Homeschool & Unschool Events
A list of unique and unusual homeschooling and unschooling conferences, book fairs, classes, field trips, summer camps and other fun stuff. Most are in Colorado, some are not, but they’re worth a road trip!
Ahem. Somebody needs to get their collective ducks in a row and coordinate an inclusive Colorado homeschooling/unschooling conference! No one’s attempted one [that I know of] since I coordinated the Homeschooling for Everyone Conferences in 1998 and 2000. Best selling authors David and Micki Colfax, and Mary Griffith were keynote speakers; Cafi Cohen held workshops on how to homeschool a teen and Peggy Webb with West River Academy offered several sessions to answer those millions of unschooling questions you/your hubby/your parents have. Kids were welcome and had lots of space to play and run. People from all over the country drove thousands of miles to attend. Musicians sang, strummed and strolled around the grounds. Lunch was eaten sprawled picnic-style on the grass, or sitting in chairs in the cafeteria. All religious beliefs — and secular ones — were respected and welcomed and nobody clashed. We even had an Unschoolers’ Gathering afterwards at a local park. We had a ball.
Yeah … I know what you’re thinking. “But I couldn’t, I don’t know how, I don’t have the time!” Yes you can. I did. I was unschooling my kids, running my own business, working PT on top of that, and doing all the usual cooking-cleaning-shopping of momhood. We were also buying a house. But I waded in anyway. I researched for months, asked every homeschool and unschool conference coordinator under the sun for advice. I taught myself how to sponsor and coordinate a conference, the kind of conference *I’d* always wanted. Not the usual Generic buy-buy-buy-curricula and microscopes and lesson planners and rulers and science kits until you break the bank shindigs. Ugh. It was a spectacular success, with the highest number of attendees at a first-time conference ever. People still talk about Homeschooling for Everyone. If you’re thinking, “Nah, I’ll wait till someone else does it”, think about this: No one’s done an inclusive Colorado conference in 18 years. Other states do them. But we no one in Colorado has the time or energy. Sigh. Please consider taking this on. For your kids. For yourself. If you decide to try (and are serious) and need a kickstart, ideas or advice … I’m right here.
Homeschooling for Excellence
by David and Micki Colfax
Using a combination of traditional homeschooling and unschooling, the Colfax’s are probably the most famous homeschooling family ever. Homeschooling for Excellence is their saga of how they home educated their four kids by having them help clear land, construct a water retrieval system, and build a homestead in the California wilderness in between doing worksheets and traditional textbook material. Three of the kids made worldwide headlines when they were accepted into Harvard University.
Here’s what the Colfax ‘kids’ are doing today.
HTML 101 for Kids: Basics of Web Programming
Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) FREE DAYS Calendar
What our budget likes most — FREE days! — at The Denver Zoo, The Museum of Art, The Molly Brown House, Four Mile Historic Park, The Museum of Nature and Science, The Museum of Outdoor Art, Hudson Gardens, The Children’s Museum, The Boulder History Museum, The Aurora History Museum and more.
UnCollege Gap Year
Not sure if you want to go to college? Unsure what to do after college? Here’s a nine-month gap year for students 18-23 who typically want one of these three things:
1) to explore and focus their interests before committing to a four-year program
2) to get unstuck before starting – or restarting – college
3) who are entrepreneurial, self-motivated, and impatient to begin their career
Your gap year will encompass international service learning, skill building workshops in San Francisco, and an internship anywhere in the world.
Colorado Springs Youth Sports
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Soccer, Tackle Football, T-Ball, Baseball, Softball, Judo, Boxing, Golf and a variety of Sport Camps. Registration takes place one to two months in advance.
Colorado, Nationwide, The Entire World
Offering life-changing trips, retreats, and virtual workshops for unschoolers, homeschoolers, and other self-directed learners ages 14-19. Seriously cool!
The Simply Living Semester
Learn to cook, can, grow your own food, dance, hike, bike, along with survival, electrical and plumbing skills, and how to use tools to build real world necessities. Anything is possible and no two days are the same. Sponsored by The High Desert Center (a dad named Dev) who lives with his family, totally off the grid. The Center also has several Gap Year adventures in the works: Watershed Semester, The Writing Retreat, The Expeditionary Semester. I can’t do any of this justice here. So Go! — explore!
Pikes Peak Library District Homeschool Hub
PPLD has great doings all year ’round for homeschoolers in COS and across the state; A Homeschool Resource Fair, Homeschool Curriculum Give & Take, Homeschool Game Day, Science Labs, Coding Labs, LEGO Labs. The list goes on and on.
Wild + Free Family Camp
Buena Vista, Colorado
Three days of rope courses, zip lines, various sports, hiking, pony rides for the whole family!
Not Back To School Camp
Oregon and Vermont
The internationally famous summer camp for teenaged unschoolers from all over the world. NBTSC was created in 1996 by Grace Llewellyn, a former school teacher. Grace is best known as the author of the classics The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life And Education (highly recommended if you have a teen, pre-teen or just want to understand how unschooling works) and Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don’t Go to School Tell Their Own Stories.
Free To Be Unschooling Conference
“A celebration of living and learning outside the box. We believe that one of our most important jobs as parents is to act as our children’s partners and facilitators . . . to walk beside them as they navigate the world, living and learning with passion and joy, according to their own personal path in life. This conference aims to help us support each other in doing just that. Come play with us in the Valley of the Sun!”
AERO Conference 2017
Long Island, New York
The Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) was founded in 1989 by Jerry Mintz. AERO’s goal is to advance student-driven, learner-centered approached to education. Their annual conference is really astounding in its depth and range of renowned speakers, topics and workshops. Well worth the trip, but if you can’t make it, AERO also has a newsletter, delivered right to your inbox.
by Diane Flynn Keith. For trips around town and those longer “Are we THERE yet?” journeys. Unplug from digital entertainment mind-fudge! Instead, engage with your kids and play Eighteen-Wheeler Chemistry, Drive-By History, Rock ‘n’ Roll Multiplication Tables or Rest Stop Olympics! The activities are fun, funny and far more educationally productive then staring at a computer/TV/cell screen. Remember, interaction with other people teaches socialization skills.
Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance: High School Edition
Did you know 50% of all high school students are financially illiterate? I suspect a good portion of us adults are too. Here’s a great chance to learn Math and budgeting together.
• Provides students with a full .5 elective credit
• Students work at their own pace
• 24/7 course access and complete visibility to student progress
• Upon completion of the course, a transcript will be sent home
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Want to try flying a supersonic plane? A spaceship? How about a car? Jump in one of their simulators and give it a go! Wings also has classes, exhibits and hands-on tours of a huge range of aircraft from yesteryear to tomorrow’s cutting edge technology. If you can’t make it right now, they do have a fascinating VideoBlog to watch at home.
CU Wizards Program
FREE monthly interactive shows that entertain and inform children about the wonders of science. They occur once a month, on Saturday mornings, from September-June and are geared toward grades 5-9, but siblings, Mom, Dad, Grandma and Uncle Pete are welcome to attend.
Constitutional Champions Camp
Colorado Springs, Colorado
A day camp for children grades 2-6. This camp encompassed heritage-based education, with special focus on the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and America’s founders.
National Spanish Spelling Bee.
New Mexico, Texas, various locales
If you only speak Spanish, or want to test the Spanish you’re learning, this is the ultimate challenge!
Denver Writes: Where Kids and Community Come Together To Write
Does your child love to write? Would they love to spend a summer with other kids who also love to write? They don’t have to be good at writing, they certainly don’t have to get good grades in writing, but they do have to LIKE TO WRITE. (Penmanship and handwriting don’t matter.)
Free Minds, Free People Conference
Twin Cities, Minnesota
A national conference that brings together teachers, young people, researchers, parents and community-based activists/educators from across the country to build a movement to develop and promote education as a tool for liberation. The conference location changes every year.
Adventures in Homeschooling Conference
San Francisco, California
July 27-30, 2017
Have an event you think I should list? Contact Cindy!