Cathy Duffy is the author of multiple books including 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. She is also the founder of the long-standing website, Cathy Duffy Reviews.
In this interesting HomeSchool ThinkTank interview with Cathy Duffy, you’ll get to know the woman behind the website.
Below, you’ll find our video interview, the podcast episode, and more information about Cathy Duffy’s books and website. Near the bottom of this page, you’ll also find a list with inks to books, websites, and other resources mentioned in our conversation.
Cathy Duffy: The Queen of Homeschool Curriculum
While Cathy Duffy is the queen of homeschooling curriculum, this HomeSchool ThinkTank interview is about more than textbooks. During our conversation, we talk about the broader topics of homeschooling, public school, the role of government in education, and parenting.
In this day and age, at least in the United States, we tend to take homeschooling for granted. But there was a time, not so long ago, that parents weren’t sure if home schooling was legal.
In the 1980’s, parents across the United States began pulling their children out of school so that they could home school them. The term home schooling wasn’t common and most people didn’t know what it was.
Back then, home school was spelled as two words. Today, homeschooling is a common word and is usually spelled as one word.
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Watch the Video or Listen to the Podcast Episode
Cathy Duffy is among the pioneer homeschooling parents of America. In our conversation, she shares a wealth of knowledge and wisdom.
According to Cathy Duffy, “The things we [homeschooling parents] had to be concerned about were very different than now.”
Whether you watch the video or listen to this podcast episode, you’ll be fascinated by Cathy Duffy’s stories and learn more about the history of homeschooling and education.
Video Interview with Cathy Duffy
After clicking play, use the search button to quickly find anything that was mentioned in this conversation with Cathy Duffy.
In Our Interview with Cathy Duffy You’ll Learn…
- How she started homeschooling her kids in the 1980’s.
- About the roots of her website, Cathy Duffy Reviews. Hint, it started before the internet.
- Why her kids thought they might go to jail!
- How her children did unit studies (before there were unit studies).
- Why it was difficult to get curriculum and teacher’s guides.
- How pioneer homeschooling parents, like Zan and Joe Tyler, helped protect not only homeschooling rights, but parenting rights as well.
- How, from the beginning, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and Christian Home Educators Association (CHEA) were focused on family rights. In the 1980’s, many court battles were fought so that parents could legally educate their children from home.
- About the risks that parents took to home school their own children.
- How Cathy and her children had to be very careful about what they said to people when they were out and about during school hours.
- Why homeschooling freedom’s get whittled away when homeschooled kids partake in publicly funded education programs.
- How government schools were created so that government entities could control what children learned.
“Who gets to control what children learn controls the future.”Cathy Duffy on the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast.
In Our Cathy Duffy Video & Podcast Conversation, You’ll Also Hear About…
- Several books that homeschooling parents should read.
- How compulsory education laws were put in place to force those who didn’t conform to be like others.
- How homeschooling is also about family restoration.
- Why to embrace experiential education along with curriculum.
- How one of Cathy’s sons preferred to do math at night.
- About non-traditional online resources your kids might like.
- The differences between school and education.
- A conversation about doing school in the morning or later in the day.
- How schools waste time.
- Co-creating learning goals with your kids.
- Why starting college early could be a mistake.
Cathy Duffy on Organic Learning & Unit Studies
During our interview, we asked Cathy the following question.
“With your experiences from teaching your own children and your experience with reviewing so much curriculum, what strategies, what tips do you have for parents? Sort of in a nutshell?
I’m not a good one for most people to emulate because I really cobble things together.
I made up a lot of things from scratch.
We created unit studies from the beginning. Before there were units studies published out there, we were making up unit studies.
One of the things I wanted to do when we first started homeschooling, and again, you know, the kids were just so worried about the whole thing.
I said, ‘Well, we can go to the beach in September when the other kids are in school,‘ which we did.
And we lived close enough to the beach and I’d grown up near the beach. And that day, a school of dolphins swam by right off shore, which I had not seen before. They swam in close, just a whole big school of dolphins.
And so that raised some questions.
There were a lot of undestroyed seashells on the shore that day, which is unusual also. Usually they’re crumbs by the time they get on the shore here.
And so it just kind of dumped an oceans unit study in my lap because we had all these interesting questions from our day at the beach.
And I said, ‘Well, let’s go ahead and capitalize on that.’
So we got books from the library, read about Pagoo, the hermit crab, and some of these other things. We just had fun with it.
We learned about the ocean and about sea creatures and shells. It just kind of, it happened.
It happened very organically and we enjoyed learning that way. And so, we just continued to do that with a lot of other subjects.
I actually think that’s where the best learning comes in, is when it is more organic.Cathy Duffy. This conversation has been slightly edited for readability.
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Final Thoughts from Cathy Duffy
Near the end of the interview, Jackie asked Cathy this question, “Are there any parting thoughts that you have, any real messages that you want my listeners, the people who are following HomeSchool ThinkTank to hear?”
“I think the best advice I would have is to trust yourself, rather than other people telling you what to do.
You know your kids, you care about them more than anyone else does.
So trust yourself, your instincts with what your children are telling you, what you’re reading, you know, as you’re observing them.
You’ll learn from that and you’ll figure out what’s best to do that way, much more so than what a school is telling you to do you.
Don’t be afraid to jump ship from somebody else’s plan.
This is what we really should be wanting for our children. Not that they learn how to be consumers of learning, that’s spoon fed to them, but that they can know what they need to know, what they want to know, what they’re curious about.
They can go out and find that information. And of course it’s so much easier now than it was before to get information.”Cathy Duffy. HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast.
Podcast Episode with Cathy Duffy
This podcast episode is full of information and insight about homeschooling, parenting, and education. Listen to this fascinating interview with Cathy Duffy.
Resources Mentioned in the Cathy Duffy Podcast & Video Inteview
- Dumbing Us Down and more books by John Taylor Gatto
- Free to Learn by Peter Gray
- Teaching Textbooks
- Self-Directed Learning
Helpful Curriculum Information
Unit Studies and Books about the Ocean
- Unit Studies
- Pagoo the Hermit Crab by Holling C. Holling and Lucille Webster Holling
- More kids books about hermit crabs.
- Dolphin books for kids.
- Books about the ocean.
Articles About Education
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