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, October 10, 2015

Update November, 2015

Our next Unschoolers Unlimited family gathering will be on Saturday, January 16, 2016, 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.

I had a great tome at the CT Homeschoolers Network conference at the Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, CT   Saturday, October 10th. We had a lively conversation about unschooling with lots of questions and answers. There were parents who were curious about unschooling as well as those who have been practicing for some time and even a second generation unschooler who was unschooled herself and now has children.

Watch the CHN web site and facebook page for news about next year's conference and tons of essential information for anyone who in interested in all kinds of homeschooling. They have listings of support groups all over the state.

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


from CHN’s Facebook group:

FREEDOM LEARNERS - A Southern CT Homeschooling Co-op

An all-inclusive homeschooling co-op, where we are free to explore, develop friendships, An all-inclusive homeschooling co-op, where we are free to explore, develop friendships, create, learn, and express ourselves in a safe, nonjudgmental and respectful environment.

We meet 11am-3pm every Thrursday at Woodland Church @ 63 Ancient Hwy, Oxford, CT.

Classes include: Fishing, Photography, Holistic Music, Knitting/Crocheting, Lego and Board Game Freeplay, Art, Art Journaling, French, and room to grow.

Have you been looking for a support group? Check out CHN’s web site.  http://cthomeschoolnetwork.org/
Facebook and Yahoo Groups too. Or start your own.


New Pond Farm is  an environmental education center with a small working farm  in West Redding, CT. Our mission is to connect people with the land that enriches and sustains us all.
 We have a variety of habitats for our environmental programs including woodlands, wetlands, and pastures.
Our Native American programs are enhanced by an authentically-recreated encampment.
Our astronomy buildings are home to monthly astronomy programs as well as being the field station for Joel Barlow High School.
Our vegetable and herb gardens are featured in our programs.
Our farm programs take place in our barns, which house milking cows, sheep, chickens and roosters.
Our barn-like Learning Center with its classroom and spacious meeting areas has been the site of art shows, adult lectures, barn dances, and more.


I met and played with one of my heroes not long ago. He said his family “re-read, underlined, dog-eared" our book Smarting Us Up and has given away copies to friends. 


“Homeschooling is on the rise. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s recently released Digest of Education Statistics, between 2003 and 2012, the number of homeschooled children in the United States is estimated to have grown by nearly 62 percent. Moreover, despite stereotypes to the contrary, most homeschooling families are headed by well-educated parents earning middle-class incomes.


Homeschool Days at CT Experiential Learning Center in Branford.
Meets Mondays 9:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A variety of classes will be offered, including Science, Writers’ Workshop, Music, and more.
Cost – $ 440.00 for 8-week session, $ 495.00 for 9-week session 
This cost is based on $11.00/hour ($55.00/day)

The offerings per session will vary through the year to include Science, Music, Writing, Current Events, and Nonviolence Leadership.

To register and for more information, contact us at mandm@CTExperiential.org
or call 203-433-4658

A dynamic middle school program, CT Experiential Learning Center (CELC) of Branford provides small classes that combine exceptional academics with hands-on and real-world learning experiences to fit the academic, social, and emotional needs of the 5th – 8th grade student.


“Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child’s natural bent.” -Plato


from Ned’s blog: school-is-hell.blogspot.com/
Still getting hits!

Friday, May 9, 2008
Homeschool or Unschool?

My wife and I are advocates of homeschooling in all its forms, but for our son we chose Unschooling which might be described as letting the learner choose what, when, where and with whom he learns.

The big advantage our son had, thanks to UNschooling throughout his youth, was that he learned to be in charge of his learning, and really his life to a great degree. In contrast, kids who attend schools learn to wait for others to tell them what to do, what to think. After twelve years of that, they become completely dependent on others for direction. In our son's case, he learned to be in charge of his own life to the degree he was able.

In general, that does not prepare young people for college. Colleges prefer people who have initiative and can motivate themselves, who know what they want to learn, and most important, know how to find information when they need it, and are not afraid to make decisions for themselves. Those characteristics are the opposite of what public schools teach. The government schools have the goal of turning out a "workforce" of dependent predictable people. The government does not want people to be well educated -- just enough, but no more. The "economy" needs lots of sheep, not too many shepherds. Lots of spectators, not many players. Our son, and many homeschooled children we know, learned to be independent and creative thinkers, to do what was right for them, not necessarily for the "economy."

School does not prepare children for life. Each year of school merely prepares them for the next year of school. Our motto is, "Live with your children as though there were no such thing as school." Let your kids know that they are responsible for their lives and for their learning, no one else is.

Our son never did lessons, never looked at a school book. We did not teach him school stuff at home. He learned what he was interested in, which was almost everything. He scored incredibly high on the SATs and got into college easily on his own and breezed through happily graduating Magna Cum Laude. He was well prepared for college without doing any of the school stuff. He was prepared for life, not just college. He is grateful for his experience growing up and we are still his best friends. What more can we ask?


Did You Know Tennis Champions and Sisters Venus and Serena Williams Were Home-Schooled?

By Yolanda Spivey
Tennis champions and siblings Venus and Serena Williams are both products of homeschooling.  Their parents Richard Williams and Oracene Price home-schooled the young ladies during their elementary and junior high school years.  They wanted the girls to focus on their tennis training from a young age.


Dear Ned:
Remembering you and your every kindness to me and my family. When my son was thinking of opting into middles school, it was precious for us to have you to visit. It was so memorable. You connected deeply with him over conversation about tennis...about golf. You were so present and grounding. My husband still has your book, The Money Swing, by his bedside. :))) You have touched our lives tenderly and gave us the support that we needed to continue on a most fulfilling homeschool journey. I am forever grateful for the presence of you and Luz in our lives.


Wesleyan University’s College of the Environment has a resource web log of outdoor activities for children and families.
View on earthoutloud.blogs.wesleyan.edu | Preview by Yahoo |

  This is a good place to check out community events for nature lovers here in Connecticut, including a link for educators.


"I look for the good news because every thought we think changes our biochemistry. Your hormones are all affected by your thoughts. Pay attention to things that bring you joy."

- Dr. Christiane Northup


Dear Unschoolers Unlimited:
Thank you for the up and up info.  Your short e mail alone has helped calm down my nerves.  …  God speed.  Les

“But what is work and what is not work? Is it work to dig, to carpenter, to plant trees, to fell trees, to ride, to fish, to hunt, to feed chickens, to play the piano, to take photographs, to build a house, to cook, to sew, to trim hats, to mend motor bicycles? All of these things are work to somebody. There are in fact very few activities which cannot be classed either as work or play according as you choose to regard them.”

-George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier


“If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.”

- Charlie Parker


Thanks for reading, writing, calling, visiting, playing.


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