Farrar Williams and Jill Harper
Farrar Williams is a longtime educator who left the classroom to homeschool her twin sons. She’s now more than ten years into her homeschool journey, and is excited to be helping others individualize education for their own families.
Farrar received her undergraduate degree in history from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and her master’s degree in education and teaching from Goddard College, where she focused on alternative approaches to education. She has been lucky enough to have a wide variety of experience in the classroom, including teaching at a traditional public high school and at an elementary school in China.
She spent the longest part of her career at a small Quaker middle school that catered to kids who didn’t fit into traditional schools, and Farrar continues to bring the core educational values of Quaker education — a strong emphasis on the child as an individual learner with individual needs, and on education as an ongoing process, not as a product — to her work.
Farrar doesn’t believe that any one approach or curricula is right for all families. She has an extensive knowledge of different curricula, resources, and philosophies, and has developed her own curricula. She also has experience with alternative forms of assessment. Crafting individualized plans and routines that really work is a particular passion of Farrar’s. She is an expert on children’s and young adult literature, and on incorporating good books into learning.
Farrar is the author of Tweens, Tough Times, and Triumphs: Homeschooling the Middle Grades. She currently teaches theater locally as well as a high school course based on the humanities core she wrote for Simplify, Global Perspective Studies.
Jill Harper is an educational consultant and homeschool expert who is passionate about educational choice and finding a path that works for each individual student. She has been homeschooling her own children since 2003 and has been an advocate in the homeschooling community for years. She was a founding member of SEA Homeschoolers, a national support group for secular homeschoolers, and has been blogging for years at TAD Town.
Jill began breaking away from the educational norm and deciding her own path when she took the California High School Proficiency Exam at age 16 and enrolled in community college. From there she went on to the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with honors with a B.A. in film studies. She completed the multi-subject credentialing program from National University.
Jill is well-versed in all things related to homeschooling including the various curriculum choices and homeschool styles. She is an expert in the area of homeschooling gifted students, twice-exceptional students, and students with disabilities, including both learning and physical.
Jill has extensive knowledge in helping homeschool families navigate the college application process. She has been counseling parents and students since 2016. Over the years she has become very familiar with all areas of the college application process and especially enjoys working with families to make sure their homeschooler’s unique story is presented to the colleges and universities they apply to.
Jill has experience working on transcripts and course descriptions specifically for homeschoolers. She is also familiar with everything related to financial aid including the FAFSA, the CSS Financial Aid Profile, and for California students, the CalGrant. She is very familiar with different college applications including the Common App, the UC application, The Coalition App, and for low-income, high achieving students, the QuestBridge Application.
Outside of Simplify, Jill teaches on Outschool. She loves to lead book clubs for homeschoolers and has been doing so for over ten years. In addition she is an educational consultant for Global Data Labs providing support for an upcoming global educational platform.
Jill has been through the college application process with her two oldest children and is getting ready for her youngest to go through it soon. She currently lives in Virginia with her youngest son and her much-loved dog Kingsley.
October 25, 2020
12:10pm EST/9:10am PST
How to Plan for College Without Letting It Destroy Your Approach to Education
As homeschool parents of older students get closer and closer to high school and college, they often find their previous commitment to providing a rich, engaging, unique education falling by the wayside as they worry about satisfying requirements and saving money. In this session, we’ll talk about why high school is not the time to give up on your educational goals. Student-led learning, big projects, unusual explorations, a classical focus, or any other approach you have can work with requirements. Not only that, but being unique and going deep can help your student both as a lifelong learner and as a college applicant. We’ll talk practically about how to implement the dynamic, outside the box high school experience you envision without letting worry force you and your student into compromising your goals.