Leaving School and Learning at Home

Leaving School and Learning at Home
by the Family Education Staff (May 15, 2019)

[Note: This article outlines what you need to know if you’re considering homeschooling your child.]

Removing your kids from school–—permanently—–can be both frightening and exhilarating. Having the freedom to choose your child’s educational path is thrilling—–and assuming responsibility for your educational choices can be overwhelming. Confidence in your ability to teach your child will help you through that (sometimes) challenging first year of transition.

Parents are often unsure about their ability to homeschool because they lack a teaching degree.

Many believe that only trained experts are knowledgeable enough to teach their kids. However, studies have shown that kids who learn at home score higher than their schooled peers on standardized tests. In analyzing these scores, researchers discovered that homeschooled kids’ test scores are consistently high, regardless of the parent’s level of formal education. In other words, it didn’t matter whether the parent held a GED. or a Ph.D.—by the time homeschooled kids were in the eighth grade, they tested four years ahead of their schooled peers.

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Millstone School, Shubael Little Pioneer Village, Cannelton, IN



Millstone School

Shubael Little Pioneer Village

7590 E. State Road 66

Cannelton, Indiana 47520

The Shubael Little Pioneer Village is a non-profit, tax exempt, corporation with a board of trustees dedicated to the preservation of Perry County History through the collection of 3-Dimensional Artifacts, building, and documents. The site is being developed and maintained so that present and future generations may appreciate, understand, and learn from the past.  The village is located in the rolling hills of Southern Perry County, near the Ohio River, at 7590 East State Road 66, Cannelton, Indiana, 47520. The village is 1/4th mile north of Rocky Point.  The village was founded in the year 2000 with the re-construction and dedication of the first 150-year-old cabin.

Included in the village are 6 hewn-log vintage homesteads, a blacksmith shop, a carpenter’s shop, The Troy Stone Jail, The Rogier ‘Beehive’ Oven, a mercantile, a smokehouse, a rustic shelter, and The Milestone One-Room School. The setting is reminiscent of the 1850’s, augmented with numerous authentic artifacts.   The village is named after Shubael C. Little, a pioneer and first land owner of the land comprising the village. Shubael settled here in 1837. He helped found the first school at Rome, IN, and a Masonic Lodge in Cannelton. He was a Union Patriot, losing one of his two sons in the Civil War. Shubael’s first wife was buried at the village.  The village serves a diversified population. It is a rich experience for scouting, school groups, and those who enjoy visiting historic sites to reconnect with their ancestors and family history.

Professional house movers brought the historic Millstone one room school from its Millstone site on a flat bed truck in the Summer of 2013. After extensive renovations inside and out, friends and former classmates gathered there for a dedication ceremony and to see the completed structure in the Fall of 2016. Built in 1905, the school saw continuous service and was an anchor for the Millstone community until the School’s closure in 1946. This renovation project would not have been possible without the generosity of Guy Neil Ramsey, who attended all 8 grades there. Ramsey provided a major grant to move, restore, and preserve this important piece of Perry County history. The school, completely restored to its former glory inside and out, is a valuable education tool at the village and a exceptional addition to the panoply of exhibits there.

Myers Grade School, Cannelton, IN



Myers Grade School

615 Taylor St.

Cannelton, IN 47520

Myers Grade School (Free School), located on the corner of 6th and Taylor Streets, has served the community of Cannelton, IN, as a public elementary school since 1868. It is the oldest continuously used school building in the state of Indiana and it is believed to be the oldest in the country. Called Cannelton High School in 1868, it first serviced grades 1-8. It was renamed Myers after the retirement of a much-loved teacher, Oscar “Daddy” Myers. It houses grades 3-6 now with one class per grade, the elementary school office, a cafeteria, and special classrooms for art and library. Much of the school building is original such as slate chalkboards and the original staircases and woodwork, yet it also has modern technologies such as computers in every classroom and access to the Internet. Myers Grade School is a success story for preserving history while keeping its focus on educating students for the future.

Merom Conference Center, Merom, IN



Merom Conference Center

8555 Phillip St.

Merom, IN 47861

Nestled on the Indiana – Illinois border south of Terre Haute, IN, is the Merom Camp and Retreat Center.  The Merom Conference Center began as Union Christian College in 1859 and is now used as a camp and conference center for the Indiana-Kentucky Conference of the United Church of Christ. It is located in Merom, Indiana, on the Wabash River. At the 1858 Peru Convention of the Christian Churches (the Western, Antioch, Eel River, and Tippecanoe Conferences) approved the resolution to establish an institution of learning. Elder A. Snethen proposed the name “Union Christian College.” This was to be a liberal arts college for men and women with male and female professors. College Hall was the first building of the college to be built at the present site.

College Hall was built from 1859 to 1864. The first two floors were completed by 1861. Workers built kilns on-site to fire the clay brought up from the Wabash River banks. The timber beams and supports are made from wood that was grown on site. Each floor is a different height -ranging from 14 feet to 18 feet – to keep the visual symmetry of the building so it never looks like it gets narrower at the top. The spiral staircase from the 5th floor up to the cupola (the tower) allows guests to look over the Wabash River and the area countryside. 1864 was the first graduating class. Summer camp programs were established for the area and denomination churches. Other buildings projects were 1910 – the President’s Home; Wilkinson Hall, the women’s residents housing 70 female students; and 1920 – Hatten Hall (chapel and gym – named in honor of Professor Sarah Elizabeth Hatten). Union Christian College had two portions – the Academy providing high school level education and the college providing Bachelor of Arts and Science Degrees as well as Master’s Degree in Arts and Science as well as Master of Divinity. International students were welcomed as well. Courses were offered in music, art, business, teacher training, theological courses preparing students for Christian Ministry.

Ownership of Union Christian College was transferred to the Congregational/Christian churches through the Indiana Conference, Illinois Conference, the National Home Missionary Society and the Council for Social Action. With the change in ownership, the name was changed to Merom Institute. Carrying on the legacy of Union Christian College and Merom Institute, the name was changed to the Merom Conference Center in 1985 when it was purchased by the Indiana-Kentucky Conference of the United Church of Christ.  In 2015, Merom Conference Center ownership was transferred and it became Merom Camp and Retreat Center.  Each year they host multiple summer camps, retreats, meetings, reunions, weddings and much more.  Here, they help kids of all ages (yes, adults too) learn to explore their faith through many ways including outdoor activities, stage production, reflection, worship, food, fun and fellowship.  Visitors can see the beautiful, over 150 year old College Hall, worship in an outdoor worship center or the chapel, play some basketball in the gym, swim in the pool, climb on the high ropes course, and much more.

Alexander Schoolhouse, Jasper, IN



Alexander Schoolhouse

Mill and Third Streets

Jasper, IN 47546

In 2017, the Redevelop Old Jasper Action Coalition (ROJAC) announced it would save and relocate a single-room school house known as the old Alexander School located south of Ireland in Madison Township, with plans to move it next to the Schaeffer Barn located in old Jasper near the Riverwalk and future Jasper Cultural Center.  The school has a long history. In 1820, it was one of the first of three schools in Dubois County and was located near the present Shiloh Church. At that time, it was known as the Shiloh school.  The schoolhouse was moved to a second location on the Kellams farm in 1859 where it became known as the Alexander school based on the Alexander descendants of the Kellams family.  The school burned down in 1915, and a new school was built in 1918.

According to ROJAC, as there used to be 113 school houses like this in the county, it believes the history of the single-room school house is important to preserve.  The building was donated by the Kellams family with the intent that it would be moved and restored to its original state.  Besides being another tourist attraction for the city, the schoolhouse will be used as a point of interest for school day trips, library outreach programs, public events, and parties. And it will be an additional tourist attraction.  It will house an exhibit displaying the contributions of George R. Wilson and Margaret A. Wilson to Dubois County as well as displays on other early Dubois County schoolhouses will be featured. The project is being funded by John and Carma Habig. Exterior work on the schoolhouse is complete, with the exception of a wheelchair ramp, but the interior hasn’t been touched.  ROJAC has to complete a plan for the work and complete some grants before work on the inside of the schoolhouse can begin.

ROJAC was organized in 2003 with a goal for Old Jasper to become a major destination point for tourism and to become a source of pride for Jasper, with the depot, clock, stamped brick sidewalk, city mill, tourist train, GAB Boulevard, Autoplex removal, and Schaefer Barn area in place, and now the pending development of the Cultural Center, The River Center, and the single-room schoolhouse honoring the history of one-room schoolhouses in Dubois County and the Wilsons. ROJAC has big plans for the one-room Alexander Schoolhouse and envisions the schoolhouse becoming a mini museum of sorts, a tourist attraction and learning center for local history with second- and third-graders sitting in old-fashioned school desks inside the refurbished schoolhouse looking at a television screen depicting George R. Wilson teaching a class as though it’s 1903.

Walnut Hill School House, Pensacola, FL


walnut hill logschool10

Walnut Hill School House

State Highway 97

Pensacola, FL

On an idyllic stretch of State Highway 97 outside of Pensacola, FL, stands a hearty log structure behind the Walnut Hill Community Center. Tucked into the northwest corner of Escambia County, the building was once a supposedly antebellum one-room school house, the first of its kind in Walnut Hill.  According to information posted inside the one room schoolhouse, the exact construction date of the building is unknown because school district records prior to 1880 could not be located. Financial records for the Escambia County School District indicate that William “Uncle Bud” Williams received $40 in April 1880 for “building a new school” and the school received a new heater at the cost of $10 in 1881.  One source says that in 1886, the first school (a one-room log building) was built in Walnut Hill. The first school was only a three -month long session and had eleven students attending. Mrs. Annie McMillan was one of the first teachers, and her salary was only fifteen dollars per month.  The 1886 date for the building of the log school and church is not likely correct. This is the year that Mrs. McMillan taught her first term of school. The buildings were erected earlier, likely right after the Civil War.

The school was originally located right down the road near the corner of the present day intersection of Arthur Brown Road 99A and Highway 97. The Ruritan Club actually met in the school building when it was down there.  The building was deeded to the club by the Escambia County School District. It was moved to its current location on Highway 97 after the construction of the Walnut Hill Community Center, also known as the Walnut Hill Ruritan Building, in the late 1990’s, where it now shares space with the community center, a park, a youth baseball field, and a county sheriff’s outpost.  The log school, now believed to have been built sometime around or just before 1880, was flattened by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation honored the restoration project of the old Walnut Hill School House.    During the Trust’s 2008 Preservation Awards ceremony, the Walnut Hill School House project was awarded Outstanding Achievement in the Restoration/Rehabilitation Awards category. The award was accepted by Escambia County and the Walnut Hill Ruritan Club.  It was restored under the leadership of Quina Grundhoefer Architects in Pensacola with funding from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The restoration used mostly the original logs, reassembling them like a giant jigsaw puzzle.  When the building was restored, a wheelchair ramp was added in accordance with law. A glassed in area just inside the door will allow visiting school children to view the interior of the building.  The Ruritan Club has placed a period wood burning heater in the building and a single student desk. The club plans to fully restore the interior of the building as a history museum, complete with a teacher’s desk and students desks. There is currently one student desk in the building.

Harvard Summit to Discuss Regulating Homeschooling

Harvard Summit to Discuss Regulating Homeschooling
by Darren Jones (March 24, 2020)

[Editor’s note: Scary stuff indeed. This Harvard Summit to Discuss Regulating Homeschooling is a conference that aims to explore ways to restrict homeschooling. HSLDA is on the agenda, but they’re not invited. One of the organizers, Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, recently recommended “a presumptive ban on homeschooling.” WSW.]

To someone of my generation (I’m proudly Gen-X), the word “summit” evokes President Carter bringing warring sides of the Middle East together, or President Reagan meeting in icy Reykjavik with General Secretary Gorbachev.

Well, the homeschool community may be interested in a summit scheduled for June 18-19 at Harvard Law School to discuss “a controversial practice”—homeschooling.*

The Homeschooling Summit: Problems, Politics, and Prospects for Reform is being billed as a means of bringing together leaders in education and child welfare policy to discuss child rights and homeschooling.

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