Interview with a Homeschooling OG Part 1

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Join me in today’s episode as Debbi tells the story of how our family got into homeschooling in the early 1990s and what it was really like homeschooling before the internet.

Below you will find the full show notes and reference list for Episode 11 of The State of Education Podcast, presented by One-Room Education.

I can’t wait to start a conversation with you!

Join the conversation by answering the question of the week in the comments below.

Question of the Week:

How do you think you would handle homeschooling without the internet? Would you even bother?

If you have any questions or comments about this episode or any of the information presented, please make sure to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

Interview with a Homeschooling OG: Part 1
vine-divider-green for episode 2 of the State of Education podcast: How and Why the Public Education System Was Created

Show Notes

Welcome back to The State of Education, presented by One-Room Education.  This is a very special 3 episode series for me as I had the chance to sit down and interview one of my heroes, my mom, Debbi.

Join me in today’s episode as Debbi tells the story of how our family got into homeschooling in the early 1990s and what it was really like homeschooling before the internet. She shares stories about me as a homeschooling student and how she worked within the law to create the experiences that I still treasure today.

Some of the topics covered in today’s conversation are:

  • How our family got into homeschooling in the early 1990s
  • Homeschooling laws and educating the school district
  • Socializing your homeschooled kids
  • How the homeschooling community worked before the internet and forums were available
  • The difficulties of getting established as homeschooling parents and recognition for being educators outside of the system

Why we started homeschooling

I said, ‘I think I probably could do as well as a 30th of the teacher’…

Debbi, The State of Education podcast 6/7/2022

… Different doesn’t mean one’s right and one is wrong. That’s why you homeschool; so you can do what works for you as a parent and what works for you and your children.

Debbi, The State of Education podcast 6/7/2022

Learning about the law before the internet was a thing

I went to our county courthouse, and I went to their library and I asked and they were very kind and they helped me look it up.

Debbi, The State of Education podcast 6/7/2022

The homeschooling law was passed in Pennsylvania in 1988. Previous to the passage of this law, the school districts would require anything they wanted from the homeschooling family, and if those arbitrary requirements weren’t met, they could require the child to return to public school. Each district had their own requirements of homeschoolers and there was no uniformity within the state of Pennsylvania.

After the passage of the homeschooling law in 1988, the requirements for homeschooling families were finally consistent throughout the state, allowing for a homeschooling community to finally blossom in Pennsylvania.

Part of homeschooling law in Pennsylvania, and many other states, is that they, the school district, are legally required to provide you with all curriculum materials used for that grade level upon request.

We used the school’s curriculum for the first year of homeschooling. My parents used the book until they knew we, my brother and I, had the ideas and concepts down, and then we would move on. They didn’t make us continue on each and every page and practice if we got the idea down after the first page.

This is something that can’t really be done within the public education system because of the diversity within a single classroom.

Reasons behind keeping our kids home

We wanted them to know that their thoughts were every bit, if not more important than the herd.

Debbi, The State of Education podcast 6/7/2022

Homeschooling allows you to focus on the mastery of skills rather than being pushed through age assigned grades in the public education system. If it takes you 1 day or 2 weeks, you are able to move at your pace rather than that of the curriculum.

Socializing your homeschooled kids

Well, you know…we let them up out of the basement every once in a while to get some fresh air, and then we put them back…

Debbi, The State of Education podcast 6/7/2022

Socialization vs. Peer Pressure

Debbi points out that parents always want their kids to be socialized with peers of their own age, but when they get to be in middle and high school, the same parents start to complain about things that their children are doing because of “peer pressure”.

Debbi astutely notes that there are 2 sides to the “socialization” coin and that parents need to really look at what it is that they want for their kids, instead of what society says they “need”.

Teach when your kids are interested

When the child is interested in something is the time to learn about it. They’re going to be sponges.

Debbi, The State of Education podcast 6/7/2022

Debbi speaks to the idea of interest based, or student-lead learning and the idea that if a child is interested in learning something, they shouldn’t be held back by a curriculum or teacher, they should be allowed and encouraged to explore their interests as they come up.

She gives the example of a unit we did on magnets. Literally everything we did for months revolved around magnets in some way, from math to writing and, of course, science. After this unit, we never had to talk about the concept of magnetism again because it was covered so thoroughly when we were interested and open to learning about it.

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