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The Adventure of Serving God at Home
By Loretta Hayward

Hello! We’re the Hayward family from South Carolina! During the past fifteen years of country living, Glenn and I have been raising our family: Ronald, Benjamin, and Gloria, as well as 120 rabbits, various farm animals, and pets. Our homestead on Little Durbin Creek has been a tremendous learning experience as we have cleared portions of the land to establish our home, workshop, rabbitry, and gardens. The family cut timber for our fence lines and uprooted tree trunks as we engineered our roads. Cheyenne, our black Lab, alerted us whenever she found snakes or snapping turtles. She kept opossums and wildlife on the run while we worked. Our surroundings renewed our senses and love for the beautiful sights and sounds of God’s creation all about us. Another chapter of our lives had begun, and we were thrilled with the adventure of it all!

Our children started their homeschool lessons with kindergarten. This small step was the beginning of enormous responsibility that led to the making of another trail through the wilderness. Glenn and I had trusted Christ for our salvation, and now for the sake of our children’s souls and future we were going to believe and follow His Word in raising and training them. “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)

Since we had dedicated our children to God, we regularly prayed for the wisdom, strength, and help we needed to raise them for His glory. Homeschooling was a major commitment and not a trial period! Our children would need to see Christ living in our lives, our home, and our school! “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.” (Deuteronomy 6:5–7)


The Bible had always been our guidebook, and it was now our main textbook. Through the formative years it was vitally important that all of our textbooks be accurate and Biblically sound. We chose a curriculum with a scope and sequence for K–12. (I had been an elementary teacher in Christian schools before I married, and so we made our selection from the familiar curricula that I had used while teaching—A Beka, Bob Jones Press, Rod & Staff, etc.) We did not buy the repackaged texts of humanism and socialistic teachings that were back on the market. “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen.” (Jeremiah 10:2) A mind full of false teachings, unbelief, and ungodly life styles will only produce those same thoughts and teachings! “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Daily lessons and schedules began after prayer and breakfast each morning. Bible class was first and included memory verses and a hymn. Our children would pray and then do their chores before the next class. Spelling bees, math drills, and oral reading added excitement to school days. We had our own book collection to enjoy and use for unit studies and reports. As our scholars grew, we went on hikes and took field trips to explore aircraft carriers, battleships, the Citadel, and even the USS South Carolina. For high school credits, we purchased a satellite receiving system, and BJ HomeSat® supplied us with the instructors for chemistry, physics, calculus, and foreign languages. Ronald was our first graduate in 2002; he earned a scholarship for college. In 2004, Benjamin graduated and attended a Christian university on a scholarship. Gloria played her violin at her graduation in 2007 and also plans to attend college.

Raising rabbits over the years has been adventurous, educational, and a source of joy for the whole family! We thank the Lord for the friends we have made as we have traveled with bunnies to rabbit shows; the awards our champion rabbits have won; the many skills we have acquired as we have cared for our animals, building hutches, etc.; and the Garden Gate® business that has been established. I loved taking pictures of our bunnies and posing them in bonnets and pinafores! Their adorable pictures have brought smiles and amazed people of all ages.

We wanted to glorify God and prayed for His leading. Would people buy beautiful note cards that had pictures of our rabbits and Scripture verses on them? Just raising rabbits—without a card business—involved a lot of expense and hard work by our family! By faith we printed our first Garden Gate® Note Cards. This year we celebrate our fifth anniversary and will release our newest children’s book in the On the Banks of Durbin Creek series! The thrill of adventure continues!


Our home-based education has moved to the adult level. Combining life skills and experience with college instruction improves Christian service in the home, in the church, in the business, and in the community. In addition to enriching our lives, the numerous skills our children developed over the years will be valuable assets throughout their future. We thank God for the progress and achievements that are evident in their applied skills, as well as those that are evident in the management of our homestead and family business. Their responsibilities in the church are of even greater importance, as is their service to the Lord. Our love for God should be wholehearted and part of our service to Him.

Loretta Hayward is a veteran homeschool mom and teacher (B.A., B.S. degrees in elementary education) and a homemaker who loves cooking, gardening, oil painting, photography, heirloom sewing, and graphic art. She is the creator of Garden Gate® Cards (their family business), and she is the author and illustrator of the On the Banks of Durbin Creek children’s book series. Email Visit us at
©2008 The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC
Originally appeared in The
Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Fall 2008.
Reprinted with permission from the publisher


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