Our keynote speakers 2018 are truly magical this year! We feel very honored and blessed to be hosting Nick Hess, The Unschool Dad, and Teresa Graham Brett of Parenting for Social Change! Please join us in welcoming them and our many other wonderful discussion group hosts, breakout session hosts, and funshop hosts for an awe-inspiring 2018 family event!




Nick Hess,  a.k.a. on Facebook as The Unschool Dad,(Instagram @theunschooldad) lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Rosy and their 5 always unschooled children, ages 17, 14, 11, 9 and 6.
Self-directed learning seemed natural to Nick ever since he was a child himself, so when he and his wife learned about unschooling while considering education choices for their two eldest daughters when they were little, it seemed like the perfect fit for their children.  The Hess family has been on this wonderful journey ever since!
In addition to unschooling, Nick’s other passions are entrepreneurship, traveling, cooking.

Teresa Graham Brett shares her life with partner Rob and two young people, Martel and Greyson. She started ParentingforSocialChange.com as part of her own journey to unlearning the beliefs prevalent in our society that adults have the right to control and dominate children merely because of their status as children. Taking her social justice education work in Universities, she began to understand, write about, and develop programs that address how adult control and power over children and youth set the foundation for other forms of oppression to continue.
Teresa’s mission is to work with other parents and individuals to do inner work as a foundation for outer action that ultimately liberates individuals, groups and communities. She also works as Associate Dean of Students for Inclusion at the University of Arizona. Teresa writes for various publications and serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Families for Conscious Living. Along with Dieudonne Allo, she co-founded Alliance for Parenting Education in Africa and has developed curriculum and workshops for parenting circles (Iziko) in South Africa.  

Joe, Tara, Liam and Atticus Dutcher are thrilled to be returning for a third time to the Unschoolers Platform conference. At the 2017 conference, Tara and Joe presented a talk entitled Attunement; Unschooling and Autism which kicked off a wonderful discussion among community members about the unique joys and challenges of meeting every child’s individual interests and needs. 

At the 2018 conference, the Dutchers hope to facilitate a round table-style conversation that touches upon the physical, emotional and communication elements that emerge when families composed of individuals with a variety of different needs are invested in living in attunement with each other.

The Dutchers live in eastern Iowa where Tara works as a freelance musician (www.taramcgovern.com) and Joe works as a corporate trainer. 

Laura Lauzen-Collins lives in Bolingbrook Illinois with her husband and five children, aged 19, 14, 11, 9 and 6. When her first child was born during graduate school for psychology, she knew that she wanted him to learn in a self-directed manner but she was unaware of the unschooling movement at that time. As her son got older and Laura began teaching more developmentally-based psychology courses as well as delving more into educational theory, she had a growing belief that the traditional approach to education was not consistent with how she understood learning to occur and that it tended to squash natural curiosity and motivation. After a few years of struggling through the traditional school system with her son, she discovered the well-established unschooling movement.  This approach provided and continues to provide a solution for the problems that she saw as endemic to the more traditional approach to education and also provided a personal solution for her family.

Laura continues to teach psychology classes at Moraine Valley Community College and DePaul University while striving to provide support for her children’s natural sense of curiosity and wonder. She teaches classes on a wide variety of psychological topics with a focus on the brain and development.


In the last 10-20 years, we have learned an enormous amount about the way the brain develops in infancy, through childhood and into adulthood. The child’s brain is not just less mature than the adult’s brain. Instead the brain of a child is qualitatively different than that of an adult. And beyond the child’s brain, the teen’s brain brings a new set of profound changes. Understanding these differences can be a powerful tool that helps us to better understand how our children and teens experience the world.





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