Benefits of H.E.A.R.T.
When H.E.A.R.T. first came into being there were very few homeschool groups in the Murfreesboro/Rutherford County area. H.E.A.R.T. was created to help support the homeschool community and help families find support as they home educated their children. The activities looked different. There were more "Mom's Nights Out" with seminars and workshops that provided insight into how to navigate the pitfalls of taking up homeschooling. In many states, home education was actually against the law and did not fulfill the compulsory education requirements. H.E.A.R.T. sought to fill the voids in information and provide a much needed networking opportunity for these parents.
Through the years home education has changed. Through these years H.E.A.R.T. has changed also. Many activities have been started and run their course and have disappeared. These activities have been replaced with new activities to meet new needs. Through it all, H.E.A.R.T. has been there to assist in coordinating or providing an umbrella of resources to aid the homeschooling parents. With the advent of social media and the ability to quickly organize events and push invitations out our role is yet changing again. While H.E.A.R.T. provides a closed group on Facebook as many other home education groups do, H.E.A.R.T. provides so much more.
Are we just a Homeschool Group?
Simply put... No.
H.E.A.R.T. maintains a non-profit status to provide aid and services to the homeschool community with our target area being Rutherford County in Tennessee. We serve a larger geographic area as others find the value in H.E.A.R.T. they travel to our events and join for the other member benefits.
Other homeschool groups are generally activity based, either extra-curricular or teaching specific and have a coordinator or two that plan and pushes the invitations out. When that coordinator leaves or no longer participates, generally the group folds leaving those coming up behind without a place to go. Further, they generally are not governed by a Board of Directors and generally do not have bank accounts with a working yearly budget that will allow planning throughout the school year. Yet, they serve a valuable and important niche. H.E.A.R.T. is not in competition with these groups but very supportive and wants them to be very successful.
H.E.A.R.T. is a resource hub that supports home education on many levels. H.E.A.R.T.'s website draws many inquiries on how to begin to home educate, who can home educate, and we further receive many questions on curriculum and homeschool activities. H.E.A.R.T. offers mentoring to many of those inquiring about homeschooling and matches these parents with veteran home educators to help them start off strong. As a chartered organization, we receive many offers and opportunities that we share and pass on to our membership. These range from simple cottage industry services like tutoring and targeted specials to grant and scholarship opportunities offered by partner agencies.
H.E.A.R.T. also provides many annually occurring events that promote or develop home education in the Rutherford County region. Our kickoff for the year is a networking picnic that provides fun, networking and access to valuable vendors for the upcoming school year. Here members, prospective members, and partners have opportunity to learn about each other and the resources available to them. H.E.A.R.T. sponsored activities are promoted and people can volunteer to help or get on the notification lists.
H.E.A.R.T. promotes many spiritual and patriotic events such as "See You At the Flagpole" where students meet and pray for our country around a public flag pole. These type events promote our need to pray for our leaders and our country.
H.E.A.R.T. is the umbrella organization for Momentum Speech and Debate. This group teaches students how to articulate and discuss effectively on current issues. These future leaders learn how to logically debate in various styles: Lincoln/Douglas, Parliamentary, Policy and Value style debates.
H.E.A.R.T. plans and provides kindergarten and Senior graduations for the members who desire an intimate, God centered graduation. These graduations allow for students that have grown up together to "walk across the stage" and have that special graduation experience.H.E.A.R.T. also provides access to many resources that smaller groups are not able to provide such as a supported web page and member area full of resources and links. These links provide a quick resource for the home educating parent to get to laws, rules, education sites, and scholarship opportunities. The website also provides calendars, forums, and many other resources for the buy home educator. We also have a social media presence to help get the day to day messages and group meetings out to our members on both H.E.A.R.T. and non-H.E.A.R.T. activities.