We officially registered Back Home Industries as a business in the fall of 1990. Our true beginnings, however, go back many years as the LORD guided and redirected our personal development.
Gary learned business and financial skills from twenty years in the banking industry. He initially intended to become a loan officer, but as a new Christian studying his Bible he saw the Biblical warnings about debt and paying interest. He concluded that encouraging people to go into debt was not the best vocation for him. He chose instead to work in the corporate office and became a supervisor in the trust department. Meanwhile, he started thinking about a secret that banks do not readily advertise. Adding small prepayments to your outstanding loan balance significantly reduces interest payments and speeds up the retirement of the debt saving borrowers money. Paying off their home years ahead of schedule put Gary and Wanda in the position to start this home business when the opportunity arose. Gary's book, A Banker's Confession: A Christian Guide to Getting Out of Debt, shows others how to capitalize on these benefits for themselves.
Once a feminist with a desire to lead men, Wanda, after conversion, understood the beauty of the woman's supportive role and claimed Titus 2:3-5 as life verses. She gave up a promising career as a high school English teacher to become a full time homemaker. Her convictions were tested in 1981 when Wanda's first husband died of brain cancer. Could a widow with three small children be a "keeper at home?" Most people expected this dedicated homemaker to return to an outside career, but by faith she chose to work within the home as a writer. She perfected projects she had started earlier for her home and church. Over the years she had developed a Christmas devotional guide for her sons called Advent Foretold and written a Bible study for the women of her local church called God's Priceless Woman. These works needed to be polished to prepare them for a larger market. At the time she did not make any money on this endeavor but the LORD in incredible ways provided for her and her young fatherless children. Several years later Gary, on vacation 700 miles away from home, met Wanda at her church and offered to edit a portion of God's Priceless Woman. He not only did an excellent job evaluating the manuscript but in time used his own gift at writing to win Wanda's heart through snail mail. We married in 1984.
Spell to Write and Read
Wanda's greatest handicap in school had been spelling. She learned to read with Dick and Jane but even as a high school English teacher, she did not have a clue as to the sounds letters represented. After witnessing epidemic failure with reading and writing on the high school level, she started searching for the root problems so that when she had children of her own someday she could assure their success in these vital skills. She discovered phonics but stumbled over unreliable rules and mammoth lists of exceptions. When her firstborn son was young, God provided the unexpected opportunity for her to study under experts like Romalda Spalding. She discovered a consistent, scientific way to teach language skills and watched her firstborn son flourish under her instruction.
Although Wanda's personal goal had simply been to train her own children, other local homeschool moms started seeking her help. She recommended Mrs. Spalding's book as their base for teaching language arts. Many could tell the ideas it contained were great but had trouble knowing how to implement them. Wanda decided to draft a step-by-step outline for them to follow. People continued to ask questions. She started teaching classes and enlarged her original handouts. People enthusiastically spread the word about these seminars. Friends from other places in the country started requesting her to come to their state to do a class. Her simple photocopied notes for classes grew into a published supplement to The Writing Road to Reading which we called Teaching Reading at Home. Eventually her materials would be revised into a stand-alone program called Spell to Write and Read which would serve as the general overall teacher's manual to accompany the spelling words in WISE Guide for Spelling. A personal search for ways to teach her own sons, led to a program that today is helping countless other homeschool parents and also many classroom teachers.
Aware of her own limitations and inadequacies, she never dreamed that one day she would write a curriculum inspired by Mrs. Spalding's book, The Writing Road to Reading, and train educators coast to coast in phonics. Early in her Christian life Wanda gave up her profession as a classroom teacher in order to serve the Lord at home. She loved teaching but found that it consumed her energy and conflicted with her desire to be a help meet to her husband. God, in His providence, redirected her in a way that harmonized her teaching gifts with her family priorities. He gave back what she surrendered to Him. Conducting occasional weekend classes to train home educators became a way that she could fulfill her life verse and encourage women "to love their children."
In 1990 the demand for our language aids, Wanda's Bible study, and our December devotional guide led us to officially publish these materials. Back Home Industries was born. In a few months the work of running a business became more than Wanda could operate alone. Gary came "Back Home" to manage the company. Putting the principles of A Banker's Confession into practice, we operate our business free of debt. Our first catalog was two sheets of white paper stapled in the top corner advertising God's Priceless Woman , Advent Foretold, A Banker's Confession, and key components of the spelling/reading program. These foundational books have been in print since the company's inception but many other products have been added along the way.
As a by-product of teaching our children at home, we discovered the vibrancy of teaching history from a providential perspective and economics from a free market point of view. We started selling other quality books built upon this theme as well as publishing quality reprints such as The New England Primer of 1777 and Moody's Child Stories. We continued to add new titles:Alpha List, and The Life of John Calvin by Theodore Beza in 1996 and Remarkable Providences by Increase Mather in 1997. In 1998 we republished John Bunyan's, A Book for Boys and Girls under the new title, Lessons from Nature. In 1999 we added The Spelling Rule Cards and Covered or Uncovered.
At the beginning of the new millennium we added a book ten years in the making, The WISE Guide for Spelling and in 2002 we introduced Spell to Write and Read. We introduced our first children's reader, Play by the Sea, in 2003. A few years later we added a second children's reader called Let's Play "I See!" In 2012 we published a pre-formated Black Learning Log for higher level SWR students. A handout called Suggested Book List published in 1991 was expanded to a 72 page book in 2018.
We have other ideas swirling in our head that may be added in the future.
Our goal is to glorify God in all things, including our business. We hope that our dedication to serve our family in the LORD will overflow to bless your household as well. That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars sculptured in palace style... Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!" -- Psalm 144
Gary and Wanda Sanseri