It was a matter of faith when Adam and Susan Bumgarner of Saint Clair decided six years ago to homeschool their children.
“Our biblical convictions caused us to homeschool our boys,” Susan said. “We know that you can’t shelter child from the world, but with that being said, you have to raise them up right. Homeschooling our children is the best decision we have ever made.”
The curriculum the Bumgarners’ use is based on the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
“We prayed about it before doing it,” Susan said. “There are some people who we go to church with who homeschool their children. We felt like God led us there.
The KJV curriculum is taught through Gateway Christian School in Memphis. If Susan or Adam have questions about any learning, Coordinator (principal) Greg Stablein) is easy to get in touch with.
“Gateway has been wonderful,” Susan said. “They help to find science events and new things for kids to get involved with. They stay in touch with us. If we need help, they’re there.”
The Bumgarners’ three boys, Caleb, Nick and Michael, do not get to sleep late and loaf. Far from it.
“They have set times every day,” Susan said. “They get up in the morning like everyone else. They have their chores to do, get ready, brush their teeth, make their beds, followed by a devotion, then breakfast. We start school early around 8 to 8:15 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Homeschooled students get to participate in athletics at the high school they are zoned for.
Fortunately, with homeschooling, should crisises come up, they can be worked around.
Adam was furloughed from his job at an area factory since March 20, and officially laid off June 1. Then, Susan’s mother was diagnosed with dementia and Parkinson’s this year. Susan has been her mother’s caregiver for the last few years.
Susan has had a plethora of health problems herself over the last year.
On New Year’s Day 2019, she had emergency gall bladder surgery while working at The Oaks Freewill Baptist Camp in Greeneville. Afterwards, Susan developed a hernia in her navel from the laptoscopic gall bladder surgery, followed by a heart attack in June before she was to have hernia mesh repair. She finally got the hernia mesh repair in August, but her health problems were far from over.
A week after the hernia mesh surgery in August, she developed a DVT blood clot in her left leg which went from bottom of her left leg all the way up the leg. In September, she was rushed to Turkey Creek Medical Center in Knoxville where the clot was removed.
A second DVT developed in the same leg, just like the first one.
“When they went in to remove the second clot, it was discovered that I had a rare syndrome called May-Thurner Syndrome. During the surgery, they placed a left Iliac stent in the artery. I’m on blood thinners the rest of my life.”
Susan developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the two surgeries.
“When they’re sticking a wire in your vein, your life is in their hands,” she said. “One wrong more and you’re dead.”
Susan has come a long way over this past year.
“It’s definitely been a journey and I couldn’t have gotten through this without God, my family and friends,” Susan said.
“A man in her life who she called her father, (Nick and Michael’s grandfather), called him my “dad”
The day that Susan came home from the hospital, Nick and Michael’s grandfather passed away the same day.
Susan’s biological father passed in 2009 and the Bum garners lost fraternal twins at seven months that same year.
“There was a saying that I kept with me is ‘The worst storms test the strength of our anchors.’”
Susan said that the only way to deal with her health problems was the power of prayer.
“Being completely honest, the only way to deal with all of this was the power of prayer, our faith and God,” she said. “Things happen to make you realize that He is almighty and he is in control. That’s how we’ve gotten through it. Jesus suffered and died on the cross not only for our sins, but for all of us. We do school shopping depending on needs. One of biggest pluses about homeschool is knowing what they are using. We get to watch. Stuff just seems to last a little bit longer.”
As for the boys, Caleb, 18, graduated from Gateway Christian School this past spring. He is employed as a manager at Little Caesar’s in Rogersville.
“We did graduation pictures and they mailed out his diploma,” Susan said.
Nick, 16, is a junior at Gateway. He just got his learner’s permit this year. Nick is assistant song leader at Shady Grove Freewill Baptist Church in Whitesburg and is also employed by The Oaks FWB camp in Greeneville. Nick was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome this year.
Michael, 15, a sophomore, loves everything about school, according to Susan.
“He is the biggest bookworm, he sings in church and has been asked to sing at other churches,” Susan said. “He has also placed first nationally two times at Bible Memory competition. He definitely has a gift.
Adam was awarded his diploma from Tusculum University with highest honors B.S. Business Administration.
“With COVID-19, it’s discouraging trying to find a job right now. He stays with it, he doesn’t give up,” Susan said. “He is ready to move on from factory work. Raising three kids and everything else in his life, God is walking with him.”
When Susan was ill, Adam taught the boys in their classes. Adam is also a Master Mason at Kyle Lodge, Whitesburg
When advising people about homeschooling, Susan said that there a lot of people who are confused about homeschooling.
“When you’re having to teach your own children and you’re wondering about it, that’s where the power of prayer comes in. Knowing you’re with your children. Parents got a little bit of taste of homeschool,” Susan said.
The family has always been social and involved in the community.
“Homeschooling is a really good thing and I can’t brag on it enough,” Susan said.