The History of a Homeschooling Magazine – continued

Continued from July 12:

Long before I had children of my own I was telling people that mine weren’t ever going to school. People would smile condescendingly and let me explain why, and then they’d explain in return why not sending my someday-kids to school would be a very bad idea. Most experienced homeschoolers are familiar with the so-called reasons, such as stunted socialization skills, poor testing abilities, and a general inability to get along like other kids would be taught to get along. Somewhat naively, I was okay with that. I figured the benefits of not being tied to schoolish expectations would somehow outweight the negatives. Of course, at that time I also fully expected to raise my kids in the Alaskan bush country, where being able to load and fire a rifle, handle a riverboat, or build a log cabin were quite valuable skills.

As often happens, life had other plans for me – and for my children. When my two oldest sons, John and Jim, reached school age we found ourselves living a few miles from an Alaskan town called Palmer, which, while not exactly out in the bush, wasn’t exactly middle-American suburbia, either. Moose and bears frequented the neighborhood, and I decided my young sons didn’t need to run into them on the mile-long walk to the school bus stop. Sub-zero temperatures were the norm in winter, and I didn’t want my children exposed to that either. So I asked around and discovered that the State of Alaska ran a correspondence program which was open to any Alaskan child who lived more than two miles from a school – so we signed up for kindergarten and first grade, respectively.

The entire family, which by then included a baby girl, Jody, thoroughly enjoyed the programs, administered through the local Palmer Elementary School. We were assigned a teacher who oversaw the process via monthly meetings, but otherwise we were on our own. We received big boxes of books, pens, papers, crayons, storytapes, arts and crafts materials – it was almost like Christmas! The story and song tapes became great family favorites, and our kids still remember the words to many of them. As a special project we built a paper mache globe by pasting strips of newspaper around an inflated balloon and painting it to look like the planet Earth. The teacher overseer was so impressed she asked to hang it in her office – and the boys just beamed!

Both boys passed their respective grades with glowing reports, and we figured the next year we’d repeat the process, moving each up a grade. But again, life had other plans for our family. In late August of that year my dad suffered a debilitating heart attack and we suddenly found our young family moving to Washington state to help with my parent’s ranch. We spent the rest of that summer learning about horses and chickens and hauling hay and firewood – and when fall rolled around again I blithely headed down to the local school office and asked how I could enroll my boys in their state correspondence course. They just gave me a blank look and said they didn’t know what I was talking about.

To be continued…

2 Responses to The History of a Homeschooling Magazine – continued

  1. Dave on July 13, 2005 at 8:55 pm

    More, more!

  2. HEM Editor’s Blog » Blog Archive » 25 Years on January 1, 2008 at 1:16 am

    [...] July 13, 2005 [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Do you have a question?
We have several answers!

Search HEM's 10,000+ page knowledge base.

Home Education Magazine

Home Education Magazine is available by subscription in either print, digital, or a combined format.

(Preview a digital sample.)

Subscribe Today

Print - One Year Sub $26.00
Print - Two Year Sub $48.00
Digital - One Year Sub $13.00
Digital & Print - One Year Sub $36.00
Print US domestic only. HEM is no longer accepting print subs to foreign addresses.

Since 1983 Home Education Magazine has been a trusted name in homeschooling.



RSS Home Education Magazine

RSS Homeschooling

RSS News & Commentary

  • Wisconsin Virtual Academy Must Adhere to Public School Requirements
    Wisconsin Virtual Academy Must Adhere to Public School Requirements Over the years, there has been intentional word mixing by some officials in order to draw independent homeschoolers back into the public schools.  Across the board, confusion often reigns as to who or who is not a homeschooler.  It usually lies on the homeschool community’s back to educate o […]

RSS HEM Resources

  • Hands On Science Kits
    Hands On Science Kits Tumblehome Learning, helps kids imagine themselves as young scientists or engineers and encourages them to experience science through adventure and self-guided discovery. Exciting mystery Adventure Fun experiments Hands On Science Kits All carefully designed to engage students. Learn more about how to engage and satisfy your kids scient […]

RSS HEM Groups

  • Staying Informed
    Staying Informed The issues facing homeschoolers today are fundamentally the same as 30 years ago when HEM was first published. While communication is easier the underlying social question is, can parents be trusted with their kids? Our political positions will support this answer in the affirmative. But this is not always the case nor is it always easy to u […]