A man who lives without honor will not gain by education.

In 1982, as a new believer in Christ, I was challenged by God to take a more active role in discipling my children. I often looked to my dear mother for guidance on how to raise my growing family. One day, she gave me information on the teaching of educators Raymond and Dorothy Moore, who advocated for keeping children home longer before sending them off to public school.

I read the book, did more research, and discovered the fledging homeschooling movement, which offered the benefit of giving my husband and me more control over what our children learned during their impressionable years. But I knew nothing about educating children. I didn’t know the first thing about phonics and only had one year of college in my education resume.

Frankly, it ticked me off to be faced with this challenge.

Just keeping up with a houseful of youngsters was nearly more than I could handle. I had been very ill following the birth of our fourth child in 1981. It seemed unfair of God to dump this new task on me. But I recognized His voice. I knew I needed to obey Him.

With great fear and trembling, I began homeschooling in the fall of 1982. The movement belonged to a fringe culture in those days, not even legal yet in many states. Nobody thought I was doing the right thing. My mother, who now realized she had started all this, tried to talk me out of it. My husband thought it was a nutty idea, but he promised his support, as long as we put our eldest child in a Christian school. He told me later he was sure I would only last one year.

It looked that way at first. I was totally lost. I cried every day. I didn’t even understand the instructions in the curriculum, so I learned alongside my children.

We struggled, worked, played, and grew up together. I learned there are rules for dividing a word into syllables. And lots more. The day our son read to me as he sat on my lap, I was hooked. On phonics and on homeschooling.

The second year, we brought our daughter into the homeschool setting. We studied history, literature, science, art, and grammar. We went on field trips. We worked through personality conflicts. We had fun. I didn’t see that one coming.

Did we do it perfectly? Of course not. Home education doesn’t create robots. It’s a good tool for instilling a set of beliefs into our offspring, though. What they do with the opportunity is up to them. As my mother once said, we raise our children. God perfects them.

In 2006, we graduated our last child after twenty-four years of homeschooling. Our eldest daughter homeschooled both their daughters, graduating both. Home education is now a recognized schooling alternative, having been built on the backs of a generation of terrified fringe parents.

In the Pioneer Files, I share some of what I learned in those twenty-four years.