We had the good fortune of connecting with Freya Fitzpatrick and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Freya, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started my own business because I wanted three things: 1) The ability to set my own schedule and calendar so that I could play an active role in our new grandchild’s life. 2) To teach students in the Bible Belt South within an atmosphere of support for ALL religions and world views – not just Evangelic Protestantism, without any proselytizing for any given world view. Especially in this clearly polarized era, I believe that understanding of others’ points of view and tolerance is a key ingredient to being a well-adjusted participant in modern society. 3) To blend academic excellence with support for neurological and learning differences. Typically schools that specialize in these areas tend to be either all about rigorous academic standards OR about accommodating learning differences. I believe that all types of learners can excel academically if that is their interest.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Before I ever attended school, I used to set up my dolls and stuffed animals as students and “teach” them. So, although as a youth I toyed with various other career paths, I’ve been so fortunate to know “what I wanted to be” from as early as I can remember. However, that doesn’t mean it has been a linear path! What life has taught me is to set clear goals and be, as my father says, “as flexible as a noodle” while working to achieve them. I almost dropped out of my education bachelor’s degree in the last semester because my practice teaching went quite poorly. An adult mentor, Carol Buss, jumped in and reassured me of my potential and helped me get to the right place for me. Thus I learned that just because something doesn’t look the way I thought it would, doesn’t mean I can’t still keep my primary goal. After finally getting my master’s degree, I unexpectedly ended up living in Sweden. So, instead of teaching in the small private school I figured I’d be in for the rest of my life, I ended up teaching in a bilingual program in a public school. So many new ideas and approaches in my previously comfortable educational world! Next course change was after having kids. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we ended up homeschooling. Me! A committed anti-homeschooler! This opened yet another new world of educational viewpoints and strategies to me. And, here I am now with my own business as hybrid school in Kennesaw, Georgia. So, life lessons: 1) Set goals. 2) Be flexible. 3) Be open to seeing things a new way. And this is part of what I stand for. Families who come to the Homeschool Consortium know that I will listen to them and work with what they need, adapting my lessons and assignments to meet their needs.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We love the Atlanta area! Stunning outdoor adventures are within an hour or so of the city. The area is richly multi-cultural. There are so many museums. Here’s my ideal itinerary for a visiting friend (assuming we could pretend that seasonality doesn’t matter and COVID hasn’t closed things ;-). – Gibbs Gardens in the spring for the 100s of 1000s of daffodils plus the Japanese Garden. This could be a leisurely half-day visit followed by coffee outdoors in Marietta at Cool Beans coffee in the late afternoon. – The next day we could hit two outstanding Civil Rights sites. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is truly thought-provoking and very interactive so you feel immersed in the experiences of the Civil Rights Movement. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park is another deeply moving and very interesting museum. We’d be sure to include a tour of his birth home. If we weren’t too tired, we’d hit The Wren’s Nest, home of Joel Chandler Harris the recorder of the Br’er Rabbit stories. There, we would listen to one of the gifted oral story tellers share one of these famous tales with us. On the north side of town, we’d definitely eat that evening at the Orient Express, which includes an old rail car as part of the restaurant. Their hibachi is outstanding. – Day Three – It’s time to head out into the hills of North Georgia. We’d take an all-day hike at The Falls on Mill Creek which are accessed from the Hickey Gap Campground. It’s a remote area so, unlike at the well-known Amicalola Falls, we’d be able to immerse ourselves in nature without droves of tourists surrounding us. That evening, back in the Marietta area, we’d head to Stockyard Burgers and Bones where I’d urge my friend to try their lamb burger. – Day Four- We’d be sure to visit the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. It is a stunning Hindu place of worship. We’d follow-up with a meal on the opposite side of town at Swapna Indian Cuisine. I’ve tried quite a few Indian restaurants, and this is hands-down my favorite. – Day Five – We’re probably running out of steam by now, so we’ll stay really local but get outdoors again at the Kennesaw National Battlefield. After a leisurely paced climb up Kennesaw Mountain for a stunning view of Atlanta, we’d stop at the visitor’s center and learn a lot about the Civil War in this area. That afternoon we’d have a late lunch at Douceur de France for mouth-watering authentic French pastries. – Day Six – If we aren’t ready for total collapse, we’d head to the German town of Helen in North Georgia. It’s a (touristy) gem of German architecture, shopping and cuisine. The village is easily walkable in under 4 hours. We could stay and go on a hike at Anna Ruby falls nearby, but seeing as we’ve been on the go all week, we’d head home with and end the evening at Marietta Perks, a coffee shop with a lovely relaxed atmosphere. I’d urge my friend to order the incomparable. iced green tea matcha with lavender. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The people who have made it possible for me to be where I am today are my husband Daniel, my adult daughters, and the families and students I teach. – My husband is unstinting in his support of what I do with and for my business. In addition he encourages me when I’m down and makes me realize I can indeed believe in what I’m doing. – My daughters are straight up cheerleaders and listening ears. – The students I teach and their families are simply the very best. They are kind, appreciative, considerate, cooperative, communicative, supportive. If we run into a snag, parents and students alike jump in to volunteer as needed. Parents work WITH me as the teacher of their kids. I know this happens with some parents in some schools, but I am blessed to be able to count on the fact that the parents and I are on the same team, working together to do what’s best for their kids. The many sweet and thoughtful things they say and do for me lift me up every day.

Website: https://thehomeschoolconso.wixsite.com/website

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/freyafitzpatrick/

Twitter: twitter.com/thehomeschoolc

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheHomeschoolConsortium

Image Credits
Steve Bick and Ramona Young

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