• Last modified 827 days ago (June 25, 2020)


Home school grad maintains ties 10 years later

Staff writer

Despite a decade removed from being a homeschooler, Rachel Thurston maintains a connection to this day with fellow 2010 home school graduates Olivia Dicks and Ruth Walker.

Thurston, now Rachel Olsen, and Dicks, now Olivia Calam, still meet for play dates.

“We’re still really close,” Olsen said. “She has a daughter, so our girls play together.”

Keeping in touch with Walker is more difficult because she doesn’t live in Marion County, but Olsen reaches out to her online.

Olsen fondly remembers her homeschooling, and anticipates teaching her two children from home in Hillsboro for at least a few years.

“I’m a stay-at-home mom so I have the time to do that and I really love that,” she said. “I really love those first few years of homeschooling, so to do that with my kids would be really fun. We’ll just take it every year and pray about it a lot.”

If her daughters want to home school as they get older, Olsen plans to use online resources more heavily than they were used in her own experience.

Even if the children want to home school through high school, there are ways to get them involved with the community, Olsen said.

“We’ll definitely get them involved in community sports or theater, whatever they like,” she said. “If the time comes when they want to be involved in those school activities then that’s when we’ll think about if it’s best for them to go to public school so they can be a part of those or should we go half-time.”

One advantage for the Olsens is that husband Colton is a youth pastor at Ebenfield Mennonite Brethren Church in rural Hillsboro.

“Youth group is a huge part of that,” she said. “At the youth group I went to, I felt very included and I knew a lot of kids who went to public school and made friends that way.”

When Olsen graduated from high school her goal was to enter ministry. Working alongside her husband provided an aspect of that goal, as did her ventures a few years after high school.

“I was a sponsor at our youth group a couple years out of high school, and I love that, and I was always a counselor at camps,” she said. “I just love working with kids.”

Since Olsen stays home with her children she has time to operate a pop-up bakery out of the house. The once-monthly endeavor started in early May and its June installment was Friday.

“That’s something I’ve always loved, is baking,” she said. “God just put the icing on the cake there as a way to make a little income and stay at home with them.”

Olsen’s passion for cooking is something she looks forward to passing on to her daughters in the future.

Elsie is too young to offer much help in the kitchen, but Lyla is reaching an age where she can help with tasks like filling cupcake liners.

Last modified June 25, 2020