Balancing a family of nine children, homeschooling all nine children and working two part-time jobs keeps Katie Fargo hopping but it’s a life she loves.


“I knew at a very young age I wanted to be a mom of many,” Fargo said with a laugh. And this Gayville native is definitely a mom of many.

Fargo has eight children by birth with her husband who is a native Eskimo. The couple met in Alaska while Fargo, fresh out of college with a degree in education from Mount Marty, decided to take a position as a pre-school teacher in Alaska. She visited an Alaskan-sponsored booth at a Sioux Falls Job Fair looking for teachers. She soon learned accepting the position would mean she would have to give up running water in her house if she moved there.

“The school district included twelve villages and as soon as I arrived I knew I had made the right decision,” Fargo said. “The people were so very friendly, loving and accepting and soon I fell in love with the area. I knew I could live without running water in my house.” She made many friends she still keeps in contact with. It was there she met her husband and they came back to Gayville to marry and live.

As time went along, Fargo’s husband’s sister became pregnant while still a high school student.

Her sister-in-law knew from the beginning she was not ready to be a mom and early on asked her brother and wife if they would consider adopting. It was an easy decision for Fargo and her husband to agree to adopt the baby who would fit right in with their growing family.



“Our daughter’s bio-mom, as we call her, just contacted me last week and asked if she knew she was adopted and I told her we are very open about it,” Fargo said. “We have never sat her down and said, ‘You’re adopted,’ but we talk about it all the time. All our children tell me they forget she didn’t grow in my belly.”


Fargo flew to Alaska when the baby was born and brought her home on an airplane when she was three days old. Now she is a nine-year-old, middle-of-the-pack sibling, her oldest brother being 17 years old, looking to the future, and her youngest brother just four-years old, learning about life.

Since it was a family adoption, it was an easy process. The bio mother and father signed release papers, the Fargos signed papers and the tribe Fargo’s husband is a member of needed to approve the adoption also.

Through the Internet and Facebook, Fargo keeps in close contact with her bio-daughter’s extended family as well as her husband’s family. The miles seem to slip away. Relatives are able to see photos which Fargo posts to Facebook and they keep in touch by sending her

mementos from her Alaskan family to cherish.


Today being online and connected is even more important as Fargo and her husband have divorced, amicably, so the internet connection keeps the bond of father and children strong. In the early years of their marriage, he traveled in between Alaska and South Dakota as he continued to work in Alaska. He visits the crew in Gayville when he can and is very involved with his family. “Sometimes it happens a couple makes better friends than partners and so it is with us,” Fargo said.

The Fargos as a family have never been back to Alaska because it is so expensive, but Fargo works to encourage the children to explore the world when they finish high school, even check out colleges in Alaska so they can be near to their father and experience his life, too.

Not only does Fargo keep busy caring, loving and raising nine children, she also homeschools her family.

“I find it’s a fine balance, juggling school time, my part-time jobs and my children’s personalities,” Fargo said with a laugh. “Some wake at the crack of dawn while others like to sleep, so it keeps me busy finding ways to personalize each one’s situation.”

Say for instance Number Two child does not like to do multiplication cards so Fargo may download work sheets from the Internet. The homeschooling process allows her the opportunity to be creative and custom-design each one’s education. A day’s worth of classes takes about three hours in the Fargo house. The family orders educational material off the internet which offers a wealth of information for students age preschool to high school. There is an abundance of excellent worksheets with positive skill sets to choose from.

In South Dakota, just like students attending a brick and mortar school, homeschooled students are required to complete the Stanford Achievement Test in math and reading in fourth, eighth and eleventh grades. This is the basic requirement for homeschooled children in South Dakota and Fargo’s children don’t mind the testing.

When the children gradually began growing into high school classwork, Fargo said she was a little apprehensive thinking about Algebra and Geometry. Her oldest told her not to worry and showed her a YouTube video demonstrating a particularly challenging geometric problem. It was almost like magic and an answer to her prayers.

“You can find YouTube videos on almost anything,” Fargo said with a laugh and a sigh of relief.

Since the oldest Fargo sibling is 17, thoughts about a graduation celebration are starting to take shape. His dad will be coming to help celebrate and he thinks about the future. Fargo will have all her children take the GED certification and ACT testing will also be scheduled as college education looms in the near future. There are a different set of guidelines for college entrance requirements for homeschooled students since they don’t have class rankings or GPA data, so her family will have the opportunity to enter the ranks of higher education. She adds her son is realizing how big the world is and how many options he has. He has an interest in theatre, works at a radio station or even wonders about running a daycare.

Field trips were a great option to get Fargo’s children exposure in the world. They have traveled to the Black Hills, to DeSmet for the Ingalls family history, visited Spirit Mound, the Music Museum in Vermillion and day trips like Cemetery Walks around the area. Game, Fish & Parks in Nebraska and South Dakota offer many programs and educational opportunities for youth, which they enjoy as a family Fargo said.

“Sometimes one misses all the great activities we have in this area which can be used for education,” Fargo said.

Fargo believes one of her best decisions was the move to become involved in the theatre in Yankton – not only for herself but for her children.

“My kids just love performing and they seem to be thriving,” Fargo said. “Giving a speech in front of your brothers and sisters is just not very exciting so the social aspect is really good for them.”

Even Fargo’s youngest cannot wait to be able to go on stage and perform. Over the years, the Fargos have been involved in 4-H and Library programs in Yankton and Vermillion but working in performances at Lewis & Clark Theatre has been a very positive experience.

Being the director of the Lewis & Clark Theatre has also been a very positive experience for Fargo as well. “Every day is different and it’s exciting to move from production issues to scheduling to conducting a capital campaign for fundraising,” Fargo said.

Fargo’s second part-time job is also at a place dear to her heart – a bistro café in downtown Yankton. She said she spent so much time there because the atmosphere suited her so well, the owner finally said, “Here, put on an apron and help out.”

Fargo’s teaching career was put on hold when her family started arriving but recently she began volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club in Yankton. She works in the STEM program, building with Legos and constructing robots.

“I love it; working with the kids is exciting and I rediscovered why I wanted to be a teacher,” Fargo said. “You never know where life is going to take you.”

And Fargo is looking forward to the next great adventure.