Our guest blog post today is from Steven Horwich. He was not just a stay-at-home-dad, but a widower and single dad who homeschooled both his children. He is now a homeschool advocate and Founder of Steps Curriculum Home School Program–this is his story.
I was married for 14 years, and my wife and I had two remarkable handfuls, Katherine (now age 28), and William (now 25). I was always a “stay at home Dad”, since most of my work is as a writer of theater, movies, and other things. My wife was also a stay at home, as she taught voice, but our children both went to private schools (where I created arts programs and taught to pay tuition).
That life ended late in 2001, three days before 9/11, when My wife, who it had been discovered had a brain tumor, essentially passed away on the operating table – though we’d been told by the highly respected surgeon that she would not only survive the operation, but was likely to quickly fully recover. Things didn’t work out that way.
At that time, my children were ages 13 and 9. I kept them in their private school one more year, but was disheartened by the mediocre academics they were receiving. (Though the school’s art’s program, especially theater and music, was great…) On the first day of the next school year, my daughter came home with her first high School history assignment. It was a single sheet of paper with about 100 words typed on it, and a bad drawing of a pyramid, and it supposedly was the history of ancient Egypt. Well, being a student of history my entire life, that was the last straw for me.
That night, I started homeschooling my children. It was something I’d wanted to do for some time, but my wife was opposed, having a background (as do I) as a teacher. But I was determined to provide them a good education rather than a passable one. I looked around for workable curriculum, my beef with their ex-private school. I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t entirely religious at its base, or very intelligent. So I started writing courses, something I’d dabbled with at their various private schools. History, science, creative writing (a curriculum I’d already created and tested), and a lot more. Everything but math, which I stink at, and which was readily available from many publishers.
I shared a few of the courses with experienced teachers I’d worked with, and they fell in love. Within 4 weeks, they’d pulled their kids from school and were homeschooling with me. I had around 10 kids a day at my house every weekday, and two parents (in this case, trained teachers) helping to make sure my curriculum was being done thoroughly and well. I hid in my home office, and authored more curriculum. This continued for years. The more people who saw the curriculum (then called Connect the Thoughts, today called Steps), the more people jumped on board. Within five years, over 20,000 students had used aspects of the curriculum, from all around the world.
But this all started with my own need to make certain my two children, who had just lost their mother, 1) received an education, and 2) knew that their other parent was alive, right there for them, and not going anywhere. Now I speak as a homeschool advocate, and have authored numerous books on the subject.
Why do we homeschool, those of us who do it? It’s work, yes. It’s a little more expensive than public education (not much, though), and a lot less expensive than private schools. But it isn’t about money.
We do it for our children.
Steps – The Answer to the Problem of Education