Monday, August 17, 2009

Ruby's Homeschool

Ruby was young when she began having babies and she loved her children with a passion. She was tender and gentle with them, but was firm as needed.

She loved them so much that she couldn't bear the thought of them being away from her many hours each day once they became school age. With Wild Bill's blessing, she set out to teach them all they needed to know from the comfort of home.

She went to the cedar hope chest in her bedroom and opened it up. Inside there were all of her books from when she was a young girl in school. Ruby used McGuffey Readers to teach reading and spelling, Ray's Arithmetic to teach how to figure, a King James Bible for spiritual and moral growth. For art, the children drew and painted. Ruby showed them how to make paint by crushing flower petals and adding water to make watercolors.

Ruby and Bill also taught their children many practical skills. Both the boys and girls helped in with the garden. The boys learned basic cooking skills, mainly for survival. The girls learned everything there was to know about food prep - from canning and preserving to cooking and baking.

Ruby also taught the girls sewing, cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, and the art of keeping a home. Bill taught the boys how to chop wood, mend fences, wood-working, hunting, animal husbandry, and barn chores.

The children loved being at home with their parents. While there was always work to be done, Ruby made sure they had a few hours in the afternoon that were free - so they could play, go fishing or swimming in the creek, or simply lie on their backs in the grass gazing up at the clouds and daydream.

Now Harriet Olson was the town busybody and decided to pay Ruby a visit...unannounced, of course. Ruby was startled by the knock at the door and Willy, the oldest boy, looked out the window and upon seeing Harriet told Ruby, "It's Mrs. Olson. She's so full of hot air, I'm surprised her head doesn't explode!" "Willy, mind your manners!" Ruby declared, as she smoothed her hair back and removed her apron.

Ruby took a deep breath and opened the door with a smile. "Why Harriet, how lovely of you to visit!" Harriet stepped in and looked around with disdain. The children were all about the kitchen table doing the school work. "Children, you may take a break and go out to play while Mrs. Olson is here." said Ruby. There was loud cheering, particularly from the boys, as the children scampered outdoors.

Ruby worked to clear the table as fast as she could as Harriet sat down. "Would you like a cup of tea?" Ruby asked.
"Actually, Ruby, this is not a social call." replied Harriet coolly. "I am here to see why these children are not in school!"

Harriet's husband was on the school board committee. He was a kind man who was well-loved in the community. He had told Harriet to mind her own business when she told him her plans to see why Ruby's children didn't go to school.

"Well, Harriet, Bill and I decided to teach them here at home." Ruby said quietly.
"What on earth for?" Harriet asked with disgust.
"We see no need to send them off for several hours a day when they can learn all they need to know here at home.

"Without proper socialization they will become social outcasts and...and heathens!" Harriet declared forcefully.
"They have plenty of socialization, Harriet. There is church each Sunday, church picnics, barn-raisings, dances, and holiday gatherings. They get to see their friends plenty and they are not outcasts or heathens!" Ruby said trembling with anger.

"We shall see what the school board thinks..." Harriet said standing from her chair. Ruby strode over to the door and upon opening it said, "Good day, Mrs. Olson."
"Hmmph!" she huffed haughtily and Ruby slammed the door behind her.

Still trembling, Ruby fixed herself a cup of tea and sat down at the table. Tears rolled down her face as she spilled out her heartache to her Lord. No care was too small or deemed unimportant to Him. She opened her Bible and her eyes fell to the passage in Deuteronomy 6: 5-7.

"And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

And Ruby felt her burden lift and she knew in her heart that no matter what trials or challenges she faced, the Lord would see her through. He always did.


sarah haliwell said...

I can't wait to read the next installment!

Tammy said...

I give you a double A plus on this great story!☺