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Why We Do What We Do . . .

. . . at Lamp Post Homeschool Store

My husband and I started teaching our children at home back in the dark ages when parents were being imprisoned for homeschooling. Yes, seriously, in fact we knew a family in our very own home school group whose husband was arrested and stayed in jail overnight when his wife was nine months pregnant. I corresponded with a mother in Alabama who chose to spend a year in jail rather than tell the state the whereabouts of her children. Her husband was also in jail at the time. Wisely, they had the foresight to protect their children and sent them out of state to be with friends during the ordeal. Even our own close friends and dear family members thought we were delusional!

Homeschool Pioneering

Back in the radical days of homeschooling (the early ’80s), we attended a state board of education public meeting about homeschooling at the University of Texas that was dubbed, believe it or not, the “Austin TEA Party.” A multitude of people who wanted to homeschool swarmed to the state capital and caused a huge traffic jam. The meeting room overflowed with people who wanted to listen and voice their opinions. They finally set up a loudspeaker in the parking lot that was the size of a football field and completely packed with people. It took several years and a lawsuit for homeschooling to be legal in Texas.

The next year we moved to Pennsylvania where it was somewhat legal to homeschool. Fortunately, right before our oldest turned 8, the compulsory age in Pennsylvania, our state passed the PA homeschool law. It’s a blessing because it offers us protection and keeps us accountable, but it’s also a curse because it is one of the most restrictive homeschool laws in the U.S and requires stringent documentation, evaluations, testing, etc.

A Pretty Natural Leap

In those beginning years, my husband and I helped start several homeschool support groups. I read everything about homeschooling and enjoyed researching different curriculum. When friends started asking my advice about what curriculum they should use for this or that child, we were able to turn a hobby and our life experience into something extraordinary; a chance to help and support other families in their homeschooling journey. Our focus was to encourage and enable parents to teach their children at home. It only seemed natural to us when we took the next big leap and decided to start a homeschool store in 1997. Running a homeschool store with nine children ranging in age from one to 17 while homeschooling most of them was, albeit, pretty crazy at times, but we wouldn’t change a day of it! It has been the ultimate adventure.

Keep On Homeschooling

In our experience, we see three different types of homeschoolers; people who stick with homeschooling, people who quit for a season and then return, and people who quit altogether. Knowing this information strengthened our resolve and focused our mission statement to offer the kind of products that help families to “keep on homeschooling.” We love to offer encouragement to customers who call or come to the store and will gladly share our own “green” experiences, mistakes, and triumphs to help you improve yours. We’ve been through many of the same situations and know about the temptation to quit, but when God calls you to homeschool your children, it’s not really an option anymore.

How Curriculum Changed Over the Years

There were not very many curriculum choices when we started. If we wanted to purchase traditional Christian schoolbooks, we had to give our homeschool a name that sounded like a private Christian school because back in the dark ages, the vendors (who long ago came to their senses) wouldn’t sell to parents. We were radical enough and willing to go to great lengths in order to do what God was calling us to do. Even so, it was apparent that books written for a classroom setting didn’t exactly work with a single student in the home setting. I mean, did I really need to make the poster board stop sign called for in my daughter’s kindergarten book when 100 feet away from my front door was a real stop sign? No, I think not.
Fortunately, things have changed since those days. Today we have a great variety of choices from homeschool family publishers and from homeschool-friendly Christian school textbook publishers. Some of the things we offer are secular but traditional in values and teaching methods. We carry quite a variety of the best homeschool friendly items available, and prices are discounted all year long, where distribution policies allow.

As Lamp Post Homeschool Store continues to grow, we are always researching and testing out new and exciting curriculums. Having graduated six children with three more to go, we now have 10 grandchildren. When you make the decision to homeschool your children, you are taking a stand. You are setting yourself and your family apart from the crowd and you know what that makes you? Very avant-garde! We who are homeschooling, whether newbies or veterans, are doing something revolutionary. Sometimes people think we are a bit odd, but our numbers are growing and more people are asking questions! The trend is certainly catching on regardless of what people say and irrespective of society trying to stop us. Homeschooling your children may not be the easy thing to do, but it is the right thing to do. As homeschoolers, you and your family have embarked on an adventure, and honestly, I can tell you from experience that it is one of the greatest and most rewarding adventures of a lifetime.

Comments

  1. My mom first started homeschooling my sister and I in 1986, in the middle of my sixth grade year. We knew only one other family that homeschooled, and people would always ask, “Is that even legal?” We weren’t allowed to go outside and play during the day because mom was afraid someone would call the police. What a difference a couple of decades makes! Now I’m homeschooling my three boys and we have so many great opportunities available to us. Where my mom had no idea what to do for curriculum when she first started homeschooling us, I tend to get overwhelmed with all the options, the different educational philosophies, and the ever-lengthening list of extra-curricular activities. My biggest challenge now is trying to figure out how to continue homeschooling now that my husband has filed for divorce and is fighting to have the boys put in public school. I know if God wants me to continue homeschooling, He will provide a way for it to work!

    • Harriet Yoder says:

      I forgot about not letting the children go outside during the day. Yes, we did that, too.
      I’ve had several friends who were able to continue homeschooling as single moms. If you are a member of HSLDA, though they will not intervene, you can get an info packet from them that talks about the legalities that you can share with your lawyer. Two of the friends went to court and won. In another case, the children’s father was ok with it and paid for books.
      I agree with your last thought that God will provide, no matter what the circumstances.

  2. Cool. What a great thing you guys are doing!

  3. In NJ, one of the easiest and best states for homeschooling (currently at least), in the early 90s, my brother and I were picked up by the truancy bus for being outside during the school day. Our mom and had sent us, and our large Labrador to the store a few blocks away. This was not our first year homeschooling and nothing had happened to us before, but for some reason, it happened this day. My brother nearly passed out from the stress and insisted that we had every right to be out, that our mom had sent us, and the best we could do was convince the driver to take us home first or we weren’t getting on the bus. When we arrived home, my mother explained everything to the men, who were a bit mortified at having made the mistake. We didn’t go off our lawn during the day after that without an adult.

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