Tyrone and Verlyn Tarlton both are educators who strongly believe their three children, eight-year-old Melody and seven-year -old twins Daniel and Isaiah, should get a good education so Verlyn home schools them. In June, the Tarltons took their children’s education on the road. Over the next five years, they plan to visit each state in the union emphasizing their African American heritage.
The Tarltons hail from King George, Virginia in the Washington, D.C. area. For the past 10 years Verlyn has worked from home as a writer and home-schooled their children while Tyrone taught high school vocational education. He retired in 2015. That gave them the opportunity Verlyn longed for.
She realized while home-schooling her children, how little Black History information was available and how few books are available that depict images of children who look like hers. Black History is more than the familiar stories about Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks, she says. She wanted her children to know the boundless depths of African American History and the stories of those who shape it.
Tyrone’s retirement gave the family the opportunity to explore those depths. They already owned a RV they sometimes used for vacations. And since the kids were being home-schooled and were old enough, Verlyn thought the RV could become their home and classroom on a journey that would allow them to see the country, talk to people and learn about Black History along the way.
The Tarltons sold everything, rented their home and on Father’s Day took to the road. Since beginning their journey they’ve stopped in Newport News, Va., Weldon, N.C., Santee and now are visiting Charleston. They head to Fort Yarborough, Ga. near Athens, Ga. when they leave our region at the end of August. At each stop the family uncovers pieces of Black History.
Verlyn shares their experiences through a blog she is writing as they travel. She also is completing the third installment of her children’s series, “Swift Walker: A Continental Journey”. She plans to give copies of her books to children all over the country. Her blogs can be found at www.roadschoolsunandfun.blogspot.com and www.verlyntarlton.com.
“This has been indescribable, an eye-opener,” she said. “I couldn’t have imagined all that we’ve learned only since June! I am very thankful to God. By His grace and mercy I am allowed this phenomenal opportunity. I don’t take it lightly.”
Tyrone said the journey is offering him the opportunity to explore education outside the classrooms where he spent the past 29 years.
“It’s overwhelmingly exciting,” said the self-described outdoorsman. “We’re meeting people who often share 50 years of history in a matter of minutes. For my kids it’s like taking the blinders off. But more importantly, I get to see how happy it makes my wife,” he said.