For all of Anna Richards’s life, her mother has been there.
While Anna and her younger sister were growing up, Lori Richards and her husband taught the girls in home school.
The couple ran a bookstore in California that helped them find books for home schooling. They raided the library.
On Friday, Anna, 17, who never went to high school, will graduate from Spokane Falls Community College. Her mother will also be there, wearing a mortar board and gown. She’s also graduating from Spokane Falls.
They both earned honors.
“I was telling her, we’ll have to get some pictures, send them to the relatives,” said Lori Richards, 36. “It’s kind of neat to see the ending to this.”
It’s a four-computer household with no television sets. It all started when Anna and sister Marsha were little girls. The family opted for home-schooling.
“You keep closer to your family that way,” Lori Richards said.
“We think the education’s better because we pick it,” husband Ken Richards added. “You can kind of customize it to your own family.
“It’s really fun. It’s a lot easier than you’d think it was.”
From California, the family moved to Selleck, Wash., a tiny town of about 100 in southeast King County. Ken and Lori Richards worked odd jobs while she went back to school at Green River Community College in Auburn.
Lori Richards wanted to bone up on her algebra, English and other subjects to be able to teach her daughters. After a year, she decided her daughters could handle community college.
Anna Richards passed the test for her general equivalency degree and took two quarters at Green River with her mom, who earned an associate of arts degree from the community college.
About two years ago the family moved across the state so Ken Richards could fulfill his dream. He had worked on oil rigs in California and for the largest landlord in Selleck.
He wanted to be a nurse.
The 41-year-old graduated from the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education in May. He took the test for a registered nurse license Wednesday.
He hopes to earn an advanced nursing degree sometime in the future.
Meanwhile, Lori and Anna Richards started school at SFCC. Marsha Richards, now 16, started the year after. She’ll graduate next year.
On Friday, Lori will earn her certificate in business administration. Anna will receive her associate of arts degree.
“I mostly like political science and those kinds of classes, but I don’t know what I want to be,” Anna Richards said.
Lori hopes someday to open a bookstore specializing in books for home schooling. Anna might start at Whitworth College next spring, depending on financing.
“We started our midlife career change and just took our kids with us,” Lori Richards said.