More Kids’ Activites!

We are pleased to announce that 2 members of our Radiant Tribe have offered to share their expertise for some fun classes for the kids – or ANYONE interested in a workshop that’s a little more “active!”

Heidi Wunder and Nathaniel Holman are both grown Unschoolers who have much experience in the great outdoors.  Click here to read their full bios.


Slackline 101!
with Heidi

Slacklining is the act of balancing and walking on  a long piece of webbing that is suspended between two solid points. In our workshop, we will learn what a Slackline is, how to identify the different parts of the line, and technique for getting on the line, and technique for beginning to walk.  There will be three slacklines available to practice on!

HeidiWunderLeave No Trace Principles
with Heidi

This workshop will be centered around the seven Leave no trace (LNT) principles, and we will focus on how to utilize these principles for families. There will be a short presentation, discussion, then we will further our knowledge with several fun, hands on activities.  Workshop will take place in a Family campsite. Bring a seat!



Campfire Building and Safety
with Nathaniel

This was our most popular workshop last year!  Nathaniel will cover fire safety and first aid, different kinds of wood, ways to prepare the wood, good fire tenders, how to arrange the wood and several ways to start a fire when you don’t have matches.  Once you learn to build a fire, we will have a fire building competition!

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Curious about Self-Directed Learning? Sue Patterson can help!

Sue is a veteran Home Educator with 3 grown kids.  All of her children were Unschooled, and Sue is a wealth of information on many aspects of alternative education.

From transitioning away from the curriculum mindset and into a learning partnership with your kids, to Unschooling through the teen years and supporting young adults as they transition into college or work, Sue’s perspective is invaluable.

If you are struggling with an aspect of Home Eduction or Partnership Parenting, Sue’s wisdom and experience can help reassure and guide you through the moments of doubt.

If you are simply curious about what Unschooling family life is like, she can share a comprehensive look based on her own experience and what she’s learned from her extensive network of Home Ed families.

Here are some of the sessions Sue will be leading at the Retreat.  We will hit the ground running on Friday morning with workshop sessions and circle discussions, so getting there Thursday to set up your bunks, tents and campers will ensure you don’t miss any of the action!

Learning All the Time: Unschooling 101
Friday Morning (Oct. 24)

Life Learning, Whole Life Learning, Self-Directed Learning, Organic Learning, Natural Learning, Interest-Led Learning.  There are so many different names for this type of alternative education and almost as many definitions.

Come discover the core principles behind this method of education.
Gain clarity on what Unschooling IS and is NOT.
Is there a “right” or “wrong” way to Unschool?  Is it still Unschooling if we require a few math or phonics worksheets here and there?    What is “Strewing?”  What is “Deschooling?”  What is “Radical Unschooling?” What are the benefits and drawbacks to Unschooling?  How can we be sure our kids will turn out OK educationally and otherwise?  What if I give my children freedom and all they do is play video games all day?  What if my child HAS to or WANTS to return to school in the future?  How do I comply with Homeschooling laws as an Unschooler? Can I do it as a single parent, or when both parents must be earners?
We’ll tackle these questions and help newbies, spouses, grandparents and in-laws understand this complex and rich form of education and help you discover tools to move forward with Unschooling in confidence.
To read more from Sue on this topic click here.

When Your Unschooler Chooses School

After being radically unschooled her whole life, Sue’s youngest daughter decided she wanted to go to the local public high school. While Sue supported her daughter’s choice, they “did high school” on their own terms. After a year and half, Sue’s daughter had enough and returned to the freedom of unschooling.

We will explore the ways that Unschoolers use mainstream schools, alternative schools and “schooly” classes and lessons to achieve their goals.  Can this still be considered “Unschooling?”  How can we support our children when they choose methods of education and institutions that we as parents are ideologically opposed to – or just feel are not the best “place” for our kids?  How can we allow our children to be exposed to the negative aspects of school that we have tried to shield them from all their lives?  Can a school truly be a place of Unschooling freedom?

Unschooling Teens

Are you worried about unschooling your teen? Are you afraid that your choices may close doors instead of opening them? Sue’s three grown unschoolers took completely different paths through the teenage years. Come hear how they navigated these years and rest assured that it does NOT have to be as scary as society makes it sound! Sue also wrote a book, Homeschooled Teens that will be available in October. She interviewed 75 teens and young adults who homeschooled/unschooled as teenagers. She will share their responses to her questions about what life was like for them: finding friends, learning opportunities, hobbies, sports, work, travel, advantages they feel they have now, advice for worried parents, and more!!

Uncover your Highest Values and Life Purpose with Donna Vail

DonnaVailWelcome Donna Vail to our Radiant Tribe!

Donna is the mother of six and has been educating her children at home for almost 20 years.  She empowers families to find and follow their Life Purpose through her writing, speaking, workshops and private coaching.  Donna helps families who are moving from school to home education, as well as those who are moving from a school-at-home approach to one that is led by the Highest Values and Life Purpose of each family member.  Join Donna at the Radiant Living & Learning Retreat for her 2 part workshop:

Unveiling Life Purpose for You and Your Children

Unschooling is an experience to be shared as a family, but it can be greatly enhanced when parents have the vision to facilitate children to their individual greatness.  One of the most stressful areas in unschooling is the inability to understand how your child is communicating their life purpose so you can accurately provide for their needs and not distract them from their purposeful path.  Many parents struggle with knowing their own life purpose and how to manage it productively.  This can make it impossible to facilitate the life purposes of the rest of the family.

The key ingredient is knowing how to identify your highest values and priorities, and those of your children.  Once you know these highest values, you can begin applying them directly to your everyday life.  Raising your children, providing an inspiring learning environment, doing your own work to provide for the family and relate to others is enriched when you identify with your highest values. This process can make the difference between living a meaningful life or one of quiet desperation. Let’s face it, freedom is never free. It comes with great responsibility and if we’re not tuned in or we’re unsure, we become enslaved by our indecisiveness.

In this workshop Donna will take you through the process of determining your highest values, discovering the key to family dynamics and how your perceptions shape your life.  We will also learn how to determine your children’s highest values and how to customize their learning experience into every day purposeful living and learning.

You will walk away from this workshop not only listening better, but also going through the process to have a clearer breakdown of what’s most important in your and your children’s lives.

  • Discover why you do what you do
  • Let go of pushing
  • Hear what your children are really telling you

You will be empowered with new self-understanding and inspiration to love more, live more and learn more.

This workshop is designed for parents but Part One is also appropriate for teens that are interested in using Donna’s process to discover their Highest Values and Priorities.

Part One:
Values Determination Process for Parents and Teens,

Lunch Break

Part Two:
Values Determination Process for Children’s Values,
Family Dynamics and Customized Learning
(Pre-req: Must have attended Session One)

To learn more about Donna and her process visit

Connect with Donna at:

Links for
More info on the Radiant Living & Learning Retreat

Early Bird discounts are available through August 15.

Welcome Sue Patterson to our Radiant Tribe!

SuePattersonWe are very excited to announce that veteran Unschooler Sue Patterson will be sharing her experience and wisdom with us at the Radiant Living & Learning Retreat!

Sue has a knack for gently helping parents who are encountering bumps along the road to Unschooling.  Her years of experience along with her compassionate nature makes her a valuable mentor for those of us working toward more JOYFUL living and learning.

The working titles for her sessions are:

  • What is Unschooling?
  • Unschooling Teens
  • Curriculum as a Crutch
  • When Your Unschooler Chooses School
  • Balancing Parental Guidance and Child-Led Learning

She will also be a panel member in the Veteran Unschoolers Q&A session.

Sue began homeschooling her children in the mid-1990′s. It wasn’t long before they shed their schoolish ways and embraced the unschooling lifestyle. The Pattersons were a military family and unschooled in Alaska, California, and Texas. Her family dove into a variety of homeschooling communities along the way, working on conferences, creating support groups, participating in local activities. Each of her 3 unschooled “kids” are grown now, 20, 23 and 25, off pursuing their own adventures.

Sue blogs at Lifelong Learning ( and has a new website coming! Lifelong Learning also houses all of her unschooling articles in an area called Unschooling Mom2Mom.

She is currently the editor of The Homeschooler Magazine, available quarterly in hard copy (and pdf by mid-June!) The magazine encourages parents to focus on learning, helping us look deeper at rationales for our educational choices. While it’s not an unschooling magazine, many unschoolers are writing and sharing their insights in The Homeschooler.

Sue is finishing her book, Homeschooled Teens. She surveyed 75 teens and grown homeschoolers asking them questions about their lives as homeschooled teenagers.

She is also in training with Martha Beck’s life coach program. She hopes to combine her unschooling experience with the tools she’s learning through the program to help parents out of ruts, and into joyful happier lives. She specifically works with families who need one-on-one help with moving from the school system to homeschooling, from homeschooling to unschooling as well as families experiences difficulties navigating the teen years and women/mothers who are ready for a change!

Finding the Courage to Forge Your Own Path with Dr. Adrienne Carmack

Radiant Living & Learning is pleased to welcome Adrienne Carmack, MD as a workshop facilitator at the Retreat!

Mother of three unschooled children, Adrienne began her adulthood on a very traditional path to the American dream. Once she got there, she realized the inherent flaws of the dream and began to tune in to her own intuition. She became a mother, reworked her medical practice to create an entirely new practice model to fit her life, and has published a book blasting the medical profession for its absurdities:
Reclaiming My Birth Rights.
Read more at:


Join Adrienne for her session at the Retreat:
Finding the Courage to Forge Your Own Path
 where she will share how trusting her intuition has helped her move from Medical Doctor to Birthing Rights Advocate and what she envisions creating for her future.  Adrienne invites attendees to share how they have (or are hoping to) untangle themselves from society’s webs in order to live a life they love. “Let’s learn from each other as we all move closer towards that which feels true.  Let’s share what has worked or what is holding us back so we can visualize what’s possible together!”

Retreat Workshop: From Loss to Radiant Living

Discover how embracing the grieving process fully, and learning to love the emotions of loss and grief has taught one Mother how to love completely and unconditionally, and emerge to live authentically and radiantly.

From being shattered by love, and brave enough to revel in it, to finding courage enough to continue on, Leigh Anne DuChene will share how she re-built herself and became the person she had only dreamed of being; a stronger, wiser, more courageous, compassionate, loving, humble, and open person. There is a gentle and bitter sweet beauty, promise, and hope within the pain, grief and tears of loss.

Click here for the Speaker’s page to read Leigh Anne’s Bio.

Click here to see other Workshop Topics.

Click here to REGISTER for the Radiant Living & Learning Retreat
Hurry! Prices go up after Oct 15

Retreat Workshop: Peaceful Parenting from the Inside Out

Osunlade Photo crop

What is Peaceful Parenting?  How can I move from an Authoritarian parenting style to a more peaceful (and less stressful) way of living with my kids?

This will be a very experiential, hands on joy-shop lead by Daphne “Osunlade” Edwards-Emi using Byron Katie’s The Work ( to align with our inner peace – which is where all true peace resides.

We can ACT as peaceful parents, but that doesn’t make us truly peaceful. We can act non-controlling or non-authoritarian, but that doesn’t make these things so. These strategies/philosophies are a start, but what happens to the triggers that we are suppressing while “performing” as “good” parents? What happened to the stories, the trauma, and the deep seated emotions?

Come and find out how questioning our old beliefs and inquiring into our stressful thoughts can actually bring us true freedom. Come and see how this freedom gives us clarity. And then see how this clarity gives us the ability to act from a true place of peace. No philosophies necessary. See you there, my loves, with an open mind and heart!

Click here for the Speaker’s page to read Osunlade’s Bio.

Click here to see other Workshop Topics.

Click here to REGISTER for the Radiant Living & Learning Retreat.

Retreat Workshop: Starting Unschooling “Mid-Stream”

What are the unique challenges of switching to Unschooling when a child is older?  What can de-schooling look like and how long can it take for kids (and parents)?  How do making these changes in parenting and education affect the parent-child relationship when it happens “late?”
Su will share her experience and insights gained after taking her son out of school at age 13 and quickly moving from doing school-at-home to Unschooling.  She will answer your questions and facilitate discussion for others to share their experience and concerns about switching to Unschooling “mid-stream.”

Click here for the Speaker’s page to read Su’s Bio.

Click here to see other Workshop Topics.

Click here to REGISTER for the Radiant Living & Learning Retreat.

Retreat Workshop: Unschooling when your child chooses School?

Ami and Russell Campbell have always had their 3 children close.  As their babies grew they moved from Attachment Parenting to Unschooling and cherished the fact that home-education allowed them to spend so much time with their children.  The Campbell kids thrived as they were allowed to follow their interests, enjoy friends and other activities and play all day.  So Ami and Russell were a bit surprised when, at age 7, their daughter Aelish expressed a desire to go to school.  Despite their concerns, the Campbell’s supported their daughter’s choice and began the search for the right school.

After looking at the neighborhood public elementary school, Aelish instead chose a very small and homeschool feeling Montessori.  Her goals were to learn to read, to learn some math, to make new friends, and to see what all the fuss was about.  Her parents were pleasantly surprised with her enthusiasm, and with her quick progress from total non-reader, to reader, and at her quick grasp of the concepts in the classroom. Her teacher was unsure at first how to approach and teach this freethinking, unschooled kid, but she soon became a favorite of his, and he frequently spoke to the Campbells after school about her “surprising” progress.   By Spring, Aelish had learned what she set out to gain from school, and had also had enough of the school social scene and was ready to come back home.  Her parents were often amazed by her thoughtful insights about how the students were treated, how the students treated each other, and how her own mind was treated while in school.

Come hear Ami, Russell and Aelish share their experiences of giving school a try.  Aelish is THRILLED to share the insights she gained from her year in school and her return to home-education.

Click here for the Speaker’s page to read the Campbell’s Bio.

Click here to see other Workshop Topics planned.

Click here to REGISTER for the Radiant Living & Learning Retreat.

Retreat Workshop: When it comes to learning: Is “early” always better?

Donna&LuisWe are so pleased to announce that Donna and Luis Gonzalez will be leading several sessions at the retreat!  Donna and Luis have always Unschooled their three children, ages 21, 18 and 12.  They offer thoughtful and practical advice and insights regarding Unschooling, Attachment Parenting and Life in general.  I am lucky to call them my friends, and am so excited to share them with you!  Here’s just a sampling on what they will be presenting:

Is Early Always Better?
We live in a culture that thinks when it comes to children’s learning, “starting early is always better” whether the skills they are learning are academic, musical or physical (learning to walk, sports) etc.

Donna and Luis will share their experience Unschooling their kids who have been allowed to pursue their interests at their own speed.
Here’s one example from their family:
Donna and Luis are talented musicians, so originally their plan was for their children to start Suzuki at age 3.  When this resulted in tears, stomach aches and vomiting, they decided to listen to their kids desires and follow their leads.  Their oldest son, Bobby, eventually decided to take up violin at age 12.  Everyone said it was “too late.” They said, “successful violinists have to start around age 4.”  The Gonzalez’s decided to just go with Bobby’s interests and “trust” as best they could.  As an Unschooler he had time to practice 4-5 hours a day (without coercion).  He “caught up” to all the other kids who started so early and is now a junior in college majoring in music and has been hired as a full-time member for the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra!

Join the discussion exploring concepts like the value of practice (or not to practice), allowing kids to quit, parental panic attacks, admitting when Unschooling is “hard” and more.
Ask questions and hear how Donna and Luis have muddled their way through this Unschooling life through the good, the bad and the ugly.

Click Workshop Topics to see more descriptions of the various sessions we are planning for you at the Radiant Living & Learning Retreat!

If you haven’t registered – do it soon!  Discounts and available campsites won’t last forever!  Contact me if you have questions.

Heaps of Love,
ChristinaWester @