Here are the people responsible for all the ideas, planning, and worrying that go along with staging an event like this. It's our hope that knowing something about each one of us will give you a better sense of what you can expect at this event.
Tanya Cunningham lives joyfully in Madison with husband Neil and their teenage son, who never attended school K-12, but is now working on a Bachelor's Degree in his pursuit of an airline pilot career. She became interested in personal freedom for all children after reading A.S. Neill’s Summerhill: a radical approach to childrearing at the age of 11. Her adventurous parents enrolled her in a parent cooperative “free school” in Madison in the 1970s, which was committed to unschooling principles, though the term was not in general use at the time. She is committed to the premise that all humans – children and adults alike – are natural learners, and believes that the hardest parts of living an unschooled life for most adults are to de-school themselves, and to keep out of the way of children’s learning in most cases. Personal motto: "Never, never, never give up: but quit easily."
Jen Lynch lives with her husband and daughter (born in 2000) in the heart of Madison. Together they run La Fortuna Pizza (http://lafortunapizza.com/) a mobile, wood-fired catering business focusing on local ingredients. Jen attended a justice-centered, urban Montessori school through age 12 and looks back on those years as the seeds to her ideas of learning today. The work of Louisa May Alcott (particularly Little Men) turned her onto the idea of unschooling and by combining ideas articulated by the Trascendentalists and the "in-the-trenches" work of parenting, their family has arrived at living a full, free life and loving and learning in every minute of it. Jen' particular interest lies in helping people of all ages to "take the leap" into a well-lived life. Often, a life well outside "the Box."
Alison McKee You can read Alison's bio here.
Jenina Mella is mother to Luke and wife to John. Luke, (15 years old) has never attended school. Jenina considers that she has been an autodidact all her life because of her essentially rebellious and independent nature. She credit’s her son’s appearance with allowing her to fully embrace an autodidactic lifestyle. She is committed the idea that learning is a natural consequence of living, and is a life-long activity for all human beings. Being an autodidact is not easy, but is very rewarding and joyful. Interspersed with her family’s many involvements, she finds time for many creative pursuits, including cooking, socializing, event planning, sewing, knitting, ironing, mosaic-making, and anything else that requires interesting tools and equipment. Her years as an unschooling parent have given her the broadest opportunity for self-learning and exploration of books and ideas. Her personal sacred texts are Dumbing us Down by John Taylor Gatto and School is Dead: Alternatives in Education by Everett Reimer. She is currently reading A Language Older than Words by Derek Jensen.
Becky Powers lives in Sauk City with her husband Eric and their three boys. This male-weighted household spends large amounts of time on fort building, Pokemon, reading, pets, and treasure scavenging. Since we last caught up with her, she and Eric have opened their own business, Powers Productions, and produce the annual Hybridfest Green Drive Expo at the Dane County Fair. They also turned 40, and entered the challenging, unpredictable world of parenting a teen. Becky’s other endeavors include knitting machines, felted clothes, dancing, cooking and bargain hunting. Finds inspiration in Michael Pollan, Wendall Berry, her kids, parents and grandparents.