Like our students, Whimselthwaite School is unique. 

In A homeschool setting with the freedom of individualized curriculum, a customized schedule including aftercare, and a miniature class size,  Whimselthwaite School stands out as the only education of its kind.


At a public or private school, each student gets on average 17 minutes of his teacher's attention per day.  Our students get an average of 84 minutes of daily individual attention.  


Anita Fairbanks, President and Dean of Whimselthwaite School

The Governess

        My favorite thing to do is read beautiful books to children.

          My mother homeschooled me along with my six siblings.  I have 18 years of homeschooling experience, and 7 years of full-time home-based teaching experience.   My own children, ages 9, 7, and 3.5, have been homeschooling since the beginning and are several academic grade levels ahead of their peers.  I hold a BA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, a degree equivalent to a double major in math and philosophy and a triple minor in music, ancient language, and classical literature. 



          In 2013, I founded a successful non-profit, the Memphis Homeschool Enrichment Cooperative, cultivating over 100 students. I taught a wide variety of classes myself, in each age group, ranging from puppeteering, to book publishing, to ancient Greek mythology. I served as co-director, and the co-op itself offered 145 classes in its first two years. 

          I volunteer at B.E.A.T. Children’s Theater, Bend Parks and Rec., and the Bend Children’s Museum.  My leisure activities include taking my kids on nature hikes, learning Italian, studying tango, and exploring educational philosophy.  I hope to write children’s literature one day. 

“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done—then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”
— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden



(Portraits below by Arielle VoghtSteve Heinrich, and Anita Fairbanks) 

     Whimselthwaite school recruits students who are brave, kind, voracious, resourceful, intriguing, imaginative, and tenacious.  They are the reason we do what we do.  School should inspire children, emancipate them.  We believe they already love to learn and we are determined to preserve that love.  

    Because Whimselthwaite is a micro-school with a blended-age class, each of our students impacts the dynamic of our school.  They teach one another.

 The following students are currently enrolled at Whimselthwaite:

[C.] Fairbanks  Whimselthwaite Student, Age 9

[C.] Fairbanks
Whimselthwaite Student, Age 9

 [C.] is a charismatic, independent nine-year-old in 4th grade who loves art.  In 1st grade, she secured an internship with the costume designer of a ballet company.  The following year, she studied color pencil illustration and published her own picture book.  Homeschooling gives her the freedom to pursue her interests, whether they are pottery, or pulleys, or Morse code, or Italian.  She is socially intense, and Whimselthwaite gives her the chance to lead and learn from other students.  [C.] currently teaches Art to our preschool classes.  She is passionate about the theater and has appeared in B.E.A.T. productions of "A Little Princess" and "Mulan, Jr." 

[A.] Fairbanks  Whimselthwaite Student, Age 7

[A.] Fairbanks
Whimselthwaite Student, Age 7

[A.] is a boisterous seven-year-old in 2nd grade who is passionate about peregrine falcons and aviation and math problems and puns, but not so much about sitting still in a classroom.  In Kindergarten, he learned to code computer games.  This year, he gobbled up chapter books, became the family card shark, learned to play the viola, made the boys' gymnastics team, donned a white belt in karate, and finished reading Jurassic Park.  He just wants to play, so we do our best to make sure our work is play too.

[G.] Fairbanks  Whimselthwaite Student, Age 3.5

[G.] Fairbanks
Whimselthwaite Student, Age 3.5

[G.] is wiggling his way through preschool and will turn four this summer.  With a love for creature powers, he knows more about animals than most adults, recites nature facts in his sleep, and can name 10 different types of rattlesnakes. (He specializes in reptiles.)  He has been learning letter sounds vigorously this year.  He is individualistic, philosophical, and articulate.  He's an expert at recess, and one of the reasons we have so many.

love teaching?

      Being a governess at Whimselthwaite epitomizes work-life balance, because you can work in your own home, alongside your own children.  The private students benefit from a warm, natural, loving environment.  The homeschooled students benefit from having playmates.  Their scholastic performance improves due to peer motivation.  Peer teaching becomes possible.  Group projects become more interesting.  They gain a broader prospective of learning styles, family customs, and personalities.  They learn to listen to peers with respect.  We are looking for creative, kind, intelligent governesses to join our movement.  


Open Positions


Position opens September 2018



  • Homeschooling experience essential
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Tutoring or teaching experience (beyond homeschooling) preferred
  • Must be able to tutor full-time at home campus, with classroom management adapted to teaching one-on-one and in small groups
  • Have a cheery disposition
  • Rosy cheeks, no warts
  • Play games, all sorts
  • You must be kind, you must be witty
  • Very sweet and fairly pretty
  • Take us on outings, give us treats
  • Sing songs, bring sweets
  • Never be cross or cruel
  • Never give us castor oil or gruel   
  • Love us as a son and daughter
  • And never smell of barley water


Name *
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
— Albert Einstein