themselves are routinely disrespected and disregarded. We will cover appropriation vs. appreciation from a very self-assured standpoint, meaning very little handholding/coddling, but plenty of space for honest discussion.
Dr. Raul Olmo Fregoso Bailon, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He is also the International Advisory Committee UNESCO Chair in Democracy, Global Citizenship & Transformative Education (DCMET).
Offering: Zapatista Education-Epistemology, The Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, or EZLN) was founded on January 1, 1994 in the state of Chiapas in Mexico. It is considered one of the most influential revolutionary groups in modern history. This workshop will look at the Zapatista’s education in their own community-controlled schools that focus on hands-on learning, social justice, and autonomy.
Mel studied the intersections of SDE, poetry, and the history of American education NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. They live in Brooklyn, New York.
Offering: Tarot Card Readings Mel is offering free tarot card readings and will talk to participants about how tarot can be used as a tool for healing.
Offering: Revolutionary Abolitionist Education, RAM believes in respecting all learners, and uses an approach to education that is both inclusive and participatory. We actively seek learning materials from a wide variety of authors, filmmakers and other sources; and we spread information through a plethora of mediums (readings, discussion, film screenings, etc.). Our commitments to abolition, anti-capitalism, and anti-oppression inform our approach at all stages. We reject the false hierarchies that persist in traditional education models, in which information is exchanged in one direction and a single, predetermined method is expected to benefit learners of varying interests and abilities. Finally, we believe that all of life is a learning process; therefore, learning should not merely be scheduled at specific times or take place at specific locations, but should be incorporated into the way we relate to one another as humans on a daily basis. The ultimate goal of any educational program should be to revolutionize all of society.
Offering: Introduction to Theatre of the Oppressed, Play essential games from the arsenal of Theatre of the Oppressed and participate in a forum theatre demonstration. Connect the tool of Theatre of the Oppressed to human rights and oppression as it affects your community through dialogue and brainstorming.
Offering: How To Start A Tuition-Free ALC/SDE Cooperative Unbusiness, This talk is for individuals who’ve thought about starting a SDE learning community in support of their child(ren) but aren’t interested in the hassles or risks of starting a business. It’s also for people who want to create a program that is accessible to young people and families no matter their socio-economic status.
My soul is in writing and music with storytelling through all mediums at the core, though I see myself developing skills in many fields throughout my life in the pursuit of self expression.
My Instagram: @taratheavatar
Offering: Open Discussion – Self directed education as a place to work out the kinks, a test drive, for a contemporary progressive’s utopia, Many self directed learning environments have the unique ability to allow participants true free speech, and free actions (within reason). When/can this yield to people taking advantage of freedom, or seeking out rule free environments throughout life to do things that would otherwise be unacceptable or unusually offensive? How do we prevent the self directed learning model from becoming a breeding ground for extreme beliefs that couldn’t be entertained elsewhere? How do we deal with racist/sexist/homophobic behavior without setting unfair or oppressive rules?
How do we keep people from being in a prejudiced ideological “bubble” of their own creation without militantly forcing them into exposure opportunities? How do facilitators highly committed to being lenient come to the realization that they need to exercise authority and it is no longer a young person’s responsibility to fend for themselves? Is it forcing an agenda on a group to set rules that align with what is problematic to the world outside of the group, so as to not lose connection to what the greater society sees as unacceptable?
I see this as an examination of sorts, to find solutions to potential problems with the self directed model and to make peace with the concept of rules, and rethink their function outside of institutions designed to make them inherently oppressive. This may also function as an examination of group dynamics in general.
Tatiana Smith is a single, Black homeschooling mom of 1, living in Jersey City. She has homeschooled her daughter since Kindergarten. Tatiana ran her own Northern New Jersey co-op, PLAY Jersey City in 2015 and helped found Amber Colibri Center in Montclair. She is a strong supporter of homeschooling/unschooling/worldschooling and seeks to help other people of color navigate the best learning environment for their families.
Offering: Single, Black and Homeshooling With so much discussion about the intricacies of unschooling and homeschooling, there is not as much discussion around developing, maintaining and supporting alternative modes of education for single parents. This is especially true for people of color who must not only navigate their way out of the public school system, but must figure out unique solutions for money, childcare, court systems and overall sanity. This talk will discuss some of these pain points and identify ways of thriving as a single parent home educator.
However, interested participants can still make offerings on the day of the unconference. If you have questions, please contact us.
Abby graduated from New York University’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study in 2013 after focusing her coursework around education and sociology. She facilitated at ALC-NYC for three years before becoming a director, and she looks forward to finding ways to provide more young people access to education focused on their empowerment and holistic growth.
He previously founded the Teddy McArdle Free School, a democratic free school in New Jersey, and more recently co-founded play:groundNYC, a junkyard playground for children on Governors Island in New York City.