For the Love of Learning Episode #5
The Home Education Alternative
Monday March 2, 2015 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday March 3, 2015 1:00 am – 3:00 am GMT
Sophia Tsilidas Wirkkala
“School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.”
Homeschooling is a progressive movement around the world, in which parents choose to educate their children at home instead of sending them to a traditional schools. Families choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons, including dissatisfaction with the educational options available, different religious beliefs or educational philosophies, and the belief that children are not progressing within the traditional school structure.
The homeschooling movement began growing in the 1970s, when some popular authors and researchers, such as John Holt and Dorothy and Raymond Moore, started writing about educational reform. They suggested homeschooling as an alternative educational option. Today we speak with three women who took this option to heart and are homeschooling their own children, and in some cases, contribute to the homeschool education of groups of children. Tonight promises to be an incredible conversation.
Bios of Tonight’s Guests:
Radonda Dobbins is a former social worker who worked as the Children’s Program Coordinator for a domestic violence shelter and later became the Child Welfare Specialist for the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, where she sat on the state of Florida’s Child Abuse Death Review Team for six years. During that time, she advocated for legislative changes to protect Florida’s children. In 2000, she was invited to attend the State of The World Forum in New York City to discuss education reform and children’s issues.
In February of 2001, Radonda’s REAL journey into child development truly began with the birth of her daughter, Brianna. Her daughter, now 13, has never attended public school and is an accomplished musician, playing viola for the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra.
In 2006 Radonda started the homeschool support group, Home Educators’ Network of Central Florida, which grew to over 700 families strong. In May of 2013, she incorporated HENCF and in September of that year, opened a brick and mortar enrichment and tutoring center. This center is a labor of love and is continuing to grow and expand to meet the needs of the community. To supplement her income, she also works as a travel agent, specializing in family and educational vacations.
Radonda is a proud single mom raising her daughter on three acres of land with chickens, cats, fish, a turtle and a hedgehog. She and her daughter both volunteer for Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge in their spare time. Despite her past experiences, the journey of motherhood and her commitment to improving the homeschool community has, by far, been the most challenging AND the most rewarding “job” she has ever had.
Home Educators Network of Central Florida
Sophia Tsilidas Wirkkala
Sophia is an ordinary stay at homeschool mom laughing and praying her way through the day. Her former music business experience with Madonna, David Bowie, the Smashing Pumpkins (and many many more), prepared her (somewhat) for three kids. One in elementary school, one in middle school AKA Jr high (for older folks) and her oldest in high school, there are always plates spinning and circus monkeys flying under the Big Top, called home. Sophia has enjoys managing her circus on a “day to day” basis. This “fly by the seat of her pants” mother has been a part of multiple scenarios for homeschooling, alongside the public school district, completely off the grid, with a charter, and is currently settled on a combination of the aforementioned.
Living in South Orange County, California there are a plethora of homeschool groups, co-ops and organizations to draw from and serve alongside. Many times over a teacher of co-teacher of everything from Chemistry for Kids to Drama. Sophia loves the opportunity to share her confidence that homeschooling has been a great choice for her family and encourages any interested families that they to can succeed at this wildly fun adventure. No experience necessary!
Heather was first introduced to homeschooling back in the ‘80’s when her younger siblings were homeschooled. Heather has homeschooled all four of her children, now ages 13-26. Like many homeschoolers, Heather has found homeschooling to be very liberating. Today she inspires many to ditch traditional learning methods in favor of more exciting and natural learning experiences. Heather runs Celebration Education, where learning is turned into exciting adventures.
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