The scope of the subject of homeschooling is so broad that it is hard to know how and where to even begin an article, so I’ll open with how our family’s journey commenced in 1982.
In the Fall of that year our sons, Sean and Finn, were four and two. We had enrolled Sean in a K-4 program at a local Christian school. Three days a week, three hours a day. The year before, he had attended the same school, K-3, two days a week, three hours each day. The earlier, the better, was my husband’s and my way of thinking at that time.
One of those mornings, while Sean was at school, the two-year-old Finn was playing, and I was ironing and listening to Dr. James Dobson’s radio program with his guest Dr. Raymond Moore, of whom I’d never heard, but who was a strong homeschool advocate, author of “Better Late than Early,” “Home Grown Kids,” and several other books on the general topic.
Everything Dr. Moore said made perfect sense, and that day I knew that’s what we needed to do! My husband Big Sean was more cautious, but heard me out, was fine with pulling Sean out of the K-4 program, allowed me to buy the first book mentioned, and six months later he and I went over to Brunswick, Georgia, to hear Dr. Moore speak in person on this homeschooling thing! After that, Big Sean said, only somewhat reluctantly, “OK. You can teach Sean at home for Kindergarten, but that’s all.” It was a one-year-at-a-time thing until the end of Sean’s third year of homeschool, when his daddy saw that it was a very good thing for us all in many ways, and we continued until both boys were through with high school studies.
Big Sean and I were, like our peers, products of local public schools. His parents were college-educated, as were Big Sean and his brothers. His mother taught in a public school until she married. My mother graduated from high school and my daddy went through the 6th grade. Both were readers. I graduated from high school and attended a local college for exactly two quarters, when I thought, “Good grief. I am miserable and this is ridiculous. I do NOT want to be here. I’ll just continue my little office job until I get married.” So I did. That’s all I ever wanted to do, be a wife and mother and keeper at home, which is the highest calling for a woman, according to Scripture.
I had never heard of teaching your children at home, unless it was in the context of what the Amish or Mennonites did. It was not a “thing” in those days. At first I used workbooks from the local dime store for Sean to begin learning to write and do easy arithmetic, etc, but there are dozens of things to learn just around a suburban house and yard. Everything in life can be a learning experience and wisdom and knowledge do not come from “official” textbooks and tablets.
Next article will be some of our reasons for teaching our children at home along with a few practical details regarding books, teachable moments, unit studies, and more.
Part 2 coming soon!
Katie O'Neal is a Georgia native living in the Heart of Dixie. She is a Christian, a widow, a mother, and a grandmother. She was a homeschool mama in the 80s and 90s, and is currently a homeschool grandma. She is rabidly in love with her immediate family, her blood kin, and her Southern folk and their history, culture, and future. She has been a reader from childhood. She is an agrarian-minded homemaker, and more…but this’ll do for now.