Many of you who follow this blog, know us- The Boyers. Maybe you’ve heard us speak at homeschooling conventions in your state (perhaps we’ve met you there!) or maybe you have used some of our Homeschooling Character Curriculum or listened to an Uncle Rick audiobook. Or maybe you just know us as ‘that family with 14 kids who were all homeschooled.’
But, I suspect many of you don’t know the story of how we got started in home education, which eventually led to us having a chance to know many of you!
Nowadays, the fact that we chose to homeschool our kids doesn’t seem all that out of the ordinary. Happily, lots of people do it.
But, in the early years- back in the 80’s- it definitely wasn’t viewed as ordinary! So, why did we do it? Just what got us started on this crazy 37 year journey of homeschooling?
Well, here’s our story…
Back in 1979, we were attending a small church that was just starting a wonderful Christian school. We had 4 kids at the time. Our two oldest were 5 years and 3 years old. Preschool was just starting up and we had a sweet teacher who focused on teaching character as well as academics to the kids. We placed Rickey and Timmy in preschool that year and were delighted with how they were being taught.
By the second half of the year however, God pricked my heart, impressing upon me that little Nathan and Josh, who were 2 years and 5 months old had to spend a large part of their day strapped into their car seats to make the journey to drop the boys off in the morning and then pick them up around noon. We lived a half-hour from church, so basically we were home for only an hour before we had to load up and pick up their big brothers. We were travelling 2 hours a day just to transport them to and fro.
I loved being with my babies and I longed to regain that lost time in transportation. One day I hung around the school and just observed what the teacher did. I was very pleased with it, but as I pondered the situation, I felt like God was impressing on me that perhaps I should try to teach them myself at home. At first I dismissed the idea, but you know how it is when God wants you to do something. You keep thinking of it, can’t shake it. The next year, Rickey would be in kindergarten and attend 5 days a week and Timmy still just 3.
So…. that summer I broached the idea to Rick. He listened. I’d been to college to become a teacher, although I’d never finished, but I loved teaching. He was thoughtful, then said, “Well, it’s just for a year, right?” And I said, “Yes, just for a year.” So we went to the headmaster of the school and told him what we were thinking. He was very supportive. He said, “Well, it’s just for a year, right?” and we said, “Right.”
Well, that’s what we thought!
He helped us purchase curriculum. This was back in 1980. NO curriculum supplier would sell to someone who was homeschooling. The term “homeschooling” had never been used back then. We didn’t know of anyone else who had done it in the present day.
I was so excited. We had just sold our little yellow house in the country and moved into a subdivision in town. We had a little money with which to purchase supplies. We bought, of course, a chalkboard, little “school” tables and chairs, a bulletin board, and our books. Having been to teacher’s college, I thought you HAD to have chalkboards and bulletin boards. (You really don’t have to , as I learned later on, but it was kinda fun obtaining all that stuff and the kids enjoyed helping do the bulletin boards each month!)
Well, I LOVED it. I was so astounded as to how fast they learned. Rickey, went through both the kindergarten curriculum and first grade that first year! I LOVED being there when the kids caught on to a new concept, seeing the delight in their eyes when they learned new things. It was some time during that first year that I thought, why should I ever send them back to school? I want to direct their learning and encourage their joy and just be with them.
So, next year, guess what? We kept them home.
But, the following year however we had an unwanted “adventure” that changed everything.
Next time, I’ll tell you all about it…..