There is no easy way to say it. A Trailblazer has crossed over. Her silence was noticed. Her wisdom will be missed. Susan Frederick has gone before us and will not be with us any more. While so many were busy helping those in need after Harvey, a giant among us slipped away. She died in October 2017, with only a private service for her family.
Susan was instrumental in the Texas Homeschool Community. She helped start Texas Advocates for Freedom in Education, fondly known as TAFFIE. When she brought in the online forums to the group, she revolutionized Texas homeschooling. Moms had a way, as we hid in our homes, to connect with each other, to ask those questions, to vent and to brag of our small triumph within our homes. We could discuss, organize and meet in ad hoc manners without formalized meetings and agendas. TAFFIE really did stand for Freedom, and it was all because a computer science Mom made the sacrifice to have servers in her living room, and using dial up, connected the whole state of Texas.
“TAFFIE – Texas Advocates For Freedom In Education – Texas homeschooling and resources. Taffie is the oldest Texas homeschool mailing list and networks with homeschoolers throughout Texas and beyond. Taffie has both an announcement list for events and a general discussion list. Our website includes resources, statewide events, and support group information. New listings for support groups and events are added on a regular basis”.
“TAFFIE is run by Susan Frederick (with lots of technical help from her husband Gary) and was started over 10 years ago. Susan is active in several local area support groups and many email lists. If you have questions or concerns, please contact her.”
“The Frederick family provides TAFFIE as a service to you with the purpose being to promote networking and the sharing of information among Texas homeschooling families. The Frederick family currently happily resides in the great state of Texas in the greater Houston area.”
Susan was in charge of many things. She also ran the largest Italian genealogy list in the nation. She and Gary also helped Robotics clubs get off the ground in Houston, doing teen workshops at the SETHSA conferences for several years. Susan was also responsible for the the annual Houston Rockets Homeschool Day, Toyota Center homeschool discounts, and homeschool theater discounts in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas.
I always loved the openness of the TAFFIE lists. Susan was very logical when all others were getting upset. I appreciated her balance when working through the flame wars of the day. Her intelligence was also there to be seen as she analysed and conveyed some of the events that were going on nationwide and in Austin.
Here is the introduction to TAFFIE, which showed the humor and friendliness of these transplanted Texians.
The TAFFIE mailing list is for anyone interested in topics related to homeschooling in Texas. While many of the topics are specific to Texas, there is also discussion related to homeschooling in general. We are now over a decade old, making us the oldest Texas homeschooling list.
The requirement to be on the mailing list is to live in Texas or to be an honorary Texan. If you are not sure if you live in Texas, go outside and greet the first person you see with a loud, cheerful ‘Howdy pardner’. If they respond in a positive way, you may be in Texas. If they do not respond, you may be in New York City.
Regardless of where you live, you qualify as an honorary Texan by saying
…’Howdy pardner ‘.
If you start your first e-mail to taffie with a ‘Howdy pardner’, you will become an honorary Texan (you can still go out and greet people with a loud, cheerful ‘Howdy pardner’ once you send the e-mail.)
Everyone was welcome, just be nice, and use netiquette.
Helen Hegener, Founder of HEM
I am very sorry to hear about Susan. She was a good friend and a strong ally in serving homeschooling families for many, many years. Please share my condolences with her family and friends.
She was such a strong advocate and one of the voices I associate with this list. My condolences to her family and friends.
Mike Wood in England
Very sorry to hear this. I hope people find a way to pass on my condolences to her family, a comrade has fallen.
Ann Zeise, A2Z Homeschool Founder
Susan was my go-to person for all things related to homeschooling in Texas. She helped ensure that my A2Z Texas links and info were correct.
Karen Taylor, moderator of HEM LIstserve
Susan was one who did post with regularity. What a loss for Texas homeschoolers and those who knew her. I’m sorry.
Doris in New Hampshire
Susan will be missed. She was always a strong voice from Texas.
This is terribly sad! She was one of the several people/advocates on this list that I would like (would have liked) to meet in person. Did not really talk to her directly but a couple times when I was helping out a couple people in Texas. Healing wishes to her family and friends.
I only knew Susan through this list and our email exchanges, and her energy and intelligence always impressed me. I, too, hope you can pass on my condolences and appreciation for Susan’s work.
She was such a nice person. I am so sad. Thank you for this information. I always enjoyed my conversations with Susan. Peace for us all.. Norma
Emilie aka em
I’m sorry to hear this. She could always be counted to keep a legislative lookout for TX hsers and to get the word out to every other hser.
Susan Ryan, Illinois blogger and advocate
So sorry to hear about Susan’s passing.. Best of wishes for her daughter, husband and family. Susan and family moved to Illinois many years ago for just a couple of years. She was such a great advocate here with her perspective. Wish we could have kept her, but she was happy in Texas.
For those who don’t know of her, Debbie did an interview with her a few years back and it highlights some of Susan’s accomplishments in keeping homeschooling fun and free for so many.
Kathyann from New Jersey
She was a great resource, and support, for folks all over, not just TX.
Please Feel Free to leave a comment for her family below.
She was amazing. I remember seeing her hard at work helping homeschoolers as a young HS mama in the early 2000’s – back when email was our only source of connection with homeschool groups. She will certainly be missed!!! Condolences to her family and friends. A huge cheerleader has gotten her wings… and she’s still cheering us all on!
I never met Susan in real life, but she was a firm fixture in my early homeschooling journey! Through Taffie, we found other homeschoolers, field trip groups, and friends. Through on line discussions, we clarified why we were doing this crazy thing in the first place and solidified our homeschooling ‘style.’ We are nearing the end of our 25 year homeschooling journey, and the support we got from Susan and the great groups she started are a big part of why we stick with it all these years!
Susan will be greatly missed!
Susan and I were friends for years, but had lost contact. I remember one phone call where she told about this thing called the internet and the World Wide Web. Thank you for letting us know that she passed.
Over many years, Susan became my friend. We seldom got to visit once our children grew older and our homeschooling activities changed, but we enjoyed catching up occasionally via the internet. Susan blazed many trails for home schoolers. From her in-depth research on topics to her TAFFIE group, she was a calm voice of reason in our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary and the family. RIP my friend. I’ve been missing you.
WOW! I’m shocked. Susan (whom I never met in person) has been such a big part of our homeschooling journey. Her platforms to promote, encourage and support homeschool freedoms along this journey have been such a blessing. I will miss our back and forth conversations especially during legislative session. She understood from FREEDOM from government intervention really meant.
Rest in Peace Susan and my condolences to her family.
Susan was a force to contend with. She was selflessly dedicated to protecting the rights of Texas homeschoolers, and she made sure Texas homeschoolers were connected and informed. She also organized so many events and clubs and got teams into competitions…if she was aware of a need for something – materials, opportunities – in the Texas homeschooling community, she got it done. So many people benefitted from her determination and skill.
She was such a fixture back then…really kept the spirit of homeschooling going for so many people. She was inspiring. And no nonsense! I am greatly saddened by the news of her passing.