Originally publhsed June 21, 2012.
Most people grow up listening to their parents talking about the importance of education.
The Bingham family, of Huntington, doesn't just preach the mantra - it lives it.
The family had four graduates at various levels of education this past spring, with more to come this winter.
"My husband Mark and I have been married for 28 years and we have 10 children," says Tamera Bingham. "We have always told them that if they wanted to be successful, one of the most important things would be to have a good education, starting with their high school diplomas."
Bingham says most of the children are homeschooled and that several have earned their diplomas the untraditional way.
Their 20-year-old son Paul Bingham earned his high school diploma on April 30. Bingham, who has a disability, says the traditional high school model was not suited to his learning style.
"I also tried to get my GED, but the tutor and I were not a good fit," Bingham says. "I needed an environment where I could learn at my own pace and learned about the Ben Franklin High School diploma program from my brother in-law, Harrison."
The program offers correspondence-based distance learning courses. After working to pay for the courses, Bingham completed his studies this spring.
"Right now I'm looking to attend Kentucky Mountain Bible College to pursue a degree in missions, communication and ministry," he states. "I'm also looking at the possibility of joining the National Guard."
Next in the family to graduate was husband/father Mark Bingham, who graduated from Indiana Tech with a Bachelor of Science in human services.
Tamera says his path filled with tension.
"Mark was unemployed and going to school full time, so there was some tension in terms of finances," she says. "But we got through it and he now has a job at the Bowen Center as an alcohol addiction counselor."
She adds that one of the couple's daughters, Rachel, who currently attends Huntington University contributed some humor during the stressful time by challenging her dad to see who could get better grades or complete assignments first.
Mark Bingham is now pursuing his master's degree through Indiana University.
Daughter Louise Bingham and son-in-law Harrison Bingham both earned their high school diplomas on May 30.
Harrison, who is married to the couple's daughter Rachel, adopted his wife's family surname.
He graduated via the Ben Franklin program as well.
"I dropped out of school when I was 18 and I tried to get my GED, but I failed the test three times," he says. "I was getting frustrated and didn't think that I would ever get my high school diploma. That's when I found out about the Ben Franklin program."
Harrison says he found the eight-month program manageable and credits his family, friends and even co-workers for their assistance with his assignments.
While he's unsure about his near-future plans academically, Harrison says he's considering two passions.
"I like playing video games, so I'm interested in video game design," he says. "Also, when I was younger, I wanted to join the military, so I'm checking out the National Guard."
Louise Bingham graduated from Cornerstone Christian School. The school is affiliated with Cornerstone Wesleyan Church, in the Noble County community of Merriam.
She says that at first school was not a priority for her.
"I just wanted to be a kid; I didn't want to grow up," she says. "Then I got motivated after seeing my dad working to get his degree and my mom as well."
Louise will be attending Indiana Wesleyan this fall to pursue a degree in elementary education and a minor in youth ministry.
"I like helping people and working with kids," she adds. "And it's important to stress the importance of education even to smaller kids."
With everyone around her focused on education, Tamera Bingham says she put her fears aside and took the plunge.
She received the Northeast Indiana Paralegal scholarship and will graduate from Indiana Business College with an associate's degree in paralegal studies in December.
She will also earn a wildlife/forestry conservation certificate via the Penn Foster online career program and plans to pursue her bachelor's degree in paralegal studies through Liberty University.
"I was nervous going back to school after being out for so long," Bingham says. "But I'm proud that I stuck with it."
"My mom is also my inspiration and I'm proud of her," adds Louise Bingham.
Tamera Bingham says she has a desire start a school for children who need an alternative option to complete high school.
"Our family has four children with disabilities so we know how difficult it can be to learn in the traditional setting," she states. "But even with their disabilities, they still continue to believe in themselves that they can do it. That's the kind of environment they need, along with faith in Jesus and family encouragement and support."
The Bingham family consists of Mark and Tamera; Ana, 24; Rachel, 23; Jeremiah, 22; Paul, 20; Louise, 18; Josiah, 17; Johannes, 15; Jabez-Silas, 10; Elias, 8; and Joash-Nehemiah, 4.
Complete caption: Tamera Bingham (left) and her husband Mark (not pictured) have stressed the importance of education to their 10 children. Recent graduates in the family include (from left), daughter Louise, son-in-law Harrison and son Paul. Tamera will graduate this winter as well.