August 5, 2019
Meet Amanda: homeschool mom to two teenaged boys, central Vermont yarn shop owner and businesswoman, and avid outdoors woman. Self-described extreme introvert, mountain biker, road cyclist, nordic and down hill skier, hiker, gardener, knitter and reader.
Amanda and I met online, like many of my interview guests, and my family has had the pleasure of staying in her home a couple times while we've hiked through Vermont.
Listening to Amanda's experiences with homeschooling and roadschooling provides insight into the practical application of adult-guided, self-directed learning and education for children.
And her more recent experience of homeschooling through a divorce and working full-time as a business owner challenges the married, stay-at-home-mom stereotype associated with home education.
Amanda's homeschool strategy is to pay attention to her kids' needs and find a way to meet those needs. She builds a homeschool curriculum, and a life really, in response to the questions:
What are you interested in learning? What are your needs? What are the skills and support you need to achieve that? How are you going to get these skills?
Finding and executing the answers is a collaborative family process.
Amanda's honesty about what this actually looks like in the day-to-day living from elementary through to early high school will be appreciated by homeschoolers and non-homeschool parents alike.
There are many ways to raise children, many ways to build a family and Amanda challenges us to ask the important question; why are we doing what we're doing?
Our homeschool conversation was an episode in itself, so I'm releasing it here as a stand-alone segment of our whole interview, freely available to anyone. No Patreon membership required!
Click here to find that episode on Patreon.
After talking about homeschooling, something we're both passionate about, Amanda and I talk about a recent big change in her life - becoming the owner of Green Mountain Fiber & Yarn in Rutland, Vermont.
A hobby knitter, Amanda stumbled into the opportunity to own and manage a yarn store at a crucial transition in her life. Getting divorced in her early fifties after being financially dependent on her husband since her mid-thirties, and homeschooling 2 teenaged sons, Amanda needed a home of her own, and work that would support her boys.
In a serendipitous turn of events she seized the opportunity to take over a yarn store and hasn't looked back.
Amanda's insights about personal growth and self-acceptance prove that yes, introverts can work in retail (perhaps yarn is the perfect type of retail!) and that we are capable, at any age, of learning what we need to learn to achieve our goals.
Finally, Amanda and I share our affections for her home state Vermont, a short driving distance from where I live in Montreal.
Amanda's hospitality was an important part of two significant backpacking experiences in my own life, first hosting our family on the Appalachian Trail at a crucial and difficult time. Then later hosting my parents, Damien, and I as we hiked the Long Trail.
Amanda and I have a mutual shared love for the outdoor opportunities in the Green Mountain state, where she counts herself blessed to access that beauty on a very frequent basis. As an outdoors woman myself I am inspired, and a little envious, of Amanda's frequent forays into the woods, in all seasons, for activity and spiritual solace.
This is an interview where we're challenged to ask questions about the status quo - in society, in schooling, and our own lives. We're shown the courage of stepping into new opportunities and adventures, by necessity, and encouraged to trust in our ability to learn what we need to know, when we need to know it.
If you're going through central Vermont be sure to stop by Green Mountain Yarn & Fiber and say hi to Amanda and buy some yarn for your next project.
Reminder: the homeschooling part of the interview is free for everyone can be found here.
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