Homeschooled, museum-schooled

wedding at stuhrA small human interest story appeared in the Grand Island Independent about homeschooling on Sunday that I rather enjoyed. Recently it seems that homeschoolers doing what any other American teenager does (put on a play, go to prom, graduate and go off to college) are getting a lot of press. But young Aaron Beye is a little different.

After all, his parents started homeschooling because no one could figure out what school district he was in. Apparently the district lines weren’t drawn to include the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, a living history museum in Grand Island, Nebraska, where Aaron Beye and his family live on the premises as museum caretakers.

What is it like being raised in a museum? I don’t know. That was the dominant question in my mind after reading the lead paragraph, but it was the one question not really answered. Instead, we find out where he went to school. As if “homeschool” weren’t clear enough.

Most of his classes were literally in his home at Stuhr Museum. Beye Himself: Student lives, works and attended school at Stuhr Museum

Literally. I still can’t help but wonder what that would be like. We have gone to the Stuhr Museum for some of its events, including a civil war reenactment and a food festival celebrating life on the Oregon Trail. In fact, the Grand Island Independent photographed the children sampling home made jelly for their website last year. Imagine this as part of your daily life rather than a field trip. We don’t always appreciate the every day experiences. As Nurtured by Love explains in her entry Homeschooling Envy:

…there’s no way I would report on my kids collecting the eggs and feeding the hens as a notable learning experience, because to them it’s really no more notable than brushing their teeth or putting their dirty clothes in the laundry hamper. Whereas for her kids, tending and collecting eggs from a small organic chicken flock would probably have been a highlight of their learning week.

So I suppose all of the interpretive events likely took on a bit of normalcy for the Beye children. But at least no one asked whether he was going to experience a bit of culture shock moving to the twentieth century. That seems to be the concern of many when homeschooled children leave the home, let alone the museum.

Instead, they just made sure to point out that his initial consideration of commuting to college was not because he was reluctant to leave home.

At one point, he said, he talked to Hastings College officials about living at home and commuting to his college classes in Hastings. Aaron said his interest in commuting was strictly financial and was not linked to any reluctance to live away from home.

Once he discovered his scholarship covered room and board, he quickly opted for dorm life. Ibid.

He has a great, built-in summer job, too, an historical interpreter for the Victorian era.

Image from the Stuhr Museum website.

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You know, it must just be how homogenized our society is getting that something like this would seem at all strange…


Interesting. I wonder what things I would never report as learning experiences. Life is full of learning, even in the seemingly mundane.


“But at least no one asked whether he was going to experience a bit of culture shock moving to the twentieth century. That seems to be the concern of many when homeschooled children leave the home, let alone the museum.”

hehe – I almost snorted my coffee out! 😀

Jennifer in OR

How funny that they began to homeschool because the districts didn’t know where he belonged!

Crimson Wife

I suspect that living at a museum would be one of those things that’s really cool at first but would get old fairly quickly. Just like the people I know who live full-time in resort areas- they get sick of dealing with all the tourists around…


And I bet few people questioned whether he was learning or not (as most homeschoolers are questioned) because it would be assumed you would learn a lot at a museum. Interesting!

True, Crimson Wife. And since they grew up there, I doubt they ever thought of it as “cool” or interesting. My husband worked in a five start hotel on an island in the Great Barrier Reef. how cool is that? I can only dream of ever going…but he says he never really took advantage of everything he could do there. Then he regretted all the time he spent in his room once his time was over. It was similar for me when I was in Germany. Everything was new and interesting at first, but there was always time to go… Read more »
Life On The Planet

I lived in south Louisiana for twenty-five years and never toured a swamp.

(And NO, I never had an alligator for a pet.)


How ’bout for supper? I had gator tail at a festival in KC and it was pretty good.

Life On The Planet

Ick. And I don’t care if it does taste like chicken.

Carla Holland

Aaron Beye, is a National Merit Scholarship winner. I think his homeschooling education paid large dividends.