For one Olympia family going back to school means rolling up the garage door

Austin Jenkins:

It was common through the 1800s for American school children to attend a one-room schoolhouse. In 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Swanson family in rural north Olympia will attend a one-garage schoolhouse.

On a recent morning, Molly Swanson rolled up her garage door and welcomed a visitor into the classroom she and her husband created this summer as a place to educate four of their six children, plus two foster children.

“I call ourselves the Swallowtail Academy of Brilliant Boys,” Swanson said.

Yes, they’re all boys in grades ranging from first to eighth.

Swanson also has a preschooler and a 16-year-old who’s doing the Running Start program this fall through the local community college.

Not so long ago, Swanson’s garage looked like many garages.

“It was just a hot mess of junk,” she said.