There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow
By Niqui Chatfield
Picture the Norman Rockwell family… We are picturing it, too! The idyllic family life; singing around the piano, wonderful home-cooked meals shared around the table, candlelit evenings sharing a good book together around a cozy fire. Attaining this is a daily work in progress, and though we may not realize these perfect memories, having a goal in mind keeps us working toward something beautiful! Considering that tomorrow is another day, helps us get through today. “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, shining at the end of every day. . .” is a cherished lyric from a song at the theme attraction “The Carousel of Progress” found at Disneyworld in Florida. This attraction sequences progress in our society, how things have changed over the years. But what about some of our yesterdays…
My husband, Tim, and I, started our family back in 1987 in Columbus, Ohio, and by 1997 we had two children safely tucked into a private school. Our local city schools were unacceptable and we knew we had to find an alternative education option for our children. So, we chose a school with a great staff, small, multi-cultural classrooms and a good educational program. Kindergarten was a wonderful experience for my son and daughter. First grade brought confusion in math, disruptive students, and our ever- increasing involvement was necessary for a successful education. By the time our first child reached third grade we were spending a lot of time commuting, assisting, re-teaching, and still willing to pay the tuition. The school year ended with our eldest in 3rd grade and our second child in 1st grade and though our experience was mostly good, the bloom had worn off. Little did we know, they would not be returning to school . . . ever.
That summer we were faced with job relocation to a new state. All of a sudden the life we knew was about to change drastically. School was uncertain, the home was unknown, people were unfamiliar, the timing was unpredictable -- our lives were thrown into a whirl. We had to stop and take stock. What could we control, and what couldn’t we control? The idea of putting our two youngsters into this whirlwind forced us to hang on to things that would not change. Our family would not change; but schools would change, home would change, friends would change. School . . . the thought of new schools, while commuting, plus an unknown move date was unnerving. Here was something we could control.
It became clear we needed to look at alternatives in educating our two school-age children. Homeschooling . . . hmm, what is that? We did a lot of research and found that homeschooling was a fast-growing education option for hundreds of thousands of families. Well, if these many thousands of people could do it, then we could, too. Homeschooling was an option that would allow us continuity of education for our children. In this ever-changing time in our life, we could control our child’s educational experiences. No transferring, no looking for new schools, no learning a new staff. We would provide their school from home, wherever that home would be. On the road, here, there; homeschooling worked out perfectly with the travel and possible relocation.
The first year was a re-creation of a traditional classroom at home, right down to the bulletin board and pledge of allegiance. We packed lunches and maintained backpacks! We focused on set books for each subject, completed assignments, workbooks, and tests. It was overwhelming at first, being solely responsible for our children’s education. Being organized was essential, and we couldn’t always count on that! Educating two children and caring for a toddler was a handful! And then we found out we were expecting our fourth baby. It was wonderful that our older children could be so intimately involved with the preparations for our new addition. Being together for this blessed event in our family life was priceless. No interruptions that are typical with a brick and mortar school experience. We were certain homeschooling was the right choice for our family, but wondered if we were being effective that first year.
Over the years, we have used many books, methods, materials, and philosophies. Some years we were very strict with our educational schedule. And other years we may have been considered un-schoolers. Over the past six years, we added one more child to our family, for our current total of 5. And these blessed events were an education unto themselves! It was hectic, sleepless, and stressful at times, but we wouldn’t trade the life experiences we shared as a family for anything. One thing is for sure, we found a great relationship with our children. As we continued to navigate our way through this new territory of home education, we were in an ongoing search for the plan that would work for us. Finding the right educational plan for our family has taken years! And we share our story to help other families.
We were on a quest for a quality education that was easy to deliver; a curriculum that would be innovative and engaging for all ages. With 5 kids we needed a plan that worked today, and for years to come. Our entrepreneurial spirit was piqued. We had always searched for a family business, one that we were passionate about, an enterprise we could be proud of and share with our children. Our quest brought us to the creation of Progress Academy. We founded an excellent educational program by establishing professional relationships with the top educational and curriculum companies in the industry, and educational leaders with talent and vision. And that is how Progress Academy, an online K-12 program, was born. We were so excited about this program and how our kids loved it, naturally we wanted to share it with homeschoolers everywhere.
Today we get to spend our days homeschooling with our kids, and with families around the world! Talk about socializing! We talk to parents and students every day. A mom called me the other day, “My son Tommy just isn’t motivated today, what can we do?” I replied “We are going to homeschool together, let’s figure out what inspires Tommy, and work it out!” We are creating an online community of homeschoolers with student clubs, newsletters, student chat rooms, customer service 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. What schools do you know that are open on Sundays? Call 866-516-2404 on a Sunday, Tim and I will be happy to talk with you!
There is a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, shining at the end of every day. Just like in the Carousel of Progress, homeschooling is progressing, evolving and changing; becoming a viable option for more and more families. Progress Academy embraces the new face of home education. Progress is essential to life, we strive to improve ourselves and our experiences. Tim and I were inspired and encouraged by “The Carousel of Progress” and continue that pioneering spirit with Progress Academy. With our program, you will find unlimited educational opportunities resulting in a love for learning- now that’s progress!
Progress Academy Testimonial
By Jordyn Rothenberg, 9th grade student, Progress Academy
As a student of Progress Academy I have found that in order to have a true understanding of education, you must have a great example. Students around the world sit every day either in home studies or public school and do not understand a major percentage of what is being taught to them. In my years of attending public schooling and also home studies, my family and I have noticed that my academic future looked more promising when I attend home studies. But, I have never felt like I was receiving the most education that I could possibly get until I started attending Progress Academy.
Progress Academy offers such an immense opportunity to build students’ futures. I love attending this school because I know I am working with people who know what education is! I also appreciate how personal Niqui and Tim Chatfield are. I don’t feel like I just have assignments and tests I need to complete, I feel like I am actually learning essentials for life . . . and I have never felt this before from a school! Niqui Chatfield is a very caring person and it shows, because she is always asking how our assignments are going and always communicating with parents and students, which I feel is very important. This makes an easier setting for parents and students. I know I am speaking for all who attend this school when I say Progress Academy is great!
This is my first year attending Progress, and I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to get the hang of things. This is also my first time attending a school online. From the very beginning Niqui and Tim have made me feel very welcome and at ease. They have showed me how the system works (which is not only very easy but fun) and also helped me through courses I have had trouble with. Since attending Progress I have figured out what my goals are for further education!
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