Learning to trust

Here's information about Unschoolers Unlimited. We are an informal network of people who are learning to trust our own and our children’s ability to choose the best ways to learn and grow.

Ned and I are parents of a 36 year old son. When Cassidy was a baby, we were inspired by John Holt, who said “Children do not need to be made to learn, or shown how. They want to and they know how.” We decided that Cassidy would determine what, when, where, how much and with whom he would learn. We never used school books or taught lessons. We answered his questions when he asked and helped him gain access to the real world when he wanted it. We called it unschooling.

When we went to homeschool support group meetings, the conversation was usually “How do I get my kids to do math, what curriculum do I choose, etc.” When we said we don’t “teach” our son, there might be one or two other parents who said “We don’t either, but we thought we were the only ones.” So we started a support group.

We hold family gatherings -- usually on the third Saturday of every other month. We come together to play and socialize, to support and encourage each other, to share ideas and information, and to reassure ourselves that we are not alone in believing that children and adults can be responsible for our own learning. We publish an occasional newsletter and a mailing list.

Our son celebrated his graduation (Magna Cum Laude!) in 2002 from Hunter College in New York City. After college he moved to Brooklyn and got into bicycle riding. He rode across the country to Seattle where he worked in bike shops and met the love of his life. Lucky for me, he persuaded Kim to come back to Brooklyn.

In 2009 he opened Bespoke Bicycles in Brooklyn NY.
Now he and Kim and their beautiful twins live in Philadelphia. Cassidy is managing Mainline Cycles

Ned died peacefully at home in July 2009 after a long illness.
I continue to do this group because I love talking to people about homeschooling and enjoy holding their hands as they make the leap into self directed learning.

Please call or write if you have questions. I look forward to hearing from you and meeting you.


Luz Shosie
Guilford, CT

Would you like to receive our contact list and occasional newsletter? Send an email to nedvare@ntplx.net
There is no charge. We welcome contributions of any kind.


Our mailing list is circulated only to other families on the list.
Do you wish to be on a published/circulated list?
Or do you prefer that we NOT publish your name?

CHILDREN’S NAMES AND BIRTH DATES (if you want them published)

What are your interests, concerns, or questions about unschooling?
mail to:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Update August, 2015

Unschoolers Unlimited Update 
August, 2015

Dear friends,

Our next Unschoolers Unlimited family gathering will be on Saturday, September 19, 2015 at our home in Guilford CT.  Usually we gather on the third Saturday of every other month.

Come any time between 1 and 5 pm. Bring a snack or drink to share, if you like. Anyone who is interested in unschooling is welcome to join us for socialization, conversation, play, questions and answers, good food, encouragement. Please email or call me 203-458-7402 if you plan to come.


from CT Homeschool Network   http://www.cthomeschoolnetwork.org

CHN is co-sponsoring this year's conference at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, CT
Saturday, October 10th 1 - 5PM.

CT Homeschool Network  •  P.O. Box 115  •  Goshen, CT 06756

I will be leading a workshop/conversation about unschooling in the afternoon.
Hope to see you there -- I'm always inspired to hang out with homeschoolers of all varieties. Let me know if you would like me to come to your gathering to lead a discussion.


“These are not the government’s children. They are our children.” 
Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson, Executive Director of NHELD, LLC, speaking at a press conference with a coalition of 12 parental rights groups in CT.

Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson, Executive Director of National Home Education Legal Defense, a national organization open to all who wish to join, that seeks to protect and defend the rights of families who wish to educate in freedom.   http://www.nheld.com/

Press conference with parental rights groups fighting the conclusions from the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission Report at the Legislative Office Building. February 25, 2015.  


"In a nutshell, people whose lives are hard, boring, painful, meaningless—people who suffer—tend to resent those who seem to suffer less than they do, and will make them suffer if they can. People who feel themselves in chains, with no hope of ever getting them off, want to put chains on everyone else." —John Holt, Teach Your Own


Hulbert Outdoor Center Homeschool Programs

Since 1990 Hulbert has been offering week long overnight experiences for 9-17 year old, homeschoolers. Our programs have touched the lives of over 3,000 homeschoolers, and counting. We offer three week long residential programs as well as two six day canoe expeditions each summer. Our Homeschool Camps offer participants a chance to come together for fun and adventure, learn, form lasting relationships, and build a true working community.  Whether it be performing at a talent show, picking up a new skill, finding the courage to speak up during a community meeting, or living in a community away from home, participants have the opportunity to; explore, learn about themselves, and take risks in an inclusive, supportive and caring atmosphere.

Our programs are an excellent choice if you are looking to excite, motivate, or focus your homeschoolers through a supportive learning experience with objectives such as:
Ø  To focus on working together as a community 
Ø  To develop strategies for handling social issues in our group including cliques and conflict resolution
Ø  To learn outdoor skills
Ø  To appreciate and recognize peer strengths that may not ordinarily present themselves
Ø  To explore the natural history of Vermont
Ø  To be their best selves

Homeschool Programs have become an important part of our annual calendar. We’re hopeful of building our network and would be interested in working with you in supporting each other’s goals and mission.  I’d love to schedule a time to chat with you by telephone and hopefully arrange a time where I can come and see your program and community in action. Thanks for all you do, I hope we get the opportunity to collaborate in the future.

In the Spirit of Community,

Brian Stoudnour   Homeschool Program Director     Hulbert Outdoor Center

Phone: 802-333-3405      Fax: 802-333-3404      Email: brian_stoudnour@alohafoundation.org


I believe that we learn best when we, not others, are deciding what we are going to try to learn, and when, and how, and for what reasons or purposes; when we, not others, are in the end choosing the people, materials, and experiences from which and with which we will be learning; when we, not others, are judging how easily or quickly or well we are learning, and when we have learned enough; and above all when we feel the wholeness and opennesss of the world around us, and our own freedom and power and competence in it. What then can we do about it? How can we create or help create these conditions for learning?
John Holt   What Do I Do Monday?


Coyote Village for Homeschoolers

Embark on an adventure of learning into the forest and heart.  Coyote Village is a wilderness-based mentoring program that helps raise healthy and connected children in a community setting.  Students learn ancient wilderness survival skills, awareness, and naturalist skills while developing character and exploring their unique gifts.

Past students have build and slept in survival shelters, made fire by rubbing sticks together, tracked coyotes, made stone tools and so many more fun projects.  Over the course of our program, students develop qualities such as leadership, team building, emotional intelligence, resilience, confidence, expression, service, integrity and other foundational aspects of good character.  Join our village and step into wild adventures in nature.

Two Coyotes offers after school, weekend, homeschool and older teen programs. To learn more about the full menu of spring programs


The Icarus Deception

Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun; he ignored the warning and plunged to his doom. The lesson: Play it safe. Listen to the experts. It was the perfect propaganda for the industrial economy. What boss wouldn’t want employees to believe that obedience and conformity are the keys to success?
But we tend to forget that Icarus was also warned not to fly too low, because seawater would ruin the lift in his wings. Flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.
The safety zone has moved. Conformity no longer leads to comfort. But the good news is that creativity is scarce and more valuable than ever. So is choosing to do something unpredictable and brave: Make art. Being an artist isn’t a genetic disposition or a specific talent. It’s an attitude we can all adopt. It’s a hunger to seize new ground, make connections, and work without a map. If you do those things you’re an artist, no matter what it says on your business card.
Seth Godin   The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? 

Listen to a conversation with Seth

On Being is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast, a Webby Award-winning website and online exploration, a publisher and public event convener. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors. We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact.


from Pat Farenga
John Taylor Gatto Back in Business

John Taylor Gatto's website is revised and open for business again. For those unfamiliar with Gatto's work, the site is well worth a visit, particularly if you want to know not just what's wrong with schools but what you can do about it now. Gatto is an award-winning New York City public school teacher who gave up trying to fix the schools from within the system and who has been calling upon children, adults, and teachers to do something different for with education. He and I became friends in 1991 when he openly embraced homeschooling as a path forward for education in his public comments and writing (republished in his excellent book Dumbing Us Down), making him a rarity among public school educators and a beacon of hope for families seeking alternatives to schools that aren't working for them.

Despite his stroke, John continues to read, write, and think about education topics. However, John needs a lot of care and help to function well and donations to his health fund are always welcome.


“Old at heart” — doesn’t it have a beautiful ring? Wouldn’t you like to be loved by people  whose hearts have practiced loving for a long time?
Susan Moon  This Is Getting Old

Thanks for reading, writing, visiting, calling, growing, learning. Keep going. Keep going.


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