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Horses and Homeschooling - with the Garver Family - by Susan Garver

Horses and Homeschooling – with the Garver Family

Who are the Garvers?

My husband Lewis is a State of Ohio Lieutenant Firefighter. I drive a school bus for Canal Winchester Schools, and I am also an American Red Cross water safety instructor and lifeguard trainer for Aquatic Adventures Ohio.

John, our 18 year old son, who attends Eastland Career Center and is studying Electrical Technologies is also a lifeguard at Aquatic Adventures Ohio and was recently sworn in to the United States Marine Corp on delayed enlistment.

Horses and Homeschooling - with the Garver Family

Danielle, our 17 year old daughter is enrolled with Seton Home Study School, and following the family pattern, works as a water safety instructor and lifeguard at Aquatic Adventures Ohio.

My husband and I are both retired from the Air Force, which is where we met. After a few years of moving around, we settled back in Ohio to be near my family.

About nine years ago, we bought Danielle a horse lesson for her birthday. She’s never looked back, and since then we have owned five different horses at different times. Her current horses are one Danielle has had since the horse was 2 weeks old and a second horse just recently purchased. Now Danielle participates in rodeos all year long.

John has also participated in rodeos from time to time, and has done quite well.

Horses and Homeschooling - with the Garver Family

What made you choose Seton?

John and Danielle had previously attended a private school, but after some health issues, John had to be homeschooled. We chose Seton because of the use of actual books and the flexible schedule.

Not long after, we ended up enrolling Danielle as well. The children did better with the hands on books than the online programs.

Of course, one of the strongest draws for us was the religion classes. We wanted our children to understand their religion better, which the Seton program has certainly accomplished.

Horses and Homeschooling - with the Garver Family

Is there a particular challenge that Seton has helped your family overcome?

Danielle fell behind during her freshman year, but Seton counselors have been very patient with us and have suggested many options on how to help “catch her up,” while also reassuring us that everyone does school at their own speed.

The latter message, in particular, has been extremely good for Danielle to hear.

What other homeschooling challenges have you had and how have you overcome them?

Danielle really struggled with math, and as time went on we tried various online aides, but none of them were very successful in improving her understanding. Finally, against her will, she agreed to work with a tutor I found.

As it turned out, Danielle and the tutor worked fabulously together and the tutoring was exactly what had been needed. Danielle’s grades have improved significantly.

Horses and Homeschooling - with the Garver Family

What do you like most about Seton?

As a homeschooling mother, I really like that help is only a phone call away to a real person who is ready and willing to help me and my kids. In general, though, homeschooling has raised our children’s self esteem and helped them overcome test anxiety. Plus, we have more time to cover things that do not always come easily, yet we are free to move forward when it all “clicks”.

How has Seton been of particular benefit to the Garver family’s lifestyle?

Seton has been a great benefit to Danielle’s training schedule. The flexibility of the program allows her to go out during the day to ride when the days get shorter and the weather turns colder and school can be done in the evening.

She also is able to take time off during the month of October to attend the Quarter Horse Congress held at our state fairgrounds.

In essence, we end up doing more of a year round school than the traditional nine months on, three months of summer off, and that works beautifully for our family. Seton was also really valuable when John was ill and could not attend school on a daily basis.

Horses and Homeschooling - with the Garver Family

What role does your faith play in your homeschooling and family life after using the Seton program?

First, let me tell you that a few families in our parish also use Seton so we’re blessed to have a network of like-minded people pursuing the same educational goals we are. We’re all great resources for each other.

Second, since my daughter has been studying the Baltimore Catechism, we have had many family religious discussions and debates, which we thoroughly enjoy.

This is especially rewarding because my husband Lewis learns new things. He converted to Catholicism eight years ago, and as we all continue to learn more about the faith through Seton’s program, he provides a unique perspective that is refreshing.

Horses and Homeschooling - with the Garver Family

How does a typical day in the Garver household look?

Danielle generally rises at 07:30, gets breakfast and greets all the animals (she plans to be a veterinarian), then does schoolwork until 11:30, takes lunch, then does more schoolwork until 3:00 if it’s a day when she’s scheduled to go to work.

This changes if she plans to ride and she does not have to work; on these days, Danielle will take two hours out of the middle of the day to ride and then head back to the schoolbooks.

There is no “season” for rodeo as there is for other sports, so the basic schedule remains the same throughout the year. 

Horses and Homeschooling - with the Garver Family

What advice can you offer other families considering the option to homeschool?

Never say never, because we do not know the plans God has for us. Above all, relax; it all works out.

Horses and Homeschooling - with the Garver Family

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