"It's a God thing!" Gena Suarez says in response to what drives her. Gena is not only a wife and a homeschooling mother of four, she is also the publisher of the popular and growing magazine, The Old Schoolhouse.
But running a top quality magazine takes more than just drive. Gena is blessed with a staff who shares the vision to encourage the whole homeschool community.
The magazine began just a couple of years ago when Gena found herself answering many of the same questions from people who bought used materials from her on eBay. In response to the large volume of questions, Gena began an e-mail newsletter. Quickly that grew into the first black and white magazine. In two years the magazine's growth has been phenomenal. The summer issue is a full 132-pages, perfect-bound, and full-color.
One unique aspect of The Old Schoolhouse lies in its interviews conducted for each issue. Gena has interviewed many of the pillars of the homeschool movement. "We've made new friends," Gena says about all the "greats" she has interviewed.
The Old Schoolhouse is even partnering with Dr. Raymond Moore, who is an interviewee turned friend. The Moore Foundation, in conjunction with The Old Schoolhouse, has formed an organization to help needy families.
"They wouldn't receive funds, but vouchers. We are lining up over fifty suppliers lined up to supply vouchers," Gena continues. "We want to let homeschoolers know, when hardship comes, you don't have to quit homeschooling. Helpforhomeschools.org is being set up to fulfill the mandate of the church to help those in need."
"The way it's going to be funded is with a book called, Homeschooling Styles - The Choice is Yours. We have 15-17 authors. Basically it will be a convention in a book," says Gena with obvious excitement. "All the proceeds from the book will be going to fund Help for Homeschools."
Gena points out that the "homeschool movement is massive and it's so diverse. We want to be inclusive, yet distinctly Christian."
One way to be diverse is by incorporating "grass roots" into the magazine. It does that by having volunteers from each state act as their state's coordinator. On the website, you can find information from many states. "If you click on your state and there isn't a coordinator, volunteer. It only takes about thirty minutes a month to update the website," Gena adds.
The incredible number of product reviews and their product review team may very well be what sets The Old Schoolhouse apart from other magazines of its kind. There are literally hundreds of reviews on the website as well as many that are featured each month. The products are reviewed by real homeschool families all across the country. The Old Schoolhouse even sponsors the online broadcast, The Path Home, by sharing a review with the listeners each month out of the mouth of the reviewer.
Along with product reviews, there are loads of contests available both on the website as well as in the magazine. Almost every product featured has a contest to go along with it.
Gena and her husband, Paul, believe strongly that everything they have belongs to the Lord, which is why the magazine is free to pastors and missionaries.
They love being able to give to the homeschool community. This is one reason Gena has contests and promotional items. Currently the magazine is offering a "Bouquet to Remember." More than 13 companies have partnered with The Old Schoolhouse to offer free products to 1,000 new subscribers. These include products from Draw Write Now, Bob Jones University Press, Critical Thinking, Creation Magazine, Alfred Music, Homeschooling Today, No Greater Joy, Open Arms, Alpha Omega, Education Clearinghouse, Bible in Living Sound, and Fluent Handwriting. It's truly amazing the products being offered as companies join together in a common bond of reaching out to the homeschooling community.
When asked why Gena puts out so much effort for The Old Schoolhouse and fellow homeschoolers, she responds, "It's all about love."
For more information about The Old Schoolhouse magazine, go to: http://www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com/.
In addition to devoting herself to her husband and the eight children she home schools, Terri also enjoys writing and speaking to offer encouragement to women in an effervescent, humorous way. Visit her website at http://www.ignitethefire.com/or e-mail her at email@example.com.