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The Titus Brigade - An Interview with Dr. Mary Hood

The Titus Brigade - An Interview with Dr. Mary Hood

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"We want to encourage younger mothers to take control of their own homeschooling efforts, to relax and enjoy their families, and to stand up to the frequent pressures they are facing now from outsiders and the educational bureaucracy."
"We want to encourage younger mothers to take control of their own homeschooling efforts, to relax and enjoy their families, and to stand up to the frequent pressures they are facing now from outsiders and the educational bureaucracy."

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Published by: The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine on Jan 15, 2013
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The Titus Brigade
 
An Interview With Dr. Mary Hood
 
Liz Koon
 
TOS:
In the summer 2011 issue of 
The Old Schoolhouse
®
Magazine
, we had an interview
with you that discussed relaxed homeschooling in general. Today, we’d like to learn a little
more about your
organization, especially the new project you’ve begun called “The TitusBrigade.” First, can you remind people what you mean by relaxed homeschooling and tell us
a little about your organization?
 
Dr. Hood:
To me, relaxed homeschooling is a mindset, not a philosophy. It is simply ameans by which families can take charge of the education of their children, while doing it ina family-centered atmosphere, where the children are treated as individuals. These are thebasic tenets: You are a family, not a school
; you’re a mom, not a teacher; you’re a dad, not
a principal; and you have individual relationships with your children, not a classroom. We donot consider ourselves unschoolers; we just believe in setting our own goals and losing allthe assumptions we are bringing with us from an institutional school setting.
 
TOS:
What is the name of your homeschool organization?
 
Dr. Hood:
Our organization is called
ARCHERS for the Lord
, which is an acronym for theAssociation of Relaxed Christian Home Educators, and also comes from Psalm 127, aboutchildren being arrows in our quivers. We are a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization based inAtlanta, but we are trying to help people start programs all over the country. We had onelarge resource center in Atlanta for nine years but shut it down in 2006 in order to try totrain and plant more programs, rather than just focusing on one area.
 
TOS:
What is the Titus Brigade?
 
Dr. Hood:
 
The Titus Brigade is our new mentoring program. We’re just beginning, hoping to
help many young homeschooling moms connect with older, more experienced moms in theircommunities.
 
TOS:
What inspired you to create the Titus Brigade?
Dr. Hood:
A group of experienced homeschoolers were sitting around one day bemoaning
the “old days” at the start of the
homeschooling movement, when there were fewerresources but much more creativity and genuine homeschooling taking place. We weretalking about how the younger moms often seem to be floundering, asking questions that
we’ve answered years ago, and we realize
d we needed to make use of the tremendousresources available in the older moms who are just completing their homeschooling journey.
 
TOS:
How will the Titus Brigade help younger moms who are homeschooling right now?
Dr. Hood:
We want to encourage younger mothers to take control of their ownhomeschooling efforts, to relax and enjoy their families, and to stand up to the frequentpressures they are facing now from outsiders and the educational bureaucracy.
TOS:
How have older women been mentors to you?
 
Dr. Hood:
I started homeschooling in the first place due to an article in
The BirminghamNews
. That was back when homeschooling was illegal. The courage of those women, beinginterviewed in public, was largely responsible for my becoming a homeschooler. You never
know how much influence you might have in another’s life. Those women started my owncrusade for homeschooling, and I know I’ve in turn helped hundreds of homeschoolers over
the years. If they had just sat in their houses and been silent, things could have worked outvery differently.
 
TOS:
Why should older women get involved in the Titus Brigade?
 
Dr. Hood:
 
It’s very fulfilling to be able to share the knowledge we’ve developed over the
years with others. Plus, it will keep us young if we stay involved with younger families!
 
TOS:
What benefits are there for inexperienced moms to be involved in the Titus Brigade?
 
Dr. Hood:
In our society, many times younger moms are away from their own mothers, ortheir own mothers may have different ideas about education. It always helps to ask
questions of someone who has “been there, done that.” 
 
TOS:
What types of programs do you suggest for people who want to become mentors?
Dr. Hood:
As far as the Titus Brigade goes, we recommend that a group start with putting
on programs, such as a “back to school information night” for the community; a monthlymom’s night out program where the younger moms can be assured of the presence of at
least one older, more experienced mom; and possibly partnering specific people in amentoring relationship, if someone has the time and energy to coordinate that.
TOS:
If someone is interested in getting involved with your organization, how can she getstarted?
Dr. Hood:
In order to be involved with ARCHERS as a part of the Titus Brigade, the process
is extremely simple. Start by contacting me via email. We’ll ask a few questions to get some
basic information about the leader. Then we recommend the leaders/mentors get some T-shirts from us (available from our website) and begin some of the programs listed above. If the group takes off and wants to become an actual ARCHERS support group, there is aslightly more involved process, but basically we operate a lot like
La Leche League
. Weneed to get to know the leader very well in order to be able to trust her with day-to-daymanagement of the group. The main benefit of being an ARCHERS group is that thebureaucracy is already in place at the national level, so it frees the moms up to just havefun with each other, without a lot of organizational hassle at the local level.Keep in mind that all money donated to ARCHERS or money spent on books and CDs on ourwebsite goes directly into the development of more programs, and that donations are tax-deductible, minus the cost of any products that are received. If a group wants to order morethan two T-
shirts, email us and we’ll work out a reduced price for larger quantities.
 
One of the best ways to get things started in your own community might be to invite me tospeak at a fair or come to do one of my own Relaxed Home Schooling workshops. That way,I can get to know the prospective leader, and we can find a few others who are interestedto get you started. This should never be just a one-woman show.
TOS:
Are you working on any other projects right now?
 

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