|We didn't have a word for what we did. If
someone asked I simply said, "I teach her at home." There was
no one in the area who could be consulted about anything. Mostly people
in our little town were too polite to say to our face how they felt
about my little daughter not going to public school. They knew I had
struggled with two children through the schools and maybe because of
this they were kind.
It was ironic; because, we had fought so
hard to get my girl in the wheel chair into a classroom. She was before
special education. The dragging her chair up and down flights of stairs
was something I did, while I was young and strong. Mostly folks looked
at me like I had two heads as I was doing this, but I was driven.
"If she can just learn to read," I told myself. Even when
special education came into being there was such a feeling about it.
These were the difficult times.
In those days my son was just considered
to be, "busy." He always got along well with the teachers and
people at school and because of this no one seemed to worry he wasn't
getting everything out of school he should have been, maybe if nothing
more than just a love for learning. He was a happy person full of a love
for life, so we didn't worry about it.
Before my last child was born I began to
be interested in a group then called, "The Teacher's Dropout
Center," out of one of the leading universities back east. I was
actively corresponding with them. They sent me reading, book lists, and
I began to read, read, read, about their disagreement with methods of
teaching. These were teachers who had their doctorates, and were not by
any stretch of the imagination, anything but brilliant. As I read book
after book I began to become uneasy about what I had so actively
supported with my first two children.
At this time with the birth of my last
little girl, I became very ill. This was quite a different life for me,
since I had always had the very best health. When I came home with the
last surgery my doctor had warned me, "If you take care of
yourself, and you live for nine months, you will live." His honesty
and severe reprimand worked and I became very aware of what I had been
doing wrong in my life as to stress. Like Don Quixote charging windmills
to force special education, always pushing, running, working with my art
along with a very active little boy and a child in a wheel chair had
taken its tole on me and I was very sick.
Armed with this new found gift of life I
made up my mind to teach my third child myself and this is what
happened. It was my promise to myself and to my creator, life would be
treated as a gift. This gift was to be protected, cared about, loved and
Kay, my youngest child, was zipping along
on her roller skates with her book on the alphabet in her hand, busily
drawing the letters, cursive, in the air with her hand just as we had
been taught to do with my handicapped daughter's special education. She
handled the skates so well it was a study for a painting. There she
would be unconcerned about what was going on with her roller skates,
bending at the waist, twirling easily around a corner, braking to a
stop, and again easily gliding off in a new direction. All this while
she learned her alphabet, and how to write cursive at the same time.
Bent in the middle, elbows on the table,
still on her skates, studying the teacher's manual herself as she was
now able to read it by herself, Kay would be determined to keep after
her lessons until she covered the material, easily, almost unconcerned.
While we sat in Bible class part of the
discussion was about Charlemagne. Kay was now around ten. A question was
asked as to his Nicene creed. She held up her hand, and we as a family
thought nothing of it; because, we were sure she probably knew the
answer. The instructor was certainly being polite in his own mind when
he called on her. While this little ten year old carefully went over the
circumstances of Charlemagne meeting with the Nobles and establishing
these laws, one by one the folks ahead began to turn around to look at
the child explaining this material. But not until one of the high school
students said, "Golly Kay!" were we really aware of the rarity
of the situation.
For the sake of brevity these are only a
few moments to tell of the joy I had in "teaching my daughter at
home" or as is commonly now called home schooling. The year we
started was 1982. Certainly, there were those who were doing this, I
just didn't know them at the time. If we were pioneers, it wasn't for
the sake of pioneering. The motive was purely selfish and certainly not
to establish any goals for society.
Today, my daughter is a beautiful person,
who has a daughter of her own. I might add, she doesn't believe in home
school and this is all right with us.
We gave her the education and the time
she needed to be able to make her own decisions. Gifted with all the
precious moments of her childhood, certainly we are well satisfied,
thankful for life, and pleased with this. We feel ourselves to be most
grateful for the lion's share of her life.
If another generation comes about and
things are different for my little granddaughter and her daughter. The
record is there It was done in our family, we "home schooled."