Neil and Chris Toman
It is likely you may not have chosen them to be on the forefront of the fight for parental rights in education. They are so gentle, soft-spoken and gracious. But when the State said that they weren’t kidding, Tomans said neither are we. And thus began some difficult times for Neil and Chris as they determined to do what God had called them to for their children’s sake.
They prayed with others through the court cases; they never wavered in their purpose to homeschool all of their children regardless of the law in North Dakota which did not allow homeschooling. Were they sometimes afraid? Yes. Were they often weary of the fight? Yes. Did they trust God for the outcome? Absolutely.
By God’s grace they had excellent attorneys and eventually, in 1989, the first temporary homeschool law was passed in N.D. But it took many more years for the law to become homeschool parent friendly. And during this time Neil and Chris and their family worked for and prayed for parent educators realizing the fight wasn’t just about them. So, for almost three decades, the Tomans have worked for better laws to allow parents to exercise their rights in education. Neil has served as the treasurer for the North Dakota Home School Association since its founding in 1985. Today, 30 years later, they are nearing the end of their homeschooling adventure. And if you asked them if they would do it all again they would say without hesitation that they would, because it was in obedience to God that they did what they did all those years ago.
Edward and Susan Huntington
He looked like an Old Testament prophet, a true preacher of the Word, and she ‘walks in beauty’, loving art and reading and homemaking. In a small home in Mandan, they homeschooled their children during a time of trials--literal trials. Though never threatened with court action, they were on the forefront of the development of homeschooling in North Dakota by providing support and encouragement to those who were forced to deal with the unjust demands of the State. It is likely that the volume of their prayers for homeschooling families over the past 30 years would amaze us all.
The Huntingtons were part of all the early gatherings of that handful of devoted families, and they continued homeschooling for more than two decades, graduating all of their children from their little homeschool in Mandan. Ed has gone on to be with the Lord and Sue owns and operates-what else-a bookstore in downtown Mandan and continues to serve on the NDHSA Board of Directors.
He has never married, has no children, but was zealous for the education of other people’s children. He approaches learning like an Oxford don and expects students to do their share. It was a zest for life-long learning that made this pioneer become involved in parent-directed education.
As one of the founding fathers of the North Dakota Home School Association, Grael Brian Gannon has never wavered in his love for learning and his dedicated interest in the education of children. With devotion and perseverance, Mr. Gannon spoke wisdom and encouragement to those fighting the battle to allow parents in North Dakota to homeschool. He served on the NDHSA board of directors for many years providing thoughtful input and legal guidance. He was truly a diligent, determined and wise man who offered his services to hundreds of families through his NDHSA Board work because of his deep commitment to the godly education of children.