The world of education has changed radically in the past few years and who better to address those changes than the Director of Excelsior Classes, Jodi Guerra!
Jodi Guerra loves teaching and watching others grow. She graduated in 1988 from the University of Houston magna cum laude with a B.A. in Classical Studies. (For those who are wondering, that is a major which focuses on ancient Greek and Roman literature, philosophy, culture, language, and history.) She also has a Professional Certificate in Health Care Management from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
Jodi has taught and tutored children of all ages from early childhood through high school in public, private, and home schools. Since 1999 she has taught homeschool students Latin, literature, and composition. In 2009 Hendrick-Long published a study guide authored by Jodi entitled “A Gentle Tour of Texas History,” which is available on Amazon. She has been an online teacher for over a decade and currently oversees Excelsior Classes.
Jodi lives with her huband and four children in the great state of Texas. While only one child is still homeschooled, three have graduated and now attend various universities. Besides teaching and reading, Jodi enjoys cooking and needlework.
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Jodi, I would love to get your perspective on how homeschooling has changed over the years from what you’ve seen. And if you have insights about where you see it’s going, I think, as so many more homeschoolers are working while they homeschool online educational resources are so helpful.
Yes, I mean, that’s what you have to do, right? I mean, I don’t think I ever stopped working the whole time. I just had little gigs that I was doing. Yeah, absolutely.
When I started homeschooling. I wouldn’t call myself a pioneer really, because by that time it was legal. I was kind of coming into the frontier land where other people have been settling, right? It was like, 1.5% of people homeschooling at that time.. And every year, there was like a little uptick and tick. And now you know, I’m reading statistics anywhere from 8 to 11%. And we know that much of that growth is due to pandemic, and the cats out of the bag now, like, oh, homeschooling can work. Yeah, I can do this better and cheaper in other ways. And so I think that, now we’re just seeing such a tremendous amount of growth and people embracing that freedom that you have to customize and to tailor and to meet your student where they are at. And so that’s been really exciting, you know, as a person that started off with everyone questioning them, like, what are you doing? Why are you doing that? How can you do that? Are you sure that’s legal to do? Where you can go out to the grocery store with your kids and people aren’t looking at you? Funny? I mean, did you have that experience?
Oh, absolutely. Just we started homeschooling our oldest in California. And I remember when we visited a friend in Minneapolis, who was homeschooling too, and, and her kids were playing outside during the daytime, and I’m wondering what are they doing, worried that someone would call the cops on them.. Because we knew people who had gone to jail for homeschooling. They were marked as Truant. And they literally had DCS come to the door and take their kids, they spent days and nights in jail had to get legal help, because it wasn’t legal in across the country yet.
So, exactly. It’s just, there’s been a lot of change, and much of it is so positive. And that’s one of the things I was thinking about; there’s less fear. Now. I think that there is some fear for moms in terms of am I going to mess this up? Or will my kid get into college and those of us have been around long enough? No, your kid’s gonna have no trouble getting into, you know, they’re very used to home schoolers by this point and that’s such a blessing in so many ways, because I think it creates a sense of community. Here we are talking on your podcast here, and it’s associated with a really robust social media platform where people can plug in. And so even if your next door neighbor isn’t homeschooling you’ve got 30,000 virtual friends that will help you figure things out. I was also thinking about just the diversity of homeschooling, and just how much more diverse homeschooling has become. And that’s awesome. You can do this. I think that’s just so lovely. I want to say like the African American community has grown up to like 12%, so in terms of the highest percentage of homeschool growth it’s taking off. And that’s beautiful. I think that’s exciting. And they have a green card. And with that diversity, and with this freedom, I think that there are just so many more options. You just came from a conference. Tell me about that exhibit hall.
it was happening. I was told that it was sold out, the workshops were packed and we had a lot of really great conversations and a very diverse crowd.
And you know, back back in the day, when we first started, it was like, I am going to order some workbooks. And these are the four people I can buy them from, and then I’m gonna go to the library. And it just wasn’t a lot to choose from. In the late 2000s are probably in the 2000s you could buy the DVD pack and that was really hot stuff then. And then around 2000 I started hearing more about this online education. You know where they would stream and I’m like, oh, yeah, that’s what I need for my kid. I got to do this because we will kill each other if we have to do science again together. You know, I’ve got to find something different and people started doing coops. I define a co-op as carrots, parents coming together and teaching. But there’s also that cottage industry where maybe former teachers or people with some expertise will come and teach and you pay and you have a live class at a facility that’s willing to host You know, those started becoming a little bit more predominant. And I thought, this is great. We can venture out a little bit more and reap the benefits of having outside teachers for difficult subjects like chemistry.
By 2010 – 2012 people are really embracing with some of the larger publishers that are able to host live online classes, and it’s just been a huge explosion of opportunities for people. I mean, it’s really amazing to see what’s happening. I used to be a teacher. You know, prior to having children, I taught public school for two or three years, and then went on to do something else. And then when my kids came home, I’m like, Oh, I can, I can do some of this, you know. But prior to that, you know, just the ability to see all of these different ways of education. It was And do you remember when you used to just not go anywhere? Because you didn’t want to get questioned or nervous? And do you remember just trying to find anybody at church that could help with math? And now it’s just everywhere? Right?
Right, I remember the first year sunlight came out, it was like a big deal and Becky Lewis, who was the co-authors actually was in our Sunday school in California. And it was such a big change from the the textbook publishers. Do you know what I mean?
Absolutely a living book, education, a Charlotte Mason, right. I mean, it was huge, really philosophically. I mean, I felt like we had to be really philosophical about why we were doing it, how we were doing it, what we were doing it. I felt an added burden to do as well as the public school are better. I mean, I felt a certain pressure to perform. I don’t know if that makes it that my kids could do this, that we could do this?
Well, we knew people who’ve gone to jail or fought for their rights to homeschool. Did we all have HSLDA memberships? Because if anyone called DCS on us had any call on us we needed legal protection. Do you know what I mean? That pressure to prove that what you were doing was going to work out.
I think there was absolutely that pressure. Now I’m hearing from families that it’s like, it’s so overwhelming. There’s so much to choose from, now the question is how do you even sort out all of the opportunities?
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More content related to has homeschooling changed:
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- How to Tell if you are Successfully Homeschooling High School
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