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WINTER 2017

HOMESCHOOL IOWA 5

Happy New Year! 2017 is a special year for us because it

marks the 25th Anniversary of The Network of Iowa Chris-

tian Home Educators.

 So, what exactly are we celebrating? Maybe, for some of

our active volunteers, it is a remembrance of all the tears

and sweat they have invested. Maybe it is a time to reflect

on all the friendships forged with those we have served

alongside. But, perhaps, the best way we can celebrate is

by retelling the stories of how God has used NICHE to en-

courage and help families across Iowa who felt God’s call-

ing to disciple their

children at home.

 In this spirit, I would

like to invite you to

help us tell the story

of how God has been,

and continues to be,

at work through-

out the Iowa home-

schooling

move-

ment. Perhaps you

have a story about

the pioneering days

of

homeschooling

in Iowa. Maybe there is some small way NICHE has been

a blessing to you in the past or recently. Or perhaps you

are a 2nd generation homeschooler who can tell us how

God has used your homeschool education to prosper and

guide your path today.

 I’ll start by sharing a couple of pieces of my story. I was

homeschooled K–12. The flexibility of homeschooling al-

lowed my parents to tailor my education so that I was able

to learn practical skills like welding and running a busi-

ness—skills that have been invaluable to me in my college

education and career.

 Back in high school, I always looked forward to the NICHE

conference when I could work side by side with teen vol-

unteers from across the state and where many friendships

were cultivated. In fact, it was at a NICHE conference that

I reconnected with my wife-to-be. I remember thinking “I

hope I can be worthy of marrying a woman like this some-

day.” That someday came about 5 years ago and, praise

God, she must have thought I was good enough because

she said “Of course [I will marry you]!”Now we have a busy

home with 3 (going on 4) beautiful children.

 As a second generation homeschool dad, I certainly don’t

know it all just because I was raised in a homeschool en-

vironment. I feel like I

have evenmore ques-

tions than ever. How

in the world did my

parents pull this off?

But, the foundation

is already there, and,

most importantly, the

vision is solid. We are

going to disciple our

children at home in

Christ’s ways through

high school (yes, you

can remind my wife

and I of this when we

feel like quitting). Now we enjoy going to NICHE events

even more to meet like-minded friends, get fresh ideas,

and enjoy Christian encouragement in this homeschool

journey.

 Well, enough about me. We would love to hear your sto-

ry! Please send submissions of articles or short video clips

to NICHE

memories@homeschooliowa.org.

We hope to

use some of your submissions in our upcoming events and

publications. We look forward to hearing from you!

Joe Bailey

is a second generation homeschool dad of 3 (go-

ing on 4) children. He and his wife, Elizabeth, are members of

the Homeschool Iowa board.

FINDING YOUR NICHE

BY JOSEPH BAILEY