Who or what were your early (or middle, or late) influences on homeschooling? I was thinking today that if certain people hadn't been around, hadn't written books or magazines or blogs, hadn't tried new things, new ways--or rediscovered old ones--the way I taught my children could have taken a different course. So here's a list of, especially, my early mentors and influences. Some of them might surprise even regular Treehouse readers because they've never come up here before.
The late Nancy Wallace, who wrote not only about the adventure of unschooling her children before homeschooling was cool, but about life in general with gifted and eager little ones. She gave me permission to read big books to little bodies.
Mary Hood, who wrote a little book called The Relaxed Homeschooler. Not that we ever put a lot of her specific ideas into practice, but during a time when it felt like you were either a secular unschooler or a Christian textbook user (or unit study groupie), there was an acceptable place between the two.
A Canadian offshoot of Lifetime Books and Gifts, which became known as Maple Ridge Books. For the relatively few years that they were in business, they carved out a unique little niche here with their excellent catalogue and great book reviews. One Christmas I loaned my mom their catalogue, with a bunch of books circled as gift possibilities. She bought EVERYTHING I'd circled, for the Apprentice. We still have most of those books, too.
The "guest stars" who helped train our team for a summer library job, years ago. We were so lucky. We had children's music makers, puppeteers, and I think even a mime artist come in to do workshops--and we were getting paid to be there. Minimum wage, but still.
For The Children's Sake, of course. But again it wasn't so much for the homeschool aspects that I first read it--it was the idea of a different way to look at learning, even for very little children, and how that connects with what we believe we are, and our relationship with God and the world.
My husband's grandmother, who told us that parents were idiots to send three-year-old children to school, and who was surprised when we agreed with her.
Ruth Beechick. John Holt. Valerie Bendt. Diane Moos (The Frugal Homeschooler). Mary Pride. Cathy Duffy, who published one fat curriculum guide that had a short chapter about homeschooling on the mission field, which stuck in my head as a reminder that less can be more, especially when real life is happening all around us.
The homeschooling families at church when we were first married...did they know how big an influence they were just by being there and doing what they were doing?
The homeschoolers in the local group...those with big families and happy crunchy lifestyles, and those with one child (like us, for awhile) and who didn't like kneading bread so much.
And, in the end, my "peeps" on the CM email lists and message boards, which became websites and newsletters, and eventually online curriculum and blogs and FB pages and other things I don't keep up with. Brenda, if you're reading, you were one of them.
There are others that will occur to me after I've hit Publish. Maybe a Part Two sometime.
Linked from the Carnival of Homeschooling: Thank You Edition, at Notes from a Homeschooled Mom.