Our Story Part 3- “Through the Years”


As I said in Part 2 of this series, homeschooling really took off and began to grow. We had a meeting in our basement helping others get started, but all over the country the same thing was happening. It wasn’t long before groups formed and homeschooling conventions, though really small at first started to spring up.

We had a lot of people asking us questions. We began to get some speaking engagements. People wanted to know why we focused on character building in training our kids and how we did it. “What about socialization?” was a big concern for many. We tried to answer questions, but soon forgot what we had told to who. Hence, our first book was The Socialization Trap.  We wrote it because of the growing concern in the country.

State homeschooling groups continued to emerge, and we started getting more requests for speaking. It wasn’t easy to travel with so many little ones still at home and more on the way, but we really felt God was calling us to encourage other parents. Hence, The Learning Parent was born- our ministry of parent encouragement.

We told others how we taught our kids, and as the years went by people asked if we could make materials available so they could glean from our experience and teach character to their kids as well. So we began producing character curriculum. Now, The Learning Parent, has produced a whole line of character curriculum and we call ourselves Character Concepts and provide curriculum from preschool through high school.

Anyway, I thought it might be kind of fun to give you a visual picture of how things developed through the years through a timeline.

I’m sure I’ll leave out some important details, but I hope you enjoy taking a peak at the Boyer family – then and now.

So here we go…..

July 1973–  Rick and Marilyn are married on a Sunday afternoon on her parent’s front lawn overlooking West Falmouth harbor.

September 1973– Rick ( a medic in the Air Force) is transferred to Tyndall AFB in Panama City, FL

Child Born – Richard Dean is born on Marilyn’s 20th birthday at the AF base hospital.

November 1974– We moved to Lynchburg, VA with our 1 month old baby for Rick to attend Lynchburg Baptist College (now Liberty University)

October 1975-Rick gets a job as a bloodhound handler for VA prison system (He loved training dogs and had some exciting times chasing escaped prisoners)

Child Born– Baby Timmy our second son is born

June 1976– We moved to our first little house- a little yellow FHA house in Concord, VA

Child Born– Our third son, Nathan makes his debut into the world. He was our first child to be born at home, Daddy attending.

Flashcards – I began illustrating Bible verses with stick figures on 5×7 index cards which I used as flashcards to teach my sons Scriptures pertinent to their character needs. Years later, my daughter Kate drew illustrations for me and they eventually became Making Wise Choices flashcards.

Hands on Character Building was in the making although we didn’t know it at the time. These projects were born out of asking God how to make Scripture real and practical in the lives of my little sons. I would ask God for creativity to make Scripture real for my little guys.  It wasn’t until 1985 that these projects used in training my little ones was turned into an actual book.

Child is Born–  Baby Josh is born, also at home. We now had four little boys 5 and under!

March 1980-We moved to Lynchburg, closer to work and church, to a rented house.

Sept. 1980– We began homeschooling! We had our two oldest boys in a wonderful Christian preschool, but traveling ½ hr each way necessitated keeping my two youngest boys in car seats for most of the morning. We decided next year, the kindergarten year for Rickey, we would try having me teach him at home. We didn’t know of anyone doing it, but God placed it on our hearts.

Child Born – Our first little girl– Katie Jean was born!

March 1982-We moved to our present home. We bought it fire damaged and fixed it up. Lots of work!

November 1982-Our first visit from the truant officer which began an incredibly tough time involving appealing before the school board and finally a judge. He said he would hear nothing about religion even though we were supposed to be protected by the religious exemption clause of the state of VA. Anyway, we were fined and told to put the kids in school. The Christian school where the boys had attended preschool allowed me to take my 5 children to a small extra room in the church and home school them under the church’s protection. I was pregnant with #6 and feeling very sick, but VERY grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Child Born- Our 6th child, Matthew John is born!

Winter 1984– Our state legislature passes a clearer home school law! Yeah! We can homeschool without worry! We also began a little meeting in our home of folks now interested in homeschooling their children and wondering how to begin. We put together a ‘How to Get Started’ manual to help folks which later was expanded, revised and turned into Home Educating with Confidence. We eventually had to turn leadership over to others as it outgrew our home. Homeschooling was mushrooming!

Proverbs People– About this time, I was looking for a Bible study for my boys that would be very practical, teaching them to use Scripture to change their thinking and hence the way they lived their life. I couldn’t find such a thing, so I wrote one. I looked up the different types of people represented in the book of Proverbs in my Young’s Concordance. For instance, there are 5 types of fools in Proverbs. One, the nabal or evil fool you are to have nothing to do with. The kesil or simple fool you are to teach and he will respond to teaching. It also helps them to see themselves in Scripture- slothful/diligent and the blessings on the diligent and end of the slothful man. This study was hand written on a piece of notebook paper for Rick. I used carbon paper to make additional copies for Tim and Nate. It wasn’t until 1995 that I turned it into a GBC bound book for others to use with their kids and named it Proverbs People Book 1. (and now it’s a whole curriculum)

Child Born–  Baby Emily Joy is born at home- our second little girl!

Baby Emily with big sister, Kate

Summer 1985– We began speaking at support groups about this time and others would ask us to tell them about our training projects we used with our children. I remember Rick coming home from work, and after supper we would go down to our little office. As I jiggled Emmy around on my hip, I would dictate to him the fun practical projects I had developed to use with our kids. He would type out directions on our little Brother typewriter. Each night we’d add a couple more projects to the file. When finally finished we entitled the manual Spiritual Training Projects and had it GBC bound to distribute to others. This eventually became Hands-on Character Building, a book chock-full of projects we’d developed to teach our children to internalize God’s Word. We didn’t turn it into a perfect bound book until 1996.

Child Born–  Baby Carrie Ellen is born, our last to be born at home, shortly after a huge snowfall and almost 3 weeks overdue!!

Baby Carrie with Emily

Spring 1987– Rick starts his drywall business.

Child Born– Baby Christa is born.

Baby Christa with Rick, Carrie, Josh

Child Born– Laura Noel is born almost 3 weeks late, hence her middle name. She was supposed to be born before Christmas, but came after!

Carrie and Matt delighted with Baby Laura

1989, Power in ProverbsAs our children approached the high school years we felt a need to write a study that taught them to use a concordance to dig insights out of Scripture, themselves, on a variety of practical topics. Again, as with most of our materials, our kids used hand written and later, typed, versions. It wasn’t until much later that we made the study available for use by others. I honestly can’t remember when I first put this study together, but it was when my oldest were in high school.

Child Born – Brittany Grace is born.

Daddy and Brittany Grace

Spring 1992– Rick wrote our first self-published title of a perfect bound book- The Socialization Trap, in answer to the crying concern of others- “What about socialization?” We also began writing for The Home School Digest about this time.

Child is Born – Tucker Sean is born- our 12th child and 6th boy.

Welcome, Baby Tucker!

November 1993– We began writing Yes, They’re All Ours as people were very interested in the fact that we had 12 children. We were interviewed by our local newspaper as someone had told them there was a family in town with 12 children. They were interested in the fact that we were writing the book. We finished and self-published it in 1994.

Spring 1994– We began speaking at a few state home school conventions. We did our first keynote and about every year after that we were asked to speak at least one or two conventions.

Approx 1995, Books published by GCB- We began selling our self-published books to Great Christian Books, a large catalog retailer. They soon offered to publish 5 of our books for us and did well until hard times came to their company after losing many books to a flood.

1996Hands on Character Building and Home Educating with Confidence were both sent off to press.

September 1996- Our son Josh was diagnosed with leukemia and began his 7 month battle.

Child is Born– Kelley Michelle, our 13th child is born 3 weeks after Josh is diagnosed. Kelley spent much of her first 7 months at UVA hospital with me and Josh.

March 1997– Josh is promoted to heaven.

Josh and Tuck shortly before Josh went to heaven

June 1997– Rick finishes writing The Runt an adventure story that teaches how God makes no mistakes in the way he creates each person.

1997- Rick also finishes The Hands-on Dad and we send it off to press. It tells the Biblical functions of a dad.

Child is Born– Kasey Lynne is born our last and biggest child- a whopping 9 lb. 15 ½ oz.

Baby Kasey with Mommy

Approx. 1998– GCB goes under and we get our rights back to Home Educating with Confidence, The Socialization Trap,  Yes, They’re All Ours, The Hands-on Dad, and Fun Projects for Hands-on Character Building (we change title back to Hands-on Character Building)

1999– We write Proverbs People Book 2, also initially created earlier for use with our own children. In this book our daughter Kate writes the example stories for us.

2002 – Rick joins Home Educators of Virginia as a board member.

2002 Proverbs for Preschoolers is written. This book later becomes a part of our Character Concepts for Preschoolers curriculum. It teaches letter formation and Bible verses with pictures to color by our daughter, Kate.

Marriage– Nate and Tina are married

Marriage– Rick and Christina are married

Marriage– Tim and Kari are married

Grandchild Born– Cassidy Lynn, our first grandchild is born to Tim and Kari

5 year old “Aunt Kasey” holding our first grandchild, Cassidy

August 2004– Marilyn completes Parenting from the Heart, her philosophy of rearing children by reaching their hearts. She wrote it in short chapters in short amounts of time, like while waiting for kids at the orthodontist’s office, at night when everyone was asleep, etc. She figured she could only write in short chapters and most moms could only read a short chapter anyway before being interrupted.

Grandchild Born– Luke Douglas is born to Rick and Christina

Baby Luke with Aunt Kasey

Marriage– Our daughter Kate is married to Kevin Brown.

Approx. 2005, Living the Fruitful Life What does God’s Word say about learning to apply the fruits of the spirit to your life? What is better time to get a handle on this than in the teen age years. I wanted my children to learn to cultivate the fruits in their everyday lives at this important time of life.

Grandchild Born–  All in one year, we added 3 new grandchildren to our family: Anne Pearl is born to Nate and Tina; Adam Michael to Tim and Kari; Melody Reagan to Rick and Christina.

Baby Anne with Nate and Tina
“Nana and Granddad” admiring new baby Adam
Sweet little Melody

Grandchild is Born- Lauren Elizabeth is born to Kate and Kevin

January 2009For You They Signed is self-published. Our family has been incredibly blessed by the ministry of Wallbuilders. In listening to David Barton’s presentation, he showed the picture of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and asked who could name more than 2 or 3 of the 56 men. I knew only 3. As he proceeded to tell some of the stories of their sacrifices for our freedoms, I was burdened that I must learn of their stories and tell my children and other people’s children as well. That began around a year of research (beginning in 2008) that was like uncovering precious treasure. As I looked back over my research, I was awestruck by the character of these men and turned this book into a year’s worth of character studies. Also astounding was the fact that most of these men were born again Christians by their OWN WORDS! I was inspired writing it and you will be inspired by their stories as you read it.

Grandchild Born– Patrick Cole is born to Nate and Tina

Us, with our 6th grandchild

March 2010Prepared for ActionThis book was written by our second son Tim. He felt compelled to share how he felt that being home schooled prepared him for action in the public arena, and active he has been! When he wrote this book he was married and had 2 little ones. He would get up early before going in to work for the day to share his message!

Grandchild is born: James Matthew is born to Tim and Kari

April 2010Crossroads of CharacterAs part of my preschool curriculum, I felt I must have a fun, colorful, yet effective book to capture the interest of preschoolers, one which presented the 12 character qualities taught in a way they could relate to….the result was Crossroads of Character. I used my grandkids as the subjects. My daughter Kate wrote the stories for me. I tell my grandchildren they have a ministry at their young ages with thousands of other children, helping them to make wise choices.

May 2010– Kasey, Kelley, and I begin interviewing World War II veterans. Watch for an upcoming title from us, with incredible true stories that are too inspiring to be lost to history.

Kasey and me with a wonderful veteran and godly man, Charles Reed

July 2010- For You They Signed is published by Master Books. in looking to enter the homeschooling market, Master Books approached Marilyn to see if she would let them publish For You They Signed, which presently we had self-published. Hoping it would take the book even beyond the home schooling market, we decided yes. This is a message that all Christians need to hear and share with non-Christians as well.

May 2010-Rick Graduates from Law school

December 2010Words of WisdomWe felt compelled to have our kids dig out insights regarding the use of their words. Words are powerful for good or evil and Scripture has much to say about them. If kids can get a handle on this in their junior/high school years, God will be able to use them to a much greater capacity. That’s why we chose to have them do this study!

Grandchild is born– Michael Benjamin is born to Rick and Christina

January 2011Growing in WisdomWhen my children demonstrated negative character qualities in their lives, I would look up Scriptures to address that need. Realizing that every negative character quality is just a positive character quality misused, I developed this study which had the kids search the Scriptures given to see what God said about what happens when you choose to cultivate the negative character, and His blessings on those who learn to choose wisely.

March 2011- Character Concepts for Preschoolers Mom’s Guide– I was challenged by young moms to write a preschool curriculum along the lines of how I taught my kids preschool. Most of the projects and concepts in this curriculum are what I used in teaching my own. It was quite an undertaking. My goal was to focus on character and make it FUN as well!

Marriage- Emily and Tim married

August 2011-Kids of CharacterThis study is designed to teach 7-11 year olds 45 basic character qualities and their practical application. It includes “If’s” a game we developed back in the 80’s to help prepare our kids to choose wisely in difficult situations we knew they were likely to face.

Sept. 2011Take Back the Land- After Master Books began publishing For You They Signed, Rick told them of his idea for Take Back the Land, a challenge to young people to step up and change the culture instead of “fitting into it”. They liked the idea and wanted to publish the title for him. (He began writing in spring of 2001)

November 2011Character Trails When I finished the preschool curriculum, I felt I needed to write another book for children- a little bit older -which taught 12 different character qualities and followed the theme of learning with “the cousins”  that was seen and well received in Crossroads of Character   So, it’s now a part of our Level 2 Character Concepts Curriculum for approximately ages 6-9.

Grandchild is born– Ella Rose is born to Nate and Tina

Baby Ella with her sister, Anne

February  2012- Portraits of IntegrityHaving written For You They Signed, Marilyn ran across so many inspiring stories from multiple time periods in history that she felt compelled to compile them into a volume to teach character and suitable for use as a family or as a part of Kids of Character-Level 3.

Grandchild is born– Lainey Ruth is born to Tim and Kari- giving them 2 girls and 2 boys.

Grandchild is born– Autumn Geneva is born to Rick and Christina, on Thanksgiving Day, 2 months early

May 2013Profiles of Valor goes off to press: 40 true, inspiring, and mostly forgotten stories from the War of Independence. When I was doing research for For You They Signed, I ran across so many inspiring stories of people who weren’t signers but had such awesome stories I just had to find a way to share them with you too!

Grandchild is born -Baby Lynn is born to Nate and Tina giving them now 3 girls and a boy

March 2016–  Rick launches the Uncle Rick Audio Club  For years now, Rick, known as Uncle Rick to the kids, has recorded first Scripture to help kids hide God’s Word in their hearts and now history and adventure as well to help kids learn our godly heritage. So much of our history has been lost, but it’s so exciting to be able to find it and share with young folks. It is our desire that God will use many of them to help our country return to it’s godly roots and inspire kids to attempt great things for God. It is Rick’s passion to help kids become all God has for them. He also posts on the Uncle Rick blog within the site to teach character lessons as well as history to his “little buddies.” Be sure to check it out. Let Uncle Rick teach history to your kids.

Marriage– Matt and Vanessa’s are married on a pretty day in April.

Marriage– Daughter, Christa and Ethan are married on an icy cold day in January.

Grandchild is born– Baby Paul is born to Rick and Christina. They now have 3 boys and 2 girls.

Big brother, Michael, with Baby Paul

March 2016The Fight for Freedom is released- Master Books contracted with Rick and I to write 2 history books for use in 4-6 grade. We did a lot of our research using primary sources and text books written in the 1800’s. We learned so much by writing them. Judge Roy Moore read them both and blessed us by saying every Christian home needed to have these books. He gave them to his son who was entering West Point to read. So, they can be used as history curriculum or family reading. This one is written as biographies of men and women who helped to found our nation and tells inspiring stories of their lives that our great grandparents all knew, but we don’t remember as a nation anymore.  We’ve done our little part to bring them to light again.

March 2016-America’s Struggle to Become a Nation is released. This is the second history book Master Books asked us to write. It is written in story form and tells of the events and people during the War of Independence, why it was fought, and how our nation developed the Constitution to be the law of our land. A whole section helps explain the Constitution. Chapters deal with the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. There is also a Teacher’s Guide.

May 2016-Character in Action- This is the third book in the Character with the Cousins series. It was born from wanting to show others how to actually take their kids with them and impact the lives of others. Yes, even kids can do that. The stories are true stories of “missions” I’ve taken my kids and grand kids on, and at the end of each chapter are lots of suggestions of other things we’ve done or plan to do. So, don’t know how to get your kids involved in serving others?? Here’s a good place to start.

Grandchild is Born- Baby John is born to Nate and Tina – now 2 boys and 3 girls. Patrick has a little brother!

Grandchild is born–  Andrew Eldon is born to Christa and Ethan- their first baby!


Marriage-  Laura and Alex are married – now we have 8 of our kids married.

Me with Laura before the wedding

June 2017– Rick and Christina are expecting baby number 6!

August 2017Uncle Rick is still busy recording for his little buddies. He just finished a book about the Old West written by Theodore Roosevelt. (yes, that Teddy Roosevelt who was president of the United States.) It’s so much fun finding these treasures to share with you from our website or as part of the audio club!

And here we are today.

I Hope you enjoyed the timeline!



Latest posts by Marilyn (see all)

About Marilyn

Marilyn is wife to Rick, Mom to 14 children, Nana to 22 grandchildren (and counting!) and homeschooler for 37 years. She and her husband own Character Concepts which they started for the purpose of helping others raise children with a strong, godly character and Biblical worldview.They have developed character curriculum from preschool through high school, based on what they found worked when teaching their own 14 children over the years. Her passion is to help young moms raise kids of character and enjoy the journey!

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