Hello, homeschooling friend! This week on the podcast, we’re bringing you an Art of Homeschooling Classic from the archives. Here’s a conversation with friend and mentor, Barbara Dewey from Episode 2 where we discover a shared message to trust ourselves as homeschooling parents and keep it simple and doable.

Keep Homeschooling Simple & Doable

Barbara holds an M.S. in Waldorf Education from the Waldorf Institute of Sunbridge College in Spring Valley, N.Y., and a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Rochester. She’s been teaching in various settings since 1960.

Barbara has served the Waldorf homeschooling movement by consulting with homeschooling families throughout the world, writing many homeschooling publications, and providing training workshops.

She is the mother of four, grandmother to six, and great-grandmother to two. Today she can be found enjoying her unique solar home in Ohio and developing her farmland.

Barbara’s work with children and families has been ground-breaking in the homeschooling movement.

While she was raising her own children, homeschooling was illegal in New York. But as she traveled and continued to work in the field of education, she met many Waldorf folks and homeschool families. She was so inspired by the love of learning she saw in homeschooled children.

In our conversation, Barbara shared that in 1991, when she applied to Sunbridge, she was clear about her vision to provide Waldorf training to parents who wished to bring Waldorf education into their homeschools. And she was almost not admitted to the program. Wow!

But she saw a need and persisted in reaching parents who lived in areas where Waldorf schools were not available or who couldn’t afford tuition.

Barbara has been such a gift to me and my family on our homeschooling journey!

And I consider her the matriarch of the Waldorf homeschooling movement.

Please enjoy our conversation from October of 2020!

You’ll find highlights from our conversation along with time stamps below. As well as links, quotes, and fun facts.

Highlights from my conversation with Barbara Dewey

3:12: Jean introduces her friend and mentor, Barbara Dewey
4:42: Jean describes how Barbara inspired her to keep homeschooling simple and doable
5:09: Barbara’s parenting journey and Waldorf roots
10:07: Barbara’s journey as a teacher and interest in homeschooling
12:27: Barbara describes her first exposure to Waldorf
13:45: Jean and Barbara share what hooked them on homeschooling
16:23: How Barbara decided to take her new business, Waldorf Without Walls, on the road
18:47: How Barbara and Jean met
21:00: Barbara’s inspiration for starting the Taproot Teacher Training
22:18: The early days of Taproot on Barbara’s Taproot Farm
23:08: More about the Taproot Teacher Training every summer
24:37: How Barbara supported Jean and her family through their homeschooling journey
29:26: Jean asks Barbara to reflect on what advice she would give to her younger self
33:50: The message is to trust yourself, and keep it simple and doable!

“Barbara, I think that your gift to us is to help us remember as homeschoolers that family life has important lessons, too. And to keep things really simple.”

Fun Facts

  • In the 1970’s, only two states had legislation making it legal to homeschool. Not until 1993 did homeschooling become legal in all 50 states.
  • The Taproot Teacher Training for Waldorf Homeschoolers began on Barbara’s Taproot Farm in Ohio 17 years ago. Participants shared KP duty (kitchen duty), bunked up together, and shared limited shower facilities. Oh, the memories!

Links & Resources

  • The Taproot Teacher Training was started in 2007 and is held every summer in northeastern Ohio. Homeschooling parents gather from all over North America for this long weekend of teacher training workshops, singing, circle games, hiking, campfires, swimming in the lake, yoga, community building, inner work, and more.

    If you’re ready to train up your homeschooling skills, tune into your creativity, and tap into your homeschooling flow, consider joining this transformational experience!
  • Purchase Barbara’s homeschooling ebooks, from form drawing to math, handwork to geometry, and more here at Waldorf Without Walls.
  • The newest edition of Waldorf Education: A Family Guide (referral link), edited by Pamela Fetter, includes a wonderful article written by Barbara.

Rate & Review the Podcast

If the Art of Homeschooling Podcast has inspired you, I’d LOVE it if you could rate and review the podcast on your favorite podcast player! Reviews can be left on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Podcast Addict, or Stitcher.

Or simply pop on over to lovethepodcast.com/artofhomeschooling and choose where you want to leave your review.

And if you want to show your appreciation for the Art of Homeschooling Podcast, you can buy me a cup of tea!

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