Marsha Ransom picture

Marsha Ransom, who began homeschooling in 1990, is the mother of four children, two of whom have always been homeschooled.

Ryan, born in 1979, began homeschooling in fifth grade, and completed high school in three years. He has an Associates in Applied Science, Automotive Technology, from Southwestern Michigan College, and is an ASE- and State of Michigan-certified automotive technician. He currently works as a certified teacher in the Automotive Program at Coloma High School in Coloma, Michigan. His previous positions include instructor and program manager at the Van Buren County Intermediate School District's Technology Center, in the Automotive Department, and working as a technician in automobile dealerships. Ryan is pursuing a degree in secondary education at Western Michigan University. He owns his own home, which his family helped him renovate, and has served on the village council, the police board, and is currently Head of the Planning Commission in his community. Ryan was recently adopted by a little black kitten, who was dropped off in the road in front of his house. Cosmo, a black tomcat, adds a new dimension of excitement every day when Ryan arrives home!

Aaron, born in 1982, began homeschooling in second grade, and began attending community college at the age of 14. After high school graduation he began taking classes in Marketing and Management, while working as an apprentice painter in the family contracting business. He became a journeyman painter at age 21, and joined his father as a partner in the family business, Ransom Brothers Painting and Decorating, LLC, in December 2004. With the help of family, Aaron cleared some land and a built a house. In August 2005, he married Kassi, who is a Radiology Technician, and they are putting finishing touches on the house. Aaron and Kassi are now the proud owners of Niko, a black lab puppy, who is a graduate of puppy training school!

Ervin, born in 1987, was a toddler when his brothers began homeschooling. He taught himself to add and subtract using a calculator and a discarded math workbook when he was 4 and began teaching himself graphic design using the Internet and Bryce 4.0 when he was about 13. He has completed three years of CAD/CAM training at the VBISD Technology Center, was on the FIRST Robotics Design Team for two years, and was in the Academy program in CAD/CAM, for Southwestern Michigan College credit, during his final year at the Tech Center. He has completed several courses at Lake Michigan College and was accepted into the Honors Program at Lake Superior State University, majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a Robotics specialty. While Ervin completed one semester at Lake State, this was not a good fit for him, and he came home in January to continue pursuing his education at Lake Michigan College. At this time he is working full time for Ransom Brothers Painting and Decorating, while taking classes part time. He has changed his major to programming and is saving his money for a motorcycle.

Jacinta, born in 1990, joined the family as a 6-month old, in March 1991. Her arrival provided the impetus for more student-directed activity in the Ransom homeschool, a paradigm shift that proved to have staying power! Jacinta is creative and musical, enjoying painting, drawing, scrapbooking, playing the guitar and violin, and doing hair wraps. She has played violin in the public school orchestra and the Southwest Michigan Youth Symphony prep strings for two years, and takes private violin and guitar lessons. Jacinta auditioned, in the fall of 2004, into the Southwest Michigan Youth Symphony. She is first chair, second violin in the high school orchestra, and also plays second violin in the youth symphony. Jacinta works part time for Ransom Brothers Painting and Decorating. Currently recovering from chronic illness, which was diagnosed as food allergies, Jacinta is gradually getting back to a more normal activity level. The past nine months saw her having to let her participation level slow down, as she dropped private violin lessons, participation in the youth symphony, and working part-time. She continues to take advanced art, play in the high school orchestra, and take guitar lessons. She and her boyfriend will be singing at a friends' wedding in July, accompanied by her boyfriend on guitar. Jacinta showed two pieces of art work at the local center for the art high school competition, and has entered two pieces in the Kalamazoo Art Institute Competition. As part of her anatomy studies, Jacinta recently went to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry to view the Body Worlds II exhibit.

The Ransoms are a family of avid readers, either ski or snowboard in winter, and enjoy boating on Lake Michigan in the summer.

A freelance writer, Marsha serves as a homeschool resource for her local library and writes articles for "Home Education Magazine" and "Home Educator's Family Times." She has served on the planning committee for her local homeschool cooperative, taught creative writing, edited the newsletter, and been a member of the HUB (Homeschoolers United Building) advisory committee. Her book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Homeschooling" was published in February 2001, and she has spoken at homeschool conferences and curriculum fairs in Texas, California, and Michigan.