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Frugal Living
by Donna Flood
Did We Help Pioneer Home schooling?

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 enjoyed.

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."



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