Scholarly Interests: Children's play (particularly age-mixed play); self-directed learning; evolutionary psychology, developmental psychology, educational psychology, general psychology, role of play in human biological and cultural evolution.
Academic Profile: Professor Gray joined the faculty in the Fall of 1972 and taught regularly until the Spring of 2002. He is author of PSYCHOLOGY, an introductory textbook now in its sixth edition, and, most recently, FREE TO LEARN: WHY UNLEASING THE INSTINCT TO PLAY WILL MAKE OUR CHILDREN HAPPIER, MORE SELF-RELIANT, AND BETTER STUDENTS FOR LIFE. His past research had to do with basic mammalian motivational mechanisms, and his present research has to do with children's play and its educative value. Professor Gray is now retired from regular teaching, but continues to conduct and publish research and give guest lectures.
Check our General Info page to find out everything going on at the conference!
Is the HSC Conference right for you?
Are you new to homeschooling? Do you want to learn more about getting started, legal options, and homeschooling methods and styles? You will find speakers, discussions, extensive information and lots of opportunity to get all of your questions answered.
Do you have young children? The conference has many ongoing activities and workshops for families with young children to enjoy. We even offer a "Caregiver Pass" and parents can trade off attending adult sessions and having fun with the kids. You'll be especially interested in activities like the art deck and the extensive playroom. Of course, there is swimming and dancing and all kinds of family fun.
Are you a continuing homeschooler? If you've been homeschooling a while and you are looking for ways to enhance your homeschooling experience, you'll find all kinds of information and inspiration at the conference. With over 125 workshops and speakers, you will especially enjoy the specialized speakers, in-depth discussions, and extensive information as well as the exhibit hall.
Do you want to enjoy a fantastic family vacation? The conference is one of the few whole-family activities available that really satisfies family members of all ages. Attendees range from little babies to grandparents! There are special funshops designed for younger and older children, teens, and adults, and many activities for families to do together.
Are you looking for networking, support, and community? Join over a thousand children, teens, and adults as we learn, play, and dance together. You will love being surrounded by close-knit happy families and will have plenty of opportunity to make connections.
Are you a teen looking for peers who are interesting, creative, and a whole lot of fun? The conference teen program is planned by and for teens, themselves, and is legendary throughout the homeschooling community. There are workshops, games, discussions, dances, and so much more. Many teens come back year after year and look forward to it as one of the highlights of their year.
Elana K. Arnold is a writer of Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction. Her first three novels (Sacred, Burning and Splendor), all published by Random House, were released in 2012 and 2013. Her most recent two novels, The Question of Miracles (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and Infandous (Lerner/Carolrhoda LAB) have earned starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly. Elana has an MA in English/Creative Writing (Fiction) from UC Davis, where she has taught Adolescent Literature and Creative Writing. She lives in Huntington Beach, CA with her husband, kids, and more than a few pets.
Erika Davis-Pitre and her husband Michael have 4 children - one daughter (36) and three sons (32, 30 & 22). They also have a son-in-law and two grandsons(8 & 1). She splits her time between Northern California and Central Connecticut. They have been unschooling for many years and love it, so Erika is always looking for opportunities to share their unschooling joy with others. Erika has spoken at many un/homeschooling conferences, led quite a few funshops/workshops and has hosted and participated in many round table discussions about unschooling all over the US and Canada. She especially enjoys talking about unschooling teens, sharing the joy of unschooling and celebrating diversity through unschooling. And she is a Artist Trading Card(ATC) fanatic-if you don't know about ATCs please ask!
Wes Beach has 54 years' experience in education. He spent 32 years in public and private schools as a teacher of several subjects in grades K-14 and as the director of several alternative education programs. He wised up in 1993, left the system, and since then has worked full time as Director of Beach High School, consisting of a home office and an attitude. BHS offers a wide variety of alternatives to traditional schooling. Some BHS students have ended homeschooling, possibly early, usually wanting documentation. Others are high school leavers, typically skipping a substantial part or all of high school and moving on beyond it. These young people enter college or trade schools, go to work, start businesses, travel, engage in independent learning and pursue unique creative endeavors. Students who enroll for a significant period of time put together high school programs that include formal coursework, self-teaching, study with tutors, work, distance learning, volunteering, travel and inventive projects.
Wes has served on the board of the HomeSchool Association of California (HSC) and is at present the Teen Adviser for both HSC and the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. He is the author of Forging Paths: Beyond Traditional Schooling, and Self-Directed Learning: Documentation and Life Stories, both published by the GHF Press.
Sue Patterson, wife and mom to 3 grown homeschoolers, is as busy as an "empty nester" as she was while the kids were all still home! She has been active in the homeschooling/unschooling communities for nearly two decades, volunteering, writing, speaking about their journey. As a military family, Sue and her family moved often, meeting new people and seeing new perspectives first hand. They lived in Texas, North Carolina, Alaska, California. To read more about her family's adventures: www.SuePatterson.wordpress.com
Now, Sue is a life coach and unschooling mentor, hosts the Unschooling Mom2Mom website/FB group, and is the Managing Editor of HSC's national magazine, The Homeschooler. She is excited to share the results of her new book, Homeschooled Teens, three years in the making! Sue surveyed and interviewed 75 adolescents and young adults about their experiences as home educated teenagers. Their responses and Sue's helpful commentary is just what worried parents are hoping to find!
So much more than just a conference - itís a celebration, a party, a statewide gathering of homeschoolers and their families for learning, friendship, support, and fun!
Featuring some of the best known speakers in the homeschooling and parenting community, HSCís annual conference is a place to explore, relax, learn and find time to meet with new friends. Itís a place where everything you need to know about homeschooling is under one roof for an entire weekend!