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Local shop offers support to homeschooling parents

By Jen Hirthe

DE PERE – The 2021-22 school year marks the third school year affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The uncertainty brought on by it, especially in regards to school, prompted some parents to turn to homeschooling.

And as more parents transitioned into becoming their children’s educators, resources like The Homeschool Loft on George Street in De Pere, have extended a helping hand to support them.

“We knew we wanted to somehow… serve homeschoolers in the greater Green Bay area, but not knowing exactly how our vision would unfold,” Jenny Tetzner said.

Tetzner said the Homeschool Loft is a continuation of her family’s commitment to homeschooled, continued learning.


Tina Hollenbeck, a homeschooler herself, said she informally consulted homeschooling parents for several years, meeting with them in coffee shops and running small-group gatherings.

Though Teztner and Hollenbeck both homeschooled their children, they had never been involved in the same groups or activities.

That all changed in March 2021 when the two connected on Facebook.

A coffee and brainstorming date later, and the idea of The Homeschool Loft took off.

The homeschooling duo officially opened their doors on May 6, 2021.

Tetzner said the shop serves current and prospective homeschooling parents – especially those using Wisconsin’s home-based private education statutes.

She said state law differentiates homeschooling (a private educational endeavor) from virtual public-school-at-home (PSAH). 

Tetzner said the Homeschool Loft is not equipped to support those using PSAH programs.

COVID-19 pandemic

Though the Loft opened in the middle of the pandemic, Hollenbeck said it wasn’t started because of it.

COVID is not the only reason parents are choosing to homeschool,” she said. “In fact, homeschooling in Wisconsin has been a legal educational option since 1984, and the local homeschool community has been strong and vibrant for decades.”

However, Hollenbeck said the pandemic has prompted some parents to start homeschooling.

“Though the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has not yet published its statistics for the start of the 2021-22 school year, many parents visiting The Loft this fall have reported that they have just recently withdrawn their children from conventional schools,” she said. “Those currently considering homeschooling should know that they can legally pull their children from conventional school at any time… We can help with the process, but parents can help themselves by reading up on the Wisconsin homeschool law, which is also linked on The Loft’s website.” 

The shop

The Loft’s physical location, 421 George St., Suite 201, provides a space for the homeschooling duo to meet one-on-one with homeschooling parents, host book clubs and discussion groups and hold workshops and seminars.

The pair also consults with parents via local house calls, Zoom meetings and phone calls.

In addition, The Loft houses a curriculum-viewing library containing hundreds of books, through which parents can browse as they consider resources to use with their children.

And the Homeschool Loftcast, a podcast produced by Tetzner’s homeschool-graduate son, Noah, drops episodes every Friday morning.

Regular weekly office hours are held Tuesday mornings, Wednesday afternoons and Thursday evenings. Specific times are available on the website at: homeschoolloft.com.

Appointments, Hollenbeck said, can be set up at other times, as necessary. 

The new term of weekly and monthly groups begins in the new year, including:

• Lofty Learners, which meet on the first Wednesday of every month, with a focus on parents of children with special needs.

• Lofty Readers, which gathers on Tuesday evenings through May. The group will focus on a book called “Homeschool Bravely” by Jamie Erickson.

• Lofty Guild, held on the third Wednesday of the month, is an open-ended time of general discussion about anything related to homeschooling.

Tetzner said her husband, Joel, and Hollenbeck’s husband, Jeff, are a big part of The Loft, and have been very supportive in its mission.

Jeff Tetzner designed The Loft’s logo, and when needed, Joel Hollenbeck co-produces The Loftcast.

Jenny Tetzner said Jeff and Joel also hope to launch a regular dads’ group – Lofty Dads – in the next few months.

A new seminar this spring will feature a panel discussion featuring homeschool graduates.

“Though every human being has a unique life story, it helps in terms of homeschooling to hear from those who’ve already graduated and are living productive adult lives,” Hollenbeck said.

She said the seminar will feature homeschool graduates across a wide age span who’ve pursued a broad variety of post-secondary pathways.

To extend its reach even further, Tetzner said the Homeschool Loft hopes to host a homeschool moms’ conference in late 2022 or early 2023.

More information will be released as it’s available on the Homeschool Loft’s Facebook page.

The homeschooling pair said they have been thrilled with the responses to The Homeschool Loft’s opening.

They said they are happy to serve all who contact them, stop in to chat, and/or attend group meetings and seminars.

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