Keith and Amy Hussar are homeschooling parents living in central California. Keith is a park ranger in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Amy served in the U.S. Army and is a former trustee on the local school board. She works occasionally as a substitute teacher and volunteers in The American Legion (a U.S. veterans’ organization).
HSLDA: Keith and Amy, what does homeschooling look like for your family? What’s your favorite experience from it?
Keith Hussar: My best experience is that our children no longer dread learning—they are eager to learn.
Amy Hussar: What I most enjoy about homeschooling is the flexibility: we can go on field trips when and where we choose, and if we’re having an off day, we can put the books away and pick up the formal learning the next day. Having our boys at home means that I can meet each child’s needs.
HSLDA: Describe what you do in your jobs.
Keith: I ensure public safety on federally owned lands, provide assistance to park visitors, provide first aid to injured visitors, and aid in rescues of stranded visitors.
Amy: I think my job of substitute teacher is pretty self-explanatory! In The American Legion, I currently serve as the District Commander, and I am also my post’s adjutant (secretary). My work involves team building, advocacy, running meetings, service projects, and paperwork management, among other things. All of what I do is very self-driven—I like to create the opportunities and invite others to join in.
HSLDA: What inspired you both to enter public service?
Keith: Personal choice driven by an internal feeling that everyone should serve the country that they live in.
Amy: I first joined the Army Reserve after my second year of college. Not only did I have a desire to serve my country, but I was feeling a bit lost in the world of academia, and I wanted to feel like I belonged somewhere. While I did not get to serve a full tour due to injuries, my experiences served as a springboard in finding other ways to serve my community in the years since then.
HSLDA: What are the most challenging things you’ve had to deal with in your jobs?
Keith: The belligerence of people who do not want to follow safety rules.
Amy: It’s been a challenge to overcome things like language barriers and cultural differences. While serving as a trustee, I encountered people who did not like that I held views different from their own. While some experiences were stressful, they have also helped me to fine-tune my perspective and improve my critical thinking and public speaking skills.
HSLDA: What are your best experiences as public servants?
Keith: Inspiring young minds to be conscious of the natural world and its wonders.
Amy: My favorite experiences in teaching and tutoring came as I helped students work through their obstacles and helped them realize that they could do something. And as a Legionnaire, it’s always a great feeling when I’ve been able to successfully help a veteran with a claim.
HSLDA: How can other homeschoolers reach their own communities through public service?
Amy: Public service can take many forms, including government offices, social service organizations, youth organizations, emergency services, libraries, and so on—and many of these have opportunities for youth to become involved.
HSLDA: Are there resources you recommend for teaching students about public service?
Keith: Arrange visits with various public service organizations. Most public service organizations will gladly work with interested parties to ensure an understanding of how they conduct business. And ask about volunteer opportunities!
Amy: I am passionate about civic education, and there are a variety of resources out there that can assist with teaching. The best way I’ve been able to accomplish civic education in my home is to approach the organizations directly. Nearly all of them have staff or volunteers (or both!) that are happy to answer my kids’ questions and make them feel welcome.
I’ve also encouraged my kids to speak out at public meetings about the issues they are passionate about. This means they occasionally speak before the city council, or make a visit to our state assembly member’s office. Our family reads a lot, but we also watch the news on TV and listen to it on the radio when we are in the car. Whenever they hear issues of interest, the boys are encouraged to start a discussion. That can lead to so much more.
Many thanks to Keith and Amy for sharing their story! This interview is part of our Homeschool Helpers series, which highlights homeschool graduates and parents across the nation serving their communities as public servants. If you’d like to read more inspiring stories, click here.
Photo Credit: First image graphic design by HSLDA. | Interview Edited by Peter Forbes.