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Farenga Topics for Keynotes and Workshops

The Art of Letting Go and Allowing Learning to Flourish

We tend to teach the way we were taught and parent the way we were raised, which can make doing something different with our own children quite challenging. This presentation will help you think of ways to recognize and break out of your routines for teaching and learning in order to foster learning experiences that don’t follow conventional schooling’s scope and sequence. This talk will provide techniques and examples from my decades of work as a homeschooling writer, father, and publisher of Growing Without Schooling magazine.


This is a keynote presentation that involves audience participation.


Does Unschooling Really Work?

What is the educational basis for unschooling? What research supports letting children decide what, when, where, and from whom they should learn? How did unschooling come to be in the first place? What are the results of unschooling since John Holt coined the word in 1977?

This can be presented as either a keynote or workshop.


How to Work with a Child’s Strengths

A look at how and why children learn in a wide variety of ways and how homeschooling can be adapted to fit your children, instead of fitting your children to your homeschooling. Specific examples of how to identify and build on strengths, what to be careful of so strengths aren’t overplayed and hinder you, and recommendations for implementing and reporting strengths-based homeschooling to school officials.

This is presented as a workshop.


John Holt: A Life Worth Living.

A biographical presentation about Holt’s life, his 10 books, and how he went from school reformer to unschooler. This talk includes showing a 22-minute video documentary about John Holt with a question and answer period afterwards.

This can be presented as either a keynote or a workshop.


Learning Without a Curriculum

John Holt invented the word "unschooling" as a substitute for the word "homeschooling," since what Holt was describing didn't have to take place at home and didn't look like school. As a noted social critic and educator, Holt, based on his work of children, Holt concluded that children are born with a natural ability to learn that often gets crushed, even in the best private schools, during one's compulsory school years. This workshop examines unschooling as an educational practice rooted in history, and explores how it works for all types of families. Workshop attendees will examine their current and desired learning plans for their children and we will brainstorm to help participants find unique and often unconventional answers to their family’s learning issues. If your state requires you to report or evaluate learning without a curriculum we can explore “educationese” and see how it fits with your learning at home in order to speak in the same language school officials do.

This is presented as a workshop. 


Teach Your Own: An Unschooling Seminar

Each seminar can be tailored from 90-minutes to 3-hours in length, depending upon how much detail is requested for each topic.

1) Beginners Seminar: Explore John Holt’s ideas about unschooling and how they are used everyday by families. Using your questions and feedback, each seminar is uniquely tailored to the needs of the audience. Among the topics covered:

• How do I recognize the learning children do that doesn't look at all like school learning?

• What if my spouse doesn't support our homeschooling efforts?

• How can I work with different learning styles and multiple intelligences?

• How do I develop and write an individualized curriculum? Do I even have to?

• How can I describe unconventional learning to school officials and relatives?

• Can I use private schools, correspondence schools, public and private businesses, and Internet support for unschooling young children?


2) Teach Your Own: An Unschooling Seminar

High School/Teenage Years

Learn how you, and other adults, can mentor your child towards college or adult work without passage through conventional high school. Topics covered include:


• Can you really live and learn peaceably with teenage homeschoolers?

• What are Carnegie units and high school transcripts?  Can I use them to document my homeschooling experiences?

• How do homeschoolers gain college admissions?

• Can you find work worth doing without a college degree?

• How to document student learning and create a valid high school transcript.

• What are distance learning, correspondence, and Internet programs for teens?

• What's the proof that unschooling/homeschooling creates good citizens and college graduates who do as well as public school graduates?