Learning as a family
By Sandy Rochelle

Morgan Miller teaches social studies to her 7-year-old twins, Hadley and Thatcher, on their family farm in Leitchfield while their dog Murphy looks at the window. “I read multiple books on homeschooling, talked with other homeschool moms, and prayed a lot about our decision,” Morgan says.

When the global pandemic hit, parents everywhere unexpectedly found themselves navigating work and helping their children with online learning or the decision to homeschool.

Morgan Miller, a trained educator who used to teach fifth grade in public school, and her husband, Isaac, a sports medicine physician, started to homeschool their first set of twins, Thatcher and Hadley, 7.

"The main reason we decided to homeschool was so we can create a family lifestyle and stay unified as a family," Morgan says.

They live on a farm that has been in Isaac's family for 200 years. They bought the farm in 2016 and live there with two sets of twins, two dogs, two cats and 10 chickens.

"Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to live on the family farm," Isaac says. "I am thankful it's actually happened."

Their dream was to raise their children on the family farm and to use it as a learning opportunity. Hadley and Thatcher help raise the chickens and sell eggs to make money.
"I grew up on a farm; I am thankful my kids get to have that same experience," Morgan says. "They get to run free with few barriers, getting dirty, having animals and learning lessons through life and death situations, caring and harvesting chickens."

The Millers intuitively share household responsibilities and teaching their children; every moment is a learning opportunity. The school day usually starts after 9 a.m. when the babies — 10-month-olds Anna and Hudson — go down for a nap.

It's not unusual to see Morgan and the twins learning social studies while sitting in the hallway, on nature walks on the farm and even in the babies' nursery. When the twins do sit at a desk, they have a picturesque view of the farm.

When Morgan first shared her decision to homeschool, some friends and family were skeptical. Issac wasn't on board; he was worried "they wouldn't get the same experiences as we did in school," Morgan says.

Morgan was focused on creating different experiences: incorporating the family's faith into their studies and having the children spend more with their grandparents, great-grandparents and cousins.

"The most challenging part is managing everything, but there's nothing I'd rather be doing," Morgan says.

The couple is very involved in their community. In addition to his practice at the Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Leitchfield, Isaac coaches soccer and helps with the football team at Grayson County High School, where they started dating when they were 15.

Morgan doesn't have much free time, but she serves on the board of the Grayson County Library and is a homeschool and infertility influencer on Instagram. "Social media helps me to connect with other homeschool moms, and after what I went through with IVF, I want to at least help one person," she says.

The Millers find social outlets for their children by keeping them active in the community through church, attending football games at the high school. Hadley and Thatcher take art classes once a week with 30 other homeschooled children and play several sports.
Morgan's mom, Lisa VanMeter, stops by once a week to help with the housecleaning and laundry. "All of our parents help with raising our children," Morgan says.

Morgan’s father-in-law, Harold Miller, and mother-in-law, Becky Miller, and her husband, Isaac, gather to discuss Harold’s campaign for mayor of Leitchfield. Morgan manages social media for the campaign. The family chicken, Death Wish, is so named because he’s always escaping Murphy the dog, who loves to catch and eat chickens.

Morgan teaches her son Thatcher math at their family farm, The Farm in Leitchfield. The Farm has been in their family over 200 years. Morgan says, “Right now my priority is my family and children.”

Hadley feeds the chickens she is helping to raise with her twin brother, Thatcher. “We use our farm on a daily basis with homeschooling,” Morgan says. “We have instruction time outside.”

Part of Miller family homeschooling is learning to cook, one of Thatcher’s favorite things to do. He scrambles eggs from the chickens he and Hadley raise. Morgan taught them to cook a few months before having her second set of twins, Anna and Hudson.

Homeschooling has helped create a special bond between Hadley and Thatcher. Thatcher has dyslexia, and every week his grandmother, Becky, helps him with a specialized reading program. Thatcher supports Hadley who is frustrated with a science activity.

Teaching life skills is a big part of Morgan’s homeschool program with her twins Hadley and Thatcher. Both mom and children multitask as they flow throughout their home. While Thatcher studies school work, Hadley helps mom with the babies.

Thursday night is Isaac’s night to care for the children while Morgan attends the Grayson County Library board meeting. His Thursday night ritual with the children is going for walks, playing games and making dinner together.

For Morgan, it’s important to be a part of the community and to use resources that can have a positive impact on her children. She is on the Board of Directors at the Grayson Country Library and is redesigning the children’s area in the library.

Twins Hadley and Thatcher enjoy recess in front on their family home in Leitchfield. Morgan says, “The family farm is a special place for Isaac. He was brought home from the hospital here, spent summers here as a kid, and simply has so many family memories here. He now takes pride in taking care of the land and making it a better place for our family.”