September-October 2000 / James Muncy

I remember the first time Alonzo started walking. We were visiting friends in Dallas, Texas. He had been walking around tables, chairs, and anything else he could hold on to for several weeks. Though this was the only time I’ve seen these friend’s living room, I remember everything about it—the way the furniture was situated, the exact look of the coffee table, even where everyone was sitting. We were just sitting around talking when Alonzo got to the edge of the coffee table. But rather than taking a turn like he usually did, he went straight, four steps straight, for my wife’s knee. Lisa and I went crazy. “Did you see that?” “Yes I did.” “Good Alonzo…” I am sure that I will remember this until the day I die.

This is one of the many memories I have of seeing my children grow, learn, try new things and stretch themselves. I have to admit that they are some of the best memories I have in my life—the first time Alice went riding her bicycle without training wheels, the first time Alaina said a prayer, the first time Allen used the computer… There are few greater joys that a parent can experience than seeing their children grow up.

I have only one chance to see my children grow up. To be quite honest, I don’t want some school which is blocks away to have this joy. It should be mine. Further, I seriously doubt if some second grade teacher with thirty students in a class would enjoy seeing my children learn nearly as much as I do. I will not let schools rob me of experiences such as the one we had a couple of weeks ago when we were teaching place value in addition. I first taught the concept through using an abacus, and then I was showing Alonzo how it worked “on paper.” I gave him a particularly difficult problem, and he solved it. Then I asked “Are you sure?” He quickly ran over to the table, grabbed the abacus, “checked his math,” and then said, “Yeah Dad, I’m sure.” That experience, and a thousand like them, are mine to watch, enjoy, remember and cherish. I feel sad for the millions of parents who are giving these types of experiences away to the schoolhouses every day.

James Muncy is Professor of Marketing at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia. He is also Executive Director of the Association for Consumer Research; the world’s largest association devoted to scholarly consumer research. His wife, Lisa, and he are Presidents of the Valdosta Area Homeschooling Association. They homeschool there four children, ages 13, 11, 9, and 7. All six members of the Muncy family recently received their Black Belts in Songham Tae Kwon Do.