The Homeschool + Conference 2014

Steve Hargadon and I have completed our second free, online homeschooling conference. This year we called the conference "Homeschool +" to encourage a wider group of people to join us and support learning outside of conventional schooling.

The complete set of 32 recordings can be seen and heard for free on the Homeschool + Conference site. Speakers at this year's conference include longtime unschoolers, alternative educators, and authors such as Leslie Barson (UK), Blake Boles, Monica Cochran, Ken Danford, Oliver DeMille, Matt Hern (BC), Jamie McMillin, Jerry Mintz, Scott Nine, and Ocean Robbins; scholarly researchers Gina Reilly and Carlo Ricci; and several presentations about Maker Education and digital learning.

I offer my keynote and three other presentations that I think you will enjoy on this page; I hope they will lead you to listen to the others on Homeschool +.

Why We Need Alternatives to School, presented by Patrick Farenga.

Compulsory school continues to expand in our lives, capturing children at ever-younger years and not releasing them until they are adults, filling families with schedules, anxieties, and issues that often place the needs of the school over any individual's need.

Digital Tools for Learners with Agency, presented by Amos Blanton.

Scratch, Constructionism, and the Maker Movement Constructionism is a theory of learning that suggests that people learn by doing or creating things they care about. This is the philosophy that guides the work of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab, and the creation of tools like Scratch ( - a free programming language and online learning community with over 3,000,000 members.

An Introduction to Self-Directed Learning, presented by Luba Vangelova

Self-directed learning—education driven by what the student wants to learn—is a concept that has been gaining favor. It is being practiced, in different forms and to different degrees, in a wide range of settings, including: select classrooms in conventional schools; independent school-within-a-school programs; homes; community learning hubs; homeschool resource centers; and various types of ""alternative"" schools.

Maker Education: An Idea Whose Time Has Come, presented by Jackie Gerstein.

This session provides a short overview of Maker Education through addressing the following: Maker Education as connected to MAKE, DIY, STEM, STEAM; The Mindset of an Educator as a Maker Educator; From Puppets to Robots: An Maker Education Example Curriculum; Characteristics: Maker Education as an Inclusive, Engaging, Self-Differentiating Instructional Strategy