HTohm e Imespcehrfoeoclter
An interview with Barbara Frank
By Christine Field
Barbara Frank has
been around the
block. This homeschooling mom of
four has a passion
for encouraging the imperfect parent
(and that’s all of us) and equipping
our young people for the adult world.
She is the author of Life Prep for
Homeschooled Teenagers and The
Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to
Homeschooling. She also has a few
other ideas up her sleeve!
TOS: Welcome, Barbara! It’s so cool
that we live close enough to each other
to actually meet up once in a while. It’s
been a joy to get to know you! You’ve
been at this homeschooling thing since
the early 1980s. Have the challenges
we face as parents changed much
during this time?
Barbara: Yes! I think parents are
under much more pressure to put their
young children in school now, even if
their children are still toddlers. Add to
that the pressure parents are under to
get their kids ready for college,
starting in kindergarten, and I think
today’s parents are nearly over-
whelmed with pressure.
TOS: Tell us a bit about your family.
Barbara: Tim and I have been
married for twenty-nine years and
have four children who were homeschooled from birth through high
school. Sarah ( 25) is an artist who
works as a retail manager by day. Peter
( 23) graduated from college last year,
got married, and now works for
Concordia Publishing House. Mary
( 17) is a writer (working on her second
novel) who also loves to sew and play
the violin. Josh ( 15) is a video game
player extraordinaire who happens to
have Down syndrome.
TOS: Is there a story behind the idea
of “imperfect homeschooling”?
Barbara: As a firstborn perfectionist,
I’ve always put a lot of pressure on
myself, and that got worse once I
began homeschooling. I’d read stories
in magazines about large homeschooling families (ten kids, all
perfectly groomed and dressed alike!)
and felt inadequate in comparison.
But over time, as I watched my children grow, I learned that the success
of our homeschooling venture didn’t
depend solely on my efforts. God led
us to homeschooling, and then He
guided us through it.
TOS: The Imperfect Homeschooler’s
Guide to Homeschooling is a wealth
of information. I especially appreciated the chapter about overcoming
obstacles to homeschooling. What
obstacles have you personally faced?
Barbara: Like most parents, I’ve had
to overcome the habits and prejudices
I had from my childhood schooling
experience; those can be significant
for some people. Also, while I was
fortunate that I didn’t have overt resistance to homeschooling from relatives,
I do come from a volatile and pretty
dysfunctional family, and its dramas
were often disruptive as I tried to
maintain a peaceful home life where
my children could learn and grow.
Our biggest obstacle was probably
Josh’s birth. He arrived with several