I read a very inspiring email this morning from Dr. Jeff Myers, president of Summit Ministries and a featured speaker at past NCHE Thrive! Conferences. He talked about the difference little things can make in big problems. The story he recounted was an amazing one that I had never heard.
As Dr. Myers explained, when communism was growing around the world in the 1960s, many accepted it as inevitable and even extolled its supposed benefits. A small, self-published book, None Dare Call It Treason, written by an unknown author began spreading through word of mouth. Many who read it accused the author of being an evil man spreading lies. However, the book reached the hands of one man who did not share that sentiment. That book eventually lay in a prominent place on the desk of that prominent man, who, in June of 1987, boldly proclaimed to the leader of the communist state of the Soviet Union, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!“
The author of the book that inspired President Ronald Reagan to take an unflinching stand against the tyranny of communism was an electrical engineer from St. Louis; he was also an instructor at the small nonprofit Summit Ministries. According to Dr. Myers, “It was John Stormer who encouraged Summit Ministries to publish Understanding the Times—the best-selling worldview text of all time—and develop a curriculum that has trained hundreds of thousands of people in a biblical worldview.” Wow! What a difference one small thing has made!
NCHE is another small nonprofit working to make a difference in the world. We believe that by helping families homeschool with confidence and joy, we are impacting the lives of families in North Carolina for generations to come. The gamut of services we provide runs from protecting the freedoms of homeschool families by actively monitoring bills presented to the General Assembly to hosting field trips across the state. The NCHE Athletic Commission provides opportunities for thousands of homeschool athletes to participate in eight different sports. We maintain an expansive website with a multitude of resources such as instructions for opening a homeschool, transcript template, testing information, region-specific pages listing area support groups, and a weekly blog. Our office staff speaks with hundreds of families each year, offering solutions to problems they encounter in the homeschool process. At the same time, our new mentor program provides one-on-one guidance from experienced and trained homeschool moms and dads.
These are just a few of the many ways that our organization serves the families in our state. It would take an entire blog post to tell you all of the things that NCHE has been up to in the past year alone (and it would be a long post!). How do these things get accomplished? We are a small organization with only two full-time paid staff members. The majority of our work is done by volunteers who commit hours each week to carry out their commission to serve their fellow homeschoolers. We are mothers with small children, fathers who are working to provide for our families, grandparents who want to ensure their grandchildren continue to receive the benefits of homeschooling, and retirees who are committed to serving even years after their children have grown and graduated.
We fit our NCHE duties into our daily schedule between changing diapers, homeschooling our children, making dinner for our family, taking teens to Speech and Debate competitions, navigating medical crises, moving to a new town, and all the other fine details of life. Often, the sacrifice is great, and our resolve is tested. But we continue on, walking in faith that even the small gift we give of recording a webinar, writing a blog post, hosting a field trip, or taking half an hour to encourage a struggling mother will have an impact on those we reach.
Like a pebble tossed into a pond spreads ripple after ripple across the water’s surface, our work has already caused significant ripples in the landscape of education in North Carolina and beyond. However, this impact will not remain on the surface but will go much deeper. When parents have the freedom to personalize each aspect of their child’s education to meet that child’s individual needs, that child is prepared to be a world-changer.
A young man or woman who has learned how to learn – an often-quoted goal of homeschooling parents – has what it takes to reach their full potential. Tossing aside the mold that students must conform to in any other educational setting to freely explore the unique gifts, talents, interests, and skills of the homeschooled child is invaluable. This freedom is only attainable with homeschooling.
What part can you play in this endeavor to impact our world? NCHE has many seats to fill around the table. Our needs are as varied as the services we provide. They include IT, writing (blog posts, GREENHOUSE articles, show content), video production, photography, social media, and marketing. Contact us today to find out where we can best use your skills and interests.You can email me at email@example.com, and I will make sure your information reaches the correct department.
As we reach the end of our fiscal year, your financial gift can make a big impact to our ministry. No gift is too small to make a difference. I doubt that John Stormer ever imagined the part his small book would play in tearing down the wall of communism that symbolically and physically separated the free world from those in bondage. My children have a beautiful storybook by Max Lucado called “Small Gifts in God’s Hands.” It teaches us that we should never doubt the power of God to multiply our gifts – no matter how small – in order to accomplish His purposes. He only asks that we act in faith and obedience to freely give what He has already given us.
Tell others about NCHE! A tiny percentage of the homeschool families in North Carolina are aware of the organization that worked to give them that same opportunity. They do not know that the resources they are searching for are available at our website. They have never attended the Thrive! Conference, where they can listen to great speakers like Jeff Myers of the Summit Ministries, make powerful connections in the homeschool community, and pour over hundreds of curriculum options in the vendor hall. They are counting on NCHE to protect their continued freedom to homeschool without even realizing who we are. The best way we have to reach these families is through word of mouth. That means YOU! Tell other homeschoolers about our website, invite your friends to meet you at the conference, and share our posts on Facebook and other social media outlets. Please spread the word about the work we are doing, and help us impact our world, one small gift at a time.
Jessica Frierson is a homeschool graduate and has been homeschooling her ten children since 2000. She serves as the secretary for NCHE, writes for GREENHOUSE, and is the lead blogger for the NCHE blog.