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The Homeschooling Miracle in the Pacific Northwest: 'Nothing Is Impossible for God'

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The scenery in Vancouver, Washington across the Columbia River from Portland is simply beautiful, a very appropriate setting for what's taking place here. "The whole story is a miracle story, really," Heidi St. John tells CBN News. 

Heidi and her husband Jay started The Homeschool Resource Center in this area twenty years ago. What began as a small, humble homeschool ministry has now outgrown two locations thanks to a booming demand. 

"God just kept putting on our hearts, 'step forward in faith and I will bring the people and the resources,'" Jay St. John says. "He's done that." 

There is no doubt that God has delivered. When COVID hit, so did a rush of parents and their kids to the homeschool center causing it to almost quadruple in size. The new building that was needed to meet the demand carried a hefty price tag that only God could meet. 

"We didn't have $16 million," Heidi St. John says. "So we took it to the Lord. And at one point, actually several points along the way, we brought families over here to pray for the building....people walking the perimeter of this building, putting their hands on the bricks, and just saying, Father, you see what's happening to your children, we need your help, we need your help." 

God showed up in a mighty way with enough money to cover all the costs so they could move forward debt-free. "Nothing is impossible for God," Heidi St. John exclaims. 

So far, the miracle has led to hundreds of students; nearly 200 parent-teachers, some of whom lost their jobs during Covid; a huge auditorium, coffee shop, and bookstore; and of course a couple hundred classrooms with everything from the basics to woodworking and dance. 

Instead of a regular school, it's more like a newer, bigger model of a homeschool co-op. It is about matching kids' interests with parents' teaching expertise so students can have more 'light bulb moments.'  Ultimately, it's about community. "When you're around people that are amongst the same mindset as you it just it emboldens you and it makes you validate that I'm not alone," says Haley Choate, Staff Director at the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center. 

slider img 2So why was this homeschooling miracle needed in the first place? Today's culture, especially in the Pacific Northwest is the main catalyst, and the students understand what's happening. 

"The public school system is having a really hard time right now," says student Saylor St. John. "They're teaching a lot of things that are not true and things that kids should not be taught." 

The numbers back up that concern. Americans overall are losing faith in public schools. A Gallup poll reveals an all-time low of just 26% of Americans have a great deal of confidence in them. A separate poll shows that nearly half of the parents who homeschool their children believe public school systems are influenced too much by liberal and woke cultural viewpoints. 

"You would never pack your child a sack lunch and send them to the frontlines of literal war, you would never do that," Heidi St. John tells CBN News. "Yet, every single day, we give hundreds of thousands of students sack lunches, we pat them on the head, and we put them on little yellow school buses and they take them to the frontlines of the culture war."

Conservative Christian parents here in Washington State understand what's at stake. "If they get the hearts and minds of the children, then they can run the country," says Carlene McKinley, an administrator at the Homeschool Resource Center. "We've seen years of indoctrination already."  

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The St. Johns know firsthand that the homeschool plunge can be daunting. 

"I was the mommy who was like, 'What woman in her right mind would want to stay home with her kids for 18 years when a yellow bus comes and takes them away for free, right?'" Heidi St. John recalls.  

But she and her husband saw the effect on their child at the time, which led to prayer and a conversation that Heidi had with her husband in the middle of the night. 

"I'm kind of leaning over him you know, 'Wake up, wake up,' and he woke up. I said, 'What would you think if we homeschooled our kids?' Remember what you said?" she says as she looks over at her husband.  

He remembers vividly. "Who are you and what have you done with my wife?" Jay St. John says as they laugh together. 

But all kidding aside, it's a rough road. "It is a hard venture, we know that it's tough," Jay tells CBN News. "But everything that has value costs something, and so if it was easy, it probably wouldn't be valuable." 

Parents of public school children definitely have concerns about what their kids are experiencing inside those four walls, so maybe there are other ways to fight the good fight. Some may want to volunteer at the PTA or run for school board to try and make a difference in the secular world. 

"Yes, we do advocate people getting on the school board," Jay says. "We do advocate that Christians teach in public school. We just don't see how it's going to be saved." 

They hope this model they've created here in the Pacific Northwest will be the way forward across the country. "Absolutely," Jay says. "We're contacted every week by people asking how do we do what you're doing?" 

What they are doing is giving parents and children a lifeline. "We're building Noah's Ark, Noah's educational ark," Heidi St. John says. "We're saying get out of the waters of woke. Get out of these broken schools...If God can do it here in the Pacific Northwest, then He can do it anywhere." 

For those who want to homeschool and build community, the St. John's have built a prototype for what can happen — and how God can work.  

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