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:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Update February, 2016

Dear friends,

Our next Unschoolers Unlimited family gathering will be on Saturday, May 28, 2016 in Guilford CT.  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.


Education is often considered to be the foundation of a well rounded and productive society, but this belief usually stems from an underlying assumption: that those coming out of the education system will keep the cogs of society turning in order to maintain profit margins of large companies in a system that requires constant growth. Instead of encouraging creative and out-of-the-box-thinking people, today’s education paradigm tends to promote more submissive, obedient, and trained graduates, thereby ensuring that the current system is always maintained.
Joe Martino


from  schulfrei-community
Dear Luz,
I think I never shared with you how important the encounter with your son Cassidy was when he visited us in Germany in 2002. He was my first contact with a "real" grown unschooler. I had read many books about unschooling and heard about people's experience online, but living in Germany where homeschooling is illegal even today, I had never met a person who had not been to school.
The address list in your newsletter and your Unschoolers Unlimited family gatherings, along with John Holt's Growing Without Schooling, have been an inspiration to me when I started thinking about how to improve networking amongst home educators in Germany. I have been collecting information about home education events on my website unschooling.de since 2004, and earlier this year, my son and I created the “schulfrei-community.” The new website has a home educators' map, a search function, a list of home ed events throughout Europe, a home ed forum, a chat function and a “treasure chest” with a press archive, book lists and research about home education. So far, we have 737 members living in over a dozen different countries. 
You'll find us at www.schulfrei-community.com.
Thanks again for being an inspiration to my family!
Best wishes from Germany,

Northeast Unschooling Conference     
Aug 18 - 21   Wakefield, MA           

Unschoolers have the time and space to discover their passions and adventures and work and play hard at them. 

Come to the Northeast Unschooling Conference, an annual gathering for unschooling families (and those interested in unschooling) to enjoy a community for learning and fun and to meet others for whom Life is a Joyful Adventure. 

Hear amazing speakers, experience great entertainment, and enjoy all the wonderful unschooling kids, teens, and adults.

 Registration is open now! 
Join our Facebook group to stay up-to-date.


from Connecticut Homeschool Network Facebook page:

Live Birds of Prey Presentation by A Place Called Hope
Sunday, March 20th  12 - 1pm
location: The Portuguese Club, 110 Rubber Avenue, Naugatuck, CT
to Benefit Raccoon Crossing, a 501C3 non profit organization specializing in the care of CT's injured and orphaned juvenile Raccoon population.  This Rehabilitation effort is not funded by the State or the Government and is run entirely by dedicated volunteers.  

The out of pocket expense to keep Raccoon babies fed, housed, de-wormed and vaccinated prior to release is $200 per charge and this Center caters to 60 - 80 cases per year.  

Your help is needed!!  Any donation will go directly to this mission.  

Since Raccoon babies are orphaned regularly due to mis-informed humans, it is our responsibility to Educate and care for the ones who suffer  because of human  negligence and  often well intended interference.  

Please join us for this beneficial Fundraiser to help this cause.  There will be Door Prizes, Baked Goods, Silent Auction, Information Booths, a Magician, and a Live Birds of Prey Presentation from 12 - 1pm. 

Doors open from 11:30 - 4:00 pm.  There will be no cover charge, but price of admission is by Donation.  All money raised will benefit this Center and help to Preserve Wildlife for the Future.

For more information, please contact Laura at 203 725-4524



New England Science and Sailing 

We are incorporating feedback from the homeschool survey and we are excited to share these new designs with the homeschool community.

Also, NESS is open to designing classes for specific homeschool groups that meet one-time, weekly, monthly, or at other time intervals...either at NESS or another location. NESS offers homeschool programs for students between the ages of 3-18. *For students aged 11 & up*: please contact NESS directly and we will design a program specifically around your time availability and interests. *For students ages 16 & up*: internship opportunities are available.

Please let us know if you have any feedback or questions at 860-535-9362 or msmith@nessf.org .

We greatly appreciate any help with forwarding or posting our programs for your group or other groups and parents!
Mike Smith,  Program Director
NESS, New England Science and Sailing
70 & 72 Water Street; PO Box 733
Stonington, CT 06378   www.nessf.org


I know some girls who are really inspired by princesses. I'm not particularly inspired by the traditional examples of princesses, so was happy to find 
A Mighty Girl's  Ultimate Guide to the Independent Princess   http://www.amightygirl.com
These princesses are smart, daring, and aren't waiting around to be rescued - more than likely, they'll be doing the rescuing themselves!

Notice the running shoes. Sadie says princesses run fast.


 Erika Christakis, author of "The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups," and an early-childhood educator at the Yale Study -- Child Study Center

… one of the key messages that I would like to convey to parents today is that schooling and learning are two different things. And we've all been sort of hoodwinked in a way into this notion that learning happens in institutional environments.

… we kind of expect too much of kids in some ways, in terms of the rote learning. And really expect too little of them in terms of how smart and creative they are.

 … we sort of underestimate the kind of problem-solving abilities that young people of all ages have. And if we look at the research on how people learn, one of the most effective ways for children of all ages and young adults to learn is through dialogue with other people.

… it's really important when we get back to child development and how people learn, if we can loosen the reins a little bit in the classroom and allow people the space, the time, the opportunity to get to know each other, to learn from each other, to talk to each other, to listen ….

… one of the key things you can look at is are children talking to each other. Do they have long, uninterrupted stretches of play? Because the thing about play, it's very strongly linked to cognitive outcomes, to academic outcomes in the long term and in the short term. But it needs a play habitat that is really conducive to the kind of rich, experience-based, language-based outcomes that we're interested in.


from Unschooling CT Facebook page:

… The thought of you signing up, just because ‘it’s what you’re supposed to do,’ in the next few years to voluntarily pay tens of thousands of dollars to be expected to fit into a system where your education is within the confines of a classroom makes me cringe to my core. Where a piece of paper and a party at the end is supposed to make you feel like you have somehow arrived or are going somewhere ‘worthwhile.’ You are bigger than that. Please recognize that your opportunities to educate yourself richly are absolutely boundless.


Thanks for reading, writing, visiting, calling, learning, growing, being. I look forward to hearing from you.