Q & A with Tina Hollenbeck | Founder of The Homeschool Resource Roadmap

Getting to know you….

Since we’re almost halfway through our fourth year of publication (can you believe it?), I thought it was long past time for everyone to see the people behind Learning Tangent. Tina was one of our earliest supporters, both in sharing the idea on Facebook, and in writing; and over the last several years we have become good friends. I honestly cannot imagine not having her writing appear within the pages of our growing magazine.

Tina is also the founder of The Homeschool Resource Roadmap. She has spent countless hours contacting companies to find their position on Common Core/NGSS, worldview, and more. I use this valuable resource that she has created heavily to find new and interesting homeschool products to review or just purchase for my own kids. Even if you don’t care about the stance of a company on these issues, I can’t recommend the Roadmap enough, just for finding new options.

GN: How many kids do you have, and do how many do you homeschool?

TH: I have three daughters, though I’m only blessed with raising two because I lost my oldest to a second-trimester miscarriage. She would be 18. My other two are “Irish Twins,” ages 16 and 15.

GN: What made you start homeschooling?

TH: My husband and I met a few of the “modern homeschool pioneers” back when we were in college (and they were near the end of their homeschooling journey), and that planted the seed. I then spent nine years before our children were born teaching (English as a second language) in public secondary schools, and my experience there confirmed that I did not want my children in an institutional school setting; I wanted them home where I could individualize according to how each one was wired. At the same time, my husband helped with the youth group at our church, and he loved what he saw in the homeschooled teens – how they were able to engage with adults, how interested they were in learning as compared to their schooled peers. Ultimately, I see it as a spiritual calling for us, but those (and other) human experiences confirmed the call for us.

GN: We have noticed the same, and that our twins have become more and more confident in speaking with people of all ages, since being removed from public school. How long have you homeschooled?

TH: My view is that all of life is learning so I say that I’ve “homeschooled” for my kids’ entire lives; the older is 16…so 16 years. 🙂

GN: I agree! I might also add that if parents looked at it from that perspective, they wouldn’t feel so pressured to enroll their children in schools. You’re also working on a massive upgrade to the Homeschool Resource Roadmap. Can you tell me a little about it?

TH: As you’ve mentioned, when I first launched what has become The Roadmap, it was a list of homeschool-oriented curriculum/resource companies showing what each was doing in regards to Common Core/NGSS. I was committed to listing everything homeschoolers might use so I thought we “might” have as many as 300. I soon realized, though, that I had far underestimated all that we have available to us because we currently list over 3,000 different companies, and I am asked to query new companies almost every week. As our original lists grew, people began to ask how they could know which subjects each resource addresses so I eventually launched the Subject Area Project, which lists and links every company according to well over 100 different content areas. And, yes, now I’m feverishly working on an even bigger upgrade in hopes of launching at the end of summer. First, I’m revamping the Subject Area Project, adding many resources, making it easier to read, and refining the content area and age-range aspects of the lists. In addition, I’m adding several “Bypasses” – i.e., specific lists where users can see at a glance which worldview/religious perspective each resource espouses, which teaching/learning style each employs, which ones are delivered digitally, which have apps, and which are free – among other things. And on top of that, I’m loading up a Curriculum Gazetteer, which lists every single one of the 3,000+ companies individually so that users can get an overview of any particular company with just one click. I’m really excited to get this into the hands of homeschoolers so parents can have one place to begin making truly well-informed curricular decisions.

GN: I cannot wait to see how the new upgrades look! One last thing: How would you finish the statement, “If I knew then what I know now…”

TH:  If I knew then what I know now, I would have watched and waited for evidence of real developmental readiness for academic skill instruction instead of falling into the, “She’s five so she has to start,” trap. And I would have moved down the path of delight-directed learning much more deeply much earlier.

GN: Thank you Tina, for everything you do. I am so grateful to count you among my friends!

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