"Albuquerque, Saskatoon, Cucamonga"

Sandra Dodd's Records of Speaking Engagements
1996 to 2017


New Mexico Family Educators' Workshop Fair, March 23, 1996, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Computers in Family Education (with Linda Witz)
Home=Education, April 27-28, 1996, Anaheim, California
East Mountain Unschoolers Club, Doc Long's in the Sandia Mountains, June 5, 1996
Keynote speech: Don't Be Afraid--Developing Confidence in Yourself
Home=Education, August 23-25, 1996, Sacramento, California
Words as Toys
"That's Not Educational!"
Unschooling with Abandon
" Sandra gave a talk in Sacramento at the HSC conference - maybe 13 or so years ago. She talked about being brave enough to think dangerous thoughts - how just thinking them wouldn't hurt, just because you dare to think them doesn't mean you have to act on them. She said maybe we could get someone to spot us, sit in a chair, maybe duct tape ourselves to the chair, and have at it - think all the dangerous thoughts we could come up with. I sat there, in the front row, and I got chills. For real. I don't know why this meant SO much to me, but that was a major turning point in my life. I felt my brain change. From that minute on, I became aware of the moments when I was not thinking - when I was resisting thinking about something, when I was not being open to even considering the possibility of something different.

—Pam Sorooshian, June 2009

Exploring the Middle Ages


New Mexico Family Educators' Celebration of Natural Learning, March 21 & 22, 1997, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Introduction to Unschooling
Sometimes less is more. Sorting out how people learn from the way most of us were taught in school is a worthy undertaking for new homeschoolers. Adults routinely learn things on their own at their own speed, and children can too, with help and encouragement.
What Teachers Know that You Don't Know
Homeschoolers sometimes express concern that "real teachers" (or former teachers) can homeschool better or more easily than "non-teachers" can. This workshop will encourage and reassure homeschoolers by demystifying the secret knowledge of teachers.

Mindfull's Rethinking Education, May 24-16, 1997, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

Thinking Hard Made Easy
The Importance of Play
Getting the Teacher out of the Homeschool
History Through Ballads and Songs
Third Annual Southern California Homeschool Conference, May 31, 1997 Riverside, California
"That's Not Educational!"
"Can all learning be fun? If a workshop is 'just fun' can you learn something? Sandra Dodd thinks so. If you can stump her with something you think has no educational value whatsoever, you'll get a prize. (An educational prize, of course.) Come and be inspired!"
Adventures in Homeschooling Conference, H.O.M.Educators, August 22-24, 1997, Columbus, Ohio
"That's Not Educational!"
The Secrets Teachers Know


Fourth Annual Southern California Homeschool Conference, April 4, 1998, Long Beach, California

Brave New Thoughts—Unschooling with Sandra Dodd
"This presentation will be a disturbing, humorous, uplifting, embarrassing, reassuring talk on how people think when they're not thinking about thinking, and how they COULD think if they thought about it. It will be about unschooling and thinking. About learning and life."


OHEN, Oregon Home Education Network, March 27, 1999, Portland, Oregon

Unschooling: What's That?
Conversations on Homeschooling (with Richard Prystowsky)
Fifth Annual Southern California Homeschool Conference, April 24, 1999, Long Beach, California
Permission to Think Without Permission


Enchanted Families Workshop Fair, March 25, 2000, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Unschooling: An Unconventional Adventure
Northern Nevada Home Schools Education Fair, July 2000, Reno, Nevada
What Teachers Know that You Don't Know
Beginning Unschooling
Advanced Unschooling


Seventh Annual Southern California Homeschool Conference, March 10, 2001, Long Beach, California

A Conversation with Sandra Dodd
Six ten-minute speeches each interrupted by a ringing timer, to make a point.
HSC's California Home=Education Conference, August 17-19, 2001, Sacramento, California
Unschooling Gloriously Introduced
To Question or Not To Question--That is the Question! (with Richard Prystowsky)
Seeing the Writing on the Wall, Even When the Writing Isn't There (with Richard Prystowsky)
Notes following this conference and the promised BOOK list.


Seventh Annual Southern California Homeschool Conference, April 6, 2002, sponsored by BayShore, Long Beach, California

A Conversation with Sandra Dodd
Ideas for checklists (which became an article) and how to deschool the parent for the good of the child.
Featured Speaker, HSC Home=Education Conference, August 16-18, 2002, Sacramento, California
Practicalities of Unschooling
Peaceful Parenting with Richard Prystowsky
The Many Benefits of Video Games with Dan Vilter and Kathy Ward
Unschooling Panel member

Rio Grande Homeschooling Network Conference, September 6-7, 2002, Albuquerque

FOLLOW-UP PAGE! Questions and Answers from this conference

Texas Family Learning Conference, October 4-5, 2002, Houston


"Knowledge Beyond Numbers—NO BOUNDARIES," SHBE (Saskatchewan Home Based Educators), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Feb 28 / March 1, 2003

Live & Learn Unschooling Conference
Columbia, South Carolina, August 22-24, 2003 Keynote Speaker

Hard Thinking Made Easy - Sandra Dodd
Sometimes people fear to think. Have you had many unauthorized thoughts? Would you like to have many more? Think where no thoughts have gone before.

Changing the World- Sandra Dodd
Now what? Look where you are and look what you're doing! Changing the world.

Eyewitness to Unschooling - Sandra Dodd and Pam Sorooshian
It can seem that your own family's unschooling might be a lucky fluke, until you see it working in another family. Pam and Sandra have known each other (and kids and husbands) since 1996. Each will tell tales of the other's kids at various stages and ages from five to eighteen years old, having seen them in many different places and situations over the years.
(Marty speaks a bit in there; he was 14.)


2nd Annual Nevada Homeschool Network Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada. June 18-19, 2004
With Holly Dodd. Our appearance there is sponsored by the Las Vegas Life Learners.

December 2004, Southern California

Thursday, December 2, Barnes and Noble Bookstore, Rancho Cucamonga
Saturday, December 4, Garden Grove Friends Church
Introduction to Unschooling (Pam Sorooshian)
Ideas, Knowing, Being, Learning (Sandra Dodd)
Monday, December 6, Bakersfield
August 27-29, 2004, Live & Learn New England Conference in Peabody, Massachusetts

September 11, 2004, Chicago Unschoolers Workshop (2nd annual), Portage Park Center for the Arts on Chicago's north west side. This day long event featured Sandra Dodd, Dorothy Werner, Alison McKee, and Jean Vondriska.


October 2005, Live and Learn Conference St. Louis, Missouri

Unforeseen Benefits of Unschooling
Mindful Parenting (with Ren Allen)


September 2006 Live and Learn Conference Albuquerquelocal details

Big Noisy Peace


HENA 2007 CONFERENCE: Home Education Network of Arizona, Tempe, February 24-25, 2007

wasn't exclusively an unschooling conference, but it did have Mary Griffith, Pam Sorooshian and Sandra Dodd as speakers!

HSC Home=Education Conference, Sacramento
August 16-19, 2007

Home School Association of California

FOLLOW-UP PAGE! Questions and Answers following the unschooling panel

Minnesota Homeschoolers Alliance, New Brighton
September 29, 2007

The Annual Conference
Holly Dodd (15) will attend, too.
FOLLOW-UP PAGE! Questions and Answers from this conference


Home Education Network of Arizona, Tempe
March 1-2, 2008


Home Education Network of Arizona, Tempe
March 7, 2009

Sandra Dodd: Infinite Possibilities in Unschooling

Unforeseen Benefits of Unschooling July 25th, 2009 (Saturday)
London Unschooling Conference
When my firstborn son was four and we decided not to enroll him in kindergarten that fall, I thought I could foresee the future. I knew unschoolers. I knew alternative education. I knew it could be really fun, and good. What happened over the next nineteen years surprised me. Because of unschooling, I changed. My husband changed. The way we interacted with the world and other people changed, all for the better. Our relationships with all three of our children surpassed any of our imaginings. Let me tell you some stories...
FOLLOW-UP PAGE! Questions and Answers from this conference
Conference website (archived)
I ended up speaking twice because one of the other speakers didn't show up. They had a recording crew, so I figured I could find out later what talk I gave, but those recordings never materialized and I never heard back from the conference organizers at all; there had been some problems.

Schuyler's talk from that day was read, and I have it! The Wonderful World of Television ←Schuyler Waynforth

September 10-13, 2009
Good Vibrations Conference
San Diego/Del Mar, California sd presenting Transformations (Thoughts about being and becoming, intertwined with stories of unschooling. What can you do with your whole self?)
Those two titles link to notes and free sound files.

November 10-12, 2009 (Tuesday-Thursday)
Monkey Platter Festival
Albuquerque, New Mexico


Unschooling Symposium in Santa Fe January 7-9, 2010 (Thursday-Saturday)

Saturday, June 5, from 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Centre Communidee, room 120, Montreal, Quebec

Follow-up notes here:SandraDodd.com/montreal

June 7-10, 2010 Great Big Happy Life Unschooling Conference
West Milford, New Jersey

August 19-22, 2010
HSC Conference
Sacramento, California Available to listen to on my site:

August 2010 conference:
Partnerships and Teams in the Family (←click to listen)
Seeing and avoiding adversarial relationships. Nurturing partnerships with spouses or significant others, and with our children.


Unschooling: How to Screw it Up (←click to listen)
Michelangelo said that to carve his statue of David, he just chipped away everything that didn't look like David. Or maybe he didn't say that. But clearly that's what he ultimately did. Here will be ideas to help you chip away what doesn't look like unschooling. It's not as difficult as you might think.

August 2012 conference:

coming soon
Readable notes are here: SandraDodd.com/hsc

October 31, 2010
Attachment Parenting talk, Pune, India (with Schuyler and David Waynforth projected on the wall via skype)


ACE Festival—Albuquerque Chat and Explore

January 7-10, 2011, various locations in Albuquerque (Didn't really "speak" formally but there were several gatherings, and a discussion session.)

February 10-22, 2011 Northeast Tour
Thirteen appearances ranging from formal presentations to chats in NY, PA, NJ and CT.
March 25-26, 2011, St. Charles Illinois
Holly and Sandra, at the InHome Conference
Sandra Dodd: —Talks in Edinburgh
Edinburgh, Saturday, May 21, 2011 (with recordings)

Saturday, June 11—London:
Learning Trust—Trusting Learning

June 14-17 (Tuesday-Friday)—Baud (France)
Gathering in Baud, Bretagne at Helene McNeill's home (following the London event)
(Camping didn't happen because of rain, but there were 12 families, some every day and some one or two of the three days.)

July 22-23, 2011 (Friday and Saturday)—Ontario, California
Family Expo
Radisson Ontario Airport

Did three presentations and a long Q&A, left late on day 2 of 3 to be home for Learn Nothing Day (my birthday).

September 8-11, San Diego, California
Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference, with Holly Dodd!

December 28-31, 2011—Albuquerque, New Mexico
ALL Unschooling Symposium


May 18-20—near Worcester, Massachusetts

ALL in May

I organized this with George Mahowald's help. Other speakers were Joyce Fetteroll, Meredith Novak, Brie Jontry and her family.

May 24-27, 2012—Vancouver, Washington
Life is Good Unschooling Conference I did three presentations, was on a panel, and led a singing funshop. Stayed two days extra and met with people in a suite Robin Bentley had taken for the purpose; she made us meals there, and we played games when the groups were small
Personal knowledge is a web inside us of images, ideas, feelings, memories, fantasies and experience. Learning happens when we take in something new and connect it to what we already knew. There are ways to enable that in yourself and to facilitate it in your children.

Balance (listen or download)
Too much or too little? Too soon or too late? All of it or none of it? People can be balanced, or they can be unbalanced. (No, wait— that's another false dichotomy, and another example of dualism.) Where's a good balance point for unschooling, in a real-world life?

Food at an Unschooling Table
When children make their own choices about foods, they learn to listen to their bodies and they become generous with others. There are other unexpected benefits of helping children explore food on their own terms. Food is a crucial component of a peaceful unschooling life, and the same principles that apply to other kinds of learning apply to food, too.

June 11-13 a campout in 'les charmilles' in Haute Savoie in France, near Geneva (three days)
I spoke twice each afternoon for three days, translated by Claire Darbaud mostly.
Unschooling (what it is) / attachment parenting (being your child's partner)
Connections (how learning works)

Deschooling / Input
Choices / the economics of restriction

Radical unschooling (more choices)
Benefits of unschooling (relationships, clarity )

A Day in Leiden with Sandra Dodd Leiden, near Amsterdam, June 30
          Follow-up (with a recording you can hear free)

the LiTTLe Conference in Ashford, Surrey; East of London, July 14/15 (I'm on the 15th)

HSC Conference, August 2-5, 2012 Sacramento, California
Happiness Inside and Out Friday (listen, read notes)
Deschooling How and Why
Unschooling Very Well Saturday
Why Radical Unschooling? (listen, read notes)

October 14-18 Holly, Keith and I were at Un in the Sun near Tampa, in Florida

What Are You Afraid Of? ( Unschooling can be frightening for parents. Sandra will help shine some light into the dark places, and help you find courage and confidence. )

Partnerships and Other Choices ( When people feel trapped in obligations, they become powerless and feel small. Without leaving home, one can learn to make choices in empowering ways, making the whole family happier and finding purpose in the smallest of things. Learn one easy method for seeing a world of options.)

How to Screw it All Up ( Good ideas and bad ideas. Tales of wrong turns in the road, and suggestions for seeing more clearly. Presented by Sandra & Holly Dodd)

December 27-30, 2012—Albuquerque, New Mexico
Always Learning Live Unschooling Symposium


ALL Unschooling in Minnesota, Elk River, Minnesota
May 2-5, 2013
Speakers: Sandra Dodd, Jill Parmer and Alex Polikowsky

EUROPE with Joyce:


The Yarrow Valley, Scotland



HSC Unschooling Symposium, October 5-7, Orange County

The Five W's (presentation) (notes and links)
Notes and descriptions
Pivot Point (workshop; audience participation)
Your Own Certain Knowledge (workshop; audience participation)


Australia, March (Adelaide, Melbourne, Gold Coast)

Texas Unschoolers Campout Conference, April 11-15
with Kirby Dodd

Minnesota ALLive
Rochester, Minnesota, May 29 -June1

HSC Adventures in Homeschooling Conference 2014
Santa Clara, California July 31-August 3

HSC 2014, Santa Clara, California Perspective
Where were you before (intellectually, emotionally, philosophically)? Where are you now? Where might you be next year, or in five years?
Cognition and retrieval systems—the mysteries of our minds, and the benefits of the unfolding future, explored a bit.

Personal knowledge is a web inside us of images, ideas, feelings, memories, fantasies and experience. Learning happens when we take in something new and connect it to what we already knew. There are ways to enable that in yourself and to facilitate it in your children.

There is a web outside us, too, of people, ideas and information.

Seven Years of Learning Nothing (workshop)
Attendees who have participated in "Learn Nothing Day" can share with those who have never heard of it, and Sandra will explain the history of the event.

Camden ALLive
Camden, Maine, Sept 26-27

Albuquerque ALLive
Albuquerque, New Mexico, December 27-30


Year HOME, mostly, but I did speak one place in person, one by online webinar, and one by Skype

Brampton, Ontario
May, 2015

Late May, group in France, [check topic and date and fill this in!]

September 19, Unschooling Canada Association
Life is an Education
UCA First Annual Online Conference 2015

Choices and incremental change
(Voice over power point, viewed by "attendees" from their computers, or at links later)


HSC, July, San Francisco

Stroud (met in a coffeehouse)
Leeds (at an arts center with a large group)
Brighton (nice gathering over food at a big table)
London, Advanced Topics: September 19 notes

Free to Be Unschooling, Phoenix, September 29-October 2, 2016


Free to Be Unschooling, Phoenix, August 31 - Sept 03, 2017

Practicalities of Unschooling
Joy, Health, Love and Peace

The Big Shift (panel with audience participation)
Your Own Certain Knowledge
In that last talk, I announced that it might be my last conference presentation. I have said no about one definite request and two possibilities, for 2018. I'm tired of travelling, and I want to be home a while.

Some Bios and Intros over the years

These aren't in order, and will probably be moved to the various pages where I'm collecting details on the conferences, with some photos (a few) and recordings (sometimes).

New Mexico, 1997:
Sandra Dodd attended public school in Espanola, and taught English at Espanola Jr. High for six years before retiring to the rustic and scenic northeast heights of Albuquerque. She lives with her husband Keith, an Alamogordo boy, and their three children Kirby (10), Marty (8) and Holly (5), who have never been to school. Sandra edits two e-mail newsletters, one for the Homeschooling Forum on America Online, and the other for Home Education Magazine's online homeschooling forum.

(from 2010 a conference that didn't happen...)

Sandra Dodd lives in Albuquerque with her husband Keith, son Marty (22 at conference time) and daughter Holly (19 in November 2010). Her oldest, Kirby, lives in Austin. Those three were unschooled throughout, and are all past school age, but not past learning! Neither are their parents.

Sandra is a former English teacher whose other jobs have all involved words and ideas and learning too, and whose avocation and hobby has become helping other parents find ways to live more richly and peacefully with their children. Sandra's website is the starting place for a great deal of her collection of writings, notes, examples, and great quotes collected from 15 years of online discussions.

Caring for Marriage Conference, 2011

Sandra Dodd lives with her husband, Keith, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their children are Kirby (24, living in Austin, working for a video game company), Marty (22, living at home and attending community college) and Holly (19 and working as a nanny for an eight year old homeschooled girl whose mother died last summer).

Sandra is involved in many discussions online about parenting, homeschooling ("unschooling," specifically), and relationships with children and spouses. Lori Odhner was one of Sandra's first La Leche League leaders (when Kirby was a baby) and they have stayed in touch ever since. Lori says "Sandra is incredibly creative, funny, accepting and playful. She has helped me look at life in fresh ways, without worrying about how change will play out. She is traveling a long way to speak to us and I am sure you will laugh, think, and maybe even change."

HENA 2008 (lifted most of the same bio from 2007)
Sandra Dodd's thoughts can be seen on www.SandraDodd.com and she says:

I've been interested in teaching and how people learn since I was six, and (as is usual in big busy lives) all I've done before has led up to what I'm doing now. I grew up in northern New Mexico, I've been blessed with curiously bright and curious friends who shared their questions and answers with me, and there's nothing to do with that but pass it on to any curious others.

My main online activities have to do with that sort of radical homeschooling known as unschooling. I write about unschooling and I speak at conferences sometimes, and run workshops upon occasion. Some nice unschoolers who'd been collecting quotes and paying attention to me made a Wikipedia page.

HSC/Sacramento 2007:

Sandra Dodd
"Connect the Dots"

Sunday, August 19th, 9:00 a.m.
Many of you have asked, and we've listened! We're very excited to welcome Sandra Dodd back to our conference! Sandra will be with us all weekend and will also be our Sunday keynote speaker! Sandra's keynote, "Connect the Dots," will be a discussion and illustration of the many different ways in which everything and anything can be connected in our minds, and how learning becomes easier and easier with each new connection.

During the weekend, Sandra will also be presenting workshops on "Parenting Peacefully," "Unschooling," and "Rounds and Responsorial Songs of the Last Seven Centuries."

Sandra Dodd is an unschooling mother of three (ages 21, 18, and 15), a writer, a former classroom teacher, and a well-known voice in online discussions about unschooling. She has written for and/or been featured in Home Education Magazine, Life Learning, Live Free Learn Free, and other publications. She has also published Moving a Puddle, a collection of her essays.

Minnesota, 2007:

Our keynote speaker, Sandra Dodd, will grace us with her humor and insight. Sandra is a well-known voice in the unschooling community, both online and in print. She has written for or been featured in Home Education Magazine, Life Learning, Live Free Learn Free, and numerous other homeschooling publications in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, France and the United States. Her delightful collection of essays, Moving a Puddle, has been very well received in the homeschooling community.

The overall theme of Sandra’s writings and her approach to education is that learning, parenting and everyday life can be wonderful in the absence of school. Sandra maintains a website with helpful resources and support for unschoolers, at sandradodd.com. She and her husband Keith live in Albuquerque, New Mexico with their three children, none of whom have ever been to school. Sandra’s unschooled 15-year-old daughter Holly plans to join us at this year’s MHA conference.

Good Vibrations, 2009:

Sandra Dodd has been unschooling for a lifetime (Holly Dodd's lifetime), because Holly was born when Kirby was five and the Dodds were in their first year of opting out of compulsory education. The alternative parenting was already going strong, with attachment parenting and family bed picked up from La Leche League when Kirby was a baby in 1986.

Sandra lives in Albuquerque with her husband Keith and two-thirds of their three children. Kirby moved to Austin in August 2007, at the age of barely-21, to work for Blizzard Entertainment. At the time of the conference, Marty will be 20 and Holly will be nearly 18. Keith (the dad of the always-unschooled Kirby, Marty and Holly) is an engineer by profession, a woodworker by hobby and a medievalist by longstanding habit. Sandra is a former instructor of English, a writer by compulsion, and by vocation examines the underpinnings and practicalities of unschooling and mindful parenting.

Live and Learn, St. Louis, 2005

Sandra Dodd is a former teacher who never sent her children to school, and whose current hobby is an ever-growing unschooling website, http://sandradodd.com/unschooling. She and her husband Keith, an engineer, sing and play recorder together. Their children are teens now, and in October will be 19 (Kirby), 16 (Marty) and almost 14 (Holly, born 11/2/91).

Places I did NOT speak, but was rumored to have said or done something stupid.

None of those happened. More on the false claim of Boulder