Tiffany Orthman Shares What It Takes To Be A Well Planned Gal and Homeschool Educator
During my most recent trip to California, I had the opportunity to catch up with a longtime friend over lunch. An integral part of that conversation, no surprise, was how or two broods of children were doing and in fact, what each was doing currently.
As we moved from one to the other, my friend shared with me a phenomenon that I had not heard about before taking place among the wealthy and celebrity-based communities out there. She, herself, became educated to it through her daughter, a certified teacher who was hired straight out of college to homeschool a very well-known celebrity's children.
What my friend described could be likened to centuries ago when aristocrats and elite hired in-home private tutors to educate their children. Talk about widening the education gap within our country between the have's and have not's even more. And yet, I can't blame them. Public education across the United States needs a severe overhaul. It is the reason so many mothers have chosen to homeschool their children rather than send them to their local schools.
Needless-to-say, as I continued to listen, my thoughts turned to Tiffany Orthman, a work-at-home mother, second generation home educater, curriculum coordinator and blogger for Well Planned Gal. Tiffany made me think further about where our public education challenges and woes has landed us and the unique twists all kinds or parents are coming up with to improve the intellects of their children. Their is a great deal of opportunity for growth in her interview below. I recommend you grab it and learn something new and valuable today.
What is your personal mantra?
Two sayings from my family come to mind. First, the biggest mistake you will ever make is to think you will never make one. The second, you can learn something from anyone in the world; everyone has value.
Share a bit about your personal and professional life?
I am a work-at-home mom and a second-generation home educator. I work as a curriculum coordinator Well Planned Gal; it is my job to find the best homeschool products and develop ways for home educators to use them. I also teach English as a second language to Chinese students online through 51 Talk. Outside of work hours, I teach a 4th grade, 2nd grade, and kindergarten while keeping the toddler out of mischief.
Compare public education to homeschooling, including pros and cons.
First of all, the decision to homeschool your children or send them to public school is a family decision; and that decision may change in different stages of life. It is possible to receive a good education from either one. Some advantages of homeschooling include flexibility of hours, an individualized education, and more time with family. Disadvantages include cost, limited access to things like lab supplies and sports, and sometimes decreased socialization. The advantages of public school are lower cost, more access to things like testing services and drivers education, and more help with the college admission process. Disadvantages include a rigid schedule, a one-size-fits all education, and a sometimes unsafe environment. But whether parents choose homeschool or public school, the most important thing is that they stay involved with their children every step of the way.
You are a curriculum developer for Home Educating Family Association? Share the story behind how this came to be, including why you wanted to join this organization.
Well, I had recently received my Masters degree and I was looking for ways to get into the homeschool market. When Well Planned Gal started a product review team, I volunteered. After about a year, I was hired to work on a short-term research project. Meanwhile, I began writing my own lesson plans to use with my sons. When I shared what I was doing with the company, they asked if I would be willing to do more. That has led to a permanent position and a whole line of lesson plans and other projects yet to be revealed. The flexible hours and great coworkers has made this one of the most fulfilling jobs I have had so far.
What do you exactly do for HEDUA?
My work for Well Planned Gal is completely behind the scenes. For example, I worked for 18 months on Well Planned Lessons; so it has been very exciting to see them go from the Google sheets that I created to the beautifully designed products the customer sees. We have a great team of editors and designers. There are several other smaller projects that I have been working on, but they have not been made public yet. Occasionally, I write an article about academics or developmental milestones, too.
What is the critical element educators overlook in the United States when educating children, your your opinion?
I feel that education in the United States would be much improved if children were viewed as individuals who need an individual education. They should be treated as whole persons that need to be exposed to philosophy, math, science, history, literature, music, and art. Rather than be filled up with facts, they should be given the desire to learn more and more.
Share a bit about your blogging activities?
Well....I tried starting my own blog shortly after I graduated. However, marketing and finding things to blog about is difficult for me. About the same time, I started working for Well Planned Gal. I function much better with specific assignments for blog topics that already have the Well Planned Gal audience waiting for them.
How has blogging changed your life?
Writing anything besides academic papers and spreadsheets stretches me; and I think that stepping outside of my comfort zone with writing projects gives me the confidence to try new things.
Share a social cause close to your heart?
I am a trustee for the Christian County Library in Missouri. I love being involved with spreading literacy in my community for people of all ages. My husband and I are also in Bikers for Christ, so riding the Harley is very close to both our hearts.
When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as someone who can be trusted to do the right thing, who tries to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and who improves other people's lives in any way I can.
The ingenuity of concerned parents - economically endowed or not - continues to floor me. The greatest hopes we have, individually and as a global community, lies in educating our children properly. I love this entire homeschooling practice and its newest derivative too. And I applaud Tiffany Orthman and Well Planned Gal for supporting it and taking the welfare of future generations and our planet, seriously. You, ladies and gentleman, are celebrities in my book!