Mary Griffith (she/her) is a semi-retired part-time writer whose experience raising her daughters led to several books about homeschooling and unschooling, and more than fifteen years working as a volunteer with USA Fencing, the national governing body for the Olympic sport. She’s now channeling her fury at current events into local civic and political activity.
Before her fascination with fencing and fencing people took over her life, Mary’s first book for new and prospective homeschoolers, The Homeschooling Handbook: From Preschool to High School, a Parent’s Guide, was published by Prima Publishing in January 1997, and went to four printings within its first year of publication. The revised 2nd edition was published in the spring of 1999 and went to a second printing within 8 days of its release.
The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom was released in May 1998. Focusing on the idea that children learn best when they pursue their own natural curiosity and interests, it offers plenty of useful ideas and resources for an informal, unstructured approach to education.
Since the PenguinRandom House conglomerate acquired Prima some years ago, both books have been published by Three Rivers Press, an imprint of Crown Books. In addition to their print editions, both The Homeschooling Handbook and The Unschooling Handbook are available as ebooks.
Mary published her last homeschooling book, Viral Learning: Reflections on Homeschooling Life, in August 2007. It looks at homeschooling—and learning and life in general—from the perspective of long-term homeschoolers, including many who contributed to her earlier books. Viral Learning is available from Lulu.com in both print and epub editions, and can be ordered from your favorite bookseller.
Following her involvement with fencing, Mary helped local businesswoman (and 2018 Assembly candidate) Jackie Smith wrestle her experiences at the 2017 Women’s March and how she got there into a story and ended up as co-author of Tales From the Ironing Board: Hillary Clinton, the Inauguraton, the Women’s March, and Me.
She was also long-time activist with the HomeSchool Association of California (HSC), the state’s oldest secular homeschooling organization. She served several terms on HSC’s board of directors, and was editor of its bimonthly California HomeSchooler for four years. She has been a frequent speaker at homeschooling conferences and other events, on such topics as unschooling, learning to live with homeschooling, parental panic attacks, and homeschool advocacy.