It is my pleasure to introduce the inaugural issue of GREENHOUSE magazine, a publication of North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE). The publication is considerably different than the Greenhouse Report, the publication subscribers received in the mail a few short months ago. A lot has changed. You have immediately noticed its bold cover, compact size (7×10) and robust binding. We have expanded the number of pages and filled them with colorful photos and typography to please. We have moved to a quarterly schedule that provides more time between issues to interact with the content. All these changes, dear reader, were selected to encourage and assist you to fight the overwhelming tendency to rush from one media outlet to another. Slow down a little and enjoy the printed page. It is my hope that you will place GREENHOUSE magazine on your coffee table or bookshelf and revisit it often. Please share it with those who are curious about home education.
While the format and style of the publication has changed, its purpose has not. GREENHOUSE magazine seeks to continue the legacy of service that was the NCHE’s Greenhouse Report—first published May 10, 1984. For nearly thirty years the Greenhouse Report was more than just a newsletter, a way of updating NCHE members on NCHE’s activities. From the beginning, the Greenhouse Report functioned as NCHE’s vehicle to communicate the joy and responsibility of the parental role and one way to embrace that role: home education. The Greenhouse Report, with its analogy of nurturing a delicate seedling to become beautiful and strong, carried the vision of wholesome relationships. Within its pages, one received words of inspiration, instruction in methods of homeschooling, information on support groups and analysis of legal activity impacting home educators. Therefore, the Greenhouse Report has always been more than a newsletter. The transition from a newsletter format to a magazine format is really an acknowledgement of the richness of the content already present within the pages.
Content richness does not happen on its own! You hold GREENHOUSE magazine in your hands because of the labor of love provided by many families dedicated to serving North Carolinians. The first four issues of NCHE’s Greenhouse Report in 1984 were produced by Jeff and Kim Golden of High Point. With three pre-school aged children, Kim used a home telephone (a land line, with a cord, no doubt!), an early word processor (the latest-greatest technology available to her at the time) and the trusty US Postal Service to gather information and craft a publication of roughly three to four pages of content. The four-column, small-print layout of the first issues speaks of her determination to make the most of her resources. The arrival of a fourth child required the Goldens to pass the baton. Other editors from the early years were Terry Manahan, Don Woerner, Walt Goforth and Bob Kretzu.
During the years 1985 to 1988, NCHE organized a significant legislative campaign resulting in our current home education law. In an age prior to widespread email and the World Wide Web, the Greenhouse Report played a significant role in the campaign along with many letters written to homeschoolers and legislators. Susan Van Dyke, of Raleigh, was very involved with the legislative fight, including helping to write all those letters. She has been involved with the Greenhouse Report in many ways for many years. Susan is a top-notch grammarian and even today, Susan Van Dyke still assists NCHE with her editorial skills.
The late 80s and early 90s saw significant changes in NCHE’s operations and organization. First an executive director position and then later an education vice president role were created and given responsibility for the publication. A committee was formed to assist, but I trust that you, the reader, are familiar with the labor-saving tendencies of committees.
Finally, in the mid-90s, Debbie Mason of Charlotte emerged as the primary caretaker of the Greenhouse Report. Debbie considers her strength math and laughed when asked to take on the role of editor. But her organizational power, attention to detail and pragmatic attitude have served the publication well. As NCHE’s conference grew from hundreds of attendees to thousands, the Greenhouse Report served as the vehicle to communicate the wide array of speakers, workshops and book fair vendors. Under Debbie’s direction, NCHE developed strong processes to accomplish the complex work required to produce a publication. NCHE education vice presidents have come and gone, but for seventeen years, Debbie has been the constant force in the publication. Even now, the publication you hold reflects her refining power; her capacity to take ideas and make them work. She is a treasure.
The Goldens, the Van Dykes and the Masons all played a significant role in the Greenhouse Report. The longevity of the publication and its transformation into the magazine you hold today is a testimony to their faithfulness. I praise God for these saints (Psalm 16:3). As a small tribute to their service-oriented hearts and as a way of celebrating nearly thirty years of service, GREENHOUSE will occasionally print a column containing articles from the Greenhouse Report archives. It is my hope that these columns will help connect you, the reader, to the home educators in NC’s history. In these archive columns, you will find the familiar and the foreign. You will find honest reflection on the work of home education, a sense of joy but also a desperate dependence on God’s provision. You will find words of delight at the discovery of newfound friends and fellowship. But you will also find fathers and mothers summoning the courage to engage in civil disobedience and face possible arrest. Times have changed. Home educators are accepted today, and the story of how that came to be reveals itself in these pages. That is the content found within the Greenhouse Report and now GREENHOUSE magazine: the most basic expressions of love for the neighbor that is one’s child.